June 24, 2020
It's Only Ever Been About Love ~ Valerie Ronald
The phrase hopeless romantic suggests negative pictures of dewy eyes and dime-store romance novels. In fact, the expression is a description of a personality prone to dreaminess, idealism and imaginative flights of fancy. Not such a bad thing, really. To borrow a lyric from singer/songwriter, Steve Bell, “it’s only ever been about love.”
That is my life theme in a nutshell. Love.
If only life could be described in such a simple word, but love is a word holding connotations, memories, expectations and baggage too complex to explain in a few sentences. Looking back, I recognize the scarlet thread of love in many guises stitched throughout my days, influencing who I am and what I create.
I grew up in a home where love waxed and waned, according to the emotional state of its residents. My family’s dysfunction squeezed my easily wounded little heart with fear of losing love or not giving enough love myself. Here arrived the hopeless romantic who discovered a flair for writing stories in which love conquered all. When reality became too messy, I escaped into worlds of my own making or read about happier worlds in books. There love could become what I wanted it to be instead of the often painful emotion I struggled with daily.
Then at a rustic Bible camp on the shore of a tucked-away bay, I met the Author of Life and Love for the first time, though I realize He had been drawing me to Himself all along. How could a hopeless romantic resist such a hero? Jesus, Maker of miracles, God in flesh, sacrificing His own life for mine. Such unconditional love soaked into the empty places of my heart until I gladly gave it to Him. I wanted what I saw demonstrated in the lives of those who knew Him at that camp --- joy, peace, purpose, and love overflowing to those around them.
If only the truth of God’s love for me had not drained away through the holes in my already injured heart, perhaps I would not have gone in wrong directions looking for ways to bandage up the wounds. I know now that although I wandered far into the world and all its empty dreams, God never let go of my heart. His love held it fast to His own.
I fell into human love like a cliff diver, headlong, heedless, high on emotions moved by charm and promises. I did not listen to the warnings of others who saw the danger. I jumped anyway, only to nearly drown in years of emotional abuse, manipulation and neglect. Within the crucible, my children ignited a fierce maternal love, teaching me invaluable lessons in sacrifice and devotion. Any spark of romantic love for their father was ground into ash on the altar of threadbare loyalty. Finally I hit bottom, looked up, and found genuine Love reaching down to pick up the pieces.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
(1 Jn.4:16b NLT)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Gradually, as God’s love renewed me from the inside out, I began to write again in an effort to convey what filled my own bruised yet healing heart. I absorbed God’s Word like a restorative broth and what I learned poured out on the page. Though the infinite love of God could never be fully expressed, I had to try. If words written as an offering back to God could give others a glimpse of His great heart for them, I would write all I could.
My written words are many, and will continue as long as I have the ability to record my thoughts in print. The topics covered are numerous and varied, yet when each piece is stripped of its descriptive flesh, there will always be found the bones of love. It is the theme for all I do, believe, desire and offer to others. My ways of loving are imperfect yet I believe the God of all Love can still use this hopeful romantic to show the way to Him.
Living loved is to touch bottom in the vast, unending pool of God’s care. Swim in it, float in it, be carried along in the current created by the beat of God’s great heart.
Living loved means though all sure things on earth are whipped out from underfoot, yet you stand firm on the only Rock which cannot be shaken, and you find peace.
Living loved gives a glimpse of yourself through God’s eyes, because His love comes without agendas or conditions or variances. It is a love to rest in.
Living loved sets the Cross at my back, the crux of history and of my own life, where Love stretched out His arms to die for me.
(excerpt from my blog devotional, Living Loved)
Valerie Ronald lives in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. She is a graduate of Vancouver's Langara College journalism program, and has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, public speaker and bookstore employee. Valerie finds being a member of the Manitoba Christian Writers Association has honed her writing skill and confidence. She writes devotionals for her home church bulletins and her online blog. Her current book project chronicles how God's faithfulness saw her through the dark valleys of divorce and cancer. Along with her husband, Valerie enjoys spending time with their blended family and six grandchildren. She is a nature photographer, water colorist, cat lover and Scrabble addict.
More of her devotionals can be read on her blog https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com