Posts Tagged ‘Love’
Posted on November 13, 2012 - by Stacy Monson
Anyone who knows me knows I love Francine Rivers. Okay, so we’ve never actually met. I’ve heard she’s a lovely woman. What I really love is her writing. Her characters are multi-dimensional, full of passion, “real.” But while I have been deeply touched by many of her stories (especially Mark of the Lion), the one that continues to stay with me is her first inspirational book, “Redeeming Love.
As an ABA author, she was multi-published, award-winning with a solid career. But then God got hold of her and, well…we know what happens when God moves in our lives. “Redeeming Love” tells the story of Michael Hosea, a pioneer farmer in 1850 and Sarah, the woman God calls him to marry. One minor detail – she’s a prostitute going by the name “Angel.”
This epic story draws you in to not just the battle between them, but the battle they each have with God. Michael strives to serve God faithfully and obediently, even if the calling to love and accept “Angel” kills him. Angel believes God is an angry, vindictive, hateful creature that stole all that mattered to her. Both have much to learn on their journey together.
Based on the Old Testament story of the prophet Hosea and his wayward wife, Gomer, it’s a story of sin, obedience, deliverance and redemption. It’s my story and all of humanity’s, as well. And I believe that’s why this book continues to resonate within me.
The first time I read “Redeeming Love” I was convinced Michael and Sarah were real people. Their stories were that vivid. I’ve read it about 800 million more times and still find something new every time – a new way to create a deeper character, a better method for creating tension, the importance of secondary characters.
I have much to learn about the craft of writing. I have even more to learn about the God who loves me, calls me to obedience, delivers me from my daily (minute by minute?) bad decisions and choices, and redeems me with an everlasting love.
I’m thankful for the amazing writers who have gone before me, sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise to help me to the next level, and who write amazing characters and storylines that never grow old. I’m thankful for a God who puts these people in my path.
Did I mention I love Francine Rivers?
Posted on June 5, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
In 2007, I received word that I’d finaled in the Touched By Love writing contest and the winners would be announced at the Faith, Hope, & Love Conference in Dallas. I’d already paid and planned to attend American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, also in Dallas that year. My husband didn’t have any extra time off to go and we didn’t want to spend the extra money.
When my parents learned about the contest, they decided to take me there and make a mini-vacation out of our trip, and fund the entire thing. In awe, I made the arrangements. The conference hotel was already full, but I found another with available rooms. Very expensive rooms, even with my special writers’ rate. Mama and Daddy approved, despite the cost. We talked about trips to the zoo and visiting Charlie Pride’s house, Daddy’s favorite singer.
Two weeks before our trip, Mama’s coworker had to take a medical leave. Which meant, Mama couldn’t go. Without her, and saddled with entertaining my active five year-old, I knew Daddy wouldn’t have as much fun.
I offered him an out. We didn’t have to go. It was early enough I could get the registration fee back and cancel the hotel. But, Daddy wouldn’t hear of it.
The day before the conference, Daddy, my son, and I set out for Dallas. Daddy drove most of the way. With one weakened and one surgically improved knee, we stopped often, so he could stretch. He refused to let me pay for gas, food, or even snacks.
Seven hours later, we arrived. The hotel was huge. Unwilling to make another trek, we piled high with luggage. Even my son was loaded down. We walked miles through the spiral parking deck, then crossed the busy highway to get to the entrance.
At the service desk, I learned our room was way on the other end. After checking in, I just knew Daddy’s knee would play out, but he trudged on, burdened with the majority of the suitcases.
Anxious bellboys lined the plush carpet in the long corridor. “Do you need help?”
“No.” I didn’t want Daddy spending any more money. He’d already paid for everything else.
We finally made it to the room and unloaded. All we wanted to do was stay put, but Daddy thought we should find the conference hotel before morning.
My poor son lagged behind. “When do we get to swim?”
We took the elevator back down and asked for directions.
“A train leaves every thirty minutes.” The clerk handed me a confusing map. “It will take you right to that hotel.”
We went outside, in search of the train, only to find at least a dozen. The map didn’t make sense to either one of us. With helpful advice from the locals, we found the right train and managed to buy a ticket. Daddy’s bad knee continued to hold up.
“When can we swim?” My son asked, at least a dozen more times, on the way back to our room. Looking at our train tickets, I noticed it said they expired at midnight. In the morning, we would repeat the entire process.
Getting late by now, my son swam in the tub, then I took a shower. When I came out of the bathroom, Daddy was splayed on the other bed, still in his traveling clothes, already snoring.
The next morning, he wouldn’t hear of me walking the streets of Dallas, or riding a train alone. He and my son got up early with me, bought more tickets, rode the train, made sure I wound up at the right hotel, then headed back to our hotel and the pool.
All day, I bragged to other attendees about my dad bringing me and entertaining my son. Numerous awwws resulted.
After the conference, I called Daddy. He and my son met me at the train station.
“I won second place.” My voice quivered with excitement.
“Second place. That’s great.” Daddy’s hair stood on end, waving in the wind. He and my son looked like prunes.
“Did y’all stay in the pool all day?”
“Most of it.” Daddy remained unperturbed.
All the way home, each time we stopped to get gas or stretch, he bragged on me. “This is my daughter. She’s a writer. She won second place in a big contest.”
“And this is my Daddy,” I said. “He drove me from Arkansas, so I could get my award.”
Back in the car, we discussed where to stop for supper. During the whole trip, he’d pointed out every IHOP he saw, then pulled in at the cheaper fast food places.
“Let’s go to IHOP and I’ll buy.”
We did, but he grabbed the ticket.
I mentioned that I’d come prepared to win third and be happy with that. Second was even better.
“So, you knew you’d won something when you came?”
“Remember, I told you, they called and said I finaled, but I didn’t learn what place until today.”
“That was this conference?”
It was then I realized he had my conferences mixed up. He drove me all the way to Dallas and funded the entire trip, without realizing I’d won a thing, so I could be there. Just in case.
What’s the sweetest thing your father ever did for you?
Posted on February 9, 2012 - by Regina
It (love) does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 1 Corinthians 13:6 NLT
Truth. What is it about this word that not only gives us a feeling of peace and confidence, but also a feeling of almost, well, dread?
Because, as a famous movie quote goes, “You can’t HANDLE the truth.”
It’s a fact. We go along trying to build ourselves or our situation up in our own minds, and then when something comes to light that is TRUTH, we’re surprised. Sometimes it’s pleasant, sometimes it convicts us down to our very toes.
That’s where I am right now. I want the truth, but can I handle it? Fortunately, with God, I CAN.
But above all, REJOICE in the truth. After all, that’s what God deals in, isn’t it? God is LOVE. God is TRUTH.
Posted on January 31, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
I Corinthians, 13: 4, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind;” KJV
Charity is love in action. Love in action is kind. To me, being kind in marriage is to think of the other person’s feelings. When I’m tired, stressed, or have a headache, it’s easy to take my discomfort or displeasure out on my husband. I mean, he’s not going anywhere. Even more reason to be kind. God gave me someone who sticks with me through thick and thin. He deserves my kindness.
If my husband is having a bad day or a problem at work, I try to support him, think of his feelings, and help get him through it. Now that he’s a full time pastor, at least he has fewer irritants. We have so much more together time and family time. A blessing, but it’s even easier to take our frustrations out on each other since we spend more time together.
Kindness is a good rule for life in general. Maybe the lady behind you at the grocery store with ten items in her cart scowled at you. You figure because your cart is loaded down and it takes too long for the cashier to ring up your items, even though your cart was half unloaded before the scowling lady got behind you. But consider what her life might be like. Maybe she has three kids at home and only enough money to pay for the ten items in her cart.
I learned this lesson of putting myself in other’s shoes a few years ago. I traveled with several people to a convention. One lady bragged about everything she and her children had done for the entire hour and a half long drive. After we dropped her off on the way home, I commented, “Is it just me or did she invent everything and if she didn’t, her kids did?”
A kinder lady than I, replied, “Maybe she has low self esteem, so she tries to build herself up in other’s eyes.”
Knocked me off my high horse. I felt about an inch tall. But I learned my lesson.
My son consistently complains about a kid in his life. The child experienced a life altering incident several years ago. When my son complains, I remind him what the other child has been through and ask him how he’d feel if that happened to him. Yes the child probably needs a spanking and nobody does it. Instead, they coddle because of what happened, but my son can still be kind.
So the next time, your spouse comes home railing about his or her day, the guy behind you lays down on his horn because you didn’t put the pedal to the metal as soon as the light changed, or the bank puts your deposit in the wrong account, try putting yourself in the other person’s place. Aren’t you glad you don’t have your spouse’s job? Maybe the guy behind you is taking his wife to the hospital because she’s in labor. Maybe the bank clerk is distracted because her sick child is with the babysitter instead of Mommy. Or maybe they’re just grumpy. Even so, love in action is kindness.
Posted on September 11, 2011 - by Lorna Seilstad
Humor is infectious. Whether its a chuckle, a giggle, or a chortle, when you hear someone laugh, it’s hard not to join in. Can you imagine a television comedy without a laugh track?
But did you know that laughter has other benefits as well. Researchers say it relieves stress, binds people together, increases happiness, and creates intimacy. Here are some of the health benefits of laughter:
- Laughter releases endorphins, the natural feel-good chemical.
- Laughter makes the body relax.
- Laughter boosts the immune system.
- Laughter protects the heart.
This should come as no surprise, since the Bible recommends it. According to Prov. 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
So join us in the next two weeks as we bring you things that will tickle your funny bone. And remember it’s not a waste of time, it’s good for you.
Kids Define Love
A group of professionals posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?”
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” – Rebecca – age 8
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” – Billy – age 4
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” – Karl – age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” – Chrissy – age 6
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” - Terri – age 4
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” – Danny – age 7
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” – Emily – age 8
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” – Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikkas on this planet)
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” – Noelle – age 7
“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” – Tommy – age 6
“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” – Cindy – age 8
“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” – Clare – age 6
“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” – Elaine-age 5
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” – Chris – age 7
“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” – Lauren – age 4
“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”- Karen – age 7
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” – Mark – age 6
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” – Jessica – age 8
Saved the Best for Last
A four year old lived next door to an elderly man who had recently lost his wife. One day, the boy saw his neighbor crying. He went over, climbed into the neighbor’s lap and just sat there. When he came home, his mother asked him what he had said to the man. “Nothing,” he said. “I just helped him cry.”
I hope you laughed a bit at the children’s answers. Have you heard children ever give a similiar answer to this question? Which response was your favorite?
Posted on February 22, 2011 - by JerriLynn
Turns out, passion is a tough topic for me. I think of myself as an extremely passionate person. I believe just as deeply as I feel, and for those things that are “important” to me, I could argue, cajole, and convince nearly anyone to see my point of view.
So, when the topic of passion came up, I had to put a lot of thought into what I wanted to write about. That thought, of course, eventually focused on the One who ultimately created this passionate mess that I am. What was God passionate about? And by extension, what was Jesus passionate about?
After a week of contemplation I can come to only one conclusion. The ultimate passion is Love. And not the “passionate” type of love that is portrayed in movies, books, and television shows these days. That sexually-charged excuse for passion is far off the mark of what true passion is.
Christ’s example of passion closely mirrors the Latin origin of the word. Passion (the word) is derived from the Latin “patior” which means to suffer or to endure, and also “compatible.” Christ suffered and endures to prove his love to us. Be he also set an example of how to be compatible with both the world and the people around us. It was through His passion that the teachings of a 30-ish carpenter have carried across centuries and yet can still create intense feelings, beliefs and responses in both believers and non-believers.
So, I asked myself as I started composing this, what am I that passionate about? Because I’m human, the answer is nothing. But there are a few things that I think might come close. My love for Christ is at the top of the list. I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m a screwball. I make more messes in my spiritual life…and yet I know that Christ passionately endures my mistakes. He allows me to try to take control (when I know that eventually I’ll look back at this mess and see his fingerprints all over the solution). He allows me to be me, to make my own choices, live my own consequences, and to bury my face in the sand before Him as I admit that if I’d only done it His way it would have been so much easier. And still he loves me. So, yes, I’m passionate about Christ.
I’m passionate about the world that we live in. There are times when I’m completely overwhelmed by the grace that God has given us to allow us to live on such an amazing planet as earth. When was the last time you just LOOKED at the world around you? Thousands of tiny fiddler crabs crawling over each other for a moment in the sun? The red, gold, grey, and black rocks that make up the ghosts of ancient oceans in the Mid-West? The billion stars that dare to show their light during the darkest nights of the year? Or the zillion grains of sand that line beaches and flakes of snow that immobilize cities? Each element and nuance is a gift from God. One that I don’t always remember to appreciate enough, so when I do stop to notice, I’d say YES, I’m passionate about this world.
I’m passionate about people, my family, feelings, and dozens of other things as well. But if I’m going to be completely honest, I’d have to say that I will never be as passionate as Christ is about love. He was willing to suffer. He was willing to die. All so that I might be able to somehow wrap my brain around the thought that He loves ME…no matter what. And that true passion? That’s something that I don’t believe is completely attainable for me, because only Christ could love so completely. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. After all, I have an amazing example to follow.
Posted on May 18, 2010 - by JerriLynn
Blessings. I have so many of them and I’m so amazingly grateful for each and everyone one. In this blog post, I was going to write about a few of those blessings, but I hope you’ll forgive me for focusing instead, on a single blessing–Ms. Lexi Stelter.
Lexi is a friend of my daughter’s. She and my daughter were completely inseparable until we had to move back to Nashville. The day we left, Lexi couldn’t even face Jennifer (my daughter), so she stayed away. My daughter was hurt, but also understood that sometimes it’s easier to not have to say goodbye. As I write this, we’re all faced with the possibility of saying goodbye to Lexi forever.
On Sunday, Lexi was caught in a storm drain/ditch behind the apartment complex that Jennifer I used to live in, and after being underwater for more than 10 minutes, she was rescued (thanks to the smart thinking of another friend, Haley). Lexi was revived, and she’s in a coma, in critical condition.
An entire community has pulled together to pray for Lexi, because she is an amazing blessing. She’s not a Super-Kid with fabulous grades or heart-stopping talents. She’s just a beautiful young woman who happens to touch the heart of everyone she comes across.
Lexi is full of smiles and love for the people around her. She’s always a happy, even joyful person who sees the fun in life first. She’s bouncy and energetic and full of life. And she trusts and loves Jesus in a way that only a young person can trust and love Jesus.
So, Lexi honey, know that YOU are a blessing…no, a shower of blessings. And so many people love you. If it’s time for you to return to Jesus, then go, but watch over us, will you? And remind us every now and then that happiness, excitement, joy, and love exist in every little corner of life.
Posted on February 9, 2010 - by JerriLynn
Romeo falls madly in love with Juliette. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet fall deeply in love. Even Edward and Bella were infected by the same ghastly illness. They fall “unequivocally and irreversibly” in love. And, Edward was a vampire that isn’t supposed to be affected by such mundane human illnesses. Ugh! I’m just not a fan of gushy romance.
That’s not to say that these weren’t good stories. In fact, I was taken with every one of those stories for one reason or another, but not for the romance of the story. To me, most romances are what we would like for our romance to be, but rarely are they what romance ends up being. And reading a romance honestly makes me long for an unrealistic relationship.
I suppose that’s why the novel “Fireproof” struck me the way it did. As a piece of literature, I won’t even pretend that it was the best written book I’ve ever read. There were many places as a writer that I would have written differently.
But none of those differences were enough to make me put the book down. I was drawn into a train wreck of a marriage, and at times as I read the story, I wanted that horrid relationship to end. Why in the world should two people who wanted nothing more than to tear each other down continue in such a relationship?
It was that real-life conflict that really made “Fireproof” come alive for me. In my experience, every relationship goes through rough patches. Maybe not as rough as what Caleb and Catherine were going through, but there’s no relationship on the planet that’s ever all gushy and happily-ever-after. It takes work and commitment to get through a relationship, even when it’s not marriage. And sometimes it takes a lot more.
Perhaps that element of more is what really caught my interest in this story, because if I’m to be truthful, the greatest romance of all time (in my humble opinion) is the Bible. Now, there’s a true love story if there ever was one, and “Fireproof” builds on that love story. Caleb and Catherine must learn what true love is before they can fully love each other, and there’s only one example of true love in all of history.
The book (which is actually an adaptation of a screen play) teaches a lesson—that true love is a covenant built upon the ultimate covenant that God made with his people – Jesus – and until you accept Him, you cannot truly know how to love another person. Once you believe and accept God’s Son, then you can learn how you should love another person.
As it is so perfectly worded in the Scripture:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… (1Cor13:4-8)
The prefect love is difficult to achieve. Very few relationships in today’s society meet this set of guidelines for love, and fewer romance novels portray the real struggle it is to truly love your spouse. So, forgive me if I shudder a bit when romance is mentioned. It’s not that I dislike romance. I just believe that romance isn’t gushy. It’s gritty, and tough, and sometimes it hurts. But for those willing to put forth the work necessary to achieve God’s plan for romance, it’s worth the fight.