What Does Love Look Like? 

By Diane Smith, Executive Director

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.

What does a brutal robbery have to do with love? 

When Jesus was asked what it looks like to love God and your neighbor,  He told a story. (Luke 10:25-37). 

The story begins with a man who has been robbed, stripped of his clothes, beaten, and left for dead. Imagine you are walking in your neighborhood and see someone lying on the side of the road with no clothes and beaten within an inch of his life. What would you do? 

Let’s look at how three different people responded to the man. 

A priest, a revered religious leader, passed by on the other side. A Levite, a man with special religious status, passed by on the other side.
A Samaritan, an unexpected hero, saw him and had compassion.

  1. He went to him. 
  2. Bound up his wounds.
  3. Set the man on his own animal.
  4. Took him to an inn.
  5. Took care of him. 

The Samaritan stopped his journey to help this man. Even though it was taboo for Samaritans and Jews to interact, it didn’t matter. Even though he was on a journey, it didn’t matter. And even though it cost him time and money, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he saw a hurting man, and he stopped and helped. 

He took the time to care for him. He went out of his way to show compassion and mercy to a stranger. It wasn’t a quick fix. He didn’t take a hands-off approach. He set aside his own plans and comforts to care for the man. 

This is how we are called to live and to love. 

This is the heart of Spreading Sunshine’s mission to serve families impacted by pediatric illness. It all starts with LOVE. 

Christ has poured His love into our hearts and we pour out His love into the lives of the families we serve. Here are just a few examples: 

Showing Love Through A Year of Sunshine

One of the ways we love families is through our Year of Sunshine, which provides families with a year of support, encouragement and hope through intentional relationships and monthly mailings that include Sunshine Boxes, cards, and meal gift cards.

In addition to these tangible reminders they are loved, every family in our Year of Sunshine will have a Sunshine Care Partner who builds a relationship with the family and looks for ways to encourage them. 

Spreading Love for Special Days  

This month we are spreading love for Valentine’s Day by sending Valentine cards and care packages to children across the country and also providing Valentine treats to children and parents at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Celebrating holidays and special days can be difficult for the families we serve. Whether they are in the hospital on a special day or simply trying to keep up with the daily demands of their child’s treatment, therapies, or doctor’s visits, sometimes a celebration can be hard to pull off.

One simple way we help celebrate special days is by sending a card. We’ve also partnered with Icing Smiles and all of the families in our Year of Sunshine can receive a celebration cake for each of their children. Sometimes we are even blessed enough to help plan birthday parties for children.

GIVE BACK for your birthday

Giving Love on the Hardest Days 

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of our ministry is when one of our Sunshine Families loses a child. Loving families on their hardest days is something we approach prayerfully. Every family is different, and how we serve them may look different. 

Last week, because of the generosity of our donors, we helped pay for a child’s funeral expenses. This week we are sending a remembrance necklace to one of our moms who lost her daughter. 

One of our dedicated volunteers writes cards to families who have lost a child on the anniversary of their child’s death. 

Serving with Love Brings Light in Darkness

At Spreading Sunshine, love looks a lot like light in darkness, comfort in hurting, and hope in crisis. As we work to serve families, we are inspired by the Samaritan who helped a man when no one else would. It’s our hope that no family faces the illness or even death of their child alone. And through it all, it’s our sincere hope that the love of Christ shines through. 

There’s still time to be part of spreading love to a family through the Year of Sunshine. You can learn more about sponsoring a family here