Originally posted one year ago! Yet, I could write these very words again today…prepare your hearts for true love!
Leave it to our children to teach me once again the truest meaning of love.
I want to bring you with me for a moment – straight into the heart of the God, whose love is SOOO big.
The bible tells us, “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
Take that verse slowly – God. Is. Love.
Everything about Him is love.
His essence and very nature is love.
Pure, holy, righteous, and the list goes on and on that would take me an entire lifetime to express all the goodness of God and His love for us. Which I hope to do until my last breath here on earth.
God’s love is constant.
It is never changing.
It is NOT dependent on any of us.
Because He is.
I don’t know about all of you but those three words mess with me to my core.
Because I want to be able to live my life fully and completely surrendered to His love for me.
I want to ooze from every pore of my being His love.
Which brings me to my next definition of true love.
The ultimate sacrifice shown to all man-kind was made by our Savior. He lived His entire life to show and teach us about sacrifice of self. Love fully and completely in action. Every day of His life, straight to His death where He carried the cross in which He would hang and even held the nails together that would be driven through his hands and feet.
Love = Sacrifice.
Love = J. O. Y. Jesus Others You
Love can never be found or displayed when you are first. When you demand to matter in any given situation – you are putting yourself above Jesus and others.
It takes complete sacrifice of self to display true love.
Welcome to living out Luke 9:23-25.
Now let’s make this practical and allow me to explain how our children have taught me the meaning of true love.
Training them to become godly men and women takes sacrifice. Daily. Most days I have to choose to lay myself down for them. Because naturally it can become too much, too hard, and overwhelming raising 9 children to not put themselves above each other, or us their parents, and ultimately above God.
We are teaching them all of the above – Love is a VERB! It is an action. It is honestly living out 1 Corinthians 13 – choosing to put others before yourself. It is not natural. It is not easy. It takes practice and a constant heart choice to place others before yourself. Especially those who are often hardest to love or worse when we take our loved ones for granted.
Any parent knows that it hurts to be lied to. For me it is because our children (or any person for that matter believed)…
Lies hurt. Words hurt. Selfishness hurts. Abuse hurts. Being mean to others hurts.
Love should never hurt.
Because love is of God, from God, and is God. God is FOR YOU!
God’s love is perfect, casts out all fear and covers a multitude of sins. God’s love is unending, never changing and will never let us down. That doesn’t mean we get what we want when we want it or how we want it. It means He gives us everything we need perfectly, in His perfect timing. It means that His love is enough and will carry us through life no matter what – even the impossible, because…
THANK YOU GOD for that!
“If you love Me, you will follow Me and My commands.” said by Jesus several times in the bible.
Well, I say the same thing to our children. If you love me, you will not chose to lie to me, hurt me, or purposefully try to be mean to me.
Yes, we will all sin. Yes, we will all make mistakes and miss the mark set by Jesus. But that doesn’t give any of us the excuse that our sins don’t matter and we shouldn’t be growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus to do them less each day.
It is a choice to love.
Love is a sacrifice. A sacrifice of self (good-bye unholy trinity of me, myself and I).
Not I, but that YOU, God, should receive all the glory.
Not I, but that YOU, God, would be seen in my life.
Not I, but that YOU, God, would be known through how I speak, live and choose to behave each day.
This all brings me back to my morning. One of our daughters is struggling to use her mouth for love and love alone. It has gotten to the point where I literally need to ask her to stop speaking because she can’t even control her tongue and the pain she is causing others. This child is full of love, very caring, gentle, and loves God with all of her heart. Yet, she still has not learned how deadly her words can be and how they are doing everything but showing others how much He means to her. Or that she loves those around her. She allows her emotions to rule her versus the power we each have to control ourselves simply by NOT reacting and thinking about what we are going to do or say. That is until today.
I was broken-hearted it had to happen today, on this day of love. But what better day to teach her and all of the children for that matter what matters most. Love.
After a few stern words and being asked to make it right with those offended by her choices this morning, we left for school.
God, in His perfect way and timing brought many lessons to my mind and while I formulated them so that I could share them with the children on our drive to school, this song played…
As I listened to each word, God spoke. I listened.
Then it was time for me to speak His love into their hearts and minds so that their day could be focused on the thing that matters most today. Love. His for them. His for others.
Gently, I began to show them how their lies tell me and others we don’t matter. How lying never produces the fruit of the Spirit, worthy of anyone eating or sharing. No one can ever see the goodness of the Lord, when our mouths are choosing to sin against the very person in whom we are speaking.
Then I brought up being bossy, demanding our way, saying things that tear others down, and how any kind of gossip will never allow others to see God’s love in us or through us.
And silence filled the car. Their thoughts were tangible. As were mine. Because I left them with the thought of His immeasurable love for us, that He would choose to trade His life for ours.
What kind of love is this? Only that which is of God. There is no other that come compare or match it.
I have shared with you here many times about J.O.Y. and God’s love – lessons that are worth repeating because we fail at the one thing God commands above all else.
Let your love…
So in order to know true love, you must be willing to love truly!
To my precious husband, who walks out true love every single day in our home and lives – thank you! I am so blessed to be your forever’n ever’n always valentine. You have taught me the greatest lessons on love, by your sacrifice. Thank you!