True Love

LOVE is the most powerful emotion of all. Its at the very top of the Emotional Guidance Scale, and rightly so. We all strive to LOVE and receive LOVE. LOVE protects, it heals, it nurtures, it teaches, it endures, it brings people together, it sets us free, it encourages, it lifts us up, it comforts. "LOVE" is found in the Bible (NIV) 551 timesit must be important and powerful! We are instructed over and over to LOVE one another, to LOVE ourselves, to LOVE God. It seems that if you are ethical, honest, moral, and LOVINGyou will get that right back in return.

Proverbs 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and LOVE finds life, prosperity, and honor.

This past week, unfortunately, we had a terrible family emergency. Without going into any detail, my Sister-in-Law (my brothers wife) ended up in ICU. The duration and outcome are both uncertain. So far, during this crisis and time of trial, I have been a witness to examples of such extreme love. The friends, family, and outpour of people pulling together to help and LOVE is unbelievably amazing! People are spreading the word (NOT in a gossipy way), organizing prayer chains, lining up meals for my brother and his two kids, arranging play dates to keep the kids lives as "normal" as possible, etc. The LOVE is abundant and heartwarming to say the least.

To see people pitching in, adjusting their schedules to help out, and sending notes of encouragement and hope is just a testament to the power and beauty of LOVE. I can only imagine if there were no family or friends to be supportive and to show their LOVE This journey for my brother and sister-in-law would be very cold, lonely, scary, and more stressful than we could imagine.

The LOVE of our family and friends is so powerful, but it pales in comparison to the LOVE I have seen from my brother to his wife. During this past week, I have been lucky enough to see the truest example of unselfish and unconditional LOVE ever. I have had the privilege of listening to my brother speak to and about his wife in a way that sounds almost scripted. I have been able to watch him touch her hand, tell her how beautiful she is, and stand by her side no matter what. I see the way he looks at her, even as she is not consciously aware he is with her. It has been touching and amazing! These demonstrations of his LOVE for his bride are nothing new, but under these stressful circumstances and in the midst of crisis sometimes we let our stress and sadness come out in ugly ways. We allow fear in and we slide down that Emotional Guidance Scale. Not my brother!

He says nothing will make him happier than continuing this journey with his "Sweetheart", no matter what the outcome. He sees it as an honor to take care of his girl no matter the extent of her handicaps. He tells a story of a time shortly before they were married. He asked our Mom how he could really know this was the right girl for him. My Mom replied, "If she were a quadriplegic would you still marry her?" He thought long and hard and of course said "Yes". He tells me now, "Funny how life is, thats just what Im praying forI just want my Baby home!" His words and actions prove over and over that his LOVE is true, that he will do anything for this woman, and that he puts her first. He says, "Feeling true love for another person is when you want happiness for someone else more than for yourself." He demonstrates this in every action, word, and thought!

Their relationship was not, is not, and will never be perfectbecause neither one of them is perfect. Nobody is. But, WOW! To overlook the little things that irritate, to look past physical features that are not "magazine perfect", to LOVE the heart and soul of a person thats the LOVE they have. To laugh at the daily things that most people would grump, scowl, and complain about that is their true LOVE. To touch tenderly, to look into the eyes and see the soul, to call each other special terms of endearment that is their true LOVE. To always speak fondly to and about each other, to always treat the other with respect that is their true LOVE. Even now as they are in the depths of despair, and their lives have been turned upside down, their LOVE still endures. LOVE will be the emotion that pulls them through and gives them the strength to keep going.

My admiration for my brother has jumped leaps and bounds this week. He is the truest example of LOVE I have seen since my grandparents were alive. It is such a heartwarming inspiration to see his heart for his wife. Words cannot even begin to do it justice. I know that however this crisis ends; my brother will be by her side every step of the way. I know he will fight for his LOVE, because a true LOVE story never ends!

You see, LOVE is a decision. Yes, it is an emotion we feel. But it is also a decision we make. We are not always going to be "in love" with our spouse our partner. We will not always love all of their actions. But when we make a decision to LOVE someone no matter what, whats more powerful than that? through thick or thin, in sickness or in health (This of course does not apply if there is abuse).

To give and receive LOVE is the most rewarding journey of all!

Do you LOVE this way? If you do, that is so wonderfulkeep loving! If you think you could use some work in this areahere is your challenge for this week and beyond:

LOVE like there is no tomorrow. LOVE your spouse, in spite of his/her flaws. Be a loving inspiration to those who observe your words and actions toward your spouse. Be gentle, kind, and compassionate with your LOVE. Celebrate and laugh at your differences and quirks. Speak highly to and about your spouse. Live in the present and enjoy each moment togetheryou just never know what the future holds.

 

Comments

  1. Christopher Hopkins says:

    Deanna,
    I wanted to comment on your extraordinary account and definition of love that we have all witnessed these past couple of weeks between Rick and Nan. You have an amazing gift to write and tell the story. You are part of an amazing family that I have the good fortune of being around!! It inspires me very much.

    Hopper

  2. Laura Hamm says:

    Deanna, I’ve been reading all of your brother’s updates and each time, I end up tearing up at the beautiful sentiments he shares about his amazing wife and family. What a BEAUTIFUL thing!! You have ALL been in my prayers since I found out.. Hoping and praying for the best. Love and hugs to you, my beautiful friend. <3

  3. I’ve always held his love and adoration of Nan as the benchmark for what a marriage should feel like. It’s great that he is sharing it with so many people now. 

  4. Aunt Marie says:

    Deanna, I so respect what you have said. Rick does deserve the praise you have given him. He is showing so much strength and love! It is very touching to see all of the support he is receiving from so many friends and family that are readily expressing their LOVE! How special for you to take this opportunity to share your thoughts for your brother with everyone.

  5. It is an amazing thing to be traveling through a tragedy, yet still be inspiring so many. What a wonderful example of true love on display! It sure does encourage me to work harder and love better. May the Lord’s strength, love, peace and sovereignty continue to support and comfort you and your entire family. We won’t stop praying for the Lord’s healing of Nan, and then the beautiful renunion with her husband and children.

  6. What a wonderful tribute to your brother, Deanna. He really has demonstrated true love, and so have family members and friends in this critical time. It is heartwarming to see how people have rallied to the need of Nan, Rick and his family. As a mother, it is rewarding to see your adult children love each other.

  7. Deanna, for better or worse, there is a reason those words are included in vows first of all your brother exemplifies them. We could all learn how to be better human beings from his post, I for one am inspired by him to be more aware of my displays of love and kindness, because you never know it could be any one of us sitting by a hospital bed caressing the hand of our loved one. Thank you so much for this post this morning, woke me up quicker than my coffee:-)

  8. Your brother’s love for Nan has been a HUGE inspiration for me this past week too. This morning I read up on his on-line journal and wow, he is amazing! And by the way, so are YOU! I have seen you display and convey unconditional love more times than I will ever remember. You know, a LOT of people can write a lot of stuff about wisdom, love, inspiration, etc… But the fact that you LIVE it makes your words so much more powerful! I am forever grateful to be on the receiving side of your love.
    g

  9. Aunt Sandi says:

    Just beautiful; so well said Deanna!! I, too, am in awe of your brother (my nephew) and the wonderful LOVE he has for his wife!

  10. Gigi Peterson says:

    Beautifully said Deanna. Your brother’s story is an amazing and inspirational example of TRUE LOVE. You’re right, we just never know what tomorrow may bring. I will go love on my hubby right now!

  11. Joann Paradies says:

    Awesome Deanna!! I try to love this way but know I fall short many times. But I thank God for second chances. And third and fourth… And I am so thankful for my husband. And it’s progress not perfection. I’ll get that when I get to Heaven!! So privileged to get to love and support and pray for All of you through everything.

  12. Beautiful!

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