Thursday, February 13, 2014

When The Going Gets Tough, Love Gets You Going

1 Corinthians 13:13 Pass on Love as The Greatest Virtue

It's not always easy, but our soul’s highest calling is to demonstrate love, even if it’s imperfect. 

As a wife and a mom, here's how I am tested in this area:
  • When my child starts a rebellion in the middle of the grocery store.
  • When I run out of patience with my spouse.
  • When my spouse walks away in an argument. Or when I do.
  • When my loving gestures aren't always reciprocated back by friends. 
  • When I hold back in fear.
  • When I feel defeated by the loss of a dream I had or by the loss of a loved one.
It's easy to just think of "me" and how I look like and forgo being a loving person. But learning about God’s love through Jesus has reminded me to love when the going gets tough. And when it comes to being a mom, His love shines a new light in me even in the most disappointing and exhausting moments of parenting. He provides a biblical form of love for me to follow.

Biblical love transcends human love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, the Apostle Paul states that love is the greatest virtue of all:
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
Paul isn’t writing about a Valentine’s Day marketing ploy or the type of passion depicted on television dramas.  He’s referring to what the Greeks have coined “agape” which is a benevolent love towards another. 

The basic concept of agape love is to love someone regardless of their worthiness.  When I learned what was meant by this, I awakened.

This love isn’t a codependent love—which attempts to be with someone in order to meet your own needs for love (and which turns the attention to you)—agape love is an unconditional love. 

It’s loving anyway even in the hard times. It could be reaching out and making the first gesture of love. It could be resolving to keep an open but vigilant heart, without defenses or excuses.

Needless to say, as a parent and wife, I'm learning new ways to love. I'm still a work in progress.

But in the meantime, I’ve been trying to “load up” on love.  God’s supernatural love. I try to dwell on the joy He had in creating me (Genesis 1:27, 31), that He knew me even before I was made (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:16) and that we are all wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) that he knows everything about me and my life (Matthew 10:30) and that he helps direct my steps (Proverbs 16:9). That’s the extent of his love—detailed and all encompassing. Gosh, not even my own parents know me that well!

I guess I've lived enough of my life and seen a lot to know that God's love “outbests” even the most epic of romantic dates and relationships (even the dramatic ones).  The latter may satisfy temporarily, but the more I study the Bible, the more I see God’s love as a steady, everlasting one. And the older I get, the more I want of that one.

Because I am receiving His love, I can give it. Knowing this allows me to love others imperfectly because I am loved perfectly. 

I constantly rest on God's second chances, including the chance to try loving again. His grace allows me to keep on keepin’ on.

So I try to love anyway. And I cling to scripture that reminds me that I am loved and known. I do it so I can go back out there in the world. That’s what frees me up the most. That I can love imperfectly and face heartaches, rejection, and dismissal----and still survive past the sting because I've got an everlasting love in my back pocket. 

Most of all, God's love makes me feel like I'm redeemable. 

His love will be there in the struggle for appreciation and approval.

His love is comforting when no one else has the words.

His love allows me to learn about being myself, even when I'm searching for who I am.

His love is present in times of my loneliness.

His love is the true standard to the world’s fickle messages of lovability.

And when I feel like a failure, His love will reminds me He is more than enough.

Now I want to offer some encouragement to you. When you feel like you are struggling with love and are knee-deep in the mud of life, get behind these 4 truths:

I am loved right now (and others know that about you). The power of God’s love is transformative if you take the time to really look into it.  Get close to God. We are all His creation. He loves us regardless of our worthiness. When you feed off that notion, you can feed others (as a parent, this is how I fill my own cup because I know I’ll be emptying it throughout the day!) 

Quote by Iyanla Vanzant

Life is a journey of exploring and demonstrating love. So instead of following your heart, choose to lead it.  Love is action. It’s a choice. And I don’t have to always be reactive; I can be proactive. Lead your heart on a lighted path, not a bitter one. These quotes and messages are some of my favorites from The Love Dare, by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. Open the book and you’ll see 1 Corinthians 13:13 in the very first few pages. I turn to this book when I feel like I hit a bump on the road in my relationships. The book offers 40 ways in 40 days to demonstrate agape love to your loved one. It’s a great place to start if you need ideas. Try reading it and notice how you feel after doing a few love challenges. You'll find yourself growing in your capacity to love.

I can love right where I am. Forget waiting on love. I don’t have to sit back until everything’s all perfect and rosy. I can practice building a lifestyle of love each and every moment. From prayer to treating yourself right to spending time with your kids to serving your spouse or friend. Love keeps me present and available. And when I mess up, I can step back and learn from it. Think about someone you can practice agape love with right now. Then do it!

Love is what lasts--on earth and in heaven.  Being under the umbrella of love is what our soul wants. It’s what people remember. It can be passed on to the next generation. And we take it with us when we go to heaven. That’s why it’s so important to fellowship with others. We get to practice receiving and giving love by living it out here on earth and in every season until we die. When you truly become awakened to that concept, you’ll see what an amazing opportunity it is to become a steward of love.

Now that you've read this post, be inspired through music. This song is a good place to start.

Ask yourself, "What promises of love from God do I need to remind myself of today?"

Before the end of the day, get fed. Meditate on these verses: 1 Corinthians 13:13 ("So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.") and 1 John 4:19 ("We love because he first loved us").

This post has been linked at Fellowship Fridays @ Christian Mommy Blogger


  1. "I can love right where I am." that's my favorite line in this post!

  2. "The basic concept of agape love is to love someone regardless of their worthiness." this is my favorite line from this post.... I can imagine that you are full of love. ;) keep inspiring your readers with your blogs...