My darling Mary loves to babysit and gets called often. She’s the kind of babysitter who plays games and reads stories, gets the kids to bed on time, then does the dishes and tidies the house. The happiness of the kids (and the parents) of the families she babysits is extremely important to her.
Whenever Mary has to say, “No” she mourns the lost opportunity to hold babies, tidy kitchens and make life a little easier for a young family.
“I just always know I’m going to learn something important.” she tells me. “Babysitting teaches me so much about Christlike love.”
This summer, a new family started calling Mary to babysit. The four-year-old made it clear to Mary that she didn’t want her around. And Mary understood. “She wanted her mom. When the babysitter shows up, it means mom is leaving and that’s scary and confusing for a little kid.”
Mary got into the habit of telling this little girl, “I hope you know I love you.”
“I don’t.” the darling little sassy girl would respond.
“Doesn’t matter,” Mary said, “I still love you.”
And I think that’s exactly what Mary needs to hear from me. She needs my love all the time, even when she’s sassy or sad. And it’s exactly what I need– someone to love me even when I’m discouraged and tired.
It’s what we all need– to be loved exactly as we are even when we’re broken and lashing out; making messes and longing for home. “Doesn’t matter,” God says, “I still love you.”