Love

Julia,4 and Mark,3...can you feel the love???

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Galatians 5: 22, 23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I'm reading a book right now called, "Naked Fruit: Getting honest about the fruit of the spirit," by Elisa Morgan.  It's a great Christian book that is helping me get into the "right mind set" as I teach my little ones all about the fruit of the spirit.  We can sing songs, make crafts, and memorize a verse or two, but if never learn anything or don't allow God to change our hearts, than why even bother, right?

I think about the year we were engaged and the 4 years after how in love and ecstatic we felt.  I mean we were all smiles and couldn't wait to spend every waking minute together!  Just hearing John's voice, or getting a phone call or text from him made me feel all cozy inside.  So IN LOVE.  The roses, the dates, the diamond ring, the vows, the wedding gown, the Rolls Royce...our honeymoon, vacations, buying our first home...God is so good to us, I kept saying over and over to my self.

Then finding out we were pregnant!!! Choosing names, hearing her heartbeat, picking out toys, books, and fixing her room...so exciting!  So many firsts, feeling her move, kick, hiccup even before she was born!  So IN LOVE.  Then meeting her, holding her, nursing her, changing her, showing her off to anyone and everyone at the hospital...

"Among all the qualities, love seems the most natural, second nature, and easiest to both offer and receive."

Until...

Daddy comes home late for the third night in a row...or
Baby won't sleep through the night...or
A comment hurts our pride/feelings...or
You are so sore from nursing you just want to give up! or...
All you want to do is sleep but everyone needs you...or

"Love is there...in all things.  Except when love is hard.  And it can be hard, can't it?"
I can remember clearly hearing Pastor Joe mentor us during premarital counseling saying that "Love is a choice...and we wouldn't always feel loving or in love, but that we choose to love our spouse no matter what."  I can also remember thinking, "I'll always feel this in love all the time, no matter what!"  But in those moments of disappointment, or frustration, or lack of good communication, or let's face it, just being over tired, I can really see what our pastor meant.  And it's comforting to know that God loves us with a perfect love, when we are so not worthy and so not perfect.

I also thank God for laughter.  Because in these years of rearing young ones, thank goodness John and I have a sense of humor, because sometimes laughter can cover up the worst moments, and heal a multitude of wounds.  (I feel like I've heard that somewhere...)

So, lets be real about love...it can be really hard to love people.  I find it easy to love the "blanket" people (you know, the people who make you feel comfortable)  in my life but the "sand paper people" (you know the people who are always rubbing you the wrong way) are not easy AT ALL.  Pastor Steve, our former associate pastor came up with this analogy and I've always referred to it because it is so true.  He also said that the sand paper people are put in our life for a reason...to change us, to smooth our rough edges (because we are not perfect and we need smoothing too and just think you may be sand paper to someone else!) and that loving others is the most important thing we can do to show others the love of Christ.

"Love is not about being nice for the sake of niceness; it's about being like Jesus."
"Love is a committed choice to be there...in everything."  The good.  The bad.   The ugly.  For better or for worse.

Motherhood is a commitment to love no matter what...during stomach bugs, teething babies, cranky kids, long car rides, noise, noise, and louder noise, no sleep, broken sleep, no matter what.

I can remember each time I brought Mark to the ER for some boo boo he did to himself...and not once was I ever mad at him...I just wanted to fix it and make my little guy better.  And I can remember the car rides home watching him sleep or eat a donut or comforting him.  There would be so much LOVE in that car I wouldn't even want to roll the windows down to ruin the moment.  And that love doesn't come from deep within me...that love comes from my Father.  My heavenly Father who loves me and who is teaching me how to love.  No matter what.

"In the everything moments love is a choice.  God chose to love us.  He didn't have to.  He wanted to love us so he chose to love us.  We choose to love others.  Sometimes it doesn't seem like a choice, like when we fall in love with our baby or our husband or even a best friend.  That's more of a can't help but feel it emotion, isn't it?  But later when the newness of love wears off and we're caught in a relationship, it is the choice of love that continues."
So basically, love is the fruit of the spirit that gets past the fake "being nice" stuff...and offering the real love when it's hard to love those sand paper people!

Dear Lord,


Thanks for this lesson today.  Help me to be real and sincere and truly love people the way you do.  Help me to want to bless and serve others when it is not convenient for me. 








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