Tag Archives: Love

reflection…

This week has been a week of reflection for me.  I don’t know if it is because I have celebrated the birthday that marks the last year of my twenties, or if it is because the holidays are approaching.  Whatever the case may be, it seems that ever corner I have turned has caused my past moments to come tumbling back.

If I sit for a moment, close my eyes, and take a deep breath in, I can still smell the hallways of my high school.  A damp mustiness mixed with the aroma of whatever happened to be cooking in the cafeteria.  I can see the library with shelves and shelves of old books that were begging for someone to care enough to turn their pages.  I can hear the sounds of the choir resonate off of the walls of the room behind the gym and next to the shop.  This place was my prison. A place I could only hope to conquer.

This was the time in my life where it seemed that I was struggling to survive my every day.  It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other and my only focus was that of my future.  I was a teenager mind you, and of course everything is much more dramatic when you are a teenage girl, but there were days that even breathing seemed too large of a task.  I felt suffocated by my surroundings.  I felt stifled by the life I was being forced to live.  I lived in fear that I would never become who I envisioned myself to be. I knew that if I could just be in control of my moments, I could do it better.

A few days ago I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to an old friend I hadn’t spoken to in many years.  In the course of our conversation, he shared with me some of the struggles of his newly found faith.  I couldn’t help but be humbled by the words he spoke. His desire to do God’s will is great, and he is earnestly seeking to hear God’s voice.  What a richness! What a hope!

Today, well today I find myself in a place where I could so easily fall back into the struggle of my youth.  It wouldn’t at all be hard to feel suffocated and stifled by the life I am living.  In many ways I feel that I am at the cusp of something new.  I can feel change in the wind.  But to live only for the new, the different, the not now, could again imprison me and trap me.

I want to live my life desperately listening for the voice of my Heavenly Father. I want God’s love to be enough in my life.  I want everything else to wash away.  He has promised to work out the details by His grace.  I want His love to be enough.  No matter my coming or going, no matter the course of my life; I want  His love to be enough.

Psalm 51:12 “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

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love is…

For those of you who don’t know my dear, sweet niece, I wish you could spend just ten minutes with her. Her presence is enough to warm the heart of anyone. (I have a wonderful little nephew too, but we will save him for another blog.)

My Jenna is now 2. I think that could be my favorite age. Then again, I have thought that about each of her “stages.” To have the privilege to watch a child change from baby to individual is truly something amazing.

Recently, Jenna and her brother Cole came to my house to spend the afternoon with their Auntie Jennie. Oh how I loved that. In the midst of what has been one of the most terrible weeks of my life. A little ray of sunshine walked through the door. She threw her arms around me and smiled greeting me with her simple, “Hi Nennie!” The rest of our time together consisted of reading books, playing hide and seek, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and dancing to the music I had playing. At one point Jenna closed her eyes and twirled around to the music. She then opened her eyes and looked at me sincerely and said with a smile, “The music Nennie, the music…” She then motioned to me like she expected me to join in. I love when kids do that. They take the social boundaries of an adult and they jump right over them. Why wouldn’t I join her? So, there we were in the middle of my living room with Cole looking on, spinning in time with the music. When the song was finished, Jenna looked at me and said, “I wuv ooo Nennie.” My heart melted.

The love of a child. So simple so pure. Untainted by the “big bad world.” Jenna knows what it means to love. She has it down better than anyone else I know. To her love is something to be given freely without expectation. It is patient with her slightly self-conscious Auntie. It is found in simple daily activities.

I know to write a blog on Love for Valentine’s Day might seem a little cliché, but I am concerned with what “love” has become in this world.

I have worked with so many teenage girls who think that love is synonymous with a feeling. Or a state of mind that makes them feel a certain way. The repercussions of this can be catastrophic. A girls self-worth becomes entangled in these feelings they think are love. While I am sure there are similar effects on the male gender, I don’t think I can speak to that, but if you are male and reading this, I challenge you to consider what repercussions “love” has had on your life.

I chuckle to myself a little now, because there was a time in my life where I would have ended my blog at the end of the last paragraph. In outright protest of a commercial holiday based on “love.” Why not end on a downer?

However, today I want to take a minute to examine what love truly is. I think by looking back at my story of the love of a child we can begin to get that picture. But, I want to look deeper, I want to pick it apart and truly understand.

I Corinthians 13:4-8 says “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.”

Love IS- patient, kind

Love DOES NOT- envy, boast, keep record of wrongs, delight in evil but rejoices in truth

Love IS NOT- proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered

Love ALWAYS- protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres

Love NEVER- fails

I like to break this verse apart the way I did above, because it begins to allow me to evaluate how I interact with people. Do I truly love? Am I truly loved? I can go down this list and say is this love patient, kind, hopeful, etc.? I also know that when I see the qualities of rudeness, anger, pride, etc, that this is NOT love.

Simple really but for me this was a huge realization. I check myself against these things constantly. In any and all relationships I have in my life. I want to be known as someone who loves.

When Jenna says “I wuv ooo Nennie,” I know that THIS is love. THIS is the most innocent example of what love should be.

When will we be able to extract ourselves from what the world defines love to be? When will we be able to put the desires and needs of others before ourselves? I believe that when we answer these questions on an individual basis, our lives can be forever changed.