More Love.

“Don’t just pretend that you love others…REALLY LOVE them. Hate what is evil. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” –Romans 12: 9-10
Like many of you, the past year for me was filled with highs and lows, joy and pain, surprises and struggles, laughter and tears, new relationships and some tough goodbyes. As I began this New Year, I looked back through my 2015 journals. I am a fanatical journal writer and note taker. I can hardly watch TV, read a book, or listen to a speaker without a pen in my hand. In fact, a good friend once commented to me that he thought I was “grading” him as he gave his grandmother’s eulogy. Ha! That being said, my journals are busy and messy. The pages are filled with thoughts, prayers, tantrums, quotes, feelings, questions, narratives of events, and lists. They are sprinkled with the names of people that I love and people that I am trying to love. As I flipped through the journals, I began to see a common thread.

Here is a sampling: God help me. What should I do here? Thank you, God. Please show me the way. Wow, what a good day. Be with me, etc. etc.”

Get the picture? This mix of random thoughts and questions was often followed by a page (or four) of run-on sentences and bullet points directing my heart and mind back to God’s greatest command, “MORE LOVE, CALLIE.” Simply put, my journal looks like a to-do list of how to show more love in my life: more love for God, more love for others, more love for myself. Redundant? Yes. Coincidence? No. Truth? Oh Yeah! I tend to overthink things and have the attention span of a flea. But in my manic and very – well – bad hand writing, God was showing up for me, and He was repeating Himself. He does this often where I am concerned.

Apparently, I must take some tests over and over again as I am certain He wants me to finally make the “A.” In response to my frantic requests and comments, God was not only calling me, He was showing me how to love in the simple, ordinary moments and tasks of my daily life. And through my own journal writing, he was revealing to me what really matters. LOVE. PERIOD. And more of it. Gotcha God. Message received.

So if love is in the air for 2016, I thought I’d share my little “how to” manual. These are God’s instructions, not mine…it’s not in order, it’s revealing, it’s personal, but it’s authentic. This is true for me. This is not a behavior management plan. It is my heart transformation journey. I am learning every day. I am on my own path. Hopefully my “notes to self” will inspire you to create your own list. What is God placing on your heart? How are you learning to love more? I’ll go first.

  • Decide what really matters.
  • Show up.
  • Stay open.
  • Be vulnerable.
  • Take the first step.
  • Laugh hard, cry hard.
  • Get still and quiet.
  • Pay attention.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen.
  • Check my expectations.
  • Allow others to be who they are.
  • Be authentic.
  • Trust and surrender.
  • Let the path unfold.
  • Love without looking for anything in return.
  • Ask questions.
  • Serve when I don’t feel like serving.
  • Be kind. Be kind.Be kind.
  • Sing and dance in the kitchen with William, the kids, my friends.
  • Look for the hope.
  • Remember that letting go isn’t forgetting.
  • Lean in. Shift. Try again. It’s worth it.
  • Pick my battles, then fight fair.
  • Know when to lay down the sword.
  • Give up my right to be right.
  • Watch the sun rise. Watch the sun set.
  • Hold hands. Hold on. Hold on Callie.
  • Embrace uncertainty. It’s going to be ok.
  • Embrace pain.
  • Remember to be human. Remember that others are human too.
  • Remember my manners.
  • Ask Jesus for help and wait for His answers.
  • Stop grabbing. Stop clinging.
  • Tell my friends I love them. A lot.
  • Hold Mom’s hand and tell her she is brave & beautiful & enough.
  • Tell Dad I am proud of him. Tell Dad I am here for him.
  • Call my brothers. Make the time.
  • Ask my grandmother about her garden.
  • Encourage others.
  • Love people the most when they deserve it the least.
  • Serve sugar-laden cereal for breakfast.
  • Let the kids stay up late.
  • Ask, “What do you need?” & “What can I do?”
  • Let the lady behind me at the grocery store go first.
  • Send a handwritten letter.
  • Be available.
  • Keep my sense of humor.
  • Don’t try to get the last word.
  • Be humble.
  • Be considerate.
  • Surprise a friend.
  • Play my tambourine. Loud.
  • Choose joy. It’s always there.
  • Be present. Right now. Right now.
  • Celebrate the dreamers. Especially the dreamer in me.
  • Spend the extra time.
  • Tell my husband he is important.
  • Forgive others. Forgive myself.
  • Give stuff away.
  • Look for shapes in the clouds with Mollie.
  • Be patient with Connor.
  • Share my Mom’s wisdom with Tindol.
  • Put make-up on my niece.
  • Turn the music up for Jack & Townes.
  • Give second, third, fourth…chances.
  • Take Mom a hotdog with extra mustard.
  • Apologize first.
  • Smile. Hug. Kiss.
  • Bring the light.
  • Bring the love.

By Callie Hamm