Lord, Teach Me To Love

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I hate to admit this, but I was never a fan of lovey-dovey holidays growing up, especially anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. My parents had a horrible marriage and the whole idea of celebrating love with candy, roses and cards in a marriage that lacked kindness and basic human decency was a joke to me.

I remember one year (oh so long ago, in what feels like a galaxy far, far way) our high school held a fundraiser around V Day. We could buy roses and have them delivered anonymously to lockers. (I wonder if they still torture teenagers with this awful tradition?) My silly, naive girlfriends convinced me that I should buy a rose for this guy. And put a handwritten poem in his locker to boot! He got a ton of roses that day, but only one love note from yours truly.

Someone leaked that I was the author of that note. He thought it was hilarious and read it out loud to EVERYONE in our science class. Hysterical laughter followed (my friends included). My face turned as red as those cinnamon Valentine hearts. I went home sick the rest of the week. I was devastated. That was the first time I put my heart out there for anyone and it was crushed.

Even though my heart broke into pieces that day, I learned a valuable lesson on what true love isn’t.

Fast forward a few decades and I’m lucky enough to be married to the most perfect for me, kick butt hubby a girl could ever pray for. He would never laugh if I bought a rose and stuck it in his locker. Or if I wrote him a silly little love note (which I do often).

We’ve hit a few bumps in our marriage. At times they’ve felt more like craters. We’ve stood face to face with our selfishness and pride. Our hearts have been stretched to their limit through the sorrows of our infertility journey and navigating the craziness of the adoption world.

Jesus has taught us to cling to each other {and to Him!} through the good times as well as the difficult times.

I wouldn’t trade our years together for all the chocolate in Pennsylvania. Through all the sorrow and the bumps and the heart bruises, there has been more joy than I could ever imagine. I love this man to the moon and back. And then beyond a dozen or so times.

When things have been at their worst, I’ve cried out to Jesus:
“Lord, teach me to love.”

And He does. Our Lord is so faithful.

Christ has been refining two imperfect sinners over the years. He has shown us redemption, forgiveness, joy in the middle of trials and how to love another on days when the other hasn’t done a single thing to earn it or deserve it.

The vows we exchanged many years ago are still commitments I’m trying to keep today. To love, honor and cherish. In the good times and the bad times. There are lots of bad times and I CHOOSE to cling to the good ones and do my best to pray through the difficult times. I mess up a lot. But there is grace. Lots and lots of grace. From the hubby and from Jesus. And there is love, so much love.

If there was one thing I could do differently, it would be to go back to the day we said ‘I do’ and follow that commitment with five words that have been inscribed deep within my heart. They are five profound, but simple, words that have radically changed me and have helped me love like Jesus loves.

“Lord, teach me to love.”

If your marriage has hit a bump in the road, take these five words to heart and ask Jesus to help show you how to love your spouse. Ask Him to allow you to see your spouse through His eyes. Take accountability for your own sin and part in your current bumpy situation. Ask for forgiveness, if needed. Ask someone to pray for your marriage. Talk to a pastor or seek professional counsel if necessary. You don’t have to go through your trials alone. Jesus loves you. He has placed so many people in your path to lift you up. Reach out to them. Don’t be afraid.

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