In Your Heart

It’s not in your day job or side gig. Your credentials or diplomas. It’s not in your trophies or alma maters. It’s not in your bank account or retirement account. It’s not in your likes or followers. It’s not in the concerts you attend or the books that you read. It’s not in the movies that you watch or the instruments that you play. It’s not in the spouse that you have or the child that you raise. It’s not in the school you attend or choir you join. It’s not in your social status or relationship status. It’s not in the car you drive or the boat you own…

It’s not in your parents choices or your grandparents wishes. It’s not in your past heartaches or future concerns.  It’s not in your mistakes, accomplishments, regrets, or failures. It’s not in your report cards or paychecks.

It’s in your heart.

The decision each one of us makes day after day as to whom we will serve, lean on, and trust is our own. Your spouse can’t make it. Your parents can’t make it. They may try, but they can’t. As a parent myself now, this is terrifying, but I turn this over. Over and over. My kids will make their own choices. As will I. As will you.

To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul may look different to people. It may lead to choices others may not make. He gives us different gifts, passions, and paths. When we ask Him to lead, our lives may take directions we’d never choose on our own. But, the beauty before us is a life lived trusting Him. Let God be your guide.

We find Him in our trials, we help others with what we’ve learned, and we choose Him day after day. In the ups and the downs, we have faith He is with us. And, it’s in THIS faith, that our strength is found. Our callings may be every bit as different as the circumstances we face. But, pointing to the same God, brings us together in one accord.

Brothers and sisters. Hearts to hearts. Trials to trials. Victories to victories. Peace and strength abounds. In one name. The name of Jesus.

 

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Same Kind of Different…

I look at hearts for a living…Every day, I take an ultrasound probe and I look into people’s chests. I look at the blood flow through the valves and chambers. I assess size, shape, function, and Doppler velocities.

After 17 years, I’ve come to realize that when I’m looking at the screen, it doesn’t matter what the person looks like laying beside me. Our hearts are all designed the same. The person I’m scanning could be black, white, Asian, overweight, anorexic, 95 years old, 18 years old, Catholic, atheist, smoker, vegan, a millionaire, homeless, a cheater, or the cheated. I can’t tell by the way their heart looks on my screen.

If I was only looking at a case study on a screen or was scanning through a sheet, I could only guess what that person looks like or lives like. It could be the cardiologist who reads my tests, for all I know!

This got me thinking about the God we serve. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He created our hearts physically and spiritually…the same. To physically pump and fire in a certain way. To spiritually crave Him. To seek Him for satisfaction when the world fails us. To love others and to find our greatest joy in serving Him. So…we are the same.

Yet, this same God who created each one of us in His image also thrives on variety. He made us to look different, gifted us differently, walks us through different stories, gives us different passions and interests. He loves variety. So….we are different.

I look at hearts everyday, but I am so relieved that nobody knows my heart like the One who created it. He sees it, He sees me, and He loves me anyway. He supports and heals my heart. He inspires and strengthens my heart. He pushes it to share and He helps it to rest.

The next time you see someone who looks or acts differently than you, think about their heart beating in their chest, it looks like yours. And, it is loved like yours.

I’d Choose Love

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Love and money are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and sex are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and handyman abilities are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and great looks are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and a great time are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love.

What’s interesting to me is that so many of us confuse money, sex, skills, looks, and fun for love. They can all come WITH love. But, they can also very easily come without. They can counterfeit the real thing. I think they even sometimes keep us from finding the real thing. We want money. We want physical pleasure. We want the perfect face and body. We want to have a great time. In and of themselves, none of these are bad. But, to be loved. Truly loved. Is better than them all. If you’ve never had this, you’d never know. If you have and lost it, no doubt, you know. Real love is a rare find. If you have it, nourish it, be thankful for it, enjoy it.

Great sex doesn’t equal love. But, real love will lead to great sex. If you have real love, then communication is already in place. If you have real love, you’ve already proven that you can talk about anything. Hang-ups, likes, dislikes, previous issues, fears. There will be a mutual respect and concern for each others hearts. There will be an openness that takes shame out of the picture. The person making real love to you will honor you. Your pleasure will be their greatest desire, not their own. Before marriage, this comes in the form of waiting or going only as far as you’re both comfortable with. After marriage, this comes in the form of giving. I was physically rejected countless times in my marriage and then immediately desired in that way when dating. This made it very hard for me to refrain in order to decipher real love. My self esteem was shot and I had been starved in so many ways. If your desire is to wait and a man honors you in this way, your heart will swell with so much love for him. He will be making love to you in a way you’ve never known, to your heart. This is beautiful. This is pure. This is real.

Money without love will feel empty. Things cannot replace love. They are nice. Vacations are nice. Designer clothes are nice. But, without the love, they feel like extremely fake imitations. Without the love, a Gucci purse has as much worth as the knock off. I’ve had nice things given to me when all I wanted was personal time spent together. I liked the purse, but felt shunned. I carried the purse, but knew in my heart, that it was given as an after thought in hopes to replace my desire for time spent. If I had known I was loved, I would have felt much warmer carrying the purse. Instead, I felt like it was a lousy substitute. A pacifier. A gift given out of convenience and requirement. Looking back, I wish I had had the courage to say “Keep it, it’s not what I want.”

We love our kids regardless of what they have, what they look like, what they can do, or how they are feeling. This is true love. Love trumps. If they were to become disfigured or injured, our love would not waver. Love never fails. If you have a rich, attractive, fun, handy spouse who loves you, ENJOY! The “who loves you” part is the hardest to come by. The “who loves you” part is something not to be taken for granted.  The “who loves you” part is the most important. There’s a reason wedding vows say “for richer for poorer”, “in sickness and in health”. Because all those things can change. To love and to honor through them all is something nothing else can buy.

Cherish your spouse. Love them like no other. Show them the best humanly love possible. Your spouse is given to you by God to love you through life and we all know life isn’t easy. They are supposed to be your helper, not your hurter. Let us never intentionally hurt each other. Let us ask forgiveness when we do. Let us forgive. Let us cherish. And, let us always choose love.

Which Language Do You Speak?

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There’s a very well known book by Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages”. Great read! The five languages are as follow:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch
  • Acts of service
  • Gifts

If you’re like me, they are all wonderful! Where can I get more of all of the above please? They are all important in showing love. But, usually, there are a couple that stick out to us personally. If you’re married, ask your spouse what their love language is and do a lot of it. Love is sacrifice and it’s when you don’t feel like it and do it anyway, that you are showing true sacrificial love. Putting the other person’s needs before your own is sacrifice.

In a perfect world we would all marry a mate with the same exact love language as us, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to work that way. Opposites do attract and what we do in the beginning starts to fizzle out in time. When we are dating, the acts of love are flying off the shelf. It just comes naturally to do all of these when we are infatuated and hoping to impress a possible suitor. We seem to get it all, but it’s what we get AND give in the long run that counts.

If you are dating and considering marriage, it would be a great idea to find out what that person’s love language is and be honest with yourself and the other person if it’s not something you can see yourself dishing out a lot of. If they love physical affection and you’re not big on it, it may cause a problem down the road. If they are super picky about how the house is cleaned and acts of service is their language, watch out.  There’s nothing wrong with someone’s love language if it’s different than yours, it’s just part of what makes them tick, but be aware of what you’re getting into.

We tend to speak the love language that we most desire to receive. Your attempts to show love may fall on deaf ears if they don’t speak your primary language. It takes a conscious effort to think about what would show the other person we love them instead of giving them what we want for ourselves in return.

Learning someone’s love language is not just important in romantic relationships, but our kids, friends, and parents have them too. Love is not just a feeling, it’s an action. It’s something we DO for another. My primary love languages are time and touch. What’s yours? Investigate and try it out. Show someone some love today!