And I thought I was done learning what love is!
Recently, the Lord showed me that I still rely on myself to give love to others. And to show me my independence, I believe He allowed my “love tank” to completely run dry.
It is difficult to describe my feelings and struggles without including others and their behavior. But I also wonder if some of the feelings I experienced are something you can relate to... please forgive any vagueness, I am trying to spare other people. This is my recent account from my diary.
February 1, 2013.
“My hurting, this hole, it comes from all these “little” things. They drag me down. I end up resolving to do more...to compensate for the lack on the other side. I am exhausted.
I took a walk yesterday and I wept so hard..I haven't cried like that for a long long time... not since my broken collar bone. When the sobs shake your whole frame and you are surprised because suddenly you hear wailing and you realize...it's you. Sorrow is physically draining and painful. And it is doubly wounding when no one cares or notices. I begged God for an answer. I begged Him for a hope to cling to. For a reason to live cheerfully. For peace. And He gave the simplest answer and the hardest challenge. At least I think He did. I couldn't hear Him but I had this answer come to me somehow.
He was the answer. He was my hope.
It seemed too simple. I was completely empty. I didn't have anymore to give. No more service. No more hoping, no more trying, no more encouraging, no more pretending, no more loving, ignoring, praying, thinking, talking, planning, doing. I was on empty. I sobbed and told Him this. I told Him this wasn't a place, a trial, that He temporarily gave me, it was my life. Ever since I was young I have lived with this burden, this gaping hole in some shape or form. I was tired of broken relationships, the owning to obvious problems without change. Nothing I did was enough to fill the hole. I was so desperate...I thought only the unsaved ever come this close to depression and despair. What was it that Christ expected me to do at this point?
The answer came to my mind. Not audibly, but just as sure.
Love, not through my strength, but His.
It actually sickened me. Hadn't I already done this? Love? How can I love someone who thinks they've won my heart and haven't diligently sought it? Loving them would be proving their misconception.
But Christ said, “Not your love...my love.”
“But I've tried that and it's so hard.”
I realized that if it was that hard it must have been me. My love. But as I stood there in the snow, I knew I had lost all desire to love. How could I love someone who takes advantage of my love? How can I love someone who seemingly only appreciates my service and nothing else? How can I love someone who never tries to spend time with me? Who doesn't care how I'm doing? Never asks to do anything with me?
I can't. I cannot love them. At that moment, and even at this moment as I write, I had/have no desire to love them. But He wants me to. Where do I start? By loving Him. By loving Him, I can obey Him. He is capable of loving someone who only loves Him for His service and nothing else. His love for me proves this. I can't seem to get over the hurdle that if I love then it proves everything is okay. I feel like I'm condoning them. But that isn't my concern is it? None of this is. All I do is obey and He is automatically responsible for the outcome and circumstances. He will not forget me through this. He is my only hope. God made a promise to Abraham, and after Abraham patiently (and not so patiently) endured, he obtained the promise. It is impossible for God to lie. And I have a strong consolation because I have fled to Him for refuge and have laid hold on Him for my hope. This hope will be my anchor both sure and steadfast. (Heb 6).
He told me to love. I will obey through Christ. And I will give Him the problems. If He chooses that I suffer because I have chosen to obey Him, then so be it. Through Him I will continue, I will praise Him and I will absorb all the grace He chooses to offer me. I am trusting Him. He must supply the love and the desire, for I am empty.”
See what I write the very next day:
“Nothing is impossible with God. He can achieve the impossible. In fact, I think He enjoys it. His lovingkindness is better than life! He is my defense, I will not be greatly moved. In the shadow of His wing I find comfort. He is my hope and comfort. He is Jehovah Rapha, my healer. I know the wound is still there but I don’t feel like I am standing with an open bleeding hurt. Christ is a balm. He is a Guide. He expects much but rewards more. He is in control. And if He can heal me, if He can guide and control my emotions every hour, He certainly can change those He asks me to love. I am not responsible for it happening. I can only do my part. Last night I was able to witness myself start to heal. I can not allow bitterness. The Lord is a patient and gracious Daddy. He asks me to love when it feels impossible – but He is allowing me to get there one step at a time. The first step yesterday was numbness. A healing, a balm. I know it's still there and I could pick at it and make it bleed and hurt all over – but I want to heal. And I want to be able to love, despite my feelings. That's another miracle. He has given me a desire to desire. Only Him! My pastures seem desolate, but now they are in an odd way...green. My waters seemed still, but stagnant and bitter. But I've drank the littlest bit and it isn't that bad. Only Christ! He is amazing. I don't have to have anything in life to look forward to. His loving kindness is enough to satisfy this heart.”
The next morning I read in Helen Roseveare's book Living Faith. She mentioned the miracle of the five loaves of bread and two fish. I was totally astonished by the lesson.
I had always pictured that once Christ prayed over the scanty meal, that He multiplied it so the disciples could pass out the food.
Instead, Miss Roseveare points out that He first took their insufficient supply, broke it, gave it back, and expected them to face the crowd and give it. She pointed out their faith. I was shocked to realize that their broken insufficient supply multiplied...but only until after they obeyed and gave! This was exactly what He did with me! He took my insufficient love, broke it and gave it back with the expectation that I should give and use it. It seemed so silly. But once I obeyed, it proved sufficient. What a God! I haven't experienced a “filling” of my basket. Nothing happened, but by my choice to obey I have had such peace. And it hasn't been hard....perhaps slow...but it has been easy. And my circumstances haven't changed! If anything they have become harder as the Lord has added change into my life and a new trial. It has been exactly 13 days since that weary trudge through the snow. I truly believe that some of my “attacks” have come because I am almost done with this book and any time I work on it, as I have been lately, I seem to be attacked. But the Lord has really been using it. I knew after I wrote this is my diary that the Lord would have me add it to my never-ending “Love Chapter”. But I have waited until now because I knew I couldn't go over what I wrote without crying and having it hurt all over again. The fact that I was able to type this all out is another miracle of His healing.”
Then several months later I wrote:
“What measureless great love! A love that obeys despite the consequence of suffering for it. A love that wraps around the very sword that drips with love's own blood. A love that continues to love the unworthy one who believes himself deserving. A giving, emptying, love for someone who never dared to win it and yet believes he has automatically earned it. What wondrous mysterious love! And I am capable of carrying such love, and privileged to have Him use such love through me. I am thankful that is the love He uses to love me with. How could I be selfish enough to withhold it?
He leads me where the waters rage
The waters crash and swell
And yet upon a rock I'm stayed
I'm in my Father's will
He leads me where the water stays
It's bitter and it's still
I'll have to choose to run or “lay”
I drink: it's sweet, I'm filled
He leads me where the water's dry
A desert and a plain
When all else fails, in Him I find
A well, my peace, the rain.
No matter what wounds I have, or will have, I will learn to love and I will continue to obey through Christ. There truly is no other way. I hope through these many lessons in love you will find the same peace I have found. He is more than sufficient.