Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Which Love Looks Like Hard Work

The irony is not lost on me.  That the love that begins effortlessly requires a great deal of time and investment to maintain.

What starts out as a couple of kids in love grows,

and grows,

and grows,

and grows,

and grows.

And while it all looks very fairy tale on paper, in real life it is hard work.  A lot of hard work.

Social media tends to show the good well they should!  It's good to read things that inspire and encourage.  But the nitty gritty things are important too.  It's important to know that however perfect something might look in a picture, everything outside the frame can be in complete chaos.

And a picture captures a moment.  Nothing more, nothing less.

My nails might be done in my 33 week bump picture, but you need to know they didn't stay like that for long.  How could they?  We are working so hard at potty training a 2 year old and an 11 week old puppy simultaneously.  I am constantly on potty patrol and cleaning up mess after mess after mess is hard work.  

It is also what love looks like these days.  

And I have to tell you, I am beyond amazed when I think that my own parents worked so hard to do the very same thing for me.  Not just the potty training, but the discipline.  How to play nicely with others, how to listen and obey, how to face consequences in the event of disobedience.  All of it is hard, repetitive work.  All of it is done out of love.

How tired we are, the Hubster and I.  How drained and almost narcoleptic we are these days.  And we know we have more hard (and soon, sleepless) days ahead.

But these are good days, just the same.  It would be easy to ignore each other - to just put our heads down and work, work, work.  But to neglect the very relationship which has brought about all of THIS would be tragic.

Words that I will spend my entire life trying to live up to...
"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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 trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (emphasis added)
And so it is, I believe, with our heavenly Father.  I think it is entirely fitting that the Church is called the Bride of Christ.  How easy it is to be passionate about our faith in the early days of our walk with Christ.  It's further down the road when we reach the ordinary, mundane days where we feel bogged down in minutiae and forget to spend time in prayer, reading His Word, and living out the faith we profess.

Please do not misinterpret this observation and think for a minute that I have this perfected.  I assure you I do not.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention Christ and the grace he offers to all of us.  Because I believe it is that grace that teaches us how to extend grace to one another.  By receiving Christ's grace and forgiveness over and over and over, I can learn how to extend grace to those around me.  And often times it's hardest to extend that grace to those we love the most.  Often times we take our families for granted, forgetting how fleeting these moments are and how important it is to show them our love.

It is so hard - this intentional way of showing love to those around us.  I encourage you to stop by Love One More (where the focus is on intentionally loving one more person every day).  And please be sure to visit Edie at Life in Grace where so many of us are linking up with our thoughts on living with intention and with love.

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