Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ten Words or Less

Love. Such a powerful word associated with so many different things! I was once asked to define love in ten words or less. I felt as though I was the dumbest human on the planet when I couldn't come up with a definition in even ten words or more! There were so many different feelings, emotions, situations, people, places... everything... associated with that word. A blank stare would have to suffice for the person asking me to define this seemingly indefinable word. I knew how it felt. I knew when I felt it. But... what is love?

The very origin of love was ordained from an indescribable source; a Creator whose very being is love.

Why, then, am I able to feel love? How am I so familiar with something that I cannot even define on my own? Read Genesis 1 and 1st John 4.

The very first chapter of the Bible tells us that we are made in the likeness of our loving Creator. And not only this, but He (and the beautiful essence of everything He is) lives inside of all those who have accepted Him into our hearts and lives. We were created with a spirit like that of God's and only as a result of His finished work of grace, can His loving and perfect Holy Spirit reside within us.

Think about it! Christ died for you and for me. His grace and love exist throughout all ages and His Gospel has never changed. Though I'm a Christian, I turn my gaze to worldly things too often. I am so human! It's revolting sometimes. I stray away from Him and His love, but He never ceases to love me. Fellowship with my loving Creator is so often broken by my desires and actions that do not line up with His plan for me. He loses me almost every day, but is always there, always loving, always ready to greet me again with the same love and enthusiasm as He did the very first time I cried out to Him. Even in separation from the sweet fellowship to be shared together, God lovingly allows gentle reminders and even pain to enter my life in order to point me back to Who is in control, Who is still waiting, Who still loves me.

The very nature of this great God is love. I cannot possess this on my own. Without His perfect plan to lovingly create me in His image and to lovingly take the punishment for my sins, I could not express this feeling, this emotion, this Heavenly gift called love.

Without the Lord's continued work of grace and love in my life, I would be at a loss for having and expressing love every day. The Bible makes it clear - Love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not knows not God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7b-8). It's reality. We cannot love without the presence of the Creator of love in our lives.

Now, define love in ten words or less.

Actually, I can do it in one: God.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Priceless

When you can call a friend and tell her everything about your day, no matter how insane or close to death-defying it may have been, it always feels good to have it all off your chest. As if dumping all of the stress from one soul to another made a physical difference in one's life, it feels just plain good. In a way, you might feel bad because you've taken a solid hour out of life to rant about what is bothering you. In truth, it is an effective way to be a real friend; whether or not you're on the listening end of the conversation.

The longer I am a friend, the more I see that talking is just as important as listening.

I want to know all I can about this person who I love, so I listen.
I also want to be all I can be for this person who I love, so I talk.

It's like a phone call that is all about you, but in the end, your friend thanks you for being there for her. No anger. No stress. No pity. Just thankfulness. Somehow that erases all you expect to hear while talking about your own personal struggles. There is no "It will be okay." or "I'll see you through it." There is only "Thank you for being there." What for? I get a thank-you for struggling? For telling you everything? No. Rarely does it matter in a friendship how much you go through, but how much you are both there for each other. It really doesn't matter what you go through, because you will always be friends and even in your down days, you will be there. You will still exist as that friend, you will still have a relationship. You are still there. Always there. You are you and you are there... and I don't need anything more than that. It's a never-ending circle of loyalty and devotion that only the sweetest of friendships get to experience and enjoy.

It's a friendship like this that is worth far more than any precious treasure. It is worth more than words or a blog post. A friendship like this is only worth... well... it's priceless.

Here's to that friend who taught this to me. I love you.