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What is Love?

The age old question …
We just had Valentines day and some would say love is chocolates, roses and cards.
When I was working in a florist shop I saw men scramble to get the expected things to show how much they cared for someone.
I challenge you to think of the question.
In the word we find the love chapter we have already read about: 1st Corinthians 13:
[Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.]
I value these words. In our throw away society where promises are not kept and vows are minimized, this is a challenge for us all.
I see love as a commitment and choice.
We are admonished in the word:
[So be very careful to love the Lord your God] Joshua 23:11
[Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life] Psalm 23:6
When we love; we love with a commitment and a joy towards someone to pray for them, walk alongside and encourage them.
Remember love is patient and kind.
At one point in time in my 50’s somehow I contracted the mumps, my face was very swollen and I was very ill, my husband would ask what he could do to help me feel better.
I was a complete mess physically and even emotionally.
I didn’t need someone to fix it because no one could, I just wanted calm, and quiet and restful days so I could recover.
He respected that. It is a love ‘decision’ to look beyond our needs.
When he had his knee replaced, it was major and I am not a good nurse and I don’t do well when waiting on others.
I had to help because he couldn’t do some things.
Love: In sickness and in health, because we choose to.
[I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.] Psalm 31:7
God had placed within each of us the capacity to love.
It is our choice but it is also a part of who HE made us to be.
If you have never read The Velveteen Rabbit book by Margery Williams I would suggest it. Love is spoken there.
What is love? it is looking beyond our own ‘broken places’ to help one another navigate this journey of life.
For no one wants to go on it alone.

A birthday to remember

Today, February 22nd would have been my mother’s 85th birthday.
She passed away two years ago from Parkinson’s.
I wouldn’t say we were close for we had many years of distance between us.
She was a single mom and she did what she could to raise the three of us alone.
There were three daughters, I was the youngest.
Times were not often easy, and she learned from her life experiences how to parent.
There wasn’t a lot of money available as we were growing up but our home was always nice.
We had food and even though it might not have been what we wanted it kept us comfortable.
She didn’t have child support or food stamps back in those days, sometimes she worked two jobs.
She was not what I would call a warm and fuzzy mom, didn’t overly dote on us or not overly affectionate.
I would imagine with the pressure and weight of being a single mom she didn’t have a lot of left over energy.
We had chores and we were expected to get them done. I know now it was her way of keeping her home nice.
We were not allowed to leave huge messes, or be lazy.
As I have grown into a mature ‘mom and grandma’, I realize we all pour out of the cups we were given.
If our life experiences are limited that is what we pour out, to others.
Not saying anything bad or negative just truth.
I was at fault many times as a mom too, when my own children were growing up.
We all make mistakes as we learn the job of parenting.
It is what it is. A truth we all carry if we are to be honest.
The years were hard for her, she had many deep heart aches.
She probably would fit more of a Mother ‘name’ and not so much mom.
Like dad was not the Father type, he was dad.
Life came back to her in full circle when in her mid years our dad came back into the picture.
They were married when they passed away. Loving each other in their old ages.
It was a love story that was fractured and then healed.
It was a nice to see the devotion between them as I watched and observed in the care home.
He lived in a setting that was not ‘his choice’ in order for her to be cared for properly.
That is love. That is healing. That is for better and worse, in sickness and in health.
Till death parted them.
Today would have been her birthday, a day to remember. Happy birthday Mother.

He’s a good, good Father

The word Good, means:
Of a favorable character or tendency, that can be relied on, virtuous, right, commendable as in a good person with good conduct.
(2): kind, benevolent with good intentions, of the highest worth or reliability.
We sing a song at our church that says, “you’re a good good Father, that’s who you are.”
Every time we sing that song in church it just touches me so deeply.
Maybe because I have very little memory of my own dad.
I wouldn’t ever call him Father, that did not fit his personality.
He was dad. He was grandpa and great grandpa, his name was Nick.
I often feel like I missed a lot by not having a memory bank that I can draw from.
I don’t feel I am less than others who had a wonderful dad figure in their life; just feel sometimes that it would have been nice to have that ability to ask him questions, or have that knowing deep inside, that I was ‘special’ to him as HIS daughter.
It goes to the core of who we are, to know that we were loved.
Often I would hear the comment “she is such a daddies girl, and I could not relate.”
What did that mean?
In my room I have a picture of a little girl sitting near a window holding a pink rose, waiting.
Waiting. For him to return. That is how I felt for many years. Wondering and waiting.
He left when I was young. I didn’t ever have that experience of his ‘voice’ as I grew from a little girl to a teen.
No affirmations of who I was and no way of knowing in his heart how he felt.
When we met in my adult years I was around my mid 30’s and it was both odd and surreal to see him.
Then he would come visit us at our home in the country and it was strange for me to look out the window and say, “Oh dad’s here.”
It was nice. We were casual. No formalities and no rules. We had a ‘quiet understanding.’
I wish now that he is gone I could look out the window and say, “Oh dad’s here.”
I wish that I could talk to him and tell him things I missed while he was here.
In the quiet of this rainy day, I miss him.

Let us look at kindness

When I went into the dictionary I found these assorted words.
benignity, (a good deed or favor; an instance of kindness:) (a kind or gracious act) benevolence (desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness:) humanity, generosity, charity, sympathy, compassion, tenderness.
As we look at the many meanings of the word kindness I am reminded how easy it is to do all of them.
Let’s see what the bible word say’s about it.
It is found 56 times throughout the old and new testaments.
Galatians 5:22
[But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,]
[“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”]
Job 6:14
[You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit] Job 10:12
[The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.]
Jeremiah 31:3
[Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.] Colossians 3:12
Do we get it yet?
It is so easy even if one is not a believer, to be kind is something anyone can do. It takes little effort.
It requires little effort from us, and it seems like we are very blessed if we choose to be kind.
So often I see others not being kind and it is a great irritant to me, for I know there is no reason to not be.
Anyone can smile. Anyone can say a nice compliment. Anyone can hold a door open or offer to pay for a coffee.
As in everything what we do, remains a choice from our hearts towards one another.
It is a decision making. It really should become a lifestyle.
We don’t wake up and say to ourselves, “Today I am going to show kindness.”
No it should be so ingrained in us that it is as natural as breathing.
We have seen this quote more than once.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
There is great truth in it.
Be kind because that is what makes you a wonderful human being.
Be kind because it is a gentle approach to others.
Be kind because it is NO excuse to be rude.
Be kind because some won’t expect it and be blessed by your decision.
Do you get it yet?
Be kind, it is a simple act of being human.

We must decide

In the frustrated, often confusing world we live in, everyday we must decide how we are going to respond.
With a new President in office, there have been many people who unfriended friends, deserted relationships and even gone to the point of making bad comments or negative remarks on some blog writers sites or even facebook sites if one has one.
I used to be in grade school and it seems difficult for me to understand how grown adults can act sometimes.
We are not children.
In the New Testament it tells us: 1 Corinthians 13:11
[When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.]
This could go for a grown woman too.
We must not act childish like the ones who are yelling, screaming and criticizing what cannot be changed.
What is done, is done. Move forward and do what you can to be patriotic and proud of Our United States.
We really do have much to be proud of if we take a good long look.
I am returning to the love chapter in the New Testament.
In 1 Corinthians 13 it reads:
[Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.]
In another version the same verses read this way:
[4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.]
I value the words, patient and kind. 
When I worked in a pharmacy we always had one old gentleman come in for his medication.
He was grumpy and irritable and really hard to deal with. I often was the one who helped him.
When he came in the door, I smiled at him, which often set him off guard.
Then he would gruffly say, ‘I need my meds’.
I would get them remembering his name at the same time showing him common courtesy.
Then when he finished I would say as he left, “have a great day” and he would always answer, “what’s left of it.”
Just a feisty old man, but in time as I continued to be kind, he softened and his gruffish old mannerisms stopped.
He learned I would treat him the same every day no matter what his behavior was towards me.
I think in this ‘crazy’ world full of arguments, the best way to handle them is to be kind.
It would be a good thing for us to remember:
[Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;]
1Peter 3:15

Then there is love

Our next word is love. It is found in the bible 686 times.
Rather significant in the story of His love for us.
[But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.] Psalm 33:18
[May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.] Psalm 33:22
[Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.] Psalm 36:10
[Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.] Psalm 40:11
[By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.] Psalm 42:8
[But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.] Psalm 59:16
Are you getting the picture of HIS love for us?
[Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.]
Psalm 63:3
[Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!] Psalm 66:20
This show us HE CHOOSES to love us. It is about HIM and His desire for us to be near Him.
[You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.] Psalm 86:5
[But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.]
Psalm 86:15
Psalm 136 tells us His love endures forever 26 times. Twenty six times, His love endures forever.
It is worth repeating. For we must know and understand HE is a God of love and He has compassion for those who ‘love him.’
[Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.] Proverbs 3:3
I find this very special, bind them around your neck, as a reminder… always.
[The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.] Jeremiah 31:3
It is so appealing to me to hear he draws us to him, with unfailing kindness. Have you ever met someone who is very kind?
You can’t help but want to be with them, and hang out with them. Their gentleness draws you closer.
He is like that for us when He says, “I loved you with ever lasting love.”  It is deep and meaningful.
[For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.]
John 3:16
I hope you get the point and realize God has done so much in order for US to find peace and a home within His arms of love for us.
How incredibly wonderful. How great is the Father’s love for us.