When I was a young girl, True Love to me was the feeling I felt when I saw my boyfriend of six months walking down the hallway at school. It was the butterfly’s in my stomach when I married that same cute boy, and it was the excitement I experienced when we celebrated our first anniversary. Often, when we hear the words True Love, it brings to mind a feeling. But, through the years, my definition of True Love has changed as much as I’ve changed. I’ve come to understand — it’s “so much more” than a feeling.

I’ve learned, true love was asking for and receiving forgiveness from my husband when I had all but abandoned our marriage and true love was extending that same forgiveness to him when he made the same mistake. True Love was forgiving my dad for hurtful words and painful childhood experiences — learning to understand, his brokenness was simply an extension of the hurt he endured as a child. True love was rededicating my vows to my high school sweetheart on our 10th anniversary when just one year before we had separated and considered divorce. And — True Love was joining my husband to do hard work in counseling, just before our twenty-sixth anniversary — in order to save our marriage once again.

True Love can be messy, …. and it’s sometimes painful.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

True Love is an attitude of the heart – its choosing to love in spite of faults and failures, sickness and sidetracks. It’s standing by someone’s side to help them navigate the ups and downs of life. It’s getting past hurtful words when someone is going through a difficult time. It’s realizing we are all human, fallible and totally capable of (and likely to) hurt one another, let one another down, and break one another’s heart. And — True Love is always forgiving, and willing to give second chances when the one we love asks for it with sincerity.

True love is tested by time, by hardships, and endurance. When God’s Word says that love is patient, kind, and endures all things — it isn’t kidding. God knew exactly what true love would have to endure in the world in which we live. True love is caring for a person when they’re sick and it’s putting our own selfish desires aside to support the hopes and dreams of another.

True Love is reciprocal and not one-sided, it doesn’t give, only to never receive in return. It’s giving without an expectation to receive – yet giving to someone who loves just as deeply and just as sacrificially. This is True Love.

True Love is Grace – unmerited, undeserved favor. The grace and love our heavenly father gave us when He gave His only begotten son — that whosoever would call upon His name would be saved. And — it’s the same grace and mercy He shows us each and every day — as He continually forgives our faults and failures.

Are we willing to extend that same True Love to others who call on us to forgive them?

How will you celebrate and demonstrate True Love this Valentine’s Day?

Make the courageous commitment today to extend Real True Love!