Sunday, December 7, 2014

Her Legacy... Love

The definition of love: 1. An intense feeling of deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, and endearment. 2. A person or thing that one loves.
We all possess the ability to love, and most of us love many people.  We love our family because their blood flows through our veins, and in and out of our heart, which connects us to them on such a deep level that we love them even though we may not always like them. Others become family through marriage, adoption or simply by invitation because they have no one to love, and no one who loves them.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. Friends who love us, even when they see us at our worst, possess a love with no strings attached. We've chosen to love them and they've chosen to love us in return. There are many more people who we label as someone we love; a teacher, pastor, co-worker, boss, neighbor or mentor. But our highest and best love is our love for God, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.  Perfect love. Not the love we experience here, where the sin and evil of this world can taint our best love. But pure, holy, perfect love.
We tend to throw the word love around carelessly, applying the term to everything from our homes and cars, which are costly items we've worked hard for, to an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen at a price of one dollar and some change.
A tragedy that happened a week ago has caused me to think about how and why we love certain people who are woven in and through our lives. When word began to circulate that this precious, wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and mentor no longer inhabited this earth, but had suddenly been transported to her heavenly home, the accolades began.  The word "love" was used over and over. Every facebook post I read was an exclamation of that person's love and admiration for her. But I also noticed how many people said they hoped she knew how much they loved her, or they wished they'd told her how much they loved her. Now that it was too late, they worried that she didn't know.
As family and friends grieved over the news, the next few days began to tell her story.  Her love story.
Some stories were funny. others were nostalgic, but the ribbon of love began to tie them all together as people began to tell their own personal experience of how she'd loved them. It might have happened many years ago or a few days ago, but the magnitude of the lives she touched began to emerge into a beautiful tapestry that was her life.
Her love for Jesus was played out in every little baby she rocked, every toddler she chased, every teenager sleepover she hosted and every mud cookie she made for those who loved to eat them. Her home was open to everyone and many card games were played at her table. She was a daughter of the King, a jewel He designed to give those who knew and loved her a glimpse into His perfect love for us.
My children and grandchildren have experienced her love for many, many years and they will grieve and miss her. But they will also be better people for knowing her. We all will.

In loving memory of Deborah Owens Gilley 10/06/1950-11/29/2014