The Experience of Love

Whew!

May I just note that my Love is in the Air post from a few days ago really generated some MAJOR traffic to my blog home, far more than I’m used to getting. WOW! I mean, this was the likes of rush hour in my city, all for my little corner of the blog neighborhood. I hope it’s a preview of things to come, because I love sharing with you all. Now if I could just convince my visitors to leave a comment. *Hint:Hint* Hmph… I guess I’ll have to work on that one. Anyhoo, it was wonderful seeing how this positive four letter word still commands such attention.

Love is a pretty wonderful topic, isn’t it? Let’s face it; it’s something we all enjoy hearing about, talking about, and definitely experiencing first hand. Some of us spend our entire lives in pursuit of it. Some of us are disappointed when we find it, only to discover it wasn’t the real thing at all. It was just an illusion, a counterfeit, an imposter!

Confession: Over the years, I’ve become pretty well-versed in the “illusion, counterfeit and imposter” areas.

No sympathy needed. These experiences taught me priceless lessons. One such lesson is it’s impossible to truly know what love is – what it looks and feels like – without considering the source of love. Here is what I found:

1 John 4:8b – …for God is love.

GOD. IS. LOVE!

I can tell my last post ignited a mini firestorm of curiosity and led many new visitors to my little blog home. They may have been intrigued by the picture and possibly expecting to read some big BLING announcement. If that was the case, I’m sorry to disappoint. However, the real jewel in that post was that small passage of 8 verses in 1 Corinthians 13, and I hope you didn’t miss this treasure. Those verses outline, what I consider to be, the character and personality of love. Understanding this passage is crucial to navigating, with wisdom, the most pivotal relationships in our lives – relationships with family, friends, and (if the Lord wills) future husbands for us single girls. Knowing ourselves is one aspect. Knowing the origin and character of love is another. Without the proper perspective, we are at risk of mismanaging, or even being abused in the name of, this sweet gift.

Again, this is surface talk. We’ll go deeper later, and I’ll even share some of my personal love-like experiences that led me to the lesson I mentioned above. That lesson moved me from a painful path to a positive one. The new path is reflected in the picture you saw in the last post. So far, so good… 🙂 (If you missed it and you want to know what all the hype was about, click here.)

Until next time…

Completely ME,

P.S. Hey, don’t miss this post just because it didn’t show up in your newsfeed on your Facebook page. Click the “sign me up” button to receive each post delivered right to your email inbox. Be among the first to know when I move into my new home at Completely You!. Also, if you enjoyed the post you just read and you know other women who may enjoy it too, please share it with them. Click the “share” button below to send the post via email, post it on your facebook page or send it out in a tweet. A tweet would sure be sweet! :-) Invite your girlfriends to join Full Circle Women’s Fellowship on Facebook and to subscribe to the Wisdom Virtue and Rubies (soon to be Completely You!) blog. I would love to meet them!
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August 2, 2011

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2 NASB – There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…A time to give birth and a time to die.

Life shifts.

Sometimes the shift is so pronounced making “life as we KNOW it” suddenly and forever become “life as we KNEW it”. That moment, whatever it may be, becomes a virtual line in the sand that now separates the two worlds.

On August 2, 2011, my father passed away. Today, I’m remembering life as I knew it and trying to adjust to life as I now know it.

As a writer, the last place I want to find myself, especially at a time like this, is at a loss for words. My personal expectation is to be able to write a lofty post worthy of honoring the man I love so dearly and who loved me so unconditionally. If I’m not careful, not being able to do so could begin to  heckle me or mimic the act of pouring salt on my gaping wound. But I won’t allow it.

The other day, one of my sisters wrote an amazing post about my father, entitled The Greatest Man in the World. Her words capture, quite vividly, the essence of my daddy and the moment he left us to live forever with Christ in heaven.  Instead of lamenting over what I cannot write, I was able to blanket myself in the warm and beautiful words of one who shares my pain. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to share her words with you, as well. I invite you to click here and take a moment to read the post she has written.

I don’t know why, but I just love this picture of my dad.

Dad at his 70th birthday party

In the midst of it all, I am thankful for and find great comfort in the never-changing, never shifting word of God and presence of His sweet spirit to comfort my family and I and to bring us peace. Until next time.

Completely. missing. daddy,

A New Year’s Pick-Me-Up in a Pair of Designer Jeans

My New Years Eve Pick-Me-Up

2009 is finally over!  YAYYYY!!!  Oh, I’m sorry.  Do I seem too excited?  Well that’s because I am!  YAYYYY!!!! For me, 2009 was the most GRUELING year I’ve ever recorded, and you know as a writer I recorded every blood sucking ounce of it!  LOL!  Yeah, I’m laughing now, but believe me 09 was no cakewalk!

It’d be so much easier if I could just blame the poking, prodding, stretching and breaking all on the devil, but I would SO  be lying.  As a matter of fact, this was all my doing.  Well, not all mine…  Without a doubt, the rigorous coursework and each painful lesson learned in the past 12 months was God’s plan of preparation for a much larger picture AND the answer to a very specific prayer I prayed a decade ago.  Talk about be careful what you pray for!! 🙂

On New Years Eve, I awakened wearing the leaden cloak of a challenging year coming to an end.  My knees seemed to buckle under the weight of it all, and the outlook for the day appeared pretty dismal.  However, after a conversation with one of my best girlfriends (thank you Dionne), I recaptured my resolve to leave the process of the passing year behind and carry only the weight of its wisdom with me into 2010.  This brand new year promises to yield the fruit of the labor of 2009, and I decided to enter in rejoicing!

So, I needed a little pick-me-up.  Nothing like a little shopping to lift a girl’s spirit, right?  One of my girlfriends gave me a little cash for Christmas along with some very specific instructions (Thanks, Phyllis!  The report is on the way!), so I drove to a nearby shopping center and placed a wager on the Ross department store.  After spending some time making my way around the racks, it was beginning to appear the only clothing I’d leave the store with were the clothes I was wearing.

And then it happened….  As my fingers did the walking, hanger by hanger through a sea of denim, I found them.  They were a perfect pair of beautiful dark denim blue jeans. It was love at first sight (for me and jeans, that’s a really HUGE deal), and I proclaimed at that very moment, “If they fit they’re going home with me!”  I whisked them off to the dressing room where those babies welcomed me like an old friend.  Ahhhhh!!!!  I was stoked!  It was as if God had placed those jeans there just for me , and I received them with open arms.  Now I know some of you are thinking, “Why is she so excited?  It’s just a pair of jeans.”  But for those of you who know what a “selective” (insert PICKY) shopper I am, well…..enough said!

And there you have it.  I would try to round this out with some deep, spiritual “moral of the story”, but I’d be grasping.  At the end of a painful yet purposeful year of process (didn’t do the P’s on purpose; I promise! LOL!!! There they go again!), God gave me just what I needed to send me skipping, with great expectation, into a brand new year – the perfect pick-me-up in a pair of designer jeans.  I’ll definitely be adding this one to my collection of “love stories” from God.  My 2010 is looking pretty darn promising, and I’ll be looking pretty darn cute in my brand new Michael Kors.  🙂  Happy New Year!

Tell Me Your Love Story, Part II – For the Love of NO POOP

TuxOk, so I am currently living with one of my sisters and her hubby.  (Thanks Marcie and Ezra!)  It’s really cool!  I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve really enjoyed having some someone else in a home besides just me.  I’ve had some sort of roommate for the past couple of years – my friend Wave in Atlanta and now my family.  It’s great to get adjusted to not living alone, stressing about all of the decisions of the household yourself, etc.  Especially since I’d been living alone for as long as I can remember.  But I digress….

Anyway, my sis and her husband have a dog, a boston terrier named Tux (because his coloring makes him look like he’s wearing a black tuxedo w/ a white bow tie! LOL!).  Tux is a very special little man, and I use the word “man”, because we all agree that he’s really a human being trapped in a dog’s body.  If you saw the way he often pouts with his lower lip poked out or some of his cut throat facial expressions when you tell him something he “disagrees with”, you’d concur.  It’s hilarious!

I love Tux!  I really do!  He’s really so cute and just so doggone (no pun intended) human-like; it’s amazing!  So, on rare occasion, when Marcia and Ezra haven’t made it home yet (really rare occasion), I have had to take Tux out to go potty.  Now anyone who knows me has quite possibly heard me make the statement that I am too cute to pick up doggy POOP!  LOL!  I mean really!  Just something about it…  LOVE dogs!  HATE doggy POOP!  LOL!  It’s like, I don’t pick up my own poop; why would I want to pick up an animal’s poop???  (Ok, bring it back, Monica; you’re wandering away from the station. 🙂 )  As you can see even the mere thought steers me onto a different path.  So back to me and taking the little pooch for a potty break.  I remember the first time I had to take Tux out to potty.  Marcie said, he might have to “boo”.  “Ok, no problem,” I thought.  “I can do this!  I can pick up poop.  It’s just once.  I’ll be ok.”  So we get outside, he walks around a little bit, watering every tree and bush he can find, but no poop.  So we walk some more, and some more, and a little more.  Then he begins “acting a monkey” (as Marcie says; what is that really, sis? LOL).  With this I sensed he was done and it was time to go back inside.

I was SO EXCITED, people!!!  I can’t remember if I called or sent a text to my sis, but I had to brag that I did not have to pick up any poop!  I said, “God loves me, because He knows His daughter does not like to pick up poop and He didn’t make her do it.”  It was truly just a little joke at the time.  Yet at the same time, oddly enough, I really did sense a display of God’s love toward me in the midst of this tiny little, silly little idiosyncrasy that I have.  And do you know that, so far, each time I’ve walked Tux he’s NEVER POOPED on my watch!!! EVER!!!  I’m not kidding!  Not once.  Now quite possibly one day he will, and like the good “auntie” and even better sister 🙂 that I am, I’ll pick up the poop (kicking, screaming, and squirming I’m sure).  But no one will ever tell me that’s not a love story from the heavens written just for me.

I”m still waiting for your love stories.  I have received a few and a few promises for more.  Please send this post around to your girlfriends so they have another idea of the rainbow of ways we can look for and EXPECT to see God’s love displayed toward us.  Just click on the “leave a comment” link directly below this post.  This design template makes the link a bit small, so you may have overlooked it before.  The goal is to collect 52 love stories.  Can’t wait to read yours!

Tell Me Your Love Story

I write bible studies for women.  Earlier this year I was working on a lesson for a small group I was leading in Atlanta.  Our group met once a month for 9 months.  It was January.  I remember it as if January were 5 minutes ago.  The clock was ticking, reminding me that the time to distribute the February lesson to the group was at hand.  I knew the topic of study and discussion for February  was to be “Unconditional Love”, but for some reason I was having considerable difficulty pulling the lesson together.  CONSIDERABLE difficulty…  I later realized that I was having such a challenge writing the lesson simply because I still couldn’t wrap my brain around God’s unconditional love for me.

Ok, so fast forward several months, and currently I am working on a full bible study curriculum on Love.  One would think that I’d learned all about God’s love while writing the lesson in January and discussing it in February, so writing a full study on the topic should be a breeze, right?  Did you say, “right”?  You dear, dear, sweet thing….  *sigh*  Thank you for your optimism, but unfortunately, the answer is wrong.  Again I found myself in the middle of a battle.  It was as if I had ringside seats at a wrestling match between my brain and the concept of God’s love, and I was getting creamed. LOL!

So I called up my oldest sis one day, and I asked a question.  “How do you know God loves you?”  I wanted practical details.  I mean I know I woke up this morning.  I realize that should be enough, and believe me I’m thankful, but I still had to confess to her that on some days even that feels insufficient.  I know God sent His son to die for me.  Jhn 15:13 KJV says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  I KNOW God’s word is true.  But may I be blatantly honest here?  I don’t think about that sacrifice each and every day;do you?  I know that I should; I try to, but I often fall short.  I am completely thankful for the immense sacrifice that I know, without a doubt, I could never repay.  And although I am perfectly happy yielding my life in obedience to Him, sometimes His loving sacrifice just doesn’t cross my mind.  Sometimes the story of His sacrifice seems so far removed from my every day life, and I want to know how to see His love for me on a Monday when I wake up cranky, am having a bad hair day, and beloved pre-menstrual bloating has my stomach looking like I’m well with child.

My sis shared with me the simplest, most endearing “love story”, and it really got me to thinking.  There was a children’s book that she adored as a little girl.  She’s now a wife and mommy of 4, and she’s been looking for this book for a very long time, hoping to share it with her own children.  Unfortunately, the details she recalled about the book were too few for her to be able to search for the book online, in the library or in bookstores.  Yet she often dreamt of finding this book.  One day, her oldest daughter (my teenage niece – LAWD HAVE MERCY!!! 🙂 ) was invited to a friend’s yard sale.  She asked her mom if they could pass through, and they did.  While perusing “one man’s junk”, my sister found her treasure.  Her heavenly Father had strategically laid the book she’d been looking for for YEARS atop a basket of books just below where she was standing.  Do you smell the sweet fragrance of God’s love?  I know I did when I heard that story.

My sister called me each day for almost a week after I had that initial conversation with her.  She called to share MORE love stories.
So I  began searching my own life for everyday “love stories” from God, and I want you to do the same.  As I continue to write this bible study on love, I am collecting “love stories”, and I want to hear from you.  Send me your “love story”.  There are all sorts of things that happen amidst our daily routines that are meant to be evidence of God’s thoughtfulness and love toward us.  My goal is to receive 52 love stories, one for each week, and I need  your help to reach that goal.  Just post a comment with your name, city, and state to this blog.  Then pass it on.  Pass this post along to every girlfriend, aunt, sister, cousin and co-worker and challenge them to post a love story.  I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Humorous stories are always welcome! 🙂

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