Sunday, April 18, 2010

to LOVE well...

This weekend I was given the privilege to attend our church's annual Women's Retreat. The message was great and the fellowship a treasure. I was able to strengthen existing friendships and meet and develop new ones with women I wouldn't normally have been given the opportunity to do so. The theme this year was "LOVING WELL," and began with the concept and truth that we will never love well until we are convinced that we are well-loved. It focused on how God's love must be ministered to us before it can be ministered through us. This topic was relevant to my own personal journey, spoke to my soul, and challenged and convicted me to love beyond myself, beyond my own capabilities.

Seems easy enough when dealing with the "JOYS" in one's life (those who you love to love, that are easy to love)...but it is quite a bit more challenging when dealing with the "TESTY's" in one's life (those who are difficult to love, those with a critical spirit, those who drive you crazy). I've found those "TESTY's" in my life to be ones I tend to avoid. God has been stirring in my heart that it's those ones He specifically wants me to lavish love upon (ouch...).

I don't struggle with the fact that I am loved. I grew up in a loving and demonstrative family and I think that has allowed me to easily accept the love of God, even though I am keenly aware of my unworthiness of it. But, what got me was when the speaker mentioned that God measures maturity by how we love. I don't claim to be "mature" in my walk with God...in fact I am always wishing and looking forward to years ahead of now when I will be more seasoned and full of His Word and insight. I certainly desire to mature in my faith...so the fact that loving well is a sign of maturity made me realize that "avoiding" those people in life that are hard to love is a sign of idleness (in a way) and it is contradictory to what God calls us to do. And to a certain extent, that's what I have been doing up until now. In fact, the word "philquotos" described self-love and self-centeredness to also be an "undue sparing of self" (with the primary concern that things be easy for oneself)...When I intentionally avoid, I am doing this. The focus is on me, making things "easier" for me. It's selfish (ouch again)...

I left the retreat feeling refreshed and charged to LOVE WELL.
And when I returned home, my tired "JOYS" were eagerly waiting for me and I was able to experience firsthand what it feels like to be terribly missed and well-loved.
("Mommy, I missed you so much" was repeated at least 15 times that first half hour I was home)
("You were gone so long...like more than 755 minutes!")

(and even though I was woken up my first night home at 2:30am and 3:30 am by kids with tummy-aches and bad dreams...I think it was because they just missed me and they were glad I was home)
Thankful for the love from my "JOYS."
Thankful for His perfect love.
Ready to pursue a life in LOVING WELL.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful ... you captured the lesson well and the sweetness of the welcome home.... PERFECTION!

    SO Blessed to have gotten so much SM time! Love you Friend!

    RS

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