The Kinsley Bear
I received the bear pictured at the top of this blogpost a couple weeks ago. It means a great deal to me because it was given from a place of great pain . . . and tremendous love.
The bear is called the “Kinsley Bear,” named after a local couple’s beautiful newborn daughter, who lived only a few hours after being born with unexpected health issues. Kinsley’s grandfather gave me the bear after Patrick and I spoke at their church.
The back of the tag on the Kinsley Bear reads, “This bear has been among the congregation of Faith Lutheran Church. It has heard the Word read, prayers prayed, praises sung and sermons preached. It has been loved by Faith Church Family and has soaked in God’s love. Now it comes to you with blessings of the love and grace of Jesus.”
My family had seen many of the bears sitting in the back pews of the church on the Sunday we spoke there. We didn’t know the special meaning behind them until we received one—with an autism ribbon attached.
My eyes brimmed with tears as I held that bear and read its special note. I was overwhelmed by that family’s choice to continue to love others in the midst of their own personal pain. When tragedy strikes, we can be tempted to pull away, to harden our hearts so they can’t be hurt again, to try not to feel any more. That’s why Kinsley’s brave family made me cry . . . they were choosing to love, and I knew that choice was going to impact countless lives.
A tender heart:
We are told in Ephesians 4:32, NASB, to be kind and tender-hearted toward one another. It is written in a verb structure that means to keep on doing something. Being kind and sensitive toward others truly reflects the heart of Jesus. He was always sensitive and responsive toward the people around him, stopping to talk with them and reaching out in love. Whether it was the woman at the well, a religious leader who came to Him at night, the desperate father of a sick little girl, or a Roman commander who was concerned about his servant, Jesus kept caring about every person who crossed His path. He wants us to do the same for one another.
Reaches out to others
I was touched that Kinsley’s family had made the effort to get and attach an autism ribbon pin to the bear they gave me. Patrick and I spoke at their church about the hope we found in the Lord while living with autism for the past 22 years. The autism pin on the Kinsley bear communicated love, understanding, and acceptance to me and my son. The members of Kinsley’s family had set aside their own pain and struggles in order to reach out in love toward us. It was such a picture of Jesus’ sacrifice to me: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, NASB).
Lets Jesus fill it
I know the only way Kinsley’s family could love like that was because Jesus filled their broken hearts . . . and His light and His love was flowing out of the broken places. They refused to close off their hearts to Him. Instead, they chose to receive Him and what He had for them in the midst of the pain, and they opened their hearts and hands to share the gift of Him with others.
I know this is what has happened and is happening to them. I’ve seen it in a cuddly little bear wearing a bright autism ribbon.
Question: How have you experienced the tender heart of Jesus through others who have chosen to love? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King