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Hallway Smiles, Healed Hearts, and a Love That Always Covers

Jun 14, 2015 09:55AM ● By Bonnie Lyn Smith

I watched my young son walk by her on his way toward me at dismissal time. She waved a tiny wave at him, and he waved sheepishly back, giving a quick smile.

It had been a year since she was his teacher. They were both broken in their own ways that particular year. Nobody could have predicted it. Seeing them tentatively offer each other a quiet reassurance this week taught me something so profound. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that scene: The one where my son had a stockpile of grace from somewhere deep within. The one where he got in the car and told me, when I asked: “I made sure to smile so she knew I was smiling at her.”

What? Oh, dear Jesus, please tell me. I want to know where that supply of grace is. Little Man seemed to tap right into it and out of the overflow, he worried about the feelings of someone who shared a sad year with him—someone who was just as stuck as he was that year. Don’t we all have moments, seasons, years like that? 

Because I feel so protective of our beautiful school community and the teachers and other staff within those walls, the details of their sad year don’t really need to be told here. Suffice it to say that sadness was matched with unrelated sadness, and it made it hard for Little Man to climb out of his own lack of functioning and depression. 

My mama heart was all over the map that year because God had given me a heart for both sides of the coin, all parts of the situation, and He kept me humble when in my own pain, I wanted to lash out at anyone and anything—but, thankfully, I didn't. Little Man’s pain became mine, but God loved (and still loves) everyone in the situation.

Here's the thing:

He wouldn’t let me be anything but kind.

That’s how God is. That wasn’t me at all. It’s just that once He has gotten hold of our heart—once we’ve given it to Him—love spills out. It covers my sin, my offenses. Oh, thank God that it does! My heart is so ugly without the covering of the cross—the defeat of my sin and death on that cross.

Proverbs 10:12, ESV, King Solomon writing

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

1 Peter 4:8, ESV, Apostle Peter writing

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 

My son and his former teacher weren’t being fake with each other. I really didn’t get that sense when I quietly observed this from the school foyer.

What I saw was an understanding of time passed, hearts healed, and maybe even a sigh of: “Hey, I think we might be in a better place now.” Their situations were different, but they had collided into each other’s pain that year.

Know the feeling? Don’t we all come slamming into someone else’s wound now and again, and it opens our own?

I used to think I’d give anything to do that year over again, knowing what I know now, but really, in my journey knowing God more over time, I find He likes me in that teachable place, the one where I don’t have to be right or

(wait for it…)

in control.

He likes me to know I don’t know everything or the end of the story, because it’s there my heart is open to listen and to learn what He wants to teach me about Himself. That’s where trust comes in. That’s what keeps me talking to Him.


Because I really don’t know, and I’m really not in control.

He knew I would watch from a respectful distance while He brought closure to something in the last few days of the school year before we moved on to another building next year.

He also knew I needed to see Little Man pour out Jesus love and have it be received.

Jesus love is the best thing ever. If we believe in Christ, we can have never-ending scoops of it. It’s ours for the taking. 

Doesn’t that sound so nice? Supernatural amounts of infinitely deep love?

But the thing about Jesus love is: It has to be given away. 

And Little Man gave it away that day. Freely.

I believe she caught it because she wanted to.

Because no matter what we do, we can’t escape the fact that we each need God’s grace ourselves. So desperately. We need that covering love, the one that says: 

“That was rough. I don’t necessarily want to do that again, but would you like to come over here under this umbrella and get shelter from the rain with me? I’ve learned, over time, the storm does pass. Life is sometimes different on the other side, but the rain does stop after a while.”

You know what? God planned this love from the very beginning for you and for me. 

Psalm 91:1-4, ESV, author unknown, possibly Moses

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler (emphasis mine).

What can love cover in your life right now?

Have you pursued that amazing Jesus love and found the covering under His wings?

It’s a peaceful place to stroll because under the shadow of the Almighty, hearts heal safely, smiles flow freely, and love always covers the pain or offenses of yesterday.

The well of Jesus love never runs dry. Won’t you join Little Man and take some, quench your thirst, and then turn around and fearlessly give it away?


Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.



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