Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: love (page 1 of 5)

The Five Love Languages of the Cross

I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. In it, he describes the five fundamental ways in which people primarily give or receive love. They are: gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. The gist of the book is that each of us have one or two of these areas in which we really feel loved when someone expresses it through that forum.

And conversely, we really feel hurt when love is withheld from us in that category, or worse yet, when someone we care about does something that we perceive as negative in our primary love language. For example, I’m all about words. Splatter a few tidbits of encouragement my way and I’m good to go for the week. But cut me down. Degrade me or place a label on me and I’ll fall under its weight.

As I was once again trying to prepare my heart for Easter, to try to grasp something that is so enormous that I honestly admit I’ll never fully get it, I noticed one startling thing:

Jesus experienced rejection in each of those five areas in the days or moments leading up to the crucifixion.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if Jesus had a primary love language (after all, God is love. Period). It isn’t about guessing if there is a way in which we can or can’t show our love in a way that resonates to the Most High. It’s that Jesus experienced the negative effects in each of these categories.

Physical Touch

The cat of nine tails clawing at his back, intentionally being thrashed into his flesh over and over.

Thorns pressed deep into soft flesh.

Nails. Driven down, down, down.

Oh, and the lack of air. Yes, the gasping over and again, desperate for just one. more. breath.

Words of Affirmation

“Crucify. Crucify!”

Mocking, ridiculing, taunting.

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?” (Luke 22:63-64)

Quality Time

The very men Jesus poured everything into had a choice as he faced his darkest hour. Endure the trail with him or skidaddle.

Most fled.

One denied. Over and over and over. “I don’t know the man.”

Can you imagine that? Right as things get hard, you overhear your best friend say, “nope. I don’t know her. Never met her.” That’s pretty much what the Rock said. Let’s add that line to the lack of words of affirmation category, too.

Acts of Service

Purple designated royalty, and for once a robe of that color graced Jesus’ shoulders, but only in mockery. The closest the masses came that day to paying him respect was riddled with sarcasm and disdain. Nothing kind was done to Jesus that day. But everything unkind was.

Gifts

That sharp crown pressed much too deep.

The purple robe, a vivid display of mockery.

And a beam weighing 30-40 pounds, laid upon his back to carry to the place where he would die. Or at least carry it as far as his tortured body would allow.

But What About Love?

Like I said, when someone we love does the opposite of our primary love language, it pierces deep.

But these people obviously didn’t love Jesus, right?

Probably not, or at least they didn’t display it in those moments.

Be he loved them so very, very much.

Us, too.

A love I won’t begin to understand.

A love that became the reason to endure pain reaching levels our minds can’t fathom. Willingly, so.

 

What is your love language? How do you respond or feel when someone you care about hurts you in that vernacular? How does that enhance your view of Easter and Jesus’ five love languages of the cross?

 

 

Thoughts on Valentine’s Day from a Divorcee

Perhaps it’s because we’re officially in the month of heart-shaped boxes that I had that fleeting thought of, “ugh. Valentine’s Day.” Yes, it really was more of a cave-man grunting-type thought rather than a full coherent sentence, but it quickly got pushed to the wayside with something else: the words a friend had told me minutes earlier:

“I love you, my friend.”

My friend, Nina, was my first adult, non-family, female friend to tell me she loved me many years ago.

“I uh, um, well,” I probably stammered back, unsure how to respond. (Nina, if you’re reading this, please accept my very belated apologies, along with an equally overdue word of thanks).

It took me a while to understand what Nina was saying, words that later on were echoed by other non-family folk.

Love. A pure, caring, with-you kind of thing.

I couldn’t accept it because it didn’t fit for multiple reasons, one being that I’d only heard that phrase from family, both the blood kind and the marriage ones. I didn’t believe someone not in a blood-binding kind of way would love me.

Nor did I think that getting divorced would teach me about love.

thoughts on valentines dayUntitled

Yup, you read that right. Before I say any more on that, hear me out: I revere marriage. It is a holy institution, something not to be entered into lightly and definitely not something to be exited at whim.

But.

In those three letters lies a story of heartache, hope, and a bitter surrender to the reality that we have no control over others’ emotions, actions, perceptions or anything else. So when the gavel sounded as the judge reduced the holy to a thing of the past, I guess I figured love was gone.

I was wrong.

In the time since becoming a divorcee last year, I’ve been told “I love you” more times than I can count. Sure, maybe not as frequently as when the phrase was some sort of expected salutation in my marriage, words said before bed just like “hello” is said when answering a phone.

No, this “I love you” phrase means something entirely different now.

Many, many of my friends have told me this in the past year. Let me stop there for a second.

Many, many of my friends. Wow. How lucky am I? These with-you girls mean it when they say they love me. They have my back, cover me in prayer, and listen on those days when something has me worked up (and even better, go on to put me in place when necessary rather than sitting back and watching me slide off the tracks).

Yes, they tell me they love me. I still feel a bit like that first day when Nina said those words to me, a touch of that “are girls supposed to say this to each other?” mixed with “this is awkward” sprinkled with a huge dose of, “but maybe this is closer to what love really is than what I previously thought.”

Actions and words. That’s what James tells us about love. I think prior to getting divorced I primarily had people who said they loved me but their actions said otherwise. But now, when many might think I receive less love than ever before, I can’t help but say it’s the exact opposite. The love I receive from my friends surpasses anything words alone could convince a heart of. They say the words, perhaps to remind me of something I had to fight desperately to remember: I am valuable and am loved.

 

So as Valentine’s Day draws near, don’t worry about this divorcee in that regard because I’ll share the thing I know now that I didn’t believe a year ago: I am loved. And so are you.

Happy chocolate-fest, love-celebrating Valentine’s Day!

Stacy Voss

Listen, Learn, Love: A Book Review

When Susie Albert Miller asked me to review her book Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!, I must admit I was reluctant. Strike that: doubtful. My first thought was, “I just got divorced. Too late.”

But then, that very same thought flipped around. “I just got divorced. Great proof that I could stand to read something about relationships.” Plus, I went to Susie’s website and got a sneak peek at the beginning chapters.

“Okay, Susie, I’m in,” I messaged her.

My favorite image from the book is one of a couple giving Susie a small pair of child-sized, yellow rain boots with a note saying, “thanks for walking through the muck of life with us.” Ah, yes. I’m all about walking life with others and this book is all about the things Susie has learned as she has walked with others.

The title sounds simple.

Listen.

Learn.

Love.

But stop and think just about listen for a second and you’ll quickly realize it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. I know I’m prone to interrupting, to “listening” long enough to form an opinion and hijack the conversation.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter titled “Hearing without Listening”:

Is being right more important than this relationship? I encourage you to ask yourself this question often in the midst of a tense conversation or disagreement. Remembering this question reminds me the relationship is most important and helps me practice Listen, Learn, Love, especially when I don’t want to. It has kept me from making a difficult situation worse and reminded me to be willing to say I’m sorry. Knowing this truth and putting it into practice often seems like crossing the Grand Canyon. We falsely view being the first to apologize as a sign of weakness or as caving in. What if you reframed the choice to be the first to say I’m sorry as a sign of strength and humility? You willingly relinquish the demand to be right, communicating that this person and your relationship is more important. Can you imagine how your relationships would improve?

‘I’m sorry’ is not an admission of guilt. It is not declaring you purposely did or said something wrong or are taking responsibility for what you may be accused of doing. Sometimes it simply acknowledges their hurt and your sorrow for their struggle. It is giving them a place to share their feelings and your impact on them.” (pg. 66)

Listen Learn Love book

Listen, Learn, Love releases today! You can go to ListenLearnLovebook.com to pick up a copy and get over $250 in FREE Bonuses!

 

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