When you need a hug

I have fond childhood memories of living in Hudson in upstate New York. That small city lay on the banks of the Hudson River halfway between New York City and Albany.
A Syracuse University business grad, my dad was assistant manager of Marsh’s Department Store. I felt like a princess swooshing through the big revolving doors and into that place. I was Mr. Holm’s daughter: all the sales ladies loved him, so I was loved as well.
A couple times a year we would take him to the train station, because he would go to NYC on buying trips for the next season. I’m sure the few short days he was gone were hard on my mom, because there were five of us, and she often suffered from asthma.
It was a grand moment indeed when Dad stepped off that train and we all rushed for his embrace. His presence would have been enough, but he also came home with PRESENTS–something for each of us kids.
“What did you get me, Daddy?” Times 5. Over and over.
We could hardly wait to get home, so he could open his suitcase and hand out the little gifts.
I have no memory of any present in particular. But I do remember the smile on his face and those open, safe arms.
So that’s how I can picture my heavenly Father–with welcoming, loving arms wide open, despite how I’ve behaved or what I’ve said.
Knowing God’s mercy and grace makes me determined to share his goodness with others–with my tithe to my church and with regular giving to Christian and other charities. When you truly have experienced the love of God, you want to share it so others can experience it as well. My giving is my virtual hug to my Lord . . . and to others. 
I believe a #LookingUp! posture also means I need to look out for others. I hope you do too.
Janet McHenry is a speaker and the author of 24 books–six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.
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