Written by Somer Colbert
Throughout our journey of adoption our family has experienced a redefinition of what love means. Recently, God gave my husband the word Ahavah. It immediately struck both of us as we dug deeper into its meaning and we began to lean on it as we parented our three children and began pursuing our second adoption.
Simply put, Ahavah (pronounced ah-ha-vah) is the Hebrew word for love. Sounds easy enough to understand but as we did our research we began to see that Ahavah is not just an emotion. Ahavah is also a verb. Our culture today throws the word “love” around quite recklessly. It’s all based on a feeling that can quickly fade with circumstance or self-absorbedness. True ahavah is an action, a choice and decided mindset to show love with absolute resolve.
Ahavah is not limited to the adoption journey. Ahavah should be a part of all believer’s daily lives. It is shown through unconditional love, regardless of circumstance or feeling. In order to thrive in a marriage, you must obviously show this kind of love to your spouse when the days are long and draining with young children, demanding jobs, kid’s sports, illness, financial difficulties and even church activities. At the end of the day, life can take it out of you and you have very little left for your spouse. Ahavah is a choice to love regardless of circumstance. What does that look like in a marriage? It means you take the extra time to talk, spend time together, serve them in ways that bless them, make a favorite meal or treat, arrange a sitter and take a night out, make love to your spouse even when you are exhausted, show them you are actively thinking about them and love them.
Ahavah is also a choice to love and show love even when those around you are unlovable. We can all be unlovable at different times in our daily lives because we are human and imperfect. Our spouse can be unlovable when they are distracted, overworked or sleep deprived. We as women can be unlovable when we are hormonal, sleep deprived, overwhelmed and stressed out. Our children can be unlovable when they are babies who never stop crying, temperamental toddlers throwing fits, older kids who are worn out and cranky, testy teenagers trying to assert their independence and the list goes on. Our extended family can be unlovable when they are critical, unsupportive, judgemental or simply not there by choice. Our neighbors, coworkers and church family can be unlovable when they are rude, thoughtless, distracted, caught up in themselves and you get the picture. We can all be unlovable at times.
The key to showing ahavah love is being resolved to love before the people in your life begin to act unlovable. It’s harder than it sounds, right? Of course it is because we are sinners! It is so easy to just walk away and say, “peace out!” when those around you are no fun to be around.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Adoption can be no fun at times. In fact, most of the time there is an element to it that is unpleasant and not pretty. Why? Because adoption represents an upset in the enemy’s plans. Adoption is an answer to God’s call to change the legacy of a child and a family. Deuteronomy clearly states in chapter 6 that God’s plan for His people is to love Him with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength. He wants families to teach those in their care about His love, His character, His blessings and His peace over their lives if they walk in His ways. The enemy hates this because his desire for our lives is destruction and ruin. The last thing he wants is for God’s people to come in and disrupt what has already been set in motion to cause a child to be without a family to begin with. He hates family, he hates children and he hates the idea of children being brought into a family that will teach them the things of God.
Now let me be clear, I have a tremendous respect for birth moms. My daughter’s birth mom is alive and well, and I have great love and affection for her. Life happens and I am so thankful for these brave women who choose life and choose adoption for their children. Adoption is a result of so many things: poverty, illness, drug addiction, inability to parent for different reasons and so on. My intention is never to paint birth parents in a negative light. Regardless of the circumstances behind the need for adoption, God uses those circumstances beyond our understanding to complete families and place children where He intends them to be.
I wish my husband and I would have had some insight into ahavah love before we stepped out into our adoption journey. Like so many people, we understood the adoption journey to resemble something like a Hallmark commercial. We found the reality to be quite different. But God has a perfect plan and He wanted us to walk the journey we have walked so that we could learn what we needed to in His timing.
Throughout this journey God continues to teach us to look at people differently, to see their circumstances without judgement, and to have an affection for the different people groups that He has created. This is why Colossians 3:14 is the key verse to us as we step out and walk this journey each day. “Above all, put on love-the perfect bond of unity.” You can’t walk adoption without love. You can’t have a successful marriage without love. You can’t parent well without love. You cannot reach out a hand of friendship and commonality to someone different than you without love. You cannot effectively share Christ with those around you without love displayed through your life and your actions. Jesus himself is the greatest example of love. When asked what the greatest commandment is He responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Not everyone is called to adoption. But everyone IS called to love. It is the simplest, yet hardest thing for sinful human beings to do this side of heaven. My prayer for you, dear reader, is 1) that you understand our hearts a bit more as you have graciously agreed to walk this journey with us and 2) that you might hear the Lord speak something to your heart of how He might want you to show ahavah love to those you interact with on a daily basis or in passing.
We are the most effective for our Savior when we are showing love with our lives!
Blessings to you dear friends, you are so loved!