Article by: Lauren Darlington | USA
What is love?
I grew up with the lyrics of love songs running through my head:
“L is for the way you look at me,
O is for the only one I see.
V is very, very extraordinary,
E is even more than anyone that you adore…
Love was made for me and you…”
or the classic Elvis lyrics: “Take my hand, take my whole life too, ’cause I can’t help falling in love with you.”
As a little girl, I would dream of what this love would look like. Thinking of the day that I would wear a white dress, walk down the aisle and say, “I do.” You dream of a love that is all incapsulating, overwhelming (in all the best ways), a head-over-heels kind of love.
So what is L.O.V.E. – love? Growing up, lyrics of classic love songs often defined this word for me. Then moments from fairytales became the hallmark of what love must be like. Sleeping Beauty is awakened from slumber by her prince charming, her true love. Is that what love is?
One of my favorite fairytales is Cinderella. She was pursued with unrelenting devotion by her prince. Cinderella’s story has always spoken to me. Thankfully I didn’t have an evil stepmother and stepsisters who made me clean the house and didn’t let me go to the ball.
But, one aspect of Cinderella’s story I can relate to is Cinderella was loved by her Dad. It starts with a Father and daughter with a special bond—reading books and doing everything together. But one day, when her Father suddenly passes away, Cinderella’s whole story changes.
I relate to this narrative because when I was 11 years old my Dad suddenly passed away too and on that day my life changed forever, just like Cinderella. — Lauren Darlington
But one thing I love about this fairytale is that even in the twists and turns of the story, one truth remained the same — Cinderella knew she was loved by her Father.
Agape is one of the four Greek words for love. It has often been described as the highest form of love.
“It’s the love that is given whether or not it’s returned. It’s love without any self-benefit,” said Dr. Parker Jones from the University of Utah, as she researched and studied the different types of love.
The unique thing about the word ‘agape’ is that it was a word created to define the type of love from God to man. It is almost indescribable in its meaning because of the depth this word holds.
My faith is the core of who I am. However, this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t grow up knowing about God or stepping inside a church until I was 12 years old after my Dad passed away. I didn’t know that there is a Father in heaven who loved me, created me, and sent His son, Jesus, to die for me because He loved me so much!
We see the word agape used in a well-known scripture in the book of John. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
I love a good fairytale and listening to love songs but this story is the real love story that changed my life. A story that was written over a span of thousands of years, with a consistent narrative of a man’s pursuit for the heart of the one He loved.
So what is love? This is what love is for me. This love is different from any other kind and this truth that “nothing can separate you from the love of God” is what has impacted me the most in my 25 years of life so far.
Lauren Darlington is an Australian missionary and Gen Z minister currently living in the United States. She is a part of Pour It Out Ministries & a Youth Pastor at Shiloh Fellowship, located in Arizona, USA.
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