THRIVE IN LOVE by Elizabeth Mason

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.”  Psalm 118:1

As I was laying next to my four-year-old, staring up at the Elsa and Anna nightlight glowing on the ceiling, counting Reese’s breaths and thinking surely she was asleep, she rolled over and said,

“Mommy, God loves us …… even when we don’t ask him to, he still loves us.”

I think I kind of gasped a little at the impact those precious, innocent, deep and profound words had on my soul. Tears welled up in my eyes, “I know!!” I said. “Isn’t that so awesome! We don’t have to do anything and he just always, always loves us.”

My daughter quickly dozed off to dreams of princesses and unicorns, or so she told me the next morning, and I lay there for a while just thinking about her words. Whoa. I needed to hear that and God sent it through the little mouth of my girl. I kept repeating her words over and over in my head,

“God loves us. Even when we don’t ask him to, he still loves us.”

Even when I don’t deserve it, he still loves me.

Even when I’ve been selfish, he still loves me.

Even when I lose my patience, he still loves me.

Even when I believe the lies in my head and not the truth, he still loves me.

Even when I don’t expect him to, he still loves me.

Even when I don’t ASK HIM to, he’s just waiting there, loving me, and waiting for me to accept it.

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

It’s just such a simple truth. God loves us. Why do I take it so lightly? It is absolutely no small thing. I sure don’t deserve his love. But that’s the whole incredible thing about it…

First John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God but that HE LOVED US! And sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I love how it’s translated in The Message:

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God…. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about – not that we once-upon-a-time loved God, but that HE LOVED US and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us- perfect love!” I John 4:7-12

We love because he first loved us, with his “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” (as the amazing Jesus Storybook Bible phrases it). So, if I know he loves me like that. And I accept that he loves me like that. Then what?

I think he then tells us to love each other like that. Read the last verse of that passage in 1 John 4 again. “If we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us – perfect love.”

Perfect love. That has no fear. No comparison. No conditions. No end.

It’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

Who do we love with love like that? God. Our husbands. Our kids. Our parents. Our best friends. The list goes on. God says, “Love one another.” I’d say that includes pretty much everyone.

Can we be honest here, y’all? That kind of love is hard. And it’s a challenge for this broken sinner. But that’s what God calls us to do. If we keep reading in 1 John 4 it says, “We love because He first loved us” (verse 19).

So, that’s what I’m going to do. Because God first loved me, I can love others. And really be intentional about it, especially during this Valentine’s Love-y Dove-y month! Who’s with me?

I’m going to love my husband with a NEVER STOPPING love. Even if he gets home late and we’re both exhausted.

I’m going to love my girls with an UNBREAKING love. Even when they disobey and run away from me when I ask for the 13th time for them to put their shoes on. Even when they cry because they don’t get their way. God loves me with an Always and Forever love and I probably look like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum to him sometimes, too. Running away from him. Crying because my life doesn’t go as I planned….  The least I can do is grant that grace to my kids and to my best girl friends and to my husband.

I’m going to love my best friends with a NEVER GIVING UP love. They are always there for me. They are cheering me on. They are doing their best in the same way that I’m doing my best. We’re all in this ‘woman’ thing together – all in different stages. If we can’t stop comparing ourselves to each other and sizing each other up, then we’ll never be able to love each other as women with that “perfect love” and we miss out on the refreshment our soul can receive from a sweet friendship, Proverbs 27:9.  

As women, let’s keep each other accountable this month to really love ‘one another.’ If nothing else, lets remind each other as often as we can that God loves us! He made each of us in love.

I’d challenge you today to send someone a little note or text and just remind her how much God loves her! How special she is! And that even though we don’t ask him to, God always loves her!

Let’s THRIVE in God’s TRUE love as we celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.

Elizabeth Mason has been a part of Valley MOPs since moving to Des Moines in 2012. She is the mom of two girls, Reese (4) and Lucy (almost 2) and the biggest cheerleader for her husband of seven years, Mark, who is a Surgery Resident at Methodist Hospital downtown. Despite the crazy cold winters, the Mason family has enjoyed their transition from Texas to Iowa. And they’re especially thankful for what God has done for them through Valley Church. 

***We’d love to hear some ways you love “one another.” What practical ways do you show your husband, your kids or your friends the love of Jesus? Please comment below and share with us.