Thursday, May 12, 2011

Unconditional Love

To me there’s nothing worse than seeing pain reflect from someone’s face, especially knowing that I put it there. Most often it’s the subliminal things we do to hurt others. Regardless of our efforts, we will all hurt another person at some point in our lives—whether we mean to or not.
That’s why forgiveness is so important. Without it bitterness and hatred fester and infect so many lives, destroying the tiny fragments of love. However, love that can be destroyed or forgotten is not really love at all.
When we love someone unconditionally, it is without restrictions— totally from the heart. We love completely, not expecting anything in return. The only way to do this is through God. I believe we need to look to God for all things in our lives.
When He joins two together, they will stay together, forever. As the storms of life batter and threaten to destroy them they will not drift apart, but cling to each other. Marriages that last a lifetime are not without problems. They are filled with heartaches and hard times, too, but the love always overshadows the troubles.
When I got married I thought it would be easy. We would love each other and live happily ever after. After all, my parents had made it look so easy. They never fought or seemed to struggle at all. Let me just say, I was very, very wrong. It wasn’t easy. It was hard—so very hard. More times than not, I wanted out.  I wanted to run back home to the safety of my parents. But there was something that grounded me to stay—LOVE.
Regardless of our struggles, I loved him more than I could explain. At first I hated being so dependent on him and feeling so much love. I thought it made me weak to love another person so much. The deeper we love the more they can hurt us, right? So I fought against the love, as crazy as that sounds.
But then one day, God opened my eyes. Whether I try to build walls or not doesn’t stop me from loving or getting hurt. Real strength is not walking away when things get hard, but standing and fighting with everything inside you. Loving someone unconditionally doesn’t make us vulnerable or weak, it makes us happy. And you know what else; when you learn to love unconditionally you don’t get hurt anymore because you don’t expect anything in return. So often we put those we love on a pedestal and expect more than they could ever give us, anyway.
When we treat others the way we want to be treated, we stop keeping score. And let’s face it; we are all guilty of this at some point in time. We keep up with who called last, who done what and we remember everything hurtful ever done to us. However, if we would learn to push all of this aside and just follow our heart, then we would have better relationships and stronger friendships.
We should never let fear prevent us from loving someone. I remember when one of my friends was diagnosed with cancer, I avoided her. I didn’t want to be around her. I knew it would break my heart if she died and I didn’t want to be around to see it. I was a coward and almost allowed my fears to take away so many special times and memories. I’m so thankful God intervened and blessed me to love her even deeper than I did before. He’s blessed me to pray for her and share so many wonderful moments that my heart cherishes. And this weekend my little boy, who wasn’t even born when she was diagnosed, is running a race for her—to help her fight her battle with cancer. Not only did I almost deny my heart the opportunity to really love her, but I could have prevented his little heart from ever knowing and loving her.
Fear has no place with love. My Daddy, who is also my pastor, tells me we need to be there for people when they need us. Instead of getting mad and hurt at people, we just need to love them. It does hurt when they die and leave us, but instead of being sad that they’ve died, God can help us be thankful they lived and that we got the opportunity to love and be loved by them.
Daddy often visits people when they are sick and sometimes he takes me with him. One time he took me to visit a man I didn’t know. God blessed me to stand by his death bed and to sing to him. Even though we had never met before God joined our hearts with love. It broke my heart when he died a few weeks and visits later. Instead of being mad at God, I was so thankful He blessed me to love him. My memories and love will last right on and on.
God has blessed me with so many amazing people in my life that are so easy to love. They hold me up when life tries to get me down. They plead to God on my behalf with prayers and tears. They cry with me, laugh with me, and love me unconditionally. They support my efforts and praise my accomplishments. They forgive my shortcomings and pray for my happiness. They know I’m not perfect and don’t expect me to be.
So many people come and go in our lives, but every once in awhile God blesses us with special people to brighten our lives. And I’m so very thankful for each and every one.
Love is such an amazing gift from God. When you feel it don’t allow anyone or anything to take it away from you. What if God only gave us one chance?

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Author shares message through Zippy the zebra