This third week of Advent is all about love: how love came down to redeem mankind, how love covers all sins through sacrifice… how Jesus is love. I appreciate how the love of God plays out in my life, particularly when it is revealed through friendship with other believers. I am excited to share one such friend with you all today. Deb’s authenticity is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much and I know she will bless you as she has blessed me. -Carissa
When Carissa reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to write for My Journey of Faith on love, I jumped and thought to
myself, “oh, this will be an easy and encouraging piece.” Oh, how wrong I was…. For what was supposed to be easy became a conviction and a back and forth struggle. I mean come on, the Old Testament mentions love 319 times and the New Testament 232 times in the NIV translation. With that many mentions of the word love, how challenging could this writing piece be?
Love, it’s a simple word we hear daily, say daily, and try to exemplify daily. It’s a word we see all over the place; on clothes, in cards, on décor, signs, slogans, and so many more places. Love is a word that has its own holiday in February. The word love tends to be constant to our vision, and it so easily wraps around our ears in everyday conversations, but yet so often it forgets to bleed the blood of Christ into our hearts thoroughly….Ouch…this is where I got stuck.
This reality paralyzed me in my writing because I often think of myself as full of love. I find that area to be my gifting from God. I have been known to love no matter the circumstance, no matter what you have done wrong, I still believe in giving you the love that Christ so amazingly gives to me daily. This is the reality I felt about myself, but I’m not entirely sure this is as true as I had been believing. An ugly truth crept in this week that I noticed has built a barrier from genuinely bringing all love in, and fully exhaling all love out. It is an awful disease called bitterness.
Let’s be honest here, this time of year we are all in a rush, our schedules are over packed, the family is driving us nuts, and we are caught up in the “things” we need to do.
So often we forget; Love is patient “Come on, I am late, and we just need to get out of this door, NOW.” Love is kind ”Did you really just cut me off? And no right now I do not have time for you”. It does not envy ”How come my husband isn’t doing that for me?” It does not boast ”Not only did he get me a new car this week, but he also upgraded my diamond.” It is not proud ”I reached 100 likes today!” It does not dishonor others ”Did you hear what she said?” It is not self-seeking ”I can take that $50 gift card off your hands; I could use a new purse.” It is not easily angered ”I wanted milk in my coffee, not cream.” It keeps no records of wrongs ”You want me to help you after you just left me hanging when I needed you most?” (1Corinthians 13: 4-5)
You see my problem here, love is all around in every nook and cranny, yet here I am stuck in the world. As I began to pray over these words, and more importantly ask Christ to fix my heart, I realized how mighty of a superpower love really is. God is trusting each of us with the power that comes from His love alone, and we need not waste it. True Christ-like love can heal the hurting, mend the broken, give hope to the hopeless, and shares Christ far beyond our words ever could. Love is an action, not just a statement.
This is our season to love like never before. To put down our bitterness and take a stand to love on a whole new level. When things aren’t going as planned, still show love. When someone is ugly to you, respond in love. When someone seems to be struggling share the true ultimate love you have been entrusted with. The world is quickly changing, and we have the most vital role to play, consistent love.
There is no better way for me to sign off with you than to let these words resonate within your heart, as I am doing as I write.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1John 3: 18)
Many Blessings to you and your family this season,
A note from Deb:
Yes, that’s right, Deb Rice, “a hot mess for Christ.” I often joke that this is how to describe me best, the reality is, this is the truth! My life has been anything but dull, but that has helped paint a glorious picture that points towards Jesus. This picture tends to be abstract, if you look from the wrong direction, it doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t look very good. But, if you look from a different angle it shows glorious things that only Christ can produce. I am a wife of an Air Force Veteran; we have two amazing kiddos. Our nine-year-old son recently diagnosed with PANS/PANDAS (if you don’t know what this is or have questions about it, please reach out to me) and is on the Autism Spectrum. Our darling daughter is 3, she is full of spunk and knows what she wants (I wonder where she gets that from). I grew up unchurched, was saved seven years ago when I found that Christ alone was the answer to all my questions. I have been gifted in the world of communication and encouragement to help share messages with those going through tough times and be their cheerleader. I am always here……no one should do the hard stuff alone. I am the founder of Shattered for Glory Ministries and would love for you to follow us as we begin to set out on our new journey of where God is leading. https://www.facebook.com/ShatteredforGlory/