Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but I’m still feeling the love. Or maybe I should say I’m still choosing to see and soak in the love that has been lavished on me by the Lord and by His children these past few weeks. Because while love might be something we feel at least for a little while, love is mostly a choice we make daily...whether we’re “feelin’ it” or not. And while love spoken to us is also a wonderful “feeling,” love shown to us and poured out over us is where we see and experience God in action. Love in action.
A few months back I received the diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma and was told that my thyroid must come out and some follow up treatments would need to be done to ensure the termination of the cancer. This past Valentine’s Day I had my second surgery to remove the remainder of my thyroid. Throughout this journey, the Lord has been so incredibly near - I’ve experienced His peace and His presence in ways I couldn’t have imagined and would never trade for anything. I’ve found rest and comfort in His sovereignty and trust in His faithfulness. And y’all, I have felt His love. Man, have I felt it. In so many different ways and through so many different people. He has shown me what love in action looks like. I’ve been brought back to a passage of scripture over and over again that He had already set before me at the beginning of 2019 - “Let love be genuine” (Romans 12:9). And as I’ve meditated on that short little phrase and how to live that out in my own life, I’ve realized that what I’ve witnessed these past few weeks IS genuine love! And it has been demonstrated towards me and my family over and over and over again. The Lord has prompted His children to show His love in the most practical, helpful, there-when-you-need-it, think-of-the-little-things kind of ways. And its worth sharing. And since no conversation about love would be complete without a visit to 1 Corinthians 13, I’ll throw that in there too. Consider this a late Valentine’s Day tribute and an offering of the most heartfelt thanksgiving to my loving Heavenly Father and His loving, generous, gracious, caring children who have served both Him and me. You are a gift.
The Love Chapter - 1 Corinthians 13
Love is patient (v.4)
Love is okay with sleeping on the worst possible hospital recliner. Love gets up at a moment’s notice to call the nurse and adjust your pillow. Love helps you go to the bathroom 450 times in 3 hours. Love offers to make breakfast, buy groceries, or get you a milkshake. Love doesn’t complain about how tired or uncomfortable he is. Love waits with you.
Love is kind (v.4)
Love brings meal after meal after meal to your door each night. Love checks in, texts, and calls. Love offers to help, prays, sends cards and gift cards. Love writes purposeful letters on a get well card in precious first grade handwriting. Love colors a beautiful scripture passage with an assortment of gel pens with all the detail and compassion in her lovely sixth grade hands. Love offers a word of encouragement, a hug, and an “I’m thinking of you.” Love truly cares.
Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (v.4)
Love doesn’t make grand gestures to be seen or announcements for the world to hear about how much trouble its gone to. Love isn’t jealous at the extra attention. Love offers to do the hard, even yucky things to make life easier. Love is not above serving without recognition. Love cleans the house and does the laundry when we’re away so we can come home and rest. Love sees the need and meets it - no matter how big or how small. Love is humble.
...or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (v.5)
Love bends over backwards to be helpful. Love takes the kids for the weekend and plans fun activities for them each day. Love gets worn slap out by 3 active little people and never once complains. Love isn’t grouchy from fatigue or resentful for the extra effort it’s putting in.
Love comes and stays for the week to serve and be extra help for a dad doing it all. Love gets up early and stays up late and doesn’t think twice because, well, thats what love does. Love puts others before herself and her needs on the back burner in order to care for her people. Love changes appointments and reschedules plans to be available just in case she needs to stay one more day. Love serves.
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (v.6)
Love repeatedly intercedes at the feet of our Heavenly Father on your behalf, claiming His promises and begging His provisions. Love speaks truth to your soul in the darkest of hours and stands firm on the truth from His word alone. Love sits with you over coffee for hours letting you vent and wonder and question and doubt, but all the while reminding you that the Lord is with you always. Love prays faithfully for you both out loud in a large group and alone in the silence. Love trusts in the nature of her God and continually places His truth before you. Love is very, very near.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (v.7)
Love stands firm when you feel weak. Love uplifts when your head is low. Love trusts when you doubt. Love hopes when you are discouraged. Love is in it for the long haul. Love brings you your favorite drink in a styrofoam cup from your favorite place just because. Love cares for your family when you aren’t able to. Love is steady and reliable. Love is fueled by compassion and a desire to see this thing through. Love is across town and across the street and just down the road and miles away. Love is a voice on the phone, a card in the mail from a total stranger, a smile through the car window. Love is a chocolate pound cake and a stock-pile of Diet Coke and enough pasta to feed a small army. Love endures.
Love never ends. (v.8)
Love is a mama who still selflessly cares for her 34 year old baby, a husband who graciously serves his wife day in and day out, and friends who fill in the gaps with carpool and homework and sports and church and life. Love chooses to stay. To love again the next day. And the next. And the next. To get up and do it all again because thats what it takes. Because that’s how the Lord gets the glory. Because that’s what genuine love does. It doesn’t quit. Love keeps on. Love never, ever fails. Ever.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (v.13)