Love Challenge: Love the one you’re with

The Love Challenge
A Love Note from Reese


Song of Solomon Chapter 1
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
   for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
   your name is like perfume poured out.
   No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
   Let the king bring me into his chambers. 
(Love Lessons from Jessica: Kiss your spouse at least 10 seconds every morning and 10 seconds every evening no matter what. You will be amazed at how much benefit will come from this 20 second  investment into your day.)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today is the day of the year that you either dread, get annoyed by, are ambivilent too, or celebrate with the zeal of a 6th grade school girl with a crush on the popular boy in class. Thankfully, I feel like I fall into the ambivilent category. I am absolutely in love with love. I would choose a romantic comedy or drama anyday over any other type of movie, and love weddings just like everyone else. (Side Note: “The Notebook” is still my all time favorite romance movie. Confession: I’ve never read the book) However, I feel like society puts way too much pressure on relationships on these grandiose days. This is just my opinion, but, if the only time you ever celebrate the ones you love is when stores are pressuring you to purchase 4ft tall Vermont Teddy Bears or else divorce looms over your head, perhaps you need to take a new look at what love is. I do like the fact that Valentine’s Day netted me a bacon wrapped steak dinner on Saturday night though 🙂
Today I celebrate the great loves I have had in my life. My heart aches for those who have never experienced great love. The old adage says, “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” This can be debated for hours and I’m not even sure how I feel about that quote, but I do know that it feels good to love and be loved. The first great love of my life was my parents. Sure they annoyed me. Sure they wouldn’t always let me do what “everyone else” was doing. Sure, they forced me to do chores and homework, but they were my first glimpse into the world of love and they must’ve done a fantastic job. I have read that a woman can be saved by the love of her father. I believe that. Because my dad thought I was the smartest, prettiest, most talented girl in the world, I believed it, and didn’t need a pimple faced 15 year old pubescent boy to tell me those things. I was being hugged, praised, and affirmed at home, so, although I had thousands of crushes and plenty of gangly boyfriends, I didn’t need affection and affirmation from men enough to compromise my personal morals or values. My dad showed me that I was valued and worthy of a great romance in my life. I could wait for God to send me my knight in shining armor because my dad would fight my battles until then. My mom showed me how to respect and care for a husband and how to love my children through the love she gave me. I was blessed with an intact home, full of affection, and never once had to wonder if I was loved. Although, plenty of times I screamed ” I hate you” to both of my parents and slammed doors loudly because they must not have loved me when they wouldn’t let me be out until 3 AM when other kids were. (I’m so looking forward to these days with my own children. (smile))
Then, God blessed me with the very best man I could’ve ever hoped for. I can’t believe that He let me meet my soul mate when I was only 19 years old. Some people have to wait a lifetime to find “the one” and I had my “one” dropped into my lap while I was still too young to see it. (I tried my best to break up with him once, but he wouldn’t let me. It was quite the scene) This handsome, hardworking, respectful, and at the time kind of shy and quiet, romantic boy was chasing me and I was still stuck mentally on some loser. God and Jonathan must both really love me. On my 20th birthday he told me he loved me for the first time while we were gazing at the moonlit Ohio river. I mean, seriously, could you get any sweeter? At this point, I thankfully realized how insane it was that I was pining away for some guy that would’ve ended up destroying my life, and embraced the beautiful destiny God had designed for me. Our relationship, friendship, and love grew until the week between Christmas and New Year’s when my amazing boyfriend flew me to Europe to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, and proposed to me on the Charles Bridge after a 5 star dinner and horse drawn carriage ride through the ancient town and cobblestone streets. He even had picked out my ring all on his own, a glistening princess cut diamond that he paid cash for because he saved all of his $1 tips from his bellman job just for me. Little did I know at the time what a blessing starting a marriage out debt free would be. I’m glad I didn’t spend the first 5 years of my marriage paying off a $3,000 ring because I had a man wise beyond his years that knew “cash was king” before Dave Ramsey was even popular. At 21, we married, and have  had an extraordinary life together since. One day I’ll detail for you some of our story. It has been a journey. It has been marred with sadness, sorrow, and struggle in the midst of all of the great joys, but any life worth living always has tragedy and triumph. You can’t have one without the other.
God instituted 3 types of love, but we, as English speakers, use the same word love for everything. Do you really love Doritos as much as you love your kids? I hope not, yet we use the same terminology for both. 
The 3 types of Biblical love are:
1) Eros: Erotic or Romantic Love (You Eros your spouse I hope)
2) Phileo Love (Which is a brotherly type of love)
3) Agape Love (Which is the most perfect form of love, the love God has for us)
Because of Jonathan and I’s eternal love for each other, we created 2 gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed, smart, amazing boys. They are truly the greatest love I have ever experienced on this earth. There is no way to describe the depths of my love for these boys. I was awakened early this morning by their chatter because they had made me several Valentine’s Day gifts, of their own volition. Dad did not guide them or tell them what to do. Reese is also always making me love cards and poems (a picture is exampled above) and Gentry is always hugging, kissing, and snuggling me. This makes me so happy for two reasons. Reason number one is becasue I love it. It fulfills me. It makes the ocassional drudgery of parenting bearable. It gives purpose to my life. And, reason number two, because I am giving them the foundation for love that my parents gave me. They will know how to treat a woman right. They will know that waiting for the right girl is worth it. They will know that no matter what they say or what they do, they always have a place to go. They know that there is nothing in this world that can change the love or passion I have for them. They know that when/if they hit rock bottom and life gets tough, there are open arms of love to accept them.
Finally, I have experienced the love of Christ in my life. So, if your parents were abusive losers and you’re single and/or childless, there is still hope for you. Agape love is the purest form of love. It is the only love that never fades or changes and that is the love Christ has for His children. Therefore, today, love the one you’re with. The love challenge is to love no matter what. If you are with no one, love God and love yourself. If you are with someone, love them the way Christ designeed, with an unselfish love. If you have children, love with the love of the father of the prodigal son, never faltering no matter what. Love the one you’re with is not a death sentence, but a gift of life. Quit looking everywhere for love, you have love right in front of you. If you are married, commit to being the best spouse your spouse could ever have. You can only control yourself, not them, so make yourself the best you can be. If you have children, model for them self-respect, integrity, purity, and grace. Teaching them these principles will be one of the greatest acts of love you can do for them. Don’t buy their love, show them love with words and deeds. And, finally, if you are single, love yourself. Married people need to love themselves too or it will cause major problems in their relationship, but love yourself. Love your community. Love those around you. The grass is not greener on the other side. The grass is greenest where it is being watered and fertilized, so love the one  you’re with.

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