Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Love Flaw

How many times do I hear the word love during the day. A BUNCH. I hear (&feel) it in the mornings from my husband and my one-of-a-kind 3 year old (and so BLESSED for that!). I hear & feel it from family members &friends. I hear it over and over and OVER again on the radio, facebook, pinterest, blogs, in magazines, and books. And what about "seeing" love- movies, tv, the 13 year olds walking around the mall like they've been married for 6 month, PDA that makes me want to gag in a restaurant by that guy who is CLEARLY old enough to be her dad, more refreshing relationships like my parents marriage. I see, hear, and feel "Love" all day, everyday. With all of this exposure to Love, I should be a love guru. an expert. I should know how to love well!

Most importantly I see, hear, and feel the most beautiful, pure, and unmatched Love that has ever existed. I experience daily, the Love of my Almighty God. Jesus Christ is my savior. I believe he sacrificed His life in Love so that I may have eternal life. I should know and understand love with such passion and conviction that my life overflows it in every area.

Confession: My heart and mind have been unsettled for several weeks now. So unsettled that it has taken me a while to, sort of, muddle through what, I believe, God is trying to show me. The thing I know best about love is not how to love others, but how others should love me! I know exactly (or so I think) how others should treat, and sacrifice, respect, understand, be gracious, and Love ME. And when they don't, I am quick to point out their offenses. I am just starting to understand the depth of how much I don't love well.-Yet, how much I need and want to be loved by the very people I am not truly loving ALL of the time.

I love my husband, my children, and my family with all of my heart. I would die for them. No question. I am a very passionate person. I love strong and I ...dislike.. strong! But, what God is beginning to show me is something that (Im SURE) has probably been extremely noticeable to others, but I have been blind of. Blinded by my selfishness. I love these people in my life, but I don't love them the way God tells and shows me to love them- ALL of the time... even when I am hurt, offended, mad, or frustrated with them.

Jesus is Love. Love, like Jesus, has characteristics. And this is where Im struggling. I do not possess the characteristics of love. Not all of them. And not all of the time. Sometimes I love with some of Love's character.

I love my husband. I couldn't imagine living my life without him. But, do I Love him. Does my love have the Characteristic's of Jesus Christ? I am ashamed to admit, NO! And the same goes for my mom, my sister, my cousins, my Nammy. The people who I love MORE then any other people in the world, are the people who I love most selfishly. It seems that the homeless man on the street gets more of my sympathy, patience, understanding, and gentleness then the ones closest to my heart. How can this be! How many times have I read 1 Corinthians 13? I know most of this chapter by "heart" (in theory). I assumed that because I am such a passionate person, because I love my family SO much, and because I am a Christian, that I just natuarally love the way I should. God is showing me otherwise. And, how right he is.

 I am praying daily that the Lord continues to uproot my selfish love by gently rebuking my selfish love habits and lead me back to Him- Lead me back to the Perfect example of what... and who Love is. I want to Love like Jesus Christ. It does NOT come naturally to me. I am a fighter by nature. I want to stand up for my feelings and what I believe in. I want to defend my cause and my heart. I hate to be vulnerable, and I absolutely have no fear to fight for my own justice. But that is not my place. Not anymore. I willingly and gratefully gave up my selfish "rights" to my Heavenly Father. Learning how to Love from my Heavenly Father is humbling, and the greatest revelation of mercy and grace in my soul. He is showing me that I love the worst when I have been offended or hurt in some way by a loved one. People I am not close to don't have the capability to hurt me emotionally as much, so it's easy for me to love them past their offenses. But, when a loved one hurts or offends me, I don't love. I react. The Bible tells me that I should be slow to anger and slow to speak. I am completely opposite. I am supposed to love my brother as myself. These are the things that God is really convicting me of. And I thank Him for it.

So much in the passage about "Love is" is a struggle. I struggle with consistency. I struggle with its wholeness (it never says "or, but , if, unless" ). I struggle with applying it to Everyone- - I tend to pick and choose. And mostly I struggle with reacting instead of loving. The essence of my faith and the purpose of the life I have chosen, is: Love (John 3:16, Romans 8:37-39 1 John 3:1). It's time that I make a daily sacrifice to LOVE with ALL of its characteristics ALL of the time. I am grateful for a patient loving God. Because I need it for sure!!

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

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

Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices with the truth

It always protects

Always trusts

Always hopes

Always perseveres

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowlege, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest is LOVE. 

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselvesby obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seasons & Shifting Sacrifices

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Its ironic that the last post was about spending time with Brent and the sacrifices we make as a family for me to be a "stay at home mom". It is ironic because that is a "season" in our lives. And that exact season has changed in some positive ways since that post. The leaves are turning greener and the flowers are starting to bloom :)

Being a stay at home mom has been full of joy, disappointment, revelations, personal growth, and sacrifice.
It is an incredible life journey of discovery and one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Growing up I always knew I wanted to stay at home while my children were babies if I were able to. 5 years. That's all I really have with them at home. After that its off to school, college, careers, and one day their own family (in theory that is the "order"). I am learning what an interesting sacrifice it is turning out to be in some ways. Here a few things we have been willing to sacrifice for me to stay at home. Some I assumed and some smacked me on the back of the head..

Budget/Money- I assumed this one. We are very blessed and well taken care of, but we Definitely have to stick to a budget. There are many material things that we would love that just have to wait.

Personal Time- This was a total shock. Neither of us realized how much personal time (time to work out, time to be with friends, time for hobbies, naps, movies, ANYTHING) we would have to sacrifice for Brent working (SO much) and me staying at home (SO much) to raise 2 baby humans .

Relationship Time- yep. This one was rude. I wasn't prepared to sacrifice time With Brent.

Daddy Time- Rude again. I wasn't prepared ENOUGH to understand this sacrifice. Brent working so much means he isn't home. Typical day- Stone wakes up, Daddy is at work. Stone plays during the day, Daddy's at work. Stone goes to bed, Daddy's at work. Stone is asleep, Daddy is at home :(

THIS sacrifice is where we finally drew the line.

As a person making a sacrifice is painful. As a parent it is a privilege.

I will gladly sacrifice my life for our children, even the most selfish parts of who I am. And Brent feels the same way. These sacrifices are things we were willing to give up for a season. Season's change.

Here is the Exciting part for our family

ONE SHIFT CHANGE. That's it. That's all it took. The wintry (daddy gone ALL the time) season we have been in for several years now is beginning to change. Brent changed his shift at the police department.

We have shifted sacrifices. We still have sacrifices. They are just different. The benefits out way the sacrifice by a landslide. Life is all about sacrifice, I believe. It's choosing what you are willing to live with- what IS worth giving up (time, money, emotions, goals, dreams, expectations, for an example), and what you're willing to live with out- what isn't worth giving up for a particular outcome.

Brent is now home when Stone wakes up in the morning. Brent is sleeping, but he is home. Stone runs in every morning to say good morning and love on him for a few minutes. Brent doesn't mind being woke up for this. Landslide benefit. Brent is also home all day on the weekends and for several hours in the evening on weekdays, even when Stone goes to bed! This is the MOST time consistently that Brent and Stone (and Sylas for that matter) have ever spent together. THIS IS HUGE!

Stone is a sensitive spirit. Brent being gone so much effected him in ways we weren't willing to sacrifice any longer. Stone's emotional well being and bond with his Daddy are Not sacrificial. They are priority.

Brent and I have made our own personal sacrifices, again, to make his schedule work. They are different. And we are learning to live with them, but they are having really awesome benefits. Which I will write about in posts to come.

If I am able to read this post in a year, 10 years, or 50 it will be bittersweet, I'm sure. Time. Love. Sacrifice. Change. Seasons. Life. all but a vapor in the wind *James 4:14