Sunday, 27 March 2016

10 Ways To Love

So Easter is here and Lent is over! Thank you so much for journeying with me and for all your support and encouragement.
Thank you also for keeping on reading, I appreciate it so much.

For now, as every sun brings a new day, I hope to make the better choice to keep on loving...

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Forgive Without Punishing

If I truly love someone then forgiveness must be part of that relationship too. It has to be because if I commit to love then I commit to forgiving...for love keeps no record of wrongs.

My forgiveness should not be half hearted as that is when punishing creeps into forgiveness. I might say I forgive you, yet in my heart, I am holding on to blame.

To forgive without punishing involves wholeheartedness. It is essential that I let go of the situation. I must give it to God, who I believe is just, true and right. 

After I have spoken words of forgiveness, it is necessary for my actions to reaffirm my words. Would I be showing love if forgive with my words, yet with my thoughts and actions I retaliate?         

It is not easy to forgive without punishing, however it does become easier to choose the way of love. With every sun, I am learning more and more about what it means to truly forgive. However, I am only able to find the strength to do it as I have the perfect example to follow.    

I am discovering that to genuinely forgive without punishing sets you free. I am not weighed down by past hurts that I can do nothing about and I am not trying to rewrite my story. 

Instead, with every sun, I am realising that ALL things are new. Steps that are yet untrod where I can make the better choice to love and forgive. 

"Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you."
Colossians chapter 3 verse 13 (Good News Translation)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Promise Without Forgetting

What is a promise? It is 'one's word that something will be done'. If I was to play the word association game I might use pact, pledge, vow, assurance or commitment instead of the word promise.

There are occasions that I find myself promising to do something and then I might say, "I mean it, I will do it." These, however, are not always good promises! It may be that I have promised to take the iPad away or have promised that they will have an early night!

Yet, if I am considering ways to love, then I must consider how the promises I make bring with them opportunities to love. I can use my promises to build up and not tear down. I can encourage not deflate. I can give my word to support and reassure.

A promise, giving one's word that something will be done, can be as simple as the offer of a cup of tea, or the offer of help with childcare or your word that you will buy your child's favourite cereal at the supermarket today!

A promise, giving one's word that something will be done, can go as deep as giving your heart to someone else, or letting someone into your heart. It can go as deep as setting your child on the right path. 

With every new sun I have promises to fulfil and not forget. As I walk the new day there is every likelihood that I may trip up and make a crack in that promise. Be that as it may, I know I have the opportunity to keep on striving toward love being my greatest aim. So when I trip up I will not let the fear of getting it wrong be the measure of my love. Instead, I hope to be strong enough to keep working at fulfilling my promises. I hope to be strong enough to mean what I say and to not forget either what I have said or how to give love through my words. 

"It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it."
Ecclesiastes chapter 5 verse 5 (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Trust Without Wavering

If I trust someone I place my confidence in them. I place my faith and my hope in them. When love leads to trust, in turn, trust leads to expectation. The expectation that the trust I give will not be misplaced.

How about if I put my faith in someone and trust them and then they let me down? Is it still possible to love and to show that love in action through continuing to trust without wavering?

I believe it is.

If I am to trust without wavering then my trust must be unchanging. I have the perfect example of this in God. I let God down, throughout history people have let God down but never once has He turned His back. Instead His love is constant and He will always put His faith and hope in me.

So, with this is mind I must trust without wavering. It is not always easy and there may be nothing in reward.

However, as every sun brings it's new day, I am learning to trust without wavering. I can choose to lower my expectations. I mess up (regularly!), we all do and it is not my place to stop loving someone just because I feel let down.

Likewise I can remind myself of what made me love and trust that person in the first place. I can look to that, rather than focus on the moment of hurt.

With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to walk the brighter path. I want to walk that brighter path. As I take each step I would like my story to shine out more love and a trust that does not waver.

"Love...always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 7 (New International Version)

Friday, 11 March 2016

Enjoy Without Complaining

What do I enjoy? My children, coffee, reading, being in my chair talking with God, my job, talking, walking, spending time with people I love. 

All good things. 

So why should complaining even cross paths with enjoyment? 

I am blessed because I get to live my story in a comfy house, with food on the table, water from the tap, warmth and good health. I have a job and my children, at the moment, enjoy their free education. 

This comfort led to me taking the things I enjoy for granted. Therefore it was quite easy to complain about the things I enjoy. 

"I'm too busy looking after the children to actually enjoy a cup of warm coffee."

"I don't know the last time I got to sit down and read a book."

"The children are always bickering and never do as they are told."

However when my world flipped upside down my thinking did too. What was I placing as a priority? What was taking importance in my thoughts? My enjoyment of 'things' had become far more important than it should have been. More important than ensuring the others in my life were enjoying 'things' too. I had set my expectations of enjoyment too high which led to a lot of complaining. 

Enjoyment for me now comes from things that I previously would have taken for granted. 

A night time snuggle with the children when they are sound asleep. 
A costa (and a cake) and a catch up
A mealtime sharing one good thing 
A spectacular sunrise
A blue sky 

As I said, I am blessed and as each new sun comes, I realise that I am able to enjoy so much. I now know that life is far better when I choose not to set my expectations so high. The complaints will still come but when I do complain I must remind myself of all that I have to enjoy and ask for eyes to see enjoyment in a different and simpler way. 

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing."
Philippians chapter 2 verse 14 (New International Version)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Share Without Pretending

Growing up with two sisters there was quite a bit of sharing. Toys, clothes, TV, the back seat of the car...Being the youngest, I think I may remember things slightly differently to my sisters and complain that I was much more hard done by than I really was! I do not actually have any lasting scars from wearing 'hand me down' clothes that were too small!!

To share without pretending is more than sharing belongings or sweets or the TV remote. It is more than sharing the things we have with those around us. It goes further than lending your best trousers to your friend, it loves deeper than sharing your last rolo. 

It can be hard to share. If these things are mine why should I give them away to someone else? How is that of benefit to me?

As sisters we had to share. My children, they have to share - for me that is the way family works. Maybe at times the sharing was under duress, most certainly not done in love and had a condition placed on it. However sharing with my sisters when I was younger forged a bond, a connection, a link. Now, I think my sisters will agree, we share without pretending. We share time, advice, thoughts, care, ideas and laughter. This sharing is real and honest.

The trousers I shared came back with a hole in, but also with a wonderful friendship that has no holes and where sharing without pretending is the norm.

As I sit here and consider the people who I have the privilege of being able to love, I know without a doubt that I am blessed. God has given me a wonderful family and family in law. Also the marvellous women He has place in my life - WOW!
I am so thankful and in response to this I want to share without pretending, I no longer want to place limits on my sharing.

With each new sun I am going to look for opportunities to share without pretending. I hope that I can be strong enough to share my time, my thoughts, my belongings, my words, my smile and most of all my love in a way that is real and true. 

"Here is a simple, rule of thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them." 
Matthew chapter 7 verse 12 (The Message)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Give Without Sparing

What are the ways in which I can give? Giving a gift is the first thing that springs to mind, however I believe that there are many different ways in which I can give...
...a smile

With every sun comes a new day and if with that day boldness and bravery just happened to come my way, I could spend the whole day giving to others. There would be many opportunities to give to someone else. To provide a moment (or may be longer) of blessing for someone else.

I believe to give without sparing takes giving to a new level. In the past my motivation in giving a present has sometimes been so I might get one in return. I have helped someone out with my time because I could then remind them of this when I needed that time back. My motivation has now changed and now I simply wish to give to others, be it a gift, my time, my slightly crazy smile or my love.

Being mum has helped me with this because I have no choice than to put someone else's needs before my needs. When my eldest daughter was born I quickly learnt that 'I' had to wait!
Also when the new day brought with it the necessity to take a look at who I was, I began to realise that giving without sparing was a much better habit to concentrate on. It really is more rewarding to give than to receive.

Whilst writing this series on love, I have really been challenged to put my words into practise. As I take up the challenge to look for opportunities to give without sparing, I hope to be able to not limit the things I do for others as I tread this day. I hope that as the new days keep on coming, I will find the strength to love generously and to look for new and thoughtful ways to give.

" is more blessed to give than to receive."
Acts chapter 20 verse 35 (New International Version)