Things I Would Be Thankful to Have Less of:
–Cancer steals the life of the one with the diagnosis and rips away pieces of the lives of all those who love and care for them.
–Jeans Size, seriously if the junk in my trunk expands any further I’ll need my own zip code.
–Stuff, which at one point I thought I needed and then forgot why I needed it and now just stare at and wonder how it came to rest underfoot.
Things I Am Thankful to Have More of:
–Time with the one with cancer. We are months ahead of the curve, every day is a bonus
–Comfy Wool Socks in the frozen hinterlands where I live, obnoxious wool socks are the difference between a cranky night and cozy one.
–Faith is a precious commodity I ceded to bitterness and an attitude with God because things didn’t go my way (an understatement-they didn’t just go another way, they stomped on my heart and stole my life). Faith is nibbling at the crusty, hard baked shell around my spirit. Would like to have more of it.
Things I am Thankful to Have in Abundance:
–Laughter at and with my kids, they are so weird they make me feel normal.
–Friends who text when I can’t remember how to turn the phone on and who always ask me how I am because they truly want to know.
–You reading my blog. Of late I am learning harsh lessons on the value of time, sharing yours with me is a gift for which I will always be thankful.
What would you be thankful for less of, more of or have in abundance? I want to read what you write too.
Shanna Groves has an insightful blog up asking, essentially, how to love abundantly as a Mother. Read it here: Great Blog on “What Kind of Mother Should I Be.
Recently, in an effort to commit fully to a less-more-abundant life, I have stepped back from working a ‘real’ job. I am concentrating, for the first time ever, on really building a consulting and writing career. It means, for the first time, I am home with my children for the entire summer. No camps. No day care. Just me.
I, like Shanna, wondered what I was really doing to show my kids I loved them. Were the slurpy noodles and brown soup served on trays enough? Was the one on one time learning how to write, cheering every hard-won inch of growth, important? The Wii tournaments where I would get slaughtered by my 5-year-old, did that show him love abundantly? Was the purchase of the utterly ridiculous t-shirt a way to touch his 9-year-old heart?
Or was it the whispered conversations long after bedtime with my 9-year-old? Topics ranging from Lego building conundrums to worrying about the new school year. Or was it the run/jump/launch/hug of my 5-year-old (my back protesting) which filled his heart?
I did ask them to watch toons so I could work. I did leave them in the more than capable care of Pap to get shopping and writing done. I did lose it more than once. My 9-year-old once answered the question, “How was your day so far?” with this, “Well, it was good until my Mom cussed me out this morning!” Not my most abundant day to be sure.
Today we cheered when my oldest conquered a level in his Star Wars Wii game he’s been working on for two whole years! Is that love abundant?
There are the ad nauseam arguments of quality versus quantity. There are the ‘helicopter’ moms hovering over their children every minute of every day. There are the ‘sidelines’ moms who prefer to watch and get on the field only when they need to. I’m still figuring it all out.
Perhaps it isn’t the answer which is important. Maybe it’s the question which will keep me loving abundantly.
What does it mean to love abundantly?
There is the scripture which says that no greater love exists than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The single most extravagant act of love in all of time was the crucifixion. God and man collided with sin and death. Even to His last moments, bruised, bloodied and dying, Jesus chose to forgive. He chose to love despite the pain, despite the thorns, despite the brokenness of His own spirit.
I have loved, in ways I thought extravagant. Often with disastrous results. No, I haven’t been nailed to a cross. However, my heart, motives, actions and character have taken a beating. I’ve bled over relationships broken beyond my ability to repair. I’ve chosen to forgive. I’ve also chosen to toughen up my defenses. I’ve become far more selective on who, what, when, where and why I will lay down my life. I found myself devoid of life to give.
But doesn’t loving abundantly mean exactly that? Abundance. Not careful and selective choosing. Not defensive protectiveness. But loving despite the consequences or the messiness of the journey?
Hours before the hellish abuses of the crucifixion, Jesus prayed alone in the garden. He prayed that it would all pass by Him, that He wouldn’t have to endure the horrific physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Yet, He made a two part decision. The first was to come to terms with the toll His love would demand. The second was to see beyond the excruciating death to what lay beyond.
Hebrews 12:2 (ERV) 2 We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.” (emphasis mine) Jesus fully realized the pain He would endure. He also accepted it ‘as if it were nothing’.
The cross of crucifixion-nothing! Are you kidding? He could accept it because the joy on the other side of the pain far overshadowed the hellishness He would endure. The ends were so glorious, so beautiful, so joyful that the pain would become nothing.
To love abundantly is to come to terms with the fact that love will hurt. It also means to recognize on the other side of that pain is something good IF we look to the One who makes us complete.
Less-more-abundantly is a journey. One I am undertaking to understand how to love abundantly through the pain to get to the other side.
There is a song which asks all the questions I do when it comes to love. It gives no easy answers, however, it points the way. There is only one way to love abundantly, and that is with arms wide open, my heart exposed. This blog is one way I am opening my arms. Will you open yours?