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This is a picture of what love looked like at the ACTS House this past week. A gathering of special people, smiling faces, and party hats…notice the smiles; how comfortable everyone looks; the bandage (we’re all wounded!); and the freedom to be ourselves, especially in the children. Love was being expressed through presence, food, gifts, cards, and all that goes into the careful planning of a surprise party. As I walked out onto the deck, I realized, this is what love looks like…so we took a picture to share with you!

Love sounds like something, too. It has a distinct sound and feel to it. One of my favorite descriptions is from a little boy (Billy – age 4) who said it like this: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Don’t you love that? Many of us aren’t familiar with that language, though. Love may not have been the native language spoken in the homes we grew up in…or in the families we are a part of now. We may be more fluent in a different language, and find the language of love so foreign-sounding that we have no clue how to interpret or understand it when we hear it. We need a language immersion experience!

When I googled foreign language immersion, I found this quote: “Children are language sponges, and numerous studies have shown that immersion at an early age in a foreign language is the best way to ensure future fluency.” I wonder what language you are fluent in today that you soaked up like a sponge as a child?

Living in the Elizabeth ACTS community is an immersion experience for us, where we are learning this new language and becoming more fluent in it. We’re often amazed to realize how we’ve each been drawn here by God to be immersed in His love, and we relate to a verse in the Bible, when God spoke these words through the prophet, Hosea: “I will allure her and bring her into the desert, and there I will speak tenderly to her heart [in a language she does not know (a foreign language)].” For one of us this week, God used these very words to speak tenderly and lovingly in an unfamiliar language and tone. She was familiar with the verse, but not with the language of love being spoken in it. Her response was also unfamiliar. As she shared with us how she had heard and felt His love in a new way, we rejoiced with her at the beauty of her vulnerability and tears.

It reminded me of the way another little boy described love. “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” (Bobby – age 7) Love was in the room with us. We had been given the gift of trust and vulnerability, and of knowing each other a little more. Love is in this house with us because love is in the heart of God, and in the words He speaks. Love looks like something. Just look at those party hats! Love sounds like something. Read Hosea 2:14 and let the tenderness of God immerse you. Love feels like something. Look at the smiles in the picture again, and feel the love with us. You’re invited to the party!

Love Julie