The Day Love Exploded Inside My Heart

Even though my three children are grown, sometimes they still need a little TLC.

Don’t we all?

This past Friday, my daughter Jamie and I planned to meet at Chick-fil-A . Just the two of us. Even though she’s 33, I wanted to spend some time with her–let her know how much I love her.

Words are my love language, but I decided to take her a small gift.

I’m not the best shopper. Usually, I walk in circles and don’t know what to buy. I found three of my favorite baby pictures of Jamie, and headed to Target for frames.

Jamie’s first Easter.

Jamie and her daddy.

I pulled into the Target parking lot.

This should be easy. Three frames. No hard shopping decisions. 

But Target didn’t have any frames to fit my pictures.

Now what?

Almost time to meet at Chick-fil-A.

Help me, Lord.

Jamie’s favorite color is pink.

Think pink. 

I found two soft pink t-shirts and pink azaleas in the floral section.

But the baby pictures–I couldn’t forget about them. And no time to go to another store. 

Circling the frame aisle one more time, I spotted a dark wooden coat rack. Lo and behold, it had a place for three pictures!

Back at home, I put her gifts on the counter and hurriedly slipped the pictures into the frames.

They fit perfectly! Hallelujah! 

When Jamie drove up at Chick-fil-A, I planned to calmly give her a hug, but when I handed her the pictures, something exploded inside my heart. 

God’s love gushed through me. 

Full force. 

I hugged her to me tightly. Her hair smelled sweet–so sweet, I couldn’t get enough of her scent.

Her beauty.

I cried sloppy tears and choked out, “I love you.

“Love you too, Mom.”

Sometimes God nudges you to do something.

And you have no idea how to do it.  Or why. 

Just move forward.

Step by step.

And He does it through you. 

Can anyone relate?




  1. So sweet, it made me well up! Thank you, Julie.

  2. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Relate to “gushing” love on my family? Oh, yeah. I’ve often been told I love them too much. And I respond, “How can a mother ever love TOO much?!” And if I do, I learned it from my parents’ love for me.

    One memory is pushing to the surface. When my oldest two were very young, my mom gave me a poem my dad wrote about our growing-up years. He called it, “Our Happy Home.” Each 4-line stanza described trivial troubles with the house and such (like, “the holes in the screens…and the bugs coming through”), with the final lines reminding, “But this is our happy home!”

    Realize my dad is NOT one of the writers in the family! But his words, scribbled on napkins and pieces of scrap paper through the years, spoke directly to my heart, especially as a young mother trying to create my own “happy home.” For my dad’s birthday that year, I found one of those blank books and copied his poem onto the pages, one stanza per page with another full-page, stick-figure-style drawing depicting the words with much exaggeration (you can imagine the size of the mosquitoes buzzing around the light over the table!).

    After his poem, I wrote a similar-style response to his words. My lines told of the fun we had in our home (the hundreds of games played at that table, bugs and all!) and the love that filled every room. Each stanza let my dad know how much he and my mom and our “happy home” meant to me. I finished the book with one more poem, “Another Happy Home.” This one included thoughts of my own home with two little girls, very much like my childhood’s (except no little brothers!), with, “Dolls and bears on all the chairs…and giggles everywhere!” It concluded with a heartfelt thanks for the example of the “gushing” love I felt every single day of my youth.

    Thank You, my Jesus, for the love that “gushed” from your body to ensure I could have a “Happy Home” in heaven!

    • Cathy….I’m just sitting here for a minute letting your first paragraph soak in. WOW. WOW. WOW. So powerful.

      And think about those who received no love (at least that they perceived) from their parents.

      Your response is just beautiful. Makes me think of my home right now–we have stink bugs. 🙁 Literally. 🙁 Love, Love, Love how you said this!! I can feel your Joy gushing all over the place.


  3. Anna Haney says:

    I am bawling. This was beautiful!
    As I see my parents get older, I want to spend more time with them, naturally; but the same time, I am afraid,. I’m scared because I know that we may not have much longer with one another and it’s very conflicting sometimes. Maybe I’ve become more aware because friends have lost parents within the last year or so.
    There are times when I want to just get in my car and drive to their house and hug on them so tightly. Times when I want to go back in time. I kind of did that the other night when I got on Google street maps and found houses where we once lived in FL, NC, TX, and other parts of TN. Even though it was near midnight, I wanted to show that to my parents.
    It’s the same with my husband, Love him so much that I honestly can’t contain it.
    I’m rambling, I know, but I am a little overcome right now.
    Love this!

    • My precious friend, your heart is so tender. There’s so much love inside of you–it’s gushing out all over the place. You’re not rambling. You’re full of His Love.

      Beautiful how you did Google maps. God’s stirring your heart. I can tell……..

      Love covers so much, doesn’t it. It gushes out and nothing else matters.


  4. Oh, Julie. Goose bumps all over. Beautiful, sister. Beautiful. xoxo

  5. Mary says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to be surrounded by people you love?

    Julie, here’s what I love about your blog: you help me to stop, breathe, and remember what’s important. You remind me of how rich my live is. I’ve been wrestling lately with my word for the year — “mindfulness” — because I’ve been caught up in doing so much that I’m missing the here and now. Your blog — especially the last couple of weeks — has helped reel me back in. What a miracle it is to love and to be loved. I’m sitting here thinking about my family right now, and I’m feeling showered with blessings!

    • Mary….

      I’m tearing up with your words. They go so deeply into my heart b/c every time I blog, even now, after almost four years of blogging, my heart pounds before I publish it. I think….no one will understand what you’re talking about. Maybe I missed God on this. Maybe I got it wrong. This is silly. I should’ve used my good camera… (but I never know during the week what I’m going to blog about so I don’t always take the best pics).

      And somehow God uses it.

      Mindfulness–what a wonderful word. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone using it before, but it’s a perfect word.

      Just that my blog would speak to one person….

      Thank you so much for letting me know. That’s why I write.

  6. Oh Julie, you made me cry…again! Thank you for sharing your honest mama heart. I’m right there with you!

  7. Pat Garczynski says:

    Perhaps lots between the lines but “Three Pictures Are Worth Three Thousand Words” and summed up in “I Love You, You Are Loved – from the beginning through all eternity!”
    “It is not that we have loved, but God loves us first” is my go-to example of parental love reaching out first.
    PS regarding another picture post on FB: Congratulations Beautiful Grandma! I liked the SIMPLE use of your word “YES!!” in the explanatory sentence. It could be an additional 2015 Word!

    • Pat! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! That sort of shifted through my hearts in the Chick-fil-A parking lot–how His love was gushing through me to my daughter. That’s it.

      Thank you also about becoming Grand Ma Jewels. I am totally thrilled. Daughter Katie married in Feb and is a stepmom and loving it. Every time I get to see my new granddaughter—wow–I had no idea what being a grandma felt like. I’m just so grateful she’s in our lives.

      Yep. YES!

      Big hug!

  8. Barbara King says:

    Just beautiful my friend….I can so relate…Senior year and all 🙂 Love to you


  9. Absolutely beautiful! Every time I see my grown up kids love on their children- I wonder if they are beginning to understand how very much I love them. The kids got me a groupon for Christmas that transferred the first 10 of 40 home videos to a DVD. I got them back a month ago and I just can’t watch them- yet- I told the kids I don’t want to watch them by myself- I’m afraid I’d cry. We’re planning a family movie night to share with the grandkids what their parents were like when they were little. Hugs and tears sweet mama.

    • CINDY! How precious is that!

      I wonder if they’ll ever know how much we love them? Maybe not….because I can’t comprehend how wide and deep God’s love is for me. I try to open my heart and understand it, but it blows me away.

      Can’t wait to read your blog about watching these videos!!!! I know you’ll write about it. Oh, happy day!

  10. marci says:

    What beautiful thoughts and gifts! Can relate to your writing for today. And isn’t it sometimes hardest to find the right gift for our grown children? It has been for me. It seems you came up with the perfect gift, so meaningful. Heart touching. I can so understand that burst of love feeling. Overwhelming! The love for our grown children! Sometimes it is like I can hear God’s voice, saying– “This is how I love you! This is how much I love you. Now you can see and understand.”

    Yes, as you said, Sometimes God nudges you to do something, and you don’t know why or how, but just step out, one step at a time. That is such a good thing for us to remember. God will provide, when we just step out. Thank you for that.
    Can so relate to all of this post!

    God Bless you dear Julie

    • Marci’a–yes, yes, that was how I felt–exactly! God whispering–this is how I love you.

      So big my heart can’t hold it. So big.

      Thank you so much for letting me know you understand. And when we pick up our first to take that first step, we can’t even see the ground below us, can we.


  11. Shelley Elaine says:

    Oh, Julie…what a beautiful story! I can almost feel your anticipation as you gave her the gifts…this doesn’t exactly relate, but my 11 y/o daughter and I found ourselves with a free afternoon yest. and decided to make it a “Mommy Date”…as we talked about our plans, she brought me one of our favorite books ” Let’s Go On A Mommy Date ” by Karen Kingsbury. As I read it aloud to us, again, the last paragraph caught me by surprise 😉 and tears overflowed: “See, time will take you far from here; you’re growing way too fast. All I want is Mommy time to make the moments last.” Thank you Julie for reminding me that these special moments can continue no matter what age our children are.

    • Tearing up, Shelley…oh how I wish I’d done exactly what you’re talking about when mine were little. Why did I think they’d always be little?????

      I specifically remember one time I did this with my son. We skipped church–can’t remember why b/c we’d never done it on purpose. But we went to the lake and I read him parts of the Bible. I told him never to forget the day b/c it was special and how much I loved him. He must’ve been about 7…Such a sweet day.

      Yeah, even though Jamie was 33, it still felt like she was a little girl. And to sense God’s love for her gushing through me…Oh, My. Oh, My.

      Love you, my friend.

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    What a beautiful gift idea, Julie!! Finding a powerful way to display special memories as a tribute of love to your daughter. (: I love using for family member gifts around the holidays, and since I am a craft-loving person, using their company for picture gifts is lots of fun for me. What Love Language is Rick? What Love Languages are the rest of your family? One of my Love Languages is time. Your daughter looks like such a sweet baby, wish my furry photo subjects were that well-behaved. ();
    P. S. Chick-Fil-A has fabulous milkshakes. (;

    • I’m grinning, Patricia. How I wish I could meet you. Are you on FB? We should be FB friends!

      Wonderful question!!! When Rick shows his love, it’s acts of service. He’s slooooooowly learning that I like words, talking, and spending time with someone.

      But that’s such a good question…What is his love language? He’s a big giver. Maybe it’s gifts. And I probably talk his head off instead of putting my heart into buying him a little somin-somin.. :/

      I’ve been wondering which of the Chick-fil-A shakes are GF?? I know the vanilla ones are.

      Good idea about Shutterfly! Show me your fur babies!

      Hugs my friend.

  13. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Wow…you did it again Sweet Julie Girl!

    Read your blog yesterday as Hubby and I were on the way out. Kept thinking what a precious gift for your firstborn. Our firstborn will celebrate her 44th birthday (really?!…now where did that time go?!!) May 6th and while rambling in the local Walmart found a three-picture frame and began thinking of my three favorite pics from her first year of life. Sweet anticipation for me. She’s an amazing mother getting ready to send her firstborn off to college (with 15 and 8 yr old daughters, she gets lost in the “shuffle” of her life) and suspect she will be touched by baby pictures of herself. Can’t wait to put it all together! Thank you for the idea (hope you won’t mind my borrowing it; will definitely tell her as she is a huge fan of yours…but said she said she doesn’t have time for blogs).

    Got another jolt of excitement this morning to realize we have another amazing daughter and I want to do the same for her…so will pick up another frame today and begin the fun of deciding which three pics for hers!

    Yep…you continue to inspire us Julie Girl to “spread the love of Jesus” and for that SO many of us are grateful! Much love to you on this (yet another!) cozy/cloudy day! Brenda

    • Brenda! What an honor! Wow–this just makes me sooooooooo happy–that you’d be moved to love on your girls the same way.

      I know–can’t believe it’s another cozy/cloudy day. Love how you put that, my friend. Always seeing the positive.

      Please let me know what happens when you present the PRESENTS. 🙂


  14. A mother’s love to a child….our Father’s love to you, His child. As you circled the frame aisle one more time, His love pointed you in the right direction to just the right frame for those three adorable pictures. There’s nothing like love. Yup, I can relate. ; o )

    • Look at how gorgeous your words are, B.J. “A other’s love to a child…our Father’s love to you, His child.”

      I believe I’m going to just rest in that love today.

      I love you. So much.

  15. Kim Fleeman McMickle says:

    WOW! This made my night and reminded me of how I am with my 3 children who are also grown. Great job!

    • Thank you, Kim!!!! So thrilled to know you’re reading. 🙂 🙂

      I think we have a strong, deep connection with each other here. We pray for each other. We’re open to say what we’re struggling with. We talk about God’s love for us.

      Soooo glad you’ve joined us.

      Much love.

  16. Patricia Martin says:

    I would love to meet you, too, Julie!!! I am sorry it took me so long to reply, but I am down with the flu. My family and I are technological dinosaurs, and so I do not have a FB account.): Maybe someday when I have survived accounting and economics I will have an account. (; My dad is acts of service like Rick, and my mom is words like you. I will try to upload some pics of my babies, just need to ask my dad how.():
    Hope your week is great,
    Patricia XXoo

  17. I just love your response, Patricia. 🙂 So honest and real.

    Feel better soon.

    Much love.

  18. Relationships are our most priced treasure. Stay in love with life. 🙂

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