I Just Soon Choose To Love

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When your 20 year old daughter comes to visit and brings in the new year with you, it’s a huge gift from the Lord that this overly elated mother savored every. single. milla-second of! As she left to go back to Franklin, TN, yesterday morning, I called Rip while I drove to work and he was in Home Depot …. and …. he let me just sit in silence with him on the phone because he knew what was happening on the other end – mama moment of tears. I just needed to “sit with Rip” and have a good ole’ ‘oh, how I love my baby and hate to see her leave’ cry.  I had spent some of the most amazing few days with my girl and the “Gifts To Treasure” that God gave us both during her visit are not only tee-totally priceless to me, but I will ponder them all in my heart for years to come!

Rip just sat on the phone letting me have my mama moment, because watching her leave was hard, gut-wrenching hard. But as I cried, the Holy Spirit whispered something to me that caused my tears to stop. In that time of emotional release running down my face, looking only at the back of her car as she drove up the interstate, the Lord gently interrupted by shifting my eyes to look at a whole lot more!

“But look at what all I did while she was here.”

With that one sentence, the tears stopped. And I did just what He was suggesting I do. I looked at more than just the mama moment, I looked at what all HE did while I had her in my nest.

He showered us with blessings.

He prompted conversations.

He orchestrated fun and laughter.

He answered prayers.

He blossomed promises.

He sent rain.

He met needs.

He gave in abundance.

He helped.

He comforted.

He provided.

He held.

He smiled.

He hugged.

He overwhelmed.

He amazed!

And she and I experienced it all … together! As only mama’s and daughters can.

His presence was in every moment, making every moment matter.

The conversations we had were perfect, as were all the laughter and giggles … especially when He sent rain!! We were out shopping and had to run in a down-pour from one store to the next because I forgot my umbrella. But as we ran into one absolutely beautiful feminine-to-the-max store, we stood there drenched from head to toe! We looked at each other, then looked around at the gorgeous items in the store, and then looked back at each other like, “are we seriously going to shop in here looking like this?” But … the fun we were having overshadowed any feelings of self-awareness, so we just smiled at each other and … we shopped!

But when we ran back to the car, stomping in puddles all along the way, I declared,

“Oh, I am ready to go home, get a hot bath and get out of these heels!!”

But … she didn’t same the same thing.

Instead, as I’m packing my wet purse down to the floorboard of the car, I look over at Samantha with her forehead all wet, jeans and top soaked, and her smiling at me saying these words:

“Oh, mom, you know you wanna’ to go to one more store.

She had that “I looooove adventure!!!” look in her eyes! She has ALWAYS loved water sports and playing in the water, so this child’s little nudge to keep “playing in the rain with her” didn’t surprise me not one little bit. So, …. I did! We pulled around to another store, I stepped out in my suede 3 inch heels, and took off up the sidewalk running with my girl! And loving every second of it!!  We may have shopped soaking wet, but we shopped soaking in all the fun!!

But out of all the conversations we had (which are so many!), there is one that came up more than once ( a little here, a little there ), and seemed to be the one that God wanted our time together to end on. We talked about love a good bit of the time. What love does. What it looks like. How it treats people and how it doesn’t. We talked about how truly “loving people” has a different perspective to it, than trying to prove your right, or to get folks to see things your way, or what you strongly believe is the “right way.”

But it was the last short conversation in my bathroom that I’ll always cherish.

As I was preparing to go to work yesterday, she came into my bathroom and watched me put on my makeup. Something she always did when she was little, too. But this time, she was watching me put it on as ‘she’ had taught me while we were together. I was hoping to make her proud in how I tried to do just what she showed me.  But — It was something about her sitting there on a bench Rip made for my tub, looking up at me with those beautiful brown eyes, that made me realize something so simple yet so profound.

All her life, all her life, she has been watching me. Taking note. As a little girl, she looked up to me wanting to learn, wanting to mimic my ways. And now, as a 20 yr old, I still see a growing and maturing young lady who needs precious nurturing and care and a role model. I look at my own life and see someone who has fallen short, and I don’t feel adequate to be used in any way to shape or shepherd her heart. But I was chosen by God to be her mom and how I praise Him for that!

Now, because she is a 20 year old young woman, Samantha and I get to be friends and it’s the sweetest thing. Yet, as I looked at her looking at me, sitting on that little bench, there were things I wanted her to know.


As we were talking, I said to her, “You know, the Lord has taught me a lot lately, and one thing He has helped me to see as the ‘better way’ is this –  Instead of trying to get someone to understand you, to see things your way because you believe it is the right way, or trying to convince someone of the truth, or trying to defend yourself, ‘the better way’ is to walk away from all that and just love them. Love is more freeing. And it’s much more peaceful to live that way. It’s emotionally draining trying to prove your point, explain or defend yourself. And when we hear people say things to us that is not accurate, or is even hurtful, we have a choice. We can choose to ‘go there’ with them, or we can choose something higher. We can choose something greater. And that is – love.

“O people, the Lord has told you what is good, [the better way] and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.,” Micah 6:8

I wanted Samantha to know that …

We can choose.

That we get to choose to,

Overlook the defenses by overwhelming with love.

We don’t have to have our way. We don’t have to be right more than being loving. We don’t have to stick to our guns. But we do have to choose. We can choose to love mercy! To choose to love. Because God has told us that love covers all sorts of sins. He has told us that nothing is greater than love. And He has told us that HE is LOVE.

Love – love covers a multitude of sins.  “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins,” 1 Peter 4:8

Love – love is the greatest “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love,” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love – is God – “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love,” 1 John 4:8

Or …

we can choose to hold on to our rights. Hold on to our hurts. Hold on to our personal preferences. Hold on to entitlements. Hold on to our judgements. Hold on to our grudges. Hold on to our drives and dreams and determinations. We can hold on to our wants, our wills, and our ways.  {key word in all that you just read is ‘our’ – meaning, not God’s}. But the word of warning in all this is – God’s favor, His smile, and His showers of blessings can’t and won’t participate in any of that. It all goes against His nature. He is not a God of holding on to anything that divides.

I wanted Samantha to know that… 

You feel God’s pleasure when you turn the other cheek.

“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also,” Matthew 5:39.

You feel God’s peace when you pray for those who mistreat me.

“pray for those who mistreat you,” Luke 6:28.

You feel God’s smile when you bless those who lie about, hurt, or slander you.

“bless those who curse you,” Luke 6:28.

And you feel God’s presence the most when you choose to love as He loves.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” John 13:34-35.

I wanted Samantha to know that …

as a child of God, we “get to” release people in prayer to the Person of the Holy Spirit. We are never to play the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life. Yet, as a child of God, we get to love people unconditionally, and pray for them regularly … no matter what.

I wanted Samantha to know that …

all people are created in the image of our GOD! That’s all that matters! Their sins are not ours to hold against them. Their lives are not created to be under our control or scrutiny. Their ways are not for us to either condemn, criticize or force correctness. We, as a child of God, allow HIM more room to be ‘real to them’ as we love them! And love ’em hard! Because Jesus sure did. He loved us hard while still in our sin, and He chose to display His love on a cross. He chose to have all our defenses placed on His body. And that’s where they have been overcome! And in that choice, …

He overwhelmed us with Love!

Love works wonders! Love opens doors to experiencing God’s character more than anything! Love heals. Love restores. Love rejuvenates. Love renews and rebuilds and re-loads a persons life with HIS own nature more than anything else in this world! If we stand on our rights, if we refuse to budge from our own built platforms of pride, if we choose to keep folks at arms length, and if we choose to prove our points we are going to live a life God never intended for us.

Bottom line –

I wanted Samantha to know that …

in her life she will face all kinds of people, relationships, circumstances, challenges, trials, hurts, heartaches, disappoints, frustrations, dilemmas, decisions and despairs. But in it all, through it all, she gets to choose. She gets to select the attitude that will beckon her Father’s blessings. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,” Romans 15:5. She gets to harbor in her heart ‘the better way’ because the heart is the wellspring of life. {Proverbs 4:23}

I wanted her to know that in ALL relationships, she gets to choose. And as her mother, I wanted her to hear me say what our Heavenly Father had made real to me.

That no matter what, no matter who, no matter the circumstances…

I just soon choose to love.

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lisa rippy

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