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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

When Does Love Come?

It's the kind of love that makes me say, "I don't want to get out of bed" when it's cold outside and we're all tucked like sardines into a jumbo tent, and the kids start wriggling, but I do it anyway. I wonder when I'll grow into a person whose first instinct isn't always the selfish one, when pulling covers tighter to my chin isn't what I'd rather do than dress a chilly child for a hike to the bathroom, when I won't silently wish I could eat a meal when I'm hungry before serving six other gaping mouths like baby birds.

When does love come naturally?

My fingers are so swollen I have to retype the words over and over. Camping and cold and hours of loading and unloading boxes and children and duffel bags has angered my friend Fibromyalgia, who lingered quietly in recent months until today, when she roars and thrashes and my whole self aches under her influence. There are bananas on the table but all I can really think about is coffee, even while reading Corinthians.

Even Scripture doesn't cure my selfishness today and I don't pray that He overcome it either because I know deep that this is the sort of prayer that is answered through opportunity to practice and that annoys me at the moment. I have enough opportunities to practice. They are all here snoozing in rhythmic breath on inflatable mattresses, tucked in tight and clean after bathing all five assembly line style in the cold camp shower and making our way back in the dark. They yawn and stretch and bed head prevails, and all today's quiet moments have already been spent, but all I want is coffee still.

I'd keep them asleep a day long if I could, to ponder the lake and whisper to God, counting ripples in the water like the way these moments matter, these daily choices to wrap up littles in love when I'd rather be alone, when I'm tired and sore and wishing for peace.

When does love come naturally?


  1. Maybe when we're very, very old and understand in all different ways: God gives us children to wear off our rough edges and make us better, more patient, and just more in general.

  2. 'Tis why we need Him, friend. Eh? continually. Always. Forever. The hard love is amazing grace at it's purest. Receive it. Bask in it. The freedom to struggle.

    {Hugs} to you today.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this....it's nice to know that I am not alone. Sometimes my own selfishness terrifies me as we prepare for this foster care journey....thank your for your bravery not only to do what you do but to share the real of the feelings inside the process. I love you, my friend....

  4. Spending time on
    the downside of love is always hard. It (the love) is coming naturally,
    only this time the one in need is you, and time and circumstance are saying,
    'Not yet.' Love for the littles isn't some kind of monolithic tarpaulin
    that either is there or isn't; it's more like a piece of music that goes up and
    down--and has pauses. Not all arpeggios but sometimes rests. I hope you find
    some coffee! Blessed be.

  5. SphenicAtaraxy51July 6, 2012 at 11:59 AM


  6. In my experience, love is often a sacrifice of what I want and that isn't a natural behaviour. And that longing for time alone when your kids need you 24/7 is the hardest season of life. Mine are teens and now they don't need me as much and it feels weird. Hope you have had some quiet moments of filling up in the camping out.

  7. Oh, how I ache for you as I read these words. Love came to me through the very trials I wished and prayed away a million times - my own cancer, my daughter's brushes with death, the loss of a dear babe my arms ached to hold this side of heaven. I had to come to the brink of losing it all to let God break me and remold me, show me what was truly important. To root perfectionism out of me, to make me accept the messes and my failures and unwrap my tight grasp from all I held dear - my sanity, my time alone, my "spiritual life", my homemaking, my hospitality, my church, my relationships outside my family, my intellectual pursuits. I had to go through the ugliness of being in the cocoon and the humbleness of being a caterpillar to grow into the butterfly He's made of me today. And just this morning, reading the Psalms, He broke my heart all over again in the words of chapter 73: "All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, "I will speak thus", I would have betrayed the generation of your children...when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant, I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me in glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

    I cannot love without Him. I never would have gotten to where I am if He hadn't allowed these great pains to enter my life. Even so, it is when I am weakest - when all the side effects of cancer, which is now in remission, barrel down on me and leave me wasted in bed - that I still push these dear children away, and I lay in bed ashamed and broken, because I KNOW NOW this is exactly what I do not want to do! I pray that I can say, with the Apostle Paul, at least that "the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing". That I get better and better at this every day, this conquering of the flesh and giving of the soul and spirit.

    So glad I found you, a kindred spirit of afar, through Tanya Marlow's FF on Twitter! Peace be unto you, dear new friend!


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.