Archive for the ‘Unconditional Love’ Category

A few years ago, my mother’s heart was stretched, torn and worn in a teen challenge. Teen Challenges are a journey, both to the teen and the parent, a faith journey, an unconditional love journey. I created 27 Unconditional Love Rules during that journey to help keep me loving, believing, speaking faith and hope.  For the last few months, I’ve wanted to whittle those 27 Unconditional Love Rules into a leaner, stronger presentation to encourage other mothers facing Teen Challenges to not give up hope in God’s plan for their teen’s life, to walk and talk faith when there is no evidence to support that faith, and to love unconditionally when no merit for it exists.


Unconditional Love, True Love, lives in a real world, with real challenges and other real emotions. It is incredibly beautiful Unconditional Love. But it takes lots of strength, courage and faith. A little humbleness, too. A little taking the back seat sometimes and a lot of never giving up! Unconditional Love is all encompassing. It loves your husband, your children, your friends, God – even strangers. I would not want to live without it.

Even when someone does something expressly against your wishes, like dump the chicken noodle soup down the side of the sink without the garbage disposal, does not wear their seat belt when driving without you, or gets a tattoo, Unconditional Love loves.

Unconditional Love sees your child (whether little, teen or grown), spouse or parent through God’s Eyes.

If you cannot see it now – ask Him!

He will show you through His Eyes!

It is life changing!

Changing how you think, the words you use, the feeling in your heart, the expressions on your face!

Believe me! It is liberating.

Kind of like God handing me His glasses with Hope and Faith Lenses

letting me see

what God sees





Unconditional Love knows how I love is not determined by success or failure
Recognizing that sometimes failure is the biggest step to success,
resulting in my needing to step back,
take my hands-off
hold the tears inside
staunch the fear that tries to rush out with a mental and emotional tourniquet
choke off words that do not need or are not ready to be said
believing that failure is sometimes the gas to the engine of success

How do you  know when you are loving unconditionally? Unconditional Love is like invisible ink. While the invisible ink is made visible by heat, another chemical or ultraviolet light, unconditional love is made visible by uncomfortable situations resulting in pain, disappointment, anger from another’s behavior. So how do you know when you love unconditionally? When you are uncomfortable, don’t really want to, aren’t feeling it, but choose to love anyway – then you are loving unconditionally.

PPPPSSSSsssssssttttt. . . . Unconditional Love – the God-kind of Unconditional Love is not reserved just for your very favorite people. It is a type of love that is like a Spring Rain, showering on everyone who comes into contact with you.

Unconditional Love is found in a Mary Poppins-Bag-kind-of-heart that is deep enough to fill with love for as many people, not as it can hold because the Mary Poppins bag is bottomless, but for as many people as you choose to love. It is priceless!

Unconditional Love grows, and groWS, and gROWS and GROWS

over days, with months, years

in sunshine and storms

if we let it

if we don’t hoard it

Then it grows, re-seeds, spreads like buttercups in a field

Unconditional Love is a choice.

Choose Unconditional Love

  1. Unconditional Love Rule #1: The Greatest Sacrifice of All
  2. Unconditional Love Rule #2:  Tear Ducts Required
  3. Unconditional Love Rule #3: Always Finds A Way
  4. Unconditional Love Rule #4: No Condescension Allowed
  5. Unconditional Love Rule #5: Wait with Grace
  6. Unconditional Love Rule #6: Drags Unwilling Feet
  7. Unconditional Love Rule #7: No Complaining Allowed
  8. Unconditional Love Rule #8: Releases
  9. Unconditional Love Rule  #9 Stops Talking
  10. Unconditional Love Rule #10: Meets Others Where They Are

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A year ago when I wrote this post, a son went from cap-and-gown to boots-and-uniforms. the  My prayers went where I could not. They still do. Parenting is a faith journey. Sometimes it is a hard faith journey – but a year later, looking back, a years worth of journey has seen prayers answered and good changes that do a mother’s heart glad. A year later is sometimes an encouraging place to be. Please enjoy with me a post about unconditional love in the journey.

Unconditional Love recognizes that there are roads loved ones must travel alone.

Maybe  over 100 years ago, people understood those kinds of journeys much better, the literal journey helping to better understand the figurative journey. When you stepped out the family door to start a journey, communication and physical contact was like disappearing into thin air. Parents did not consider it lack of love from their off-spring or even rebellion battling for independence. It was just life in a revolutionary country known for pushing the boundaries of existence.

Meriwether Lewis was only 26 years old when he was commissioned for the Lewis and Clark expedition. It was a journey his mother didn’t take with him.  Or Benjamin Bonneville who, according to a list of notable West Point graduates, “explored and mapped the Great Salt Lake and the Green, Snake, Salmon and Yellowstone Rivers.”  Then, there is Davey Crockett who ran away from home at age 13 before returning at age 16. All left home, going into places where communication with parents was minimal or non-existent. Unless communication occurred via letters, contact over long periods of time was practically non-existent.

All these men left home and by leaving home became men strong enough to carry the burdens of great responsibility.

Lewis and Bonneville left home out of logical design. Much smoother. Much friendlier. Probably leaving hearts warmed with pride and eyes threatening tears at a son going out into the world – to continue life’s journey.

Crockett left out of passion. Probably leaving a mother’s heart frantic, filled with despair, and maybe a little broken-ness inside. He returned 3 years later, to fulfill his obligations, making things right – and went on to become a national hero.

Yes, even today sometimes, we have to let loved ones travel alone, without that mama contact, without the safety-net, without help or words of love and encouragement that are bursting from a father or mother’s heart; sometimes without closure. Sometimes those journeys are fraught with mortal and spiritual danger. Sometimes it takes that kind of journey for them to finally recognize and embrace the person they were designed to become. Unconditional Love lets go like that.

We are spoiled today with instant communication. Everything is at our fingertips. However, growing into maturity is not an instant thing. At times like this, when our loved ones are on unreachable journeys, prayer can reach them, touch them, love them for us – when our words and our arms cannot. When we cannot sustain relationship, prayer still loves.

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

Our children, regardless of age, need us to “stand in the gap” before our Father, even when they are adults and in charge of their own spiritual health – we need to encourage them through prayer.

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.(Matt 15:21-28)

A  mother interceding for her children through prayer. Touching their lives more effectively through prayer than with a hug or with words. Prayer can go places you cannot. Prayer allows a mother or father to connect when a child’s journey does not allow connection.

Letting go is a growing thing: a faith thing: a prayer thing – sometimes a necessary thing.

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Tonight, a little worn out from my new job, cooking dinner, washing a bit of dishes – and I just wanted to write and go within myself. Unleash the thoughts bottled up during work.

My little guy, he came in as I sat down. “Can you help me now?” he asked. “Help me clean my room and move the bed. I’ve got the Lego’s picked up.”

My illustrator, he likes his room organized. Sometimes, it explodes with all his creativity – and he just needs companionship to muddle through it.

I left my quiet time, fenced in those racing ideas – and followed my son, my illustrator. Not as though I had lost something or as though something was taken from me. Interaction was intentional, focused – on his words, his ideas, his goals – and the being together, the interaction.

In the fasting of self, true love grows, with seeds left over for sharing.

Unconditional love fasts self and counts it blessing.

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Unconditional Love cries – because sometimes it just has to. . .

God knew we would need to cry. He created tear ducts, after all. Sometimes great joy and great sorrow so threaten to burst the seams of our mortality that without these tear ducts, we would explode.

He knew there would be times of weeping, even wailing – in darkened closets so our children don’t hear or within the arms of our loved ones. He tells us so (Ecc. 3:4).

He knew there would be days our souls would scratch with the emotional sackcloth of grief, humbleness, and, yes, even repentence. He said so (Psalm 30:11).

I am not talking about crying over the big things like death, just the living and growing things, as simple as word and action challenges with our children.

For you and for me, we cry – sometimes over the same things. Sometimes it is the straw that breaks the camels back that starts a torrent of tears. That straw for me might leave you incredulous, “You’re crying over that?” The straw that breaks you might lead me to look askance, “You’re crying over that?” That realization humbles me – different catalysts might cause that breaking point where our heart angst moves those tears inside out.

But I bet the underlying reason for all those tears – is a mother’s love.

Because mothering is not always easy. Mothering hurts – and unlike childbirth, there are no pain medications offered for day-to-day mothering to help minimize or control the pain.

Except for these tear ducts.

In the last few years, there has been something new mixed in with my tears. Prayer. Scripture. Murmurings of faith. Instead of turning my grief, my hurt, my over-whelmedness inside, I turn it out  – my prayers spoken in tandem with those tears,  “Lord Jesus, Have Mercy on Me. . . .Greater is He that’s in me than He that’s in the World. . . The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer. . . Deliver me. . . Deliver my child. . . Be with me. . . . Be with my child. . . .”

Because if my spirit is so grieved, then how must my child feel? be? need? I cry because there is a need – something that affects not only their now but their tomorrow. And inside me, maybe it’s the helplessness, the over-whelmingness, the solution blindness, the hurt, the frustration, the cross-eyed exasperation – and the straw that broke the camel’s back – it bubbles up like a shaken soda pop – and overflows into the messiness of a wailing soul evidenced by these tears that slip through those ducts that God made just for such an outpouring of need. . . for Him.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8)

Unconditional Love cries to release the pain in our mother hearts. Those tears are not all about us but also for the one we cry for, cry out of love for. When we cry out of love, not selfishness, I think, God honors those tears, that unconditional love that fill us to the brim so that it overflows through out tear ducts.

Sowing love through tears. Sowing prayer through tears. Sowing hope and faith through tears.

Yesterday, I cried over a straw-that-broke-the-camels-back reason. And God collected those tears in His bottle, recorded the story of each tear – and the prayer, the faith, the hope prayed with each tear – those tears will be answered with songs of joy, each wail will have the opportunity to turn into a song to which we dance with joy.

God was prepared for those tears. He was waiting to collect them. He wants our hearts to love like that.

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Unconditional Love is a forgetful love, allowing the new man(woman) to emerge from the fire of redemption. Left in an ash heap are brutal, biting words, hands that broke, not built, time wasted, demeaning actions to others and self,  the taker. . . .

“as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins”(Psalm 103:12)

Welcome, embrace, encourage the new man, learning to speak a new language, extending hands that help, spending time building others, including self – and becoming a giver.

Are you seeing the New Man? Or is your view distorted by memories of the old man?


Faith is the Substance of things Hoped for; the evidence of things not seen”     (Hebrews 11:1)


Unconditional Love SEES the New Man, realizes the New Man has to grow, struggle, be imperfect just like all God’s children in the journey to God’s arms.


“Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32)


Thank you, Father,
My heart rejoices for the seed planters, the laborers who watered your love in another’s life, for the time for a lost child to turn around and begin the walk to you. Thank you for being a God of faith, who encourages His children to see the Fatherless, Fatherless because of a lack of relationship, and believe that You know how to bring them home. I pray Father, that you break patterns of response that do not see the New Man/Woman growing. I pray Father that you stay faithless words, faithless fears. I pray that your Unconditional Love give God words, God actions, God giving, God time, God hugs to build and encourage on this road he/she travels.


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Unconditional Love: Rule #22

Unconditional Love, like generosity of spirit, can only exist when accompanied by choice.
Choose Love!

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Unconditional Love meets others where they are. Unconditional love is not about worthiness. It does not say, “I will love you when you start behaving a certain way.”

God met Abraham and Sarah in their dysfunction; God sent His prophet to confront David’s sin; He reached out to wrestle with JacobHe loved Jacob enough to wrestle with him ; His son pulled a faith-failing Peter up from the ocean – he knew just the right moment to reach out; Jesus broke bread with sinners, talked intimately with sinners at the well – if He were here today, you would probably find him at the local Starbucks.

A church person once made a snarky comment about my supporting Starbucks. I had picked up one on the way to help at Vacation Bible School. Granted, Starbuck’s has been known to tweak Christian values. I just looked at her and said, “Some of my college students work there. Maybe by smiling and blessing them, I can plant a seed – or help one grow.”  The church person snorted, not believing it for a second. I believed it with all my heart.

Then Jesus told the story of the prodigal son. Unconditional Love did not walk with the son when he left home. Unconditional Love did not stand beside him when he wasted his money. Nor was Unconditional Love with him as he ate with the swine. But, I bet Unconditional Love’s prayers were there, calling him home, praying that angels encamp about him and protect him, praying for a heart change. And, when the Prodigal Son turned homeward – His father met him where He was, embraced Him and walked with him the rest of the way, restoring him in great joy, probably all choked up with a flood of Unconditional Love Tears saved up and waiting to be spent, washing the dust from his son’s feet.

Unconditional Love loves like that. God loves like that.

” If his children refuse to do what I tell them, if they refuse to walk in the way I show them, 31 If they spit on the directions I give them and tear up the rules I post for them  – I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music (The Message), but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness “(ESV) (Psalm 89: 30-33).

Are you withholding some love? Some relationship? Waiting for a person to get just to the right spot? Are you holding someone to a higher standard than the standard Jesus held for all the sinners He reached out to? That God reached out to?

I am not talking about enabling or being a door-mat or even putting yourself in a situation where you could be hurt, either physically or emotionally. I remember when one of my son’s was in the 7th grade – another student pulled a knife on him and said he was going to stab him in the back and kill him with it next week. The school told my son that he needed a witness with him at all times – in the bathroom, walking to soccer practice, going to lunch. We spent 5 more months totally frustrated. I could not invite the young man to our house at that point. I could have ranted and raved about how awful that young man was. Instead, my heart grieved for him. I prayed for him, like I would pray for my own sons. He needed someone to do that for him.

Are you praying? Seeing your people-challenges as God sees them? Hoping? Believing for a homecoming though you do not see one?

Are you trying to be  so Unconditionally Loving that you would wash their dusty, dirty, swine-stained feet with your bare hands? Are you willing to meet that person where they are?

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)




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Unconditional Love
knows your very favorite
jelly belly flavor
and surprises you with them
after school. . .
just because. . .
whether deserved or not. . .
just because
your name is stamped
on their heart.

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Unconditional Love = Teaching your boys to protect themselves even if you abhor the aggressive use of force. In life there are two forces that fight – offensive forces or defensive forces. People who fight defensively stop violence, stop the bullies, stop abuse not just for themselves but others – they grow up to be heroes, men of courage.

Teaching them adds a tool to the tool box of their talents. That tool box could include a violin, logical quickness for debate, Goop to clean the oil and grease from auto maintenance, mathematical ability, words for prayer, strong hands for jobs that require strength, problem-solving skills, leadership, vision, knowledge of God’s ways to help guide them on when and how to use these tools.

Unconditional Love allows your sons to be men – and sometimes that means knowing when to walk away – and knowing when to fight – and how to do both.

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Unconditional Love = Gives up What One Cherishes Most With a Generosity of Spirit Shown Over 2,000 Years Ago

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Heinrich Hoffman’s Christ in the Temple

 This Christmas season, are you willing to love your neighbor enough to give what you cherish most?

What I Cherish:

My Husband
My 5 sons
My motherhoodness
My individuality
My freedom
My Family
My books
My grandmother’s tea-cup
My Christmas Oysters
A card sent when one of my sons was born quoting Dickens, “it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.”
My marble Chess Set given on my birthday from my sons

But maybe the most important possession I have, would be my Faith in My Father who gave me Salvation, which made me a Daughter of The King (the guy who created the universe), who healed my heart, who saved my son’s life, who has angels encamped about me protecting me, who showed me that He made me – and that I am to Him what the Mona Lisa was to Da Vinci (and that goes for every one of you, too), and that when I cannot find my life plan, He let’s me know He’s got the Plan so I don’t have to worry, and showed me that my heart’s love capacity is not limited to just my household, or those easy to love, and that it’s going to be o.k. when I do not love perfectly as long as I am trying to love unconditionally – all of which would never have been possible if He had not given the world His son!

 Is there anyone you love so much, that you would send your children away from your protection so they could save another’s life?

Is Our Father Not Totally Amazing in His Love for Us?

God’s love humbles me when I really try to wrap my mind around it,

and since I cannot successfully wrap my mind around it,

He graciously wraps His love around me!


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Unconditional Love = knowing how I love is not determined by success or failure
Recognizing that sometimes failure is the biggest step to success,
resulting in my needing to step back,
take my hands-off
hold the tears inside
staunch the fear that tries to rush out with a mental and emotional tourniquet
choke off words that do not need or are not ready to be said
believing that failure is sometimes the gas to the engine of success

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Rule #2: Unconditional Love is like invisible ink. While the invisible ink is made visible by heat, another chemical or ultraviolet light, unconditional love is made visible by uncomfortable situations resulting in pain, disappointment, anger from another’s behavior. So how do you know when you love unconditionally? When you are uncomfortable, don’t really want to, aren’t feeling it, but choose to love anyway – then you are loving unconditionally.

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Unconditional Love ≠ Door Mat

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