Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but love does rejoice in truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Loves always perseveres.
One year ago today these verses pressed against my heart. I wrote them in my journal, I pondered the implications of putting this kind of love into action. I thought through how I was demonstrating them and how in so many ways I lacked real love. The words burned into my spirit and I was unable to shake them from my thoughts.
I thought that I was being drawn to these verses within the context of my own relationship. I was in love, or least falling, and my heart was full. We’d had plans and dreams and I felt secure.
God, how can I show love to him more? How do I show real love?
These words etched into my journal in black ink, over and over. God, why are you showing me this?
You see, that relationship, it was my first real relationship. I have never been the girl to jump into anything serious. Sometimes I think I was being protected, other times I wanted to simply run away, other times I don’t think I could be bothered. Either way, this was my first relationship, my first time falling in love and I was gone.
Looking back, the last few weeks of that relationship were a warning sign that maybe something was off and I struggled with how to deal. I spent hours journaling, praying, trying to understand. It was during this time that these verses kept popping into my mind and touching, even scraping at my heart.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is not easily-angered.
Love is not self-seeking…
Than those words happened that ended it all…
“I can’t love you like you need. I don’t want to.”
I look back over photos from the months following that night. I can still see the sadness in my eyes. Sadness I thought I had hidden in my heart. Many people said I was protected from a hurt much greater than I imagined but when you lose love, more importantly, when you lose that which you love your heart seeks something to grasp onto. I felt like I had nothing. Admittedly, even writing these words has been something I have struggled to do over the past twelve months. Who wants to admit that someone wrecked you? Who wants to admit that you made mistakes in a relationship? Who wants to admit how you felt rejected, broken?
Pride sometimes stood in the way of admitting that it was okay that it was over.
Now, with today being Valentine’s Day, I can admit that there were days I stood in the mirror hating myself. There were days I replayed my entire relationship over and over trying to figure out what could have been done better. There are days where I saw any reminders of him and my heart broke again, not only for my relationship but because I lost my best friend. There were even days I hated him. I think the worst though are the days when you believe love won’t come again. The days when, in my case, you live in an entirely new country, with all new people and you can’t see one day in front of the next. Those days are the scariest for a heart that still has fragile moments. I can admit that there were moments when pride filled my heart and I did not want to tell any one how broken I felt. I felt so unworthy of love.
But slowly, surely and with my heart and mind focused on God He began to reveal to me why those verses burned so deeply days before my relationship ended. He was protecting me before I knew I even needed it. He took the broken pieces of my heart and healed them. Intricately sewing each piece back until the seams were invisible.
Love is patient…in my friend’s ability to let me yammer on about how I was over it…when I wasn’t really.
Love is kind…when my best friend sat with me, letting my cry for hours in her lap.
Love does not envy…standing beside my best friend and soul sister when she got married to the man of her dreams and simply being happy for her.
Love does not boast…when you are celebrating others.
Love is not proud…admitting that I was wrong and apologizing.
Love does not dishonor others…stopping the words to fall out of my mouth when someone wrongs me or others.
Love is not self-seeking…knowing all that your mother gave up for you so you could flourish.
Love is not easily angered…keeping your mouth shut and your heart soft even when you hear lies being told about you.
Love keeps no record of wrongs…remembering the past in peace.
Love does not delight in evil but love does rejoice in truth…making the decision to speak truth for long-term gain instead of short term pain.
Love always protects…knowing when to reveal truth to someone when you know it may hurt.
Love always trusts…taking the next step and letting your heart be open again…
Love always hopes…open to a future with a love greater than what you have already experienced.
Loves always perseveres…trusting the almighty God that His love is so great that He will only bring you better.
LOVE is an action. LOVE is a choice.
So…to quote the ever popular “Love, Actually” then…love, actually is all around.
I’m single and the next time I fall in love I will be better at it. Not because I’m better but because I know God’s love better. I see it in every one around me, I see it in me, I see it in the little ways that God reveals His unconditional, impenetrable and unmoving love.
My hope now is that single or not, my actions, my words, my thoughts demonstrate real love…in all that I do.