Snapshots of Love

                                                       What Love Really Means

Giveaway is now closed…winners have been announced!

I am joining with Mattie and several other sweet bloggy-friends to share What Love Really Means during the month of February. I must say, this post has been tugging at my heart, hanging over my head, and nagging on my mind since I agreed to write it. Love is such a vast topic, and we, with our finite, human minds are so inadequate to describe such a glorious mystery. I know I cannot share the depths of all that love really is in this little post. So, I will share but a piece of what love has come to mean to me. Snapshots of love God has bestowed on our lives and a few of love’s many languages spoken into our hearts.

The greatest love story ever told, is of course, the story of Jesus, coming to redeem and save His broken people. The greatest earthly love story I’ve ever known is my own, or rather, it is the story of the love He has woven between us.

Some snapshots of our love…

Laughter…

That’s the first love language Tim spoke to me. He made me laugh like no one ever has, and he did it in the midst of such teenage angst and brokenness. That laughter was music to my soul and a healing balm to all my broken places. He stole my heart with his quick-witted humor and chocolate brown eyes. There was an honest purity in those eyes. I trusted him.

Steadfast…

I was a spitfire. My own storm. A huge pain in the neck. (Sometimes I still am.) And, he stood firm in the midst of my fury and passion. I close my eyes and remember a shouting match that was mostly me shouting and spewing forth too many words, and him standing steadfast. He knocked on the door I had just slammed in his face, and thrust a tiny diamond in front of me, asking me to marry him, with a sheepish grin, while I still seethed with ugliness. The beginning of a life filled with moments of imperfection covered by grace, I said “yes”, and slipped the dainty ring on my finger.

Doing the Hard Things…

The Ashes…

Working, going to school, staying when others would have walked away…
Sitting by Timothy’s hospital bed, laying down his own plans…choosing us…
Scraping by on minimum wage…
Hanging on by a thread, two clueless young hearts trying to be grown-ups before our time in a tiny one bedroom apartment with a baby bouncing in the crib….
Me on my knees, surrendering at the foot of the cross, and him breathing in the black air of the factory and studying government…
Stolen moments of laughter in a foreign place of sorrow through the fresh heaviness of grief, laughter that only he could deliver as my arms ached for the girls I held for moments in my arms, but forever in my heart…
Standing by the grave of our only daughters on a cold November day, coaxing me to leave with his words of reassurance…
Him, going to work still freshly broken and coming home to me, collapsing in his arms in a puddle of grief and emptiness…
Trying again…an attempt to fill the emptiness…
His face, drained of color and the agony gripping my heart when we heard the words “incompatible with life”.
Driving home in the rain…
Another tiny coffin, this time lined in blue…
Weeping together…
Me, on my knees again at the feet of Jesus…
Abiding, remaining, loving through the hard. Letting God love through me, when I was too weak.

Redemption and Grace…

The Beauty…

A sweet miracle and the sound of our newborn baby’s cry…the sweetest sound…
Coming home…
His hands, calloused from hard work, folded in prayer on Sunday morning.
Him, standing in the food line, dressed in his suit on the day we buried my mother, carrying our plates, thinking when my brain stopped…
The guitar music that fills our house…
The sound of my voice blending with his guitar, lifted in worship…becoming one.
The teasing from our boys as they learn the love language of their father…just make her laugh, and everything will be o.k.
Me…the sucker for a good laugh. The three of them, all wearing a satisfied grin.
Riding home from the golf course in the truck beside him with the windows down, inhaling the sweetness of summer, with my hair blowing free and Need to Breathe turned up on the radio…

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Love is in all of those things…in the good, the bad, and the ugly of life. It’s in the laughter and the tears, the exciting and the mundane. It holds you beside the grave and laughs with you in the back yard. It stays when the world leaves….when all you want to do is run away…it stays to do hard. Determined, steadfast, true. Giving when you’re empty. In the weeping, in the laughing, in the music of it all…love remains.

I am in awe of God’s love. Continually in awe, as I watch Him weave this beautiful tapestry through our lives. His abiding love has carried us through laughter and tears, and continues to cover us with mercies…new every morning. I pray you know that kind of love. If you don’t, start looking for it…in the everyday. In the hard things, in the little things, in the beauty of the world around you. Ask God to show Himself and His love to you. Ask Him to fill your heart with His love for those around you. That’s a prayer He is just waiting to answer.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3:14-19

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A Little More on Love Languages…

When I was a young wife and mother, some wise women from the church began to mentor me shortly after I gave my life to Jesus. They taught me about honoring my husband and training my children, and keeping my home. But, one of the most valuable lessons was to learn to be a student of my husband. To learn how to speak his love language. While Tim, in his manly-manness, differs quite a bit in what makes his heart skip a beat from what makes my heart flutter in my girly-girlyness….we have found a common ground in laughing together. Laughter and teasing were love languages spoken in both our homes, growing up…and that is a heritage we have passed on to our children.

Sure, sometimes I wouldn’t mind a little sappiness. And, Tim…being a student of his wife’s love language has learned that, and occasionally obliges. (I must urgently interject here, though, that it is important to keep your focus OFF the idea that your husband should be a student of you, learning to speak your love language. Instead, keep your focus on learning his. Many times, he will follow suit, but that should never be your goal or focus. Love always yields. Don’t worry about what you will get back. Love gives without expectations.) In general, my boys show love by teasing me or getting me to laugh. They probably would never say anything this sappy, but I imagine my laughter is music to them, like their guitar playing is to me. They don’t say things like that with words, but with the satisfied grins on their faces once they hear the coveted laugh.

The other simple thing I’ve learned about loving my boys…and I believe this is almost universal for boys of all ages…is to listen and take interest in their stories. They love to tell their stories, and make us laugh. It is a great compliment to you, if they are willing to share. So, accept that as a gift of love…even if it’s a story about how they beat the next level on the Star Wars game or the crazy thing Jimmy did in science class today.

For more about Loving Your Husband in His Language, click here.

Giveaway!

In honor of love and marriage and all the good stuff God gives us in both, I would like to give away two CDs…one to each winner. One is Beauty Will Rise by Stephen Curtis Chapman….because he and Mary Beth have shared a beautiful love story, with God’s grace woven throughout. And JJ Heller’s When I’m With You, because I love her…and I love that she and her husband make beautiful, God-honoring music together. Plus, there’s a song on the CD called, What Love Really Means…which seems quite fitting! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me which CD you would like. You can also share a snapshot of love in your own life…or share a bit of your own love language if you want. Or not. We like grace here! =)

Comments

  1. Wow..what a beautiful way to describe love. I do believe that love can be shown in may ways..I think my kids feel love just when I give them a hug and play with them for a bit since I don't seem to do that enough these days. I have been too lost in my own grief this past year to be the mother I used to be..I am working on it. I love JJ Heller..Her song "Your Hands" helped me through the first few days after losing my daughter, and I would love to have her new cd because I love her newest song as well..even if it does make me cry! Thank you so much for sharing these words..

  2. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing. If I would win, I would love Beauty Will Rise. I actually just heard a song from this album a few months ago and have been meaning to get a copy! Thank you for the opportunity to win one! Thank you again, for your beautiful words!

  3. What an amazing post Kelly! ♥ Your words are beautiful and they spoke to me.

    I remember when I was growing up, our family would ALWAYS tell each other, "I love you" about a million times a day! I thought it was absolutely normal. But when I would have friends over or have a sleepover, my friends would always say, "Your family says I love you a lot!" And it always seemed weird to me that they said this…as if it wasn't normal. Then I started noticing whenever I went over to their houses…it was the complete opposite of how it was at my house. And that made me sad. I think you should let the ones you love KNOW that they are loved. Say I Love You every chance you get! And not only say it but show it. I want my children to grow up KNOWING they are loved and FEELING that love.

    I would love either CD. Steven (Beauty Will Rise) has amazing music that has helped me so much through out my grieving process. I have not heard JJ Heller but I have heard amazing things about her!

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us and than you for this generous giveaway. God bless you Kelly, you are an amazing woman! ♥

  4. What a beautiful post, you have such a way with words. My favorite thing about the love between my husband and I is that I can feel his love without him saying anything at all.

    I'd love the JJ Heller CD, I already have Beauty will Rise and it's one of my favs!

  5. Kelly,
    What a beautiful "love letter" to your beloved. I hope he may get a chance to read this someday=). My husband rarely reads my blog=).

    This line especially spoke volumes of the man you married:

    "His hands, calloused from hard work, folded in prayer on Sunday morning."

    Love that sentence. That image is something I know you and your children will cherish.

    I would like the JJ Heller c.d. Although, I was already blessed with this post!

  6. JJ Heller would be my pref. :)

    As I read your post I stopped, closed my eyes and just focused for a moment on the word love…I tried to visualize it.

    I saw the faces of the people I love bathed in the sunlight. That's it, but it was enough.

    I saw this image and I knew…this is what it will be like when we are finally together again….just smiling faces basking in the glorious light of our Lord! Can't wait!

  7. Great post yet again, Kelly!! I agree with Trena that you should say I love you to those you love every chance you get b/c you never know when it will be your last.

    Love you Kelly!!

  8. Beautiful post!

  9. You never cease to amaze me, the way your words are just so beautiful and always so true. Morgan has always made me laugh too and that is one thing I love!

    I love JJ Heller too :)

  10. michelle hs says:

    amazing post…thanks for sharing. i would choose the jj heller cd. i'm learning to love again – so i'm a bit confused on love right now, but nearly two years after losing xavier it feels good to finally begin really loving again!

  11. Beautiful post Kelly! Thank you so much for sharing what love really means to you :)
    I love both of those CD's and have them both downloaded, so don't enter me in the giveaway, I just wanted to say hi!
    Oh, and my love language is quality time!

  12. Not commenting to join the giveway…just wanted to say:

    LOVE this!

    The laughter struck me the most. My boys are always determined to make me laugh. Your words reminded me of the night they picked me up from the hospital with empty arms. They tried to make me laugh the whole way home. Even at the expense of their father's good humor.

    They knew that my heart was hurting and my arms were empty and they HAD to "see" there mom again.

  13. Loved these precious words…don't know how you could have worried about what to write because they were such inspired words and such a blessing!!!

    You show such beauty and grace with what you share. Thank you so much!

  14. Kelly, you have such a way with words. You get right to the heart of things and make the visual so real. Thank you for sharing your heart today. Your words are truly a blessing.

  15. I loved this post!! So beautifully written and so full of real life everyday down to the tops of your toes kind of love!! I really love what you said about being a student of your husband and learning his love language–just when I think I "get" him, I learn something more about loving my man :)

    JJ Heller's cd sounds wonderful :)

  16. Very Beautiful post Kelly !!

    I love JJ Heller

  17. Kelly,

    Amazing post! You have such a beautiful way of wording everything.

    I just heard this amazing story and you were the first person I thought of. (You might have already heard it, I don't know!)

    This woman found out that her twins would had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. She searched all over and she found a sergery that could save at least 1 of the babies. She went through with it, and it saved BOTH the babies! They just turned six months old. Isn't this miraculous?

    God is so good!

    http://news.yahoo.com/video/health-15749655/mother-s-choice-saves-unborn-twins-24117000

  18. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

    I was introduced to JJ Heller while grieving for my son and would love to have her latest cd

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