TMW Featured Article

Extravagant Love


Mari D. Martin

One of my all-time favorite foods is oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal. When it comes to nutrition, it is hard to beat a bowl of oatmeal.

That is why I am sure it was on the menu–a lot. That, and it was inexpensive. As a child growing up, we would have hot, steamy oatmeal for breakfast that was smothered with a slab of butter–not a pat or a tab, but a SLAB. My favorite part was to watch the butter melt over the hot grains of the oatmeal as the richness soaked deep into the bowl. I grew up in Wisconsin to a family linked to agriculture. There was no such thing as margarine or oleo in our house. “Margarine is one molecule away from plastic,” might be what I recall my father saying. It had to be pure, rich, thick, creamy, golden, undoctored, real butter. Looking back on that now I realize it was an extravagance.

Yesterday we traveled to Chicago to see a voice expert. We were looking for the silver bullet. That is a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem. We got nothing of the kind. We left disappointed. But that disappointment has led to some renewed motivation and determination. So maybe that’s what that visit was intended for.

As we move into this introspective time of gratitude, Chris and I have experienced the extravagant, unbridled, pure and golden love of God this year. Chris is healthy. One of the precious moments throughout the year was to hear, “your throat is stable.” While we are continuing to search for methods to achieve clearer speech, the highest importance is to seek continued health with an NED rating–No Evidence of Disease. For this we are most grateful. We are grateful for the extravagant love of God for us. We are grateful for all of you who have cared so deeply about us throughout this journey.

So, while we keep searching and hoping, we will remain sheltered in the inexhaustible love of God. It is lavish love, like butter. We have not earned it or merited it. It cannot be quenched or put out; it is everlasting. God pours this kind of undeserved love down on us and challenges us to give it freely to others–in our words, our deeds, and our actions. While butter is the flavor carrier, God’s love carries us through the deepest valleys and the starkest disappointments.

So don’t go easy on the butter tomorrow. Lavish your bird with a generous butter massage. Be extravagant to your family with words of light and peace, joy and hope, care and love. “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

by Mari D. Martin, author of the book, Come Home Alive: The Power of Knowing How to Work Together to Make It Through the Crisis of Cancer


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