My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for Love

What will it take to convince you that you are loved?

Dona_2-10-13I’ve always been convinced that you can tell people who know that they are loved – they seem to live differently, with a certain kind of confidence, an assurance of place and belonging. They are not easily perturbed by things or people. Their knowledge of being loved comes from some internal conviction that has been affirmed and settled.

On the other hand, questions and doubt seem to plague those who feel insecure in their relationships. They seem to need constant reassurance. They can be certain of love one moment then throw out accusations the next. They are unsettled by many things – challenged by always comparing and feeling the need to measure up to someone, some ideal, some image.

I found myself laughing uncontrollably one day as I listened to NPR as they played a scene from a TV show. What an imagery! As the girl broke off her relationship with the guy she told him, “Being in relationship with you is like being in relationship with a tread master – you are exhausting!” She was tired of his constant need to try to change her so HE would feel accepted and fit in.

How exhausting it must be to act the chameleon, changing to suit every person, trying much too hard to fit in. Convinced that if you do this or the other they might finally love you the way you want to be love. Being exhausted by your efforts, yet never seeming to measure up.

What will it take to convince you that you are loved? What has to happen? What must a person do? Would you cease from your exhausting efforts if you knew you were loved and accepted just the way you are?

I have no valentine’s romance to offer you but I can offer you a love that has been tested through the ages. Yes, you may have heard it many times before, but what will it take to convince you? That God love YOU so much that He did everything in his power to forge a lasting relationship with you – and now offers it to you freely this valentine’s day and every single day. You don’t have to work to be acceptable or change to fit in and be loved – just receive the big, abundant, unrestrained love that He offers you.

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KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

Becoming an Extravagant Lover

“What if he’s just like every other man…?”

She pushed the thought away and continued placing light, gentle kisses on his person. She suddenly realized she was crying, each tear drop voicing the ache in her sad, lonely heart, “Do YOU love me?…”

A familiar question. Millions are still asking… Imagine, after spending the night curled in someones’ arms, exchanging intimate kisses and passionate embraces…on the brink of giving one’s self to another…during…after…when lovemaking felt so much like being loved…the question is still whispered from empty, broken hearts, “Do you love me?”

…But Jesus was and is not like every other man. If He was insecure in who He is or uncertain about His purpose, he would have kicked at the kissing harlot, indignantly reminding her of who she was and who He is. Feeling the need to prove His own righteousness and win the approval of religious men He would have further wounded her instead of healing her.

No, Jesus is not like any other man, He is THE Extravagant Lover.

In the book “A Love Worth Giving,” Max Lucado states that the secret to loving, is living loved. Based on the story in Luke 7: 36-50 he speaks of the 7:47 principle from the same text “A person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Or to my understanding, “a person wrapped in his own self-righteous cannot really grasp his need of grace or forgiveness and therefore is incapable of (being an extravagant lover) offering grace, love and forgiveness to those in need. He can only give from the place where he lives.

This is where Simon dwells. The story shows that Simon, though very religious, showed contempt not only for this sinner but also for the Saviour. May I suggest that when our “righteousness” renders us incapable of showing love, causing us to live and speak hate, spewing condemnation and judgment on any person or group, wishing for their isolation and death, that we not only show contempt for them, but we also show contempt for the Saviour who died that they might live.  Living loved as Max Lucado describes it means first accepting the love that Jesus offers then learning to live and give from that place, (thus becoming an extravagant lover).

This is where the sinful woman lives. She knew who she was, a sinner. She knew what she needed, grace. So, she walks into the room bearing her alabaster jar, heads for the Saviour, stands behind him and weeps. Years of rejection and brokenness yield enough tears to wash His feet. A heart full of gratefulness, bursting with love expresses itself through kisses.

And what does The extravagant lover do? At the risk of His reputation, He gives her exactly what she needs. A safe place to express her love and the acceptance she so desperately craves. Her tears continued to flow voicing a new sound, “I’m loved, HE loves me!” The sinner becomes an extravagant lover as she pours out from what she has accepted, His grace, love and salvation.

On life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair and more…

life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair

Celebrate Life!

As I celebrated another birthday, I think what’s so beautiful about growing older is what can develop on the inside, and how our perspective on life changes.

Here are a few disjointed, yet connected thoughts:

On Life:
Don’t try to dance to everyone’s rhythm, find your own beat and move to it.
• People will try to define you, don’t let them. Discover who you are and be that.
• People will try to confine you. Grow in spite of.
• People will try to rattle you. Possess yourself from the inside and draw from that place of peace.
• Keep things that make you giggle, close – when life offers nothing to laugh about draw from that place.

On Love:
I learned very early not to allow fear to keep me in relationships, I’ve had to learn not to allow fear to keep me from relationships.

On Keeping Life Simple:
Even if you can’t afford to get dressed up and go to a live performance, get dressed up anyway, throw back your windows and let the birds serenade you. Learn to make your own moments beautiful, no matter your place or circumstance.

On Growing Older:
I love where I am at this moment. I love that I feel free to dance even if everyone chooses to sit it out. It’s great to feel good in your own skin.
Don’t be bothered by little things, and learn to forgive quickly. There are too many older people who are still bothered by little things.

On Natural Hair:
It seemed like such an unlikely affair, I fell in love with my naturally graying hair. Wearing ones natural hair doesn’t make one more self-aware, but I believe the journey of knowing and loving oneself is worthwhile — and such an awakening!

On God:
I really believe God exists. What He’s doing in me – renewing me, changing my attitude, my outlook;  filling me with strength, peace – that’s what beautifies.

2012 — A Mind To Do

2012 - A Mind to do, for it's the time to do

It's the time to do

As I sat and sucked on the bottom of my fifth ice cream cone I once again discounted the wisdom that when we know better we do better. A few days earlier, in a hurry to get to some location that does not seem that important now, I had found myself  divorcing the wisdom of safety — I had closed one eye, peeked at the yellow light ahead with the other, and to my horror, had accelerated.

For many days in 2011 I had groaned when my clock alarmed at 4:45am, and instead of jumping out of bed to stick to my fitness routine, I had pulled my cover closer, curled around my teddy bear, promising myself, I’ll exercise tomorrow. When my clock alarmed again at 6am signaling my prayer time I had sometimes crawled out of  bed to pray, but mostly, I had either slept right through it or sent up some mental prayers while I was still curled in bed.

Maya Angelou said “When you know better you do better,” and though I’ve used that quote often, as I draw to end of 2011 I take a look around: at myself, the body of Christ, friends and acquaintances, employers and co-workers, our politicians and our world, and I question, “Do we really do the better that we know?”

I think about the things we’ve learned in 2011, the seminars we’ve attended, the sermons we’ve heard, the truths we’ve discovered, the amazing stories we’ve read, the life lessons we’ve experienced, and I have one simple prayer as we move into 2012 – “Lord, give us “a mind to do.”

Give us a mind to act on the good we know, a mind to use the knowledge we’ve already acquired, a mind to live the wisdom we’ve already attained, give us a mind to live out the love we so fluently speak of — give us a mind to do, for it’s the time to do.

I believe when we know better we become equipped to do better, but a life of living the better we know  must move beyond the acquisition of knowledge. We need “a mind to do” — where there is a marriage of knowledge, wisdom and discipline, a marriage of truth, love and kindness, a turning from selfish agendas to the serving of others — a mind that enables us to live more eloquently than we can ever speak.

Relationships – Mind blowing intimacy

Genuine love ultimately seeks covenant relationships.

Love's progression

Years ago someone I dated for a very short time told me I was not romantic. I did not know a lot about him. He had shown me his garage, it was full of fancy cars; he had told me of beautiful female celebrities he had spent time with and that his career was moving him to very exciting places — so, when I had gotten up from the sofa, pulled the front door wide open and wished him a good night, he was quite surprised.

There are certain things I don’t argue, this was one of them. I understood that the idea of romance meant different things to us. Romance to him simply meant sex. Romance to me means simple things, like walking and holding hands, dancing without music, walking on dried leaves just to hear them crackle and touch with no particular agenda – just the intimacy of that physical connection.

I’ve always been a watcher of lovers. I’m intrigued by that exchange, when it’s felt that no one is looking.

Many years before that, while I was still 20 something, my pastor had showed up at my mom’s house late one evening, visibly upset. He had proceeded to give me a dress down stating that someone had told him they had seen me holding hands with my fiance in “town,” our capital, Basseterre. He then said that there’s a survey that says 10% of what you see in public means that there is 90% more going on in private.

I’ve learned a lot about respect and honor over the years but back then I had calmly replied, “Really? Does it mean that when you treat your wife with total disregard in public that there is much more of that going on in private?”

My pastor who had known me since I was a child had not spoken to me for a long, long time after that.

But I’ve always been an observer of lovers, especially those who have been married for a while. I’m fascinated by what love looks like when it is lived out — maybe because I still don’t love as well as I’d like to.

Until I was in my 30s I had on my relationship “never list” – never marry a pastor, they don’t know how to love their wives.

How is that possible, though, since they represent such a phenomenal lover?

I’ve been excited for several days about this love chapter that I’m reading in John. About the relationship and mind-blowing intimacy desired there. You know how difficult it is to separate from the one you love – you always want to know when you’ll see them again. Here, Jesus calms his disciples anxiety over his departure with the promise that he’s coming back to get them.

Still teaching he leads them to an understanding that as he’s preparing a place for them, he needs them to invest that time in becoming a prepared people. A prepared people whose hallmark is love for God. Jesus then demonstrates what that looks like as he talks about the love and intimacy between Himself and his father — we are so connected, Jesus says, that if you know me you know Him. An intimacy so riveting that every action is about fulfilling the desires of the other – His Father.

Jesus makes it plain that love and intimacy is not only about the climax of one’s emotional high but that love is responsive in other ways – love seeks to know, desires to please and strives to obey.  “Whoever has my commands and obey them, he is the one who loves me…” John 14:21

Love ultimately seeks to be in covenant relationship. It’s progressive. Jesus promises that when our response of love is our obedience, then something truly intimate happens. There is an exposure, a baring of sorts, as he reveals intimate details, has intimate conversations, moves in with His father to make a home with us, and builds a relationship based on trust. There is a safety in true love and intimacy that dispels fear and allows us to live in peace.

When love does not come quickly

What happens when love intentionally and deliberately chooses not to show up when needed?

Keep looking up and wait!

I have to confess that in the past I would end relationships in a heartbeat because of some action or inaction that I construed to be unloving. If the truth be told, many of us who desire to love and be loved can find that our greatest obstacle is the ideal love that we seek.

Just imagine you are dating a physician, and during that time you fall dreadfully ill. You reach him on his cell to let him know and he tells you he’s just a few blocks away visiting friends, and he’ll be there shortly. You wait, and wait, and wait…. Then, several days later he pops by to “see how you are getting along…”

What happens when love does not come quickly? When the actions that give life to our words of love do not immediately show up to protect, care for and defend. I think with maturity we realize — not just from the imperfect love we have received but also from the imperfect love we have shown — that love can fall short of expectations and even with our best efforts we can still hurt those we love. We are human.

But what happens when God acts like that?

Is it unsettling to realize that God DOES NOT always show up and deliver us when we want Him to? That Love does not always run quickly to our aid? Remember that story about Lazarus? The sisters of Lazarus send word to Jesus telling Him that the one He loves, Lazarus, is ill. I had to check several bible versions because I was unsettled by the “So” in this version. Look at this! “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. SO, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Really? That makes no sense. We can understand if love is unexpectedly detained but it’s difficult to understand a love that intentionally and deliberately delays when needed. What was Jesus up to? Why did he wait until Lazarus had died before he showed up?

There can sometimes be so much uncertainty while we wait. Not to mention the increasing pressure that our challenges can bring. But, is it worth the wait if somewhere during that process we encounter The Resurrection and The Life? An encounter not just through mere word, but through an experience where we see God in action.

When love does not come quickly, keep looking up and don’t give out in the process. One certainty in the midst of all uncertainties is that God really loves us and His love is the only ideal. The “so” becomes easier to understand when we realize that Jesus had a purpose in waiting. Challenges test our faith, but challenges also give us an opportunity, if we believe, to see the miraculous display of God’s power that will result in His glory.

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