Being the child of an abusive alcoholic, I was never really taught how to receive or give love. I’ve spent the majority of my life looking for love in all the wrong places and trying to earn the love of others. Other than loving my mother and my siblings I think my first experience with truly loving someone was when I held my first child for the first time. For months after she was born I was overwhelmed with the emotional attachment. I had never experienced anything more powerful. When I was pregnant with my second child, for months prior to her being born I was concerned that I would not be able to love her as much as I did my first child. I somehow felt that I would have to divide my love between them. However, when she was born there was no division of love. I loved them both equally. My love was simply multiplied. When I adopted our oldest daughter, she had been led to believe by others that I would never love her as much as I do my biological children. However, one thing I have learned about love is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, love comes from the heart. I came to love Holly just as much as I did my biological children. Joshua is my grandson who I am raising and I couldn’t love him any more if her were my child.
Other than loving my children and my grandson I love my husband more than anything on this earth. He is my soul-mate, my best friend, my partner in life, my provider, my protector and my greatest supporter. Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” I love my husband dearly. I respect him, trust him, appreciate him, believe in him and have faith in him. I share a connection, a bond with him that I’ve never experienced with anyone else.
Ephesians 5:25 tells the husbands, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” As God’s children, we are the church. The Lord loved us enough that he died on the cross for us before we were born, knew Him or ever loved Him. I know my husband loves me enough that he would give his life for me. If he didn’t he would have never made the decision to go to Afghanistan and risk his life to care for and provide for me.
When the Lord revealed to me that He was not first in my life because my husband was, I was a bit overwhelmed. I was willing to be obedient to Him but wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to actually do that. It seemed like a huge task to me and I knew I was going to need the Lord’s help. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength.” Luke 14:26 says “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
For a while after the Lord sent Steve to Afghanistan in order to make room for Himself in my life to help me come to put Him first and love Him above all others, I was angry and pouted with Him. I was confused! In Ephesians He tells us to love each and in Luke He tells us to hate our parents, our spouses, our siblings, etc. Then I realized He didn’t mean for us to hate them, we are simply to love Him above all others and put Him first in our lives.
I was finally able to put Him first in my life. I was able to do this when I realized my desire to seek Him and be obedient to Him in order to remain in His will and purpose for my life comes first. It was a rearrangement of priorities. Over the course of my life I had developed a pattern of putting everyone else’s needs and wants before my own which often meant stepping out of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life. However, I was still left with the challenge of loving Him above all others.
The Lord recently reminded me of a conversation our oldest daughter, Holly and I had after her dad and I had gotten married in which we were discussing love. She told me that she was glad her dad and I had met and gotten married because he loved me a lot and he was happy. She went on to say that he loved her also. I could sense she was feeling that perhaps his love for me might mean his love was divided between us. Much like I thought being a mother to multiple children would mean dividing my love between them. I tried to reassure her by explaining to her that the love a husband feels for his wife and the love he feels for his children is in many ways a different kind of love, neither of which is less valuable or meaningful than the other.
I pondered this for a while and the various relationships in my life such as my husband, my children and grandchild, my mother, my siblings, etc. I experienced my feelings changing for the Lord when He revealed to me that my relationship with Him is the most intimate relationship I will ever experience because though Steve knows me, Steve will never know my inner most thoughts, feelings and desires the way the Lord does. The Lord knows my thoughts before I actually think them. He knows my feelings before I actually feel them. He knows my desires before I actually desire them. Steve grew to love me. The Lord loved me enough to die for me before I was ever born. If that is the only thing the Lord ever did for me that was more than enough. I began to have feelings unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. A sense of peace and comfort that is unexplainable. Then the Lord revealed to me a hierarchy of love. We are to love Him above all others. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. Wives submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of us as Christ is the head of the church. This does not mean that we love anyone less or that our love is divided. Just as I love my children in a different way than I love my husband doesn’t mean I love my children any less. The love I have for my husband is a more intimate love because we are one and he knows me like no one else on this earth does. The love I have for the Lord does not mean I love my husband any less. The love I have for the Lord is a more intimate love because my relationship with Him is the most intimate relationship I will ever experience. Task accomplished! Lord I love You above all others and You are first in my life.