Sunday, December 18, 2011

Love Wins

We are still in the car (at 10:25 pm) returning from a fun-filled but jam packed weekend of family time. We celebrated my mother in law's birthday, Christmas with them, and two different Christmas gatherings today with both my Mom and my Dad's sides of the family.

In the midst of all of it I had to deal with something most of us face during the holidays--interaction with a relative with whom I have a strained relationship. I had been anxiously anticipating the encounter. I do not enjoy conflict. I hate being out of sync with people in my life. Playing games is not my relational M.O.

I had been through multiple scenarios and imaginary conversations in my head. In some I was wise, humble, loving and mature. In others I was not.

I confessed it to a couple of friends. I started praying about it and I decided that despite my flesh's temptation to be immature and draw lines in the sand, I would choose love (however unearned and undeserved it felt). If there were a lesson to be taught (my prideful downfall sometimes) or a point to make--it would be grace.

And guess what? Real progress was made, a thaw happened in a chilly relationship and it was all to the glory of God. I kept repeating to myself that love was a verb (even in non-marrital relationships) and I kept praying for wisdom in my speech. God honored my obedience and I learned a lesson (again) in the power of humility and unconditional love.

I know all too well that it doesn't always work so quickly and that I am likely to find myself in this place again. Yet, I couldn't help but grin at God's timing--here at Christmas. It is, afterall, the message of the season...a completely unearned gift of grace sent to a people whose reception was chilly (there wasn't even room at the inn!)

Emulating that kind of love is our command. We cannot control the actions of others, only our response to it.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Eph. 4:32

Love wins. Praise be to God.


Melissa C. said...

You are a lucky woman to have godly friends to confide in. I know the post wasn't about that, but I just find it refreshing.

JMom said...

Melissa, thank you for reminding me. I am definitely blessed with wise, trustworthy and encouraging friends.

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Great news! I am so glad to hear that it went well and hope that your relationship continues to grow with this person.

Mary Lou said...

Praise the Lord! Love won! May it continue to win in the life of you and your sweet family. You are an inspiration.

ArtyMarti said...

God does keep his word. I glad that you were able to rest in his love, and that your relationship improved. It is a wonderful thought to remember that love is a verb.

Christy said...

What a wonderful post! So glad you share your heart and lessons you are learning. Often, I am going through similar situations. Merry Christmas!