Are There Different Types of Love?

Are there different types of love_

Summer is officially here, WOO HOO!  I love the summer but around September I am ready for some cool breezes in our southern Louisiana neck of the woods.  This month I am focusing on the word “love” as part of my Devotion 2018.  What a great word but sometimes I tend to use it rather loosely in describing my feelings about a particular mood, event, or activity.  For example, when I wrote the second sentence, I used the word “love” to show how much I care for summer.  Do I truly LOVE summer?

This month I will explore the different types of love which are referenced in the bible; eros, phileo, storge, and agape *.  In honor of our marriage, thirteen years ago this month, I have decided to start with eros.  Happy Anniversary Randy!

As defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary “Eros is named after the Greek god of erotic love and conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element: erotic love or desire”.**

 “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper as his complement’.”-Genesis 2:18***

Speaking on behalf of my own experiences, I am so thankful for God’s design for this type of love.  I LOVE the fact I can look at my husband, my heart flutters and my cheeks flush because I am physically attracted to him.  God longs for us to experience this level of intimacy in a marriage where we are committed to each other.  There are definitely ups and downs in a marriage, but if we focus on one another’s needs instead of our own, the marriage is enhanced by the unselfish acts of one another.

“Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and one of mind.”-Philippians 2:2***

I have discovered in lifting up my husband EVERY DAY in prayer, asking for the blessings to be given to him, I also receive the blessings.  I want the best for him and as his supportive partner, I lift him and his needs up before mine every chance I get.  Over time I have learned to appreciate his awesome qualities and not dwell on his irritating habits or opinions (Yes, I know, I have habits and opinions indeed!)  This is the man who I will spend the rest of my life with and I want to fall in love with him every day.

When some of those habits and opinions of Randy’s make an appearance, I take it to God in prayer and I ask Him to change ME, not focus on changing Randy.  Change my heart and my view and see it from Randy’s perspective.  Some opinions take more prayer than others but God is working on me to change my viewpoint.

“Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves”.-Romans 12:10***

An integral part of passion and intimacy in our relationship is the commitment Randy and I have to our marriage.  I am not saying our marriage is perfect, but we believe God brought us together and look to Him in all circumstances in our lives; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We put God in our marriage to guide us through our union forever until death do us part. We trust in God and we trust each other.

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing in value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”.-Proverbs 31:11-12***   

God designed this type of love for husbands and wives to interact in an experience of the heart, mind, body, and soul with each other.  Yes, there is sex (I hear my children groaning right now) Emojibut this is only a part of the erotic love in a marriage.  The complete recipe calls for the combination of desire, commitment, engagement, communication, and selflessness.  I look forward to celebrating our eros love for years to come, Randy!

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”.-Matthew 19:6***  

 

*https://www.gotquestions.org/

**The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

***https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Eros

A God Thing

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“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”-Psalm 37:3-4*

In keeping with the theme of “devotion” as my word of 2018, for the month of March, I am writing about the synonym “dedication”.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary has several definitions and the one I chose is “self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty”**.  When I read this I thought of my husband, Randy.

We have consistently referred to our union as a “God thing” and reflecting back over the years, I see why God picked Randy for me.

His dedication.

Here was a man, who had never been married, never had children, dating a widow with three small children and decided I am all in.  It has not been an easy adventure, but it has produced abundant blessings.

Randy has not ever considered our children or grandchildren as stepchildren.  He proudly talks about his sons and daughter in conversations and displays their pictures on his work desk.   He has repeatedly supported the kids in their extracurricular activities; showing up for games, concerts, and awards banquets.  He has counseled and disciplined the children, which was not an easy task, but he persevered and learned from his mistakes.

It would have been so easy for Randy to walk away during the turmoil involving my only daughter.  Lying, stealing, drug use, and eventually running away is what we dealt with in the first years of being married.  But he stood by my side, as we endured the living hell, and developed a game plan to fix our broken child.  Praise God it worked!

Early on, our marriage endured crisis and drama with our daughter, Randy losing a job, moving to another state, and suffering the loss of Randy’s father, sister, and a miscarriage of our only baby.  It was an extremely rough season and we all experienced grief and pressed on with Randy leading the way, following God.

I have witnessed Randy’s dedication to growing his personal relationship with Jesus.  Because he has invested his time in prayer and worship, the people in his life have benefited from his actions.  Randy is quick to volunteer in helping a neighbor, friend, or a stranger in need.  He is involved in Ragan’s Hope, feeding the homeless, mudding out flooded homes, and last August became a Cajun Navy member and assisted in boat rescues during Hurricane Harvey.  Randy views himself as a problem solver and will go to the ends of the earth to find solutions for those who are hurting.

Over the years, Randy’s actions model the self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty he has for others.  I see why God picked Randy to be my partner in life and provide such love and support for our family.   I believe his dedication to his faith, family, and volunteer efforts is based on his personal relationship with Jesus.  I am privileged to witness his growth over the last fifteen years in his spiritual gifts and am thankful to be a part of the journey.   Love you R2!

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*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

Inspired By A Child

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“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”-Matthew 7:7*

It had been thirty minutes and we were still standing in line.  Thank goodness there was air conditioning and shelter from the sun.  I looked down at my granddaughter who was nothing but smiles and patiently waiting.  She had been anticipating this moment for months and in a few short minutes, she will get her turn.

My husband and I decided to take our family to Orlando for Mardi Gras week.  We were not thrilled about the ten-hour drive or going to the happiest place on earth, Disneyworld.  But we would get to spend eight days with our granddaughters, daughter, son-in-law, and son which was a marvelous trade-off.  My eight-year-old granddaughter, Jaelyn, had so much enthusiasm for meeting her favorite princesses at Disneyworld.  Who knew they had turned the grand meetings with the royalty into a ride with lines and wait times up to forty minutes?  She clutched her autograph book and was ready to spend time with her favorite characters.  This quiet, shy, little girl was ready to put herself in the spotlight, for a brief moment, in order to meet her princesses and make her dream a reality.

We walked into the park and the first person we saw was Mary Poppins.  Not a princess, but still a favorite for Jaelyn.  She walked right up to her and Mary Poppins asked if she would like to stroll with her.  Off they shuffled, hand in hand, having a chat.  I watched Jaelyn as she hung on to every word from Mary and was so focused on the Disney character.  I might add how wonderful, entertaining,  and in character the performers are and what an impression they leave on the little ones.  Jaelyn asked Mary for her autograph, which she graciously gave her, and then I watched her walk back to us with a smile so big it linked from one ear to the other.  My little, quiet, shy Jaelyn had the confidence to spend time with Mary Poppins; without fear of being on her own, carrying on a conversation, and walking back to our group with her head held high.

I witnessed this every time she met a character or princess all day long.  In total there were ten characters which she patiently waited in line and bravely walked up to them on her own, would engage in a conversation, asked for an autograph, and smiled real big for the camera.  At one point, I had tears in my eyes in witnessing her joy and enthusiasm in meeting her heroes.  It was such a special moment and well worth the crowds, wait times, and not so friendly people around us all day.  I wanted to possess Jaelyn’s devotion in forgoing actual rides and attractions to stand in line to meet her princesses.

Sometimes it takes a child who believes in fairytales, princesses, and happily ever after, to show me, one who has been hardened by the cruelness of this world, the joy in having dreams, waiting patiently, and inspired to make them come true.  Incredibly, this is how I experienced a simple life lesson, which was lived out in a crowded theme park, on Mardi Gras day with my family.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Everyone Loves a Parade

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“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the month of February, I am focusing on the word, enthusiasm, a synonym which supports my 2018 word “Devotion”.  The definitions of enthusiasm are:

1a : strong excitement of feeling : ardor

b : something inspiring zeal or fervor*

Mardi Gras season is a perfect example of enthusiasm here in Southeast Louisiana.  When I moved here from Texas nine years ago, I had no concept of Mardi Gras.  It is not a one-day celebration but a seasonal festival.   Carnival season starts with the selection of the Royalty for each Krewe’s ball and the majority of the parades run in the final two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras day (also known as Fat Tuesday).

Most people love a parade; the music, floats, and dance teams all melding together to form the celebration which takes Mardi Gras to a whole other level.  Some of the bigger parades can have up to thirty floats, with well-known celebrities riding in the parade.  There are the high school and college bands from all over the country who march, play and have the crowds dancing on their feet.  And of course, there are the throws.  What is a throw?  To be honest, it is cheap plastic trinkets from beads to stuffed animals, which are tossed from the floats to the crowds.  And people act like they are precious and rare commodities, scrambling to catch or pick up the items off the ground.  I am a little amused at the enthusiastic parade goers and the lengths they will go in order to capture throws during Mardi Gras season.

As I move through my tenth Mardi Gras season, I have come to realize there are similarities to attending a parade and living life.  What if I approached every day with a strong feeling of excitement like going to a parade?

Anticipation-There is preparation and planning needed when attending a parade.  Where will I set up, what do I bring, how long will I stay, and do I have a plan for my physical needs (food, water, bathroom, elements, etc)?  Next is the excitement factor.  I know what to expect and look forward to the sights, sounds, and smells on the parade route.  Oh, how I long for some good Jambalaya and King Cake!  Another key component is location, location, location.  Who wants to be ten deep in a shoulder to shoulder crowd?  My husband is a seasoned pro at parading and has the contacts for locations on the parade route, how to get around the crowds by using back roads, and knowing when streets close down for the festivities.

I find living my life is like the anticipation of a parade.  I find myself preparing and planning for my daily agenda starting with prayer and journaling.  It helps me focus on what I need mentally and spiritually to face the day.  I plan for my family’s physical needs and try and keep our home a safe refuge from the ugliness of the world.  I find a well thought out plan lays a good foundation to face the day to day hurdles and activities.

Being present-When I hear the sirens from the police and fire trucks (who generally lead the parade and alert the crowd it is about to commence) I focus on the moment.  The sounds of the piped in music from the floats and the reverberation of the marching bands gives me goosebumps and fills my heart with joy.  I watch the children on the shoulders of dads and big brothers trying to catch a trinket or beads to put in their goody bags.   The smiles, laughter, and screams of delight coming from the crowd make me smile.  The atmosphere is full of excitement and positive vibes.  Then the last float goes by and it is over.  A little sadness fills the air as I want there to be one more float.  A deep sigh escapes my lips and I start to remember the excitement I recently experienced.

I am reminded I should also be present in my life.  There will be joy, excitement, laughter, and delight which I should embrace and soak into my soul.  I should not worry what could be around the corner; fear, sadness, grief, and disappointment.  Life is made up of all these emotions and in order to be present, I have to face and live through the good as well as the bad.

Fellowship-A parade consists of a diverse crowd of people.  We generally meet some of our friends, or family will come into town and join us, and it is a great way to get away from technology and focus on relationships.  We generally arrive several hours before the parade starts in order to set up and avoid street closures.  While waiting for the parade it is custom to get to know the people around you, find out if they are local or out of town, what did they bring to eat, and what has been their favorite parade.  It is not uncommon by the time the parade rolls; we are sharing food, helping each other catch throws, and hosting our own dance party.

God is about relationships and so is life.   God made us social in order to interact and take care of one another.  This is why I am involved in a church and volunteer so I can fellowship with others.  I am amazed how moving to Louisiana nine years ago has afforded me new friends and relationships I would have not developed if I had not followed God’s lead.  I look forward to how my community will continue to grow in the future due to new connections with others.

Life is like a parade.  It is totally worth the anticipation, enthusiasm, the relationships, and the making of memories.  If you ever have the opportunity to come down to Southeast Louisiana and experience Mardi Gras, I highly recommend it.  There are many family-friendly parades all over the area and you can learn the history of the parades and get more details at http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades.html.   Blessings and Happy Mardi Gras!

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*https://www.merriam-webster.com/