Thursday, February 19, 2009

Verse of the Week...

I frequently visit for several reasons. One thing I enjoy is their verse of the day. Some speak to me more than others, but today's really hit me.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”- 1 John 4:11-12

To love one another is one of the hardest things we as humans will ever have to do. I find it so difficult to smile and say loving things to someone who cuts you off in traffic, the naysayers, etc. It is a daily struggle. I have not acheived the goal of loving my family and friends as God would want us to, let alone strangers I come across.

The love I speak of is unconditional. It is unrelenting, unyeilding, unshakeable love. God loves us so much and he loves us without the condition of "what's in it for me." It is the most unselfish open love anyone will ever experience.

I want to be able to love someone in the face of resistence. I want to love everyone equally. I want to have someone yell at me and I can look at them and say "I love you." Not that I really want someone to yell at me, but I want the ability to love in the face of danger to myself, my loved ones, or what may come.

I have felt the change in me since my salvation. I have had more compassion for people, which I didn't think was possible. I do have a considerable amount of compassion for people to begin with, but I always thought it was a negative attribute. My mother is so incredibly tender hearted and would cry at the drop of a hat and I saw it as weak. I thought I was weak because I do care for people and when they take advantage of the compassion it hardens your heart. I felt I was being hardened and I want to break that down and become vulnerable again.

I have also been able to discern peoples motivations. When they are mean or ugly to me or people I know, I can have sympathy for them because I know where their heart is. And that place is so much harder to deal with. It makes me want to hug them for their struggle and tell them its ok, God is on their side.

One thing my boss has repeated from one of her former bosses is "You can't let what people do to you harden your heart to others." This is so true, but so often we let those wounds cover our heart and develop scar tissue. Scar tissue is much harder than regular tissue and when you feel you have been wounded too much you heart becomes one large callous to the outside world.

I have developed the survival instinct of "What's In it for Me" and I don't want to live like that anymore. I want to love with reckless abandon. With complete vulnerability. And I won't be scared to get hurt because I won't be. Because it will be God's love flowing through me. He pours out His Spirit everyday.

I want to be a jar of clay, a vessel for His love. This means taking less offense and taking a leap of faith.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Review: The Five Love Languages

Twice in one day? Just thought I would catch up and answer the call.

I have been reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. First off it is incredible! It has revolutionized my marriage in a way I would have never of imagined.

It is also helpful for any relationship especially if you are having trouble communicating love to someone. As children of God we are all called to "love thy neighbor as thyself." This is not always easy.

It explores how we communicate love to our spouse (and others). Our method we choose may not be the best for the individual you are trying to show love to. Let me illustrate:

The five love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Rarely is a couple using the same language. You read the book then take the quiz in the back to show what areas speak to you most.

I have three major areas and they are: Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation.
My husband's three major areas are: Physical Touch, Quality Time, and Words of Affirmation.

We were similar in the fact that we both valued quality time and words of affirmation, but those areas needed work because we were not "speaking" them properly. Also, the two major areas that differed were areas that were vitally important and we had no idea.

For example: I love it when my hubby does things around the house, fills up my car, or takes out the trash for no specific reason and without instruction.
My hubby loves just holding my hand when we are sitting next to each other, having a nice little smooch, or a big bear hug.

I love cuddling, but not all the time. He loves cuddling, but he likes it 98% of the time. I'm more like 75%. I did not know how important this was to him and when I didn't want to cause I was distracted or doing something else, it actually felt like rejection to him.

I can't tell you how heartbroken I felt when I discovered this. I never would have wanted him to feel rejected because he is always loved and wanted. By my rejecting his strongest love language "physical touch" I was "saying" to him "you are not wanted." I was not showing him the love the way he needed to be shown.

Our relationship is better than ever. Not that it was horrible before, but we have unlocked a new door in our lives. We have broken down the barrier of lack of communication by saying hey I need an extra hug or my love tank is only half full today (you will understand when you read the book, lol).

If you are having struggles in any relationship in your life, I suggest reading this book. It will make a world of difference!

It's been awhile...

Just thought I would update the look since it is getting towards spring.  The hubby and I have been super busy and the Lord has put so many things on my heart to type out in blog, but I have regretfully let it slip away from me.  Everytime I would put it off for a "better" time (and honestly what better time is there than the present) and would come back to put in on the blog, the inspiration had gone.  That is what happens when you do not obey His voice.  He may find someone else to do your job.  I will do my best from now on to be obedient to my calling.  Thank you Lord that I have one.

My husband and I have a house that we are looking to close on in a few weeks!  We are so excited. God has worked out everything in his timing and this is the place He is leading us.  I will post pictures periodically on improvements we are making.  We will have to do it little by little, but it will be a home before we know it.  

We both just love it despite negative backlash from people.  It is an older home so there will have to be updates and improvements and it will take close to 1.5-2 years for all of them to be complete.  But of course no one will ever be "finished" on their house.  There will always be maintenance and improvements and of course tastes change.  

I can't wait to get started and of course we will continue to pray for smooth transactions all around and for our move into a home to be seamless.  Please pray for us as well because this is our first home.  

Other than that, look for our improvements, "do it yourself" projects, and before and afters.

Thanks for reading!