Love: The Ultimate Survivor

Love arrives; and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain. Yet, if we are bold love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.We are wearied from our timidity. In the flash of love's light we dare be brave and suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet, it's only love which sets us free.

~Maya Angelou

For my one friend, March is "humility month". For me, I think it's love.
I've always known a lot about love. I grew up experiencing the warm embrace of it in a loving family. I have been blessed to feel the incomparable goodness of true, loving friendships. I am married to an incredible man who shows me daily what true love is. And I am enveloped, each moment, in the unconditional, life-altering love of my Heavenly Father.
I have tasted of love's goodness. I have also mirrored that love I've received to others, albeit in broken, imperfect fashion. But this month I feel like I'm needing to learn -- truly learn -- about love at all costs. Love in spite of what's said, what's done, what hurts... It's not easy, and I'm certainly not "there" yet, but it's my journey for March.
We've heard it said in jest that the only problem with ministry is all the people. I still chuckle at the sound of that because, in many ways, it's so true. (But the same can be said about any aspect of life -- we sinful humans sure know how to mess things up!) The biggest challenge for me in my missionary life has always been relationships. That challenge has taken on many forms: how to maintain friendships long distance; how to establish new friendships cross-culturally; how to balance friendships with those we also need to lead; how to grow, develop, and run an effective, thriving, loving staff team, etc. And because relationships involve other fallible people, hurt happens.True forgiveness -- keeping no record of wrongs -- is a tough aspect of love. There's a portion in one of the curriculums we wrote that still challenges me deeply: You must realize that Christ died not only for what you have done but for what's been done to you. The power of Jesus' blood to cover what you have done also covers that which has been done to you. I know it. I believe it. And this month, it's being put to the test.

I love the famous "Love Passage" of I Corinthians 13:4-8 in the Phillips Translation:

The love of which I speak is slow to lose patience--it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it shares the joy of those who live by the truth.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love never fails.

Survivor's slogan is: Outwit. Outplay. Outlast. Only love can do that.