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To love them well

It’s this motivation...

This pull...

The inability to say no… Even when it’s uncomfortable.

Yes, I’ve been growing in this for a while.

The stepping in, the living out, the laying down.

But it isn’t until you’re right there with them, with one, with someone and you feel the challenge, the difficulty, the resistance…

And still He says…

“Love”.

Love.

This word.

This word that holds such great meaning yet most times we give it such a weak definition.

It’s this love that I told you all about that won me back to Him.

This love that has given me the ability to see more of myself and who He has asked me to be, called me to be, grown me to be.

This love that brought me to this country in the first place.

And I told the girls yesterday as we gave testimonies and wrote words of remembrance on rocks meant to be reminders

That I had to know that I was loved in order to love…

In order to love them.

I had to know my place with the one who created me before I could say yes again.

And this yes has meant something different to me than the previous ones.

This yes has meant that my plans, my rights, the ways in which I felt this experience should go were not going to take priority.

Because it’s not like I invited myself…

He invited me…

He moved me…

He asked me…

He inspired a place inside that knew this was what He had, what He wanted for these two weeks in this little Caribbean country that feels all too familiar to me in this three year relationship we’ve had.

And when I think about all the relationships this little island holds in my life

I realize the worth in coming back

In revisiting the places, the people, the memories that have been part of shaping me.

And I see Him inviting me into the shaping, too.

That as we share these stories

And as we reflect

And as I get around those that I love

And new ones, too

I’m reminded that there doesn’t have to be any striving

It’s just a being together, a growing together, a remembering together, a loving one another that makes me know this was supposed to be.

And He always brings me new ones…

New little ones and big ones, too.

 

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I went back to the barrio and saw so many new faces.

New ones dancing together and laughing together and being little girls

And then I saw ones I’ve known from the beginning…

Ones that had introduced me to those streets the first time

The ones that first led me up the sides of the hills that progress into mountains and possess houses made of tin cans and planks of wood, too.

And I’m amazed that I’ve seen them grow

They come to me like the first time I saw them

And hold my side while we walk down the street together…

Like I’ve been there with them the whole time.

And I just think to myself…

How did I get this place in their lives?

These tender ones that need so much more than I could ever give.

But then I rejoice

Because for the moment they can trust someone

And they aren’t afraid to be right next to me, and I get to be right next to them.

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And then I see the adults

The ones that saw me when I thought I was through

The ones that held me in their arms when I needed a mama’s lap

When I couldn’t speak through the tears but they knew I was hurting, too

Just like the little girls they rock in their lap, they saw the moments when I was one of them and invited me to come close.

So many mama’s that hugged me and made me know I was found

And they tell me I look so different

Even though it’s just been months

And they ask me questions that are really about me

Because they know me

And I know them

And the connection continues

As it’s been given to us time and time again.

 

And still, I’m making new friends.

And one is Lauren.

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She is with the girls now.

Staying with them, has made her home with them just like I had months before her.

And she’s beautiful.

And kind.

And so fun.

And she’s also deep.

And willing to share.

And we are willing to bear together…

Bear the burdens, bear the pains, to listen and speak life and also speak out the truth.

And she’s already a sister, already a friend, already someone I feel privileged to know in a way most people don’t want to be seen.

But she’s let me see her.

And we’ve dug in together.

We’ve asked for more from Him together.

And I see that he’s been changing us in the safety of this friendship.

Because listening has been our theme, and truly sharing has been easy, too.

 

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And then there’s Joy.

The relationship that started it all.

And we see each other again, and dive right in.

She was the one that picked me up just a few weeks ago.

After a days travel and my anticipation grew.

And we got in the car.

And we were already telling stories.

And we were already beginning to burst into tears.

Mine were already flowing.

And in that moment I knew.

That part of this trip belonged to her, belonged to us.

And we ate together.

And we prayed together.

And we shared together.

And we worked together.

And there was more relationship for us.

And I believe there always will be.

This diving in and peace and calm that comes when we are together.

This rhythm of trust and understanding that has been fostered through so much experience, so much pain, so much labor and also freedom.

And I love her.

And I see her in a way that I know God has given me.

Because the desire to honor her continues day by day.

And I know we always learn from one another.

 

There are countless others.

There are so many more.

That offer to take me in.

That want to feed me.

That offer me their beds and homes and hearts.

And I’m overwhelmed.

And that’s why I keep going back to…

This love.

Love.

Love.

Love.

And soon, love becomes more than something that’s spoken of or defined.

Because this love is manifested.

This love is more than an it.

This love is a He….

Even more than a He…

Because.

He motivates and heals.

He protects and pursues.

He brings to life and covers and offers the greatest safety.

He takes risks and always wins.

And this Love is meant to be known.

Because we can know Him.

We can know Jesus.

And that’s what I come back to as each of these relationships speak and inspire me and propel me into more of His heart.

He reminds me that as long as I keep saying yes it won’t matter what it looks like because it will keep getting better, and it will always be good.

That if I say yes to Him it will become less about me, and more about what He’s always intended.

And that seems to be so much more trustworthy than myself.

So much more restful, and peaceful, and even practical.

Because He finds the greatest marriage between friendship and sacrifice and love.

And the more I ask Him what it looks like to lay down my rights and give to people what I didn’t even know I had inside of me

He reminds me it’s been Him all along.

And then I begin to realize just how powerful a yes to Him will always be.

And I'll keep talking about it, and telling people about it...

This yes that has taken on more meaning in my life in recent months than I could have ever foreseen. 

The many yes's that I continue to say... to speak out... and live in...

The beauty in not only saying yes to Him... But to others....

The ones that choose to come close, and pursue, the ones who really want to know...

And the ones that also say yes to me when I want to know them.

And see them.

and discover His heart for them.

Yes. 

This life marked by yes...

I wonder how many more there will be.