Love (A Valentine's Day Post)

 

                                                                        A Parent's Love

My Dad and I.

My Dad and I.

I have experienced unconditional love from my parents. They love me and my brothers enough to have disciplined us when we were children. To give us an education. To bring us up to love the Lord and to know Him.

My mom and her first grand baby. She doesn't like to be in pictures ya'll so I never get pictures with her and I. ;)

My mom and her first grand baby. She doesn't like to be in pictures ya'll so I never get pictures with her and I. ;)

They care for our well being and health. They didn't begrudgingly buy us clothing or books or toys. Mom went and bought healthy food every week to feed my brothers and I (still does). They required us to do chores around the house to teach us to work hard and serve. They didn't indulge our unhealthy appetites for worthless t.v. shows, movies, books and video games because they cared for the condition of our souls and hearts. They bandaged every scrape and cut and paid for the doctor bills when my brothers had to get stitches. Special holiday traditions were made to bring us together as a family and to make those times memorable. They didn't complain when my brothers and I all had the chicken pox or the flu at the same time. They cared for us.

They care for us today as my brothers and I grow older. They don't bandage scraped knees or have us in school anymore but they show love in a whole new way. They talk and pray with us through difficult times. Encourage us in new ventures as we seek God's will for our lives.Through my twenty years of living my parents have shown unconditional love. A love that doesn't fade because of how difficult me or my brothers can be. Has never faded through the sad and difficult times. My parents love me unconditionally.

1 Corinthians 13:13 
"And now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

 

A Friend's Love

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 As I've gotten older, I have seen the difference between "friends" and true friends. People walk in and out of your life but there are only a few that stay. There are only a few who will stick with you through the good, bad and the ugly. There will be many that seek to gain from your friendship but only a few that seek to give in your friendship. 

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The love from these kinds of friends is truly a rare thing.  A "diamond in the rough" as my mom likes to say. I am privileged to be able to say God has blessed me with a few of these kinds of people. Even though I never had a sister, God gave me sisters in the form of a few friends who I have known for most of my life. Even though at times distance has separated us, grief has threatened to swallow us, misunderstandings have arisen and time has naturally changed us, we continue to support and care, admonish and encourage, mourn and rejoice together, love each other.

Roman's 12:9-10
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

 

A Sibling's Love

With a few of my brothers. Justin in the green pants, Jared in the red jacket.

With a few of my brothers. Justin in the green pants, Jared in the red jacket.

Growing up with five brothers has been the most awesome blessing. Many people have said to me when they learned I was the only girl among five brothers, "You poor thing!" But I have enjoyed so much growing up with all of my brothers. 

My brother Jordan and I. 

My brother Jordan and I. 

We have had great adventures, especially in our back yard. When we were little we built forts and houses, pretended to be cowboys and Indians (I was a cowgirl in distress, of course), had dirt clod wars, sword and light saber fights, "cooked" with leaves and dirt, attempted to make jam out of the blackberries in our back yard and rode bikes that were decked out with cardboard to simulate cars. (Joel was usually the policeman and he wrote us out quite a bit of tickets for speeding, reckless bike driving and running red lights.) My brothers still loved me and had me on their team even when I ruined their hide and seek game by wearing those good ol' 90's "light up shoes" that pretty much defeated the purpose of hiding. 

I love being silly with my brothers. Joel is on the far right, Justin is in the middle.

I love being silly with my brothers. Joel is on the far right, Justin is in the middle.

This is a fairly old picture of me and my brothers but it's one of the few that shows us all together. From left to right: Jeremy, Justin, Jared, Joel, Me and Jordan.

This is a fairly old picture of me and my brothers but it's one of the few that shows us all together. From left to right: Jeremy, Justin, Jared, Joel, Me and Jordan.

Having your brothers for best friends is unlike any other relationship. My brothers are still my closest friends. Now that we are older we definitely don't play cowboys and Indians or cook with leaves but our love for each other hasn't changed. I've watched one of my brothers get married and have his first daughter, another pursue music, another has become a talented artist, another is on his way to becoming a doctor, and the youngest is almost done with high school. Life changes things. You may be separated by miles and even time zones. Good and bad times sweep through and other things change but a sibling's love does not. 

Song Of Songs 8:7
"Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."


God's Love

I am awed. I am humbled. I am blown away by the most perfect love of all time. God's love is the most perfect and unconditional of any form of love. He sees our imperfect nature and loves us anyways! His love is not just words. His love has been shown by the greatest action of all time. An act we can neither understand nor fathom. He gave his only Son for us.

Romans 5:8

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

Immediately I was struck by the meaning of this verse. We didn't do anything that merited Christ's love and death on a cross for us. He did it because he loved us while were still dead in our sins! Not anything that we could have done would have been enough to deserve the death of His only son. 
God loves us so much that he blesses us, disciplines us, heals us, gives and takes away, guides and directs, comforts, atones, redeems, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies.
Our God's love is perfect. God doesn't just love those who are "easy" to love but who are hard to love! He loves without condition or standard. Not a selfish love that seeks to gain. Not a love that rejoices in someone's calamity or hurt. A love that is that there in the darkest and brightest. Not a love that runs when things get hard or we become too difficult. 
We look here on earth for people and things to love us perfectly. We seek the steady, reliable and unchanging. We look for shiftless love. But no one and nothing can give us that kind of love but God.
I can never hope to understand it, but all I know is that I believe it. I believe in His immovable, unquenchable, breadth-less, untiring and never failing love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres."

For now, 
Jennifer

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