Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love Story pt. 3

What is Love?

To begin any tale of love, it is first important to define love. What is it that we are speaking about? You see, it is important to consider and to wonder where you have gotten your definition of love. Here are some possible places you might have been taught about "love":
  1. Your parent's relationship.
  2. The legacy of a grandparent's relationship.
  3. Your first friend in middle school or high school who claimed they were "in love".
  4. A movie
  5. A TV show...such as the Bachelor
  6. A book
  7. Music
  8. A wedding
You get the picture. There are lots of places that the word "love" gets thrown around. Now the counselor in me is going to really come out. Can you remember a time when "love" was intentionally explained to you? When a definition was clearly given, and you were given the opportunity to ask questions? If your answer is yes, then please consider yourself blessed. If your answer is no, then this post is for you. My name is Terrence and I know Jesus, am 25-years-old, married to an incredible Godly man, mother to a beautiful baby-girl, and still sometimes wondering if I really truly completely know what love is.

the bachelor repurposed blog series
  This year I committed to writing a blog series about the TV show, "The Bachelor". Some people probably wondered what a Christian girl whose husband is studying theology in seminary was doing writing about a show like The Bachelor. Sometimes I wondered myself. But the truth is that I am severely concerned for the well-being of young women, and part of what I am concerned with is what they are mistaking as love. I wanted to write so that maybe one girl...maybe just one...would realize from my writing that what she is seeing on TV is not love, it's lust. And then, just one week in to the season, a couple from a past season breaks up. Ends their engagement. My point is proven. My mission sealed. A Bachelor couple who had claimed "love" multiple times in front of millions of young, impressionable girls, called it quits. It really got me thinking: That's not true love. So what is? So I turned to the Bible:
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. -1 Corinthians 13, MSG
Is that how you think of love? I think that most of us, Christian or not, would read that list and agree with it. But where most of us run into trouble, however, is that we add things to the list. Like..."love always makes me happy." Or, "love agrees with everything I do." No: "Love puts up with anything", even the things that make you unhappy. And: "Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth". You can see now how your definition of love may have been clouded. Where the truth may have been choked out. You see, as I said earlier, this post is not for the blessed few whose parents knew love and taught them. This story, this love story, is for the unchurched. It's for the girls (or boys) who grew up with little guidance from the One above. Who, no matter how strict or loving their parents were, still felt confusion on their journey to find love and marriage. This story is for you.

  It was the quest for true love that drove me into the arms of my Savior. And for the first 3/4ths of my life, I was deathly confused. You see, I watched all the TV shows, I'd seen all of the movies, I'd listen to the songs like "Love Story." I'd heard the word "love" used freely since I could remember. I'd even heard the words "I love you" from people who seriously hurt me. When it came to love, I was one confused little girl. And then I became a confused woman, and things got dangerous and real. And one day I ended up in a risky, near-death situation all in the name of what I thought at the time was "love". And I sat in the waiting room at the medical clinic and I had a thought that I knew was not my own. It was strange...I could not remember this kind of thought ever happening to me before. The strange still small voice said "you don't know what love is." Rebellious me brushed it off as I waited and counted the thought as ridiculous. But that didn't change the fact that the Thought was right. But God wouldn't let me go. He loved me. He didn't care what I thought about the truth.


Then the nurse brought me back and she went through her routine and in the midst of it--In the scary midst of life or death--I opened my mind to the thought from the waiting room and as God moved I turned and looked at the nurse and interrupted to say, "excuse me, ma'am, but I don't think I know what love is." She looked at me and with a gentle Christ-like smile she said "You can start with this simple truth: Love always protects." It was from the Bible. And there it started. After I left the clinic that day I left my old life behind. I got into the Bible and I joined a Christian Church. I gave my heart to Christ. I look back and I see how much God protected me from all of the reckless things I did on my search for love. There is no other possible explanation for why I am where I am today except that the almighty hands were holding me, loving me and thus protecting me. My love story did not go the way that I thought it would: it went better. It was a not a prince charming who saved me and made my life complete. It was God. HE is THE prince charming. Only Jesus can get the glory.



 It amazes me daily where God has brought me. From that time in the medical clinic to now...with a beautiful family and wonderful life. I'm deeply grateful for the moments comforted in the powerful arms of husband with whom God blessed me. But make no mistake: that is not the ultimate kind of love. It was recently, as I read through a children's Bible with my precious daughter that I came across this. I will leave you with it. And with a prayer. A prayer that you will come to know love...His love. And as Ephesians 1 say: "that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.":
Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn't do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what he has done. Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you'll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren't heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At time they are downright mean. No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne -- everything -- to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is -- it's true. 

About Terrence: Terrence Hebel is Andrew’s wife and Eliana Grace’s mom. She currently lives in Dallas, TX where Andrew is working on his Th.M. at Dallas Theological Seminary. Terrence was born and raised outside of Philadelphia (Go Eagles!) and gets joy out of social gatherings, British television, taking pictures, crafting, writing, board/card games, and walks outside. She used to be an Ivy-league grad and career woman, but now follows God’s call on her life to be a full-time mom and writer. Her blog is, the beautiful and unfathomable story of a girl being completely and unexpectedly repurposed for Christ

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