Thursday, August 23, 2012

Defining Love

In this day and age, because of television and movies, the world has gotten a rather twisted view of love.  Hollywood pictures it as steamy, slam 'em up against the wall, clothes ripping, heavy breathing madness.  That, folks, isn't LOVE!
This is how I see love...I see my grandpa Price finishing the lunch dishes, going to the freezer and taking out the ice cream, then filling up a styrofoam cup, packing it around tightly so it won't melt.  He takes that ice cream to his beloved wife of 66 years who is in a rest home because she has dementia.  He leans down and kisses her and smiles lovingly and says, "Here I am, honey.  I  have your ice cream!"  He doesn't cringe or show anger when she slaps him, he just gently coaxes her to eat the treat she loves so much.  He goes every day, without fail, and when people tell him it isn't necessary because she doesn't know him, he just says, "But I know her, and I love her!  She's my sweetheart!"
I see a tired mother with a cooling cloth in her hand bathing the fevered brow of her sweet little one.  She hasn't slept in over 24 hours, and she is looking haggard, but her eyes are fixed on that hot, suffering little face that is so dear to her.  Her husband tries to convince her to rest, but she can't...not until her baby is cooler and on the road to recovery.  Then, and only then, will she rest.
I see a husband coming through the door, looking around at a house that is in shambles, and he sees his wife struggling to get things picked up, in between checking her dinner preparations.  He walks up to her and puts his arms around her and says, "Hey, honey!  Missed you today!  I see it has been a tough day.  Let me finish up dinner and you go rest awhile!"  He gently leads her to a recliner and eases her down, tucks a cover around her, and heads into the fray of the dinner time mess.  Oh, he's tired, too, but he knows that the woman he loves and to whom he has pledged his life, has need of some spoiling from handling the every day trials of kids, household duties, and all the hundred other things she's been through.
I see a teen who would rather be out with friends, but has had to grow up too soon because her mom is gone and she must help with the younger kids while Dad works.  She hasn't had any new clothes in a long time because money is short, but she doesn't complain because she knows how much her dad is hurting...she is hurting, too.  When her dad comes in, she hugs him tightly and says, "Let me give you a back rub,'ll ease the tension."

The best example I see is not a pretty picture.  It is someone who has been so battered he barely looks like a man.  He has a crown of thorns on his head, and the blood streams from all his wounds.  Spittle runs down his face from being spat on.  His arms are outstretched and he is nailed on a rough cross.  Those all around are mocking Him, screaming words of anger and hate.  The man looks up and says, "Father, forgive them!  They know not what they do!"  All the sins and the weight of the world are on Him, but love keeps Him where He is...His unending, unconditional love...
Don't let the world confuse you about what love is.  Love is sacrifice, love puts up with the disppointments, and love isn't an is a choice.  We choose to love. 

Today...I choose to love!  Blessing to all !

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Happy Ending

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the prodigal son.  There are so many lessons to be learned through this story.  In my mind's eye, I can picture the whole stands a loving dad...he has loved and given to his 2 sons all their lives.  He has sacrificed for them and been their rock in every situation. 
One son seems to be co-operative, steadfast, hardworking.  The other...well, he is a self-centered, selfish young jerk.  I know, I know...harsh words!  I stand by it!  Look at him!  He struts up to his father and boldly tells him he doesn't want to wait until his dad is dead for his inheritance...nope, nope nope...nothing nice in that!  It's just gimme, gimme and gone!  He hasn't taken one second to even think about how his dad feels, if this is going to hurt him or cause him financial hardship.  He didn't even technically have the right to make such a demand, but he did...then he coolly walked away without a backward glance.
That selfish kid took off for parts unknown, blew all the money partying like a rich boy until it was all gone and he found himself in a pigpen feeding pigs, wishing he could eat some of their slop.  He was pretty hungry, and pretty desperate.  He looks at himself, ragged, filthy, starving, friendless, broke...and he says to himself, "Even the servants in my father's house are better off than me.  I'm going home and ask for a job!"
There are several things that always strike me in this story.  The young man knew he could go back home.  He knew he was truly loved, and he knew he was unworthy of the deep love his father had always shown him.  He went for home, no longer haughty, but broken and willing to be just a humble servant. 
Then I think about the dad.  He must  have asked himself WHY...why did his beloved son leave?  Why could he not see the love that had always been lavished on him.  He didn't know why, but he knew he loved his son, so there he was!  I can see him going out every day to the road, hand shielding his eyes, looking down that long, dusty road...praying to God for his son to appear in the distance.  How he must have loved that wayward child to go on, day after day, waiting and praying!
I love to picture his face when he first sees the little puffs of dust and something bobbing along the road.  I can see his faltering steps forward, and then he breaks into a run...I feel his rapidly beating heart fill with joy as he sees it is finally the one he's been waiting for so long!  He throws his arms around that stinky, sweaty, ragged young man and lets him know he is loved and accepted...just as he is.  A servant?  No!  A ring, clean clothes, shoes on his feet and a welcome home party.
Happy ending!
But, what if...what if the prodigal had waited too long and his dad was gone forever?  I don't think his brother would have killed the fatted calf for him! 
What if...he was too proud or too stupid to come to his senses?  He would have died among the pigs, probably.
I am glad the story is as it is, because it is the perfect example of God's great love for us!  We arrogantly hurt him and walk it up, forgetting about Him and all He's done for us...but He is still there, always there...waiting patiently for us to realize just that.  His arms are outstretched, just as wide as those of Jesus, when He died on the cross for us.  He wants to hold us close, clean us up and wants to let us renew our place in His household of faith!  That's love!  Real love!  Not the Hollywood kind, or the romance novel kind, but the truest of true love.  I'm so glad He ran to me! 
The last thing I always think about in this story is this...the prodigal had to run back to his father, or there wouldn't have been a happy ending.  I am adding a song that I love and illustrates this story!
Moral of the story?  If you need to run!  If you have someone who's walked there waiting, arms open wide to welcome them home!
                                        Blessings to all!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Story of Princess Alyssa

Once upon a time, a princess married her prince Charming.  They had dreams and plans like all young couples.  They became dedicated school teachers and wanted to have a few kids of their own and then adopt a child or two.  The years went by, and in spite of prayers and every kind of medical help, their longed for child never came.  So they decided to adopt.  God worked a miracle and within a very short time, they were chosen by a young mom as the best candidates to adopt the baby she was unable to raise.  The day that beautiful baby girl was placed in their arms was a day of great joy to the entire family.  She was Mimi Lynn's and Papa Don's first grandchild! 
As the days and months went by, the precious baby grew.  She cooed and cried as all babies do.  She saw her pediatrician regularly, and nothing seemed amiss.  Gradually, the prince and princess began to notice that she had problems with her motricity, but were told she would catch up and all would be fine.  But the little princess wasn't getting better, so they got professional help.  Or tried to....but, after frustrating and costly years of tests, they were told that, yes, something was wrong.  But what?  A possible stroke at birth? Autism? Cerebral palsy?
There were likenesses in several different things, but they were never able to put a label on just what is wrong, so since they can't give it a name, they do not qualify for aid of any sort.  The prince and princess have never given up.  They lovingly help the little princess to keep developing her motor skills.  They encourage her every step of every day to be a hard worker and to keep trying.
Let me say here, in this day of demanding "perfection", many would have abandoned this little  girl, not wanting to have to deal with all the ensuing problems, but the whole family loves her and helps her each day to be all she can be.
Several years after the little princess came became theirs, another miracle happened!  God allowed the princess to have a baby girl, and right on the heels of the baby girl came a baby boy!  They have a wonderful family full of love.  It is a joy to see! 
Moral of the story?  God makes everything beautiful!  Everything! Everyone!  Our little princess, Alyssa, recently won swimming medals in the special Olympics.  She is amazing!  So are Princess Melody and Prince Mark, and Mackenzie and Brice, the 2 younger kids.
And they all live... happily ever after...