Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought this was an appropriate time to post this, since I've had it in draft for a few weeks.
This is a topic that has been stewing in me for maybe a year and a half... ever since overhearing an interesting conversation between two college-age people, a young man and a young woman, at a ball game. And lately, it has been specifically on my heart.
The young woman was debating what a possible new tattoo should say. She thought maybe, "you have the love," or a similar wording. Her reasoning; everyone has all the love inside of them that they need. There was more to the conversation, but the gist of it was that if we search inside of ourselves, we will find all the love that we need for our relationships.
In my opinion, that seems like a very idealistic statement. The first thought that popped into my mind was, "if everyone has all the love inside of themselves that they need, then why do we have so many conflicts that center around relationships, divorce for example?" I guess you could argue that those people aren't searching deep enough, but I would say differently.
I know myself. I know that I don't have enough love inside of me, even to love Josiah at times. How can I say that?! Because it's the truth. I'm a selfish person. I often only see what I want or what my problem is, I miss out on the hurts that other people have. I say, "this is what's best for me." I've done it many times, I have a lot of practice (I am a youngest child after all). Maybe I'm not searching deep enough... nope it's not there, I don't have unconditional love.
So many times we see love as an emotion. I think you can feel love, but ultimately, will you always have that feeling? The answer is no. So what then? Love has to be a decision. It can't be only when it's convenient or easy. True love is willing to give up my "rights," give up the me, myself, and mine; to put someone else first, make them more important than myself.
The Bible says it so much better than I can: 4 "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Only God's love is unconditional. Do we even know what that looks like? Ephesians 3: 18-19 shows us a very small glimpse. 18 "And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." ~Ephesians 3: 18-19 Happy Valentine's Day!! May the unconditional love of God overflow from your heart to those around you!
Some days I just wish I had a "normal" life again. One where I didn't have to get up in the morning and go groom the stalls, or one where I didn't have to get up super early on weekends that we work. Or when it's cold and snowy outside, I can just enjoy the beauty from inside without getting wet and cold. Or enjoy some AC on hot and sweaty summer days instead of working outside. Or not getting dirty and smelly every day. Or being able to wear nice clothes to work instead of jeans and t-shirts that I know will have poop splatters or lime dust on them a few minutes after starting the work.
But what is normal? Has my old normal disappeared, and a new normal taken over? What is normal? Was my old life actually normal, has my life ever been normal? Is it even okay to be normal?
I love when I'm struck in a new way by something that I've seen or heard or read over and over again.
This time it was the lyrics of a song that I've heard so many times!
"Fight for joy!"
What?! Fight for joy? Why would I need to fight for joy? I'm a Christian, shouldn't joy just come automatically?
Not on those days when nothing seems right. Not when things aren't turning how I had dreamed.
Not when the cows are being stubborn and kicking at me. Not when I'm tired and just want to stay in bed instead of getting up to work.
John 10: 10 "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
Oh sure, that fake happy comes easily enough, but that's not joy.
I never thought I would have to fight for my joy. I don't want anyone to be able to steal that from me, but it is so hard to grasp joy in my hands. When I try it just slips away as soon as I close my hands. Then I feel like I'm falling to pieces, into despair.
"The Lordis my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
~Psalm 28: 7
I can't give myself joy. God gives it to me, He gives my heart peace when I trust His promises.
"To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that theLordhas planted for his own glory."
~Isaiah 61: 3
The Lord is my Shepherd, I trust Him for joy and peace!