Sunday, December 04, 2011

the greatest of these is love

it was two years after gregg had passed away.
i was getting ready that afternoon to attend the funeral of an amazing woman.
carol st. clair was the type mother that i dreamed of becoming.
she was an encouraging wife, godly mentor,
& best friend to many.

she was a pastor's wife who along with another amazing mentor in my life 
had blessed me with my bridesmaids luncheon a few years earlier.
she was truly wonderful.
her husband pastored the church where i met both gregg and dan.
she had courageously fought her battle with cancer.
she was leaving behind four great kids,
the youngest was ginny.
ginny was only eleven.

it broke my heart that she had passed away.
it broke my heart for her family.
another person who i thought hung the moon. gone.

i had not attended another funeral service since i had buried gregg.
i knew i'd see many friends there, most of whom i hadn't seen since his passing.
& to be honest, i was nervous.
i was sad and nervous and tenderhearted and well, just all around sad.
dan & i weren't married. we weren't even technically dating.
we had just begun to spend time together.
he offered to go with me.
he had coached their oldest son in basketball
& taught their oldest daughter in school.
he was close to them too.

i saw a side of dan that day that i had never personally witnessed before.
he was so tender with me.
he knew i was sad & tender about losing my friend.
& he knew i was sad and worried about being "seen" myself out in public as a young widow.

he was so sensitive towards me that day.
i'll never forget standing and talking to a friend at the service. i glanced over to him
& the look in his eyes towards me....well, i knew he loved me.
i fell hopelessly in love with him on that day.
how could i not?
that feeling of being protected
of being "known"
that feeling of loyalty.
it was a feeling of love that enveloped me that day
& has kept me safe and secure every day since.
it's the same feeling of love and security that i pray
each of my own daughters will come to know one day
through their own hearts and the man the Lord is preparing for each of them.

the last several weeks have been scary for me.
i've seen a couple different doctors and i've had some tests run.
while i was encouraged at my last appointment,
i still have a biopsy ahead before i can have some closure on this current trial.

dan has been that same loyal, protective, tender man to me.
friday he went with me to the hospital.
he sat in the waiting area while i had my tests run 
& while i spoke with doctor.
we texted back & forth for the 6 hours the appointment took.
i had such peace knowing he was there.
knowing he would never leave me.

when it was time for me to check out, the discharge area was enclosed with a glass door
across the hall was the waiting area , also enclosed with a glass door.
i texted him & told him i was done.
we peeked at each other through the windows across the hall.
at that moment i recalled the story i told you above.
about how he looked at me that day so many years ago
when i was in another, albeit different, vulnerable tender place.
how i knew he loved me that day
& loves me still.
i knew.

this week in advent we ponder on how much jesus loves us.
while i am blessed to have a man in my life who loves me with a tender selfless heart,
we all have a heavenly father who loves us with a constant loyalty
drawing us to him tenderly.
to experience and be covered with his protective hand.

maybe you are in a place where you are single , still waiting on "him"
or maybe you're in a relationship where you don't feel loved and cherished,
my prayer for you this advent season
is that you know the love of Jesus.

while the tangible love of a man is often times "easier to feel"
i promise you , you will feel His love for you too.
he will never leave you. never.

& to my dan,
your heart of love inspires me daily to love others.
you are not a clanging cymbal
for you love me well.
you show our girls and others around you
what the love of jesus looks like.

merry christmas sweet man
i love you more today than yesterday
but not as much as tomorrow.


1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

ginny is grown & married now.
she & her siblings each living lives i can only imagine
carol rejoicing over. i know she's proud of her children...
and grandchildren.
she loved well
& her legacy is one of love and loyalty too


Paige said...

Beautiful, thank you for sharing!

Susan said...

Your words are so well spoken and beautiful! I always enjoy your posts, so much so, that when it popped up on my reader I thought to myself maybe I'll save it so I can enjoy it in the morning. As always your words move me...may God continue to bless your family today and always.


amybeth said...

I guess I just need to keep a box of tissues next to me when I read your blog. What a wonderful post. I know Mrs. Carol loves that she is part of such a sweet memory for you. Thank you for sharing!

Kat said...

Oh my, tears! I really need to call you THIS week. I feel way out of touch. Praying for you, sweet friend. Praying all tests return good news. xo

Between You and Me said...

you are blessed indeed.
love the way he loves you and those girls.

and THANK YOU for ending the post with some news on your friend's daughter......I needed to know she was okay. :)

Jodi said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. The both of you are such wonderful, caring and kind hearted people; you two deserve each other!

I hope and pray for you Paige, that everything turns out well!

Take care my friend!

julieann said...

Paige: I hope that you get all good news on your tests. Ill say a prayer for you. I think it is very sweet how you speek of Dan and of God.

sara@augustfields said...

paige, what a very beautiful post....and praying good health for you :)

Allie said...

This gives me such hope Paige, thank you for posting this today on what would have been my hubby's 40th birthday. Sometimes you just need to hear you aren't alone to remember that.

Simply Jen said...

Oh Paige,
Beautiful, and I will pray for you and your family. Hang in there, HE will see you through. Always.

Tiffini said...

rejoicing with you sweet friend in your love of a man and of the MAN..the God man. Jesus.
Oh how He loves YOU and all of us and this season let us meander slowly through His love.
much love

3 Peanuts said...

I am praying for you Paige. And I was thinking of you on Friday. When I read about that look in his eyes, I knew EXACTLY what you were talking about...for I have seen it in Dave's eyes.

You are blessed. I am so glad you have Dan.


Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

I adore you for posting this... always need this reminder no matter what my life is doing. Praying for a full bill of health over you too sweetie.

Wendy said...

Dear, Sweet Paige, what a beautiful post. What a story of love. I will be thinking about you, and praying that your tests reveal that all is well. xoxo

brockey said...

Heartwarming post...... best news from your test , I'll pray.

christan perona said...

Beautiful. Thanks for opening up your past and your present.

Chez Zizi said...

Thank you for sharing and adding a bit more of love to my day. You truly are an spirational woman in so many ways. I will be thinking about you and praying that everything turns out well.

Jen Kershner said...

You have a wonderful man there Paige. I'll be saying a prayer for you. I can feel the anxiety in your words. I'm glad you have Dan there to hold and comfort you.

Lisa Mende Design said...

I love your heart. I lost my 22 yr old son 2 1/2 years ago so I can identify with your feelings. It is a hard journey but God is so good along the way. So happy you have Dan and your girls in your life. My other three children and my sweet husband are who helped me get through the valley of darkness. I will be praying for you this holiday season.

Bethanie said...

There you go again...Im going to have to start reading you when I get home at night...I get all teary eyed and people look at me weird when Im reading your posts...sniffing and snotting!!
You inspire me everyday friend.

christina said...

keeping you in my prayers. if you need me i am there. i mean that, with all my heart.

Coastal Health and Home said...

Beautiful love story.

My prayer's are with you.

Looking forward to the house tour.

Enjoy your day.

Be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Gracious your posts are awesome! they always make me tear up- but in a good way. Praying all turns out well for you.
Liz McNeil

Rebecca said...

What a beautiful legacy in Carol, and a beautiful love you have in Dan. Thank you for your transparency, and how you use your experiences, and life, to remind us of the One Who Loves Us.

I am said...

Praying God's complete and total health over you through whatever you're going through! I've walked with my mom through several biopsies and tests while each one has come back okay the emotions are always there and always the same. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

I'm a daily reader although I never comment ....I was recently diagnosed with Cancer and I have surgery scheduled for this Monday and then radiation after that ...thanks for always giving me something to think about...I am very hopeful and my progosis is good but I am terrified at the same time...I have 3 boys 18,15and 11 and my very own"Dan " who loves me so purely and unconditionally and has been a rock for me..xoxo

Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of my guilty pleasures while I work. I sneak a peak while tending to clients-I need to stop. Your words are too "good" your photos too perfect.
I usually end up in tears. Happy tears when looking at pictures of your family or heartfelt tears when I read your words of love and the Lord. You will never know just how much you touch my little life, behind my little desk in the middle of no where. Thanks for that.
God Bless.-chrissi

Kerri said...

Both you and your words are so special to us all Paige! This is such a lovely tribute to your friend. You are in my prayers right now. XO

Heather said...

First of all, I hope and pray your test results all come back 100% fine! Second, this is such a beautiful love story. Thank you for sharing it.

Alecia said...

Sooo precious. Our pastor preached over 1Corinthians 13 was awesome. You are both truly blessed to have each other :-)

I am praying for you friend. I pray for a clear report in Jesus name!

Many blessings as we mover closer to the celebration of the birth of our First Love!

Kristin said...

You are Blessed indeed with Dan and he is blessed to have you as his wife, best friend and love too.

Praying perfect health over you my friend.

Curtis said...

Paige another wonderful post. You need to know that I truly think God uses you and your posts to talk to me, yep just me.... On Friday I got the news that my father has Cancer...... and that he will have to travel quite a distance from our area for treatment...... I know our Heavenly Father is looking down on him, and me in this time of turmoil, and looking down on your and your family also. I pray that all of your tests come back with good news, and that your family stays strong in your love. Blessings to you and yours

Debby said...

Such a beautiful post. I am sorry you are going through tests. I sure hope that the results will be good. I'm glad that you have such a wonderful man in your life.

Michele said...

Tears coming down my face as I read your beautiful post Paige. You definitely have been blessed with Dan. I will keep you in my prayers and will be praying for your test results. Thanks for the beautiful post Paige! Michele

Gail said...

Your words....Gods gift to all who can read them. Thank you for sharing your heart, your love, your words. God Bless. All of Gods many, many blessings to each of you tonight, tomorrow and always. In HIS love, G

katie purcell said...

Carol would have been so proud of you and you are just as incredible as she was. Your love and investment in your children reminds me of hers. Your love and support of your hubby too.

Praying for you Paige.
Love you bunches.

A Thrifted Market said...

What a beautiful tribute to both your husband and your friend! I always enjoy reading your blog and your transparent heart. Thank you for sharing!

Kelli said...

I am moved by each and every word in this post :)

Joleen said...

Loved reading this. My mom is getting married in Jan. after being a widow for 17 years. I'm so excited! It's so amazingly wonderful to hear about family's that make 'blended' family's not only work, but beautiful too. Praying too that our Father...the trustworthy Healer...will not only surround you, but prove in every way that He is miraculous.

Privet and Holly said...

You've been a busy
blogger and I missed
this the first time around.
So glad it caught my eye
on my blog roll. I just
read that same passage
from Corinthians last night,
as it's a good reminder that
Christmas is truly about love.
I am sending you buckets as
you face this health scare.
I'm sure it's comforting to have
your dear hubby beside you.

xx Suzanne