Friday, October 28, 2011

Abounding in Love

Okay - I am addicted to Twitter. I like it much better than Facebook. If you haven't tried it you most definitely should. All day every day there are people posting quotes. Some are hilarious and others are serious. This quote came across my phone a few days ago and I have been thinking about it ever since: "Always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor 15:58) Abounding. The opposite of foot-dragging. ~Ray Ortlund. Let's talk about that for a minute!

I have been having an ongoing conversation with a dear friend about loving our husbands. We both admit to struggling with this. There are days it is easy to be supportive and loving and kind and patient and the voice of affirmation. But there are seasons when this is very difficult... Our husbands require love and affirmation and respect even when we don't feel loved and affirmed and respected ourselves (the reverse is also true - but we aren't talking about us right now!). And in those times it feels like we just have to give and give and give. Here is how my friend puts it: "Marriage is not give and take. It is give. And give... I am not called to give my hubby affirmation and speak words of truth that he needs when I am receiving what makes me feel loved. I am called to do it. Period. Because Jesus gave and gave and gave. And still gives more. The same Spirit that was with Jesus has been sent to dwell in me and will give me strength and joy." This is where we come to abounding.

"Always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor 15:58) Abounding. The opposite of foot-dragging. I have perfected the art of serving my husband with a bad attitude and serious foot dragging. This is what happens when I work out of my own strength. I personally am seriously lacking in strength and seriously not lacking in self-pity and self-indulgance and even self-preservation. But God has called me to this work - the work of loving my husband. And the only way I can abound in this work is through the power of the Holy Spirit! Do you see the relief in that, friends? We can't love our husbands in our own strength. Period. We can only love - and give - out of the strength of the God of this Universe!! I don't have to muster up strength each morning to cook again or speak words of affirmation or serve patiently or be a joyful wife!! I just need to PRAY!! God will give me abounding strength. And He will cause me to be more dependent on Him daily. He will develop in me more love and more compassion and more strength to serve.

Just a footnote: Please don't hear me say that loving my husband (or you loving your husband) is ALWAYS work. It most definitely isn't. There is so much joy in this that my heart bursts just thinking about it. But we cannot deny as wives and even mothers that there are days when... well, when we don't have the mental, emotional, or physical strength to love our families. I hope you haven't experienced those days yet. But if, like me, you have - please know that you are not alone and that you can ABOUND in this work - NEVER through your own strength, but in the Strength of the One who has died in your place and who has given you His Spirit!

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