Tag Archive: love

What is Love?

“Love is a choice of the will, not a servant to the emotions.”

Many of us are familiar with I Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul’s love chapter.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I Corinthians 13:4-8a

These are great tests for how I’m loving my husband, my family, friends and neighbors. And those with whom I disagree!

Do I want the best for my partner, or only those lovely things he does for me?

Do I insist on my own way, and become resentful when I don’t get it?

When my husband (or wife) is discouraged, how can I come alongside to encourage and strengthen him (her) with hope?

Where do I most need patience, kindness, goodness in my relationships?

What difference does it make if I show Christ-like love when my partner or friend doesn’t?

I’m happily ensconced in my second marriage, having lost one spouse to death. HARD? No words for it! Don’t waste your moments together!

But in both marriages to men I love(d) deeply, there were times when I didn’t like them very much. Didn’t feel particularly attracted to them. No soft, snuggly warmth. More like this worn-down barn.

So what can you or I do when that is the case?

Remember that love is a choice. And its accompanying feelings cycle. At times attraction and warm, fuzzy feelings peak and we’re crazy in love with the other person. At other times something they do, which may be quite minor, tips the scales and we want to correct them, stop them, express our anger or frustration.

Love is a choice. If we wait patiently, the cycle will again change. Godly love, the kind spoken of in I Corinthians 13, chooses to upbuild and uplift the other even when circumstances are less than ideal. 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Russell Wilson, paraphrased his father’s instruction to him…

“To the young boy or girl who has a dream, who wants to make a difference. Remember this one thing: love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love changes things.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/russell-wilson-named-nfl-man-of-the-year-quotes-1-corinthians.html

I think of husbands who love their disabled wives, care for them, help meet their needs with understanding hearts. I read about a man who visited his wife in the Alzheimer’s Unit of a care center every day. She didn’t recognize him any more. Because of a stroke, her lip drooped on one side. Every day her husband would do his best to match the curve of her lip as he kissed her, then served her in any way he could.

I’m grateful for wives who encourage husbands who are discouraged and unsure which direction to go.

I thank God for the partners who commit to the long road of rebuilding a marriage after trust has been broken by infidelity.

And for those who, through good days and bad, support, pray for and encourage their mates.

That’s the kind of lover and friend I want to be.

My husband shows his love for me consistently and in many ways–on a cold morning he’ll start my car so it warms up before I have to leave for an appointment.

He makes breakfast every day to free me to write in the mornings.

We hug and encourage each other when one of us is discouraged, down.

We pray together for our families, friends, our nation.

And I am blessed in his love and, from what he tells me, he is in mine.

But think about the people around you who may be lonely–either married or single–but not experiencing the love and true partnership of either a spouse or a family member. What can you and I do today, this week, to reach out and extend love to someone near who may look like all is well, but inside is not?

I’m going to call my single neighbor right now.

post by carolnl | | 0

Ways to Build Your Marriage

How do you build your spouse and invest in your marriage? While this blog is written to men, most of it applies equally to women. I am often wedded to my laptop in the evenings – ok sometimes, especially if Don and I are both checking emails or doing work online. However, when I put the laptop away to focus on him, my choice means as much to Don as his asking if he can pray for me about a specific need.

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/relationships/4-phrases-every-man-should-tell-his-wife-no-questions-asked.html

One of the most important ways to be an effective mother (or father) is to love one’s spouse. My parents modeled that for me. Would love to hear your thoughts after reading this.

Blessings, and Happy Mother’s Day!

One of my favorite photos of Dad and Mom. Dad's been in heaven twelve years already.

One of my favorite photos of Dad and Mom. Dad’s been in heaven twelve years already.

WEEPING MAY COME …

charles and karen 2 2 4 15Tears streamed down my cheeks as I read my friend’s latest text. “Hours now.” Her husband was at the edge of eternity. And while I rejoiced that Charles would soon be welcomed into Jesus’ loving arms, I hurt.

I hurt for Karen, his beloved wife, who faces a new journey as a widow.

Don and I hurt because we will miss our friend Charles.

And he and I both grieve for the death of our respective first spouses as the pain resurfaces.

It has been a week of sorrow and tears.

Death is the enemy! But it was never part of God’s Plan. We can hate death, hate what it does to separate us from those we love, hate the pain it brings. I. HATE. Death.

But I also have hope…hope that was refreshed as Don and I recently visited Golgotha, the Garden Tomb, and the Mount of Olives where Jesus died and conquered death, and to which He will return. The tomb could not confine Jesus’ broken body to death’s decay. Instead, He, the Master of life and death, ROSE. Because He lives, we too can live–both now and eternally.

Charles has passed from this earth. But Scripture reassures us that he is very much alive in a realm we know by faith, and from the promises of God. I can picture our loving Savior taking our friend in His arms and saying “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)

When Don and I learned that Charles had passed, we held each other and cried. As we rested together, a precious song filled my mind.

“It is finished, the battle is over,
It is finished, there’ll be no more war.
It is finished, the end of the conflict
It is finished and Jesus is Lord…”

John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” When He came to the village of his friends Mary and Martha, their brother Lazarus had died and been buried. And Jesus cried. He is not removed from our suffering, nor does He leave us to navigate it alone. He has promised NEVER to leave us, NEVER to forsake us.

“When with the ransomed in glory
his face I at last shall see,
’twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of his love for me.” Charles H. Gabriel

I can imagine “our” Charles’ sparkling blue eyes looking around heaven in wonder, his body falling at the feet of Jesus, his tongue proclaiming “My Lord and my God.” I can imagine him thinking, “Oh, Karen, just wait ’til you see Him!”

For Charles, “weeping may (has) endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5).

Karen, and those of us who love both Karen and Charles, will weep. We will grieve. We will miss Charles’ infectious smile, his jokes and gentle laugh, his kind words; but we also know that joy will come in the morning, when we who free-christian-clip-art-.126follow Jesus will join Charles and the many others who have gone before, to joy in Christ’s presence forevermore.

BE MY VALENTINE

New love, new hope

New love, new hope

“Will you be mine?” Is Valentine’s just one special day a year, or is it a lifestyle?

Having lost one husband, I recognize more than ever how precious my time with my second husband is. None of us has any guarantees of another day, another hour. Husbands, wives, parents working at the World Trade Center September 11th, 2001 didn’t have any idea that morning that it might be their last goodbye to their loved ones. The motorcycle driver killed instantly in a recent accident had no warning that his life, and that of his family, was about to change forever.

When God brought a lovely man into my life several years after being widowed, I didn’t know if I wanted to commit to a new marriage. I was finding my identity as a single woman, exploring new interests, and not sure I wanted to risk the possibility of going through widowhood a second time. But Don was patient, consistent, kind, persistent. He told me he wouldn’t ask me to marry him until I was ready. And he kept loving me. One day he stood by the kitchen sink as we prepared lunch together.

“I will never leave you,” he said. “You may send me away, but I will never walk away from you.”

Amazing statement. I kept listening, watching. His love didn’t waver. His kindness was evident in the ways he respected me, as well as my family members. I made a list of the qualities I would look for in a man, were I to remarry.

During a cruise to the Mexican Riviera, a girlfriend and I talked and prayed together. One day I pulled out and reviewed the list of qualities I wanted. Don fit every one of them. As I sought the Lord, it seemed I heard Him say “What are you waiting for?”

Several months later Don and I married in a small, intimate ceremony.

Don gives me flowers, cards with deep expressions of love, and shows me regularly how much he loves me. But it’s not always the romantic gestures of love that mean the most, lovely as those are. It’s the daily acts of selfless love that let me know over and over that he’s thinking of me and caring about my welfare. Things like …

… pulling my car out of the garage and warming it up for me when I have an early winter appointment;
… unloading the dishwasher before I’m even awake;
… helping my mother with small things around her house;
… supporting and believing in my call to write.

Don and I work at never parting without seeking each other out to exchange a hug and kiss; we touch base periodically during the day, whether at home or apart. We love our families, our two sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the beach, and traveling. We laugh at little things and cherish time together, whether we’re doing something special or nothing at all.

double heartSo, my Valentine, I love you on this special day. But I also love you every day. You complete me. Looking into your deep blue eyes gives me strength, confidence, and joy; and our shared commitment to Christ roots our love in the Rock of Ages.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Don Victor Loewen!

Burrowing In

Finding her way in

Burrowing in

The puppies were adorable. Three 3-week olds, a girl and two boys, each with a unique marking pattern of red and white. Two were sound asleep, bodies nestled right against each other. I watched as the third crawled around the other two, looking for an entry.

This third puppy, not yet in the huddle, exhibited no hesitation. After finding an opening, he simply pushed his way in between the other two chubby little bodies. He had no insecurity about whether he was welcome, no fear that they didn’t want him. He just nosed his way in until the threesome was complete, bodies intertwined and touching. “Number Three” knew he belonged.

"I belong"

“I belong”*

My husband, Don, makes me feel like that. He falls asleep almost as soon as he climbs into bed. Even though he’s often already sleeping when I finish my evening ablutions and crawl into bed, I know he wants to hold me before we both sleep. I sometimes hesitate to waken him, but he assures me he wants and needs that connection. So I burrow in. I crawl under the covers and nestle into his shoulder, his arm drawing me close. I know I’m wanted. I have no hesitation about sliding over to his side. I belong, and he assures me of that often.

If I felt insecure in his love, I might hesitate – to waken him, to push right into his arms.

Isn’t that like God? He loves us unconditionally. He accepts us completely. He wants us to approach Him without fear, no hesitation, knowing we belong and are always welcome. He wants us to push our way in like that little puppy who wiggled his nose in until he was engulfed between the two other little pups. If we feel insecure in approaching the Father, it’s because of our own fear—perhaps because of unconfessed sin, a sense of unworthiness, or of simply not grasping His complete love for us.

His Word says “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. “ (I John 4:16b-18a, NLT)

We who follow Jesus Christ belong! He wants us to rely on Him, to come to Him with every need. I Peter 5:7 instructs us to “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” (TLB)

I’m trying to give Him all my cares but my understanding of His love is still a work in progress. Where is yours?

*Different configuration. This time it’s the girl in the middle. But all know they belong.