Monday, August 3, 2015

refreshing, restorative LOVE

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Over the course of this summer, I've been faithfully working out every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, only missing a day or two here and there.  Exercise is especially difficult for me because I suffer from chronic pain and many health issues, but I find my body performs better when I take the time to stretch and move every single joint and limb regularly.  However, with strenuous movement comes muscle fatigue and soreness.  And for me, that soreness must be calculated and monitored closely so that I do not worsen my health condition by "over-doing" it.

Anyway, today I woke up late and particularly stiff.  I was very, very slow to get moving because my whole being felt like one big bruise.  My physical form felt heavy and sluggish, and I questioned if I should even get out of bed to try.  But I know that I always must try.  Otherwise, what's the point of being alive, right?

Slowly I stood to my feet and proceeded into my usual routine - heading to our espresso machine for a much-desired morning cup of coffee, a banana, and a cup of homemade yogurt.  There, I found my husband already awake and thriving as he was preparing his second cup of the morning.  He had woken up hours before and was moving at a much faster, smoother pace than I... and he was clearly getting much of his work done.

Upon looking at me, Chuck realized that my day was beginning with severe pain.  Yes, I hurt.  I was fragile. This, of course, is nothing new in our home.  My family is accustom to watching me struggle with body-wide arthritis issues and lower back and knee aches.  My husband knows all-to-well how much I depend on pain medication, numbing patches, and customized equipment and supplements in order to secure even a few hours sleep each night or function as close to normal as I am able.  Still, my wonderful partner put down his coffee cup, turned off his phone full of emails and stopped the world to hug me.  His strong arms wrapped around me for a still, perfect moment... his encouraging words of adoration whispered secretly in my ear - exclusive for my heart alone to absorb as assuring truth.  Ahhhhh.  How refreshing love can be!

I think we can become dangerously indifferent to the broken.  We live in a world that is full of so much pain and busyness that we get caught up in our own self-made safety nets and become insensitive to those in need of a healing touch.  It is not uncommon for us to choose to forget... to choose to overlook... to choose to ignore the fact that all mankind, as fragile beings, need love.   That someone actually cares for us.  That we are adorable, valuable, and important.

It is astounding to think of how many are in need of such attention.  It is heartbreaking to look at the masses of poor, needy, sick, and dying.  Of those who have been deceived, robbed, abused, and pummeled.  We are bruised worldwide; our pain shoots deeply to our core.  How we need the refreshment of love in our life.  And how differently we are able to endure conflict and turmoil when we believe we are cherished... when someone offers us care... when encouraging words of truth and adoration are whispered exclusively for us to absorb and know.  Love makes all the difference, doesn't it?

Upon hearing my husbands affirming words, my pain seemed less troublesome this morning.  Nothing had changed in my physical world, mind you... but everything had changed inside me.  I found new resolve to move... to proceed forward... to run this race of life, and to run it with gusto!  Love does that.  Love gives us hope and a future.  Love promises and delivers.  Love heals.  Why?  Because real love is from the Creator who made us to thrive and be healthy.  Love is of God, because God is LOVE.  

We all need God's love, don't we?
And as Christ's ambassadors, we are called to share the truth of His love to others, aren't we?

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

I encourage you to consider this as you go about your day, dear Believers.  Consider whomever the Lord puts before you.  Do not overlook their need with sinful eyes of indifference.  Do not fail to see their brokenness because you are too preoccupied and/or busy.  Do not fall short in addressing their hurt because of your own discomfort.  Choose to notice.  Choose to see.  Choose to attend to those fragile and bruised and extend the healing love and gentle kindness of the Most High.  For in His eyes, they are adored.  In His mind, they are valuable.  In His heart, they are most important and worthy of attention, praise, devotion, truth.  Love makes all the difference.  And mankind desperately NEEDS to know His love.

So, won't you make love your first priority today?
What a blessing you are able to be for the Lord!  
What a valuable hope you were made to exhibit from His Kingdom!
Let us run this race with gusto, fellow Christians!  Together!  Forever!  For Jesus... with LOVE!

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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