Love Isn’t Silly At All

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My hand shook as I stared at the faint pink line on the home pregnancy test I was holding.


My eyes widened and my heart rate quickened just as it did the 5 other times I beheld yet another test result that day (just to be sure). I even called my doctor just to confirm that 6 positive home pregnancy tests actually meant I was pregnant. I remember sitting down on the bathroom floor and having a little cry fest party for one, for I knew no other way to handle my sudden elation. There on the bathroom floor, I thanked God over and over for the gift He had given me and my sweet husband (who still didn’t know).

With red lipstick, I wrote “Congratulations You’re a Father” on the bathroom mirror for hubby who would be home any minute for his lunch break. I set up a candlelight lunch on our first date table (the table I begged for from our first-date coffee shop for three years until they finally caved and gave it to me).


(This table was his Christmas gift from me)


When Husband came home, he kissed me while I was stirring our soup, and I, unable to contain my excitement, said, “Hey, guess what! I cleaned the bathroom! It’s sparkling. You should go look!” And as he walked toward the bathroom, I tiptoed behind him and shrieked for joy when he stopped in his tracks, staring at the mirror.


After a few seconds of silence, I wondered if he was actually happy. Then he turned toward me, tears in his eyes, and without a word, took me in his arms and kissed me for a long time. By the time he pulled away, I could see a tear or two had escaped his wonderstruck eyes and he whispered, “I’m a dad?”  All day long, he would touch my stomach and say, “There’s a baby in there.” We two could have died of pure happiness.

The next few weeks of having to keep our joy a secret was agonizing, for me especially. When we finally got to tell our parents the news (read about telling my parents here) our shared euphoria lifted us clear into the heavens. The excitement only escalated as we told grandparents, friends, and eventually posting the news on billboards all over the world (i.e. Facebook).  To all of you who gave us kind words of congratulations and encouragement, we thank you.

So now that my husband and I have shouted our news from the rooftops, I’ve just now stopped to think about what’s made this such a monumental event for us. It’s love. Love is what makes me cry every time I think about holding my unborn child in my arms in 30ish weeks. Love is what makes seeing my child move on the ultrasound screen and hearing that heartbeat the most incredible feeling I’ve ever experienced. Love is what makes me terrified and more prayerful than ever that we will raise our child to be happy, to be healthy, to serve God wholeheartedly, and to never doubt for a millisecond just how much he/she is surrounded by–you guessed it–love.

I’ve just described feelings that many of you readers have felt. If you’ve experienced this kind of love, I hope it strikes you as it does me that that’s how God feels about us. The kind of love that never wants us to hurt. The kind of love that cringes and cries when we are taught a necessary lesson that hurts. The kind of love that is worth dying for.

Yesterday, my husband and I went to an emergency ultrasound that was in-between our regularly scheduled appointments. I had experienced something irregular that prompted me to call the doctor and she insisted I come in right away to check everything out. This was an altogether new sensation for me. I had experienced all the pleasure and thrill of my baby’s existence—I had yet to experience the chilling fear that my baby was somehow hurt. I couldn’t hold down my lunch before the appointment, and I cried all the way there in the car while my supportive husband masked his own trepidation and assured that he was sure everything was fine. I didn’t know how I’d ever be able to handle losing my precious unborn child. The very thought was a foreign and horrifying feeling for me, and I don’t want to ever feel it again.

Fortunately, everything was fine. The baby is growing and thriving just as he/she should be, and all of my blood tests were perfect. But once again, I’m struck with how much God must love us.

Here I was losing my mind over the slight possibility of something being wrong with my child who I’ve never touched with my hands, had a conversation with, or seen except for vague outlines on a screen, and yet my God spent an eternity with his Son. He had all the feelings of love I have for my child, and yet He sent his precious Son to this rotten, sin-filled earth, knowing He would have to die. He had to listen while His child begged Him to make it where He didn’t have to die. But God knew the only way all of us humans could be saved was if His only Son were to die.  What drove him to allow something so heinous to happen to his child? Love. That’s the only thing in the world powerful enough for Him to make a sacrifice that devastating.

We’re just beginning this journey of parenthood, but I think this experience will help me in my understanding of God’s love. I’m learning that love for your offspring is the most powerful, most wonderful, and most terrifying feeling in the world. Maybe that’s why he put the desire to reproduce in people…so that we could better understand what he went through for us.  In this the Love of God was made manifest among us, that God send His only Son into the world, so that we might live…In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:9-10).

Next time you look at your child, whether it be on an ultrasound screen or while tucking him into bed tonight, think about how much you love that little one, and remember that God loves you like that. Pretty amazing.


The Ultimate Disaster Relief

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I’m teaching a class for teen girls (a total of about 125) on the topic of personal evangelism every day this week. Exhausting though it may be, I absolutely love being able to do this at Horizons every year. I see some of the most beautiful hearts in the world in the eyes and sweet questions and comments of these girls who sincerely just want to do right and go to heaven. I just hope I am able to bless them as much as they bless me by their sweet spirits and courage to boldly live for God when their peers and Godless high school culture are trying to destroy their faith.

In collecting my thoughts for my class theme this week, I began to ponder what has become a HUGE trend among young people in our culture. Currently and over the past 10 or 15 years, a movement has swept over the youth of our nation. To my generation, at least, it was introduced by books like “Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne and various books by Rob Bell and other writers. It began entering every aspect of the lives of young people—even fashion. Everyone knows the cool thing is to wear Toms shoes, whether or not they know what the purpose of the organization actually is.

It’s cool these days to use your time and energy to serve others in ways such as providing food and/or clean water for the hungry and thirsty, reliable shelter for those who have a shabby, broken house—or no house at all—giving money to charitable organizations, doing random acts of kindness in the community, sending clothes or shoes to some third world country, and other wonderful works of kindness and love.

So why would that bother me? Before I answer that, let me just say as a disclaimer that I have MANY friends who I love and respect who love to involve themselves in organizations like these. It gives them a feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment, and for the record, I get that.  But I’m still bothered by it.

Here’s why.  I’m hearing at so many youth devotionals, camps, and seminars that if we want to be more like Jesus, we will do things like feed and clothe the homeless, send shoes and clean water to Uganda, and other good works. But here’s what most of those speakers and counselors are failing to get across to these kids—maybe because they themselves don’t see the big picture: When we help to take care of the physical needs of people without making a serious effort to make sure their spiritual needs are met, do we really love them? If, in all our worthy efforts to provide food, clothing , and shelter without helping them make their souls right with God so that they can spend an eternity with Him, do we really love them?

If you think about it, one might argue that what we’re doing is enabling them to continue living in a lost state—just more comfortably due to  the new roof we’ve built them or the new fleece blanket we’ve sent to them. When we volunteer to serve at soup kitchens for the homeless and when they return to wherever they sleep, we make sure they go with warm coats and blankets, yes, we are providing comfort and a solution to meet an immediate, albeit temporary physical need. And that feels good. It’s rewarding to know you’re making someone feel better. But when we meet those temporary physical needs, and neglect to try to meet their eternal spiritual needs, we are sending them away to live more comfortably in their lost state, not thinking about eternity at all.  And, in the cases of many homeless people, we’re enabling them to continue in their lazy, entitled lifestyles when we provide them with the physical needs they themselves could obtain were they to get a job and work hard to provide for themselves and their families.

“But Hannah, Jesus was so benevolent! How can you possibly take issue with caring for others?!” That’s probably what you’re thinking right now. First of all, please understand that I am NOT suggesting we stop helping people. On the contrary, I think it is our duty as Christians to help people. I just think it should be accompanied by an effort to save their souls rather than just their earthly bodies. Second, Jesus was benevolent, but his benevolence was all for a spiritual, eternal purpose. If the purpose of his benevolence was merely the desire to meet people’s physical needs, would he not have healed ALL the sick and provided food and shelter for ALL the poor? Obviously, he didn’t do that. He could have, but he didn’t. Indeed, Jesus Himself was criticized for allowing a woman to worship him by pouring a precious ointment on his head rather than selling it and giving the money to the poor. He scolded them for their shortsightedness: “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:6-9 NKJV) I think Jesus was implying that physical benevolence is good, but it’s not what truly matters forever and ever. What truly matters is making sure the souls around you know how to go to heaven because of your teaching and influence. Indeed, Jesus did state his purpose, and it wasn’t “The Son of Man has come to provide warmth, nourishment, and shelter to all those in need,” but rather, “The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV)

“Well, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” you may be thinking. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I wish church leaders and youth ministers and anyone else in the church who stresses physical benevolence to others would drive the point home into the beautiful hearts of these well-meaning young people—the point that benevolence is needed and important, but we should always pair it with teaching that will help these people to not just live comfortably on earth, but to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the roof, the coat, the shoes, and the soup will one day all be ashes, but the soul will still exist either in eternal tormenting fire or around the throne of God? So many times we can offer both temporal and eternal disaster relief simultaneously, but if we’re content to just offer temporal comfort, it is just that—so temporary. True love is being involved in the ultimate disaster relief. Hell is the ultimate disaster.

I know this post might be controversial. That’s why I want to encourage you right now to comment and if necessary, help me in my own understanding. Am I wrong about this? I covet your thoughts.

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