Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

on Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

Ooooh, another one of those complicated questions are coming. I can feel it! Those mushy ooey gooey questions all full of feelings and heavies. Too much for you? Can't stand it? Turn back now cuz it's coming ... oh oh ... here it is. "BOOM!"

What does real love look like?

Phew, glad that's over with. But not so fast. There is so much heart wrenching loveliness to discuss here.

Have you ever been in one of those relationships that so oozed love that people were sickened by it?

You know what a mean! ... When you hear a kid lip their mom off and completely disrespect them, manipulate, call names, whine and complain about them and take advantage and you turn around to find mom running to their rescue with open arms because they just took a major dive off their skateboard and figured out they really shredded something up (pun intended :P). Oh ... maybe ... that's ... not the ooey gooey love you were thinking of?!?!

Maybe you were thinking of the absent husband that came home drunk and threw up all over the floor on his way to bed and you turn around to see the wife, kneeling on the floor in her housecoat, washing the floor with a bucket of water, a rag and a tear soaked tissue tucked in her bra. She gets up in the morning to fix him his eggs just like he likes them and a steaming hot cup of coffee.

No, still not the picture you were thinking?

Oooooh, you were thinking of the newlywed couple, who only met a few weeks ago and knew at first sight that destiny brought them together. They love every little thing about their new love. The funny little mole on his chin, the way she snorts when she giggles, can't keep their eyes or hands off each other and they have all these corny little lovey dovey things to say to each other. Then they turn around a few years later asking themselves what they were thinking and trying to find the highest rolling, lowest charging divorce lawyer in the phone book.

Wow, the pictures we have accepted as images of extravagant love!??!  Honestly, it's all pretty dysfunctional and we know it, but where does that furious love of the Lord fit in all of this, in our dysfunctional world filled with misunderstandings, misunderstood, manipulations, control, codependency. 

I'm learning a lot about love. Maybe my lesson is old hat to you, but this is my blog so bare with me while I process.

I've spent a long time looking at dysfunction and looking for the loopholes in all the Kingdom, Jesus, the scripture teach us about love. It's so easy to look at an abusive relationship (controlling, manipulative, passive - they come in all shapes and sizes) and give yourself permission to check out on the love factor.
I know what some of you are thinking ..... soooo Whoah! Hold your horses! I'm gonna get there.

I think this note is going to stir some pots, cuz, I know that there is the whole co-dependency thing, the facilitating thing, head in the sand, aiding and abetting, tough love, boundaries, drawing the line, controlling your destiny, rights! All those get mushed together to make a great big argument that says shutting off the love and checking out is okay.

But where is the love? How often do we counsel our friends or reason through our own situation while thinking of our rights, their rights. There are some people who are really great at keeping the love on while maintaining healthy boundaries and they should probably give lessons, but I really think it has become way to easy to justify withdrawal. Removing yourself from the relationship or at least removing yourself from the responsibility of love.

How many times has that abusive person in your life completely treated you unjustly? ... Too many to count?!?! It really hurt! That wasn't some fictitious pain. And that was totally not okay and it wasn't right ... Thoughts like "they are never going to treat me that way again! I'll teach them! I should've said ..." How many times have we stayed quiet in fear of waking the beast, rocking the boat. Just sit down, shut up, pretend it isn't happening and it will all go away. In fact, if I just walk away right now, it will never have to happen to me again.        But what about this person that you once loved. Oh, I know! They have to want it ... their sickness is not your responsibility... am I my brother's keeper?

 ...But love!  
When we were yet sinners Christ died for us! ... It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It's not til we turn on the love and keep it on, that the person can truly get a glimpse of what they can become. If no one loves you, you feel no love. To feel no love means that your life will be consumed by fear and the tragic loss of identity. It's because He first loved us that our lives are worth anything today. And you know what! You are so worth it! a billion dollars! a whole garden of beautiful, fragrant roses, a sunny day, a majestic mountain, a heart warming song, a cool breeze on a hot day, that perfect parking spot when you don't feel like walking or a path completely free of dog poo when you do :)

You are worth it. And it's all because He loves you. It makes me think that an epic river of love that keeps flowing can actually change a person! For sure, I don't always feel like I'm worth it, but the Bible still says I am and who's gonna argue with the Bible? When they understand that they are worth it, than there is reason, maybe for the first time, to change.

I have a millions questions in my heart about what heaven's love looks like in the midst of dysfunction as I'm sure you do too. Or maybe you didn't before, but thanks to me you do now! Haha, I love the power of influence. There is one thing I know, that true love is not afraid to confront ... or maybe it is afraid, but love does it anyway. I was tempted to try to give you tools, but ultimately, the best teaching is Holy Spirit, after that there is Danny Silk ... haha. True! :)

I guess this is a great big note to say "Lord, teach me how to love the unlovelies!"
Teach me how to be genuine in my love, sincere in my action, brave in my communication and to live a life that will testify that I am a Christian.

"They'll know we are Christians by our love."

He loves you because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you. He didn't need any other reason.

I love you.

Where we're at.

on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, I have left this far too long. I kept meaning to get back to updating the blog, but honetly just haven't been intentional enough to get down to it.

We left Nicaragua one month ago today. Wow, I just had to figure that out in my head and can't believe that much time has passed already. On April 6th, we flew into San Francisco and a great new friend brought us back up to Redding 24 hours after leaving Nica. It was a long day. Some more great friends left a house key for us when they left for spring break so we got to enjoy their beautiful home along with some peace and quiet, a fun puppy and a wonderfully comfortable king sized bed. It was a fun week, reconnecting with friends, getting in a couple services and meetings, sampling some of our old favourites (Yak's coffee, In N Out burgers, Trader Joe's treats). It was such a joy to have dinner here, coffee there, friends in. Felt so go to be loved and known again. You know what I mean?

After a week of fun we were back to the gruelling chore of travel. Not exactly how I would normally describe it being that I have loved travel so much, but another 24 hours straight felt like a lot! We were in the Redding train station at 3:30am, pulled into Seattle at 8pm and then, with the assistance of our gracious chauffeur, Amie Edwards,  drove on to Kelowna, arriving at 2am. It was so good to feel like "We're here!". Ahhhhh, on solid ground ... at least for a season.

So yes, We are here, in Kelowna. We have been enjoying the company and hospitality of our extended family, the Edwards. The company never gets old :) Many a night spent staying up way too late talking about this and that, sometimes nothing much. It's almost like there is this little fear in each of the four of us that we will miss something if we go to bed before everyone else ... like being the first one to hang up on a phone call. Lots of life giving, friendship .. Like an endless sleepover. LOL We are so thankful for Jamie and Amie.

So what's next you may ask? Haha, well, that is exactly the question. Graeme has been invited back to Nicaragua to do some teaching for a couple weeks. We are not sure when that will happen, but intend on making it a priority. As far as the rest of us? ... and the rest of the year? Well, the last word of direction we received from the Lord was that this year was not going to be an improvisation even though it might feel like it. That God has pre-ordained .. divinely orchestrated it. So, in light of that word and the fact that it is constantly feeling like improvisation, we are trying to lean in ... lay our ears on his heart and try to get our direction from the whispers we hear in the spirit. Every move feels like a risk and at the same time it feels like we can't go wrong. Such a strange tension to be caught in.

For now we have a plan :) ... to stay in Kelowna until June 5th. My nephew is graduating and we want to be here to hoot and holler from the audience for him when he marches across the stage. Every good kid needs a thoroughly embarrassing family to sing his praises at such a moment. We have felt that this would be a good time to burden? ... grace? .. haha another household with our presence. As long as they're ready for us, we look forward to taking full advantage of the hospitality of Graeme's parents and his sister Wendy and her family in Irricana, Alberta. We are still listening to whispers and trying to catch the drum beat of heaven for the exact timing of the next stage.

There are more plans and hopes to head North to Whitehorse, not sure of exactly when or for how long, but again, ear to His heart. Learning to be lead on the trail marked by grace. So far we have seen grace for a stop in Edmonton and some time at a camp in the Yukon for the kids. They are really looking forward to it and time with their cousins.

Well, this update was a long time coming and I'm sorry to those of you who have been left in the dark. I'm going to try to be better at updating this in the future. I go through inspired seasons and dry ones, I hope in all seasons that it's still a good read ... haha.