Lately, I have been walking through a unique season in my life that has me thinking about the nuances of love we don’t often hear about. Yes. Love can be beautiful, fulfilling, and life-giving, but there are seasons when love is simply a challenge — when love is sacrificial love.
Last year, my husband and I decided that we would move his dad in with us to care for him. He lived over an hour away and had fallen a couple of times. It was clear he couldn’t live alone any longer. However, we had just become “empty nesters,” and truth-be-told, we were… loving it. My husband and I married young and began having our children almost immediately. The idea of being just the two of us in our early 50’s was something we had always longed for. Now, our current reality looks nothing like the vision we had for this season of our lives.
In an effort to bring more joy into our circumstances, I decided I was ready for another dog. An adorable, cuddly, loving girl that looks like a teddy bear. My very own therapy dog. Amazing, right? Well…yes, except for the potty-training messes, the nipping, and all of the work I seemed to have forgotten all about from my previous dog owner experience. Clearly, I underestimated what would be required of me. Perhaps I focused too much on the joys and not the sacrifices?
As I journey through these seasons, God has been gently reminding me that it is all about LOVE. Yes, the love of God towards us is beautiful. He does offer us His peace and draws us to His heart. He calls us by our name and even sings over us. He loves us at our ugliest. He sees our hearts despite our weaknesses and couldn’t love us any more than He already does. He loves us as we are. His perfect love for us is revealed on the cross –the most gruesome and painful image.
I pray as we navigate the different seasons of this life, we may embrace all of the love God has for us. May we recognize with clear vision the way He lavishes His love on us and how His love changes us for the better. When the seasons of challenging, sacrificial love come…and they will…I pray they always draw us even closer to the all-encompassing love of our Savior.
“We love because He first loved us” – 1 John 4:19 NIV
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