We took some maternity pictures this week with a wonderful woman from church. Some how the 90 degrees felt cooler (it was a *little* less humid) and standing around in a park wasn't too bad. The pictures turned out great - baby belly with a gorgeous Louisiana back drop - and I will post a couple here soon.
The photographer posted a comment on the album.
"But now faith, hope, and love, abide these three but greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
First glance - awww, sweet verse. Yeah, Dave and I love each other and we love Sammy.
Then Thursday morning was just one of those mornings. Nothing was going right, hit the "off" instead of the "snooze" button and woke up 10 minutes later than I planned. I kinda felt like I'd been hit by a truck anyway so that didn't help. I tried to get some music started but the computer battery was dead, so I plugged my ipod into it's dock to play and it wouldn't. Eventually Dave figured out how to make it work, music playing commenced and I no longer felt the world was against me. (dramatic much? yes.)
On the drive to work (at a red light - I promise) I looked at some of the photo's again and read the verse again. This time it sunk all the way in...
FAITH & HOPE
I was recently challenged by a speaker who said "Faith and fear are opposites. They cannot coexist." Up until that point I would not have said that I've been lacking faith lately. In fact, I would have said the opposite. How could I be walking this path without faith? WHY would I be walking this path without faith in the Lord? And yet I totally get it. I still have fears and that's natural as a woman and an aspiring mama but I need to trust the Lord *even more* in those fears.
So when I read 1 Cor. 13:13 I'm all "yeah, faith, hope and love, I'm good with all that. I have faith - I'm learning about faith, my faith is growing. faith faith faith."
As the word hope sinks in I'm all "shawww - duh I abide in hope. If I didn't I'd be an even BIGGER mess." Sometimes I feel like all I have is hope. Days when the hope is hiding are horrible, cry-y, messy days filled with crazy thoughts. I hang out on hope, I get hope. Hope and faith is where it's at!!
And then comes the but. "but the greatest of these is love."
Sooo, I'm sensing a theme here Lord? From the first verses (back in May) that tormented me about how deep and unescapable the Lord's love is, to the most recent reminder that the greatest of these is love I! cannot! escape! the! message!
I mean, sheesh, I waited until I had the "perfect name" for my blog to even start it.
The best visual I have for how this is all connecting in my mind is this: it's like I'm helping my grandma untangle some yarn...each connection the Word brings together for me is little more leeway on the tangled yarn to wrap it tightly around the ball that we are trying to form so that we can easily use the yarn for something useful. You know, as opposed to having a tangled mess of yarn at the bottom of the sewing pile.
The Lord's teaching me about love, challenging me with the depth and stamina of my faith, and I'm struggling with fear. My mantra in the face of fears is "perfect love drives out fear." I finally look up that verse in it's entirety:
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18a
Oh. There's no fear in love and faith cannot coexist with fear. (this is where my brain starts hurting too, so stick with me if you've made it this far). I need to abide in faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these being love.
I know the Giver of perfect love. He's my Lord and Savior. And in all this craziness He's refining my love.
I am feeling Zechariah 13:9 - "I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.'"
Sure I've had faith, hope, and love throughout the last few months and cling to those things daily. But is here another way to understand and live out those truths? Apparently so. I'm thankful for a God who will meet me where I am and give me the confidence to face each new day.
I've heard 1 Cor 13:13 before. Lots. And I still would have said that faith and hope were more important than love. Until this week. I'm beginning to understand how intertwined they all are and oh yeah, scripture says that love is the greatest of these.
**Quick side note** as I reread this I realized I have an understanding of what "refining" metals means and want to share my understanding. Refining silver or gold requires heating it up to an incredibly hot temperature so that the imperfections will float to the surface where the refiner can pick them away. Was it silver before it was refined? Yes, but by taking out the imperfections it is now a more pure silver. Does that make sense? I'm not saying that Sammy is being solely used to refine me, but that through this journey, as an effect of the journey, I am being refined...yeesh - circular talk makes my head hurt! **end side note**