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A Gut-Honest Look at Love

January 10, 2017

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)

Today I’m feeling so challenged to look at love a little differently. Sometimes in the gut-honest quietness of my heart, I look at love through the eyes of what it will offer me.

I hold out the little cup of my heart to the people I love, “Will you fill my empty spaces? Today will you do that one really thoughtful thing and make me feel like I’m the most noticed and special woman in the world?”

Then I hold it out to my children, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you do something today that makes me look really good as a mom so I’ll feel a little more validated?”

Then I hold it out to my ministry, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you provide something today that makes me feel more significant?”

Maybe today seems like an odd time to consider such things.

But as we start a new year I actually think today is the perfect time to hit the reset button on my sometimes frail heart. Love is a tricky thing. Our hearts were created to crave it. God proclaims that love is greater than hope and greater than faith.

Amazing.

God also proclaims that love never fails. And in the quietness of my heart that verse from 1 Corinthians 13 makes me squirm a bit. I see love failing all the time. Or do I?

If my only view of love is what it will give me, love from others will fail me every time. It’s not that love fails. It’s that other people were never meant to be my God. Even a wonderful family and a thriving ministry can never truly fill me up, right all my wrongs and soothe those deep insecurities.

No, I can’t read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 with eyes hungry to see what love should give me, and then demand it from those around me. I should read those steadfast Scriptures with the realization: This is the kind of love I can choose to give.

I can choose that my love will be patient. My love will be kind. My love won’t keep a record of wrongs. (Ouch — that’s a hard one, right?)

I can choose that my love will protect and persevere.

And I can choose to lay the cup of my heart at Jesus’ feet and stop twirling, twirling, twirling, hoping — no, demanding — that those around me do things for me they were never meant to do.

Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world. Love is what I have the opportunity to give.

Sweet friend… if you’re trying to figure out how to let God provide the love your heart is aching for, I want to invite you to check out my new Bible study, Finding I Am. With this study, you’ll learn to:

• Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is.
• Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
• Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.

On January 23, we’re starting a FREE online Bible study of Finding I Am through Proverbs 31 Ministries. And I want you to join in. To find out more information and to sign up, click here!

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17 Comments
  1. leslie

    Dear Lysa, my name is Leslie I wrote a few weeks ago about meeting or talking with you but I didn’t get a reply back so I guess your just busy. I want so much to hear and believe what you are saying I am a Christian but I divorced from a 13 year bad marriage of nothing but insults, fights and a miscarriage, even on our honeymoon he told me he wished he hadnt married me.See my husband never wanted a baby with me he even told me that. Now at age 39 and being on my own for 6 years I have nothing to show for my life no friends no children and not even a man to date me. The only man I’ve been with was my then husband. And this whole time I’ve been on my own I havnt dated anyone I’m not good enough nobody wants me is the way I See it. See I have suffered since the age of 6 with rejection and depression all through school I was made fun of and all my life l have never had friends. My mother and father loved me but never paid any attention to me or my school work they even let me quit school. I married the first guy that crossed my path and asked me out. And this guy also liked my sister and asked her out on a date and I still even begged him to merry me. See I felt that I was worth nothing. So after our bad marriage and divorce I tried to date this Christian man that was going through the same thing I was and I waited on this man for 3 years hoping he would date me even take me out on just one date but a few weeks ago he told me he was getting married and he knew I had feelings for him and I loved him and after he knew all this he told me he was getting married I said Robbie I’ve waited three years on you and I wanted to merry you!! but he didn’t care ( a Christian man !! So how can I look at the world now? I know my hope is in JESUS but I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED !! And Lysa after hearing you on the radio and your story I don’t understand how you couldn’t be happy you have babbies and a husband that loved you so be happy lysa cause I have NOTHING AND I NEVER WILL HAVE ANYTHING. BE HAPPY LYSA CAUSE YOU ARE BLESSED!!

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi Leslie,

      We are so sorry for not responding sooner — I am sending you a personal email to your email inbox this morning.

      Many blessings,
      Mary Scott Mercer
      LT ministry team

      Reply
  2. Colleen

    Thank you, Lysa. You are always such an encouragement. Can’t wait to get started with this Bible study!!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Matlock

    Hi Lysa,
    Thank you for your encouragement. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit needs to work on me! God richly bless you!!!

    Love in Christ,
    Jenny

    Reply
  4. Katrina Hinson

    Dear Lysa,
    I’ve had you book “Unglued” on my shelf for a while. Someone gave it to me in passing. At the time, I’m sure I was buried somewhere in my kids’, my husband, my job or my dissertation. More likely it was some combination of all of the above. Anyway, a year ago we moved to Texas so that I could take a job at a university there and as our winter break was winding down, something made me reach up on the top shelf and thumb through your book. After I’d read the first few pages about the lack of towels, I had the “this is a woman who knows my pain” moment. I just finished reading the book today. I could see myself reflected in your words and was so grateful for the scripture you referenced. I have looked often at several of those verses and even written them in my journal, but I must admit, I saw them anew. Perhaps rather than reading them and hearing accusation, I read them for the first time with the hope one is meant to find there. I struggle with the whole “perfect wife and mom and daughter and friend” syndrome. I’m usually so busy being perfect for everyone else, I don’t have time for me, let alone God. This book reminds me of what He needs to be first all the time. I am an exploder and a stuffer. When life gets busy and chaotic and I’m at my wits end, I snap at those nearest and dearest. I explode and then feel guilty later. I stuff the emotions I often encounter in the workplace (be it criticism perceived or otherwise) and then explode at home. I am very good at picking up rocks of retaliation. Your book has given me pause though, to do exactly what is suggested at the end – examine my underbelly and to take a deep, reflective look. For once, in a long time, I feel it’s ok not to be perfect.
    Thank you for writing this. I’ve shared quotes with friends – your book touches way more than the people who read it because, I bet others like me, are eager to share what we’ve learned with others. I’ve had a lifetime to hone the need to be perfect and I don’t think I’ll unlearn that overnight. I’m sure I’ll still have moments where I want to explode and moments where I’ll stuff the emotions down inside, but at least now, I also have a means to go about changing for the better. This book reminds me that God doesn’t ask me to be perfect. He only asks that I be fully, completely and always His.

    With regard,

    Reply
  5. Tiffanie Houser

    Dear Lysa, I met you recently at the LifeWay in Pineville. I was so excited and “star-struck” to meet you after years of wanting to do so that I couldn’t tell you what I wanted to say. I wanted to say how much your books have meant to me from the very first one that I read, Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, to Uninvited. I have felt such a bond with you like you really get me and you have some of the same struggles that I do. I tell everyone that you are my “soul sister”. Thank you for all that you do. Love, Tiffanie Houser

    Reply
  6. Sheena Kaupu

    Thank you for that revelation Lysa! I’ve been challenged lately and so greatful God lead me here to your blog to refocus and fix my eyes back into Him and His Love

    Reply
    • Deb Snyder

      Hi Lysa,
      I am interested in being a part of your bible study, ‘I AM’. I have a comittment on Monday evenings, so I can’t watch the online video. Is there a way for me to watch the online video at another time during the week? Will it be available to do so? Looking forward to your response and to doing the study. Thank you, for your time.

      Debbie Snyder

      Reply
      • Lysa TerKeurst

        Hi Deb!

        If you signed up for the Online Bible Study with Proverbs, you will get the videos in your email and they will be available until March, so you can watch them whenever you want!

        We hope this helps! Many blessings,
        Mary Scott Mercer ([email protected])
        LT ministry team

        Reply
  7. Tatyana

    I read Day 1 lesson already and it blessed me so much! This is going to be an awesome study!

    Reply
  8. Amanda Morris

    Dear Lysa,
    I just had stumbled across your blog today. I first heard you on K-love. I thought you were speaking right to me. Then in my small group bible study we began Finding I am. Just finished up 1st week and I want to keep going. I alway knew I needed God in my life but I questioned my self after last week. Was I being 1 sided by me just needing God but not showing him not only do I need him in my life but I really want him in my life. That really made me think. Was I giving God my 100 % or was I jipping him and only giving 50% or maybe even less. Really made me think about where I am at, and where I need to be. As I read your words today once again a ah-ha moment. Why do I seek validation to make my heart feel whole? I need to approach things from a different perspective. Why do I need to be validated that I am a good mother and I am a good wife. I spend so much time looking for answers that are right there in front of me. That bible sitting on the table has my answers, I may not understand them fully but hoping one day I will. I didn’t stumble across your ministry by accident. The seed was planted and He knew I would be here eventually. Oh and I only seen video session 1. I had chills how beautiful the sites and to know you stood in the land where Jesus once stepped, wow. Looking forward to digging further in this study. Thank You.

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Wow, Amanda!

      We are so encouraged that God directed you to this ministry. We are so expectant and excited to see how God continues to reveal more of Himself to you during this study.

      Many blessings,
      Mary Scott Mercer
      LT ministry team

      Reply
  9. Dina

    This is so interesting because my husband and I were just talking the other day about how we are both hearing the Lord convicting us of complaining about our family instead of just loving on them. Now I see that He is really trying to tell me something here; I am expecting this kind of love from them, but am I giving the same kind of love to them?

    Than you for sharing!

    Reply
  10. Angier Beacham

    I would love to have your book Uninvited. I am a caregiver to my mother who has dementia, and a father with Macula degeneration.
    Haven’t gone to Life Study ( Sunday School) in a while, and the people have just dropped me off their thoughts. I feel so alone.
    I get lifted by reading you everyday, and read you to my mom.
    I can’t explain it all. Just would like to get your book.
    Thank you,
    Angie

    Reply
  11. Tami J Pelham

    Hi Lysa Terkeurst and team, I really do not need to win anything more, I just want to say THANK YOU once more. I heard you speak about this book in Lima, OH in September 2016. I was an unhappy “pew squatter” that had always attended church physically. I began by reading “Made to Crave”, which is why I wanted to hear you speak. Then you invited the group to find the First 5 app. My soul is so thankful for the light your ladies, words and team have infused into my life. This book and study guide was beautiful and life changing. Now, I am doing the online (I cannot believe I signed up for this) study of ‘Finding I Am”. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the perfect moment when God said, “listen to these words, read this book”. You and your team have forever changed by relationship with Jesus.

    Reply
  12. anitha

    Love this challenge to look at 1 Corinthians 13 as how I should give love instead of focusing on how I am receiving it…thank you Lysa!

    Reply
  13. Mary Lou Genovese

    Dear Lysa, I am so brokenhearted about the end of your marriage to Art. I also went through this 25 years ago. I was crushed when my husband of 25 years left me to pursue other relationships he “thought” he wanted. This was the 3rd time in our marriage that he was unfaithful. The 1st year of our marriage was unbelievable, in the worst way. He was involved with a girl in Viet Nam while serving in the army. They were common law married and she became pregnant. She aborted the child. My then husband was deeply saddened by the whole situation. We were only married 1 month when he left for overseas. We were high school sweethearts and I thought and believed marriage was for life!
    After he left our home 25 years later, I went to a christian counselor, trying to save our marriage any way I could. The counselor met with my husband and myself independently. There was no success in this counseling. So I agreed to divorce.
    I was not a strong christian at this time and fell into several relationships looking for love in all the wrong places. But, God, in His loving mercy never let me go… I found many strong christian ladies and received great love and support in the years following.
    God led me to a man 15 years after my divorce that is His answer to prayer. I prayed that if I was to be married again.. I wanted only a man that would “love me back”. He gave me a great christian man, Nick.
    We have been married 10 years now and are attending a church with strong beautiful men and women. I found your study, “Uninvited” through the ladies in our church. I already purchased two books for my two daughters and am about to share another book with a neighbor who “does not know” the Lord. My prayer is for her, LeDonna, and also for you, Lysa. I pray for your strength and I thank you for your ministry to women♥
    We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

    Reply
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