Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

After my dad died and before I met Jesus, I wanted love. I wanted it really badly. There was just one small problem, I didn’t really know the full scope of the word love.

When my dad died, my sense of love died with him and so did my “relationship” with God. I lost my anchor. Love became distorted. I became so desperate to be loved, I was willing to accept any twisted version of love that came my way. Over the course of 26 years, I unsuccessfully searched for love. I experienced heartbreak after heartbreak, every one of which added a layer of granite around my heart until I became so hard hearted, nobody could break through my wall. Until I met Jesus.

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all  entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

CS Lewis

When I met Jesus, I met love. He broke through my hard heart and gave me the courage to begin loving others again. Unconditional love requires courage because, if you’re doing it the right way, you will get hurt. That’s the scariest bit for me. But the beautiful thing is, I’m not doing this love thing alone anymore. It gets easier with each passing day. And with each passing day, even in heartbreak, love makes life worth living. I am so very grateful.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Be encouraged today friends!

FiveMinuteFriday_Fear

I’m so thankful I can incorporate my one word, thankful, into my favorite Friday activity – Five Minute Friday, which I confess takes longer than five minutes for me to compose because I’m a deep slow thinker, but only takes five minutes to read. That counts, right? This week, the word is fear. 

GO

What are you afraid of? What stops you in your tracks?

I’m not afraid of typical things like spiders, needles, the dark, heights, flying.

I’m afraid of people. The things they’re capable of doing. It takes a lot of effort for others to get past my security system. My guard is always up. The armor and stuff.

I’m afraid of spending money on stuff. Not having enough to survive. Even though I’ve never completely run out of money.

I’m afraid of turning away from the Lord like I did when I was a child the next time something really bad happens. It happened once. I don’t ever rule out or think I’m so awesome it couldn’t happen again.

I’m actually quite afraid of my job. Being responsible for the care of broken people. Ironic considering I’ve been doing my job for 30 years.

I’m afraid of not pursuing the things God has called me to do, of giving up, quitting. But Fear cannot be the thing that stops me from living. I refuse to let it stop me! That would be the greatest tragedy of all.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Nelson Mandela

STOP

Happy Friday!

to love again

Job’s agonizing story is not our own, and yet there are parts of his questioning, lamenting posture before God that offers a sense of human solidarity and the disrupting hope of a restorative God in the fragile midst of that humanity. After all of the suffering and death early in the book, at the end of the book, Job has seven more sons and three more daughters. Old Testament Prof. Ellen Davis makes the important note that this is not a “replacement” of the children Job lost, as if that were even a possibility. Rather, she suggests that the “clearest expression of the renewal of Job’s mind” is “his willingness to have more children.”Job knows all too well the realities of loss and human fragility. And yet, he pours himself again into the lives of fragile, mortal children. Davis powerfully concludes: “this book is not about justifying God’s actions; it is about Job’s transformation. It is useless to ask how much (or how little) it cost God to give more children. The real question is how much it costs Job to become a father again. How can he open himself again to the terrible vulnerability of loving those whom he cannot protect against suffering and untimely death?”

I have an honest to goodness deep-seated fear of love.

Oh, I’m good at the superficial forms of loving behavior such as compassion, mercy, sympathy, empathy. But real, true, deep love?

If you’ve been following my life story at all, I’m sure you can see where my fear of love was born.

This morning, I read the above quote in an email I received. After I became a Christian, the book of Job was the first book in the Bible that I was led to read. I really love the book of Job. God spoke to me so much through this one book. He revealed a lot of my inner stuff to me through this book.

What I find striking about the above quote, is the perspective of Job’s love and faith in God giving him the strength, the courage to start over, have more children, love those children, and pour into those children.

Sometimes I wonder if God is doing the same for me? Is he allowing me the strength, the courage to examine my past so that I’ll be able to get past this terrible fear of love? Bringing me full circle that I might be able to have an intimate, loving relationship again?

Because at some point in my life, I stopped believing in human love, the way a child stops believing in fairy tales.

And so in this one important thing, I pray, help my unbelief.

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Linking with Jen for Unite the Blogosphere , Kelli for Unforced Rhythyms, and the SDG Gathering.