What is Love?

Recently I purchased Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book “One Thousand Gifts”. I started reading the morning the box from Amazon arrived. Cup of coffee in hand, excited and eager to discover for myself the blessings within these pages that I had heard so much about.

Wholly unprepared for what I would soon find there.

Two chapters in, I stopped reading. Deeply moved. Convicted. Desperate to slow down and to pray. God has given this woman a story and she has opened herself up to Him in such a way that He has breathed the words to her to tell it. Beautiful, poetic, soulful words that share an imperfect woman’s journey to seek her perfect God and find him in a heart of gratitude.

One Thousand Gifts

It has been several weeks and I have not picked the book up again. But I will. I will start again. I will take this journey with Ann; with God. And I will discover, soak in and share one thousand of the gifts in my life. One thousand of the thousands of gifts God has given me; that He gives me everyday. A beginning. A start to recognizing that He is there, in everything. That He loves me. That He sees me. That the evidence of His love can be found in the small things; the gifts that too often go unnoticed.

God, you have given me a story too. I am thankful for EVERY bit of it, in fact that is my first thanks …

1. I am thankful for my story.

Well that felt good – 999 to go; what a journey it will be.

But that is for another time. For today, the leading of my heart centers around a post I saw on Facebook a little over a week ago from Ann Voskamp — I got it because I “Like(d)” her — a simple sentiment that has been rolling around in my head and moving in my heart continuously ever since.

Love is Sacrifice

Actually, it is not simple at all. Not for me anyway. Which is most likely why God has had me up a lot this past week, like 3 AM up, bible, spiral notebook and pen in hand, praying and writing all that has been rattling charging around within me.

All of the questions that have been stirred …

“Love is not passion — it is the pulse of sacrifice.”

How dolove like that?

Me who struggles with patience and forgiveness.

Me who struggles with the fear of failure.

Me who fights like a mule to stay in her comfort zone.

Me who can be too easily wounded and has a hard time letting go.

What if I can’t do it? What if I am never able to do it?

I love deeply. I love my family, my husband, my children, my friends, I love within my circle. But even there, do I love sacrificially? Or do I grumble at the “to do list”, the demands of small children, the challenge of family dynamics, the perceived hurts and slights of friends?

I have a compassionate heart. A heart that aches at suffering and injustice. But my heart has limits. I do not ache or hurt for everyone. I do not see everyone as God sees them. I am passionate but … I do not always love.

The soul-searching questions as God moves me forward, preparing me for the season that is to come …

      Do I love self-servingly or self-sacrificingly?

      Do I love those who can do nothing for me in return? Those who can’t love me in return?

      Do I love the unlovable?

      Do I love my enemies?

     Do I love when it is hard?

How do I love by the example that has been set for me?

The answer is, I can’t.

Not on my own.

But I can freely submit myself to the God who first loved me. He whose love is perfect. The one who will teach me, direct my steps, redeem my missteps, soften my heart.

The one who will empty me of me that I might be filled with Him. That I might love as He loves.

14 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. Clanmother

    Our lives have meaning – sometimes the pathway does not seem that clear. And that is when you know there are miracles.

    “It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
    we have come to our real work
    and when we no longer know which way to go,
    we have begun our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
    The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
    ― Wendell Berry

  2. Peggy Landmark

    If its ok with you Danielle, I want to take this to my bible study class. I Love your heart and passion for God, and I love the gift you have to be able to put your beautiful thoughts down on paper. I love you, Aunt Peggy

  3. julie27z

    I have had Ann’s book on my bed table for weeks. I am afraid to pick it up and start reading. Why is that. Would a rather be sad and miserable? Do I know where to begin? What am I afraid of.? My heart feels as though it is inside an icecube. I have so much to be thankful for, yet if I face it then I must aknowledge my responsibility to God, myself, my children, the world around me.All I can do is hide. But not from the One who see’s all our shortcomings, mistakes, bad decisions, or lack of decision, waisting the precious life He has given me, the lives of my children for which I am gifted the responsibility of caring for, teaching, nurturing, letting go of when the time comes. My life never moves, never goes forward. Whatever movement there may be is backwards. I take bits and pieces of what I wee and read about other peoples lives and think thats what I should do, but I don’t do anything. I just kide. Im k=not sure why Im writing this here and now. I still won’t change anything, do anything. Day after day after day for 50 years now. 50 years. that a whole lot of nothing.

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thank you so much for reaching out. You are writing this here and now because you are hurting and because you are brave and honest. For tonight, I will be thinking of you and praying for you. I hope that I can be of encouragment to you and can’t tell you how thankful I am that you have shared what is weighing so heavily on your heart. Peace to you dear lady. He said to me,”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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