Thursday, January 28, 2016

Love Month! Finding Real Love in A Lost World

With the Lord's leading...we have declared February to be Love Month in our house!

It started with a simple idea that I've seen floating around the internet. Put a post-it on your children's bedroom door every morning in the month of February. On it, write one thing that you love about them. Simple, cute, meaningful, no big list of supplies...sounds great!

But in the shower (the Lord is always working on me while I'm in the shower), He added to my vision of what this means for us. I am going to do the post-its, I'm rather excited about it! I'm also going to leave post-its for my hubby every morning.

But there should be more. 

There is more. 

After all, what is love? It's a simple question, but the answer is rather difficult. I quickly realized that when my son asked me several months ago. We went straight to the source of Truth then and we will do the same this month.

There are so many ideas about love out there. Most of them are completely wrong. If you've been married any length of time, you surely realize that love is not a mere feeling. Love is a choice. A choice to be kind when we don't feel like it, to be patient when the other person doesn't deserve it, to wipe the slate clean and start fresh the next day.

Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 that the greatest commandments are to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." And secondly, to "love your neighbor as yourself." And 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, "If I give all I have to the poor and give my body over to hardship so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Obviously, love is important to God.

As a family, with or without children, we have to be intentional in demonstrating love. Purposeful in learning what real love means and not letting the distortions from the world seep in. Real love is counter-cultural. It is bold and sacrificial at the same time. As parents and as spouses we need to reaffirm the truths about love in our marriages and families because it is all too easy to get pulled in to cultural norms that are not Biblical.

So here's the plan God gave me in the shower. As a family, we are going to study Biblical love this month. I'd love to encourage you to do the same. There are lots of verses about love in the Bible, but the Lord led me to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. We will read one verse per week, throughout Love Month.

Here's how Week 1 breaks down:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (v4)

As a family:
Read this verse together to begin the week. Continue reciting throughout the week until you all have it memorized.
Discuss: What do patient, kind, envy, boast, and proud mean?
Pursue: Each day, practice pursuing the qualities of love listed in that week's Scripture.
Practical examples to share with your kids: Waiting patiently (with a good attitude) for a toy that you want, but someone else is playing with. Not bragging: "haha, I got..."
          - Remember also to use examples of things that you know your kids struggle with;
          not to condemn, but to offer a Biblical solution for their struggles.
Involvement: Have your kids think of examples and discuss those.
Love your neighbor: Talk about what this week's verse means when you walk out your front door. What are some practical ways you can live out "loving your neighbor" using this week's Scripture?
God's love: Brainstorm with your kids...what does this verse tell us about God's love for us? He is a kind Father, He is patient when we make mistakes...
Pray together: Each day, take time to pray with your children and ask God to help you and them demonstrate this week's love qualities.

As a couple:
I'm planning to use the same basic concepts above with my hubby, but on a much deeper level. In addition to that, ask your spouse how you can be more patient or show more kindness. Build them up by giving them examples of how they've shown this week's qualities to you throughout your marriage. Pray together.

I will post an update every week with next week's Scripture, specific questions to think about, and some examples. Follow along if you'd like!

I pray that your families and marriages will be strengthened this coming month!