He first loved us . . .

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and it was full of wonderful new memories for our family. It began the night before as Jan and all the children drove down to Irvine to tape homemade hearts with love messages all over Grandma's front door. They were caught in the act (Grandma thought it was beginning to rain and opened the door to check!), but enjoyed the giggles and few unexpected moments with Grandma. Then the "cozy cappacino" was poured from a thermos into mugs that they brought and the journey home was filled with conversation and singing.

On Valentine's Day morning, Jan and Emily and David left the house at 6am to "carry out" a secret mission of blessing on behalf of their friends who moved to Wisconsin two years ago and wanted to wish their long-time friends a Happy Valentine's Day. They enjoyed watching the sunrise on the way home and again partaking of a hot mug of "cozy cappacino". The morning was spent doing reading and math and writing and history and then eating heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch.

After lunch, Jan and all the kids once again piled in the van, this time brandishing hearts with messages for Aunt Gail, munching on sweetheart candies and singing to Mary Rice Hopkins. After leaving their messages of love all over Aunt Gail's apartment window, they drove home, making a spontaneous stop at a park to admire the geese and ducks and play a little on the equipment. Then home for naps.

That night, Earl wanted to take the family out to eat and a Mexican restraurant was decided on. When we all arrived there, we were delighted to see their heart decorations complete with heart napkins and lighted candles on the tables. Then there was this old guy in a Hawaiian shirt playing guitar and Jan had fun singing along with all the oldies: Hotel California, Mr. Bojangles, Country Roads, Pretty Woman. It definitely had that "local" feel and was so fun! We passed up the flan and headed home. The kids all got in their pjs, dad lit the fire and mom served s'mores while we read the next two chapters of The Silver Chair. It was a WONDERFUL day!

Inspite of all of the love messages we gave to each other, we were very conscious of WHY we are even able to love in the first place. Love is not just warm fuzzy feelings. Love is being patient with others when they don't operate according to our time table or when they don't catch on to something they've been told a HUNDRED TIMES. Love is saying kind words when we're tired and frustrated. Love doesn't think of itself, but considers others as more important. Love is not provoked or easily offended. It forebears. Love is full of hope because Jesus is in charge of the hearts of all men. Those are HARD things to live out! Those are seemingly impossible things to live out on most days. But God tells us that what is impossible with man is NOT impossible with Him! He has told us that He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. When we as a family stand on the gospel of Jesus Christ and see God as our supreme good, ourselves as idol worshippers, Jesus as the "double cure" (for our sinfulness and lack of righteousness), faith as trusting in the promises of God and repentance as the obedience of faith, then we have the tools we need to really love those around us.


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