February 14th – I remember the very first time I wrote a valentine letter to a boy I liked. I was in grade 4. I also remember being absolutely mortified when he found out it was me. From that day on I never ever made valentine’s day about me.
It was 2007 and I sat across the kitchen bench as my husband handed me s resignation. He offered to quit the ministry and find something else because he didn’t want to do something that made me unhappy.
Over several months I had allowed something to happen to my heart and in the process I began to close my heart to God and to his grace. It had been subtle but the retreat of the heart, the pulling back, the shrinking back was familiar. No one would have had any idea. I knew how to walk the walk and talk the talk. But inside….
I know my husband well and this offer was in no way blackmail or manipulation. He has always made my happiness his goal. I had take a chose that day ..to lay down life to bring forth life. I chose ‘hard’ that day. I chose, that day, to YES to to Philippians 1:9. To let love flourish once again. to deal with whatever had taken me to a place where love could not grow and every year I sit across the bench and have that same conversation. I turn to my husband and give him my ‘yes’ . Yes to this message, yes to my call and yes to all that Jesus is asking me to do.
This year is going to test me on every level, at every angle. It is going to demand love.
My choice to embrace ‘hard’ is also to embrace grace.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish (abound moe and more; increase r and more) and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG)
I pray that your love will ‘flourish’
I pray that your love will ‘abound more and more’
I pray that your love will ‘increase’
Love is meant to increase, abound, keeping growing.
That right there is the word for me. Every day, one more day, every hour and knew more hour, every month and one more month…every part of this year, through each season,summer, autumn, winter spring, through hot day and cool days, through dark night and daylight, up mountains and in every valley..my love will flourish, that my love will abound. That the love in our church will be much…and increase more and more and that our love will be abundant and fruitful.
let your love abound. I love that word ..it is the root word of abundance..a word that reflects fruitfulness and bounty. Let love abound not decrease or shrink back.
Love was never meant to decrease or run out. Love is not a quota or a set amount that must be protected because there is not enough.
Love is meant to keep growing.
My love for my kids has increased with the number of kids I have been asked to love and increased as the years have gone by- wider and deeper.
It is meant to keep growing. I should be able to look back at yesterday and see increase.
It is kind of impossible to love God and not love people. so our hearts close to both.
I may think I am doing ok in the love stakes but I am keep abounding ..let love abound more and more and more.
As I teach my kids the true meaning of love this valentines day , in the midst of the fun, the red, the cupcakes and gifts, I will tell the greatest love story ever told: A story of redemption and true love. I will retell the story to our kids of what it meant when we said yes to following Jesus and what it meant when we laid down our lives to follow the call of a god to do ministry. We will share the example of Jesus love that said YES to the Father because he loved me and yes..this love that did not cling to his rights but instead laid aside the rights of the throne to be crucified on a cross. True love hurts. True love is hard. True love is long suffering…it chooses to say yes to what would be impossible in our own strength.
To truly love we must know love and to know love is to know God for GOD is love. Let love flourish, Let love abound, let love increase. let others plumb the depths, the heights, the width and discover the that this love, this true love never shrinks.