Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On Valentine's Day: What is Love?

What is love? 
How do you define what love is?

It can be portrayed in a thousand different ways. It can take on a vast variety of hues, scents, and colors. Of shapes, sizes, and forms. And if given and received during each day of each year, and of each decade and millennium, would it ever run out?

It existed with the first man and woman, the first parent and child ... and it still exists today. With husbands and wives, with parent and with child, with friends of all ages. 

There is no end to love

"God is love, 
and all who live in love live in God, 
and God lives in them."
(I John 4:16)

The love that we have, is not our own. It is a gift from the One who is love.

And it is not ours to hold onto, but to give away.

As He did - giving His own beloved Son - the ultimate sacrifice of love.

And we, in turn, become a sacrifice of love to those around us.

"The art of giving is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made enough love to give." (Ann Voskamp)

"Give away your life;
you'll find life given back,
but not merely given back -
given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way."
(Luke 6:38 MSG)

The beautiful cycle of love ... let ourselves be loved by Him, then give away our own life in love to others. It's easy to focus on receiving love from others, but how much better to focus on being loved by the One who is Himself love, and then on loving others from the overflow of this love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

We love each other, 
because He loved us first.
(I John 4:19)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reflections on January: New Beginnings, Celebrations, and Growth

Just minutes ago, it seems, we welcomed the New Year. And now, I am pausing to reflect on the first month of this new year. It has come, and it has gone. But it will remain a part of me, for all our days are gifts from God. 

It was a month of new beginnings ...

My first digital scrapbook page (above) for the year captures a few of the new beginnings that were part of January: a brand new calendar (a gift from daughters) filled with sweet photos of grandkids; some of our younger grandkids now old enough to play the games that we as adults love (such fun to play Settlers of Catan with them!); new planners and journals for a new year (and a post about it all - Planning 2017); and a brand new Fitbit (my first!) to motivate me to be more consistent with exercise (I love it - and it is helping me even more than I expected!). 

It was a month of celebrating ...

The photos from another scrapbook page hold a few of the very significant things we celebrated in January: my hubby's continued amazing recovery from some health issues a year ago (a doctor's appt early in the month revealed that all continues to go very well after his stroke early in 2016 and after the two heart procedures that were done to correct some problems); after putting many, many hours, month after month throughout 2016 into preparing a family home for sale - the sale was completed the end of January! And another significant event during the month was a grandson's 8th birthday, and his decision all on his own to be baptized on Jan. 8 (his 8th birthday)!

It was a month of growing ...

By God's grace, He continually gives us deeper glimpses into who He is, and into all that He has for us. I received some deeper insight last month into how He longs for us to be one with Him. He desires for us to abide in Him, communicate with Him about everything; actually inviting us to be one with Him, as He is with the Father. (John 17:20-24)  This is too beautiful to even grasp completely, and beyond my comprehension ... but I am learning more, bit by bit. 

I am learning more about what it means to rest. To pause, to listen, even in the midst of our busyness. And I am drawn to focus more on rest in the midst of our busy days throughout this coming year, and will be reading through Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller. The author has also made available some beautiful monthly calendars.

I am also being impacted in a deep way as I am reading through The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. So many good quotes to keep! "The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father's heart. ... There's brokenness that's not about blame. There's brokenness that makes a canvas for God's light. There's brokenness that makes windows straight into souls. Brokenness happens in a soul so the power of God can happen in a soul. ... Is this how you live with your one broken heart? Your one broken heart is healed by a oneness with Him."

And now we are in a new month -
filled with opportunities for new beginnings, 
more celebrations, and room for much growth.