Have you ever seen a love so beautiful that it made you ache inside? And I’m not talking about the kind of perfect-engagement-shoot, puppy-eyed ardor of youth.
I’m talking about the kind of love that is as well-worn and familiar as the wrinkles in the face of your beloved. The kind of love that expresses itself in unglamorous, unending deeds of devotion.
It is Sunday morning at my grandmother’s church.
I sit in the pew, waiting to sing a special number with my mom, hoping to be a blessing. Glancing around at the surrounding white haired heads and time-worn figures, my gaze is caught by a stooped man wheeling his wife to the front row of the congregation. Her limbs lie limp, her features are blank.
I watch him remove several layers of blankets, smooth out her Sunday dress, and slowly lower himself into a chair next to her.
As the announcements begin, he points to the notes in the bulletin. He puts the offertory money in her hand and drops it into the plate.
Leaning over, my grandmother whispers, “That man is always so sweet to his wife. She has severe alzheimer’s, and he takes care of her tirelessly. I don’t even think she knows who he is.”
After singing, I find myself distracted during the sermon, unable to stop observing the couple in the front row.
He reaches over and gently brushes her hair out of her eyes.
He cradles her hand in his, sometimes shaking it tenderly when she starts to doze off. He pats her leg soothingly when a fit of the restless disease comes upon her.
I sit, soaking in the sermon that is being lived out before my eyes. I think of all the hours of sacrifice he has devoted to her. I think of all the small acts of faithfulness, like helping her choose the white jewelry that matches the stockings that she wears this morning. And my heart begins to ache with the beauty of his love.
Not just his love, but Christ’s love made manifest in him.
And I remember that that is just a small glimpse of how Christ loves me. So faithfully. So fondly.
How often do you stop to think about what your love life will look like at 80? As single young women, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the here and now. The next five years. The next cute, godly husband potential (emphasis on cute).
I’m not saying it’s wrong to notice guys or to be interested in marriage.
But—how would your perspective shift if you were to observe guys through the lens of the next 60 years?
Let’s try an experiment.
Say a guy is interested in you (or visa-versa). Try picturing an ancient version of yourself, helpless and far less lovely. Can you picture him laying down his life—his desires, his dreams, his comfort—for you? Or, more importantly, can you see yourself doing the same if the positions were reversed?
For some days before that Sunday morning, I had been discouraged in my singleness—weary of waiting. I just wanted the aching desire for true love to end. And then, as I watched the couple a few pews ahead, I experienced a wake-up reminder call.
I knew in that moment that that’s the kind of Christ-type of love I truly desire.
That’s the kind of stunning love that I, in turn, want to cultivate and display to the world.
And so, to all of you young women out there who desire to be cherished by a godly man, allow me to pass on the reminder that we all so desperately need: Beautiful love isn’t ache-free. Indeed, it’s the aching that makes it beautiful. It’s the painful sacrifice—as well as the joy—that makes the cherished one all the more valuable.
Are you ready for the kind of ache and beauty that love requires?
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (ESV)
I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
- When you imagine “true love” what comes to your mind? Is it a long-term endearing type of love, or a short-term romantically packed type of love?
- How are you preparing now for the kind of sacrifice that long-term, true love demands?
This amazing guest post was written by Liz Halcomb. If you would like to submit a guest post to Girl Defined, click HERE.
Photo Credit: Here