Love

If Walls Could Talk

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Are you the same person both inside and outside of your home?

 Aah…what a challenging question. I consider myself to be fairly open and honest with who I am.  If you don’t like me, well, then, so be it. What I mean is: I’m not going to purposely offend you, but I am not going to pretend to be someone I am not just because you won’t like the real me, either.

But I can’t deny I am still a little different at home than I am out in public.

When someone does something that upsets me in public, I may frown a bit and fume a bit inwardly. If I am really upset, I may grit my teeth and grumble to my husband. On a very rare occasion, I will say something and try to keep my tone kind. Notice the word try.

But when I’m at home…well, that’s a different story.

A few months ago, I realized just how true this is. I was having a little fit of temper with a couple of my kids while their friend, unbeknownst to me, was waiting in our mud room.  Although it is now a bit of joke among us all, it wasn’t very funny to me at the time.  Actually, I was quite ashamed of myself.

And I had to ask myself–would I have had that fit of temper if I knew that friend stood listening to me? Absolutely not. I would have controlled myself.

Many of us tend to be very different people when we are around people we don’t know very well.

And it begs the question. What would our walls say about us if they could talk?

What would they say about–

Our tempers?

–The websites we visit and the movies we watch?

–The tone of voice we use when we talk to our husbands?

–The way we treat our kids? Our parents? The salesperson on the phone? The neighbor who hates us?

What would the walls say about–

–The language we use?

–Our organization and cleanliness?

–Our Christian testimony in our homes?

–Our use of time?

Fortunately– at least for most of us–walls can’t talk.

In this Christian culture, there is so much emphasis on being real. Be real and show your struggles. Be yourself wherever you go. And while I think there is value in being honest in who we are, I don’t always want to show my real self to the public–because it’s not always pretty.

 But I am not suggesting that we become fake at home.

No, I am suggesting that we allow the Lord to take control of our lives no matter where we are. That our appropriate reactions and kind responses, even in public, would come from our hearts instead of from social etiquette.

Because only then can we truly be the same genuine and godly person both inside and outside our home.

How to be a true friend

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When asked to speak on the friendships of woman I got a little nervous. I have messed up and made many mistakes in the area of being a good friend. Thankfully, the Lord has used some of those mistakes to teach me. While I still have a lot to learn, I hope that I am a better friend today than I was twenty years ago.

One of the most important and helpful things I have learned regarding friendships is that I cannot control others. I can’t control if someone wants to be my friend. I can’t control their reactions or words or choices. I can’t control if they are nice to me or mean to me.

I can only control myself.

With that in mind, I offer this condensed version of what I spoke on this morning at a local MOPS group.

How do I become the best friend I can possibly be for my friends? How do I become a true friend to those who are so important to me? As a bonus, this is a great way to become a great husband or wife, as well!

I have used each letter in the word friend to remind us of a few of the characteristics of a true friend.

F – FORGIVE

Matthew 6:14-15“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Friendship is impossible without this word. In fact, ANY healthy relationship is impossible without this word. Forgiving can be very difficult. True and complete forgiveness can only come when God works in our hearts. If you have a friend you haven’t forgiven, pray about it. Ask for a forgiving heart.

R – REPAIR what’s broken

Ephesians 4:2-3with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Repairing is part of forgiveness. But it is also part of a normal relationships, where misunderstandings and hurt feelings abound. True friends make an effort to stay friends. Friendship takes work. If there is a falling out, someone needs to take the first step. Sometimes there isn’t really anything to be forgiven, but simply a misunderstanding. Someone needs to humble themselves first. You be that one. Be willing to apologize! YES, It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and downright unpleasant! And sometimes, it doesn’t go well.

But we need to do what we can do, as much as it up to us. I often think of that verse, in Romans 12:18–

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

You see, things don’t always turn out like we want. But that doesn’t excuse us from doing the right thing.

I – IMPROVE each other

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

I am not talking here about FIXING one another. None of us likes to be someone’s “project” (a good thing to keep in mind for spouses, too!) No, I am thinking more of the idea of helping one another become more godly. We should have an enhancing effect, rather than a detrimental one. And this is not only by giving godly advice or honest criticism, although there is occasionally a place for that.

No, it is more than that.

I can think of a dear friend immediately who makes me a better person just by being around her. She is godly and humble. She is joyful and pleasant. She says she wants to please the Lord in all she does and her life choices match her words. When I’m around her, it rubs off on me and she encourages me to be more godly without ever saying a word.

E – ENCOURAGE each other

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

This is so important! Use your words to build your friends up. So often, we use the 15000+ words we speak per day to complain, gossip, or brag (build ourselves or our children up). But rarely do we use our words to encourage. There is so much competition between moms. I remember hearing it on the soccer sidelines. I remember hearing it in church groups. But we aren’t supposed to be in competition, we are supposed to be lovingly encouraging one another.

Oh, the power in our tongues! James puts it so succinctly in chapter 3, verses 4&5:Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

We can choose to build up or we can choose to tear down. I want to encourage with my words.

We can encourage with more than words, too. How about taking care of the children when our friend needs to be with her sick mother? Or taking a meal to them when they are sick? Or giving rides without expecting a returned favor? Perhaps it is just making time in our busy schedules for a cup of coffee or a lunch date together. There are so many ways we can offer encouragement to our friends.

N – NOTICE what’s going on

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The purpose of these verses is not to show us that Jesus cares about the little stuff but instead to show the absolute sovereignty of God. Not a sparrow falls without God knowing it. How amazing is that?! But am I stretching it to suggest that this shows that Jesus obviously does care about the details?

And if Jesus cares about the small stuff, shouldn’t we?

Let’s make an effort to notice the little stuff– our friend’s hairstyle change, her new shirt, her child’s new accomplishment–and offer kind words.

And let’s notice the not-so-little stuff– Perhaps you haven’t heard from your close friend for awhile. If this is unusual, call her and make sure she is okay. Perhaps she was unusually quiet when you ran into her at the store. Show her that you notice. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, just let her know you care and are praying (and then make sure you are!)

Noticing goes hand-in-hand with encouraging. We can’t encourage if we don’t notice what is going on in the lives of our friends.

D – DON’T DWELL on real or imagined offenses

I Corinthians 13:5 {Love} does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (NIV)

So let’s say we are offended by something our friend says or does. It happens to all of us at one time or another. They speak sharply to our child (how dare they??) or they make a comment about our husbands or our homes or our family and we can feel the hackles go up in our neck. We grow quiet and we start sulking a bit.

Or we hear that somebody said that somebody said that SHE said she doesn’t think we are doing a good job raising our kids. And, suddenly, without knowing the context or details of the actual conversation, we have decided we don’t like HER after all.

But is that honoring to God?

We need to control our thoughts. We can’t dwell on our hurts and our real or imagined offenses.

Life is way too short for that. So they said something hurtful or did something you didn’t like. Do you imagine that you haven’t done the same thing at one time or another? We all do things without thinking sometimes.

Let it roll right off your back.

Long and lasting friendships depend on both of you being able to ignore offenses.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, there are some things that happen between people that need to be dealt with. That’s where forgiveness and repair come in. But I am talking here about the stuff people say that they don’t even realize is hurtful. They don’t realize their tone or how it sounds.

Or the stuff we hear that’s 15 people down the line. The exaggerated story is probably nothing like the actual truth and yet we get all up in arms and choose to end friendships over it. If you are going to choose not to talk with your friend about what you heard then your only other {healthy} option is to LET IT ROLL :)

 

In conclusion, this list is my no means exhaustive. I find myself wishing there was an “L” in the word friend because LISTENING is so very important in being a good friend. But this list will, hopefully, get us started thinking about how we can be a better friend.

Friendship is a beautiful gift from God. I have been so blessed through the years with many friendships. Even when I’ve been hurt and the relationship has been severed, I believe the hurt was worth the relationship. But I can’t talk about friendship without making sure to mention that we will never find our fulfillment in our earthly friendships. All friendships will disappoint us at one time or another.

Friends come and go, but Jesus is the friend that is always there. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Let me close by sharing the 2nd verse of the well-known hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
 

I truly hope you know Jesus as your Savior and friend. If you don’t but would like to know more about it, please feel free to e-mail me at leslie {at} growing4life {dot} com. I would be privileged to share God’s wonderful plan of salvation with you!

 

Wednesday Wisdom: Is Belief Enough?

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Sometimes I feel a little like a broken record. If there is a theme for this blog, it would be this: True Christianity is not simply a decision; it’s your life. Yes, it starts with belief, but scripture makes it clear: saving faith yields good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), a love for truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), love for others (I John 2:9), and hatred for the world and the things of the world (I John 2:15). Saving faith changes us.

I am reading a book right now called “Practical Christianity” by A.W. Pink. It is taking me a long time, because I find it so deep and–if I am honest–convicting.  This is what A.W. Pink has to say in this book about belief:

Love of sin is the immediate cause of unbelief: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “The light of the Gospel is brought unto a place or people: they come so near it as to discover its end or tendency; but as soon as they find that it aims to part them and their sins, they will have no more to do with it. They like not the terms of the Gospel, and so perish in and for their iniquities” (John Owen). If the Gospel were more clearly and faithfully preached, fewer would profess to believe it!

Saving faith, then, is the opposite of damning belief. Both issue from the heart that is alienated from God, which is in a state of rebellion against Him; saving faith from a heart which is reconciled to Him and so has ceased to fight against Him. Thus an essential element or ingredient in saving faith is a yielding to the authority of God, a submitting of myself to His rule. It is very much more than my understanding assenting and my will consenting to the fact that Christ is a Saviour for sinners, and that He stands ready to receive all who trust Him. To be received by Christ I must not only come to Him renouncing all my own righteousness (Romans 10:3), as an empty-handed beggar (Matt. 19:21), but I must also forsake my self-will and rebellion against Him (Ps. 12:11, 12; Prov. 28:13). Should an insurrectionist and seditionist come to an earthly king seeking his sovereign favour and pardon, then, obviously, the very law of his coming to him for forgiveness requires that he should come on his knees, laying aside his hostility. So it is with a sinner who really comes savingly to Christ for pardon; it is against the law of faith to do otherwise.

Saving faith is a genuine coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28;John 6:37, etc.). But let us take care that we do not miss the clear and inevitable implication of this term. If I say “I come to the U.S.A.” then I necessarily indicate that I left some other country to get here. Thus it is in “coming” to Christ; something has to be left. Coming to Christ not only involves the abandoning of every false object of confidence, it also includes and entails the forsaking of all other competitors for my heart. “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:25). And what is meant by “ye were [note the past tense—they are no longer doing so] as sheep going astray”? Isaiah 53:6, tells us: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to His own way.” Ah, that is what must be forsaken before we can truly “come” to Christ—that course of self-will must be abandoned. The prodigal son could not come to his Father while he remained in the far country. Dear reader, if you are still following a course of self-pleasing, you are only deceiving yourself if you think you have come to Christ.

Pink, A.W. (2010-07-26). Practical Christianity. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday Wisdom: The Pledge

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What are our rights as Christians? Do we have the right to a beautiful home and two cars? Do we have the right to have a healthy family? Do we have the right to be happy?

Perhaps most of Christians’ heartaches, contentions, and worries are born because of this thinking that we have special rights.

I came across this pledge the other day, written by a Sunday School teacher named Russell Kelfer. He was a Bible teacher at Wayside Chapel in San Antonio, Texas for over 20 years and has left us many lessons, poems, and stories. But perhaps nothing he wrote is so convicting as this Christian Pledge. Could you sign this?

____________________________

Having been born into the kingdom of God, I do hereby acknowledge that God’s purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all eternity.

I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain or to have success or prosperity. He has not guaranteed me perfect health. He has not guaranteed me perfect parents. He has not guaranteed me perfect children. He has not guaranteed me the absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings, or persecution.

What He has promised me is eternal life. What He has promised me is abundant life. What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life.

Therefore I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations, and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit, for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life.

 
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Your signature here
 
 
 
 

But It’s All I’ve Got

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My house is getting old and needs updating
But it’s the only house I’ve got
And it’s a home full of love and memories
 
I’m driving around in a car with  a big dent
But it’s the only car I’ve got
And it gets me where I need to go
 
Going back to work on Monday is hard
But it’s the only job I’ve got
And I know many do not have a job at all
 
My family can drive me crazy
But they are the only family I’ve got
I can’t imagine what I’d do without them
 
Sometimes I don’t like what God allows in my life
But He’s the one and only God
And I know He knows best
 

This is just a silly poem that I thought of last night as I was laying in my bed complaining in my heart about some minor irritation. I was suddenly hit with the thought: what if that person was no longer in your life? That thought immediately changed my feelings from irritation to overwhelming gratitude. I thought of how blessed I am, not only in that relationship, but in so many ways.

But when we focus on the negative, we have a hard time finding those blessings. So today, let’s flip flop it. When a negative thought wants to surface about your situation or a family member or your house or your car or a friend, take a moment and think about what your life would be like without them. Sometimes–for the little stuff–that is enough to put your world back in perspective.

But if it’s not and there is a genuine problem to be solved, bring a heart of gratitude for the blessings you do have and for what the Lord is teaching you. This will serve as an encouragement and a help as you work through the problem.

I know I’ve written on this topic many times before. But, as my thoughts showed me last night, I still have a long way to go. And, just in case I am not alone, I didn’t figure it would hurt to write a reminder for myself and anyone else who needs it!

Psalm 79:13  So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.

 

 

Basic Principles for Digital & Social Media

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Yes, I realize it’s Friday and not a normal posting day. However, I came upon this today and I just couldn’t wait until Wednesday to post it. This is good stuff! I found it in The Berean Call Newsletter. What a great reminder!

Basic Principles for Digital & Social Media

Excerpts from: Biblically Handling Technology and Social Media by Biblical Discipleship Ministries

 The speed at which technology has advanced in just the last decade is incredible! We are literally reeling with all the “new.” With so many innovations happening so quickly, it is easy to carelessly accept what is going on around us without mentally taking a step back and evaluating our Christian response to the times in which we live. In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the Bible talks about how the children of Issachar . . . were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. We should accept this challenge to understand the times in which we live and learn how we, as Christians, should respond to our culture in a way that reflects a biblical worldview….

 The danger in mindlessly copying the world’s ways or responses is that we can easily be led into carelessness, foolishness, and sinfulness, often even becoming enslaved. Where are you today? Have you become a slave of texting, Facebook, YouTube, a blog (or other people’s blogs; maybe you are a blogaholic!)? Or rather, have you learned how to make these cultural trends your servants–making sure that you remain their master? Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).

 All that God has provided, including these devices, can be tools for ministry. Tools usually have an intended use. As believers, our intended purpose is to be focused on doing all we do to further His kingdom. We are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20); therefore, let us use whatever we have to serve Him well, giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed (2 Cor. 6:3)….

 Consider the following principles to help you better glorify God and thus be a good ambassador for Him.

Don’t Be Rude – Show Respect For Others

One way that you can be distinctively different from the world while using any kind of device is to think of others more highly than yourself (Phil. 2:3-4). When God’s people make the conscious effort to stop putting “me” first, they are less apt to be rude and more able to think of others’ needs and feelings above their own. We have to remember that it can become uncomfortable for a person to try to communicate with someone who is constantly checking a phone or texts, using an iPod or Bluetooth ear bud, or is unable to look away from her Facebook page for even a minute to look directly at the one who is speaking to her. Being inconsiderate (rude) with our devices and social media sources can be especially discouraging for those who are less involved with the newest electronic and digital trends (e.g., those who didn’t grow up in the technology generation–many elderly and even some middle-aged people). Don’t allow yourself to use anything in a way that could make others feel inferior….

 [The Scriptures say]: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Mk. 12:31); andFinally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous (1 Pet. 3:8)….The Lord Jesus always treated people as important-more important than Himself. We need to be concerned about practicing the principles He has given us for loving others (see 1 Cor. 13:4-8). Specifically remember the principle that love is not self-seeking. We must train ourselves to die to our selfish desires as the Apostle Paul encourages in 1 Corinthians 15:31: I die daily….

Don’t Be Excessive

Remember the Fruit of the Spirit and exercise temperance (self-control) (Gal. 5:22-24)! Don’t forget to let all things be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40). Take a minute to re-evaluate your life and consider how much time you are spending in the Word, witnessing, serving (within our families, churches, or communities), compared to the time spent on a phone, MacBook, iPad, MySpace, blogspot, video game, or any Internet activity.

Don’t Be Possessive Or Too Dependent

Remember these Biblical admonitions: Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God (Lev. 19:4). Ye shall make you no idols (Lev. 26:1). Consider taking certain days to “fast” from your devices or media, replacing that time with a renewed focus on improving your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ so that you do not allow idols into your life.

Don’t Be Secretive

If there is something about your text messages, voice messages, phone numbers on your call log, song selections on your iPod or Mp3, content of your social network or blog, YouTube selections, or your Internet browsing choices that would embarrass you if someone in an authority position (parent, grandparent, spouse, church leader, friend) in your life knew about it, or that you would become defensive concerning, it is a very good sign that it is something that would not honor the Lord (see Prov. 10:17)….

 Each day when you pick up your phone or portable media player or log into your social networking account, ask God to help you use them in ways that will please Him. Allowing a parent or spouse to have the password to your personal media or entertainment options will help keep you accountable. Applying scriptural principles to your use of technology-based systems and social media is a great way to guard yourself from being in bondage to them. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? (Gal. 4:9).

Communicate With A Purpose

Incorporating “yourself” into your social network or blog in a God-glorifying manner for example could be posting that you had specifically prayed for something and the Lord answered. Instead of talking about your achievements, talk about your latest ministry or witnessing adventure, mission trip, or family day. Share about the blessings and the challenges that the Lord gave you through those activities. Talk about the people you spend time with and the character qualities that you like in them. Use media options to glorify the Lord by having a true meaning to your posts. Ask the Lord to give you a redeeming purpose for your blog, Facebook, and YouTube posts, or personal websites. It is important to once again stress that we as Christians need to be distinctively (yes, even radically) different in the way that we use whatever the world promotes or the culture deems acceptable. The strength of the choice is in your hands. By God’s grace, you do not have to allow anything to have power over you (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

I once was blind, but now I see!

693495_77038354Since my mother was a little girl she has been almost blind. She was quite unable to see or do much of anything without the aid of her eyeglasses. Somewhere during my childhood she got contact lenses and that made it more convenient. But the bottom line was that, unless she had some correction for her eyes, she only saw dark, undefined shapes.

But then a few months ago, she had the opportunity to get Lasik surgery. And I had the privilege of taking her to the appointment for her first eye. My daughter and I went for breakfast together while we waited for the surgeon to work his miracle in about an hour. When we returned we only waited for a few minutes before I was called back to see my mom in recovery.

As I entered the room I saw her sitting there with a clear bubble placed over her eye. She just kept saying, “This is amazing! This is amazing!”

Even with the bubble on, she could see incredibly clearly. She had gone from seeing only a dark, undefined, muddled world to seeing the whole world clearly!

What a great picture of what happens when we get saved. When we repent of our sins and are transformed by His glorious grace–only then are we given “spiritual sight”.

Matthew 13:16-17 puts it this way: “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

While some things remain a mystery, we are given the gift of spiritual insight when we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. Sure, it is not always an instant gift. But God gradually opens our eyes to the treasure of His Word and it becomes a bottomless well of wisdom and an incredible help for life.

But our unbelieving friends don’t understand. They mock us and they make decisions that destroy their lives and we just don’t understand why.

But if we stop and think for a moment, we do know why. They see darkly, unclearly. They don’t know what we do. And that means that, instead of harshly judging them, we should pray for them.

They are not living by the same rule book as you and I are. It seems so basic and yet we Christians seem to have a hard time understanding this.

If you got saved as an adult, you probably understand this so much better than me. You truly experienced a transformation. You know exactly what it means to live in blindness and then have your spiritual eyes opened upon your salvation.  While I experienced a transformation as a child, it was much less dramatic.

This is why we should not point fingers of judgment at the world. They don’t get it. They really don’t. That is because they can’t SEE. They have not had spiritual surgery.

Today, let’s mourn–and pray– for our lost family and friends who are honestly unable to see the Truth. And let’s express our humble thanks to the Lord for this undeserved gift of spiritual sight. Only when we are saved can we understand these amazing words:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound!
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see!      
 
 

Heart Hints

1208355_17444325So it is February 14, the day we celebrate as Valentine’s Day.  Some of us love this holiday. Many of us hate it. Some of us just want to ignore it. But no matter how you feel about the holiday, it is always appropriate to show how much you love someone. So, I thought I would lighten up the blog today a bit and share a few “heart hints” for us to consider.

1.   Life is so short. Let’s enjoy and appreciate EVERY MINUTE we are given with the one we love. So often our focus turns instead to the things we don’t like or the stuff that is irritating. Let’s choose instead to be grateful.

2.  True love isn’t always nice. Every so often we have to tell someone we love really difficult things. Sure, we need to say it in a loving, kind way, but sometimes no matter how you wrap it, it will sound harsh. But true love tells the truth.

3.  Love is just downright hard sometimes.  And for my single readers with their (unrealistic) dreams– let me dash them right now: no one rides off into the sunset to their own personal perfect kingdom. The knight’s armor grows rusty, the horse grows old, and the castle is drafty and damp. (I’m telling you the truth because I love you, even thought I know it may sound harsh!) But can we really experience all that love can be if it’s never hard?

4.  One of the best places to be in the whole world is in the arms of the man or woman who loves you with all their heart and has proven it over and over again, in spite of your insensitivity and selfishness and big mouth and demanding requests…you fill in the rest of the sentence. Now that is the kind of love that long, happy marriages are made of. (yes, I know I just ended in a preposition, but sometimes it just is the best way to say something!)

5.  Love has to look beyond the present pain. When we are going through a bad time, I try to remember how I felt when I fell in love with my husband. Or to our future hopes and dreams. If we get locked into the present and dwell on it, we tend to grow further and further apart. It’s important to keep a broader focus than just that moment.

6.It’s never out of fashion to let someone know you love them. If you aren’t normally a Valentine’s Day gift buyer, well, switch it up this year and go buy your wife or husband a gift! It doesn’t have to be expensive, but just something to show them how much they mean to us. Most of us end up in a rut and we forget to show our spouses just how much we appreciate them.

7.  The stages of love are so exciting and such a gift from God! Young love is full of that initial excitement of wanting to be together all of the time, discovering the other person. And then, after marriage, we move into adjusting to living together and learning to give and take.  After the kids come, we fall into a routine and have to work a little harder not to take each other for granted and to keep the romance alive. And then the kids grow up and start their own lives and we get to really enjoy one another’s company again. We are comfortable with each other and  look forward to spending time together.  Each of these stages has its blessings. We need to enjoy them for what they are.

8.  It’s important to show love throughout the year with hugs and (real) kisses, holding hands, and with words of love and appreciation. This is especially important during that kid stage, when it is just so easy to lose touch with one another in the circus of busyness surrounding you.

9.  Be careful of expectations. I have made this mistake over and over again (my poor husband). I get my hopes up for a special present or date and then when it isn’t up to my expectations I feel let down. I am learning not to have such high expectations. This applies to any relationship in life, not just husband and wife (I have done the same thing for Mother’s Day).

10. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.*   Oh, to love like this! If #10 was the only heart hint on this list it would be enough.

So there are ten things to think about today. And, please  remember, I’m learning about love and marriage as I live my life, just like you, so please feel free to add your own heart hints in the comment section. I know you have learned valuable things, too, and I would love to hear them!

 

*I Corinthians 13:4-8

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