Anne blogs at Front Porch, Inspired about surrendering everyday living for sacred purposes. She and her husband, Jay, are founders of a ministry called The Bridge, focusing on missional living and advocacy for youth in vulnerable places of life. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (TESOL and Spanish) and is a lover of words and the Word, culture and communication. Jay and Anne have five kids, a front door that can’t stay closed, and an abundance of messy, holy chaos at their neighborhood center/home in Iowa – of all places.
So, my world started spinning at a different speed last Wednesday around 3:20 in the afternoon. We got this phone call, and then there was talk of this little one - and would we provide her a home for now?
Love walked up my front porch that same evening, a brave little one with a bag of clothes and nice ladies on either side.
A few days later, a stranger asked me if “they told us how long it would be?” And, my own ears were stunned to hear my lips reply:
“Naw, there’s no time frame. We just sign up to give our hearts away.”
(Is that what I did, Lord? Signed up to give my heart away?)
Because only a week or so ago I was writing about being willing to invest deeply in relationships and not just watch from my window. At the time, I was sure that post was a reflection of countless heart-batterings - not a prediction of more.
But, here I am. My home open. My heart exposed.
I will love. I will hurt. I will laugh. I will cry. There is nothing but uncertainty and unknown on the horizon. Of that, only that, I am certain.
Real love wiggles its way into our comfort zones, into our quiet routines, into our “me-time” and turns it all upside down, doesn’t it? Love changes us until we hardly recognize ourselves. Because, it’s not our love - not our human affection or good intentions that cause us to labor on another’s behalf, or open our hearts, or stay in the mess with a fellow pit-dweller.
It’s only God’s love, raging through us like a mighty river, that can reach another soul.
It pushes and flows and pours out of our willingness. His love gushes out of our deep places, places touched by His hand alone. It’s only source? Springs of thanksgiving and fountains of realization of what I truly am apart from His relentless love for me. For my own goodness will never last, will never be Steadfast. My best efforts will never achieve enough.
It is only in clinging with desperate gratefulness to His cross alone do we find sufficient grace to love others well.
And, this torrent of His love through us towards another - it leaves no heart-stone untouched. No carefully constructed boundaries can withstand its force. No pretense of nice, human love can contain it. And, no structure can control it.
For this I know: this river, if given free reign, will change everything. There is no holding back.
So now, it’s a little one on my lap, head on my shoulder.
Friend, maybe you too find yourself cupping your beating heart today, raw and vulnerable? Maybe there's one before you too - in your arms, in your family picture, in your thoughts.
Do you feel the sandbags around your heart straining, threatening to cave to this torrent of His? The waters are rising. It’s time to let go, to let His love flow through us, whatever the cost. Certainly, our hearts will be rearranged, and their landscape will never, ever look the same.
Even so. Today, let's be caught up in His current of life and power, a current that rushes through us, eroding our fears and pride and Self. It's the current of His mighty, relentless love that moves from Him, through us, and to another soul. May we be willing today to love well, to leave another drenched in His love and soaked with His care.
And, God? Please guard our hearts so we don’t have to.