t our wedding in 1953, the pastor read this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browing.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."
After leaving Colorado Springs on our honeymoon, we stopped in Canon City, Colorado for dinner. Friends and family had decorated our car with:
~'Just Married' written on the windshields....
~a folding chair in the back seat with a sign, 'For Mother-in-law'....
~a potato stuck in the exhaust pipe.
As I helped La Moyne out of the car at a restaurant, some boisterous guys hollered,
"You'd better enjoy that Lady, 'cause that'll be the last time he'll do that!"
Many times in our 56 yrs. of marriage, we've commented how we wish those guys could see us now....like yesterday when at 80 yrs. of age, I helped La Moyne get in and out of our car :)
While going back through my notes on 'Love' I came across this which was written by a fellow pastor in Texas.
"WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?"
~LOVE is a bridge over which God travels from Heaven to earth to draw us to Himself in Salvation.
~LOVE is a highway over which we walk with Jesus and others on our way to the City of God.
~LOVE is an anthem of the angels singing the praise of God around the great white throne.
~LOVE is a journey with Jesus from the temples of time to the throne of the Timeless.
~LOVE is the wind of God blowing over the world and sweeping away the dust and dirt of hate.
~LOVE is the cry of a little child homesick for his mother's arms.
~LOVE is the passion of purity that saturates a soul in sacrificing itself for another.
~LOVE is a warmth that surrounds the heart when souls embrace the harmony of Christ.
~LOVE is the feeling of being a home with God at the end of life's day.
~LOVE is the experience of CHrist in His presence, His purity and His power.
~LOVE is the atmosphere through which our souls travel on their way to Eternal life and fellowship with our Savior.
~LOVE is the Body of Christ meeting together in confession, prayer and renewal.
~LOVE is a heat aflame with the passion of Jesus for the lost, the lonely and the least.
~LOVE is to share Christ's tender compassion for the total redemption of the world.
~LOVE is Christ's way to us...
~LOVE is our way to Christ...
~LOVE is the way for Christ (and us) to reach out to the whole wide world.
No wonder John wrote, "GOD IS LOVE"
The physical heart (as an organ) can sometimes cause physical difficulties....
as my wife La Moyne found out this year when she had a heart attack, then again last month when they had to use a defibrillator on her heart.
My 2 brothers and I have had to have stints put in to keep the blood flowing.
(We call ourselves 'The Stint Brothers :)
But the worst heart trouble is spiritual....
and the attacks by satan and sin.
Notice that the word 'sin' has an 'I' in the middle and so many times, that 'I' is wrapped in selfishness and can keep one from loving wholeheartedly and freely.
Hebrews 3 tells us that for 40 yrs, the Israelites missed God's blessings because of lack of faith (heart trouble).
1) A HARD HEART PROVOKES GOD (Vs. 8)
God is long-suffering to us but as our Heavenly Father (like an earthly father)...
He sees the best way for an errant child, is to discipline.
In vs. 12 he kept emphasizing:
"Today people, do not harden your hearts as was done in the wilderness".
2) AN ERRING HEART MIS-CONSTRUES (MIS-JUDGES) GOD (Vs. 10)
God is long on patience while we sometimes are short on patience.
The emphasis here is:
You have heart trouble if you don't know God well enough to faithfully discern His Ways.
This can come from ignorance of the Scripture...and lack of Faith.
The Bible speaks of the fulness that we can have (or the emptiness) we can have....
without faith and without heart.
3) AN UNBELIEVING HEART FORSAKES GOD (Vs. 19)
They could not enter in to the Promised Land because of unbelief. (Ps. 95: 8-11)
They needed simple faith.
"Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.
In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path."
God is more interested in 'quality of life' than 'quantity of life'.
~Walk by faith and not by sight (II Cor. 5:7)
I can lose a bit of faith if I go 'by sight' (the weakness in my legs and the loss of hair).
A sense of humor helps as we age:
"I can live with my arthritis...
My dentures fit just fine.
I can see through my bifocals,
But I sure do miss my mind."
An old song (words by Edwin Orr):
'Search me O God and know my heart today
Try me O Savior and know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.
Lord, take my life and make it wholly thine.
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride.
I now surrender: Lord, in me abide.'
As I typed this up today for Travis, I was reminded of something I'd like to share.
When he mentioned the poem 'Let me count the ways', I recalled something he did for my Mom yrs. ago.
Mom was bedfast for 6 yrs. and we tried to visit each day.
I was sick on Valentine's Day one year, so Travis said that he was going to go see Mom.
He didn't tell me 'what' he was taking Mom, but the nurses shared it with me later.
They said that when Travis came into the Nursing Home, he had a bouquet of flowers,
a little heart shaped box of candy AND a tube of Icy Hot Ointment (for the pain in Mom's knees).
The nurses said that he not only brought the medication to Mom,
but they were so touched when they saw him putting that Icy Hot on Mom's knees.
That tenderness/compassion is one of MANY reasons I fell in love with Travis....
and he continues to show those qualities to me, our family and others.
That example seems to have been passed on to our children as our youngest son, Kyle, spent last week at his mother-in-law's home near Liberty, Texas, repairing damage left by the hurricanes that ravaged that area.
He called this a.m. and said that though they didn't get near the damage from yesterday's tornadoes that we rec'd in Oklahoma, it did do some damage to her home AGAIN.
We praise God for each of you and we pray that you will experience God's Love....
not only on Valentine's Day, but EVERY day!
Thanks for the lovely article. My husband still opens doors and many other things that people are surprised he is doing. I am so blessed and I know you are, as I have seen the example of Christ in Dad. Love you guys!