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 records of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
I thought I knew love. Loving well was my thing. And since, at 22, I had “skipped” a formal education, had a failed marriage under my belt, and felt no purpose in life yet, I thought loving well was my only thing left to offer.
Of course, things changed when people I loved told me they didn’t want my love. First him, then another him, and them, and her, and her. What I began to believe was that I didn’t have anything at all to offer.
Somehow I snagged a man and somehow he agreed to marry me and somehow, even though neither of us thought we could, we had two children. Through it all, I was haunted.
No, I never did love you.
Then why did you marry me?
Because you wanted to get married so bad.
We can start a new chapter in life, but the old ones still hold ink.
God is love.
I had already given up on things. And then I was given a family. They were literally a gift given to me. I had sex with my husband and ate fast food for nine months. Very little effort from me and- poof! A family. A miracle. A ridiculous miracle I did not deserve. An insane miracle I did not create.
They were a gift I was entrusted with so I had to pull it together. I dusted off some areas of innocence and dug out a few old bits of cheerfulness, wishing what I scrounged up would be enough to withhold a family. But I was deathly afraid to lose them.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4: 16, 18
This awareness of the miracle in them never left me. And it created an urge in me to do things I had never wanted to do before. I wanted to go to church. The traditional girl in me wanted to get them baptized like I was, like my family had been. A strange change for me.
On the other hand, Phil’s family baptized themselves out of choice, not tradition. He said he didn’t mind if I poured water over their heads. So he let me. But the traditions didn’t change me. True love did.
I heard a story once about Someone (yes, I capitalize those words because they mean more to me than lower case) who loves me so much. And to prove He loves me most, He created and executed a Plan to show me.
He has one and only child. One dear child to dote on, to teach, to care for, to pay all attention to, to bestow all care and abundance upon. One dear child to uphold the family name.
In this case, He took his one and only dear child, filled with supernatural power, and purposefully descended him to the lowest place of humility and then handed Him over to death. Jesus came here to show us that He is King of Kings, not by lording power over us, but by lowering himself to a servant of servants. By His own design, God literally gave this broken, hateful, dark world his Son. Here. I want Him to die for you.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17
And his Son chose certainly to die for you. Not in a head-on collision. Not by a heart attack. Not through a swift slip of the breath in a deep sleep. Not by accident. No. Jesus chose hours of raw flesh scraping against a rugged cross. After being beaten. And humiliated. Slowly drowning. Hearing the hecklers trying to shame Him, yet knowing in His heart who He truly is, what He is truly capable of. And displaying his power with every breath, bestowing love to everyone.
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34
I am leaving. Mother, John is now your son. John, take care of my mother. John 19 26:27
Two criminals hung to the right and left of Jesus as he hung. One mocked Him; one submitted to Him. Jesus died for them both. That has always been the Plan from the very beginning. And after all the prophecies had been fulfilled, Jesus called out one last time before He bowed His head.
Here I come, Father. It is finished.
Matthew 27:50 Mark 15:37 Luke 23:36 John 19:30
Love is no accident.
That is true love. Bowing your head and submitting to pain and suffering out of love for another. Dying to yourself so another can live. Jesus is the only definition of love. Jesus is the origin of love. Jesus is The End we have been waiting for in every love story. He is the beginning of yours if you choose Him.
When I began to believe the Bible is true, everything was suddenly sweeter. I had a completely new set of emotions. Things I had let die were resurrected with Jesus- it was as if those things were nailed to the cross, died with Him, and when He breathed again, so did they in me. Miracles were firing everywhere in my life only because I redefined love through the one and only Jesus.
Love is not a feeling. Love is a verb. Love is not something you helplessly, hopelessly fall in and out of. Love is a choice. Love is either something you want and are willing to die for, or it isn’t. But love is no accident. Love has always been the Plan and it was executed well. There is no plan B.
Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, I laid on a blanket underneath the trees. Sun-dappled sandwiches. Shoes resting in the grass beside our blanket. Birds chirping and boats humming in the background. The girls and I picked a shoulder or side of Phil’s to rest against. We sat there staring up at the sky, out at the water. Beneath us the quilted blankets I purchased the first time I dreamed of a family. All those crushed dreams ago. My family at peace and at rest on those blankets now. My redemption. It came. And by no accident. I had given up hope in so many ways that I almost didn’t recognize redemption when I saw it.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
The peace of God surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. John 4:10