Love is

Lauren and her "Love is" mobile

Lauren and her “Love is” mobile

We had an amazing Valentine’s week planned for our family. To help us better understand God’s love, we were going to focus on one phrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for seven days, correlate a person in Scripture who displayed that kind of love, do fun Valentine’s activities and give the kids a special Valentine’s gift each day. Everything was wrapped and ready to roll for Monday.

Then I had surgery to extract my wisdom teeth.

The kids stand in front of our Love Is wall hanging after Day 2, with bookmarks they made out of paint strip samples.

The kids stand in front of our Love Is wall hanging after Day 2, with bookmarks they made out of paint strip samples.

Sheer adrenaline and pain meds got me through the first day of “Love is”. We learned that love is patient and kind, and thought about how Joseph, son of Jacob, showed that kind of love to his family, and how God displays that love for us. We made Love Is Mobiles, which are proudly hanging on both the kids’ doors.

That’s as far as I was able to go in our family experience. Tuesday, my recovery turned for the worse, and Matt helped us learn that love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. John the Baptist exemplified that kind of love, and we studied about how John loved Jesus that way. The kids each got a Valentine’s book, and though they begged me to read to them, my face was so swollen and pain levels so high, I just couldn’t.

We skipped every other day of our Bible study.

To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I’ve literally spent the entire week sleeping on the couch or in bed, trying to get through the terrible pain and onset of vertigo.

Finally yesterday, after my oral surgeon treated me for a dry socket, God gave me some clarity through the pain. I sat in the car surrounded by my dear family, who had driven me two hours to my appointment, and realized we had each learned so much about love this week even though we didn’t finish our “Love is” study.

Love is patient and kind. Love picks up the slack for others. Love stays quiet so another can sleep. Love helps do the dishes and pick up toys. Love understands when another says no. Love is willing to wait until someone feels better (which is very difficult for kids who love to snuggle!). Love puts life on pause to make sure someone else is OK. Love sacrifices time and energy. Love gets through interrupted plans. Love takes the kids so the other can rest. Love turns down the volume on the TV. Love is there, no matter what.

The kids opened all the rest of their little love presents today, and are currently having a great time throwing new frisbees and blowing bubbles outside with my husband, while I continue to rest on the couch.

But as I watch them through the window, I see what love is.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thankful: God loves the world

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

– John 3:16

Today I am thankful that God loves the world.

God’s love extends to every person. He loves everyone who ever was and ever will be. He loves the child being formed in the womb and the person struggling to hang onto life. God loves people of every culture, heritage and ethnicity. He loves people no matter what language they speak. There is nowhere in the world God’s love doesn’t reach. He loves those working their way up the corporate ladder, and those who are out of work. He loves people living in crammed high-rise apartments, palaces, suburban three-bed two-baths, and trailers with no electric. God loves people who do good and do bad. He loves people who invest their lives in philanthropic work and people who are serving life sentences in prison. He loves those who believe in Him and those who don’t. God loves the person who only goes to church on Christmas, and those who are there every time the doors are open. He loves those who take His name as a Christian, and those who use His name to curse.

God loves without bias or judgment. He loves each person completely. God’s love is not based on our decisions or worthiness. It is based on His. God does not qualify His love. He freely gives it.

God loved the world, each person, so much, that He gave us Jesus. He sent His One and Only Son here to bring us back to Him. Jesus gave up His life because of God’s great love, so each of us can be made right with God and have everlasting life.

Don’t think for a moment that you aren’t worth it. Don’t believe it when you begin to feel that no one loves you, or could ever love you. God’s great love gives us our worth.

Wherever you are right now, whatever you have done or not done, no matter how you feel you measure up, you can know this: You are loved.