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Love Beyond Ourselves

Yesterday I drove to the river. I needed to get out and just breathe some fresh air and sit in silence. I drove to a place I often take pictures for people, and then headed down a little path to the edge of the water. 
We never really had snow this past winter, so our snow-pack is really low which makes for a low river. Where I was sitting, it was hardly moving, but it was moving, if even I could hardly tell. 

We've been wading through some difficult things as of late, some of which are heart-breaking. Daily I have been bringing it before the Lord, sometimes it's just an utter of desperation and other times it's with shoulder shrugging sobs. 

Yesterday, by the river, I wept. I wept because my heart was breaking and I was angry and yet I knew that God was wanting to teach me some things, and that even though yes, there was devastating things going on around me, my own heart had so much to be worked on. 

God is using the situations around me to point out to me the sin in my own heart. Was I really, at every step, showing love first? Was my first and foremost reaction to things grace? Or did I merely think it was? Did I explain away the other times, justifying why it my have not been loving? 

It is painful, to be shown where you are wrong. To look at yourself and realize that you have so much work to do. Like the pruning of a bush to bring about a flower, that what God does in our own hearts and before the beauty of the blossom there has to be death. Sometimes it doesn't make sense, why cut that part off? It didn't look so bad, it didn't seem to be causing any issues. It's only later that the un-pruned parts prove to be a problem. Not giving way to life, dying and thus losing it's purpose for being. 

I cannot love all of the time. I cannot love more than I already do. The only way I can begin to love the way I need to love, is by allowing Jesus to do the work in me. Letting Him teach me how to love.

It is a daily thing my friends, I cannot love people the way Jesus loves from yesterday's supply. This is a love beyond myself. 

 I need it new and in abundance daily or I begin to try and love people on my own terms, and sometimes I don't want to love. I want to hurt and return hurt and make people suffer, just like they have made others suffer. That's the ugly truth. The ugly truth that without Jesus I am a mess. The ugly truth is that if I don't have love, my words lose meaning and my actions begin to take a form of selfishness and in my own despair, my instinct for survival trumps anything else. 

This past weekend our best friends brought home the daughter they are adopting. It's been an incredible joy to walk this path alongside them and rejoice at each step. The truth is, adoption comes out of tragedy, it's born out of something broken and yet God uses it to display his redemptive nature in all it's glory. He's redeeming her story and her life before our very eyes and that's what He has done for each of us. 

We are a broken people, in need of redemption and grace. I am a broken person, a sinner through and through and yet God is working in my life and in my heart to bring about a love that points to Himself. 

 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13


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