I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Finding Security: What Does Love Equal?

by Delores Topliff

Until age six, love equaled the tattered lavender blanket people cuddled me in as they read me stories. I adored stories and my blanket.

Next, love equaled the security felt when unpleasant things happened if I clutched the spotted cowrie shell Dad brought home from WWII Navy duty in the South Seas. But having Dad home didn’t guarantee secure love. Instead dissension grew and our home divided.

I found lasting love through the young church planted by Bible college students in the community center across the street from my home. They introduced me to divine love by placing my hand in God’s. The public library in that same community center nurtured my love for books and writing, sparking creativity in me.

Is love a feeling? A tangible gift? Expressed acts?

How do we convey love? Gentle words and touch? Kind actions? Meeting children’s needs with patience, delighting in their questions and discoveries? My grandkids love the children’s books I’ve written, asking what I’ll write next. I turn that question around: “What stories will you write? Tell them to me.” And they do.

God is love. After long cold winters, He sends spring flowers—fresh words and insights to delight our hearts, creating new responses in us. His love rescues us when we land in situations over our heads, teaching us to ask and receive His help, while building precious memorials along the way. He gifts us with similar committed friends like the Ponderers. He opens writing doors that we can’t budge ourselves.

Love is something to receive and appreciate, like spring gardens drinking rain and creating fragrance—not something to clutch greedily. Hanging on produces something sterile and evil-smelling like Israel’s Dead Sea.

God’s love to us, received and returned to Him, multiplies and produces enough extra for everyone around us, never running out. One day it will transform creation, bringing to reality what John declared on Patmos, “Behold, I make all things new,” (Revelation 21:5) and what Paul spoke in Corinthians, “... now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

How have you experienced love -- both receiving it from and giving it to others?


  1. I see love in the friends who pray for me and my family...I see love in a gift of someone's time...I see love in Christ's arms, stretched wide to redeem me.
    Great post, Dee!

  2. My apologies for getting this post up late for Dee. I set the time wrong!
    I've experienced love through my husband and children -- and their unconditional love.
    And I've experienced love and acceptance here, with the Ponderers, as we pursue our dreams together!

  3. Pat, love your comments here. Yes, those are all wonderful additional ways of knowing/really experiencing love.
    Beth, thanks for posting & the exact right pic, like the spotted cowrie shell I still have but don't clutch these days.

  4. I see love displayed when we place others before ourselves - our wants, our feelings, our convenience and so on. I know how busy people are, so even when they take a few moments to come by my blog and say hi, I know they are placing me before something else that is demanding their time. When my husband helps me bathe the kids at night, I know he could be doing something else with his time, when my mom is able to pick up the kids from school for me, she's loving me by inconveniencing herself. Christ was the ultimate act of Love on our behalf. Oh how great is that Love!

  5. Yes, these are all great true examples.

  6. Oh goodness, I've received loved in so many ways from so many people. It's amazing, really. I work in a ministry where we see so, so, so many people who have never known a loving home or loving family or loving friends. It breaks my heart if I dwell on it. And then they walk into our doors, and hopefully feel God's love from the minute we greet them, and it truly is life-changing.

    I am trying to get better at intentionally loving others. It's easy to love the people I, well, love. But I want to get better at really seeing the people around me, acknowledging and loving in both words and action.

  7. Dee, you have a beautiful poetic spirit in your words. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of yourself in this post.

    I'm in a unique position of modeling love with young children. Some children don't have that loving relationship at home. And in my personal life, I'm having to display parental tough love. Saying no hurts, but like God's "no", those expressions of love mold and shape us into strong people, if we choose to accept that tough love and learn from it. I experience love in many ways--family members, friends, my clients, but none of that equates to the love I feel knowing God loved me so much--in spite of my flaws--that He sent His son for me.

  8. Thanks for your good response, Lisa. I wrote poetry before I wrote anything else. I still think/approach writing that way--it slows me down, I'm sure, but I still enjoy.