Love In Action

Today is the first day that (all at the same time) my hair is washed, all my clothes are clean, and I had decent sleep the night before. So, it was worth of any updated picture. Votto decided to jump up, so enjoy our awkward family photo.

Today is the first day that (all at the same time) my hair is washed, all my clothes are clean, and I had decent sleep the night before. So, it was worth of any updated picture. Votto decided to jump up, so enjoy our awkward family photo.

Have you ever had a big life event that reveals your character? You know, those rough days, weeks, or months that call out your weaknesses but also reveal how much you've grown and developed? I know you have had them - those refining and defining parts of life - full of "I am a rockstar" moments and also "why am I total mess?" moments as well.

My husband and I have had a valley season and we know we aren't special for this. Everyone hits bumps in the road, this is our unpaved part of our journey. I shared a few months ago that we lost our first baby to an early miscarriage. In the midst of our medical bills, my husband's truck died for the last time. And just when things were getting back to normal, my husband was fired from his job. That was one of those blindside hits. We've had moments of anger and stress, but more moments where all we can do is laugh at the humor of the situation. Even though we've lost so much, we are suddenly awakened to how much we have to be thankful for.

I could go on about all our blessings, but I want to hone in on one thing that has changed my world most: seeing love poured out to us in action. Through this past month, we've felt the disparity between relationships that offer empty words and the relationships that showed up to keep our heads above water. I am thankful to see and feel both because if we hadn't seen both at the same time, we might not have noticed how earth-shattering it was to receive love in action.

I have learned what love looks like as a grown-up that is building family and friend relationships. It has challenged me to raise up to a higher level. I see now how I could have loved my loved-ones in a better way after seeing how well others have loved us lately.

What is love in action? I guess I don't have the best words to describe it - it was something felt from a range of small to large gestures. Across the board, we watched others selflessly pour into us - no motives, no condemnation - just pouring into us through words or showing up at our doorstep. Love in action requires effort and it has to be authentic. Who reading this has said, "I'll pray for you" and not earnestly talked to God about the issue? I know I used to be really guilty of this. When you're going through the rough, you can feel the truth when someone says "I am praying for you" and means it. We know because we could feel the love and prayer coming from our inner circle. If you live 1000 miles away and say, truthfully, "I am sorry, we are praying for you," it is felt. That is love in action.

Love in action was lovingly reminding me that these temporary stressors were opportunities to grow. Love in action is positive, not critical, in moments of despair. Love in action helped me grow in my weaknesses, rather than exploit them while I was vulnerable.

Love in action was - after our answer to how are things was "we are drowning," - coming back with "I am on my way to help."

Love in action was making sure we ate. Love in action was driving 45 minutes to pick my husband up from the airport. Love in action was checking in on us. Love in action was the private texts when we didn't show up to our plans. Love and action was picking up a paint brush or scraping off wallpaper with us. Love in action was chit-chatting with us about positive things in the midst of it all.

Love in action is your heart breaking alongside the hearts of those you love... and then dreaming of better days with them.

Being the recipient of so much love, it made me realize I can love others much more than I have in the past. Now that I have felt a valley such as this, I understand how I can be that "better friend" that has been here for us. If I wasn't that better friend for you, boy am I sorry! To the people I love, I owe you this love in action.

For now, that's the best way I can describe this new form of love I've been lucky to experience. Read on for a few of my favorite gestures lately....

Aside from working together on True Co, Chelsie has become one of my closest friendships. From Texas, she has been here for me like a sister... checking in on me, thinking of us, and she 2hr-delivered some goodies to me when I spent my husband and I's anniversary alone while he worked out of state. That is love in action - not the actual gift, but the thought of giving me a small moment of indulgence on a lonely night. I've had lots of moments, checking my phone, and after reading her messages - I think "yep, this is my kind of person" or "I want to be more like her." While I am madly passionate and a little bit crazy, Chelsie is a calm energy always bringing me back to peace and the outlook of "you know what, every thing is going to turn out just fine."

Two days after Kyle was fired, I had a bad day. And I mean a REALLY bad day - where I reverted back to the most immature version of me. I was walking around with a chip on my shoulder and everything said to me was processed through the filter of "this person is attacking me." As embarrassing as it is, when life gets wild, I automatically go to fighter mode rather than what I probably should - which is like peace, calm, and trusting. No, I go to full on ME VS THE WORLD MENTALITY. So anywho, it was one of those days and I made an ass out of myself. When I apologized, I ended up being informed of other terrible qualities I carry. It was a bad friggin' day. I was texting my friend, Amy about it... just how embarrassed I was and how I was questioning if I am actually a good person. And she responded with this:

"Don't put so much pressure on yourself to handle these situations perfectly. You are human! Most people in the Bible got a call or command from God and didn't react in an automatic obeying way! Remember to be thankful that God is allowing your flaws to be shown because maybe you wouldn't see them as clearly if these situations didn't happen. Tell the devil to get out of here! Those lies are NOT true!"

Wow. Wow was my response. It was like everything I needed to hear was said - to be thankful... to see this as an opportunity to be better... to reveal where I can grow... to not be such a perfectionist... to refuse to believe my shortcoming define me. This text almost brought me to tears - and I am sharing it in case someone else needs to hear these words too! Love in action is speaking goodness into others and helping them raise themselves out of their own failures. 

My family. Man, I will tell you what... no one saves the day like our families. My dad (and his sweet girlfriend, Tricia) and Kyle's mom drove down every free hour they could to help us renovate our house. They know how we feel about this, but I need everyone to know they are the real MVPs for spending countless hours installing plumping and picking wallpaper off our drywall.

In younger years, Kyle and I based a lot of big life changes on friends. After a few valley seasons, we noticed that all these friends we made decisions based on were MIA when we weren't able to do the things and be the people that served their purpose. Sometimes we took it to heart, but eventually we realized this: family first.

Our family was always there to save us when we were knocked out, bruised, and poor. Yeah, we might get a few "words" about our decisions from them- but they saved our butts every time! They always took us back after YEARS of making decisions that served our friends over them. 

I have a bunch more, for now, I need to be done. If you've stopped by, let us borrow your ladder (Ryan), texted me, or just sat with us and talked... we appreciate it. We feel your love and that you are here to help keep standing. Life is crazy, I am thankful to know people who want to fight battles and dream wild dreams with us.

Sarah DankhoffComment