“We’re praying for this next chapter,” I heard the greeter mention to someone as they walked out of the sanctuary. I glanced up to see who she was addressing, and my sweet friends came into view.
“Chapter, what chapter,” I inquired? Anticipating the announcement of an engagement or a trip, or some other fun endeavor, I smiled, and snagged a big hug.
She paused, grabbed my hand, and whispered, “Paul. Cancer. It’s everywhere. It’s in the bones, liver and gallbladder. There is no cure.”
My hug deepened and slowly, raw emotions started pouring out in the form of that huge, soul wrenching, ugly cry. For me, it’s an act so foreign, I wasn’t sure where to go with my response.
Ever so quietly, I heard her state, “I want you to sing.” My sobs intensified.
Today, as I type, tears fall to the keyboard just thinking of those private moments this past Sunday.
I gazed into her eyes. Eyes of a true servant. Eyes that mimic Oswald Chamber’s words, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”
That is their life testimony. A couple whose eyes continuously gaze on our Savior. Words escaped me, and all I could get out was, “You two are the hands and feet of Jesus.”
She comforted me with the assurance , “It’s Ok to be sad, we’ve been sad.” Then she added, “But pray that. Pray others will see His faithfulness. Of course, I pray that we would be healed from this disease, and that ultimately His plan is complete healing on earth, but if it’s not, we want people to see Jesus through this.”
We continued to share. I continued to cry, and as we closed, I declared, “I don’t know what to do. What can I do?”
Ever so simply, she commanded, “Love him well. Grab your husband, and do something fun. This month, I want you to say, ‘We are going to go have some fun together in Liz and Paul’s honor.'”
Love him well.
Applicable to my own life, I’ve extrapolated that to, Love them well.
Can it really be that easy?
Daily reverberating through my mind, those three little words, Love them well, have made their mark.
You see, I’m a live Life with no regrets kind of gal. I’d like to even think I’m quite intentional with my choices. Next month, I host the Becoming Conference– a weekend designed to bring encouragement and tangible ideas for becoming more frugal, creative and purposeful in our every day lives. It’s going to be a weekend of refreshment for all walks of life.
Yet while I have pages of ideas to share, filled with creative and meaningful ways to be more intentional with our time, resources, and families, none of those hold any meaning unless I Love them Well, unless the best intentions take flight.
This past week, those words really hit me hard, because while I have loved my family deeply, I have not loved them well.
My blog is filled with the theme: Embrace the little things, they are most often the big things, and yet all month I’ve been too busy to savor those little things. I’ve been too busy to seek meaning and magic in the mundane.
Yet, that excuse is a lie. I find the time for those things that I really want to do.
Busyness is a choice. Busyness robs me of community, and it’s my excuse for the ultimate reality which comes from not guarding my moments well.
Loving well looks different for each family. For me, I needed to nurture the small sacred moments that I’ve been missing. I needed to be present and available, not just living among them.
So yesterday, when our youngest daughter wanted to play salon, which always lasts at least an hour, I changed my “No,” to “Yes,” and reminded myself that I will never get these moments back.
When our eighteen year old walked in the door at 11:00 pm wondering what was for dinner, I remembered the whisper, “Love them well.” While it would be a completely acceptable reminder that the kitchen closed hours ago, I made him some dinner and listened to stories about his day. Even though exhausted after a long day of work, I just wanted to be with him; to share Life with him.
When my eldest daughter wanted to watch TV, freeing up some computer time for me, I insisted, “Let’s go outside for a walk and enjoy time together. It’s such a beautiful day.”
These moments, once spent, can not be reclaimed. Guard them wisely.
Love them well. Love them deliberately.
Three simple words which yield a radical response.
Love them well.
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Love them well.
It just has to be done. It’s a choice.
Simple. Deliberate. Intentional.
Love then well.
And now, in honor of my special friends, I’m off to plan a hot date for my honey and me. It’s been too long. I need to Love him well.
How are you doing with loving your family well?
Has busyness robbed you of any sacred moments lately, or maybe you have some encouragement for those trying to be more intentional with their time?
I’d love for you to share in the comments.
(Shared by Jen Schmidt, author of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)Leave a Comment
Thank you for the reminder! Lately, I’ve been mentally evaluating every yes/no answer I give to our children. Is it “no” because it’s too messy, takes too much time, requires my help? Can it be “no” not right NOW, but “yes” for another more appropriate time in the day? Or, can it be “yes” and delight in that moment?
Jennifer Schmidt says
Last year, I wrote about being a “Yes, Mom,” and how quickly I can forget when it doesn’t suit me. The questions you are asking is exactly what we need to ponder with our sweet little ones. 🙂
Stacey Reich says
Wow!!! This touched my heart beyond words <3 I've been reflecting on ways lately about how to love my family well. I am so thankful that the Lord is working in our family after two very difficult years of changes. Just this morning my husband said goodbye for work & prayed with me for our day before leaving. I was so excited that he did that. Our marriage has been very difficult lately & stressful. I asked the Lord to help me be a better wife & I needed an attitude change. The Lord has brought two situations in my own life this month to help me to be more understanding & compassionate with my husband. Thanks for your encouraging words today. This truly has touched my heart <3
Jennifer Schmidt says
You are so welcome and I celebrate with you for the special start to your morning. I pray that is just the beginning.
“Love them well.
It just has to be done. It’s a choice.
Simple. Deliberate. Intentional.”
This is such a great reminder. Because so many times we think loving well should just happen. But the reality is, it takes intentionality. And that’s good and okay.
Jennifer Schmidt says
Too often, we equate love with that feeling of it just should happen, don’t we? It starts with the little, every day choices we so often forget.
We find ourselves in a similar situation as your friends, suddenly and unexpectedly. What a blessing it has been to our family to be made to slow down, take the time to really talk and enjoy each other and our family and friends. Through tough situations our Heavenly Father blesses us with unexpected pleasures and joy. We never would have changed our rushed habits on our own. We praise God in ALL things. He is always good. Do take the time to love them well. We have been blessed to have just that opportunity today!!
Jennifer Schmidt says
Sweet mom – I don’t know your circumstances or what your situation is, but know that your words are a balm to many. Thanking for choosing to rejoice and celebrate, even when I know there are times when you just don’t feel like it. Let us know if there are specific ways that our team can pray for you.
I lost my husband to cancer almost a year ago to cancer. The same way, unexpectedly and completely shocking. We had a year and a half of complete blessing because we took the time to slow down and be together, enjoy each others company. We had “chemo dates” and had such wonderful conversations and tender moments. We were (and are) thankful for every single minute that God allowed us to be together as a family. Our family and friends were blessed as well.
Bless you, Mom and your family. God is good, All of the time.
I’ll keep you in my prayers.
I cried as I read this post. Not two minutes earlier had I prayed to the Lord to reveal to me what is not right, why I haven’t been feeling inclined to spend time with Him the last couple days. This was my answer. I know I have not been loving my husband well. We have been going through a very difficult year with each other and a lot of challenges have risen. Although he has been going to church with me lately he is not a full believer. I’m torn that he’s making the best decisions because I would call upon the Lord to help me with those decisions and he just doesn’t know how to do that. I haven’t been loving my husband well because I’ve been so angry with him. What a sweet reminder this post was, to be more like Jesus, to love my husband regardless and to love him WELL at that.
dana butler says
Jenn… Oh wow… what a blessing to read this… And yet it kind of rocks me because I grew up at Westover and I know who you are. 🙂 I’m Wayne and Ginny Kiser’s daughter….and I also know Paul and Liz. Oh Jesus…. Please…..
And I am going to hug my husband several times extra today…. in their honor.
Thanks so much for this post. Ironically… I wrote yesterday at my blog about encountering Jesus in worship and trust in the midst of our messy, painful situations and unanswerable questions. Would love to have you come over and visit if you’d like:
I will be praying for P & L….. Thank you so much for this.
dana butler says
and I apologize for spelling your name wrote – JEN. 🙂
dana butler says
wow… too early in the morning for me. i’m just gonna stop typing now. 🙂
I am so thankful I got to read your post today. I just blogged about God wanting me to love deeper and more like him. Your post makes practical the things I’m to do – thank you so much for that.
Linda Stoll says
As we headed off to our annual week with our children and grandbabies, I made the decision not to blog for the week. I wanted to be focused, to be in the moment, to be present for those little ones … not off in the corner staring into a screen. I wanted to do life with them, with nothing to pull me away.
It was Lisa Jo’s 5 minute challenge that did me in, that forced my hand –
And I’m so thankful that decision was made before I began to pack my bags. It was a gift I gave the whole family.
And yes, our blogs survive just fine, even when we step away for a bit …
Darcy @ Message in a Mason Jar says
When I lived/worked/ministered as part of a team overseas a while back, my friend and teammate always prayed that we would “love each other well.” As I’ve grown into family life in the last several years, I’ve prayed that same prayer over my new team…my husband and children, that we would love each other well. It is such a gift to a parent to see siblings living that out (even with a few hiccups) and you can imagine how it blesses the Lord to see His own children loving each other well.
This is just what I needed this morning. It’s tough to remember to love them well, to take the time to spend with them. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
As I push through (and when school is in session….it’s that kind of busy at my house) each day, I feel it’s my privilege to still have my young adult/college kids at home and I CHOOSE TO LOVE THEM WELL!!
I recognize how fast time slips away.
Angie @ Beauty of One says
This so touched my heart because last week we found out my dad’s lung cancer is getting bigger and since I was the one who went with my dad to the oncologist I had to keep a brave face, while inside I was crying. But thank you for the reminder to Love Them Well. I love my dad and so thankful that God chose Him to be my dad. But you just reminded me that I need to make sure he knows how much he is loved!
Thanks for the reminder and your beautiful words Jen!
I too am wow’d by your message today, life with our Lord brings many trials and wonderful times, however when the trials arrive, you have reminded us to “Love Them Well” – not only our family, but also our family at church, work & our world.
We all know this isn’t always easy, but when we put on our armour each morning, it will be fun to attach the “Love Them Well” slogan! Thanks so much again for reminding us that Jesus loved us Well!
I’m a little (or more than that) choked up, and I identify. I need to love well and I have no excuse. What a poignant reminder to take time for our relationships, for the things and moments that really matter.
Thank you for this post. Last night as I was pulling out Halloween costume patterns for a friend to borrow, I also dug up the pictures of our son in these different costumes through the years. They brought back wonderful and tough memories of the little years. He’s now a jr away at college and our contact is limited through calls and emails. I have the privilege that our son shares his life with us, the great, the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. Over the years I’ve (we) worked hard not fixed things for him but just being there to listen to him. This reminded me to continue to “love them well”
Then this morning as I was rushing to get our daughter off to school, then me to work, all I could think about is that before I know it my 3rd grader will be a jr away at college and will she know that she has been loved well? This post was more than the tug I needed to remind me to embrace her where she’s at and “love her well” Thanks so much.
Thank you so much for this post. This is such a wonderful reminder.
I lost my husband to cancer almost a year ago now. We were “too young” to go through this tragedy (he was 47, I was 37 and our son was 7), but isn’t everyone. We had a year and a half to “love each other well” and this isn’t a lesson that I ever want to forget. Every single minute is important. Today matters. God blesses us even in the midst of heartbreak and tragedy. Our blessings were countless during that time (and still!) and Jesus’ light shined through to the end. Although I didn’t always recognize it, I still have people tell me how much they saw Jesus in our experience.
Blessings and love,
Thankful all the time!
Thanks for this post, Jen. A beautiful reminder to love well… now.
Vicki, thank you for sharing your story. By no coincidence, I saw your comment. By no coincidence, I just posted about grief today on my blog. I lost one of my best friends to cancer, and have watched as others close to me have also lost loved ones. Thank you for the reminder that “God blesses us even in the midst of heartbreak and tragedy.” Praying for you and your son. Blessings to you!
I love how God works. No coincidences. 🙂
I read your post and it was beautiful.
Thank you for your prayers!
I’ve had cancer twice. What I have learned from that is to be totally and mindfully present in the moment. I don’t know how my days are numbered, and frankly, neither does anyone else. But I have *this* moment. I choose to savor it. I choose to love. And by doing so, I am standing on holy ground.
I can’t even express how perfect this post was for me this morning! I’ve recently started working from home and trying to balance work and family in the same space is a huge challenge! “Love them well” is going up on my wall to remind me what really matters! Thank you!
I love this. I’m mama to a two-year old little girl, and as amazing and wonderful as she is, I struggle with those selfish moments of impatience and wanting to do my own thing instead of investing those little moments in her. I know that’s not loving her well. Thank you for this reminder of love…and the fact that it is never about us but about others. Now I’m off to play Little People Farm. 🙂
Way too many excuses on my end. Like you said, I find time for the things I want. I’m a single mom who has made too many other things more important than my boys. I just assume some days that they know how much I love them. In need to be intentional. I can’t keep doing things the way I have. No, I’m not some uber bad mom, I just need to make better choices, to intentionally love them well.
Beth Werner Lee says
Yes, busyness has robbed me. That’s becoming so clear and now I have a new school year starting and this post is so timely.
Also worry has robbed me of kindness, of the ability to show love. So now when I ask God for his love to give to my people each day I have to confess fear, fight the good fight, and fear only him.
I am learning to consider it all joy when God sends trials, when the fiery darts are aimed at me. Oh, but I am weak and need the Spirit’s strength even to hold up his sword!
Yes. Love them well. Thank you for sharing this lesson He’s been teaching you. The well known saying, “Love is a choice” came to mind as I was reading. Yes, in fact, love is a lot of little choices, seemingly insignificant choices, in the middle of regular old days, isn’t it? The choice to play salon, go for a walk, make a late night dinner. Father, give us grace to make wise little choices…
Beth Williams says
While I don’t have kids, it can be hard to fit spouse time into a hectic work schedule. I try my best to Love him well all the time!
Beautiful post, Jen. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. And thanks for the reminders.
Women Health − Love Them Well says
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My children are grown. I missed a lot because I took responsibility for many things that took my time and should have been carried by other’s. You are so right about not being able to reclaim those moments. I try to make every day count. I have a grandson that I spend a lot of time on the floor with. Think twice when you make choices of how you spend your time. You can only spend it once. Thanks for your inspiring writings, Jen.
I just love all these testomonies from other people ,as I set here reading these I am crying and thinking how nice it is to be able to share our stories with each other,also as I have read all these they have gave me a new meaning of how to love them well just like Christ loved use well. These posting of everybody has inspire me to use some of the info for a sundayschool and awanas classes. Everyone here that posted has a awesome story and thanks for sharing.God Bless each and everyone.
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
Well, that certainly made me cry! But at the same time, it made me long to love better. And isn’t that the point of all our words, our typing, our sharing, our community here? I love what you’ve written here, Jen – and largely because my answer, if I’m honest, is no, I haven’t been loving as well as I can, as well as I should. I needed this reminder right here, right now – thank you.
Thank you for writing this post.
It’s so hard to love.