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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Extravagant Love

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!

1 John 3:1

I am admittedly one of the most unthoughtful people on the planet. Remembering birthdays, sending the encouraging card, and picking up the phone just to say 'hey' are just not my strong points. Because I am not a girl who needs these things, I forget that others do. And, just so you know, saying I don't need someone to express love towards me is not giving myself a compliment. It's actually a very enormous independence problem I have that I'll work to overcome until the day I die.

Now my hubby Luke is an entirely different story. Thoughtfulness comes naturally to him and he will go to great lengths to bless me. Luke's latest extravagance involved his scrimping and saving to buy me a laptop for Christmas with a card that said, "Because I know God has huge plans for you..."

I still swoon.

And, no, you may not have him.

So what did I do when he made this grand presentation? Well, obviously I cried like a baby but immediately afterward I went into guilt mode because I didn't have a single, solitary thing to surprise him with. In this unwritten code of mine it is necessary to return in the same measure in which I receive. That can present a huge problem when my thoughtfulness kicks in once its too late to reciprocate. What's a girl to do when she realizes she lacks the resources to match the gift?

This is actually a false dilemma. Luke didn't give me the computer because he thought I would give him a flatscreen television. (Though he would have totally appreciated it, I'm sure.) He wasn't gracious to me so I would return love to him out of indebtedness. He did it because, in his own words, he 'wanted to'. He believes God has a calling on my life and he wanted to be used of Him to provide a tool to make it easier to fulfill. It would have been a slap in the face to Luke for me to put the computer on a shelf and not use it because I couldn't get past the fact I couldn't adequately repay him.

I wonder how many of us, including myself, hold this same attitude towards God? He has given us the gift of an extravagant love that we can not possibly earn or ever repay. I've known people who spend their days trying to accomplish enough good works to one day feel they deserve what they've been given. I know others who feel so guilty because they can't return the gift in full measure that they don't try at all. Instead they place the gift on the shelf until they feel 'good enough' to use it. I'm ashamed to say I've found myself in both places. Have you?

There are some things given we can never adequately repay. Luke's gift helped me to understand even more the proper response to God's favor. I may never be able to say thank you enough, but what I can do is type away on this keyboard to God's glory and Luke's delight. I can choose to love out of gratitude rather than a twisted sense of indebtedness. I can live with an attitude of thanksgiving to The One who scrimped so He could save me. Through this show of extravagant grace, he provided the tool of salvation I needed in order to accomplish my purpose on this earth.

I still swoon.

And, yes, I'll share Him with you.

(But you still can't have Luke. That sweetheart is all mine.....)

Please visit my personal blog, The Preacher's Wife!

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Blogger Denise said...

Beautiful dear, so beautiful.

February 13, 2008 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I always enjoy your writings. Thank you for the reminder about the true meaning of giving. I have recently been caught up in what my husband has not been doing instead of focusing on the daily gifts that he gives me just because he can. Luckily, I am freshly back to believeing in Gad and all that he has done for me, so I am good with His gifts. :)

February 14, 2008 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Again, your words bless me!
And I think you are probably more thoughtful than you give yourself credit for.
You have encouraged me on several occasions.

And, I still stand in awe at the love that God so unselfishly gave us. To think we could be loved by the King...He makes us princesses! I've always related more to the ugly step-sisters, but we really need to see ourselves as Cinderella! Knowing my failures makes that so difficult at times.

Thanks for reminding us about His extravagent grace!
Love ya,

February 14, 2008 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

What a beautiful lesson! God wants us to delight in using the gifts He gives us, beginning with His ultimate gift.

You have indeed given us all a gift this Valentine's Day!

Much love,

February 14, 2008 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Great post! You do encourage people with your thoughtfulness, you just do not realize it. God uses you and you just obey. That is such an encouragement to people like me. "To God be the glory" for people like you!

I love the "loving out of gratitude" instead of indebtedness part. That is really something to think about! I am bad about that! Thanks for a great reminder.
Love You!

February 14, 2008 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

That was beautiful!

God is good and his love is everlasting!!

Thanks for the insight to his extravagant love!!

February 14, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Your thoughts blessed me greatly today. Thank you for sharing and giving of yourself on line.. blessings on your day.
Mary Lou at dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

February 14, 2008 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Happy Valentine's Day! What a love story---two wonderful lovers: your DH and God. How fun to hear of Luke's caring for you. How encouraging to hear of God's love for us all.

February 14, 2008 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for the blessing!

February 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Happy Valentine's Day! This post is wonderful and one I have to think about for awhile. Thanks for sharing..... Cindi

February 14, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Marriage, in the right context, is total model for God's love for us, isn't it?

February 14, 2008 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger lori said...

You know Lisa your gift is in being able to write as if you are sitting right here talking...
Delighting in the gifts and using the ones we've been given...

be assured you blessed us today!

and what a man you got girl...
aren't you glad God sent him your way!:)
Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a beautiful and challenging post! Time to go evaluate my gifts that I'm not using....

February 14, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Christie@tisbutaseason said...

My kids and I were heading to school this morning and this very topic came up...God's amazing love and the very depth of it! I was reminding the kids that God loved us soooo much that He sent Jesus to die for all the bad decisions we will make. Just talking about it brought tears to my eyes and then Saucy Girl said, "Mom (with a little concern & disgust), are you gonna cry?"

Yes. I cry a lot. Then she welled up! Oh gosh! We're less than a mile from school -on Valentine's Day no less -and she & I are in tears. :) Needless to say we had a moment.

Thank you Jesus for your amazing love and for saving this ragged soul of mine!

February 14, 2008 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Girl you always make my brain - and my heart - work over-time.(it's a good thing) You should write a book!

February 14, 2008 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger A Stone Gatherer said...

Lisa, great post! I have been asked to do a 5 minute meditation on Good Friday on one of the last statements of Christ "Woman, behold thy son, Son behold they Mother". I too believe God has given me gifts that he wants me to use, or he wants me to trust in him and do it even though I'm terrified! This is one of those times. It's me the two ministers, youth pastor and othe commissioned pastors. I don't want to make it out to be more then it is, I just want to say what He wants me to say, and grow in him.

February 15, 2008 at 6:17 AM  

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