Love: What You Do Not Want to Miss

We search for love.  We yearn for love.  Sometimes, we fear love.  In Greek, there are four types of love:

  • Agapeo: Unconditional love; the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation
  • Storge: Love of family; Parent/child, siblings, cousins, etc. In a very close family, agape is felt as well
  • Phileo: Love between friends
  • Eros: The sense of being in love; romantic love

For me, love is everything.  I believe that the God I serve is Love.  I love my children and my family.  I have several wonderful friends for whom I care deeply.  I have been blessed with the love of two wonderful men.  So, when someone asks how I knew that I loved my husband, why is it so difficult to describe?

There are lots of sayings about love:

  • Love is a many splendor thing
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry
  • Love is something you do
  • Love is natures way of tricking people to reproduce
  • Love means to give everything you have…and not expect anything in return
  • Immature Love is: I love you because I need you.
    Mature Love is: I need you because I love you.
  • Love is making yourself vulnerable to someone, while fully knowing that they may betray you.
  • Love is blind
  • Love is never-ending

There is truth is all of the above statements.  But still, what do we want from love?  Safety, security, companionship?  What?

These are the things about deep and abiding love that I think you just don’t want to miss!

  1. Love is a choice.  We don’t  “fall in love”, rather we it’s probably more accurate to say we “fall in like” or even “in lust”.  We’ve all experienced crushes.  Those moments of elation when you just get to be near the object of your desire.  Your heart beats a little faster.  You just can’t imagine anything better.  Sometimes, crushes lead to relationships.  But, crushes fade away.  As the vision clears, you begin to see the real person.  You can choose to really love them or you move on to the next phase.  Choosing to love someone completely is wonderful.
  2. Love is hard work.  Anything that involves more than one person requires work.  A commitment to love and honor another person is a daily thing.  It means you don’t always get want you want, so you both sacrifice.  When you truly love someone, you look for ways to make their life more complete.
  3. Love doesn’t make you happy.  You may be married to most wonderful person in the world and still be unhappy.  If you are depending on someone else to fulfill you and make you happy, you will NEVER find happiness.  While many of us find happiness in relationships, we have to choose to be happy.  Many solid marriages end in divorce because one or both of the people involved were no longer happy.  Love is working through the unhappiness while still honoring the other person.
  4. Love doesn’t “complete” you.  You are the person God made you to be.  You are not 1/2 a person.  You are full and complete.  You may find someone and become half of a couple, but that person will never complete you.
  5. Love is never-ending, and it is also ever-changing.  The love I have for my husband has deepened since we married two years ago.  My heart still races when I think about him.  But, our relationship is evolving as we have learned to live together.  We learn things about each other every day.  There are new insights, new irritants, new joys and new challenges with every day.

I guess if I had to tell another woman what to look for in love I would say:

  • Look for the man who will take care of you.  I am pretty self-sufficient.  But, I really like it when my husband opens doors and pulls out my chair for me.   (Admittedly, I’ve had to learn to wait and allow him to do so!) I enjoy the flowers that he buys at the grocery store for me.  It’s comforting when he intervenes to protect me from activities that will cause me pain (both emotionally and physically.)  He has shown me how very much he cherishes me.  I do not have to “make” him do things.
  • Find the man who is interested in a partnership.  I can be very bossy.  So can my husband.  But, in our marriage, neither of us is “the boss”.   To do lists are general things that need to be done by either of us, they are not specific to either.  There are things that I do well and there are things that are his strong suit.  We try to bring out the best in each other.
  • Focus on the man who you cannot live without, not just someone you can live with (tolerate).  Deep and passionate love with get you through many intolerable situations.  There have been many people I could “live with” that have come and gone in my life.  But, the ones that I could not imagine doing life without have been very few.
  • Consider the  man who will honor you and wait for you until after the wedding vows.  In today’s world, we’ve come to accept sex as a part of dating.  Very few people get married without having already taken a “test drive” of sorts.  There is something extremely special about being worth the wait and sealing your wedding commitment on your wedding night.
  • Pay attention to the man who helps you feel secure and safe.  Being able to speak your mind and hear his opinions without fear is important.  Knowing that you are loved unconditionally is priceless.

I cannot imagine life without my husband, Tim.  I have experienced the death of a spouse and the pain of that loss was excruciating.  I promised myself that I would never allow anyone close enough to cause that much pain ever again.  But, God had a different plan and I am so very thankful for that!







Necessary Gifts

Friends. We want them. We need them. I’ve heard it said that friends are a gift that you give to yourself. Hmmm, I wonder. . .

I grew up in a small farming community with my friends. Most of my graduating class had been together for 12 years, and a select few and even gone to kindergarten together. Our parents had grown up together. Many of our teachers had either taught our parents or gone to school with them. We had cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings in our school life. We played in different groups and made friends and best friends. It wasn’t hard.

When I ventured across the state to attend college, I stepped into a world of unknowns. I had to meet new people and make new friends. It was scary and exciting. I discovered that people did like me even when they had other options. I was still the “mother” in the group and they still liked me. Many of my fondest college memories are from my early days of dorm life, doing life as a pretend adult with my new friends. And, they’re still friends today.

After graduation, I moved to the big city to work. Finding friends was a bit more challenging. I had work friends, but longed for the close friendships of college. For the first few months of my new life, I had a very predictable schedule: Get up and go to work, come home and fix supper, eat and do the dishes, go to bed. Many days ended before 7:00pm. I searched for a church home, but had a hard time finding a welcoming singles group. I fell back on my college relationships and held on to the past. It was the end of my first year in Houston when I found a church that needed me as much as I needed it. The singles group was just starting at Spring Woods. I watched it grow and change thru the next four years. I made many friends over the years. Many people came thru my life during that time. A few became fast friends. And, one became my closest friend. I married him.

As my husband and I negotiated married life, our circle of friends changed. We had ministry friends that came into our lives and them moved on to other areas. Many of our relationships were based on our kids. Children became the common thread. As our kids moved thru school, we got to know different parents. And as sports and band took center stage, we spent a lot of time with the other parents. It seemed there wasn’t much time to develop deep relationships. There were friendships, but I always felt a little separated, distant. I had my family and really didn’t have the energy to truly invest in others. The hardest distance to cover between two people is often measured in inches.

And then the world crumbled around me. My new identity was widow, single-mom. Suddenly, I needed friends. I discovered how important it is to invest in friends. The distance I had felt seemed to disappear into comfort, familiarity and safety. Dear friends didn’t miss a beat. I survived those months on the kindness and love shown to me by friends, both old and new.

I find it amusing when listening to my daughter and her friends describing each other. The term “best friend” or BFF comes up in every description. With the use of social media such as FaceBook, it’s quite possible to see the same young woman post about her bestie five times in a row and mention a different “best friend” every time. When I question how one can have more than one BEST friend (much less five or eight), I usually get an eye roll accompanied by “You just don’t understand!” For some reason, I don’t think I’m the one that doesn’t understand. But, maybe these twenty-somethings have it right. I often complain of being lonely while hiding behind my own self-erected barriers. I can be with a group of people and feel that I might as well be a thousand miles away. If friends are a gift that you give to yourself, then is too much “me” a problem? Do I manufacture Distance and separation in an attempt to control all circumstances? Have I forgotten what it means to be a friend, much less a BFF?

Fortunately, I have been given the great gift of friends. I have many acquaintances and casual friends. But most importantly, I have a few very special and dear friends. Friends that are not offended by the REAL me. Friends that are there for tears and the laughter. Friends that share the real stuff that invades our lives. Friends that are there even when I’m NOT a very good friend. I treasure these friends. I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully explain how important their gift of friendship is to me.

Friends. I want them. I need them. I will never again take the gift of friendship for granted. I have the BEST friends.


“I am never going to let anyone get close enough to me to cause this kind of pain ever again.”  That’s  what I vowed soon after the death of my husband.  And, I meant it.  I would avoid the excruciating ordeal of losing another deeply loved person at all costs.   I would guard my teenage children with a passion and they would be my life.  That would be enough.  I had fallen in love once and it was wonderful, but the fear of loss and that punch-in-the-gut feeling was too much to endure again.  And with that, I worked diligently at shutting that part of me down.

At first, it wasn’t too difficult.  I threw myself into activities that didn’t require much of “me.”  I was a football mom, a band mom, a wrestling mom.  I even volunteered to help with track meets and I wasn’t a track mom.  AT church, I led a Bible Fellowship class within our youth group and I directed the Children’s choir.  In those moments when activities didn’t fill my thoughts, Grief took over. There were many friends that were supporting me and trying to help me get on with life.  Unfortunately, I tended to focus on those that offered support and then weren’t really available when I needed their help.  This was further evidence, in my mind at least, that I shouldn’t let anyone into my life. They would only let me down or disappear from my life.  I had to be strong and self-sufficient.  I would take care of Zac and Gracie.  I didn’t need anyone else.  I continued to shut down.

I discovered that you can’t just shut down pieces of yourself. It’s an all or nothing venture.  While I was doing a very good job of keeping myself  “safe” from other people, I was also distancing myself from friends that I wanted and needed. 1 John 4:8 states “Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.”  In my attempt to never be hurt by love ever again, I had distanced myself from all love:   including, the love of my God. 

 A friend reminded me that the pain I felt after Terry’s death was proportional to love that I’d had for him.  I wouldn’t give up a minute of the time I had with him  in order to hurt less.   So,  although I’m still determined to be strong and self-sufficient in order to take care of my family and myself, I’ve come to the realization that I have to leave myself open to the danger that is inherent in  loving others.  Love doesn’t have to include romance.  I’ve come to value the love that is part of a dear friendship.  But, love will always include the risk of being hurt.  That’s the risk we have to take.  It’s a risk well worth taking!

My God-sized dream for 2013: to grow in my love for God and people.