Of kittens and Love

The other night we went to the movies. We enjoyed the movie and chatted as we walked back to our car. Suddenly I spotted a very small kitten silhouette in the darkness. It was lying on the footpath. As people  approached on the way to their cars, it got up and ran. I got worried about it and  followed.

It charged across the road and under our car. I have seen many cats run before – this was literally the fastest cat I have ever seen! We walked slowly towards our car, quietly calling to it and trying to calm it. It dashed off into the gutter.

I work at a pet store. A couple of days earlier I had got some old food from work. Suddenly my husband remembered that we still had it in the car. He fetched it for me and I tried desperately to use the food to coax the poor little kitten out. No luck. By this point I was sitting in the gutter inching closer and closer with the food in my outstretched hand. It inched further backwards as I approached. Cars dashed past but it seemed to completely ignore them. It was used to this life. Used to hiding on the streets. Just not used to love.

Eventually we had moved down the gutter towards the streetlight on the corner. I could now see her clearly, sitting in the mouth of a large drain. A beautiful little torti, one of the cutest kittens I have ever seen. We sat there for ages, she and I. Both scared. I, that I would make the wrong move and she would run and I would not be able to help her. She, that I would get too close and hurt her. After some time, she vanished into the gutter.

My husband and I looked and looked but could not find her anywhere.

Eventually we gave up. I emptied all the food I had next to the gutter for her. In case she came back. In case she was hungry. In case, in some way, I could help her after all. Then I sat on the edge of the foot path and cried. Cried because I had wanted to save her and give her the love she was born for. Cried because she wouldn’t let me, because she was too afraid. Cried because there was no way I could make her understand.

And suddenly it hit me.

God sees the exact same thing. With tears in His eyes He sits in the gutter and watches His precious, most beautiful child. Running frantically, aimlessly. Lost. So used to this life that we are afraid of Him. And while we are hiding in that gutter, He empties everything He has in order to save us. In case, somehow, He can make us understand what He wants so desperately to do for us.

In case we come back to the Love we were born for.

 

Torture?

This morning as I scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, I came across a photo from my uncle and auntie’s 40th wedding anniversary. As I scanned through the comments I noticed a name that I recognised. And this person’s comment was: ’40 years! That’s torture if you ask me!’ (I kindly refrained from pointing out that nobody HAD asked her!)

But it got me thinking.

How sad for a person to have such a warped view of marriage. And a lot of people share that view.(Think how many people half-joke about marriage being a life sentence!)

But God didn’t design marriage to be that way. His plan was for two people to fall in love with Him and with each other. He wanted them to be totally connected to each other, to find joy in doing life together.

He doesn’t want us to see marriage as torture, a prison, a life sentence. He wants us to see the beauty and joy of sharing your life with one person, of loving and giving to each other, of supporting each other through good and bad.

Don’t look on marriage as the end of your life, your individuality, your happiness. It’s just the beginning of so much more.

Today I want to challenge you to see the blessing in marriage. If you are planning to get married, or are still single, don’t allow a warped view to cloud your choices and relationships or your feelings about marriage. If you are married, rejoice in your marriage today! Be grateful for the gift God has given you.

Love & War

For those who have not read my previous post, this year I am taking part in a marriage reading challenge. I got off to a rather late start and therefore have only just finished January’s book. Better late than never though, right? (Does it count that I have already purchased February’s book and have it sitting by the bed ready to go?)

The first book I chose was Love & War, by John & Stasi Eldredge. I have read their books before and thoroughly enjoyed them. This book was just as good. Together they bring a new perspective on marriage and face the tough questions. While there were a couple of points in their book that I didn’t agree with, most of it was relevant and helpful.

Love & War reminded me again that there is nothing Satan hates more than a great marriage, fashioned after God’s ideals and following His adventure for them. And it made me commit all over again to starting a revolution. I want to change the way people view marriage. This stuff is forever people!

So, starting with my own marriage, I vow today to not give Satan a foothold in my marriage. I want to truly experience God’s ideals for marriage and be the strongest team we can be.

Bring on forever!

Love that lasts

A few weeks ago I went to a funeral for a lovely old lady that I first met over 10 years ago. During the eulogy it suddenly struck me that she had been married for 64 years. 64 YEARS people! And not only had she been married, she had been happily married.

In our day this sort of thing is becoming rarer by the minute. Marriages last a few weeks, months, years. We find it increasingly hard to find mentors and role models who actually still have a marriage, let alone a happy one. And nobody seems to care anymore.

Coming home from that funeral I decided to do something about it. I want a 64-year love – more if I live long enough! So this year I am going to get into the habit of being intentional about my marriage. I intend to read marriage, think marriage, and pray marriage. I want to surround myself with happily married people and be open to advice and help. I want to find any and all traits of happy marriages and implement them in my own. I intend to intentionally spend time with my husband.

A week or so after my decision, a blogger I follow launched a marriage reading challenge for this year. God has great timing! So this month I am reading Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge. I am planning to purchase and read at least one of each month’s selected books this year, plus I have also purchased a marriage devotional and desk calendar for my husband and I to read together.

This year more than ever I want to keep on creating love that lasts.

A perfect relationship?

Lately I have been noticing a lot of Facebook posts about wanting perfect relationships. It appears that every teenage (and probably older!) girl out there wants a guy who is perfect. Someone who will bring home flowers all the time, who is a great cook, who loves to cuddle, never gets upset, and is just generally, well, perfect. But as my mother always said, ‘If you did manage to find a perfect guy, why would he want to marry you?!’ (Thanks by the way. *feel the sarcasm*)

But she is right. We are human and as such we make mistakes. We are not perfect. No relationship with another human (be it spouse, family, or friends) is ever going to be perfect.

I believe that we have forgotten that movies are fiction. The relationships portrayed in them are not real. And we get so busy looking for ‘perfect’ that we sail right on past ‘great’. A lot of the time even when we get ‘great’ we aren’t satisfied – we keep looking for or demanding more. And I think that is sad.

About two weeks ago I had surgery. My husband couldn’t be there. But as soon as he got home from work he rushed to look after me. He didn’t have flowers for me when I got home. But when I woke at 3am the next morning in pain, he got up. He got painkillers, food, and set me up on the couch with a movie. (And he did buy me flowers later that week.) He didn’t cook me a three course meal that night. But every time I even mentioned food over the next week he has jumped up and got me anything I wanted without even being asked. He did try to cuddle me but that just hurt my jaw so we settled for holding hands. And he did get upset – mostly due to me being an annoying and grumpy soul when I am sick or in pain! But even when I could tell he was thoroughly frustrated with me, he still noticed if I was in even a hint of pain and did all he could to help. He was so busy over that week – but every time I called or sent him a text he answered straight away.

Last Sunday evening we mixed and poured concrete for our new letterbox. And after it had dried a little my dear husband suggested that we carve our initials into it. And I was reminded all over again that while we don’t have a perfect relationship by any means, we do have a great one. And since we have our whole lives ahead to keep on learning together, great is well and truly enough.

Watering the grass…

First off, I am not dead. Since I have not blogged in over 3 months this may surprise you. However you will be pleased (I hope!) to know that I have not died. I have merely been bogged down under great busy-ness with finishing my course, moving, unpacking, holidays, spring cleaning, and other housewifely things. (I do realise of course that it is not spring. But we have a house inspection coming up and a thorough clean was necessary. And since ‘summer cleaning’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it, spring cleaning it is!)

I shall bestow all the details upon you in another post. But since it is Valentine’s Day after all, I want to write about love.

Love can be hard to explain, though many people have tried. One soul in two bodies. Trust. What makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends. Sex. Friendship on fire. Forgiveness. When another person’s happiness is more important than your own.

But my favourite description of love is God’s. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.Love never fails.

What a beautiful way to describe it. But every time I read that I get the distinct impression that I have failed. I know that it is only failure if you don’t get up and try again, but still. It feels like it. But then I read that last sentence. Love never fails.

Never, adverb. At no time in the past or future; not ever; not at all.

That means its just never going to happen. True love just will not ever fail. When it makes a mistake, when it loses patience, or envies, or gets angry, love doesn’t stop being love. It just gets up and tries again. And it will never stop doing that. Love doesn’t let you just wake up one day and say ‘You know what, yesterday we failed too many times, let’s just get divorced.’ Or stop loving. Or stop trying. Nope. It never fails, remember? It always tries again.

I read somewhere once about thinking that someone else’s situation is better than yours. They were discussing the dangers of thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Other people’s lives may look better or easier. Your friend’s marriage may seem like less work or more like what you think you want. Another friend may seem to love better – never falling, never making mistakes. But do you know what? The article I was reading pointed out that both sides of the fence are exactly the same – the truth is simply that the grass is greener where you water it. The people with the easier lives – they are just watering the grass. The friend with the perfect marriage is simply watering the grass. The friend that seems to love perfectly – she makes mistakes alright, but she just keeps on watering that grass.

Love may be hard to understand sometimes. It may get bumpy along the way and some days someone else’s grass may look greener. So what are you going to do about it?

You know what I think? I’m gonna need to go buy a hose. And maybe a sprinkler. A good, drenchy kind of one. Because today and every day, I choose to water this grass!

Weakness of a Hero

I was watching a Christian dvd the other day on heroes. The producers were at a big superhero event thing where there were people everywhere dressed up as various heroes. Basically they were discussing with these characters what makes a hero and why we feel the need for heroes. It was pretty interesting to listen to different people’s points of view. And then they went on to talk about God as the ultimate hero.

Which eventually brought them to a point that I found really interesting. They started asking various superhero actors what their character’s weakness was. There were a few different ones and it was rather predictable until they suggested that God had a weakness. God has a weakness? Don’t be ridiculous! He’s God!

I decided to wait and listen to what they thought it was. When they said it my mouth fell open. Of course. It was quite obvious.

God’s weakness is His love.

When we love someone, we give our hearts to them – give them the power to hurt us the most, trusting them with that power. God’s love is even bigger than that. And He cannot NOT love. It is who He is. He cannot force us to accept Him, for this would not be love. He loves so much that His heart is wide open to be hurt when we reject Him. He loves so much that He is vulnerable to be hurt over and over again. And this is His only weakness.

But when you think about it, it is also His greatest strength. It is the one weapon that the devil cannot ever use. It is the reason we love Him. It is what draws aching hearts to Him. And it is the one constant in an ever-changing world. It is bigger than all of us, stronger than we can imagine.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

What amazing love. That’s my Hero. Is He yours?