I have been hurt by Love.
No, I haven't been hurt by romance. I haven't experienced falling in love in a romantic relationship only to have the other person change their mind and let my heart go. I do have friends who have been hurt by love in this way and I have seen second-hand the pain they have endured.
But the hurt that I am referring to is different.
My heart has a deep capacity to love. That love causes me to attach very strongly to the things and people I love and when those things I love are lost or taken from me, my heart bleeds from the holes that the losses leave.
I don't remember being hurt much by love in my childhood or teen years. Of course, I wasn't much of a risk-taker back then either. During that time, I saved the majority of my love and the depth of my love for members of my family.
When I started college, however, things changed. I started to experience the freedom of giving away my love to others outside of my family. Not just giving my love as an act of service or ministry, but giving my love and receiving others love in a way that bound my heart with others.
I experienced a depth of friendships I had never known. I experienced the presence of Jesus in my life closer than ever before, and I experienced giving my full heart to the man I fell in love with. I discovered to an even greater degree how beautiful love is.
But it didn't take long for me to discover the intensity of pain that love can bring. It is true what Much-Afraid said that, "... if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can."
Those that I love didn't mean to intentionally cause me pain. And those things that I loved such as security, unity, and ease had no control over the fact that my heart was hurt when I lost those things. Life happens.
Disappointments, changes, and new relational roles in my family brought confusion and pain.
The loss of a friendship that I never imagined my life without left sadness.
The loss of community and purpose I experienced at my old church left me in a season of brokenness.
The loss of my grandpa and my grandma tore out my heart and shook my foundation.
The loss of my unborn baby has threatened my ability to dare hope for what I long for in my future.
Yes, Love - and the giving away of my love - has caused me pain.
And now I can't help but wonder if all my pains, which were caused by my love, are keeping me from receiving the abundant Love of Jesus. The Love from Him that I used to receive so freely. The Love from Him that I used to receive without question.
I am realizing now, that because of my losses and the pain they have caused, I have begun to question if He truly loves me in the way I thought He did. This has made it difficult for me to approach Him with the freedom I used to enjoy. And thus, I have been kept from an abundant walk of joy with Him.
As I type this, I see now (if only a little glimmer) the reason God came down and died upon a cross for humankind. He loved us so much that He wanted to restore broken creation and, more importantly, restore perfect relationship with Him.
The pains I experienced were not God's fault. The pains are the result of the brokenness of creation and the sin that is so ever-present in the world.
But God can use my pains.
Just as He is now using them to show me more of the depth of WHY He came to die.
He came to make things right.
He came to make things new.
He came to cleanse those who would receive Him from sin.
He came to show us that It Is Happy To Love when we realize that He IS Love.
Even still, I look forward to the day when I reach the place where there will be no more pain as the result of my love.
As His Word says in Revelation 21:4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things will be gone forever."
Thank you, Jesus!