As most of you know, we spent 1 week in Houston, TX for Thanksgiving and Kerry’s 18th Birthday (hard to believe, but incredibly exciting as well). It was hands down the most incredible vacation we’ve ever had with extended family. Why? Because we spent time with family who actually love us for who we are and who expect nothing but authenticity from us. For these people love is a verb. It’s not a post on facebook, it’s not proclamations of bunches and bunches of love in a card, it’s not friend requests … it’s actual true action. They show us they love us by visiting us, by cheering us, by rejoicing our successes, by praising us, and by being emotionally involved in us. They know us because they want to know us — each and every one of us. It’s not one sided either, we adore them, which is why we made the 19+ hr trip to spend Thanksgiving with them. We learned so much about them just from a one week visit.
None of us is remotely moved by a facebook Happy Birthday are we? Or a once-a-year commercial Birthday Card. We aren’t moved by the first phone call in 10 years. We aren’t overwhelmed with emotion by an email. We all know who loves us and who cares for us because they show us often, right? We know who is a positive force in our lives and who is not. We know who has made an effort to be involved in our lives despite distance or other separators and who has not. I could ask you right now, and a few people would pop into your minds. Shoot, the youngest of us all will let you know immediately who she knows and loves and whom she doesn’t merely by reacting when she is picked up. You do love, you don’t say love. God calls us all to love by doing, by works, not by merely being. Love is not an easy thing. Love can be painful, its humbling, but it is also the most fantastic outpouring of emotion ever, just ask any devoted mother. The Good Book tells us:
1 Cor 13:4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the Truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.”
AND: Matthew 25:34-46
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life…”
Dan & I strive to be the people who don’t forget this. Who don’t turn away from people in need. We teach our children, we ingrain in their hearts what love truly is. We want them to expect real love, actual love from us, their siblings, their future spouses, etc. Believing love is simply words is so limiting. Being shown how loved you are and showing in turn how much you love is elevating. It’s invigorating. Real love is limitless. I want our children to strive to love the way God intended. I want their hearts pouring over with love. God’s every intention was to make love a verb. His own son had to die on a cross for our salvation.
Sue, Kath & Sean they teach us this, they live by this, they are the epitome of love. They are good for us, they are good to us. They don’t love one of us or want a relationship with one or two of us … they want us all and they treat us all so wonderfully well. I know most of you are reading this thinking that’s what family does. You are so lucky! You are so blessed. We feel this way too.
Our inner circle is tight, it’s a safe haven, it’s a place where you know you will not be ridiculed or chastised for your faults and failings. It’s a place where you are elevated and pushed toward your dreams. Our inner circle is a healthy place to be … it’s somewhere we all enjoy being. Sometimes you have to create your circle from scratch … but if that’s the case, it’s probably one made of the strongest, most honest people!! We love you Sue, Kath & Sean!!! Thanks for a great week, thanks for everything. xoxoxoxo