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IMG_0464I love books for their stories, for the places they whisk me off to, for the way my heart gets wrapped up in the lives of the characters. The best kinds of stories are fraught with all kinds of ups and downs, heartache and happiness, sorrow and suspense, tragedy and triumph.

But the real game changer in any story is love.

Not just the romantic, oohs and aaahs kind of love, but a life changing love. A deep loyalty that leaves the reader longing for a love that will take them away and change their life in the same way as the character’s; a redeeming love. Redeeming love upends any story, changes the plot line, and leaves you breathless, knowing  beyond all doubt that it was worth it.

What I love even more than reading books, is hearing people’s true-life stories.

We all have a story. We’re all on a journey and I wish that I could step through the screen, hand you a mocha, and you could tell me where you’ve been, where you are, and your hopes for where you’re going. Because I can’t, I would like to invite you in to my own cyber coffee shop as I muse about my story and where I am on my journey as a mom, a wife, a friend, and most importantly, a Christ-follower. It’s my hope that parts of my story will touch parts of your heart and that you will then share parts of your story here so we can encourage each other. We weren’t designed to live this life alone and I’ve come to find out that most of the time, we don’t give community the value that it’s worth as we walk through the pages of our lives here on earth.

How do you view love? Has it hurt you? Made you feel abandoned? Maybe it’s blessed you deeply and left you feeling full, but, in my limited experience, most person‘s interactions with love leaves them convinced that a loyal love, the unconditional and freeing kind, is only found in fairy tales. Growing up, my view of love was conditional, performance based, and had a great deal of fear mixed in. As I’ve grown in my understanding of who God is, since He claims to actually *be* the definition of love in I John 4:8, and been challenged in own faith-journey as Christ has shaped me to be more like Him, I’ve discovered some incredible truths about Real Love. Real Love is a lot of wonderfully incredible things… it’s redemptive, life-giving, freeing, secure, completely lacking in fear, and totally unconditional, but at its very core, Real Love is wholly self-giving. Real Love is unequivocally selfless, but still, incredibly, it manages to balance out and not err on the side of “I’ve given everything, now you owe me everything” mentality (which would quickly turn from selfless to selfish). Quite honestly, Real Love is the kind of love that only a Creator God has the ability to give fully and perfectly. Amazingly, because He offers this kind of no-strings-attached, self-giving love to each of us, we can then, in turn, mirror this same beautiful love to those around us. Not perfectly, of course, but we can do it because He has redeemed our hearts and filled us up with Himself. God Himself, the very definition of love, offers us His redemption love because He wants to be our “game changer”, He wants to free us from fear, and change the plot line of your story and mine. Why? Because He actually loves you, for real.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts about God’s love? What have your experiences been with love? What has been the most satisfying relationship you’ve experienced?