I've been thinking about this a lot lately...
Does this all depend on what our definition of love is? What does He say about love?
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-3
What is love??
From 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.
Love never fails.
We've learned so much more about what real love is---laying down our expectations of how we thought things would be and accepting and embracing where we are at as a step in the journey of healing for our girls. Love is trying to view things that happen through the eyes of our girls--the limited experiences that they had with so many things and the many hard and traumatic experiences that they did experience and how those things changed their view of people, life, trust, and fear. Love is always trying to remember that our girls won't act their "age"--that an adoptive child is often at about half of their age behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally when they come home.
Love is being humbled and realizing that even though we are experienced parents, God is teaching us that this isn't about us and our success or ability to raise decent kids--this is about Him working through us to show His unconditional love for our girls--for them to see and understand the love of their Heavenly Father through the hands and feet of an earthly mother and father (and sisters and brothers). Love is realizing that "downtime" and "me time" and so many other things focused on what I want can be given up---often for an opportunity to connect or love on two precious girls who are experiencing "me time" and "focused attention" for the first time in their lives.
Love is seeing the joy of playing peek-a-boo and "This Little Piggy" with your girls---the nightly snuggling up time with Vaida, stroking her hair while having her sweet body cuddled in my arms and thinking about the many, many nights she slept alone. Love is giggling with Sima under the covers about the goofy and silly things that happened and having her give kisses and sigh a contented sigh.
Love is experiencing the joy and thrills of so many new things for our girls--splashing in puddles, raking leaves, finding caterpillars and bugs and holding them, making sure the cats have a full bowl of food, eating marshmallows and hot dogs roasted on the fire.....
Hope Sima's dentist never sees this! She just got lots of dental work done---
marshmallows aren't the best for her teeth but oh so fun......
Love is trying to help your children work through how to deal with anger, how to share and take turns, how to calm when their bodies start to get overwhelmed. Love is hearing your child say more and more words and understand more and more of a new language. Love is seeing how brave your little ones have been as they have had all they have known taken away from them and adjusted to so many new things.
Our first hike at a nature center--with Hazel. The girls had such fun--
Sima lost her boot in some mud. So many firsts!
Love is having Him help you realize more and more what your daughters' day-to-day life was like--what they did and didn't do, what they had and didn't have, what they experienced and never experienced--and how all of those things have shaped how they view us, a family, and the world.
Helping haul wood at Baba's house.
Love is realizing that some days you can only love with His strength and you are tired but He fills you with what you need. Love is recognizing that you are a work in progress and some days have no clue how to respond to things that have happened and why they happened but trusting that He will reveal what you need to know. Love is making mistakes and knowing you are forgiven.
A breakfast of brown bread--we call it snakus (which means garlic). The girls had this at their orphanage as a treat--sliced up rye bread fried in oil with fresh garlic rubbed on it. They both love to rub on additional garlic. They were so excited to have this "comfort food"! Precious!
Love is the feeling deep in your heart when you gaze at your precious new daughters sleeping---praying that they will feel they have worth and know they are treasured and loved by God and by their family.
Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay,
the time it is willing to give,
the hardships it is willing to endure
and the strength it is willing to spend.
Love never thinks in terms of
but always in terms of
Joni Eareckson Tada