Love is Changing Me

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Life is busy, isn’t it? Overwhelming, at times. Nurturing this gorgeous baby boy with a personality larger than life alongside my husband has been a welcome respite. I confess to you I have not missed life’s pace.

Even though my friend Harmony makes fun of me when I say this, the past three months have been a Sabbath. (“You know you have a hard job when…” she says.) I have not checked a single email on my ministry account. Even though that means I will spend my first day back in the weeds of words and junk mail, it’s worth it.

Baby Boy

Yes, that bath mat says “So Fresh and So Clean” and yes, those letters were white. Once upon a time when I had time to brush my teeth and care if our house was clean.

Ministry is hard work. Fact, not complaint. It’s also hilarious. This one time, to Skid Row, we traveled with 50 volunteers, two of which were seriously suspect. Upon exiting our shuttle, one of them peed on the street. Did I mention Saturday Outreach is a family friendly ministry? Approximately an hour later, we caught them coming out of the liquor store on San Julian and 5th smoking cigs and drinking 4o’s… in brown bags. At least we did baptisms on Skid Row that day, which now that I mention it, is pretty funny. We used my husband’s pick-up truck and a pool from Wal-Mart, with absolutely no follow-up plan for anyone we baptized. Rookies.

Live and learn, right?

I am learning to take more time to reflect, listen, and decide who I want to be. We are living in a transitional season. Often with transitions, comes tension, misunderstanding, hurt, judgement and opinions. Opinions are loud. Opinions rule our culture. If we are not careful, they will rule our life. Sometimes, I wonder if our opinions have replaced the voice of God.

opinion

I am obsessed with e-cards. There are so many inappropriate ones I can’t post here. So I send them to all my friends.

He’s difficult to hear in our “do what you want, when you want, to whomever you want, however you want” culture. We often want Him to tell us what to do and when He doesn’t, we start listening to other voices. We can always find what we are looking for, but because our character matters, I believe God wants to teach us how to live.

Biblically, living is loving. In the midst of transitions, it would help us all to remember love. I want to love people better. To love them, I must know them. To know them, I must serve them. If I am firm in my preferences, opinions, expectations and judgements, how can I ever serve others with love – love in all its kindness, patience, honesty and trust.

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” Viktor Frankl, Austrian Neurologist, Psychologist, and Holocaust Survivor

What if our desire for others was to grasp them in the innermost core of their personality? What if we saw potential in the wreckage of our humanity and through our love, saw it realized? What if our words were full of life and served to remind others what they can and should become? What if we were known for our character in Christ and not our strong opinions? What if we loved without our list of standards and expectations? These words especially move me:  “No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.”

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Love is changing me. I have good days and bad days, but I like who I am becoming. What about you? How is love changing you? Who has loved you in this transitional season and helped you remember who you are? How have you kept opinions out and God’s voice in?

Sending you love and grace – We’re in this together, friends.

 

13 comments

  • Firstly – That pic is EVERYTHING! I love the joy I see in your lil’ guy!
    Secondly – Thank you once again for a beautiful post. So perfectly illustrates the power of choosing love over opinion. I so don’t want to be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal!
    Thirdly – Thank you for your love of e-cards…especially the inappropriate ones.
    Lastly – Love you! 🙂

  • Beautiful! This thought really struck me, “If I am firm in my preferences, opinions, expectations and judgements, how can I ever serve others with love?…” Jesus, keep me teachable and moldable! Thank you Ashley!

  • “Sometimes, I wonder if our opinions have replaced the voice of God”. Yes and amen!

    The more I learn about what loving people really is, the more I realize how much I still have to learn!

  • This is epic Ash! I like who you’re becoming too! 🙂 And am so thankful that you’re willing to share it with us as you journey through it. Thank you for your honesty, transparency and ridiculously adorable Levi pictures!!

  • Let the church say, Amen…..especially after penning a line like, “What if we saw potential in the wreckage of our humanity and through our love, saw it realized?” THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE TOPICS!! Love….what it REALLY means, what it really looks like, and how to do it better…….toward EVERYONE. Yep…even that one chick/dude you’re thinking of. Motherhood and wifehood has most definitely helped me become better at it and I absolutely love who I have been becoming– especially since having my first child. Good sense-talking! Great post! 😉

  • Wow. This is so on point and on time. Love is changing me this season. Allowing me to stick it out with people. This was never the case before. Loving others deeply in this season has healed places in my soul. I always thought loving people was purely for their benefit. Only now, in this season, have I found it’s been for mine as well. Chile, your bebe looks delicious! 😃 Love you!

  • Thank you for learning how to receive God’s love and giving it to others. I am still working on surrendering my thoughts and oppinions and vices, and, at 46 with several degrees, I thought I had it all figured out. YOUR blogs are helping me through a necessary time of suffering….emotionally and physically and intellectually it sucks. Spiritually, it is one moment closer to freedom. What you are allowing God to do through you helps… much love.

    • Oh my friend, thank you for sharing this with me! The more I learn, the less I know, so I understand completely. I am praying for you, and asking God to continue to lift your head and heart towards heaven. I pray He would give you courage and grace to navigate everything on your plate. You are an overcomer, and it’s an honor to journey with you towards freedom!

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