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Before I learned about God and Jesus, I knew something was missing in my life, but couldn’t explain what it was. I was looking for love, but had looked in many wrong places.

When I read, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,” (1 John 4:16) I felt I had come home.

Some of us may be blessed to have a loving mother who expresses and teaches God’s love. Those who are have been treated with tender affection, patience, gentleness, compassion, wise guidance and counseling, a clear sense of right and wrong, forgiveness, support, appreciation, unconditional love, encouragement and protection.

Locally, mother birds, bears and deer show us the nurturing and protecting qualities of mothers. Pet rescuers and first responders, family support agencies, mentors, school teachers and administrators, pastors, doctors and nurses, grandparents who are raising their children, older siblings raising younger ones all exemplify these qualities. Loving dads in the store with little ones on their shoulders or in the cart, expressing this love and care, bring tears to my eyes.

Isaiah tells us in the Bible, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13) How many times do we read that Jesus was “moved with compassion” before he healed someone, and showed this more than once by feeding thousands of people who had been listening to him teach for days without eating before they had to walk many miles home?

I am grateful to say that I have found boundless comfort from my understanding of my relationship to our heavenly Father. And so can we all.

Recent mass shootings in our country may leave us feeling angry and helpless. We long for all the victims and their families, survivors and yes, even the perpetrators, to feel this loving care of God.

I think also of survivors of wars, abuse and natural disasters, those suffering from mental and physical illness, those incarcerated in jails and prisons and their family members and friends and veterans. All need to feel loved.

Another verse from the Bible gives me great comfort, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3) This assures me that even when events in the past have left emotional wounds, they can be healed by our understanding of ever-present Love.

Jesus told us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. I know it’s not always easy to accept God’s love for us and to treat ourselves with that same kind of mother-love. But here is where the logic of the Bible comes in: If God is Love and loves us, and we are created in His image and likeness according to Genesis, “and God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good,” (Genesis 1:31) then it is natural for us to reflect His/Her love for ourselves.

Every act of simple kindness we show to others, even feeding the birds and caring for our pets, is an example of the fact that we are reflections of God’s love and care for us. It is divinely natural for you to accept and feel God’s love for you, and to express Love’s tender mercies to yourself.

In fact, your heavenly Father’s purpose for you is to do this. You are needed. You are loved.

Carolyn J. Nagusky, C.S. lives and has a prayer office for Christian Science healing in Salida, and conducts a weekly Bible Study for inmates in the Chaffee County Detention Center.

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