A friend and I (who are both parenting hurting kids in the process of healing) were recently talking about the phrase "just love them." It sounds simple, right? Don't you just picture hugs and kisses, surprises and treats, board games and sledding? All fun and laughter and *poof*...healing!
Love them. Yes, of course. But love, true love is more complicated than that. It involves wisdom to know what is needed in the moment: mercy? discipline? a hug? a break? a headlong face to face with hard truth? It involves discernment to know when someone is exasperated or lazy...stubborn or in mourning... Love cares about what is needed and what is best and giving that no matter how hard it is. Love stays and fights...not against but FOR. Love spends all night praying. Love seeks wisdom from God to love better. Love sacrifices everything. Love speaks truth. Love is gentle. Love is steadfast.
I mentioned before that for now I believe God is telling me to love where I am (though I have a little "love trip" coming up that I'll share next time). It starts in the home and moves out to invite and include others in. Kindness gives a gift card to the man with a cardboard sign as it passes by him. Love stops. Love enters into relationship. Love gives hope with truth.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." ~John 15:13
As we grow in our walk with Jesus, layers are peeled away from self day by day as levels of Truth are added. Did I not know before that I was suppose to be living a life of "love?" Yes, of course I did. But I am feeling like God is going to help me dig deeper than I was before...to learn more...to do more. More selfishness will be peeled away, more of the "how to" will be learned. I hope there will be less times of looking back at a moment or event and having to own up to getting it wrong. I hope I'll stop letting fear stop me. I hope I'll have the courage to invite myself in when I see a need that can be met.
I don't know what this year holds. I pray I learn to love better and deeper with the steadfast love that God has given to me. I hope I bring refreshment and hope to others. I hope I look in the eyes of those I will meet and see what we have in common more than I see what separates us. I hope I am part of a solution. I hope I bring Jesus. I hope I bring love.