Thursday, October 13, 2016

Untempered Love.

About three weeks ago I read something that changed my entire view of love, the sentence was simple but the words mighty. Suddenly, years of thoughts, experiences and decisions all clicked into place and I finally had the words to describe the way I had been feeling. The quote was discussing the concepts of untempered love. What a weighty duo those words are, love unphased by the very beings, circumstances and situations it finds itself in.

Here was the quote I stumbled upon on the sidebar of my study that Tuesday everything became clearer.

“What’s life if we never love others past the rational sensibilities of our self-protection.” -Beth Moore

The art of untempered love, there it is, this is the very thing I feel I have been looking for. Instantly there were two people in my life that I owed this kind of love.

The one I could see needed it the most was, birth mom. If ever I could maximize the art of untempered love it would be here, with her. As foster parents it is easy and often more comfortable to assume the worst about these parents. In many ways to merely shrug them as less than and unimportant. Loving these babies who have been through hell is easy, loving the people who put them through it, not so much. The wounds my babies carry around from birth mom’s choices ignite in my soul, Mama Bear. I have said this before, the tricky part is in order to love my babies well, I must love their parents well, it is the essence of what foster care is about. The essence of healing, refinement and restoration.

Love is messy, we describe it as war, illness and power. The example of a child, my kiddos love their parents, despite all they went through. My crew can still love them, if they can, do I get the choice to not love them? Along the road to adulthood we collect wounds, we get hurt, heartbroken and failed. These broken places in our souls are where self protection is born. We retreat, set rules, act out, pull back and eject from relationships because we fear the vulnerability.

Loving beyond self protection is the very essence of foster care. When I began this journey almost three years ago it was scary and the cost of this endeavor was all of my heart. I counted the cost, no control, all the risk. I knew that this could potentially cost me everything and at times I discovered it did. Yet, one sweet gift I discovered was over time the love poured out but there seemed to be a never ending supply.

Jesus was the greatest example of what love truly looked like. He loved well, He spoke and the very waves responded, His very touch was healing to the weary souls around Him. He left a legacy of love. He walked into a room and it feel silent not out of fear but because His very presence exuded love, that is power. He was the best example for loving with the sensibilities of self protection.

Distinguishing between self protection and boundaries is a very complex thing, they are closely related. Love with boundaries is taking the history of my relationship with the person. The things I know to be true and setting a perimeter around how deep I will allow this person to infiltrate my heart and exactly how much emotional energy I will give that person. I love them well, without draining my emotional cup and allowing room for grace and growth.Loving beyond the sensibilities of my own self protection is being aware of how it could play out, assessing the risk in it and realizing the challenge of it all, yet still embracing it wholeheartedly. 

Our world has lost sight of where power lies, not in money, careers, possessions or popularity, but in love. It is the ultimate game changer and if only we could use love to heal our wounds instead of weapons, words or walls we could see such change. We can begin the revolution my friends, first in our world and relationships. 

Untempered, unphased, unchanging love, is possible. It is a daily practice, loving well in small ways until you get used to the idea. Ultimately you will find healing in the midst of learning how to love well, that is a beautiful thing. The very act of giving it away creates more space for it, like some kind of cool emotional science experiment.

My dear friends, let us set aside the rules, expectations and requirements for love and instead love well. Let us love those who don’t deserve it, don’t need it and don’t want it, the strangers, the broken, the ones who hurt us and the ones who desert us. Let it change your mindset, ignite your soul and fuel your daily choices. Let our mantra be untempered love, that we may love well and be loved.

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