Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Love is . . .

May I vent for a moment? Of course I can. It's my blog.

Recently, among our family and friends, we have had several couples separate or contemplate separation. Without exception, one member of each couple with trouble has said, "I don't feel like I love him/her anymore." This has, actually, made me pretty angry. So, since in the interest of family harmony and a desire not to have the mashed potatoes smashed in my head at our next family gathering, I cannot tell these couples my preferred response to this sort of statement, I'm going to say it here.

Love is not a feeling. That rush of emotion you felt at the beginning of your relationship, when all was hunky-dory, wasn't really "love." It's another four-letter word, and it's hormone-driven. When you're living real life, with real jobs and real kids and real church and real baseball and real LIFE, you're not always going to feel "love." That doesn't mean that you have the right to pack it all in, to overturn your children's lives so that you can go in search of an emotion that never lasts past six months of cleaning up someone else's dirty underwear and socks.

Let me tell you what love is. Love is an action. Love is getting up every morning, and deciding to put your husband or wife first in your life. Deciding that you will treat them with respect and dignity, that you will look for the positive and good things in them. Love is being there when they need you, and not when they don't. Love is not worrying about how you feel. Love is worrying about how they feel. Love is knowing that when the chips are down, you will be there for your sweetheart. Love is knowing that the only One whose love completes you is God, and not asking your spouse to fill that gap they are constitutionally incapable of filling.

Love is a choice. Every single morning, you get up, and you decide, "Today, I will love them." Marriages take work. No, they should not be a constant struggle. But if you leave them alone, they will die. I adore my husband. I am blessed beyond compare that Nate is mine. He is everything that I need or could ever want in a husband. I believe that. And when things are not going well, and I am washing the dishes that were left beside his chair and picking up the popsicle wrappers under the chair that he seems unable to put in the trashcan, I will choose to continue to believe that. It's easy to believe it when he is slaving away to finish a sunroom he didn't even really want to start. I choose to continue to believe it when it's not so easy to see.

If you choose to give love, you will eventually feel it in return. But you might have to actually put someone else's feelings before your own for a minute.


Friday, March 02, 2007

What God told me recently (Paraphrased)

"Hello, daughter. I want to speak to you. I see what you have been doing. I see the work you're doing, and I see your heart. Thank you for your service. I see the children's ministry, and I thank you. Thank you for teaching your children and other's children to pray to Me. Thank you for telling your boys to pray to Me when they are scared, when they are sick. Thank you for leading them to Me. But, daughter, I miss you. I miss your first love for Me, your hunger for My Word. I know what you are doing, and I know it is out of the right motivation. But, daughter, it is far more important for you to come to Me than for you to do whatever it is that claims your attention.

Daughter, I love you. I love you for you, not for what you're doing. I know that you know this -- now live it. Put Me first -- not your work for Me first. Come away. Turn off the phone. Turn off the computer. Turn off the TV. Find a babysitter. Come away with Me. Bring your empty spirit, and I will fill it. Bring your restlessness, and I will calm it. Bring your heart, your mind, your body, your soul. Bring it all to Me, give it all back to Me. Put Me at the top of the list, first thing in the morning, last thing in the evening.

Daughter, I see what you do. But I love who you are.

Come home to Me."