Love is sacrifice; love is also forgiveness. Love is humbling oneself before another, admitting fault and taking the steps to make it right. Love is not a feeling. Yes, feelings are involved but LOVE IS A CHOICE and an ACTION. When the feelings aren’t there you must have a foundation of commitment to stand on. There were moments in my marriage when I didn’t like Chris and there were moments in my marriage when he didn’t like me. That is completely normal and fine. However, we were COMMITTED to one another and we always, always, chose one another. We came back to humility, forgiveness, sacrifice, mercy, and grace. We chose to love one another even in the moments when the feelings didn’t align.
I love people even as I see the brokenness in them. I am not blind to it. I love them anyway. When I love (in any capacity) I understand that sacrifice follows. For me that is a natural part of love and I welcome it. If we do not welcome the opportunity to pour our whole selves out for another, to put everything on the line, then we do not truly love-- not as Christ loved. Love is messy and painful like giving birth, like hanging on a cross. But love is also beautiful like that fresh newborn in a mother's arms or Mary at the feet of the resurrected Christ. Love is forgetting the pain because the joy is so complete; it's seeing that which was dead brought to life again. Love is worth the risk.
Loving others, being genuinely vulnerable—it can be hard. Especially now as a widow, I know what it feels like to have lost that which (whom) is most dear. Much as there is a desire to protect my heart… to lock it up tight in a safe, I know that wouldn’t serve me (or anyone else) well. The thing of it is, life is going to hold more hurt for me no matter what I may say or do. People I love will die. So I may as well choose to live this life, loving fully and soaking in the joy. I don’t want to waste the time I do have hiding in a corner trying to shut out the pain.
This isn’t a meaningless existence even the seasons of deep heartache. It is all something that will be redeemed somehow. It might be big and ugly in the moment but it will be made right, in time. The Lord reassures me of this in the book of II Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The use of the words “light” and “momentary” do not invalidate the depth of the struggle if you will just look back to the sentence before it, in which it speaks of the concept that “outwardly we are wasting away”. Paul knew the struggle was intense yet he was also speaking in light of eternity. In the grand scheme of eternity what I am going through truly is temporary and is light. My purpose while here on the earth is to glorify the Lord. Simple yet complex, that is my sole purpose—whether that be in good times or in bad times. I can be encouraged that the eternal God, my Creator, knows the master plan. I can be encouraged that the struggles of this world will not last forever but that a day will come when He will set all things right. I can be encouraged that He loves me.
Isaiah 54:4-5 says,
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
I am loved. I am His. I am not alone. I am His bride.