I love gushy love stories. I melt when the strong male character reaches over and takes the woman in his arms, looks deep into her eyes and pledges his love and protection forever. I swoon with her, wanting to feel that emotion so strongly that it takes my breath away.
Along life’s way, I also had this stupid notion that life ought to be like the Walton’s. The whole family working together for the good of each other and the land. Lots of kids. Grandparents living in the back room. Table set for twelve. Yep, I had that dream, too.
Real life usually isn’t like that. I don’t think love is either. Maybe. Maybe not. But not in my household. Yes, there is love. But it’s the kind that digs into each day and does what it must do, and then comes home late looking like left-over toast, half-burned.
Those scenarios were in the early years of marriage, job, kids, school, commotion, and chaos. Now life has settled down to the two of us.
Love changes as you get older. Your challenges are different. Your calendar is marked up with doctor appointments and drug refills, not playdates, school activities, and homework. You aren’t running to the gym; you’re running to the bathroom. You don’t jump out of bed and do a few kip-ups; you moan and groan and stumble to the coffee maker to get your morning inspiration.
For the last few months, I’ve been in a life-storm and God has been nudging me with scripture, thrusting devotionals in my direction.
“Love from the center of who you are, don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil, hold on for dear life for good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” Romans 12:9-10 MSG
Love from the center of who you are.
That’s a grabber, isn’t it? The center is the tender part.
Don’t fake it. Dig deep and be the real you that lives in that never-never land of love and excitement, in that tender part of the center.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7 NIV
Have I done these things? Dishonor? Self-seeking? Keeper of the record of wrongs?
I think God is sending me a huge message. A strong message I cannot ignore.
Looking back, I see where I have not been as loving as I should have been. I’m still learning, still an apprentice at love. God is helping me define love through His Words. He wants more of me.
So for the past few weeks, I have stepped back, focusing on these Words. I see areas that need fine-tuning and others that need to be eradicated. God especially wants me to stop acting on my self-centered interpretation of events or actions from my spouse, and love from the center of who I am, not faking it. Genuineness.
The other morning I sat and looked at my man of forty-eight years. That’s the same man who worked hard to provide for the family. That’s the same man who at sixteen taught me how to laugh and how to dream. He is solid. He is a man of faith.
Be good friends who love deeply. Who could ask for more than this? Good friends often seem to love easier, offer kindness quicker.
Jesus is still working on me. He wants to chisel me to a fine image of Himself. He also knows I am resistant.
“If you are griping, you’re not listening.
And if you’re not listening, you’re not learning.
And if you’re not learning, you’re not understanding.
And if you’re not understanding, you’re not honoring.
And if you’re not honoring, you’re not loving . . .
anyone but yourself.” (Life Lines)
I am a stumbling block in my own path. Today is demolition day!
“If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
“We, as Christians, are called by God to reflect that love to our spouses, our families, and our world. And the more we reflect it, the more we give it away to others, the more we experience it in our own lives.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)
This Valentine’s Day will be different. I am going to be different. I want to love like Jesus loves. I want my spouse to feel Jesus when he is with me. Today I’m asking God to keep me mindful of who I am in Him.
“Father, in the same way we give our highest loyalty to You, help us today to be devoted to one another in love, honoring each other above ourselves. Amen.” Romans 12:10
Love one another. Always and forever.