Thursday, February 14, 2013

This is love...

Today is Valentine's Day.  We are celebrating around here... celebrating LOVE.  It isn't difficult to find lots of things to rejoice in when you're looking for them.  For the past week, since the Valentine's Day mantle went up, we've enjoyed a quiet, daily reminder to ponder the many facets, and types, of love.

No matter which holiday season we're enjoying, the Cross always stays there on the left... first on the mantle, and first in our hearts.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (NIV)

" a sacrifice to take away our sins." (NLT)

" die in our place to take away our sins." (NCV)

So we are always, first and foremost, remembering His great sacrifice for us.

Today and every day. 

But we're also celebrating each other today.
My eldest daughter--unbeknownst to me--stayed up last night after I'd gone to bed, preparing a breakfast casserole for this morning.  She arose early and prepared everything.  When I rounded the corner to report to family gathering, I was greeted with the sights and sounds of celebration... classical music, delicious aroma, flickering candles, a holiday table...

I am so thankful for children who are often thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  It isn't easy to rise early, and stay up late, to serve those around you.  Thank you, my sweet EV, for this gift to our family today.

I'm also so thankful for a faithful husband... for the promises made those many years ago--and kept.  Daily kept... through all the joy and through all the junk.  I am not always an easy person to live with.  And this man, this wonderful man, loves me well in the midst of everything I bring... the good, the bad, and the ugly...

"When I saw this, it reminded me of you," he said.  "I thought you'd like it."

Love and cherish, the bag says.  And he does.

I found the one my heart loves.  Song of Solomon 3:4.

And I have.

The gift bag contained matching mr. and mrs. mugs... 

...a thank you journal-- he writing in the black side, she writing in the white side...

...two halves of the same journal...

...two halves of one flesh...

I am keenly aware today of my many friends whose husbands haven't stayed true... whose wives have chosen to walk away...  It is the deepest of pains, because it is the deepest of violations, broken covenant. 

On this day, I rejoice that I was raised in the home of covenant keepers... that my parents are still married, after nearly fifty years... that my husband's parents stayed together--through thick and thin--"until death do us part." 

I rejoice that my children are being raised by parents who are committed to the promises they made.  That they are being raised by a mother and a father who have promised to stay together... promised to love each other... promised to love them... no matter what.  It is a rare thing in a society where over half of marriages fail.  I am grateful for the faithful love of a committed man.

Today, we also all celebrate our wonderful friends... those rare few who love us unconditionally, through all the muck, and extend us real grace.  You are a priceless treasure.  Today, especially, we recognize and honor you.  Thank you.

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