Learning Together: It’s Easier to Jump When Someone is With You

Brooklyn and I have taken 3 major jumps in our ministry together.

The first was a leap from college life in Ohio to Brooklyn’s first paid youth ministry position in Florida.  We didn’t know anything about anyone at this 150 person Nazarene Church.  All we knew was they were willing to hire a female youth pastor, and it was close to the Seminary I would attend.  We grabbed the other’s hand and jumped.

The second leap was from a 300 person Nazarene Church in Florida to a 4,000 person Methodist Church in Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas.  Again, we didn’t know anything about anyone other than their willingness to hire Brooklyn as the High School Pastor and me as their Young Adult Pastor.  It was a shift from a staff of 4 people to a staff of about 30 people.  We grabbed the others’ hand and jumped.

The third leap was back to Florida to a 1800 person Nazarene Church, including a 4 month baby.  This time we did know some of the people from our previous stint in Florida. A large staff wasn’t anything new.  What made this move feel risky was our decision for one of us to stay at home with our daughter.  Me.  I would care for our daughter at home, and Brooklyn would work full-time at the church.  We grabbed the other’s hand and jumped right in.

Had we not jumped together, I am not sure we both would have jumped.  I know I probably wouldn’t.  The idea of leaving everything behind to enter an unknown is completely out of my comfort zone.  Too scary and too risky.  It was our combined courage that provided the confidence to risk a new venture together.

This was our story, but it doesn’t have to be your story.  By this I mean, the person who jumps with you doesn’t have to be a spouse.  And, you don’t have to move across the country in order to jump.  Sometimes the risk of staying put is greater than the option of moving away.  It could be a sibling, a friend, or a colleague.  Together, you can grab hands and make a jump toward making a difference in the place you currently live.

As a follower of Christ, you are part of a body.  You are an individual who is part of a whole.  You are never autonomous or independent.  You are connected to a living community whom God calls to carry out a mission in this world.  God doesn’t expect you to jump alone.  God wants you to grab the hand of the person closest to you and jump together.

It’s too scary to jump by your lonesome.  It’s okay, you don’t have to jump alone.  Find another person(s) God has given to you and invite them to jump with you.  It’s easier.  You will find yourself leaping toward redemptive possibilities that once seemed too scary.

Learning How to Know God’s Will

How Can I Know God's WillLast week, I knew what God’s will wasn’t for me.

I was enjoying an evening visit to the local park with my daughters.  My five year old, Mya, was leading me on a adventure.  Using my book as a pretend map, she led me all over the place.  We climbed over rocks, slid down slides, and walked up a creek.  We were lost in an imaginary world.

My eight year old was practicing a cartwheel and roundoff.  The park’s artificial turf is a perfect place to break those occasional hard falls.  She wasn’t so interested in following the whereabouts of her explorer sister.  She was content perfecting her skills in this one area of the park.

Eventually Mya’s map intersected with Kirra’s outdoor gymnasium.  Kirra ran over to me with excitement saying, “Daddy, I made a new friend.  Her name is ______________ (I can’t remember).  Would you like to meet her?”  Proud of my daughter’s ability to connect with those she doesn’t already know, I replied, “Yes, of course.  I would love to meet her.”  Kirra was all smiles.

In the corner of my eye, I see a boy coming into view.  He walks into our conversation, literally in between all of us.  He looks at me, then looks at Kirra.  He looks at me, then looks at Kirra.  He looks at me, then asks Kirra, “Who is this guy?  Your dad…or your grandpa.”

Whhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaatt?  Are you kidding me?  Do I really look like I could be a grandpa?

If you had asked me in that moment if I knew God’s will, I would have told you yes.  God’s will for me is not to be a grandpa at this age.  I wondered, though, if maybe it was God’s will for me to give this kid an attitude adjustment.

No hard feelings.  Mya straightened out the situation for me.  She looked at me and said, “Huh?  What?  You don’t look like a grandpa.  Daddy, show him your muscles.”  

I told this story to open up the last sermon in a series called How Can I know God’s Will?  Based on the amount of people who referred to me as “grandpa” after the worship service, I may regret it.  I may come to regret it more after some of you now have the chance to read. Either way, I will survive.

The BIG IDEA in the sermon was simple:  You can know God’s will by learning to think in new ways, which happens when you are no longer under the influence.

The scriptural basis is Romans 12:2-3:  Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good, acceptable, and perfect.  For by the grace that was given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement.

To hear God’s voice and discern God’s will, your mind will need to change.  Your worldview needs to shift.  You will need to take on a whole new perspective.  For this to be possible, you can no longer live under the influence…of your friends, of your job, of your relationship, of your finances, of your fill in the blank.  It’s time to sober up.  When you no longer live under the influence, you will be able to think clearly.  When you are not inebriated with the philosophy of this world that says, “Do what’s what for me,” you will be able to recognize God’s voice.  When you break this dependency, you will experience a freedom to think in fresh ways and discern God’s will.

This creates a dramatic change for you which leads to an emotional experience difficult to explain to others who haven’t felt the same.  I imagine it is much like the experience of the 29 year old who hears for the first time:

This is what it’s like to hear for the first time.

Do you remember what it was like to hear for the first time…God’s voice?

How long has it been since you’ve heard it?

You can know God’s will by learning to think in new ways which happens when you are no longer under the influence.

Like the technician in the video, God is asking you, “Can you hear my voice.  Can you hear me now?”  

Learning 4 Verses in Romans Worth Contemplating

Bible

  1. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.  Romans 1:22  God made God’s self plain to them, but they couldn’t see past themselves.  I heard a quote this week that went something like this, “The only person more foolish than a fool, is one who follows a fool.”  Don’t be a fool. 
  2. … and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, you then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself?  Romans 2:19-21  Gut check.  What you do outwardly is essential to your faith, but empty if not a reflection of who you are inwardly.  No one wants to drink from a cup that is dirty on the inside no matter how clean the outside may be.
  3. Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.  Romans 6:12  Sin is a worthy opponent.  It won’t just lay down in front of you while you walk all over it.  Sin is the ultimate manipulator.  It sneaks up on you through your passions, hoping to gain control.  Through the power of the cross, you do not need to let sin control you.
  4. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Romans 7:21-25  The struggle with sin is real.  There’s no shame in admitting it.  No person is immune.  It’s not something you need to hide.  When you are able to admit your utter helplessness, then you are able to discover how to find rescue.

Learning Together: How We Learned the Meaning of Philippians 4:11

Brooklyn and I have lived half of our marriage years below the poverty line.

In our first three years, we survived on less than $9,000 a year.  We were poor, married, and barely employed college students.  The majority of our income was earned from June to August working a seasonal job at a golf course.  The rest of the year produced menial paychecks from a few hours at the YMCA.

How did we avoid being homeless?

We lived in a subsidized apartment with a total cost of $25.00 (twenty five dollars) a month, including utilities.  Not sure how such a situation could even be possible in 1998, but it did.

In our fourth year of marriage, we moved to Orlando, FL.  Brooklyn took a youth pastor position at a local church with a total salary package of $24k a year.  I enrolled as a full-time student at Asbury Seminary.  Our total annual income maybe reached $30k.

Seems like a huge increase from $9,000 until you consider a comparison of cost of rent.  Try $800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, not including utilities.  That is 32% of our income versus the 3% we were used to expending.  Ahhhhhhhh!

How did we avoid being homeless?

We lived like every penny counted, because it did.  No extras.  Eating out was not an option.  Cable was not in our budget.  Youth group was our entertainment.  New clothes, hahaha.  We followed the principles of Dave Ramsey’s financial peace before Dave Ramsey discovered financial peace.

And, there’s no way to overlook the support we found in others at our church.  They took us out to eat.  They gave us gift cards.  They took us to Disney World.  One family even let us live with them for 6 months.

Together, Brooklyn and I  have learned the meaning of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11:  “I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty.  In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

As pastors, we are grateful to the body of Christ who have supported us along the way.  We are blessed by our family who taught us to budget our finances.  We are indebted to a God who promises to never leave us or forsake us.  Whether in a tiny efficiency apartment or a house with a two car garage, God supplies the peace to find our purpose in every circumstance.  God’s will isn’t determined by the permanence of your residence but the willingness of your heart.

 

Learning Two Questions to Ask When You’re Ready to Give Up

Question #1:  What advantage did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed?

Life as a follower of Christ isn’t a cake walk.   It is a lifetime journey of transformation from one way of thinking, being, and acting to a whole new reality.  Always in front of you is the possibility of greater freedom from the things that once held you captive.  The difficulty is facing the long, arduous hike out of the valley in which God finds you.

The closer you get to the top doesn’t make it any easier.  As a matter of fact, it may even become harder.  Taking so many steps toward the top can bring exhaustion.  The air is thicker up there, making it harder to catch your breath.  Everything begins to ache.  Your mind starts to play tricks on you.  You start thinking of all the things you could be doing rather than enduring the travails of this expedition.  Your thoughts turn to longing for the things you left behind.  You consider returning to the valley, even though the top of the mountain is the only direction that leads to the promised land.

When you are tempted to turn toward the valley (as we all will be), ask yourself this question:  What advantage did I gain from the things of which I am now ashamed?  

Romans 6:21 says, “The end of those things is death.”

Then, ask yourself Questions #2:  What is the advantage I will get from doing things of which I will never be ashamed?

The advantage you get is sanctification.  The end is eternal life.”  Romans 6:22

Keep climbing.  You can do it.  Don’t give up.  It’s not worth turning back.  God’s Spirit can breath fresh air into your lungs.  You won’t regret it.

Even though I walk through he darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.  Psalm 23:4

 

Learning to Balance Results and Relationships

Most of us are sufficiently trained to be results driven.

Thirteen years of formal education prepares you to produce results, aka a report card.  Everything you do in school contributes to the letter grade you receive.  You are evaluated, defined, and promoted based on your ability to generate correct answers.  Education teaches you to be results driven.  Most states require 180 days of school every year.  Do the math, and at the end of 13 years of education you will have spent 16,380 hours in training to produce results.  This doesn’t include the hours you spend doing homework or studying for tests at home.

Add on top of that any amount of time you have spent playing a sport.  Sports thrive on results.  You play to earn the big W.  You also play to score points, build your stats, break records, and impress the audience.

If you didn’t play a sport growing up, then you probably participated in some form of the arts.  You may have been a dancer, a musician/singer, a painter, or a writer, all of which work toward producing some form of result.

I think we an all agree, the majority of us have received significantly training in a results driven philosophy.

When it comes to relationships, our experiences are quite diverse.  It’s not as simple to claim sufficient training in developing healthy, meaning relationships.  Your philosophy of relating to others is  mostly dependent upon your family interactions in the first 18 years of your life.  Your method of communication and the value you place on others is mostly derived from the ways you encountered them in your own home.  This is different for most of us.

I think some of you would admit to an excellent example of relating to others genuine with love and care.  I believe others couldn’t make the same claim.

To complicate matters more, we each have our own personality.  Some of your personalities predispose you to focus on results.  Some of you have a personality with an inclination to pay particular attention to relationships.

When all of these factors converge, it normally happens that you will be out of balance either in one or the other.  You may be so results driven that you burn out the people around you.  Or, you may be so focused on relationships that you aren’t able to make the tough call that can produce results.  Whatever way your scale is tipped, it is obvious to others and to you.

The tough part is learning to create a healthy balance.

How do you authentically care for others while at the same time inspire them to join you in accomplishing great things?

It is in this balance that you will discover your greatest potential together.

One last thought.  If you choose to error in favor of one side, let it be relationships.  The well-being of those next to you is more important than any result you can produce.  Sacrificing others isn’t worth the cost of making a gain.  It is when others are authentically cared for that they will most feel compelled to offer their greatest support to you.  It’s up to you at that point to lead them with courage.

I am learning to balance results and relationships.  I hope you will learn with me.

Learning that Denying Room to Say “No” ALSO Denies the Right to Say “Yes”

It’s a situation where you are given no choice.  You can’t say “no.”  The only acceptable answer is “yes.”  To say no leads to impending punishment.

Most of us have felt denied as a child.  Mom, Dad, or both Mom and Dad didn’t give you a  choice in the matter.  Saying no led straight to your parent’s bedroom for an attitude adjustment, or directly to your own room for a timeout.  Making the right choice really wasn’t your choice.  It was a directive.  It was a command descending from the top.

To be fair, parents are only trying to do the right thing.  Parents want their kids to know the difference from right and wrong.  Parents also desire for their kids to make good choices.  So, in attempt to train their children, parents take away the possibility of no.  “You will do what I say because I said so.”  

Parents soon learn this technique isn’t as effective when their children become teenagers. You can tell a teenager there’s no choice in the matter, but they have learned otherwise.  You can try to deny their right to say no, but it won’t stop an adolescent heart from choosing what it wills.  At the end of the day, you have a teenager who feels forced.  You are living with a teenager who questions your love for them.

It is tough, I know.  I have children.  I find myself thinking it easier and more comfortable to deny the possibility of a “no.”  If they could just do what I say, things would work much smoother.  The problem is, they must learn to trust what I say.  Over time, they must have the possibility of choosing, and even the occasional experience of choosing, “no” when I think the best answer is “yes.”  Otherwise, their “yes” is contrived.  An authentic “yes” isn’t possible.  This makes me nervous.

God, as our heavenly parent, gives you room to say “no,” so that you have the right to say “yes” and truly mean it.  God in God’s love didn’t create humans to be programmed like robots to obey commands.  God created you with a freedom to make choices, whether right or wrong.  God wants you to choose what’s right, knowing it’s not right if you are made to choose it.  God doesn’t force your love because if God did, would it really be love?

As scary and vulnerable as it feels, allowing others the room to say “no” also gives them the right to say “yes.”  Give someone permission to decide and you increase the likelihood they will be compelled to decide.  This is true in a all relationships, not only parenting.

I am learning to give others the right to arrive at a conclusion that is their own, not just mine.

Learning Together: Volunteers Do Ministry

LOL-Volunteer-ButtonInteresting fact you may not know:  Brooklyn and I did not attend a Christian university our freshman year.

We spent our freshman year in a Suburb of Chicago studying at a small liberal arts college.  We were a far cry (8 hours) from the small towns in Ohio we once called home.  Our lives were opened to a whole new world.  We came face to face with new people, new foods, new accents (not country), new weather, and a  new church.

How do you find a new church in a big city in 1997 if you’re Coy and Brooklyn?  You look in the phone book for what seems familiar.  It’s called the yellow pages.  You flip to the letter “N” for Nazarene because it’s what you know.  You map it out and you start with the closest one.

The nearest Nazarene Church was in the next town.  It was a short-long drive.  One of those busy city-street drives with a traffic light at the intersection of every block, which should only take 5 minutes.  Not this commute, try a 15-20 minute trek.

Nobody else on campus was going to church on Sundays, let alone this obscure Nazarene one across city limits.  It was just the two of us, Brooklyn and me.  A rare breed of college students seeking to find our place in a church community.  We felt like bigfoot walking through a sleeping forest of a campus on a lazy Sunday morning.

We made it to Lombard Church of the Nazarene.  By the looks of surprise on the congregation’s faces, we felt as rare as a sighting of a sasquatch.  They were not expecting to see two 18 year olds from the college down the street come walking through their doors.  We stood out like a gray hair.  They didn’t know whether to embrace us or find a way to help us blend in.

We weren’t sure what to do either.  Our hope was to find a spiritual family away from home.  Our first few steps into the building didn’t give us the feeling that we had discovered it.  It was something else that hooked us.

I am not sure why.  It might have been the pastor’s personal welcome.  Maybe it was the sermon.  I don’t think it was the music.  Nah, definitely not the music.  But, we returned the next Sunday and few thereafter.  We were kind of laissez-faire about the whole thing, just waiting for some reason to call the church home.

Then it snagged us.  They asked us to be their volunteer youth pastors.  An easy answer, “Yes.”  What 18 year doesn’t want their first opportunity to tell others what to do.  We were in.  Within a matter of weeks, we were the church’s official youth pastors.  The youth group may have only been 5 kids, but still, we were their pastors.

Lombard Church of the Nazarene became our church home for two college semesters.  Brooklyn and I completed our pre-marital counseling there.  We made our first and some of our worst pastoral mistakes there.  Most importantly, we learned the greatest reason for volunteering:  the potential for God to use our lives to make a difference in someone else’s.

Our desire was to influence students with the same love that influenced us.  Our hope was to offer teenagers a chance to see what God had already done for two barely older young adults.  Our mission was to regift what God had gifted to us.  It wasn’t about pay or title or recognition or advancement or networking or earning credentials.  Our hearts were set on risking our time to open the eyes of students to see God’s vision for them.

That isn’t the only time Brooklyn and I have volunteered as Pastors.  For most of our sixteen years of marriage, at least one of us has served as a volunteer in the church.  We are at that place once again, with Brooklyn volunteering her time with our Saturday Night ministry.  Never have we regretted a moment.  Some of our deepest experiences of ministry have come in these times.   

The ministry is not reserved for pastoral staff.  Everyone who serves the church and our world through the church is doing ministry.  I hope you know the support you give to the mission of God in our world.  It is through your passion to volunteer hours of your life to make a difference in the lives of others that makes the Church the most influential entity on earth.

Thank you for volunteering to serve God through the Church.  As pastors, we deeply value your commitment.  We couldn’t do what we do without you.  You give us encouragement to carry-on.

Learning Together: We are One

Sounds so cliche sometimes, “two become one.”  

It is rare to hear it or think about it outside of a wedding ceremony.  The pastor will reference it from scripture using Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:8, or Ephesians 5:31:  “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  The idea is symbolized in the popularized tradition of the unity candle.  Two flames representing each family are brought together in unity to make one.

If the concept does come up in day to day life, it is often used as a defense mechanism.  It  is held up as a shield to protect against the possibility of divorce.  It’s normally an outsider (friend, family member, pastor) trying to convince a struggling couple to reconsider their move toward separation.  “Remember, you became one when you got married,” one might say.  “It says in Mark 10:9, ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'”  

The beauty of “two becoming one” is muddied in a sterile principle.  You are one so don’t get a divorce.  All the magnificence and wonder is lost.  What’s left is a claustrophobic feeling of divine limitation.

I am not trying to being an advocate for divorce.  I only want to recover what is all too often missed.  Realizing the splendor of becoming one is a gift every marriage can open.

Brooklyn and I didn’t realize it at first, either.  We married at 19.  At 22 years old, we both held in our hands a degree to work in vocational ministry.  Our network was small, if not non-existent.  We had no idea what it meant for us to approach life as one.

Brooklyn took her first job in paid ministry immediately following graduation from college.  She was hired as a youth pastor at a small Nazarene Church in the suburb of a relatively large city.  We were grateful.  Sadly, the resources weren’t available to hire me, too.  It didn’t make sense to work at separate churches, so I worked outside of my field while completing a Master’s degree (i.e. valet parking, folding laundry, medical filing).  When I wasn’t studying or folding underwear, I spent my time volunteering with Brooklyn’s youth ministry.

It didn’t take long for Brooklyn to experience success.  She started writing books and articles for youth ministry organizations and magazines.  She was invited to speak at camps and lead seminars at large conferences.  She moved to a second youth ministry position in a little bit bigger Nazarene Church.  Then, she was invited to lead High School ministry at a 4,000 person Methodist Church.  She continued to write and sit on youth ministry leadership committees.  All the while, I continued to volunteer for her.

Eventually, Brooklyn moved to a church that was able to hire me part-time.  By this point in our life, we had our first child.  We made the decision for me to care for our baby during the day.  Three years later baby number 2 arrived.  As all stay-at-home parents know, my daily responsibilities greatly increased.  I’ve spent hours cleaning food off the floor after every meal.

I cherish this opportunity to serve my family at home.  What a privilege to have such a choice.  Now, I can’t imagine it any other way.

Still, we didn’t fully realize the nature of our oneness in what we were doing.  Brooklyn was doing her thing, and doing it really well with much recognition.  I was doing my thing the best I could behind the scenes.  The thought of one’s impact on the other sat in the back of our brains.

It was a conversation during an interview that awakened our spirits.  Brooklyn was the one on interview.  Like every other church, I was included in the process.  We sat on comfortable seats answering uncomfortable questions.  The interviewing pastor felt compelled to turn the discussion toward me.  He had something he wanted me to know.  He said, “Coy, I want you to see your part in Brooklyn’s ministry.  It isn’t her ministry.  It is a ministry you share together.  What you contribute makes possible what she does, and vice versa.  It is important for you to see her success as your (plural) success.  God’s calling on you is as a couple, not as individuals.”

Brooklyn was later offered the job, but didn’t take it.  Still, the impact of that interview has had a lasting affect on my view of us.  I walked out of the meeting thinking, “Wow, I’ve never seen it that way before.  God uses us together as though we are one.”  It was like my eyes had gained new sight.  I became able to see a beauty once hidden.  I noticed the splendor of our being one.

Brooklyn and I are learning together, we are one.  It isn’t a bad thing.  Neither is it limiting.  It is liberating.  We become free to wonder at the intricacies of our individualities being used by God to create a powerful unity.  What is impossible alone is attainable together.

In your marriage, you are also one.  Not to your detriment, but to the world’s gain.  Knowing this makes marriage one of the greatest relationships you get to experience.  We pray you for to experience the depth of this well full of living water.

 

Learning Together: Love is a Choice Two People Make

weddingGetting married at 19 is anachronistic.

As 19 year old newlyweds on our honeymoon, it felt that way.  People looked at us like, “Where are your parents?”  Or “Why are a brother and sister holding hands?”  It still feels this way when people ask, “You were married at 19?  What did your parents say? 

I will admit, it’s not an easy decision at 19.  We knew we “loved” each other.  I mean we liked each other enough to date exclusively.  We spent most of our waking minutes free from other commitments with one another.  We even spoke of marriage, often.

Speaking of marriage and imagining the possibility is different than deciding to actually get married.  Questions swirl all around you.  What is the appropriate age in today’s world?  Can we be married and go to college at the same time?  What will others think?  How do we know if we are ready?  Shouldn’t we have a certain amount of financial security first?  What will we have to give up?  

I will never forget the moment we decided.

We were 400 miles from home.  It was our freshman year of college.  We had never lived closer than 25 miles apart.  Brooklyn was on the volleyball team, and I was on the basketball team.  She lived in the dorm across the mall on an all girls floor.  I lived on a co-ed hall, designated as the quiet floor.  Everything felt so new and raw.

Our relationship already survived two years of dating while attending rival high schools in adjacent counties.  I was busy with basketball, she was busier with pageantry.  We maybe saw each twice a month, and spoke on the phone 10 minutes a week.  No cellphones yet, so no texting, emailing, messaging, tweeting, Instagramming, Vine-ing, or rap chatting.  Then somehow, we managed to receive scholarships at the same small liberal arts college in the suburbs of Chicago.

What was going to stop us now?  Nothing, except the feeling that maybe we need to experience more of life first.  A college experience unbridled by a spouse may be something we shouldn’t miss.  It all came to a screeching halt at the end of the first semester.  One of us wasn’t feeling as sure as the other.  For a brief moment, a couple weeks maybe, conversation of marriage ended.  Meeting everyday and hanging out every moment subsided.  Neither of us knew where this would take us.

Until we shared a Chicago-style, deep dish pizza at a local pizza joint.  Mmmmm, I can still taste the pizza.  So good.  With the world’s best pizza steaming in our faces, it felt as though we were alone for a brief moment.  The two of us connected in such a way that everything else was blocked out.  The one with previous doubts interrupted the silence with the words, “I am ready…to get married.”  

That is the point in time we made the decision to seal our love in marriage.  It was a choice both of us had to make.  Neither one could make it for the other.

Love is a choice two people make.  It is a selfless decision to care for another just as they are.  Love isn’t about what you receive, but what you give.  It isn’t an emotion you can will another to possess.  Love is an exercise in freedom.  It is the liberty you take to make another more important than yourself.  It is your conscious action to nurture God’s created purpose in another.  It is only discovered in relation to your experience of God’s perfect love for you.

Love is meant to be mutually shared.  Love needs to return to itself.  Doing so requires a choice from two people.

Brooklyn and I learned this truth about love the moment we decided to get married.  Everyday since, we learn anew the power of this choice in the growth of our commitment to one another.

We pray love is a choice you and others make together.