Love. I can not talk about it enough. 1 Peter 4: 8 says,
" Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins."
Love is something on my mind quite a bit these days. I guess it is because the Holy Spirit is giving me a new understanding of love. God realizes that I am hard headed and not naturally inclined to obedience. It has not been enough to hear the story of Jesus over and over again. He has began to open my eyes to identify when people are giving love unconditionally and with true sacrifice.
As a child, love is something that you just do. I don't know that I ever really loved anything actively. Then as an adult, I found active love. I married my husband, I found myself doing things I would never have done before, mainly house work. I can remember right after we were married, I had a day off, and I cleaned the bathroom. When my darling husband came home, he took his finger across the counter top and said, "you call this clean?" My reaction was to stop cleaning the bathroom. It took a few years, before I began cleaning the bathroom again.
Just like cleaning a bathroom, love is something I have struggled with. The story of Jesus' love is about sacrifice. Sacrifice is not a word, that is easy to use in reference to me. However, God has a way of getting his point across. There is a true blessing and lesson in having children. When I became pregnant, I knew that my selfishness was going to have to take the back seat to a baby. I can remember praying, " Lord, give me a servants heart." The Lord in turn made me a slave to a baby! The beauty of it, was that it did not feel like slavery. I was doing everything out of sacrificial love for her. I had a glimpse of the love of Jesus, internalizing the love of a parent for a child.
Giving sacrificial love to someone as loveable as my daughter was easy. However, recognizing it and offering it to others (my hubby), has not been so easy for me. I find that I am skeptical of the motives of others, and if I am being honest, I often think of what is best for me first. I even sometimes struggle with missing a party or God forbid a BUNCO in the name of staying home with my family. Writing that "out loud" makes me cringe a bit, because the truth is I dearly love my family, but I find myself wanting to "have my cake and eat it too." I have to actively remind myself, that my presence at home matters to them. If I miss a social event, I won't die, and more importantly, it shows my husband and daughter that I put them first. That sometimes feels like a huge sacrifice.
The Lord is faithful and continues to show me sacrificial love, and what it really looks like. He continues to tug on my heart that sacrificial love should come easier. He continues to urge me: " Love never fails."
The best example of love is of course, Jesus, sacrificing his life for our sins. However, here on earth and in my everyday life, I can easily think of a great example: My mother in law.
I know there are some of you who are cringing at the thought. I know that not everyone is as blessed as I am. From the beginning of my relationship with her son, she decided she was going to like me, no matter what. From the beginning, I included her in our life together. I even invited her to go wedding dress shopping with me. Through her, God has shown me a wonderful example of true sacrificial love.
She does not have to love me, but she just does. Here are a few ways that she sacrifices on my behalf. For those of you who don't know, I work with my mother-in-law. (Part-time, Part-time is what we call it.) She owns a small business and just her and I work in the front office. When I became pregnant, we changed everything for me and baby. Now that my daughter is 6 she still works around our schedule. She works overtime and takes care of things, so I can go and be mommy when I need to be. As a result she doesn't get much time off. She gives and gives of herself and her time and does not ask for much nor does she complain often. In fact, she often gives us days off in the name of play dates. She has sacrificed her time, so that I get to be with my daughter when she needs me. I can be with her after school, on a field trip, or just to have a mommy daughter lunch. I am not sure that I know anyone else, who gives of themselves the way she does for the sake of me and my little family.
Her example makes me question, the way I show my love. Do I love sacrificially? Do I love unconditionally? Well, as far is my daughter is concerned yes, that is easy and quite natural. However, I find that giving sacrificial love to other people is more difficult. I always find myself in the cross-hairs of what I want, verses what my husband would like for me to do. While these questions may sound silly: should I clean the house or go shopping? should I let him have the first shower? can I take his plate to the kitchen without rolling my eyes? they make a point.
The point is, I struggle with the every day minor things that need to be done to care and show love for my family. I struggle making the bed, unloading the dishwasher, and putting up the ironing board. They feel like terrible meaningless chores. I never consider how my husband feels about them, or what would make him happy. He is a bed maker, and I am not, but is it sacrificing to much to take 4 minutes to make it? These small things show him that he matters to me. I admit, I have not been very good about making the little things a priority. It is all the little things that add together to become the things that show love.
Think back to your childhood, who and what were the things that meant the most to you? If I look back at my childhood, I immediately think of my grandmother. I loved her dearly. Why? I loved her because she always made my favorite snack. She took the time to teach me silly songs. She took pride in keeping the small details of the things I liked; always having what I wanted when I needed it. She kept a record of all my good stuff; she did not keep a record of my wrongs.
I Corinthians 13: 5-7
5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.
It occurs to me that in order to see love through God's eyes, you have to love sacrificially. Scripture tells us, that to follow Jesus is to die to this life and walk in a new life with him. Love does cover a multitude of sin, because true sacrificial love puts me last and others first. My experience with personal sin, usually starts with a selfish or self serving desire. So I ask, how do you love? Do you love in the small details of everyday life? Do you always trust, always hope, and always endure? or do you keep a record of wrong? This week I challenge you:
" Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
This week, take a look at love through God's eyes. This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!