Lately the words “What Love Really Looks Like” have been going through my head. Probably because of our recent visit to Central California to enjoy some time with our son and daughter in law, and to meet our first grandchild, Brayden. Watching their family bond together, and all that goes into the care of an infant, etched into my heart the reminder that love does not usually look like the love that is marketed to all of us on a daily basis.
Yes, there are times of carefree romantic bliss, and those moments of angelic babies surrounded by an aura of sweet white light. Like the moments that are portrayed by Hallmark and on social media. Do we even remember anymore that most of the photos we see now are the result of careful staging, that depict perfectly put together couples, adorable babies, and trendy families? Whatever happened to the uncomfortable, and many times unflattering pictures of old? The ones that truly show life as it is…spontaneous and messy. I must admit, I am the first one to delete “bad” pics of myself or anyone else that I feel would not be flattering. Why do we desire to show the happy “perfection,” and not the struggle?
Sometimes, in trying to make our world “look good” to ourselves or others, we kind of forget what love really looks like.
As we get closer to Jesus, we realize that through the suffering and struggle of our daily crosses, when we open ourselves up to His love and healing mercy, we begin to experience His Divine Love.
What does love really look like?
There is beauty in love that is revealed through joy, happiness, and contentment. We all have known moments of great love and happiness…when we are so filled with love that we feel our hearts will just burst.
However, there is a deeper love…a greater joy that unites us with Jesus. That unfathomable joy is shown in ways we don’t expect. Some of those moments don’t “feel” like love when they are happening. The love is shown when we experience those moments, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, and work through us.
What does love really look like? It looks like…
Hearing your newborn scream incessantly no matter how you try to soothe him; living on a few hours of sleep, and feeling overwhelmed. Changing dirty diapers that look like an explosion took place…how could all of that even come out of that tiny baby? Then your baby focuses and gazes straight into your eyes, and smiles with his whole face. Your heart instantly melts.
Doing what needs done as a couple to run your household and raise your children. Getting up everyday to go to work, when you’d rather stay home or do something much more interesting. Or maybe you are the one who is staying home to raise your children and manage your home…and the day to day “drudgery” sometimes feels as though you can’t do it one more day. Then, through the little things of daily life, through a smile, a hug or a special moment, you are once again reminded of the big “why” and your spirit is renewed.
The misunderstandings, arguments, and pain that happen in your marriage. The times when you bite your tongue when your spouse says something that hurts you to the core. Or the times you are the one who lashes out with angry, biting words. Then, through a miracle, the both of you once again work through the issues and difficulties, and become even closer through the struggle together.
Being the caregiver for someone in your life. The daily care, responsibility, and the pain of watching the one you love suffer, and then pass away. The grief. And then the joy of knowing he/she is with you forever, and no longer are you separated by sin, but united in love.
The pain of a mother, hearing that her daughter was killed while on a date with a boyfriend, who was driving drunk. That mother’s grief and pain in losing her daughter was overwhelming. However, the love of Jesus allowed her to stand up in the courtroom to speak up for the young man that was responsible for her daughter’s death. She was able to hug and love him, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit working in her heart.
The look of anguish between a husband and wife, as one of them confesses to infidelity, and the forgiveness that is offered from the heart to the offender. The grief, the pain, and the days, months and sometimes years of suffering together to restore the marital trust. And then the joy of discovering that the journey of healing miraculously built a truly happy, whole marriage relationship that is their greatest gift in life.
A well known country singer, who was diagnosed with cancer, and knew that her days on earth were coming to an end. She allowed her final loving days with her family to be shared with the world, in order to share her faith and love of God with those that may have needed to see through her eyes of faith. Beautiful.
What does love really look like?
It looks like Our Savior, sacrificing Himself to suffer and take on full punishment for our sins. It looks like a man, bloodied, scourged, tortured, mocked, hanging on a cross, and uttering the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and then dying for us.
Then there was Easter Sunday! Triumph over death! Alleluia!
Thank you, Jesus, for showing us what love really looks like. I ask that you work through me, allowing your love to reach those in need of your mercy.