Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To Love Another

   Love never gives up {is patient}.
   Love cares more for others than for self {is kind}.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have {is not jealous or envious of others}.
   Love doesn't strut {is not proud or boastful},
   Doesn't have a swelled head {is not arrogant},
   Doesn't force itself on others {is not rude},
   Isn't always "me first" {does not think of itself or demand its own way},
   Doesn't fly off the handle {is not irritable or easily angered},
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others {keeps no record of wrongs},
   Doesn't revel when others grovel {does not delight in evil},
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth {but rejoices in truth},
   Puts up with anything {never gives up and never stops being patient},
   Trusts God always {always trusts, never loses faith and never stops believing},
   Always looks for the best {is always hopeful},
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end
{never gives up and endures through every circumstance}
Love never dies {never fails}.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a 

Love is a high calling. Love is hard. Love requires constant thought and intentionality toward another. Love is selfless and pure...which I am not, and yet God calls me {selflessly and in purity of heart} to love, what's up with that? 

Love is like a mirror. How you love shows you your heart, and often times my heart is not pretty or pure or selfless. Often I "love" so that I can get something out of it. I "love" the way I want to be loved not how the other person needs to be loved. I am selfish in my loving, so is that really love at all?

Love hurts because when we put someone else's needs before our own sometimes our own needs can go unmet because true love is not focused on ourselves but on another.

Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. As you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.
Henri Nouwen 

But through the hurt and brokenness of love, we will bear fruit. Not that love isn't beautiful and wonderful and very fulfilling at times, but love is not what we see in the movies or in books. Love is not picture perfect and it is not easy. Love takes work, and rather than focusing on what we are not receiving from the one we are trying to love and what they need to do in order to love us better, we must look into our own hearts and see what the Lord is trying to teach us about ourselves and how we can better love the other.

Love is a calling to selflessness, which is often not "fun" and can plant seeds of bitterness if we are not careful. How do we love when we do not feel loved in that moment? We have to stop focusing on ourselves, what we "need", what we want, what we "deserve".

I am to be fulfilled in my relationship with Christ. My husband will never be able to fill the "Christ hole" in my heart just like I will never be able to fill the "Christ hole" in his heart. We are both sinful and fallen people, desperately trying to love one another in the midst of our about a recipe for confusion and misunderstanding. How are two fallen people to love each other perfectly? Well, we never will. We try, but we will always fail in one way or another. So we must learn to struggle together through our sinful and selfish desires, to share our desire to love one another in the way that they need but also to share how we each would feel loved by the other. 

I have heard it said that marriage is not a 50%/50% relationship where the husband gives 50% and in return the wife gives 50%, but rather it is a 100%/100% relationship. We each are called to give and love and cherish the other 100% of the time, no matter how much we feel loved by the other at the time. If love is selfless it means that it cannot be dictated by how we feel, but it is a conscious choice to love in spite of our circumstances, whether good or bad. 

Marriage has been such a beautiful gift. I believe I have grown more in these last 16 months than I ever have, because I have seen the depths of my heart through the eyes of another and I have seen the depths of my heart in how I choose to treat my husband. Marriage is deep. There is a depth in a relationship between husband and wife that I never new existed until I experienced it. It is beautifully unique and delicate, and at the same time it is full of Godly strength. Marriage is a gift unlike any other. It is not something you receive and can only take from, you must give all of yourself to it, freely and without limitations. 

But for right now...we have three things to do...Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13