13
May

A Mother’s Love Is Furious

Most often when we hear the word furious we think of its meaning as being enraged, angry, or irate. But furious also means passionate, which lends itself to descriptions such as intense, fervent, and heartfelt. 

Now during Mother’s Day, I took a little time just to breathe. (I hope you did too!) And while reflecting on Mother’s Day, I was reminded of the mother of all mothers. Not Eve, but Mary, the mother of Jesus. And that led me to thoughts on a mother’s love. So what does a mother’s love and the term furious have to do with each other? Not necessarily what you think!

Yep, our children can make us angry sometimes, but they also bring out some of our best emotions too! So let’s look at Mary, and learn how deep a mother’s love can go.

Although Mary was a human, and infallible as the rest of us, she was also a faith-filled woman who carried out God’s will no matter the cost to herself. Today, let’s give a little thought to what she did and reflect on her motherhood.

When most of us think of Mary, we think of a woman. But when God came to Mary, she was merely a child, most likely in her early teens. Can you see her, a young teenage Jewish girl in a long flowing dress that reached her ankles with even her hair covered by cloth? She had never held a man’s hand, let alone kissed one. And then, one day out of the blue, an angel came to tell her she was going to have a baby. And not just a baby, but the Son of the most high God!

In that moment, at that age, how would you have handled it? I know my immaturity would have come flying out, and like most teenage girls, the drama would have started! But not Mary! In the scriptures, she demonstrates maturity beyond her years. After asking what and how this is going to happen, she simply states:

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV)

Mary could not have known all that would unfold, yet she trusted in the Lord. Wow!

Months later, in the middle of the night, in the town of Bethlehem, this child bears a child in a stable filled with animals and smells we don’t even want to imagine –no nurses or doctors attending to her needs, no epidural to ease the pain of childbirth, no comforts of home. And once the process is completed, she lays her child wrapped in some strips of cloth in a manager (a feeding trough) full of straw.

Years would go by, and she would raise Him in the traditions of the Jewish people. Even though Mary had other children later in life, she knew this child was no ordinary child. Where could it all be leading?

Mary’s support of Him was unwavering. She was there when Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). And she would be there through it all. Watching His ministry grow, seeing the crowds that flocked to Him, hearing the things He did as He traveled the countryside.

I imagine Mary had mixed emotions most of the time. Pride for a son that was able to do such great things in the name of God, and fear that all this attention Jesus was drawing might make some people angry. Yet, most likely, down deep in her heart, she knew this was God’s will. But that would never replace the protectiveness she felt as a mother.

Then, on what must have been the most gut-wrenching day of her life, she hears that Jesus has been arrested. How could this be? What could He have possibly done? I can see her frantic to get more information and desperate to know what is happening.

As those last days of Jesus’ life play out, I cannot imagine the pain and anguish she suffered. Here was her child, and she was helpless to help Him! She had held Him close in the stable the night of His birth, and watched Him sleep for hours. She had washed and bandaged the cuts and bruises he received as a boy of eight years old playing outside. She would have rejoiced at His thirteen birthday as per the Jewish custom. And during His early years of life, she would have watched Him turn into a mature young man who any mother would love to have – humble, gracious, generous, and kind.

But now, her child was being paraded in the streets, beaten and bleeding, carrying a cross on which He would be hung. But Mary would not turn away! In scripture, we find her close by as the nails are driven into His hands and feet. The tears would have been impossible to hold back as the cross is resurrected.

She would have been inconsolable after He took His last breath. As His body laid in a tomb, she would have mourned deep and hard, at times pushing away those who wanted to ease her pain.

Then after the third day, the impossible would happen. She would be told He is alive. Her mind would have raced at the thought of seeing Him again. Her arms longing to hug His neck. Could it be true?

And then suddenly, He was there! Standing in front of her –her child lives! What joy must have washed over her, and then amazement at the thought of what was happening. Peace would once again come to Mary’s heart.

Mary is a mother who loved furiously. Her faith in her God is the only explanation of how one woman could bear so much joy and pain in one lifetime. God has indeed created mothers with a capacity to love their children to depths beyond reason. But in order to do so, we must also love our God with all of our heart.

Not only as a mother, but as a woman, can you say to God – I am Your servant, let Your will be done?

And by the way, the inability to bear children does not discount your ability to be both a mother and a servant of God. We ourselves are adopted children of God, and therefore, those who adopt children into their life and love them as if they are their own are equally special to Him.

I know how I feel about my one and only son. I don’t know if I could have done what Mary did, but I am grateful that she allowed the Lord to use her. I do know, however, what it is to love a child furiously, and more importantly, I know that I have a Savior who loves me the same way!

What does Mary’s love of Jesus teach you? And what stories can you share about your own love for your children or that of your mother’s love for you?

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

14
Feb

15 Signs of True Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I hope love is in the air for you today!

Although we are not exactly sure when Valentine’s Day started, it has long been celebrated for hundreds of years. Do you remember the first time you received a Valentine? To be honest, I can’t remember exactly, but I do know I was introduced to the holiday in grade school.

We all went out and bought those cheesy little Valentine’s Day cards that you could attach a piece of candy to and proudly passed them out to everyone in our class. Or sometimes we would hit the motherload when someone’s mom would bake cupcakes and send them to school!

As I got older, however, and entered that awkward teenage stage, those with boyfriends were the only ones that received something on this special day. It was then I learned that love could be selective (or what I thought love was).

Not until I met my husband did I realize what true love was – a feeling between two people that was wrapped in commitment. See if you stop at love being just a feeling, then you’ve missed the point. Love is more than a feeling, it is a long-term commitment and it requires a little work.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is probably one of the most celebrated passages of the Bible when speaking of love. We have these words read at Christian weddings. These verses are displayed on plaques we place on the walls of our home. But do we, have we, taken the time to really let the words contained in those verses speak to us? Since the divorce rate among Christians is as high as among non-Christians, we would do well to review those lines again.

Today, I am going to use the Amplified Bible translation because I like the expanded language of the verses. Now if you are a strict King James version or New Living Translation user, don’t worry! The Amplified version only provides a little more context to what is already expressed in scripture. It helps simple-minded folks like me really wrap my brain around the meaning of some scriptures.

So here we go!

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. 1 Cor. 13:4-8

Let’s break that down a little, shall we? As we do, remember, this passage is not just about romantic love, but about loving others in general. (That stings a little, doesn’t it?)

  1. Love endures with patience and serenity. In our fast-paced, instant access world, when was the last time you exercised patience? I know for me, the older I get, the less I have! But not only does love tolerate even the most difficult of circumstances without getting emotional (patience), love also expresses a state of peace about it (serenity). (Ouch!)
  2. Love is kind and thoughtful. I think most of us would agree with this one and say that when we think of love, this is what we think about. But hold on tight – we have 13 more characteristics to go!
  3. It is not jealous or envious. Aren’t these the same? That’s what I have always thought to, but when looking at their definitions, there is a slight difference. Jealous occurs when another person is involved. We get jealous when someone is shown more affection than us and we feel ‘replaced’ by the person receiving the affection. But envy is really more about possessions. We simply want whatever it is someone else has, like a house, car, or jewelry. See the difference? It takes true love to feel completely secure in these areas.
  4. Loves does not brag. Somehow, I have never put these two together as opposites, but I do understand. It is one thing to express excitement over something great your kid did, but it is another to turn it into a competition with someone else’s kid. Bragging always implies an underlying competition and love does not compete against another. In fact, it cheers the other person on!
  5. It is not proud or arrogant. AMEN to this one, right? Proud people have an inflated sense of self-worth, while arrogant people try to outwit everyone with their knowledge in an attempt to make themselves feel more dominant. Who in the world wants to be around those types of people? No one, that’s who!
  6. It is not rude. We often say a person is impolite when they are being rude, but it can also be someone who is abusive, blunt, boorish, crude, or obscene. Regardless of the behavior, it simply shows that the person has no regard for the person or persons around them. NO THANKS!
  7. It is not self-seeking. The line between serving others and being self-seeking is such a fine one. Do you like (or in this discussion, love) a person for who they are or for what they can do for you?
  8. It is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]. So, for people like me, this one is tough. It has taken years to get all my emotions in check, and a few of them still need a little more work! It’s hard to sit back and not react, isn’t it? But every day, if we are going to love others, we have to practice emotional restraint. The only person we can control is us!
  9. It does not take into account a wrong endured. Oooooo….my! I realize for some folks this is extremely hard, because the wrong you have endured was a nightmare. But some of us can get caught up on the stupidest stuff, and we need to stop. Regardless of the wrong endured – work it through. Not for the person who wronged you, but for yourself!!! You’ll thank yourself later.
  10. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. In this political age, this one is tricky. Most good people hate to see injustice, but what is your benchmark for justice? Let me just say this, if we are calling ourselves Christians, we better be seeking the truth in God’s word and not the newspapers. Today, the truth of God’s word is being turned around and labeled injustice. We need to know the difference. (Rant done!)
  11. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes]. If ever commitment is required, it is when one person attempts to love another regardless of future issues. It is absolutely true that love can conquer all, but it can only occur when both parties are fighting for the relationship. It is inspiring to see couples regain their marriage after one has cheated on the other, but it took commitment and a LOT of work on both of their parts to get there! A plea: If you are in an abusive relationship, whether physical, emotional, or sexual –please get out! God never intended for you to stay in that type of relationship!! It is not love!
  12. It believes all things [looking for the best in each one]. Let me just say, after being married for almost 24 years, if you don’t get up each day and look for the best in your spouse (or your kids and other relationships), you can easily pick them apart. Thank goodness, my husband seems to have the ability to do this automatically because there are days I can get off course and he always brings me back! Love is positive not negative.
  13. It hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times]. Easily said, not always easily done. Somehow, however, during difficult times, we tend to turn to love more easily. We long for it. I think of the tremendous amount of love shown for 9/11 victims and their families not only in this country, but from all over the world. If we could muster that type of love for each other in times like the 9/11 aftermath, we can have hope that it can be done even in the day to day difficulties we struggle through. Let’s determine within ourselves, we will make it happen!
  14. It endures all things [without weakening]. Listen, I think when we feel certain emotions we feel that somehow our resolve has weakened. Like when we grieve the loss of a loved one a little longer than some people believe should be necessary. No, we are not weak for grieving – we love that person still. There is nothing weak about love.
  15. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. Oh, that we could wrap our human minds around this one. Some of us have been extremely blessed to have found this type of love. But even if you haven’t, there is someone who can show it to you! His name is Jesus, and His love NEVER fails!!! It has been in existence before we came to be and it will be in existence for all eternity. My friend, He is faithful! He IS love!

Well, there are your 15 signs of true love. How many do you receive in a day? How many do you express yourself to someone else?

I hope you feel inspired today! If you need to work on one of the fifteen characteristics of true love, do it. You will never regret erring on the side of love. We were created because of and for love. Be the love you are longing for and watch how life changes!

 

xoxo

 

 

 


Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

14
Feb

Our True Valentine!

Valentines Day

Hey there! It seems like ages since we talked. I hope your New Year’s got off to a great start. To be honest, mine has been a little rocky. But I am not surprised! Anytime we put our efforts into starting over or beginning something new, there will be obstacles. I have learned those obstacles are allowed by God to refine us, to mold us, and to strengthen us for the long haul which we call life. Sure, it’s not exactly fun to go through, but the payoff is greater than the frustration, and that is something you can trust in.

So how do we endure the many disappointments and hurts that come in those seasons? We continue to lean on Jesus. Sometimes I just have my hand resting on His arm. Other times I feel like I have wrapped myself around His leg like a kid clinging to his/her parent in total fear. But here is the thing. Jesus can handle it. Even when I have a death grip on His hand, this I know – He still loves me!

So this Valentine’s Day, I want you to remember how much He loves you! I can’t think of two more fitting verses than John 3:16 and 1 John 4:19!

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

 

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 NLT

These are very familiar verses. Some of us have heard them a thousand times. We may even have them committed to memory. But today, I want them to speak straight to your heart. Let’s slow down for a while today and really take some time to absorb them.

I absolutely LOVE (no pun intended) that this Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. Not only will I celebrate the love I have for my husband, but first, I will celebrate the love of my Savior. It is extremely easy for us to forget in the day-to-day rush that He left the comfort of Heaven and came here to be among us. That He suffered and died a sinner’s death though He was perfect and holy. And that His resurrection provides a hope for us that we could never achieve on our own. Never.

I hope you enjoy your day, and that it brings you great happiness. I’m going to enjoy a little chocolate myself. But among the rush of feelings that this day will evoke, take some time to remember the One who gave it all for you; whose love is so pure, its transforming powers cannot be denied.

And remember this:

Jesus, I thank you that You love us even with all our faults. I give You praise for all that You have done. Forgive me when I allow the things of this world to blind me from Your grace. Tug on my heart daily, and remind me whose I am. I love you Lord and all that You are – my provider, my protector, and my friend. Today, I fall to my knees to worship You, the one true lover of my soul. Amen.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Elaine 

 


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

16
Oct

Abiding in the Love of Jesus

Wow, I can’t believe how time has flown!! Where did the last few weeks go? I feel like we haven’t talked in ages!

I wish I could tell you the last several days have been filled with big red hearts and unicorns, but it hasn’t! In fact, it has been some of the toughest days I have had in a while. I have felt the world slowly caving in all around me, and that I was unable to stop it! I have felt isolated and maybe even a little abandoned.

I just wanted to go out my front door and yell to the top of my lungs, “World, are you out there?”

Can you relate?

Well even when the sun doesn’t come up for me and the gray skies hang around way too long, I know this – He still loves me. Even though I have thrown a temper tantrum or two over the last couple of weeks and told Him He is taking way too long on this one – He is still patient with me. And yes, even when my 40-something, hormonal self is just sitting there pouting, though I know what He has promised – He probably is just laughing at me!

The last few weeks has reminded me why I love Jesus so much, even when I am completely and totally unlovable at times. He is faithful and He is true.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

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6
Apr

The Gift of Easter

As we are coming off the Easter celebration, I am grateful for all that transpired that fateful day 2000 years ago –the day Jesus conquered death and set us free! However, I feel a little inquisitive about the various people Jesus appeared to once He was resurrected. For instance, who were the two men walking to Emmaus? Were they new to the faith or had they followed Jesus the entire 3 years He preached? How many times had they heard Jesus speak? Were they healed by Him?

Earlier in Chapter 24 of Luke, we are told it is early Sunday morning. That would be the same Sunday morning the tomb was found open and empty. Then the discussion turns to these two men, and we are told it is “the same day,” meaning resurrection Sunday.  We are also told the two men were headed away from Jerusalem.

Why would Jesus appear first to someone outside His inner circle, and why outside of Jerusalem? We may never know the answer, but can you imagine being one of the first He appeared to?

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21
Sep

Book Signing!

Book Signing Event!

Join me:

Saturday, October 11th

from 7-8:30pm

 at

Believers Church

4500 Peek Trail

Chesapeake, VA 23321

Book Signing

 

Book available through www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.westbowpress.com.

6
Sep

Love Echoed Back – Now Available

Dear Family and Friends,

Today I am so grateful to be able to tell you that Love Echoed Back has been officially released by Westbow Press!

Love Echoed Back Released

Currently, you can purchase a softcover, hardcover, or e-book copy through various online stores, such as www.westbowpress.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com. It will be available in regular bookstores soon. Be one of the first to receive a copy! And, don’t forget to go to www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com and write a review.

Please feel free to share this post with family and friends!! With the release of the book, I am looking forward to going out and sharing what Jesus has done – so if you have a church, a small group, a men’s or women’s group, or any other event that would be an appropriate venue, I would love to come and share my story in person! You can communicate those requests through my blog’s Contact Page.

Can’t wait to see how God will use this book!

Humbly walking with Him,

Elaine

Go to Elaine’s Book – Now Available

5
Sep

In the Garden, He Loved Us

At the Garden of Gethsemane

As I sit and meditate on the love Jesus has shown me over the last several years, my mind wanders to the Garden –not a garden, but the Garden of Gethsemane.  The Garden of Gethsemane is an olive tree garden, where in Jesus’ day olives were plucked and then pressed for their precious commodity of oil. Let the symbolism of an olive being pressed linger in your mind. It was no coincidence that here Jesus came to pray prior to the crucifixion.

When contemplating Christ’s love for the world, we tend to focus on the Cross, and how Jesus bore our sins the day of His death. Though that day is marvelous within its own right – go with me to the Garden. This is the place we associate with distress and agony as He came to speak with the Father concerning all that was about to happen.

Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:36-38 NLT

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10
Jul

Top 12 Scriptures Regarding Love

This week I just wanted to share with you why I think the Bible is a huge love letter from God. First, nothing is more important to us than something written down. Sure, we love to hear family and friends tell us they love us, but there is just something special about having it ‘in writing.’ Second, the most significant reason for having something written is so we can go back and reread it over and over! In that way, we can relive the feeling we got when we first read it, and enjoy the moment all over again.

God is no different. He loved us enough to put His thoughts in writing, and He hopes that we will go back and read them over and over. So let’s read a little on the subject of love from our heavenly Father’s perspective.

12. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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29
Apr

Who to Love

One of my favorite scriptures is 1 John 4:19:  We love each other because he loved us first. On the surface, this is an easily repeated text.

In truth, when the subject of loving others is studied more closely, often people ask, “Who are we really responsible to love?” In our humanity, we want to love others, but find ourselves picking and choosing based on our own emotions. We secretly harbor a scale of expectation that people need to live up to or else they become ‘unlovable.’ However, Jesus calls us to love with abandon. Biblical instruction on love and who to love encompasses the following:

1 God.  In Matthew 22, when asked which law under Moses was the greatest, Jesus answered: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment…. (verse 37-38).

2. Your neighbor. Continuing in Matthew 22, Jesus adds: “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (verse 39).

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