The Greatest Gift…

Tomorrow is my birthday. Another August 22nd on the horizon. And, I’m already thankful for it. It’s the first one I can remember that has organically fallen on a Saturday…when I have my kids. All of them except my bonus son who will be at work.

I plan our lives (and all our birthdays) knowing we have specific weekends with and without the kids. As they get older, I recognize that even this starts to change. So, getting to wake up knowing they are home, that I don’t have to rush and leave for work all day, that my husband will be home too, and that my family is coming over is the greatest gift. Time. A day together.

I’m thankful for the other family members we get to celebrate tomorrow. I’m thankful for the house and space and health to do so. I’m thankful for the lessons learned this year and the desire to learn more next year.

We plan to go to church in the morning. It’s the first weekend it’s been open in awhile and I’m thankful for that too. Not only that we can go and worship with others, but also that my daughter asked to go. No greater gift than that. The desire to worship and time together. Makes me think of heaven one day. Nothing but worship and time. Togetherness with no awkwardness, no grudges, no paranoia, no shame, guilt, or blame. Only what we love and desire about togetherness. Peace and harmony.

I don’t expect this tomorrow. I expect food, family, and some fun. But, I also realistically expect a house full of people, littles, and teenagers. In all it’s imperfection, I say thank you. To each one. Even if the choice isn’t theirs to be there, I am thankful they will be. Because we never know how many birthdays we have left. Especially ones that fall on a Saturday.

 

 

I’d Choose Love

choose

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.