Saturday, February 13, 2016

 An unlikely valentine

It's the night before Valentine's day, and everyone in my house is asleep right now.

Sounds like the beginning of a Children's book.  Someone should write this book.  It won't be me.  I am just writing a blog post about messy life and messy people who rely on an insane amount of grace.

I've been thinking alot about love lately.  In the last month,  I have been divinely inundated with wonderful resources on what God's definition of love is - what His ideas are for love and marriage.  I have felt like some tremendous breakthroughs have taken place in my heart and mind concerning true love.  Servant love, selfless love.  And then?  Well, let me just be honest.  Right when things began to become crystal clear in my mind about marriage not being about me, about God's true design of this phenomenal covenant being a reflection of His love for his treasured people, about the opportunity I have to give my life for something bigger than me - I just stumbled right over myself. 

See, this being human thing - it's crazy hard.  We are born being about ourselves.  Any mama to a newborn can tell you that when that baby is hungry they want it NOW.  Being giving, loving, servant hearted - that all has to be learned.  You have to train for that.  We have the best training manual,  the best trainer - but it's never been falsely touted as easy.

So we've had a long day that didn't end well.  I'm sitting here reflecting on love.  I had a little visit to facebook land and saw roses and chocolates and smiling couples.  I still believe in that stuff, despite the growing up I have done.  I love valentines day.  I love all things love.  I want to be love to my family.  I even have the crazy idea that I can somehow impact the world with love.  I'm passionate about loving well.  And sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I am just plain passionate about myself.  My long day.  How many fights between boys vying for alpha male that I had to referee in the morning alone.  Surely a new record for us...  And our long hours of pouring in to various tasks today took a toll.

I'm sitting here reflecting about this love thing.  The flowers, the chocolates, the smiling faces.  The butterflies and long gazes.

And the loneliness, the unmet expectations,  the longings of those who just want a slice of the illusion they imagine must be *Love*.

But when it's not what they think it is will they continue to look - again.  This time for sure.... 

You know what?  It's not what we think it is.  

While love, as it is intended to be, is truly the most beautiful thing in the world - I think we miss what it can be when we look over the part that can be very plain.  Messy.  Even ugly.

Today, love wasn't what I thought it should be.  There was a language barrier.  Everything he did was from a place of love, and yet all I could see was myself.  In a lavish display of grace, God showed it to me after my words had already made a mess of things.  He showed me the love.  The every day love. Plain love.  Hard working love.

See,  Love is something that was literally designed in heaven.  Our concept of it barely scratches the surface of anything.  We have graciously been given the opportunity to show a hurting world what it could be.  To show then what it looks like to be loved in spite of our hopelessness.

Marriage is an opportunity to put this on display.  While I fail at this often, yes - even in the last 12 hours, I can see it!  I can see the goal, the beauty, the hope.  And we continue to press on.

There are days I wonder - what has kept us here... here in this relationship?   It's so hard.  Life is tough, circumstances stress us from all directions.  It's hard enough for ourselves to take it all in and proceed - let alone to do life alongside the emotional baggage of another flawed human being.

 - Romantic, right? Yay, Valentine's day!  ;)

But no, really - my point is this:  If we were in it to further our own agenda,  to get instead of give, to feel good about ourselves,  - we simply would not be in it anymore.

You guys - here's the beauty part (thanks for hangin' in through the messy part) When we continue in the hard - this is glue.  This is the love.

This is the foundation, the walls, the hope, the heart and soul - and the picture the world needs to see.  Hope.  

No human being can sustain "feelings" of love for a lifetime.  Every day of their life.  And I think many, perhaps on a sub-conscience level, leave just a tiny little window of possibility.... a "way out"  - just in case.  There will come a point in time in everyones life when they have to choose.  And I just want to say that I am so glad that God chose me.... when I was at my worst.  That's our model right there.

So, I am with everyone else tonight - thinking of love and romance.  I love me some chocolate.  Kisses and flowers and feelings of being pursued... they are lovely - and they are a part of my life.  But as I've gotten older a vision has been birthed in me that is so far beyond sweet romance. Can I tell you - I was the biggest cheerleader of all things romantic when I was growing up?  A romantic fool from day one.  It was a beautiful, sickly sweet, thing.  And I am here to tell you that true love looks a whole lot more like blood, sweat, and tears, than hearts and flowers.

Sacrificial may not be a word on many cards handed out tomorrow.  But it is where I am deeply loved.  Serving may not be associated with all things love, but I know that is where God wants me this year.  I am going to camp out there and prepare my heart to see through what love was never meant to be, and on to what gives hope.

Happy Valentines day, folks.  Look for the beauty in the messy.


Steve Clinkscales said...

Wendy, Here is your report card:
You have been a straight "A" student living out lessons of love since I have known you. Together, you and Dave are good examples of marriage as Christ intends it.
Reading this latest blog, it seems you scored a B or B- on yesterdays quiz. And you confessed it here. And I am proud to know such an A+ couple living the way God intended.
Keep up the good work. Love you both, Steve

Christy said...

I love what you said about continuing in the hard is the glue...that is love! I 100% agree and was just reflecting on how God blesses us in our marriages when we go through the storms together without bailing out...that is love. The more we go through as a couple with Christ in the center the more I love my husband and can see Gods hand in the "staying steadfast" in the Lord part of our marriage and lives. Thank you for the thoughtful post. Just lovely.