While I very much wish that I always walk through life looking and feeling like this…
Some days are a bit more broken, and require fresh perspective and the in-pouring of God’s selfless Love to fill and flow from me, inside –> out. 
The journey into holistic modalities, to aide the person — body, mind, spirit — has brought an array of helps that our family uses and shares. However, last week I just wanted to sit inside the pressure cooker for a bit, and wait a few days before helping myself out of it. So many of my business connections happen in private groups on Facebook, so the social media banter was not easily avoidable, and I was grieved. And though inwardly speaking, I was outwardly silent.
 
How can we expect to see real Love around us, when absolute Love is always giving, kind, patient, steadfast, selfless, and sacrificial — free of all personal agenda? Do we understand what love is? We say we love things. We say we love others. We say we are loved. Yet, we are walking, wounded, stepping over the spoils of selfish intentions on most days. Few people I know live out true selflessness. Mike does. And I am grateful that he loves me well, in spite of my selfish ways. (I literally woke up one morning last week with the old Nike jingle running through my brain, “Like Mike. If I could be like Mike.”) I see glimmers of hope in that. For all of us. If he can, than so can we.
Sometimes, I just need to escape. regroup. get grounded. And rediscover the joys of self-sacrifice, regardless of the decisions made by the rest of the world.
True Love is not for wimps. If you are expecting to feel all gushy inside—with all of your needs being perfectly met—you may not know what it feels like to Love. 
To Love or not to Love, let us meet our match. Let’s look in the mirror of Truth and examine how we fair:
Romans 12:10 says, 
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

 Some of the translations go as far as to say,

 “Outdo one another in showing honor. “

“Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first.”

Yeah, no. I haven’t done that very well. How about you?

With the recent onslaught of arguing and out-posting each other via social media political statements, I found myself watching friends on both sides and wondering, “If Love Won, then where is it?” In fact, “If love won, then WHAT is it?” It is not this.

This National social media outpouring was on the heels of a personal and public Facebook battle we watched play out locally between Christians and ministry leaders — friends of ours — who, on both sides, engaged in a grievous and devastating battle that in outward appearances, produced little more than public humiliation and relational division for those involved. 

Sadness multiplied within me. Then sadness multiplied again.

These two media mud-slinging wars were happening while I was in need of refueling from a rigorous schedule, while needing to hear “this is all going to come together” with the property/ministry needs that we have, and also while my father has been in a horrid battle of pain and hospital stays, five hours away from us, and is still in the hospital. Understandably, with my own emotions frayed, the political warring and personal mocking on fb over the last weeks were casting a darker shadow over many people — my friends — whom I say that I Love.

Gay friends. Divorced friends. Unbelieving friends. God-loving friends.
Homeschooling friends. Holistic Health friends. Esteemed (and not-so-highly esteemed) church and ministry leader friends.
I-can-only-hope-my-life-makes-a-difference-for-eternity-with-all-of-you friends.

Every single one of us walks the finest line between self-centeredness and self-sacrifice, which is the point I hope you are beginning to read.

Every family today has been affected by brokenness — as has every church. Divorce is no longer a rare thing; neither is having someone you care about choose an alternative way of life. I don’t get angry with the cousin; my anger hunts for the youth leader who abused her and never had to pay the price for his self-satisfaction at her life-altering expense. My disappointment isn’t with the divorce itself; it’s with the inability for each spouse to lay down the weapons of self-satisfaction to lift up the deepest need of the other, at the same time. The sad thing is that all self-satisfying intentions do not yield ultimate satisfaction anyway. Instead, the brokenness multiplies, thus increasing the vaccum of Want and Need. 

The amount of hurtful words being slung last week was higher than normal, but it happened while people used other words and images that I do appreciate like rainbows and love. And scriptures. 

In contrast to all of these things, we were a Nation watching one of the most exemplary offerings of love and forgiveness unfold in Charleston, SC. One after another, family members of Roof’s victims faced him with words of a Highest Love:

“I acknowledge that I am very angry,” said the sister of DePayne
Middleton-Doctor. “But… she taught me that we are the family that love built. We
have no room for hating, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your
soul.”

You can read their stories and see videos here.

Wanda Simmons, granddaughter of Daniel Simmons, said that the pleas for Roof’s soul were proof that “hate won’t win.” 

I had words, many words, so many words flooding my mind. Though I sat down to write them out, they didn’t seem to come out right. Instead, I put those words into prayers. My friend Shannon wrote many of the things that were written on my clutter-y pages, and because she communicates things with precise articulation, I would prefer to have you read her words on those matters, and be reminded eloquently and clearly of WHAT Love IS. Read her response here.

Finally, this brings me to the other day, when our family watched the new Pixar family film, Inside Out. A most memorable quote from the movie took place while the characters were tripping all over boxes and spilling crates of stored ideas:

Joy: All these facts and opinions look the same. I can’t tell them apart.

Bing Bong: That happens all the time. Don’t worry about it.

Those words resonated with me as the FB newsfeeds, blogs, and news articles continued. People have spilled crates of facts and opinions, and we need to work together to clean up the messes, perhaps with a lot less Anger and Fear, and with a whole lot more Joy… even if, like me, you’ve felt the closeness of Sadness walking within your shadow. 


So how do we begin? 
With Love.
And how do we Love?
Without safeguarding Self to stand proudly in the front and center. That’s a start.

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”~ Eph. 3:14

Christians need to stop fighting with one another. Period. Fight FOR each other instead.
What reasons have we not to?

If someone comes to your mind while reading all of this, and you react with, “But he ___!” or, “But you don’t know what she _____!” or, “Yes! But they___” then I ask you to kneel for this reason, and allow for some self-examination in the shadow of the Wonderful Cross on which the Prince of Glory died, and your response will become one of Love.

You are certainly given permission to hold offenses over others for any reason you so choose. I, however, will determine to drink in these words deeply and richly, with a hope that they would take over my flesh and pour out from my actions. In fact, let me choose the Amplified version to allow it extra time to process {the words in squiggly brackets are my own}: 
 “But God {the Only Judge} {demonstrated} shows and
clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were
still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

How can I puff up Self, when the Judge poured out Salvation?
If you want to walk in some demonstration, demonstrate Love.
If you want to demonstrate Love, please do so in the manner The Judge has provided.

You can love others without compromising your beliefs. 
In fact, your beliefs will be revealed in the way you love others.
 
The self-sacrifice will bring discomfort, and the words that must flow from your mouth will have to stomp on your pride in order to get out. 
And that discomfort is a GOOD thing, not a bad one.
Your “I’m sorry” and grace-filled actions to serve will go a long… long way.
And in the process, God will be welcomed in, to heal some broken people, beginning with you.

Behind every broken person is an unfinished story; yet we have an Author and Finisher of our faith and of His Story — One whose very identity is called The Word. So how will you and I choose to use the freedom we are given with the power of our words?
Words create. Words destroy.
Speak carefully. Write carefully. Care fully.

And please care for a person over a personal agenda, whether it is your own or someone else’s. It was heartbreaking to see people who “loved each other” one week, un-friend and walk away from each other the next. That is not Love. And because I am not Judge, walking away and removing my care is not an option. Even if it feels “right.”

I came to my blog today to write about holistic health, but I ended up needing to let this out before I could move forward. I am looking ahead, and I hope that you will too. Wholeness and healing need to rise from the messes we’ve made.

It’s time.
There is a white flag, a blank canvas — it is the way of surrender.

“We’re laying down our weapons now. Love has come. Love has won.” ~Tomlin

I will write about WHY holistic health, how the power of words shapes and reshapes a person, and about the links between emotions and illness. I’ll even give some personal examples, like how my kidney pain stopped when I released the deeper causes and replaced them with what the whole of me truly needed. I am looking forward to more wholeness in my own life and family, and I’m excited to begin walking alongside others through this HHC journey. It will be fueled by Love and Care; therefore Opinions and Judgement will have to sit at the sidelines. I do believe that Love Has Won, and I know that we can see its evidence on this side of life.

Love won a long time ago.
Let’s live like it today. 

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.