I know I’m loved, I really do. I have a great hubby, three sons, lots of siblings and extended family, great friends and co-workers, and the list goes on. I generally have pretty good relationships in my life. And I’m content. Mostly.

There are times when I just need a bit of affirmation. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who works all the harder when given a little encouragement. I say unfortunately, because that has caused me to be a people-pleaser at different times in my life. I’ve needed to ask for help setting boundaries more than once.

I received some great advice from a trusted mentor many years ago. We were discussing expectations from others concerning my husband’s pastoral job and how it related to me. She told me, “If you line 10 people up in a row, they will each have 10 different expectations of you. You can’t live with that hanging over your head. You have to be Tabby, and you have to have a servant-heart. You have to please God and your husband. If they’re happy, it’s enough.” Reminding myself of that advice has been a lifesaver many times. Thousands of pounds of guilt and coulda-woulda-shouldas have fallen to the ground as I’ve soaked in its truth.

I’ve discovered that starting each morning with some peace, quiet, and time with God sets a tone for me throughout the day. It helps to center me and to remind me of my focus and course. And it often gives me the word-hugs that I crave.

This morning, it was from James 1:17-18: “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”

I’m God’s prized possession, and so are you. Wow. Out of all the amazing things he’s created (mountain ranges, oceans, flowers and fauna, cloud formations, sunrises, sunsets, and more), how is it possible that he would choose us? He knows our faults. He sees our hearts. And he chooses to love us anyway.

That’s a pretty great word-hug. I’m set for today.