“and the Greatest of These…”

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.“ 1 Corinthians 13:13

Happy Valentine’s Day to my blog family :-).

I have been talking about Eric and me trying to figure out what true love looks like, to us. I can’t tell you that what we find is going to be right for you or anyone else. We all have different love languages, the way we want/need to be loved and express our love, so there can’t be only one “Look” for love.

I can tell you that Archie and my love looked very different than Eric and mine. I can’t and won’t compare because Archie and Eric are complete opposite’s. It would definitely be like comparing apples to oranges.

I hear a lot of people complaining about ways that they are NOT shown love by the one or ones they need to feel it from the most. I wish I could change that, as I know how that feels. What I can do is share with you some absolutes.

1 Corinthians 13 is my outline and the only list I can honestly compare my efforts of expressing love. Today I decided it’s time. I need to pull it out and see how I’m measuring up.

Verse one, “If I could speak all the tongues of earth and of all angels, but didn’t love, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.“ I used to travel a lot, and speak to/with a lot of people. Though it would be cool to know other languages, what I am hearing from HD is that I need to be observant. I need to honor those with whom I speak or as Dani Johnson explains it: speak to an emerald as an emerald, a sapphire as a sapphire, a pearl as a pearl, and a ruby as a ruby. Talk and express myself in a way to make others feel comfortable and at ease: My self- check right now,”and of all angels,” is reminding me that the words that come out of my mouth, if not sincere when doing that, mean nothing.

Verse two,” If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possess all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.“ This one, to me, is really focusing on my head knowledge: scriptures I know or have memorized verses the way I love other people. It doesn’t matter what’s in my head, people are not going to see or feel that. They may hear it but if they’re needing bread and I’m quoting scripture, that’s not going to quiet their tummies. They’re not going to hear the words I say because they’re focusing on the growling of their stomach. I need to meet physical needs not just say words. Am I showing or making scripture come to life? Am I being Jesus with skin on?

Verse 3,”If I gave everything I had to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” This one gets a little sticky. This is a reminder that what I do for the Lord needs to be done in secret, meaning He gets the glory and I’m not glorified.

The church of Siloam did a great job with this one. Those individuals showed up at my house time after time, with no parade or “shout outs” for what they had “done for the widow.” One of the guys, Rod, Grace’s husband, was a regular at the cat house. Saying very few words, he would set to work, in the freezing temperatures of February and there was no heat. He never posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else for that matter. It was done in secret, giving Heavenly Dad all the glory. They are my measuring stick for that verse.

Verse 4 stops telling me what love IS NOT, but what it actually is. “ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.” This is the one I struggle with, to be honest. Patience and kindness sound easy but you can only be patient when you have to wait. You have to be kind even when someone’s mean, not just when there’s a cute kitten or puppy in the room and I have,”awwwwww” feelings.

Expectations was and is one of my biggest battles this year. This may be a life long struggle as I need to recognize this fault in myself as situations arise.

I sometimes feel like people aren’t kind, generous, loving—whatever—ENOUGH and that frustrates me. I’ve had to embrace the fact that it’s my expectations that are in the wrong. People need to love the way God leads them to. If they truly aren’t showing love, then it’s up to God to tell them, not me.

I just listened to an amazing sermon that was posted by my brother-in-law, Nate. From Elevation church, the pastor said I need to tend and grow MY OWN fruit instead of trying to make other people grow theirs. That’s God’s job. I need to focus on where He has planted me and let Him have the freedom to move them to where the sun shines the best for them. This is a hard lesson that I will be chewing on for a while.

Verse 5,”or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wrong.“ That one I feel like an utter failure. I think it’s hilarious that it starts out with “or rude.“ I don’t think I’m a rude person on a regular basis, but when I get my feathers ruffled, I can play the holier than thou or, “I can’t believe you just did that to me” card with the best of them.

The “demand its own way” has been a revelation for me this year. In previous relationships there’s always been expectations across-the-board about what we would DO for each other. This year all of that went out the window. I can’t expect someone to do or be something if that’s not who God created them to be. Sometimes I have to be myself, do for them and plan for me. When they show up, I hand the reins over, they give and are 100% of themselves, and I count my blessings. Some people aren’t givers, and don’t even think about it. It’s not a character flaw, it’s a God design. If I make a plan, we’re all happy with it, and they smile and join in, I’ve learned to love the memories that I make during those events. It was again my demands aka expectations that were the problem.

The last part of that verse I absolutely adore, though it is tougher than tough. When someone does hurt me, and I’ve been cut to the core, I have been commanded to forgive, 70×7 times for each offense. I’m going to be very honest here. I admit that sometimes I say “I forgive you“ but don’t feel like I forgiven them. I have to recognize that feelings come and go and my Heavenly Father commanded…it’s not a choice… me to forgive. I will say the words and trust that the feelings will follow. That also means that I do not have the right to bring it up again. There’s no reliving or rehashing the past offense because it supposed to have been thrown into the sea of forgetfulness. If I am following my Father’s footsteps, the sin or wrong has been removed from them and me as far as the east is from the west. Another measuring stick… .

Ye-ow-zers, that’s a lot to chew on. I’m going to pray and work on these on this Day-of-Valentine, and come back for the rest.

Praying for you! Until next time: blessings!


Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

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