Love isn’t easy.
Last year we had two little Ukrainian eight year olds who stayed with us and I completely fell in love with these girls thinking they were orphans; that maybe they would end up being my daughters. I flung my heart open wide, and then we realized they were not adoptable. You can read that whole crazy story here (click here).
A year later
Skip forward a year and we are about to host another little eight year old from Ukraine. And I had to wrestle an internal battle to open my heart or not to. I mean, what if I open my heart up to this girl and we can’t adopt her. What if my heart aches for her now, as well as the other two. “This is crazy, why am I doing this again,” I told my self. Every thought you can imagine went through my mind. As I am sure it does for you every time you have had a failure, heart break, or mis-step and now God is calling you forward to do it again!
The dangerous ask
Sometimes God is asking you to do the very thing you already did that caused pain. And your fighting it. You don’t want to let your heart open again because you are afraid it will be hurt again. And here’s the great promise: it will hurt! Yes. I know that’s not what you want to hear. But we don’t have a promise that things won’t hurt here. We do have a promise in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Even if it doesn’t go right, He is with you. So yes, it will hurt, but you will overcome! He has won. He has conquered. And he has called us to serve, love, and give in spite of the pain.
So before our little Ukrainian got off the airplane, I determined to fling my heart open wide again. And even after her month here and even after she sat on my lap and cried in the airport not wanting to leave us, and with tears in here eyes sobbed, “No daddy. No daddy.” I have still set my heart towards staying open and loving when it hurts. And trust me. It does hurt.
Here are reasons WHY I choose to love:
I choose to love because THEY deserve to have someone love them. They have never had anyone’s heart break for them, miss them, cry over them. They deserve that.
I choose to love because God loves the poor, broken, downtrodden, lost, lonely, and orphan. God LOVES the ones the world casts aside. And I want to love what God loves.
I choose to love because Jesus died for them and deserves the reward of His suffering. He wants their hearts and lives. He gave His life for them. And I want to be a part of that incredible Grace story in their lives.
I choose to love because Jesus continues to love me day after day, and even when I screw up, He doesn’t close up His heart towards me.
I choose to love because generosity isn’t JUST what I give from my pocketbook. To be stingy is to withhold. It’s to hold what you have with a closed fist. That’s money, time, possessions, and yes, love. In contrast, generosity is open. It’s an open hand freely giving without regards to the repercussions.
If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Deuteronomy 15:7-8
The irony is, the more we withhold time, dreams, love, money, possessions, faith, or hope out of fear of being hurt, the more we whither and die on the vine. If you want to break free from your past hurts, the way forward is not to withhold. For that’s a sure sentence to despair. But instead, in the Kingdom of God, if you want to flourish again, love again, hope again, give again, dream again, then you must freely and lavishly do the very thing you are trying to protect your self from. You must love the one you are withholding your heart from. Give again when your paycheck is tight. Serve again when your margins are lean. Dream again, hope again, and try again when you are still reeling from your last failure.
So this is a challenge to you and to myself. To live generous open lives and to keep loving, giving, serving, trying, and dreaming even when it’s painful. Even when it all seems lost. Even when there seems like there is no possibility that things will ever be different because that my friend is exactly when God steps in. Impossible is where God starts!
Stay open. Keep giving. Keep loving. And watch as God takes your little faith and your mustered up courage and blows your mind with a God story you will share the rest of your life!