In cleaning out some family treasures this weekend, I happened upon this little gem that belonged to my Daddy:
What is love? Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them, and always stand your ground in defending them. (No doubt based on 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7…it’s a must to highlight this in your Bible, journal, or Bible app.)
Growing up, I was always told I was “too tender hearted” and “too emotional” – as I transitioned into adulthood, I took those words as a negative mark against who I was – the heart that I had inherited from my Daddy. I was tricked into believing that the depth and breadth of how I loved was a setback, a flaw, something to be ashamed of. So, I learned to hide it. I tucked it away in the shadows of my heart, only showing to those who I thought deserved it. I thought it better to hold on to the love that was in my heart than to give it away – knowing full well it often would not be returned in the same way.
Tucking it away and keeping it to myself was like a rock in my shoe. It hurt more to hold on to to it than it did to share it with others. In the midst of a perfect storm that we often encounter in life, God showed me that this heart he gave me was in fact a gift that He had given me – to shower others with a love like they’d never felt before. While I had prayed fervently for some other type of spiritual gift from God, He made it clear that LOVE was to be my gift to the world and that at no point was I ever to expect anything in return. And I don’t. The gift I receive is seeing others take what I have given them, plant it in their lives, water it, and share it with others. Helping others to see how divinely created and loved they are. To put down the burdens they were never meant to carry and pick up the abundance of gifts God has for them. That is my takeaway.
What once was a burden I carried is now what motivates me to be who I was called to be, to love out loud, to love on purpose, to the deepest depth of my soul. To help others feel what I do when I bask in the grace and mercy that awaits me each and every day. People ask how, even in the midst of adversity, I find such peace and joy, I reflect on this:
When you awaken love and laughter in your life, your mind lets go of fear and anxiety and your happy spirit becomes the healing balm that transforms every aspect of your human experience. – Unknown
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
Remember, true love (whether with a partner, a family member, or a friend) is fierce because it will challenge who you are. It will make you question everything you’ve thought love to be. It will encourage you to be better than you were yesterday. To be who God has called you to be. To step and step out. It will also provide a place of shelter to be yourself. It will cover you in comfort and grace. It will help you to take off the masks. To lay down those heavy burdens. Love is to be unconditional, accepting, forgiving, nurturing, encouraging, empathetic, caring, compassionate, non judgmental. Tue love heals a wide variety of ailments and casts light into the darkest of places.
So, my gift to you today is the knowledge that you are loved. Unconditionally. That if you ever need to tangibly feel that love, there is always a place in our home for you – no matter who or what you are, where you’ve been. What you’ve done. And pie. There is always, always, always, pie.
Thank you Lord for you love. May I grow and live to show others what your love looks like.
Peace, love and pie!