Thursday, February 18, 2010

Post-Valentine's Day Musings


I told Jackie that I would post a Valentine's day blog. However, I neglected to write that Valentine's day blog. I find myself this afternoon in quietness and solitude so I will try to type my thoughts about that auspicious day.

Valentine's day brings thoughts to me of teddy bears, roses, and chocolate. But what does that have to do with love? These things can be expressions of love for sure. But of themselves they are not love. A dozen roses can be an empty gesture without accompanying affection. Love is not in things.

When I was a child my mother would buy paper doilies. At a table of construction paper, glue, markers and glitter I would work hard to cut these doilies in to pretty designs and with the other supplies I would decorate large paper hearts. I would give these hearts to my parents and grandparents with written "I love you" and such messages on them. I am sure these glue-laden and often messy valentine's were treasures to my parents. In them was seen the earnest work and affection of their child.

As I have grown older and hopefully wiser, I can look back at "lost loves" and see the problem with those experiences. There was no earnest childish effort to show love. There was an earnest effort to gain love and warm feelings. As a child my only design when giving my glue-valentines was to show my parents I loved them. I didn't want them to do anything for me. It was a gift to them, nothing else. As I grew older I lost sight of that innocence. I wanted and expected love in return for myself. I would find myself empty, disappointed and broken

Love is a gift. It is meant to given. In every human heart is the capacity to love, to give of oneself. "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 record 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," 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. Love is modest, simple, positive and steadfast. I am realizing that love is never about changing anyone else. It is not about what I gain. Love is not about the feelings received. Love is selfless. To sincerely say "I love you" with the deepest meaning is to mean that "I would do anything for you." Truly the greatest expression of love came with Jesus giving His life. Love is cheapened today down to the level of "I love doritos." Love is not understood at all. No wonder so many "I love you till death doest part" ends in divorce. The commitment of love is lost.

Love is commitment. A parent who loves their child is committed to their child no matter what that child does for as long as they live. Their loyalty to their child will not end. True love means a lasting commitment for the good of a person.

The depth of love is endless. The facets of love surely knows no bounds. Two loving people in a marriage relationship seems like the most beautiful picture ever - selflessly loving and being selflessly loved in return.

And yet, to truly love seems to also truly know sorrow. Inevitably, you will not always be loved in return. The child will disappoint. The spouse will hurt. The friend will not care in return. Jesus is the only human being to truly love and he is called "a man of sorrows," (Isaiah 53:3). His earthly life was filled with being misunderstood and rejection. But He loved with a depth and passion that we little understand. (But we should seek to understand)

I have no conclusions on love but that I want to love more. Should the Lord will, I want to love my husband selflessly and sacrificially. I want to be dedicated and loyal to my friends and family. And I want to know the Lord more that I may grow in to His character. I want to return to the attitude of myself as a child laboring over the glue and glitter to create a treasure to present to my father to say, "Look Dad at how much I love you!" I want my life to show those around me, "Look! I love you!" and above all I want to show my Heavenly Father, "Look, my life shows I love You!"

I enjoy hearts and roses just as much as anyone. I think it is wonderful that there is a day every February 14th where the focus is on relationships and showing others how much you care. I just pray that in all the obligation and shows of affection given, that true love may be sprinkled amongst them. That God may be revealed in our hearts all year long.



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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winners


I enjoy the Olympics. I especially like figure skating and have been watching what I can when I am not working. During that time I have also seen some bits of snowboarding, luge and skiing. It's fun to watch these sports that usually I am not interested in. The Olympics are so intense. With most of these sports if a blade slips, if your balance is slightly off, if you are distracted for just a moment, your dreams are sunk. You fall, go out of control or otherwise mess up. In most of these sports, months of practice, years of hard work, can be seemingly ruined by just a split second of time. You mess up and there goes the gold. There goes the notoriety. There goes success. It seems like so much pressure! In the grand scheme, there are few winners at the Olympics. Most of the participants go home without medals. Most of the participants are not really noticed. Just the few high-profile athletes are watched and interviewed. Those who are contending for a medal get most of the attention. Many of the athletes who participate in the Olympics are just names that are announced and then forgotten by those watching.

Paul uses language in Philippians which could be compared to a race. "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus," Philippians 3:13-14. But the great thing about this journey, this race we are in, is that we are not unnoticed. And we all get the prize. In Revelation 3:21 the Bible says, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Everyone is a winner who overcomes. How wonderful that this Christian life is not a competition. It is a journey. And all who are striving forward are winners.


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Monday, February 8, 2010

Skiing

Have you ever noticed how certain people will motivate you to do almost anything? I have always been interested in skiing, but having never gone as a child, I have been too embarressed to try something new like that for fear of hulmiliation. Through the years I have had several invitations to go skiing but I have always turned them down. Inside I wanted to accept these invitations but my pride would rise and I would refuse to go. Even my closest friends have tried to get me to go skiing but I would not go.

Last week my boyfriend invited me to go skiing with him and some friends. And guess what, I actually went! There was just something about him that persuaded me to swallow my pride and go along. It helped that he had only gone skiing once himself so I wasn't as intimidated. We were able to hilmiliate ourselves together. I did not do so great. I couldn't master the art of stopping so I was falling all over the place and am still extremely sore. But I am very glad that I finally went skiing.

Some people are particularly good at motivating us. There are some people in our lives that we really want to please and we really want to do things for.

Is God one of those? Will we do for God what we will not for anyone else? If He asks us to do something will we do it no matter the consequences? Is God a motivation in your life? I was willing to risk embarressment and make myself vulnerable by showing Charlie what a horrible skiier I am...am I willing to risk embarressment and be vulnerable for the Lord? Are you?