Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is...

At 34, I am just now beginning to understand love. Just now. That doesn't mean that I didn't love before that; it just means I've never loved another or expected to be loved in the right way. When my children were born, I think I first discovered that there was a love out there deeper than anything I had ever known. The raw emotion of holding something so fresh and tiny and vulnerable in your arms was life changing. The way I could love someone I knew nothing about in an instant... well, it's truly one of those God things.

So then, I started to see how loving other people in life was so painfully similar to loving the flesh of my womb. It was through being a mother that I took loving everyone else around me to another level (or that I began that process, I should say... I am no where near close to perfecting it!). But it was also the way I began to appreciate God's love for me, that I began to see that how I love my children is nothing in comparison to how God feels about me. The thought overwhelms me as I think about it...

So love is one of the few things that I feel the Bible gives us such a strong definition of. One day in the future, when I am much more mature in the Word of God and in my faith, I hope to write a book for young women and teens, a sort of cross between fiction and devotion, which goes through this verse alongside the life of a fictional character, and reveal some of the ways I have misconstrued love earlier in my life. How I took less than what God would have me experience. How I didn't know what I deserved in life and love. How my hope was almost gone but found renewal through an everlasting love. His everlasting love. The one love that will absolutely never fail me or leave me or hurt my feelings. And I can't expect that in the real world, but I have every right to expect the loves in my world to strive toward that definition so beautifully laid out for us all in 1 Corinthians.

Each time I read the familiar passage, something pierces me. Most every time the patience part gets to me as that is my biggest fault in general (especially with my kids and husband). I have to remind myself every day to work on patience ~ that it's not fair to those I love the most to get the worst of me when I can be so sweet and patient with the young girl learning the check out process at Walmart. Sometimes the verse brings up old wounds from when I didn't seek the real love God wants me to experience. The word protects shoots right through me like a zooming bullet these days as I look back over my life and realize there were certain times when someone who said they loved me did not protect me as they should. Its difficult to process the love relationship in your past where the emotion was so warped and deceiving, especially when you see through more mature eyes that it couldn't be any further from love.

But my favorite part of the verse is love never fails.

Never. I like that word. I like to read it in the Scriptures. Because when God tells me never, He means it.

Love never fails. True love. There have been points in my life with my earthly Valentine that I've thought, "No way... this isn't working... can we make it?" But today, I know that we can be Valentines for life if we both try our darnedest to love one another in the 1 Corinthians way. That God's love can flow down into us, and then we can give it freely to each other. That there's no promise of it being perfect, just that it won't fail. It's been on the fritz from time to time. It's certainly been damaged and needed general repairs. Our love may get a little dusty and need a little clean-up every now and again. But our love will never fail. Never.

So Happy Valentine's Day to all reading, and to my Valentine of 12 years now! I love you, Scott! Like really love you...

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