When I think about happiness, I think about Eric’s goofy smile when he’s up to something. I think about him snoring obnoxiously on the couch while I am trying to finish up my homework. I think about his constant love even when I am the most unloveable person in the world. I’m talking about him pouring out his love even when I am moody and grumpy and hungry. (Guys, if you can love a girl when she’s hangry, you know she’s the one.) This kind of happiness and love gives me such a clear picture of God’s love for His children. It’s an ahava love, friends, and boy does it feel good.

Let’s back up and take a look at what ahava love is. The happy times are great and fill my heart with so much love and thankfulness, but that is not the only thing our relationship is made up of. Our relationship is also made of many, many, many fights. Sometimes they’re fights about someone not answering the phone right away, but other times, they are fights about very real and harsh things. Just the other week, Eric and I had one of the biggest fights that I think we have ever had (I’m talking slamming doors, screaming, tears rolling down cheeks, and cars revving off into the distance). These times are hard. They make me want to curl up in a ball and forget about his goofy smile. They make me want to turn around and run as fast as I can away and never turn back because it hurts. SO. MUCH. These are the times I want to build a brick wall around my heart to protect myself. What is ahava love, then? It’s the moment when I am sitting on my couch crying my eyes out after he slams the front door as he walks out, then hearing the door open back up five minutes later. It’s him pulling my broken self into his embrace and whispering that he would never dream of leaving. I’m not going anywhere, he says, I’m right here and I’m never leaving you. This, my friends. This is ahava love. It’s a type of love that isn’t only present in the good times when it’s easy to love. Instead, it is forever constant when the last thing you want to do is love. It is mightier than the grave, and it never gives up. It encompasses even when you want to run and run and run, because obviously you’re incapable of love, right? Wrong. 

Ahava love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. It pursues. It doesn’t envy; it doesn’t boast. It redeems; it gives grace. And where in the world did Eric learn to love with so much abandonment and fearlessness? From our Father, of course. These characteristics that I just described in how well this man loves me is a complete representation of how well my God loves me. We love because He first loved us. God shows up everyday and loves with complete abandonment. He loves even when we are fully incapable of loving with the same intensity. His love always knocks on the front door, seeking to be known– seeking to be felt. His love covers all pain and insecurity and fear. His love covers our relationship, and that’s how Eric knows how to love– from our Father who guides his every move. He knows how to lead us in this kind of love because he follows our God’s lead.

Love with abandonment. Love without the fear of receiving in return. Love like our Father loves us, and I promise you will be able to relish in all the beauty it holds. Stop running; answer the door and feel His presence. He wants you. Not the perfect you. Not the you that smiles and laughs and pretends everything is okay. Nope. He wants the you that is falling a part. The you that wants to run at any sign of danger. He wants to embrace you in your brokenness just to promise that He is not going anywhere. To promise you of his constant grace.