So, love. It's on our minds a little bit more this week, I think. Maybe you're not into Valentine's Day - to you it's simply another holiday aimed at marketing and moneymaking and your loved one is your "Valentine" all 365 days of your years. Or maybe you're the one who runs out to Target the moment those candy conversation hearts hit those red shelves, and by February 1st, you've whipped out the hot glue gun and made the cutest pink and red garland to hang in your window, your nails are painted pink with hearts drawn on, and tomorrow your special batch of sugar cookies that are set to be decorated...in pink and red... will be popped into your oven at three-hundred-and-fifty degrees with lots of love and anticipation.
Whatever camp you're in - the Susie Valentine's Day who plans on wearing a red dress to match the red roses your man will most certainly shower upon you Thursday night along with a big box full of chocolate and a romantic dinner, or if your plans more likely involve a good romantic chick flick, the remote control, a big fluffy white blanket, your Bible and journal, and a large bar of chocolate with almonds that you bought for yourself (mine will look like the latter, if you wanna know. An aside - just a lil' shout to mah single ladies, y'all are not alone! Keep on waiting for Mr. Right and don't settle for 2nd best! Insert fist-pump, handshake or hug - whatever works for you ;) Wherever you are on the Valentine's Day "spectrum", love is a part of your life. And I don't mean just romantic love. That comes, sometimes. And sometimes it goes. Romantic love can make us fly on wings of happiness, but it can also let us down - even the most beautiful, God-written love stories cannot fully and completely satisfy our hearts. Not the way the Lord can. Seek that love, my friend - the love of God that will never fade, let you down, run out or run dry. Run after it, desperately. Chase it. Because He loves you and He's waiting to breathe His love upon your life.
On my list of life dreams and goals, is this: "I want to love well." To love God and my people. And the people who aren't "my people." The people I don't even know, or like. My enemies, the haters. The ones who don't like me or don't agree with me. I want to love them. I cannot do it on my own, I fail often. But in Him - the Creator of love, I can.
Earlier tonight, I read one of my favorite chapters ever. In the Message version, it says this -
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love,
I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries
and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do,
I’m bankrupt without love.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Bankrupt without love. I have nothing without love.
But I fail at loving, so often.
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.
Oh, but I am impatient...I hate waiting. And sometimes, I am unkind. How easily am I jealous of something someone else has? That pang rises in my heart and it won't go away when I push it down. Go away. But it doesn't. I boast sometimes...I want to make myself look better in the eyes of others - I want to look richer and cooler and more popular because I somehow, sometimes feel poor and silly and alone. Why do I do that. I am arrogant in my heart, and rude sometimes. And if I were to be completely honest, I often want my own way - I want what I want in my time and nobody's gonna stop me. And oh how irritable I can be. Usually it's with the people I love the most. And the resentment that resides in my heart. I deny it's residence, I really do. But it's there and it tastes like bitterness. Bitterness toward those who have hurt me, let me down, left me. The dreams that have died. The hurt that's been done. And sometimes, I rejoice when wrong is done instead of being happy about truth ... oh, not purposefully, but our hearts betray our will, don't they? They do. Sometimes, I don't bear all things - I just wanna "throw in the towel" and walk away. I don't believe with the passion I want to, when doubts knock on the door of my mind and I let them in... and then I let them live in my heart. I throw faith out the window and welcome fear in with open arms. I don't hope, I doubt - I think of the negative. And I don't endure, I give up and give out. And I am short and frail and feeble and weak.... and oh how I need Him. And unless I stand alone in this, oh how you need Him too. Oh how we need love. Real love. Love that is alive and strong as a hurricane.
Oh God, help me to love. Help me to receive Your great, crazy big love and help me to spread it to those I love - like so many rain drops on their heads. Love from them to you, through me. Love that is pure... beautiful... and not of me, because I am a failure without you. Without love, nothing I do means a thing.
Dear One, go out and love, love, love. Because love wins, you know.
Outfit Stats ///
Shirt under: Charlotte Russe
Pants: Love Culture
Boots: J.Crew (thanks Mom for letting me borrow 'em! ;)
Necklace: Handmade by my dear friend Kerri (HAPPY BIRTHDAY today, sweet girl!!)