I read a great question this morning and it sank deep into my heart. The question was, “Did you learn to love”? I asked this first of myself and was reminded of one of my most favorite, life built on verses. “We love because He first loved us.” (John 4:19). Yes, I have learned to love. It has been costly and so often I have fought it, but I have learned to love. Ask yourself the same question and be honest with your answer. Does repentance, surrender, forgiveness, selfishness, bottom line – sin, need to be dealt with? It has been paid for on the cross, so why not acknowledge this ultimate sacrifice, the cost of love today? Brennan Manning puts it this way, “…the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, neither the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception.” The thing is, when you know and believe you are loved, you live like it. The Bible is full of examples of people radically changed by this heart knowledge, sinners changed to saints.
Back to the original question. After I examined my own heart with this question, I soon turned towards our family. With our oldest diving into her senior year of high school, I had to ask myself if I have taught her to love? Has our home been a place where love is not only known, but shown in every word and action? Has she watched our example and seen the reflection of Christ’s love for her? Do we make much of Him and His love or is self held high? Have our sins been confessed and have we turned towards love and lived differently? Has she witnessed two humble sinners, who are saved by grace because of our faith? I will say she has not seen this in me as often as I would like to claim. My early days of parenting, while covered in grace, reveal a very broken mom. I am so thankful that God loves me enough to have taken the time to unravel all that entangled me and now I can get back to His original design of love. I have said it before, but I have been reduced to love and I have never been more full. Praise God!
As our daughter plans on leaving for college this time next year, I do not worry about have I prepared her to live on her own. No, my concern is whether or not she has been taught to love. For love makes all the difference. Her roommate will get a front row seat to love or she will be hit with selfishness. My first roommate got that from me. I am sorry, Erin. Years later, after we were married and my husband became my “roommate”, he was the recipient of me not living loved. He now lives with someone who has been made new by love. I am sure he is happy about that, as are our children.
Everyone she comes in contact with now during her senior year and the years following, will know pretty quick if she has been taught to love. Her teachers know, her friends know, her youth leaders at church know, those she babysits for will know and her brothers and sisters will know. She has an amazing opportunity to be a wonderful example of love right here in our home. Will she take it? Based on what I have seen so far, the answer if a very loud YES! This child, while not perfect, lives loved everyday. Will this carry on as she journeys on next year? I pray it does and that she will know amazing grace when she forgets.
So, as we dive in to all this senior year holds, may I look for opportunities to remind this precious daughter of love. May she soak up all the love that is poured out each day. And when the time comes, may she give away that which has been lavished on her, not just by us, but extravagantly by her Heavenly Father. He is the source of love and His love never ends or even runs low. Let each of choose today to, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
Senior year here we come!