Monday, December 20, 2010


Last year, at The Refinery, I chose "love" as my fruit of the Spirit star for the year.  It's a yearly tradition.  We have these stars cut out of poster board and on each star is written a fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).  I have received peace and kindness in the past.

For 2010, my star was Love.

I was so excited to get this particular star.  And I have learned an immense amount about love this year.

I wanted to share it with you...

1.  God's love for me as His child is unconditional.  The part of me that sins and keeps on sinning isn't the part that God sees.  That's the part that Jesus covers.  Does that mean it's okay to sin? No.  Of course not.  If you love somebody back, you don't want to do things that separate you from them. If you fall back into your sin nature and embrace that, then you're essentially telling God you don't care about his Gift to you.  That's just wrong.  But when I screw up.  When I feel guilty.  When I feel ashamed - those are feelings that have nothing to do with My Father.  Those are feelings put upon me by my self or by The Evil One.  Not God.  Does God want me to ask forgiveness?  Yes.  Does God want me to put myself through some  sort of arbitrary period of pain and torture in order to receive absolution?  No.  Jesus paid the full price already.  I don't have to pay it again.  (For more on this, read: The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee - we did a study of it in my small group this past spring.  It was a serious perspective changer.)

2.  The love God shows to us is the love that we need to show to others.  Unconditional love.  You can't just love your kids when they're behaving well.  You can't just love your husband when he's at his best.  You have to embrace those people where they are.  ALL people - but I think it's healthiest (and maybe HARDEST) to start with the people closest to you. 

This unconditional love road led me to unschooling, and it's where our family lives now.  We have never been better together.

3.  My kids have thrown challenges my way.  They've fought with one another and they've questioned everything and they've given me lesson after lesson in parenting and have truly tested that whole unconditional love thing.  I've grown to see them as people with aspirations and dreams and ideas and plans and talents just exploding from every place imaginable.  It's a beautiful thing.

4.  My love for my husband continues to grow and transform.  He's truly an amazing man.  We've been through so much together and to be able to lean on the knowledge that his love is unconditional for me - we might fight, we might bicker - but he's sticking around...  that's an immense relief, an immense measure of freedom.

5.  Love and freedom go hand in hand.  This was a huge revelation for me.  I've been thinking a lot about freedom and love this year, obviously (when it comes to love).  My son watched forty episodes of Liberty's Kids in three days (including one all night marathon) and I learned a ton about our country (in spite of taking American History three times - twice at the high school level - and NOT because I failed it once - I got A's both times, thank you very much (just moved between grades and guidance, in their infinite wisdom, thought I should take American History again and just skip World so I could be with kids in my grade), and once at the college level) and about freedom and what it meant to people during that time period.  I learned a lot about politics today and the whole freedom thing got me thinking about other freedoms.  Unschooling, Freedom in Christ - I wanted to explore all of this so much more fully - and I HAVE.  So many times I saw God speak to me or heard Him through others when it came to this idea of freedom and love walking together.  Love cannot exist without freedom.  The freedom to CHOOSE.  Love isn't love if there's no choice.  If you "make" someone love you - that's not love, that's slavery.  So that tree in the garden that God said not to touch - THAT was his GIFT to us.  The FREEDOM to choose.  REAL love.

There have been many more lessons, but I think these are the main points from the year. 

I'm sure there are so many more lessons to learn.  My heart is full to bursting and yet there is more room for it to grow- I think that's the final lesson - love is endless.  It doesn't run out.  It fills up and runs over, but there is always more of it to go around.

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