Featured

Learning To Love Without Limits

 

love-never-fails-source

In the first book 0f Peter, Peter is writing, instructing the church in a number of things.  Do’s and Don’ts. How to live a holy life.  Warnings on avoiding sin.  etc. etc. etc.

Towards the end of the book, he seems to wrap up all of those details with this…

” Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

God knows that even though He can tell us how to live, He can show us how to live and He can motivate us on why we should live in this way…we.  need.  simple.

And there is nothing more simple than loving someone.

I lost some of you there didn’t I?  We’ve all had someone we tried to love and it just seemed difficult.  May I suggest it was not in the loving them that was difficult, but in our expectations of their reaction to our love that made it so?  God doesn’t ask us to love according to how the other person will respond.  He just tells us to love.  Unconditionally.  Like His love for us.

 

Why should we love without limits?

God’s love for us is the thread that is woven throughout scripture.  Every story.  Every word.  It all boils down to His love for us.

Before our very existence, we were loved.  Unconditionally.  Out of our own experience of being loved without any strings attached, we love others.  Taking what has been freely given to us and passing it on.  Good stuff in, good stuff out.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Who are we to withhold our love from others in light of what Jesus has done for us?

Indulge me for a moment and allow me to string some words together that I see in the good Book.  I’ll reference where they are if you’d like to look at them in context.

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”  Luke 6:32

“Above all, love each other deeply…” 1 Peter 4:8a

“…love covers over a multitude of sins”  1 Peter 4:8b

“…love never fails”  1 Corinthians 13:8a

Love never fails?  Doesn’t that mean that it always wins?  That’s good news!

Who do we love without limits?

Everyone

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

Who is it that you have a hard time loving?

That neighbor who comes and goes at all hours?

That boss who takes advantage of his/her flexible schedule?

That new friend of your child you just don’t like?

That family member who keeps disappointing you?

That ex-spouse who won’t pay their child support?

That father that walked out when you were a child?

That counselor who keeps giving you homework in your marriage?

That teacher who plays favorites in your child’s classroom?

That person staring back at you in the mirror every morning?

No one is exempt.  No one has used their sin card too many times.  No one is so despicable or deplorable that we are not to love them.  God doesn’t withhold His love from anyone and we are to follow His lead.

How do we love without limits?

He makes this so easy for us that He even defines what love is.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

“…it keeps no record of wrongs…”

“…it does not dishonor others…”

Ouch.

As believers in Christ, we are to be conduits.  A pipeline of sorts.

Think of a storm drain.  The fresh, clean rains pour down and those drains have the task of funneling that water from one place into another.  But, sometimes they get clogged with trash and muck.  When they do, the pipes aren’t able to do what they were made for.  Water backs up.  The source of the water keeps pouring in and the pipe becomes stressed and bloated.  The water that was supposed to run through is now sitting, attracting insects and becoming stagnant.  On the flip side, the areas that desperately needed that water are left thirsty.  Soil sits dry.  Pipes begin to age and crack.

The love Christ has poured into us…let’s be careful not to slow down that flow with a bunch of trash in our pipes.  Trash like pride,anger, jealousy…

 

I’ve had a name or two on a list before.  People I did NOT want to even THINK about loving.  Content to let someone else throw them a smile or be kind.  Holding wrongs against them seemed, and seems, like the intelligent thing to do, right?  Aren’t we supposed to judge people by their fruit?  Yes.

But…

Just because I love someone, doesn’t mean they are my new best friend.  It doesn’t mean I agree with their choices or we need to start meeting for coffee.

Loving them simply means that I recognize that I am no better than they are in the sight of the One who gives us both breath.  We are on a level playing field.  There is only one Judge and I am not it.

I’m learning that I can love someone up close and I can love someone from a distance.  I’m learning that people are in my life on purpose for a purpose.  I’m learning that while I learn to love, even when I don’t want to, it changes me.  I become less self-centered and more thankful for the grace that God extends to me on a daily basis.

This is walking in the freedom that faith provides.  He loves.  I love.  It will never fail.

I’m learning a lot about this and it’s all good.

Why do we love without limits?

Because we are loved without limits.

Who do we love without limits?

Anyone with breath in their lungs.

How do we love without limits?

With perseverance and constant hope.

Reflect & Respond:

**  Are you withholding love from someone?

**God tells us that love covers over a multitude of sins.  Thank Him for that and begin praying for whoever is on your list.  But be fore-warned, your prayers may not change that person, but they will almost always change you!

Praying for you all,

Kellie

 

Advertisements
Featured

The Art of Letting Them Go…

d336453e5fb3808a440bcdad6d1bf2c8

When I think of creating art, words like messy, beautiful, creative, frustrating, expectation, intentional and unique come to mind.

If you were creating a piece of art, what would you think of?  What would your process look like?

This is how I am beginning to view my duty of letting my adult children go well (I want to do this so well).  It’s a process that began as early as their elementary school years.  But, we are rounding the final corner of this journey here at our home.

We’ve all heard it before, even if you’re not a believer.  “Love your neighbor as yourself“.

This passage of scripture is one of the most quoted pieces of the Bible.  Ponder it.

Now, step back and filter your children through these words.

“Love (child’s name) as yourself.”

Just like creating a piece of art requires purposeful thinking, letting our children go requires intentional planning.

I love my children fiercely.  Achingly.  Desperately  Blisteringly.

I love them with firmness.  Decisiveness.  Determination.  Purposefully.

If we are loving our neighbors, our children, as ourselves, won’t we love them like this?

With desperation, determination and with purpose.  Fiercely and firmly.

It’s a choice we all have to make.

Don’t you want to be loved like that?

 

 

Just like creating a piece of art requires constant motion, letting our children go requires continual plodding.

If we love our children with fierceness and firmness can we still give them the freedom to fly or fall?

I say yes.

But this is also a choice.  A verb.

To give them the freedom that is.

And it is necessary to their development.

If they fly, they will own it like a rock star!  “Look at me!  Look what I did!”  The self-esteem and confidence that comes with that flying can’t be taken from them.  Ever.

If they fall, they will learn.  They will self-examine.  They will re-examine.  They will know next time, and they will OWN the success that comes when they choose differently down the road.

 

This is how they learn.  This is how they mature.

 

Just like creating a piece of art stirs emotions from deep down in our souls, letting our children go will wreck us with a passion words cannot even describe.

Here is just a glimpse of what I’m learning in this season…

I’m learning how to view my children as adults.

I’m learning that although they respect me, they will make their own decisions.

I’m learning that if they don’t take my advice, it doesn’t mean they’re making a wrong choice.

I’m learning that they need to come to terms with their own faith in God.

I’m learning that that is a process.

I’m learning that although it’s scary to watch, I would rather they own their own faith than to piggy back off of mine.

I’m learning that although I was once physically exhausted from running our household and raising these children, it is sometimes just as mentally exhausting now.

I’m learning that my mom must have kept her mouth shut A LOT when I was a young adult!

I’m learning when to keep my own mouth shut.

I’m learning to be ready to break their fall but still let them feel some of the effects when they trip.

I’m learning if I shelter them or assume responsibility for their negative consequences, they’ll never learn or mature.

I’m learning they were listening even when I didn’t think they were.

I’m learning to encourage and take a step back.

So.  Much.  Learning.

Love your neighbor as yourself

Matthew 22.39b NIV

We can love our children with fierceness and firmness and still give them the freedom to fly or fall.

It’s in the flying that we feel the kiss and approval of our Heavenly Father.

It’s in the falling that we feel His forgiveness, His unconditional love and His grace.

Oh, His beautiful grace…

I want my children to experience that.  I want it to be personal for them.

Most importantly, if I love my children as myself, I am going to pray for them.  Fiercely and firmly.  Daily.  Hourly.  With passion.

Don’t you want to be prayed for in this way?  To have your name called out and laid down at the Father’s feet like this?  I sure do.

praying-for-kids

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.”
Psalm 127:3

Moving through this season of life can be hard.  Messy.  Sometimes stressful.  It’s also satisfying.  Joyful.  A privilege not all are afforded.

It involves purposeful planning, constant plodding, and explosive passion.

I still have a lot to learn.  At times I will fly.  At times I will fall. That simply means I’ll have even more in common with my children.

It’s all good.

And God is good.

He will guide, teach, comfort, encourage…He honors our efforts to do this well.  He loves our children more than we do, so stick close to Him.  Gather with friends who are walking through this season.  Encourage one another.  Share wisdom with one another.  Pray for one another.

Like an artist working on a masterpiece, make yourself step back frequently, stand still, and admire what God has already done in the lives of your children.

 And thank Him.

He loves that stuff 🙂

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever viewed your children as your neighbor?  How does it motivate you to let go of them well?

**Ask the Lord to show you how to apply this scripture, the second most important command, into your daily life.  He will be faithful to do it.

Praying for you all but especially those who are in this season with me,

Kellie