I believe there should be a link between what a person says and what she does. Otherwise, it becomes empty words. I try to live my life that way. I enjoy writing inspiring words. I enjoy writing beautiful words, words that are uplifting and edifying. I think I usually aim for that. But, I will point it out if I see something ugly. I think the ugly things in life tend to bring out such a beauty in their starkness, like the bare trees in Winter. They are lovely in their rude starkness. And, they make the beauty even more uplifting, in contrast to the times of pain. Likewise, if I point out that preaching forgiveness after you've banned someone from church forever, or calling someone a legalist because they don't conform to your dress code is hypocritical; then I am not being rash. Those words didn't just fly off my keyboard on their own. I thought about it for awhile. I prayed about it. And, then I had to write it down and hit the publish button, and then push away from the computer and listen to the beautiful words my husband says sometimes. No hard feelings intended at all, just calling it like I see it, and moving on to the beautiful words I enjoy most.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth must have read Ephesians 3:18 for the inspiration of the breadth, length, depth, and height of Jesus' love. Then there is Patrick Henry who spoke the famous words, "Gentlemen cry peace, peace, there is no peace... as for me give me liberty or give me death." The no peace duo is from scripture and was a direct quote from Jeremiah 6:13-15 and Jeremiah 8:10-12. And, likewise Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. carried his dream from Isaiah 40:4-5 where all flesh shall see "...every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth."
The history books don't tell you about the Biblical influences on the classic literature. It's not a conspiracy or anything, of course. It's just that I doubt it is obvious to people who haven't read the Bible. It takes a familiarity with both literature and the Bible to see the connection.
But, the Bible inspires me, just as it has generations of Christians before me. I open the pages of the Book to find "beautiful words" to lift me in the dark moments and in the light of day. There is nothing more comforting than these words that swirl around in my head like the Autumn leaves in Fall, saturating my heart with their love. I am eternally indebted to a long line of Sunday School teachers, who like marathoners passed the torch to my hands with a smile and urged me to run. This is one thing I will take with me to the grave and beyond; God's beautiful Words.
"How much do you love me?" I ask Larry sometimes. He smiles as he answers that he doesn't think you can measure love. My husband is not a wordy person. Don't get me wrong, he can and does talk a lot. The first time he called me, we talked for four hours. He's a great conversationalist. But, he doesn't use "extra" words. Being from the North, UP Michigan, he speaks in choppy phrases as well. I don't talk nearly as much as he does. But, I like words. The way I see it, words are free. So, I spend a lot of time selecting just the exact words to convey my thoughts and feelings. Calculate in the fact that I have a Southern drawl, and Larry manages to get quite a bit said, while I am still looking for the right words.
Not only do I use extra words, but I think that love can be measured. They say that actions speak louder than words; I like the actions and the words.
And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able
to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's
love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17, 18, 19(The Message)
The next measure involves an outward dimension. What is your love doing, outside your own feelings? Larry loves me enough to share his life with me, to work, to share in my problems, to hurt when I am in pain, to listen to my words that can trail on and on. :) Jesus loves us enough to die on the cross.
There is a third dimension. What is your love doing, inside of someone else? This is the most private kind of love most people experience, and the dimension that many people find difficult to talk about. This is usually the dimension that people who like to talk about love want to know about. For example, how often do I ask myself what my love is doing to the heart of God? Or, what is my love for God doing inside of you? How does it make you feel when I talk about Jesus? If you are feeling anything at all, then I have accomplished something, for this is my goal. I want you to experience my love for Jesus. I hope that by experiencing my love for Jesus, you are led to experience even more of Him for yourself.
My husband, Larry is definitely a football fanatic. And, he is a fanatic about me, too. He makes my heart do flips. He takes me to church and talks about His faith in God to me. Sometimes he texts me from work to ask me out on a date on Friday or Saturday night. Of course, I always say yes :) He takes up for my son when I am mad at him. (No fair, two against one. And, Travis takes up for him, too.) But, that does indescribable things inside of a woman when you are nice to her son. He is sweet and gentle, yet strong and passionate. He makes me feel loved by the way he responds when I feel bad, or hurt, or mad, or happy. The way he respects my feelings even to sacrificing his own shows me what he is feeling inside.
He understands my fears, and respects the fact that I don't enjoy watching certain things on some television shows he used to enjoy watching, before we were married. I do not enjoy watching any type of show with violence towards women, and I doubt many women do. Many of the crime dramas today display women who have been victims of violence. I have suggested he could watch them alone, since he likes the mystery/ who-done-it aspect. He doesn't watch them because they scare me, and make me have nightmares. That always kind of surprises me, that he is willing to say, ' I won't watch this because it bothers you, and I'd rather have you watching something with me.'
Likewise, God stirs feelings inside of me. One Chirstmas Eve, Travis and I were driving around town looking at the christmas lights. I thought to myself, I wonder how it makes God feel to see us celebrating His birthday. My expectation in asking myself that question was that it must make Him happy. But, immediately, I realized that God was probably shedding tears because not only could He see our turkey feast, but He was seeing the homeless man under the bridge on Christmas Eve. I didn't want to feel those feelings, but there they were. I felt them because God created and stirred those feelings inside of me. Not only does God make me feel good inside and happy, but He stirs feelings of sadness for the suffering in this world. I have to be willing to share those feelings with Him and work to ease the suffering if I am to make God happy. It has nothing to do with salvation, but everything to do with a lovewalk. As my Pastor would say it, it is the product of our love.