Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

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a lover’s leap — July 20, 2022

a lover’s leap

When my future wife Sharie, first saw me, I was a musician with thick, kinky, red hair that went down to the middle of my back and a beard that made me look like I had the mange.  She was not interested. 

Months later I had been groomed.  Then she was interested, but I was not.  I thought she might be attracted to a musician instead of me.

In the meantime, I had vainly dated several girls and we clashed.

One day, I thought, “The ancient Jewish culture had an advantage. Parents assisted in match making and they were equipped with an objective perspective of their kids.”

God had blessed me with a Christian couple, Les and Jacquie Zartman, who had been like parents to me – and knew me well.  Through the years, they only had but one comment to make about my dating life.  They told me I should get to know Sharie Scott. 

Oh my!  Sharie?  We happened to work at the same place.  So even though I didn’t feel it at the time, by faith, I asked her out.

We had dinner, then played board games with friends.  I was pleased with evening.

That Monday, work was slow, so the boss happened to assign just Sharie and me to remodel the break trailer. 

I was done playing the dating game, so I gave her the third degree, while we worked.

By Friday, my former indifference had morphed into a passionate desire to make her my wife.  She was the one I knew that I needed to marry.

God taught me a lot about love through this experience.

– Love is a decision

It was the counsel of friends that caused me to do a 180 with Sharie.  Love begins with a decision.  That’s why Jesus could say “Love your enemies.”  (Luke 6:27) He treated love as if it were a function of the will.  

Love is sustained by choices as well.   Every day and through every season of life – we must choose again to love that person to whom we are pledged.

– Love is a verb

Past experiences taught me that what I got out of a relationship was proportionate to what I put into it.  I had been putting next to nothing in – so the relationships were lame.

With Sharie, I engaged.  I took her to dinner and shared her company with my friends.  We talked non-stop for a week (a big stretch for me) I bought her a crock pot. (seriously).  I found ways to serve her, though my heart had not yet caught up.  (That took a whole week!)

In Luke 6:27, Jesus continued, “Do good (even) to those who hate you.”  Whether we feel it or not – we need to do the work of love.

– Love is a skill that needs to be learned

Paul instructed older women to teach younger women how to love their husbands and children. (Titus 2:4)

Love is a skill that needs to be learned.  As a 20 something, I knew I was ignorant, so I read my Bible and I watched my mentors and learned. 

– The feelings of love are the fruit of the work of love. 

I had decided to pursue Sharie and actively invest in and love her.  The emotions followed.  The feelings of love became the fruit of the work of love.

We married 6 months after that first date.  And recently celebrated 45 years together.  She is my best friend and the love of my life and there is no one I would rather be with.

Love is a decision.  Is there someone that you need to choose to love today?   Or maybe rechoose to love?   Love is a verb:  No time for coasting – reengage and serve that one you love. Love is a skill that needs to be learned.  Read a book.  Find a mentor.  Through every era of life, new skills will need to be learned.

A PRAYER: Lord continue to teach us how to love as You love.

This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 

Bible references from the NETBible ®

an easy way to say, “I love you!” — February 12, 2020

an easy way to say, “I love you!”

Valentine’s Day is near.  Time to get romantic.  I’ll try but I’ve had too many misses with my Mrs. Consider the following of which every word is true. 

One year I decided to book a B&B for my babe.  That would surely speak love to her.  Being a frugal guy, however, I found the best bargain in town. 

We arrived expecting to see a classy mansion, but what we got was sorta like a barn with several barn-ettes tacked on. We found our room around back and stepped onto a porch made of landscape timbers.  This concerned me.

We walked through the door and were startled by a loud belch.  No, it was not me!  It came from an animated rubber fish that hung on the wall, which then looked right at me and said, “Ooops, I must have eaten a bad worm.”  My dismay was turning into terror

The room was tiny.  The shower, toilet, and sink were in an uncapped cubicle which stood in the bedroom.  It had saloon doors, but they did supply a can of air freshener. 

The room was decorated in a Cowboy/Cajun theme.  Spurs sat next to a big rubber crawfish and a picture of John Wayne was draped in Mardi Gras beads. Every inch of wall and countertop was covered with crazy junk and a layer of dust. There wasn’t room to set your toothbrush down. (and you didn’t want to anyway)

The ceiling was made of corrugated steel which had glow-in-the-dark stars duct taped to it.  

Breakfast was self-serve in your room.  They provided little bottles of milk and some cereal that had a history and a bowl of bruised fruit.  The trash can was full and there were old grounds in the coffee maker.  

When we settled down for bed that first night, we found that the fish on the wall spontaneously spoke to us – until I took care of it. 

To top it off – outside the room stood a tree where dozens of vultures were gathered.  They were waiting for us to die.   Which I did once I remembered what I paid for this experience. 

And that was how I showed my love to my wife.  After several years of marriage counseling, we are now in a good place (just kidding about this) 

This sounds like a Yelp review doesn’t it? Actually, I wish I would have used Yelp before I used the B&B!

Oh, but Valentine’s is the time of year when random ridiculous assumptions are often made – especially by men.  “I need to get the wife a gift. I bet she would like one of those pajamagrams or a box of pears.” 

May I suggest that the best was to say I love you, is to ask, “How can I best love you?”   We all have our own unique “love language” and most of us are not multilingual – so we should ask.   

Love is something that is taught.  According to Paul, the older women are to teach the younger women how to, “love their husbands.”  Titus 2:4 KJV

It’s a teachable skill that we can learn from one another. So today, while you still have the time, look your valentine in the eye and ask, “Tell me dear, how I can best love you on Valentine’s Day?”    

He/she will feel deeply loved, simply because you were sensitive enough to ask (which would be a bargain for a frugal guy like me.)

If they waffle, nudge them again, “What is the most loving thing I can do for you on Valentine’s Day?” 

The answer may surprise you.  “Could you change the lightbulb in the closet.” or “Send the kids to mom’s and let’s just spend a quiet evening alone at the house.” or “I would love it if you would make that dinner you used to make.”   

And if she asks for a box of pears, Amazon delivers in one day.

Make a mental note so the next time you give a gift, it will be even more special because it will be spot on and because you cared enough to remember. 

Hey even a B&B may be nice but beware of rubber fish.

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