Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Active Love

Just thought I would share a few of the moments with you that we have had over the past couple of weeks.
We are so busy with life, but one thing that I am very thankful for is a home that is permeated with love.
We share laughter, tears, frustrations, triumphs, prayers and simply time together. But it wasn't always so.
We have cuddle time, work time, school time, dinner time, play time, and it's ALL the time.
We have friends, family, neighbors, and, at times, I believe there have even been "angels unaware".
So, to follow up on my last post. I wanted to share four "A's" that the Lord showed me several years ago. To say you love someone is generally not sufficient. I know with all of these young un's around here, it takes more than that. But, as I pointed out earlier, this did not come naturally to us and our happy peaceful family used to be one of strife and difficulty.
How did we change that? We didn't. God did. He began to show me how much He really loved me. He began to gently heal the scars of my past with His tenderness, gentleness and compassion on me. He used wonderful people in my life, my husband and His Word. He is so good to me.
The foundation for a loving home starts with Him. After that, our active love is as easy as A, B, C. Well, actually, it's A, A, A and A. And you will see that before we can do these A's, we must have that foundation within ourselves.
1) Appreciation: How many times a day do you find some reason to appreciate something about those around you? Is it hard for you? For me, it started with actively looking for something to appreciate. Did your children play nicely together? Thank them. Did your husband go to work today? Thank him. Did your friend call you to check on you? Thank her. Look around. Being able to appreciate others is a wonderful first step in being able to love them.
2) Acceptance: For most of us moms, it is really easy to accept our infant. I mean, they are so cute and cuddly! Who doesn't love a sweet smelling baby? But as they grow up, we tend to grow away. When they are older and they make choices that we don't approve of, it becomes easier and easier to criticize, to condemn, to belittle. O, sisters, this ought not be. Accept your children for who they are! Accept your husband for who he is! Accept your neighbors, acquaintances, extended family, etc. Are you perfect? Are you without fault? No. Does your Creator accept you? Yes. You are accepted in the beloved. So are they. You were created in His image. So were they! How it must grieve the One who accepts us, when we will not show acceptance to those around us. Your job is not to act as the Holy Spirit for those you spend time with. God already has someone to do that job. Your job is be His hands, His arms, His feet and His mouth of love. Don't criticize; accept.
3) Affirmation: The Scripture tells us that every word we say should be used to build the listeners up. ( Note: listeners would include those you may not even be speaking to. But that's another message.) What have you said today to affirm someone around you? Did your words build up or tear down? Every wise woman builds her home but the foolish tears it down. Your words of affirmation are a necessary part of building up your home! Find something, ANYTHING, good to say to those you meet today. Compliment their smile, their eyes, their hair, their sweater, a choice they made, a positive attitude they demonstrated, something. There is always something good that can be said. Start small. As you develop these habits, they will come easier and they will get better. But start.
4) Admiration: Admiration is different from affirmation. Affirmation involves your words. Admiration involves your face. As you find reasons to appreciate, accept and affirm, allow your eyes to sparkle. Let there be a smile on your face. Use your arms to hug, your hands to pat, but train yourself to sit back and admire. Use your face to show how you love. Stop your frowning. Who wants to spend time with someone who frowns all the time? It's depressing! You can make a difference, just with your face.
Maybe you wonder why you should be responsible for all this effort? Did not God give you this ministry? Did He not allow these people to be a part of your life? He sees the beginning from the end. He knows. But, He wants you to be His "messenger in the desert place". People are hungry for love. Christians used to be identified by their love for each other. We are supposed to be set apart, a peculiar people. Let's be "weirdos" by loving.
Take care,

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