Every love story has its beginning.
Some are super romantic, others sort of ordinary, but all unique.
My love story began almost eight summers ago when I met my husband, online.
Yes we are that couple. We met at a Christian dating website. I know, I know... that's so weird and so dangerous. But it worked, for us. (Disclaimer: all young adults under the age of 18, that is NOT an option for you.... do you hear me???)
My parents were super cautious and very involved in the whole process. After all, when we first met I was only 19 to his 25. By the time we met face to face, I was 20 and within the first time we laid eyes on each other... well, I think we were hooked.
Michael lived in Michigan. I was in Virginia. That first year we both spent a lot of time driving or in the air, on our way to spend those few days with one another. I was madly in love, head over heels... and maybe a little naive.
Our relationship moved quickly and by the time we celebrated one year dating, I made the plunge and moved to Michigan to attend a Christian University. I am not sure if I spent very much time actually in school or classes. Honestly, I used the pursuit of education as an excuse to be close to Michael, and his adorable daughter, Tyler. Little Tyler was only 4 when I first met her but it didn't take me long to fall in love with her too. I was a mess. A big, sappy, lovey, dovey mess.
Before we had officially been together for two years, Michael proposed. And by our 2 year "datingversary", we were married AND expecting our first baby together, Miss Sierra Lynn.
Whew... talk about whirlwind.
We were young, maybe stupid, but in love.
Fast forward eight years.
We moved our blended family to Virginia, where we have lived ever since. And we have had not one, not two, but three children... and now expecting our fourth child together.
Some days I think it is safe to say that we don't feel "in love". We traded our whirldwind dating romance for the everyday ins and outs of being husband/wife and mommy/daddy. It's not always picture perfect and certainly not always easy. I don't always "like" him and I know he doesn't always "like" me. We are different, in many ways opposite. But there's something that connects us, in spite of our vast differences.
In our society so many people these days view all relationships as something that can be tossed or thrown away when the going gets tough or when we have gotten what we wanted from it. We have made personal relationships disposal. Marriages end every day. Friendships break.
Why? Because we fail to understand that it's not about us and what we "feel". My love for my husband has no root in just my emotions or the good feelings. My love for my husband has its root in a mutual desire and devotion to our God and our commitment to one another. If I based my married life on feelings alone, I would not still be Mrs. Gaffner. But instead, we must ground ourselves in something bigger and deeper than feel good moments.
Michael makes me laugh. He's crazy and unpredictable at times. He's loud, stinky, and can be just a bit too cocky. I'm sure you'd love to know his description of me!
But he also loves me like no one else on this earth, honestly... he loves me like Christ has commanded him to. He provides for our constantly growing family and he never fails to spoil us even when we don't deserve it. He's forgiving and consistent. Basically... I'm blessed and in awe of where we are at this moment in our lives.
In the book of Revelation God calls out the church of Ephesus, saying in chapter 2 "you have forsaken the love you had at first". The church claimed to have loved God but their actions proved otherwise.
It is so easy to mistreat those we say we love. It is so easy to become self-centered in our relationships with spouses, friends, and even children. But that's because we have changed the definition of love to mean a feeling more than an action. To act out of love is much more than just "feeling" good or happy.
My husband is the love of my life. But sometimes I forget that.
This week I have been reminded of it and sure it "feels" good to have that "in love" attitude. But more than that, my heart is swollen with joy recognizing how strong our love is but understanding something even deeper. That my God loves me even more than that, more than I can comprehend or understand.
Do you need to "fall" back in love with someone or something in your life?
Maybe you need to love yourself, your kids, your spouse.
Maybe you need to fall back in love with your purpose and passion in your career.
Maybe you need to run back to God, accepting His amazing and unconditional love.
Do some spring cleaning this weekend. Find your first love underneath all the mess of your mundane life and experience the joy of falling again.