When school let out this year our family created a summer bucket list. The list included trips to the zoo, kayaking, books to read, places to swim, sweets to eat, people to visit, and summer concerts to hear cover the page in each family member’s handwriting. We looked through Pinterest pages of free St. Louis things to do. We grabbed the calendar and made sure we scheduled the important things so time didn’t melt away from us like all those popsicles and ice cream cones we consumed. We wanted to squeeze the most out every day with all those hours of sunshine and free(er) time together.

With lazier summer evenings free from rehearsals and soccer practices I’ve found quite a bit of time to become re-addicted to facebook videos, memes, and games. I am going to need an intervention very soon (like today) but this one popped out at me recently.



Before reading further, go back to that image that says “Which Word Did You See First?” and play along. Tuck away the first word you see in the back of your mind. No for real, what word did you see first before I share mine. I don’t want to skew your answer.

I was going to scroll past it too until I realized a single word I did see first. I saw LOVE. And it surprised me. I don’t know if it is because it was found in this silly facebook post or what but I didn’t want to “fall” for some soft word like LOVE. I am just that competitive to want to find the obscure word that stretches diagonally across the whole puzzle because I have this unhealthy desire to be known for a word I found next at the bottom of the puzzle. I was surprised because for me I saw the word LOVE right up top, no searching, and I didn’t like how obvious it was.

Perhaps I didn’t want to fall for that word of LOVE not because of how easy it was for me to see it in the puzzle but for hard it is for me to consistently share in real life. Perhaps it is because I know how hard it is to share and have it, if ever, accepted with the young women residing at The Nest.

I have come to realize that LOVE is our never-ending Bucket List for these young women. We desperately, and I mean desperately, want them to know just how much God loves them. We have a limited time to reach that Bucket List and fill them with as much love as possible while they are with us. We want to see that love reflected in their decisions, behaviors, and attitudes. Our whole staff, volunteers, and board give every kind of love imaginable to reach the souls of these girls. Tough love, fun love, godly love, familial love, kinship love, everyone does what they can to keep showing these young women that they are loved. However, it’s exhausting. It’s a daily exercise of throwing our love up on a hard and fast brick wall and seeing only a tiny bit soak in before sliding off.

We are reminded we are but the seed bearer of LOVE and we may never get to see the fruits of our labor. But we will not stop. Our Bucket List starts over with each girl who walks into The Nest. Because we are loved, we love.

We love because he first loved us 1 John 4:19

P.S. Be sure to respond to this post and let me know the word you first saw in the puzzle.