Living and Loving Well

This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave His life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 3:16, ERV)

 

As I spent much of yesterday with my mom, moving the belongings of my dearly departed grandmother, I recognized how much this rang true in her life. It was because she gave her love, her encouragement, her help and her hope, that my Gram’s life so impacted everyone around her. Daily, she gave her life away. She did not cling closely to things, but rather was generous with all. Gram, in her lifetime had experienced times of very little during the Great Depression; and a time of plenty, after years of being wise with what she had. Throughout my entire existence, she always lavishly gave of herself. Whenever we would meet, a strong squeeze of a hug would embrace me, despite her dainty size. Her words and kindness did the very same for my heart, and whatever exchange we would have during a visit, always lasted long after our seemingly short time together. Even now, I can imagine her laughter and way with words, as they were so readily given away. She was my truest tangible example of real love, outside of my own household growing up. If I can emulate but a fraction of her love and generosity to those around me, then I will have lived my life very well. May we each seek to give away, the greatest gifts that we have been given.

 

The beauty that’s seen,With Gram2

When we realize;

The look of real love,

Hope before our eyes.

As we give away,

All we’re meant to be;

People see the hope,

That Jesus sets free.

Because Jesus gave,

We also can give;

All that we’ve become,

So all might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, what real love is all about. Thank You too, for the beautiful, tangible examples of the faithful that You have placed in our lives, that show us again and again, what it means to give our lives away. Thank You for the lifelong gift of my Gram, and the role model that she was for all who knew her. Forgive us for withholding the very things that You have placed in us to share with those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly and generously give all that we are to all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are to living and loving well. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Love Overflowing

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” – I Thessalonians 3:12

Paul wrote these words as an exhortation and prayer for the Christians in Thessalonica.  “If we are full of God’s love, it will overflow to others.  It is not enough merely to be courteous to others; we must actively and persistently show love to them.  Our love should be growing continually.  If our capacity to love has remained unchanged for some time, ask God to fill us again with His never-ending supply.  Then look for opportunities to express His love.” – (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

In order for our love to increase, we must decrease – our agenda, our ideals, our desires, our “rights” – and allow His love to fill us up, once again.  His love is without limits; it is we, who are not willing to receive all that He has to give.  When we humble our hearts and are intentional to spend time with Him, (in His word, in worship, in prayer and in wait) He is faithful to fill us to overflowing.  As our love grows, it overflows to those who are around us.  Our patience and persistence increase, while anger and animosity decrease.  The more we are in tune with Him and readily receiving His love, the more often opportunities become obvious where we are meant to  choose to love others well.

Line-up from L to R – me, my cousin, Gram, my sis, my mom – LOVE!

My grandmother, whom I affectionately call Gram, is one of the greatest human examples of this kind of overflow that I have ever had the pleasure to know personally.  She has lived through The Great Depression, WWII, devastations, heartaches, deaths and dismay, great love and great loss, yet through it all, she has chosen love.  Everyone who meets her feels safe, known, heard, and loved in her presence.  Her heart for people clearly reflects the love and light of the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father, may Your love in us increase abundantly so that it might overflow to all whom we encounter.  Forgive us for failing to receive all that You are ready to give.  Heal our hearts so that we will readily receive, and in turn, pour out Your loving kindness to all.  Lead us Lord to love like You.  May many come to know how deep and how wide is the love You have for each of us, as we invest in our relationship with You.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present