Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear. Our first date was 29 years ago today. "Through it all, love remains." L, M. - - - - If you want to know more about why I think Albert Pujols is the greatest player in baseball (besides sheer talent), check here. - - - - For today, a classic piece from Henri Nouwen, taken from his "secret journal," written during a difficult time in his life: "Giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return is only possible when you have been fully received. Every time you discover that you expect something in return for what you have given or are disappointed when nothing comes back to you, you are being made aware that you yourself are not yet fully received. Only when you know yourself as unconditionally loved--that is, fully received--by God can you give gratuitously. Giving without wanting anything in return is trusting that all your needs will be provided for by the One who loves you unconditionally. It is trusting that you do not need to protect your own security but can give yourself completely to the service of others. "Faith is precisely trusting that you who give gratuitously will receive gratuitously, but not necessarily from the person to whom you gave. The danger is in pouring yourself out to others in the hope that they will fully receive you. You will soon feel as if others are walking away with parts of you. You cannot give yourself to others if you do not own yourself, and you can only truly own yourself when you have been fully received in unconditional love. "A lot of giving and receiving has a violent quality, because the givers and receivers act more out of need than out of trust. What looks like generosity is actually manipulation, and what looks like love is really a cry for affection or support. When you know yourself as fully loved, you will be able to give according to the other's capacity to receive, and you will be able to receive according to the other's capacity to give. You will be grateful for what is given to you without clinging to it, and joyful for what you can give without bragging about it. You will be a free person, free to love." (The Inner Voice of Love)


  • I love this Henri Nouwen book. I try to read a piece from it everyday. There is a great deal of wisdom hidden in its pages. Like this line, " Only when you know yourself as unconditionally loved--that is, fully received--by God can you give gratuitously." I love the thought of being "fully received". I sometimes wonder how that really feels. And at times, I know that I know. But what's important here is to move beyond that point of knowing and to "give gratuitously".

    By Blogger Candy, at 2/14/2006 04:58:00 AM  

  • Albert Pujols IS amazing!

    By Blogger FeedingYourMind, at 2/14/2006 05:39:00 AM  

  • I just can't get enough of Henri. I think I might name a kid after him.

    By Blogger TKP, at 2/14/2006 05:41:00 AM  

  • I am thankful that we have some athletes in the limelight who are being examples.

    I wonder if Pujols has met Gene Stallings. Stallings' son, Johnny, always walked the sidelines with his father at Alabama, and has far outlived any of the doctors' predictions about his life span. At his birth they urged Coach Stallings and his wife to institutionalize him so he wouldn't be a "burden." The Stallings made it clear that Johnny would always be a part of their family. What an example of godly love the Stallings' family has been to our whole nation. Coach Stallings spent much of his off season time raising money for National Down Syndrome Society and Rural Infant Stimulation Environment of Tuscaloosa. We loved him at Alabama. He was without a doubt the finest human being that ever coached at Alabama.

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/14/2006 05:54:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the Nouwen excerpt.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 2/14/2006 06:14:00 AM  

  • My fantasy team is counting on another mind-boggling season from Pujols. But in real life, Mark Teixeira rules! :)

    By Blogger BR-549, at 2/14/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the Nouwen clip. I think the most humbling experiences have been when I'm the recipiant of this kind of giving. Because, I'm sure they know I am not at a point where I could give something back, and even still, God provides for what we need because of the compassion of His children. Praise God!

    By Blogger Logan and Katie Brown, at 2/14/2006 07:05:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the Pujols Family Site. What an incredible testimony to the working of God!

    By Blogger eddy, at 2/14/2006 07:18:00 AM  

  • If we are loved into serving is it possible to serve into loving?

    By Blogger Clint, at 2/14/2006 07:19:00 AM  

  • Oh man! I needed to hear that today - esp. "It is trusting that you do not need to protect your own security" Thanks!

    By Blogger Beaner, at 2/14/2006 09:59:00 AM  

  • I'm reading from Nouwen's "Bread For the Journey" every day. He touches what's real.

    I'll trade you Casey Kotchman and Ervin Santana for Albert Pujols. Lackey we keep. What do you say?

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 2/14/2006 10:19:00 AM  

  • Happy Dating Anniversary - we always remember ours too.

    I love that Nouwen book and especially that piece. Thanks for reminding us what real love is.

    By Blogger Amy, at 2/14/2006 02:09:00 PM  

  • From the introduction of "The Inner Voice of Love":

    "Everything came crashing down--my self esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing, my trust in God---everything."

    This may be one of the best descriptions of depression, at least what I have been experiencing, that I have read. Why do we go through times in our lives that we do not feel "fully received?" Also, I echo Cathy's question, What does it feel like to be fully received?

    I miss Henri. I think I will spend some time in his little green book. Mike, thank you.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 2/14/2006 02:10:00 PM  

  • If only we could get good ole' Albert to pronounce his last name differently. My sister said she can hardly even hear his name without cringing! What a guy! You think he'd be interested in the Rangers!? :)

    By Blogger Amy Boone, at 2/14/2006 02:33:00 PM  

  • Albert Pujols is my hero just for that reason, oh and because of an upper deck gamewinning homerun with two strikes and two outs facing elimination in the NLCS! And he's staying right where he's at for a long, long time.

    By Blogger Brandon Moore, at 2/14/2006 05:09:00 PM  

  • I know I could be flogged for saying this but...I have never read a Henri Nouwen book...I'm getting this one.
    But...I do love Pujols..does that get me a point back??

    By Blogger Beverly, at 2/14/2006 07:56:00 PM  

  • Wow. I really needed to be reminded of that today. Thanks Mike. I still have a ways to go in this regard. Logically, I know I am fully received, but my heart still needs some work in accepting and owning this.

    Happy dating anniversary!

    By Blogger songbirdintl, at 2/14/2006 09:10:00 PM  

  • Clint, yes, I think you can serve into loving. I have a personal example of a person that I really did not like, yet I knew that I needed to change my attitude toward her and was having trouble with loving her. So I just began to pray for her, REALLY pray for God to bless her life abundantly. And before I knew it, I found myself loving her despite my flesh's best efforts not to. I also like the idea of God loving us into service. Thanks for the excerpt, Mike. Wish Diane a Happy Valentine's Day for me, and congratulations on 29 years since your first date! I love you guys!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 2/14/2006 09:39:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    Need to let everyone know of an urgent prayer request.

    Steve & Samantha Allen, 2 missionaries in Thailand recently adopted a 4-year old Chinese girl, they've named Jezreel. Jezreel was born with a heart defect: her heart only has 3 chambers.

    While on leave here in Texas over the hoildays, they arranged for a much needed surgery. That story of how the surgery came about is a testament to God's mercy and grace in itself.

    Jezreel underwent open heart surgery yesterday, on Valentines Day.

    Once the doctors were in, they found scarring from an earlier procedure performed in China was much more extensive than they expected. As a result, Jez was kept on the heart/lung machine hours longer than anticipated. Resultant swelling was such that the surgeons could not close Jez's chest back up at the end of the surgery.

    We're asking everyone to pray (and those who are able and willing to also join us in fasting) for Jezreel's healing. That God, Yaweh Rapha, the God who Heals will hold Jezreel in His hands and reduce the swelling so she can be closed; that infection be kept away; that her little body will strengthen and heal.

    Thank You

    By Blogger Jamie B, at 2/15/2006 05:15:00 AM  

  • my wife's birthday is also Valentine's Day. A double whammy! Great opportunity to love her.

    In many ways, how we feel "fully received" by the Lord is influenced by how our Christian family receives us. In what ways does a Christian family have opportunity in intimate ways to "fully receive" its own people, and others?

    By Blogger Mark, at 2/15/2006 08:06:00 AM  

  • Thanks so much, Jamie. I know many of us will pray for Jezreel.

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/15/2006 08:46:00 AM  

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