Monday, June 29, 2015

Is Love A Fairy-tale?

I can scroll Facebook and see young women sharing their broken hearts, pages from their story, tears of confusion, and how deeply they want things to change. Is love a fairy-tale? No, it isn't, but our world's perception of love is. We have a perfect description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. This entire chapter tells us what love is and isn't.  As young women we can have a distorted view and many times it isn't until we are older that we truly understand. 

I ache for these young women. I too remember asking myself, "Am I ever going to find someone who truly loves me?" Oh, yes, I was that girl who thought I could change the guy. It'll all get better in time. I'll just stick with it until I know for sure it isn't going to work. By then, my heart was broken into a gazillion pieces. Was it all worth it? I taught my children to ask themselves, "Can I picture spending the rest of my life with this person? Can I envision us marrying and spending our whole lives together?" If you can't envision being married. If this girl or guy isn't the one you would walk down the aisle with then you don't need to waste your time or their time. 

Love isn't just fun stuff. It isn't just dinner dates, roses, gifts, going to parties, and spending each waking moment together finding something fun to do. That stuff is pretty remarkable, but after a while the heart needs more. Love isn't just sex and giving some dude all of yourself until he tires of you and finds someone new and more exciting. Love isn't some guy who wants to change everything about you. He isn't going to ask you to stay away from your family. He isn't going to ask anything of you that will cause you to stumble. No, this guy or girl is suppose to inspire and encourage you to be the best you that you can be. 

Picture this girls; If you were to get sick today would he take care of you? If you were to wake up next week with cancer would he give all? Would he stand by your side with no hair and throwing up day after day after he drove you to receive chemo treatments? Say you can envision being married. Would he help with chores? Would he cook and clean and most of all make a great dad? Would he work hard to provide for the family? Would each of his choices be those that are made for the benefit of his bride and children or would he be more self centered and have to have his time away with the boys? 

See, it's important to envision these circumstances, these times in life that aren't so fun. In time we age, we are no longer a size 4. Our bodies change, our emotions change. And he too will do some changing. His hair will recede and he'll gain a few pounds in the middle. In our economy he may lose his job. He could hurt his back and not be able to work for a while. 

Love isn't losing a part of yourself. It isn't giving up who you are for another. It's gaining more of yourself as you and your love grow together. You bring out the best in each other. You excel together as you dream and laugh together. Love is being so comfortable with one another that you can truly be yourself. 

When we're young we don't often think of all of these things. We just think of right now and the fun we are having. But at some point that first argument will come. You will either learn to communicate and work things out or you will fuss and fight and destroy one another by always trying to win. Marriage isn't keeping score. But it sure isn't fighting every day of your life. That isn't love. Sometimes we are more in love with the idea of love than the guy we are trying to be loved by. 

Love sure isn't name calling, and placing one's hands on another. It's not leaving bruises and apologizing only to leave another. It isn't making excuses for one another. It's when we are in these kinds of relationships that we wonder if love even exists. 

Love comes easy. Marriage is hard work, but it doesn't seem like a job. You want to fold your husband's socks and take him a cup of tea. He wants to do the laundry and dishes for you. Marriage or any kind of relationship isn't 50/50. Never is it just 50/50. Sometimes it's 20/80, 60/40, 30/70, but always in the heart it is 100/100. It's helping one another, not because you have to, but because you want to. You go out of your way to make the other feel loved. 

See, love is picturing each other growing older. It's a young man holding your hair when your tossing your cookies. It's a young girl who will help her husband cut wood. See, it's doing for one another expecting nothing in return. It's love in action. 

But see, most of all, and I want you to pay attention. A young man who truly loves you isn't going to ask you to crawl under the covers with him before your wedding day. A young girl who truly loves you will not be asking you to come over when her parents are gone so you can have alone time. She will respect herself and you. If we don't have respect for ourselves how then can we expect others to? 

Too often we don't have good examples in our lives in which to compare. Our parents marriages failed. We witnessed arguing and things children should never see. But see, we do have One in which we can look to for who and what is right in our lives. That is Jesus Christ. He is our Example in what love truly is. 

Hold your standards high. Have patience. Never just settle. Never think you don't deserve to have someone love you as if you are a princess or a prince. You know what? There's nothing wrong with you for waiting. There's nothing at all wrong with saying, "Hey, I enjoy being single." Get to know yourself and who you truly are as an individual. Don't feel that you have to have a dude on your arm to be valued. Guys, don't feel that you have to have a girlfriend just because you're lonely. Mature, grow into the person God has created you to be, and in His perfect timing He will send along the mate of your dreams. It's then you will know she or he is the one! Measure everything against the Word of God and you will never go wrong. 

See, today I would travel to the moon and back for my husband. It's been twenty-five years for us now. I love helping my husband. I love doing things he loves, like hunting and gardening. He knows I love the city, the museums, and the zoo. He hates the city, but he takes me there and he enjoys being with me. We enjoy each other's company. If we're just laying in bed in silence, watching television or reading a book, I simply love just being next to him. 

He brings me wild flowers he's picked himself. Every single day he tells me I'm more beautiful than the day before. He makes me feel precious, loved, and valued. He sees my dreams and he says, "Babe, you can write that book. You have such a gift. If I were the only one to read it, then it would be worth it." I bless him. That's pretty amazing love. 

I fell in love with him even more a few years back when he was laid off of work for three years. Three long years we struggled. You can envision that time. He took side jobs. Worked jobs he never imagined working. One was for minimum wage. He never went a day without providing for his family. He didn't do these days alone. I put in applications and resumes to help him. I would strive each day to make his day wonderful and carry some of his stress. It was a time in our lives that we laughed more and shared more together than many of those years before. For Christmas he purchased me a sock monkey. I had always wanted one, but never received one. He took the last twenty dollars in his pocket and bought that gift. I can tell you that gift means more to me than any other gift, and I've had some amazing gifts! 

Life wasn't always easy. There were early years when he was fighting for his children and carried so much anger. I was often the target of his anger. He wasn't angry at me. He was hurting and angry and didn't know how to let all that go. I prayed. I prayed. I prayed. I couldn't fix all that was hurting my husband. I could be there. I could support him, but it was God that was going to have to fix the broken and bring to beauty the ash of the pain. That is exactly what God did. Today my husband is filled with grace, mercy, and such powerful love! He's so tender. God has given him such a heart of forgiveness. He is truly a man I admire.
I too have felt the prayers of my husband as there were many, many days he spent beside hospital beds that held me. When you live with chronic illness, you never know what's to come, but no matter the circumstance, he has forever loved me, and lifted me to the Lord. In fact, it was my husband that taught me about Jesus. When you have found a man to stick beside you no matter what comes your way, that's a mighty good man for keeps!

Our life together holds so many stories to share. Life wasn't always easy. We made mistakes along the way, just like others. That's a part of growth. Now we can look back at all that we have learned and now we know the true grace of God. We see how He has blessed us and has never left us. 

Our children, all five of them, are grown and have blessed us with grandchildren. I can tell you that my husband is the best granddaddy I have yet to see with their grandchildren. He would say the same about my relationship with them. Everything has come together as our years have brought us closer. 

I've been that young girl messed up in a relationship that wasn't going anywhere. At least anywhere that I wanted to go. I spent a long time trying to {fix} the guy and hope that he loved me as much as I loved him. But today, I can tell you that then I had no idea what love was. I only had the fantasy of what [love] is. Now I know what love is. It's sacrifice, but never sacrificing who you are as a person. It's growing together, exploring who each other are, and then spending day after day bringing out the best in the other. It's dreaming together and coming together to make those dreams come true. 

It takes courage to leave a relationship. Sometimes we are insecure and we want a relationship to make us feel better about ourselves. We should be able to trust our mate. Trust shouldn't be an issue. If it is, take a good look at the relationship you are now in. Could it be time to say, goodbye? Never allow another human-being to take advantage of you and make you feel small. 

Reach out to your family and trusted friends for advice and guidance. Don't stay with a guy just because you have hopes it will one day get better. Tell him or her what's wrong and be honest. Love yourself enough to have deal-breakers! Have confidence in yourself and know without a doubt that you deserve nothing less than the best! 

Love isn't a fairy-tale when love in based in godly faith and the Lord is the center of your relationship. Any guy or girl that makes fun of your faith or tells you how ridiculous it is, it's time to walk away. He or she doesn't respect you. 

Stop wasting your time on people who don't truly love you. Just think, you're giving yourself into a relationship that in your heart you know isn't going to end well. Make sure the hand you hold will love you when your hands are wrinkled with time and aged with a beauty that only the one who loves you will appreciate.

"Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 


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