What Mother Theresa taught me about love

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

love others as you love yourself bible verse
For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? Galatians 5:14-15 (MSG)

My fingers were busy scrolling through Pinterest when I read this quote from Mother Theresa:

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” (tweet this)

Mother Theresa quote on loveI read it and thought, ‘nice quote’. I even posted the pic of it on Facebook. Then I let it be. But God didn’t. 

Ever since I started praying, “Lord, show me how to love” God has been revealing the parts of my heart and mind that need to change. 

A few days later, I watched a girl scratch her head and I wondered, “Why has she chosen that hair style? It does nothing for her.”

Then the thought ran through me head, ‘if you judge her you can’t love her.’

I looked again at the girl across the room from me – a stranger – I never learnt her name. I glanced her way and prayed, “Sorry Lord, help me to see her the way you do.”

As the day wore on I found that I couldn’t shake this experience from my mind. 

I thought about all the times I judge others. Every. Single. Day. 

Each time I meet someone new thoughts run through my head like, ‘why did she wear that?’ or ‘Who would say that?’

When I’m with friends words come out my mouth that are a barrier to loving others, “No wonder that person doesn’t loose weight have you seen what they eat.” or “Did you hear what she did?”

Often I am so busy trying note what I would do differently that I don’t have time to simply smile and say hello. Or after being so cruel in mind reaching out to them seems hypocritical.

quotes about love and judgmentI thought back to all the bible verses I could remember about love and one stood out for me, “Love others as you love yourself.”

I looked it up in the message bible: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

I read it again, and realised,
judgment doesn’t simply limit love, it kills love. (tweet this)

So I’m adding to my prayer, “Lord, show me how to love and help me to see others with your eyes.”

I'm catching myself each time I judge others with the words of Mother Theresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” (tweet this)

And slowly I am changing, slowly I am finding more time to love. 

Ponder: Think of a time when you felt judged. Was there any room for feeling loved by that person?

Prayer: Lord, help me to see others with your eyes.

Read Part I and Part II of what God is teaching me as I pray, “Lord, show me how to love”. 

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When it’s hard to believe that hope is coming

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Scripture verse John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 (NLT)

I opened my eyes in the dark. I pressed the alarm clock and saw 5:00am shine back at me. I nudged my husband and whispered it’s time to go. 

We dressed quickly and slipped into the car. We headed North West into the blackness around us. 

An hour passed and still no sunlight penetrated the horizon. I looked around me and I thought about how when everything is dark it seems like it will stay that way forever. 

At that moment, in the dark, it felt hard to imagine that we would ever be driving in the light. 

I thought about the long dark days when Xylon had chemo every other week. How those days felt like they would never end.

At about 6:15 I saw a slither of light squirm across the horizon, minutes later darkness no longer hovered around us. 

Light always overcomes the darkLight pierced the darkness and everything changed. 

My mind recalled the all the moments during chemo when light would pierce the darkness. The times when God would remind me that he held me

I thought about how maybe God made day and night to remind me that there is a rhythm to life, that there is darkness and light. 

And light always overcomes the dark. 

Even at night, the stars remind me that darkness cannot prevent hope from shining. (tweet this)

Ponder: What do you think it will take for light to shine in your darkness? 

Prayer: Lord, I believe that you can shine in the dark areas of my life. Come bring light where I need it most. 

{Other places I've been writing lately}

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If you’re wondering when God will blow the whistle on your sin

9:31 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

[A note from Wendy: Today I'm lending this space to Kristen Wetherell. A newlywed who loves to write about how each of us can find out who we are through spending time with Jesus.]
The lord is not a refereeFor Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. Hebrews 4:15-16 (VOICE)

The Lord is not a referee.


When my pastor spoke these words from the pulpit the other weekend, they hit me like a ton of bricks. He had just started preaching a series on the love of Christ and was in the process of describing a few different ways that people view God. 

My pastor’s statement resonated too deeply for comfort. 

In other words, I found myself identifying with it, realizing that I sometimes believe that the Lord is indeed a referee, waiting to call the whistle on me at any point of failure and sin.

I shudder at the thought of this because it simply is not true. My pastor was absolutely correct: the Lord is not a referee. 

So I ask myself, what is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is really like? 

The writer of the Hebrews says: “For we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

Christ deeply loves me, deeply sympathizes with my every weakness, grieves for my every struggle and intercedes on my behalf. 

Jesus knows all my hardship and temptation because he walked in the flesh.

Let us step boldly to the throne of grace hebrews 4:15-16Jesus is not waiting to blow the whistle on me when I sin, mercilessly calling “game over!” (tweet this)

Rather, Christ says, “Humble yourself, see your need for my perfect covering over your sins, and come to me with your burdens. 
I will give you rest, for that is who I am. 
I will enable you to draw near to me in confident assurance that I am for you, and not against you.” 

The gospel tells me this: At one time I was separated from Christ, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus I, who once was far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. What comforting, convicting and freeing news! The gospel banishes any and every inkling of a wrong thought about a rigid, finger-pointing God. 

Will he convict me of sin through his Word and the Holy Spirit? Absolutely. That is his grace at work. But will he condemn those who have put their faith in his Son? Absolutely not!

Let us draw near to the throne of grace with confidence today.

Ponder: How does the gospel and the great strength of the love of Christ for you speak to your desperate need for mercy and grace?

Pray: Lord, thank you for your unending, compassionate and challenging grace that molds me, so I simply cannot stay in my sin. Thank you for loving me perfectly and tenderly, even when I do sin. Help me to walk in the truth of your grace today and to see you clearly. Amen.

More about the author of this guest devotional
Kristen Wetherell (Founder/Contributor) is a content manager, writer and singer/songwriter. She founded The Identity Project in February 2012 with the desire to see women transformed by the gospel. The blog keeps a column at WHOLE Magazine and also lives at iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com. Follow her on Twitter

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When you’re fighting (for) each other

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Song of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love
 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:7 (NLT)

It wasn’t love at first sight.

By the time I met Xylon I had plans about who I was going to marry. He was going to be tall, dark and handsome. And Xylon is only two of those things: handsome and dark.

When I met Xylon I didn’t know if I could spend the rest of my life looking down to a man. But Xylon didn’t care. He took a risk. He fought for me. He romanced me (still does). Poured out his heart over an untouched meal and asked me to consider spending until death with him. 

And I found height doesn’t matter as much as heart. 

Then Xylon asked my father if it would be okay for him to marry me. My parents weren’t sure it was a good thing for people with different skin colours to marry

And for the first time in our relationship we had to decide if our love was worth fighting for.

We prayed and we fought. We stood up for a world in which the caramel coloured children (we may) some day have can be embraced by both sets of grandparents. 

Together we fought for love, and with love, and because of love.

Three years later we stood beneath a well-rooted tree, and repeated our vows after my father, and we thought (and prayed) that our fight for love would be over. We looked at each other with the eyes of newly-weds and believed our biggest battles were behind us. 

Eight months into matrimony and we sat before a doctor as he ran through dread diseases my husband might have. A week later the tests showed - without a doubt - he had cancer. 

We had another battle to fight, another moment to decide if our love was worth fighting for. 

We’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years between hospitals and doctors and scans. We’ve experienced the joy of completing chemo and the despair of being told the cancer is back. I’ve brushed handfuls of my husbands’ hair off our bedding, held him in the middle of the night when he’s shaking from a fever and left the room when he’s received a bone marrow biopsy.
Quotes about love
But we have never stopped fighting. 

We are still fighting.

And that’s okay because I believe that if something is worth having it is worth fighting for. 

And love is worth having. 

And love is worth fighting for.

When I feel like giving up, backing down and walking away I think of Jesus. I think of how Jesus fights endlessly and tirelessly for us. How he never stops, even when it means going to hell-and-back – he does it. 

Jesus fights for me – for life, for love – even when I don’t acknowledge him or want him too. 

Even when I fight him, Jesus fights for me. (tweet this)

And that makes me want to love like that, to fight for a love like that, to give my life for a love like that.

There is sacredness in fighting for another, battling side-by-side with someone for something that matters.

Sometimes when I’m putting pressure on my wounds, cleaning our cuts and reeling from pain, I forget that I am fighting, battling for something that matters.

I forget that we are not fighting each other but fighting together. 

I forget that love is not only hard but also holy. (tweet this)

Ponder: Do you believe that love always perseveres?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for always loving me. 

This post originally appeared on Spiritual Glasses in May 2013. 


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When you’re wondering what God wants from you

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Loving like God
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. Micah 6:8 (MSG)

Sometimes learning to love like God makes me feel uncomfortable. (tweet this)

The other night I went for dinner with friends. We ordered pizza, and we laughed, and we spoke about the ups-and-downs of our week.

And then my one friend started speaking about meeting a homeless woman. 
My friend said all she wanted to do was run into the store and buy some coconut milk. 

As she walked out a lady in a ripped, stained dress hobbled past her on crutches.

My friend looked away and headed for her car. And then she says her heart went, “Go back and ask the lady her story.”

The homeless woman showed my friend the skin on her feet had stretched so far, and so tight, in some places it had burst. The lady dressed in rags told my friend how she had a letter from the nurses for the hospital but no way to get there. 

And my friend told how she opened the door of her car and invited Nancy to step in. Two days later, her car still smelt septic like Nancy’s feet. 

Micah 6:8 What does God require of meMy friend didn’t realise how much I thought she looked like Jesus as she spoke.

Then she turned to all of us, and said, “Wouldn’t you have done the same thing?” We all looked at each other and said, “No.”

I felt ashamed at my answer but more ashamed at the truth that lay behind it. 

I listen to my friends’ story, and my heart lurches, because I think Jesus would have acted like her. 

The next morning I sit with a journal and my bible and ask God, “Lord, what do you require of me? How do you want me to live?”

Immediately, Micah 6:8 comes to mind. I can say the verse from memory, but I grab my bible, and start writing down the phrases: 
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: 
Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, 
be compassionate and loyal in your love, 
And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. 

Okay, I think as I read this, ‘I’ve got this. I’m fair, just, compassionate and loyal.’ 

Then I start to feel a little uncomfortable as I think about my friend reaching out to the homeless women in the parking lot. 

Surely, God doesn’t mean that homeless women is my neighbour? I already admitted at dinner last night that I couldn’t love her. 

I remember the prayer I’m fumbling through lately, “Lord, teach me how to love.” I mean it when I pray it. I really do want to live a life where I’m actually loving people, not just talking about it.

quotes about loving othersBut then I hear my friend tell us how the homeless woman had vomit on her shirt, and how she had to buy air freshener so her car didn’t stink anymore, and I wonder, “Am I really serious about loving others?”

Is there some kind of loophole I can find that will allow me to only love people like me? (tweet this)

I read the last line of the verse again. I’ve been putting myself before others instead of taking what God said seriously. 

I can only be fair, just, compassionate and loyal when I think others hopes, dreams and desires are as important as my own. 

I can only love well when I believe someone is worth loving. (tweet this)

I find myself searching for words again, “God, forgive me for thinking more of myself than I should. Teach me how to love and open my eyes to see how worthy of love every person is.”

Ponder: What part of Micah 6:8 speaks to you? Is there some area of this verse where you feel you could improve in the way you love others?

Prayer: God, forgive me for thinking more of myself than I should. Teach me how to love and open my eyes to see how worthy of love every person is.

{A Note from Wendy}
I never intended to turn this into a series but I’m beginning to think maybe God has other ideas. In some ways, this is part 2 of the post I shared on Monday: When love is hard (or when you’re worried love will mean you have to move to South Sudan). The lessons I’m learning about love make me feel uncomfortable. Part of me doesn’t want others to know how little I know of loving others but I think this part of God’s plan to teach me how to love by ripping away the masks I wear that imply I have it all together. So I’m letting my heart, and His lessons, bleed onto this blog and trusting that God will complete the work he’s started.


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When love is hard (or when you're worried love will mean you have to move to South Sudan)

9:19 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

God is made of love
The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. 1 John 4:8 (MSG)

Love.

I don’t know why but the word makes me uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that for years I couldn’t write, “Love, Wendy”, on cards or letters or emails. 

I would write anything but “love”. 

Recently, I’ve started ending my letters with “love”. I’ve started scrawling love out in scratches that resemble a doctors’ badly written script. 

God is love scripture 1 John 4:8
I’ve started taping “L-O-V-E” out at the end of emails. 

And I’ve begun trying to live into those four letters I’ve been so scared to write. 

For me “love” has never been just a word. 

Love has never been something to give away freely but something to share only with those who I considered worthy of my love.

Love has been something I’ve hoarded, weighed and measured out. 

But I’m realizing that isn’t how God is with love. 

God is generous with his love. He drips his love on everyone. 

If you’re Pope Francis God gives you a hug. 
If you’re a little girl with no friends God will come sit with you.
If you’re a mother with no patience for her kids God will surprise you with flowers. 
If you’re a serial murderer, God’s got love for you.

It doesn’t matter what your story is God’s love will find you. 

God gives love away like he is made of the stuff. (tweet this)

In fact, 1 John 4:8, says God is made of love.

And that blows my mind.

When I read 1 John again slowly, reading each word, my heart ached. I thought about how for so long I’ve refused to love and by doing so I’ve been missing an opportunity to know God.

I’ve started to pray, “Lord, show me how to love.” 
But I guess what I’m really praying is, “Lord, show me who you are.”

God is love
Part of me freaks out every time I pray this prayer because I know that love is messy. 

I know that love bleeds, and cries, and dies for others. I know this because God is love, and he did that for me. (tweet this)

So the part of me that forgets God is love worries, that when I pray this, he’ll send me to South Sudan to live in a shack with no electricity and water. This part of me thinks that God is out to get me.

But the part of me that remembers God is knitted together with love tells me that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18), and when I think like that, I only reveal that I don’t know the first thing about love, about God. 

Ponder: How do you think your capacity for loving others affects your relationship with God?

Prayer: Lord, show me how to love like you have loved me. (tweet this)

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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Fighting Birds: VinothChandar Tissue Flowers: Brandon Christopher Warren Socks: photo credit: demandajDesign and derivative works from originals photos: Wendy van Eyck