Kara's Collection: To love like Mannymickey

from an article originally posted February 24, 2015...

I seriously cannot stop raving about Mickey. Or Nanny Mickey, as she is affectionately known. Mannymickey to my toddler. She is a woman who knows how to love and love instantly. The first time I met her, she made me feel like we were old friends. She noticed me, made me feel seen, and pursued me so I could be known. Oh, my stars; her love is a balm to my motherless heart.

I recently said to one of my sisters, “I wish Mickey were my mother.”

Erin jokingly replied, “I just wish I had a mother!”

I chuckled, but her words made me think.

Kara and Mickey love big. Love well. Love in ways that matter to the recipient. They are unique in that instead of loving in ways in which they are gifted, their gift is loving! Does that make sense? They love according to what their recipients need. A selfless, beautiful, healing love.

This kind of love is transformative. I am not tempted to hoard it or keep it to myself. After time with Kara or Mickey, I want to turn around and love someone else, embrace them and remind them of how special they are, just like Kara and Mickey do for me.

So when Erin pointed out the obvious—that we are motherless—my mind started thinking about how blessed we’ve been with women who have filled that role in our lives. No one can replace a mother, but we can still love well and effectively. And because we have received this kind of love, we can love others, too.

How many motherless women are around me?! How many women (or people in general) don’t have mothers or have mothers who have been cruel or absent or lacking in love? Each friend who has this brokenness in her life is a friend who could benefit from the gift of love. And how easy it is to send a text or a card, engaging people and reminding them ultimately that Jesus loves them and finds them irresistible? What a gift it is to share a cup of coffee with a friend and listen to her heart. What a joy to help carry her burdens and take them to the cross together.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want to be Mickey when I grow up but I am called to be her now. How can I move toward the hurting people around me like Mickey does? How can I use my words to encourage someone even if our conversation is brief? How can I pursue others and make them feel noticed and valued?

This love, it comes from Jesus. And the more I understand it through the big love of women like Kara and Mickey and my sister Erin, the more I can translate it to other people—my husband, children, friends, neighbors.

The ugly truth is that we are all hurting. Despite her brave face and unquenchable courage and strength, Mickey’s heart is breaking for Kara. Kara’s heart breaks for Jason and her children. The list goes on. But the more-than-good news is that we don’t have to hurt alone. We can put an arm around each other, cry on each other’s shoulders, remind each other of the gentle love of Jesus and the promise of the joy to come.

I’m learning this kind of community is rare. But community is not found—it is built, one brick of love at a time. So how can we move toward each other? How can we reach out to someone who is hurting? How can we remind someone that they are seen and cherished? How can we notice someone who feels unseen?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
— I John 4:18 & 19