To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.  1 Peter 2:21 NIV

How would you define true love?

Hopeless romantics, like myself, define it as a love that can withstand evil, overcome tragedy, and outlive anything that threatens to ruin the “happily ever after”.  Even if you have never personally experienced a love like this, Mr. Walt Disney, himself, has made sure that you, at least, have the pleasure of experiencing it through the countless fairy tales he has brought to life.

In June of 2002, the love of my life and I stood before God, and pledged our love.  As we exited the church that night, I must admit, in the back of my mind I could almost hear the words Once upon a time…

You see I had seen all of the Disney princess movies.  I am a Disney movie addict – and yes, Cinderella is my favorite!  Therefore, I expected nothing less than a fairy tale.  How could it not be?  After all, he is my “one true love” and my “happily ever after” does rest in him.  Right?

After ten years of marriage, I am happy to admit that just as with any good fairy tale, some parts we anticipated and really enjoyed; and some of them we were relieved when they were over, vowing “NEVER to do that again”.  We’ve laughed, cried, screamed nonsense at the top of our lungs, and yes even felt a little nauseous.  Yet through every twist and turn, every uphill climb and downhill fall…

Wait a minute!  What kind of fairy tale is this?  Oh yeah, those don’t exist in real life.  But do you know what does… ROLLERCOASTERS!  Despite our best intentions, this ride had left us empty and incomplete, and facing a future neither of us wanted.

In 1 John 4:8, we are told

God is love.

It’s the very essence of His being, and affects all He is and all He does.  The only way for God to show us the depth of His love required the death of His Son.  Jesus Christ surrendered His will to His Father’s.  A pure example of death to self!  In spite of His wishes and the horrific pain He would face, He chose to die… willingly… for you and for me.

Why you ask?  Simple, because He truly loves us!

The words in 1 Peter 2:21 reminded us of our purpose – to follow Christ’s example.  Ever since, Jason and I have chosen death many times to show the Lord, as well as each other, that we are committed to His will and His commands.  It was through this choice that true freedom and true love entered our lives. I know it seems crazy, but a real love relationship with my “One True Love”, my Heavenly Father, has provided me with all the happiness I had been craving.

Unlike my feeble attempt at love, God’s love is:

  • Pure and Holy – 1 Timothy 1:5: It is self-giving, not selfish or demanding.
  • Sacrificial – Romans 5:8: He doesn’t hesitate to give, even when it cost Him dearly.
  • Unconditional – 1 Corinthians 13:4: He extends it to us when we do not deserve it. He does not give or withhold it based on how we perform. His love continues steadfast and strong.
  • Eternal – Romans 8:37-39: It brings about security and comfort. He knew us and loved us before He made us.

I was crazy to think my husband could fill a God-size hole in my heart.  Letting God take over our lives and marriage was the best thing we could have ever done.  It took a tremendous amount of pressure off both our shoulders.  We no longer had anything to prove to the other one.  We were free to simply love one another the way God commands us to:

unselfishly, sacrificially, unconditionally, with every ounce of our being, til death do us part.

We must always be willing and eager to deny ourselves in order to follow His example!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  Matthew 16:24 NASB
Great God in Heaven, Author of the only true love story… a fairy tale if you will… that ends with the Prince marrying His bride, and them living happily ever after in the Kingdom of His Father.  Lord I’m grateful for the part I am allowed to play in the “Greatest Story Ever Told”.  Lord even though my role is small, You’ve made it vital.  My chapter must be told.  I know I will never be able to perfectly mirror Christ’s example, but Lord through Your strength and by Your grace I pray that You would complete Your will in and through me.  Not that I might be glorified, but that man might see Your Son, and in turn glorify Your name.  Amen!

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