The Blessing of Choosing Love

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Even if self-protection, pride, or fear are taunting you to run, give your heart to God. Let Him be your protector and choose love by an act of your will.

I am marrying late in life. Late as in I just found my first, grey eyebrow hair. Late as in several people in my high school graduating class are already grandparents. Late as in I have been coloring my hair for 10 years, and late as in I am old enough to know the difference between a CD player and an 8-track tape. Yep! It’s late.

This late marriage arrangement is stretching me beyond my comfort zone. It’s putting my faith to the test as God is asking me to love in ways I haven’t ever loved before. It’s requiring that I act like Jesus, not just say I know Him.

My role is changing. I am no longer Shana the single, Shana the writer, or Shana with the family from Southern Idaho. Now I am preparing to become a part of a new family unit, plunged into a new group in which I will have to adjust to a new way of life. Now I will be Shana the wife and Shana the stepmom to seven fabulous grown children.  And sometime in the future I will most likely be a grandmother to some little people who haven’t even arrived on the scene yet. Yes, I am being stretched. But isn’t that what I wanted?

Over the years I have repeatedly begged, “Lord, please teach me how to love!” Our society acts like love is a hole you fall into, just like you might fall into a hole in the middle of the street. You are walking along and wham! There you go! Into the hole, and into love. But in my late-life marriage arrangement, I am learning to choose to love, not for my own comfort but for the blessing of those I am loving, and most importantly for God’s glory. When my flesh wants to rise up and say, “This is too hard. I want comfort and this is not the life I signed up for!” the God-part of me is laying down on the altar and giving herself away. And can I tell you something?

It’s hard but it feels really good.

It feels really good because I can’t help but think I am playing a unique part in a redemptive story that God is writing in my new family. Just like Esther, I feel God has appointed me for “such a time as this.” Only through His power, mercy, and grace, I find myself acting like Jesus rather than just saying I know Him. This gives me such joy because I have prayed over the last few years, “Lord, make my faith real!”

So I am choosing love. I am choosing patience. And because I am choosing these things, I am experiencing great joy in a way I could have never imagined in the middle of grief that my story didn’t turn out exactly like I wanted, which included birthing my own children. I am asking God, “Lord, pleeeeeease let me be a blessing! Lord, use me how You want. Make my life what You want it to be for Your glory now and in heaven!”

Do you need to choose to love today? Do you need to “pursue love” like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1? Even if self-protection, pride, or fear are taunting you to run, give your heart to God. Let Him be your protector and choose love by an act of your will. You’ll be glad you did.

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