Are you fully embracing love?


By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist



Do you believe love works sweet miracles? I do! And so does Louisa May Alcott. This quote from Little Men shares her feelings about the power of love.

“Love is a flower that grows in any soil, works its sweet miracles undaunted by autumn frost or winter snow, blooming fair and fragrant all the year, and blessing those who give and those who receive.”

Willa Cather, a great writer believes also, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles”!

Each person reading this story could share sweet miracles that have fostered your faith and fueled your love story. How blessed we are to serve a loving God who sends those sweet miracles, along with instructions for loving Him first, loving our neighbors, even loving our enemies. An eternal act of love from John 16:28 is a sweet miracle for believers to embellish and enjoy forever and ever!

“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me and have believed that I came out from God.”

The power of love comes alive in God’s living Word. Are you living in love or lacking the passion and power that can be yours with God’s gift of grace and sweet miracles? Do you truly enjoy your life? Do you love where you live? Does God (your friends and family) see you living out loud delightfully or depressingly? Do you faithfully hold to reins of hope with love shining through struggles and successes…sorrow and sunshine? Are you crazy in love with the Lord and loved ones you share life with?

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Corinthians 13:13

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Hatred permeates our planet with people seeking happiness, joy, peace, and love in all the wrong places. When God’s children forget Him as our first love, where go sweet miracles? A reverent fear of God, believing in Jesus, and enjoying a close relationship with Him through the Helper God sent when His Son ascended to Heaven makes for happy hearts and sweet miracles.

Two sweet miracles God sent the week before Rise Up – Revive, when we were swamped with planning and preparing, prompted this story. God surely has miracles waiting to send…while his children work without ceasing, put Him on hold, refuse to embrace interruptions, and fail to entertain ‘angels unaware’!

I can hear Billy Stewart’s song of standing by the one you love that Tim and I embraced while dating…”I Stand Accused”! Do we stand accused of being too busy, burdened, or backslidden to enjoy God’s grace and sweet miracles…to enjoy daily living with loved ones? I sing Billy’s lyrics while typing…”I stand accused of loving you. I’ve been loving you too long to turn back now” and think of Paul’s lyrics in love letters tucked safely in God’s Word. Paul reminded people to stand accused of keeping God their first love and loving Him with heart, soul, and mind. Paul stood accused? Do we? Paul expected miracles? Do we? Hopefully, we sing with conviction “God, I stand accused; I’ve been loving you too long to turn back now”!

A few days before Rise Up -Revive, Jennifer pointed out that I had several calls to return. With a long to-do list in my hand, the temptation to put off calling people back grew. Yet, that deep down stirring to allow interruptions to take precedence grew. So, I sat down in front of Jennifer’s desk, grabbed the phone, and pressed the numbers as she called them from her ‘oh so organized’ daily agenda that keeps track of everything happening at Tim’s Gift. Waiting for a person to answer, I watched Jennifer (blind but full of vision) working diligently; Joy and Praise that surpasses all understanding rose up inside my heart. I thanked God for the sweet miracle sitting in front of me, a miracle that blesses me every day we work, laugh, cry, pray, and enjoy together. Do you stand accused of taking miracles right in front of you for granted, or not recognizing them as miracles from God?

Almost ready to hang up the phone, I silently agreed to let it ring one more time. Are you sometimes so busy, you have little patience for interruptions or wait time? What has happened to ‘time’? It seems to be accelerated with difficulty getting things done that grow in piles stacked on our desks, in our phones, or wherever we settle down to tackle tasks on daily agendas. Where is prayer time, play time with family, quiet time with God, visiting time with parents, grandparents, neighbors, witnessing time with those who are unchurched or in need, interruption time (for angels unaware)…God and me time penciled in on our ‘to do’ lists? Do we stand accused of leaving these times out, planning to work them in our already overextended schedules, or giving leftover time (which seldom surfaces) to our Lord and loved ones? OUCH!

Finally, the lady, we’ve been blessed to pray with and help the past three years with medical supplies for her elderly mother, answered and began shouting when she heard my voice. Excitedly she belted out good news of a sweet miracle.

“Mrs. Becky, I am so happy how God answers prayers. Mother has been in ICU in the hospital here in Goldsboro for two weeks. I’m sleeping in the waiting room and staying by her side all I can. The cancer is worse; she is weak and I keep praying God will help her and we can go home. Yesterday, it was sunny and warm, so I took a walk outside the hospital. I passed a thrift shop down the street and felt led to go inside. The days and nights are so long with little company and mother in a coma now, so I thought a good book would be good for me. In the store, they had shelves filled with books. I wanted to get back to mother, so I quickly pulled a book, read the title, Rise Up – Recount Love and headed to the check- out counter with it. A book about love is what I needed, so I gave the cashier fifty cents and headed back to the hospital. I settled down to start reading and saw your picture on the back cover. I couldn’t believe it; I had no idea you wrote a book.

Without getting a word in edgewise (hard to believe, right), she kept talking about how the stories in the book were speaking to her heart, especially the ones that told about taking care of Tim when he was battling cancer. “Mrs. Becky, thank you for writing these stories. I have read four and they are just what I needed right now. Seeing the pictures of your family makes me feel love, especially the picture of Connor and remembering when I kept him at Tiny Tots. I know God sent this book to me and it was in a thrift shop close by where I could get it quick and get back to mother. It’s just a miracle, Mrs. Becky!”

We prayed together on the phone, I hung up, sat still in the chair silently praising God while staring in the face of a sweet miracle God sent to Tim’s Gift! Jennifer interrupted the silence with her angelic voice, “Mrs. Becky, what has happened”?

I humbly bowed my head, waited for composure, and said, “Jennifer, a sweet miracle!

The two of us communed with Christ, sharing time together… humbly thanking Jesus for the joy of serving Him, sharing His love, and giving help and hope to people He sends our way every day.

Sweet miracles are still happening in the midst of the madness and busyness we juggle; God desires our first fruits, first time, first love – and carrying us through each struggle. Being faithless in our walk, forgetful of His gifts, and fickle with our calling can deter His sweet miracles! Do we stand accused of loving Him long and loyally or leaving Him out when persecution or popularity prevails? Hopefully, we will Rise Up Joyfully to sing the song about loving Jesus too long, never turning back, standing accused of loving Him with hearts convicted to give. and sharing stories of sweet miracles as long as we shall live!

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By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gifts and The Learning Station.

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gifts and The Learning Station.

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