Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In the Name of Love


This four letter word can quite possibly be the most overused and yet most misunderstood word in the English language. I say I love my husband (and I do), but I also say I love Reese's peanut butter cups, coffee, colors, and my dog Bo.....all with seemingly the same amount of enthusiasm.

Consider songs for a moment. In the US we currently have a running tally of 127 songs that have been #1 with the word LOVE in them. This list doesn't include songs about love. Not to leave out the UK, who had 101 songs listed (where's the love guys? ). Here are a few top titles that may rings a bell:
  • I love you - Bing Crosby (1944)
  • Love is a many splendored thing- Four Aces (1955)
  • Love me tender- Elvis Presley (1956)
  • Love me do- The Beatles (1964)
  • STOP! In the name of love- The Supremes (1965)
  • When a man loves a woman- Percy Sledge (1966)
  • Love train- O'Jays (1973)
  • I love rock n' roll- Joan Jett and the Black Hearts (1982)
  • What's love got to do with it?- Tina Turner (1984)
  • I wanna know what love is- Foreigner (1985)
  • Addicted to love- Robert Palmer (1986)
  • Love bites- Def Leppard (1988)
  • Love will lead you back- Taylor Dayne (1990)
  • I will always love you- Whitney Houston (1990-1991)
  • Can't help falling in love- UB40 (1993)
  • The power of love- Celine Dion (1994)
  • Have you ever really loved a woman?- Bryan Adams (1995)
  • My heart will go on (love theme from the Titanic)- Celine Dion (1998)
  • I knew I loved you- Savage Garden (2000)
  • My Love- Justin Timberlake ft. T.I. (2006)
  • Bleeding love- Leona Lewis (2008)
  • Love the way you lie- Eminem ft. Rihanna (2010)
  • We found love- Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris (2011-2012)
The thing that most caught my attention as I was pouring over this particular list is the fact that we seem to have fewer choices as the years pass. Perhaps we have outgrown love....though I beg to differ. Almost everybody is looking intently for love. I believe we have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to it and that has opened us up to severe consequences of misunderstanding love.

I was young when I married, but felt as though I had aged decades in a handful of years. I was taking care of my household from a young age and considered myself responsible and reliable. I had been working since the age of 12 (starting with baby sitting jobs) and was a manager at the age of 17. How much older can you get right? I am blessed to say I truly did marry the only man I ever loved....however, that did not make it an easy pass into real adulthood.

The beginning years of our marriage were like traveling through a field of landmines. We fell fast and hard and the wedding pretty much followed that same path. We were two strangers trying to navigate life. I depended on my husband for my happiness along with everything else. It was far too great a burden for any mortal to bear, yet I believed it was his duty.

Entering into marriage, I promise we ALL have issues. If you have hung out with me on any given occasion, I am quick to point out my issues. I wasn't so transparent then. By hanging my hopes and dreams on him I built a home in which both of us were constantly disappointed. The love that had burned so fast and furious was now just slowly dying embers that were only fanned by desire, need and fights. And into this we brought two children.....because that fixes everything.

My story is probably familiar to you. If you haven't lived it, you probably know one who has or is navigating the field of landmines. So, what's the answer? I am still married to the man I lost my heart to almost two decades ago, so how did we fix it? Well, the answer lies in HOPE....and a definition of LOVE.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16

My entire life took a turn when I realized that my hopes and dreams were being placed on someone who didn't have the materials to fulfill them. God refers to Himself as Elohim over 2300 times in the old testament. This word originates from the Hebrew root and means "strength" or "power". You see, where we need supplies, materials, experience, etc. to make things happen, Elohim needs nothing! In truth, He doesn't even need us (but that's for another post). God does not work with raw material. He doesn't need to call in His order for my life. If He wants me somewhere, He will get me there. He is all powerful. He is the strength to heal the hurting. He is IT....that proverbial thing we all look for. Love, that's Him. He encompasses it all and He knows love far better than we could ever understand it, which is why we are always searching for it.

The answer lies in where I place my hope for the future. The future of my marriage, the future of my children, the future of life. Where do I place my ultimate hope on which all other things hinge? I think of it this way: I respect and value education. In today's day and age, people seem to only need opinions (again, another post).Specialists have a higher amount of education within their specified scope of practice. Simply put: they know more. I have an example that may resonate.

Over the past year, I have been plagued with pain in my right hip. I did what I normally do and simply tried to ignore it. When it began to affect my daily activities, I started seeking professional help. Over 8 months I saw doctor after doctor who all had an opinion, but nobody could find answers. My physical health began to worsen and I was starting to lose the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, I took a suggestion to find a sports medicine specialist. You see, I'm an active girl who enjoys being active. This hip was messing that up for me and sports med doctors specialize in active people who want to remain active. I found one and saw her last week. She has some answers and I am in rehab to recover. The pain is still there, but at least now we know the cause and we know the course of action to take to lessen that pain.

What's the point of me telling you the doctor melodrama? Because we are all searching for that perfect love and hope. We look for it in people, places, peanut butter cups....but we don't go to the One and only that specializes. God offers what we need, when we need it. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Bible even says He is love:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16
The Bible also makes it clear how boldly God loves:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16
So, if you are part of the billions who are searching for what love truly is, look no further than the one who FIRST loved.....and find your hope and freedom there.