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I know I am supposed to love.  I am supposed to be patient, kind, gentle, self-controlled, humble, honoring others, never envious, angry, or self-seeking.  But as the guest speaker at our church pointed out on Sunday, 1 Corinthians 13 love does not originate in me, or in any of us.

Such love starts first in God, then flows out of our lives as we experience His love.  Her message reminded me to come back: to return to a place of receiving the love of God.

Only after we have received His love will we ever have a hope of giving that sort of love to others.

Enter my daily life:

I walk into the kitchen and see that the whole bunch of bananas I just bought have been meticulously peeled by my 2-year-old and are now spread around the kitchen floor.    I cringe and shout out her name.

Love is not easily angered.

I look down at the heavy bag on my shoulder and the sippy cup I filled twice already has disappeared.   We are running late.  It’s nowhere in sight.  Not again!  I huff, puff and fume inside.

Love keeps no count of wrongs.

The guy in front of me on highway 66 hesitates, and traps me into the lane that is now at a complete stop.  I say ugly things under my breath.  My boy strapped his car seat in the far back says, “Mommy, what did you say to that man?”  I blush.

Love is patient.

Cups, bowls, mugs in nearly every room of the house.  Now crusty and waiting for who else besides ME to come and collect, pile and scrub them.  I sigh, rant and fume a bit more.

Love is kind.

How else can I love my kids? How else can I love my husband?  How else can I love my new friend at MOPS, our sick neighbor, the hurting woman at my church, the hungry man who sits outside my Starbucks?

I cannot love without being loved first.

Without His love flowing into and out of my life, I have nothing to give any of them.

We love, because He first loved us.                                                                        1 John 4:19

I remind myself to open wide, slow down and allow Him to fill me back up.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.                                                            Isa. 54:10

I need Him to fill me up everyday.  Every hour, it seems nowadays.

I have come to see this need as a gift, though.  

A gift that brings me back to the One Thing that I was made for.

Today, right now, just stop and receive.  Right there behind the steering wheel.  Right there at the sink, elbows deep in suds.  Right there with the tooth-brush in hand.  Right there at your work desk.  Right there in the middle of sending a kid to the 19th time-out of the hour.  Right there.  Right now.

Just tell Him your need- like you would a loving father you trust.  “Papa God- I am empty- again.  I need you.  I need more of your never-failing, always-enough love.”

Take a deep breath.  Breath Him in.  Receive.

He delights to lavish His love on us.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17