I thought it would be so easy, come so naturally; if I had dreamed about it since I was a little girl, how could loving well not be natural?
But the heart of a mama and wife wars daily with the selfish heart of me and there are moments that I wonder when this heart of mine will finally land and stake a claim fully on one side or the other.
The sin nature runs deep and can so quickly mar a day.
I can sit at a table with coffee cup in hand and listen to the conversations around me while feeling totally and utterly like I will never belong,
I can feel like I’m too much for one group and not enough for another and by the time the quiet of a day rolls around, my heart is broken and I can feel like I will never quite fit in.
I can hear the news of my home country and hold the coins of my current one in the palm of my hand and both feel equally foreign and I wonder when one or the other will truly hold my allegiance.
And the chronic tension I feel between the white of my skin and the comfort I feel around the Hispanic community we have come to love. There is still so much I don’t understand, and so much of the language I butcher and what happens when you don’t feel like you really fit in with either race or community?
How do you begin to love well when you don’t even fit in well anywhere?
The car was loud as we headed home this evening, after the chai I ordered was too strong and one of my four was car sick for the first time. After the man standing on the side of the road smiled at me as he picked up his pins and walked into the intersection and began to juggle for change. Most of my small brood was singing loudly and off-key as I drove into a bright sun and squinted away tears…
And as they played in the yard, I sank down onto the couch and suddenly realized that He lived in tension too –
The One Who spoke creation into existence, Who is nothing like us but became like us. The One Who lived and loved perfectly in the middle of the tension of not belonging to the world, but being in it – Jesus understands.
So how does one begin to love well when there doesn’t seem to be a space to fit into well?
By drawing close to Him – by realizing that without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit living and moving and breathing inside of my soul, there will be no love to bridge the gaps my quirks and oddities and sin create.
Because the much larger picture is that my sin created an uncross-able chasm that left me hopeless and helpless and never able to fit in with His perfection; until that rough and blood-stained cross held His body there and His sacrifice filled in the gap my sinfulness created.
So how do I love well? By looking to the One Who Modeled Love.
And by clinging to the One Who calls me His own.
Maybe You allow the tension so that the sense of belonging never really settles in – maybe You create spaces like this to keep us longing for our true home with You. Maybe the restlessness deep in a soul keeps us chasing after something until we realize that the something we are after is really a Someone and that Someone is You.
You Modeled love while you lived in the middle of the tension of not belonging. Unfathomable power and majesty wrapped in bones and blood and dust and whether or not your skin felt too tight, You loved in powerful ways regardless of the otherness of You.
So You said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. And how did You love? Sacrificially, selflessly, gently, confrontationally, and perfectly. You modeled a love that loved in the middle of the not-belonging-places and it was the otherness of that not-belonging that drew others to You.
That tension is what gives Your Love a vibrancy, an urgency, a mark of something different.
And it’s Your Love that can heal all of those gaps that my sin has ravaged through.
Love through me as the sun begins to rise again, when little faces push their noses against my own in early morning hours, when a husband leans against me and presses in close, when friends and strangers and random street jugglers raise their eyes for a handful of Hope…let it be You they see in the middle of my learning to walk in the tension of belonging to You, My Sovereign God.