Greetings on the Tuesday after a long Labor Day weekend. I have enjoyed spending some much-needed and sought-after personal and family time. And the awesome part about it is in the midst of it all I’ve gotten some great stories to share that relate to pursuing excellence…because, after all, that IS my passion!
As I’ve been contemplating the next step to take relating to the topic of this series, these two words–“love lavishly” flashed through my mind. Now, something I’ve not yet shared (at least that I can recall since this is the 14th post since I’ve begun)…is that there are several acronyms for the term “WELL” in my personal pursuit of becoming a Well Woman. The “W” stands for the word “woman” and the “E” stands for…yep, you guessed it!…”excellence”. Over the past several years, God has been gracious to give me many “LL”s that I’ve added to the list. And now’s the time to share them with you.
The woman who desires to be excellent in her life will also have a desire in her heart to “love lavishly”! Now, I want to make it clear from the git-go that the type of love I’m talking about here is the GOD kind of love…what we call “agape” from the Greek translation… that truly unconditional, no-holds-barred type of love…the REAL kind that doesn’t put any conditions on it. And not the kind of love based solely on feelings. It’s the kind of love that our Heavenly Father lavishes on each of us…definitely not based on our performance or anything we deserve…that’s for sure!
God IS love…HE is the epitome of what real love is and that’s the kind of love that the woman of excellence will be exemplifying in her “walk” and in her “talk”! God’s greatest commandment is that we love Him with ALL that is within us… that was under the old covenant. And then when Jesus came, He also said in Luke 10:27, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
He was talking about having our priorities in order here as it relates to how we love. If our “vertical” love is a priority…putting God first in our lives, then the “horizontal” relationships where we need to show that same unconditional love will be manifested in a far greater way. I can absolutely tell you, without any wavering whatsoever, that this is true. And I’m so thankful that He is a forgiving God who knows I’ll mess up. But He also knows the desire of my heart…and that is to love and serve Him and to be an authentic Well Woman in every area of my life.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, I have a couple of stories that relate to this “love lavishly” idea. It gives God great joy when we open ourselves up to opportunities to exercise this agape love. So here’s what happened this past Saturday afternoon. A business appointment was rescheduled so I found myself being able to surprise my husband by meeting him during his lunch break. As we returned from lunch, sitting in the car in the parking lot, I noticed an elderly man pushing a shopping cart; he appeared quite disheveled and my first thought was this… and I think I even spoke it out loud to Joel… “Oh, how I wish I could help that man.”
It was time for me to head home but my husband asked if I could stop by the pharmacy down the block to pick up a particular item. As I pulled in the parking lot, guess who walked over to my car? You guessed again! That sweet little man pushing the shopping cart with what appeared to be all his worldly goods in the basket. Now you might think he was panhandling…quite the opposite. He was not asking for money…He wondered if I could buy him the smallest bottle of Aleve as his joints were aching. Now what do you think my response was? I went right back in to the store as he waited outside and returned with not only the pain reliever but a large bottled water along with a few snacks. It was a JOY to serve this precious one. He actually asked if I would return the snacks as he was trying to “watch his weight” and be healthier! I did as he asked and then I sat by his side on the bench as many folks passed by, probably thinking it strange that I would even give him the time of day, let alone what he had requested.
We had a wonderful conversation and I found that he loves God and trusts Him to provide all his needs. We prayed together and I asked God to continue to send angels to protect him in his travels. I believe I will see Mike again some day…. I truly believe he was Heaven-sent!
On Friday, I’ll be talking more about specific ways the Woman of Excellence can lavish her love on the world… in the mean time, I’m praying God gives you your own ideas…and when He does, please share them with me!
Jana Denninger, Neighborhood Development
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