Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Armed with Love: Trust

I Corinthians 13:7, "Love always trusts."

I am a mom of three beautiful teenagers. I am often asked if they are triplets. I like to refer to them as "triblings." Two are 15 year old fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. They have a 16 year old brother. All three are 11 months apart. (Yes, that is three children in one year!)My husband and I adopted them eleven years ago. They have kept our hands busy and our hearts full. The topic of trust often comes up with teenagers. Because we are doing our best to bring our children up in a way that is pleasing to God we do not allow our children to participate in some activities other parents would. That means we often say "no" to parties. We have strong limits on dating. We don't allow them to see movies that are inappropriate. Computer time is limited and restricted. We often hear the question, "Why don't you trust me?" None of them understand that trust has very little to do with the choices we make in their regard. Love has everything to do with it.

I Corinthians 13:7 says, "Love always trusts." This sounds scary to me. If I love someone, do I always trust them? What if they have failed me in the past? Do I keep on trusting them? Answering these questions means learning what this verse really means.

I Corinthians 13:7 is translated in the King James Version, "[Love] believeth all things." The word "believeth" is the Greek word "pisteuō." In this verse, it is used in an ethical sense. "Pisteuō" means that I can place my confidence in the goodness of another. If I trust you, it means I believe in you. I love you and I know you are going to make good decisions. I can stand with you knowing you have done your best. I've got your back and I know you've got mine. That kind of trust takes a lot of love. It doesn't happen over night, but it can grow. If trust is broken, it can be rebuilt. It takes commitment, forgiveness and time.

Next time my teenagers ask, "Why don't you trust me?" I know the answer I will give. I'll say, "My lovely, I've got your back. Sometimes that means you won't get to do what your friends are doing. I know you won't like it. The difference between me and you friends is I love you. I love you the way God does. I know God has great plans for your life. I am not going to give the enemy and opportunity to disrupt those plans. Someday you will have to make your own decisions. I have full confidence that you will make the right one. I believe in you."

I love you, kiddos!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Armed With Love: Protection

1 Corinthians 13:7, "[Love] always protects"

I am sitting here today, in my pajamas, thinking about everything I've been through over the last year. God sure has taken me for a wild ride. Today I am not thinking about how I have loved, but how others have loved me. This year I have battled through a struggle with mental illness. Five years ago I lost nearly 100 pounds. I felt healthier and looked better than I ever had before. One of the side effects of the weight loss was major hormone changes which effected my mental health. My emotions began to be unstable. Day to day I was not sure of how I was going to feel. For a long time, it was only my family who knew what I was going through. They just kept putting up with me, walking on egg shells. When my emotional out bursts became public, they continued to stand by me and cover me with their love. Everything came to a peak when I suffered an emotional breakdown. My sadness and anxiety immobilized me. My husband rushed home from work. My mother, out of frustration, screamed at me over the phone that I needed to get help. My family had become exhausted by my unpredictability. My emotions had taken the driver's seat of my life and were driving me into a canyon, "Thelma and Louise" style. Fortunately, my husband was able to make the phone calls I couldn't. I was able to get the medical and mental help I needed. I feel as though I have disarmed the enemy. My emotions can not longer be used as a weapon against me.

My family truly lived 1 Corinthians 13:7 which says, "[Love] always protects." The King James translation says, "[Love] bears all things." The word "bears" is the Greek word "stego" which is defined by Thayer's Lexicon as "to cover with silence; to keep secret; to hide or conceal the errors or faults of others." True love is like a blanket which covers the faults of those we love. It reminds me of being a little child and having a blanket spread out over me at night. Comfort and security covered over me as I lay in my soft bed. My mother would then pray a good night blessing over me. When we love with "stego" we provide the people we love with the comfort and security of knowing that whatever faults they have, whatever errors they might make, our love has got them covered. That security supported me through a very difficult time. It taught me who I can depend on. I know who's got my back.

I want to return the love my family has given me. I want to give them the security to know that when they make mistakes, my love will keep them covered. When they go through times that seem out of control, I've got their back. I want to live by the command of 1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

Thank you, family, for covering me with such great love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Armed with Love: Honesty

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." 1 Corinthians 13:6

I'm about to be honest with you. Our family, like any family, has struggles. Some of our struggles are unique because our family was built by adoption. All of us long to be accepted by one another. We want to feel loved, accepted, and appreciated. We want the security of a loving family. Our fears of rejection hurt us at times. Those fears make us lie to each other about who we really are and what we really want. Those fears make us run away from each other, even when we are standing in the same room together. We act and pretend to gain acceptance. I love my family. I don't want to pretend to be okay when I'm not. I don't want them to act like someone they aren't because they are afraid I won't love them for who they are.

The first part of the verse says, "Love does not delight in evil." As I studied the lexicons I discovered a better translation of this verse would be, "Love does not rejoice exceedingly the unrighteousness of heart and life." To me this verse talks about delighting in the lies we tell in our hearts and lives. We shouldn't be happy when we get our own way, knowing it makes our spouse uncomfortable. We shouldn't be glad when our kids make a choice we want them to even though it makes them unhappy. Living this way is living a lie. Our family has learned in therapy that we all bring a "fake" self to situations in order to find acceptance. If we always bring our fake self, we won't be loved for our real selves.

The second part of this verse says, "[love] rejoices with the truth." The Blue Letter Bible helped me understand that this means that we rejoice with or take part in another's joy in what is true in any matter under consideration. When we rejoice with the truth we celebrate when those we love bring their authentic selves into the relationship. We embrace the truth when they show who they truly are. For me it means accepting my children's likes and dislikes even when they are different then mine. It means listening and understanding my husband's needs even when they are not convenient to me. I want to be intimate with my family. I want to know them. I want to love them for who they really are. I will rejoice in the truth of who God made them uniquely to be.

Don't settle for "fake" relationships. Find out what is real about the family you live with and rejoice in it.