Love is a funny little thing… It’s written about, experimented with, it breaks young hearts, it drives people to do courageous things. LOVE.
And for a Christian, it is the center of all we do. Love God. Love others. Love self. That’s it. Love is powerful. Love changes people’s circumstances.
Love changes both the one receiving and the one loving.
Love is crazy. It is risky.
It is painful.
But if one thing I’ve learned, it is this:
To hurt deeply, means you have loved deeply. And there’s no greater privilege on earth than that.
With one, comes the other. To accept one without the other isn’t really love, it’s just comfort.
Why all the talk about this little thing called LOVE? What I’m about to share with you is wrapped up in love. Love is weaved in and out and through it. There’s no story I could share now, if it hadn’t been for LOVE.
A long time ago… I met a young man. He stole my heart.
We dreamed of life together. We got married.
We chased dreams, and dreams chased us.
We had babies, both with surprise and plan. We were in love.
One day our dreams were exchanged for God’s. We adopted a little boy from Ethiopia. We moved to Texas. Hearts changed and grew through pain of leaving family, but seeing that God’s family is BIG and His love was BIG. We made friends and loved our little life. 3 years later, God did something else.
This love grew in our hearts to the point of explosion.
The burning was deep, and the calling was clear.
We had sleepless nights, and long conversations. Sometimes we were sick to our stomachs with fear of the unknown. .
Somehow, HIS LOVE MADE US BRAVE.
Without doubt, we sold almost everything we owned. God loved us through people who went above and beyond. Their love enabled us to go.
With tears, 3 small children and 13 bags… we walked through the security gates in the Atlanta airport and I waved goodbye to my family and everything familiar, and I followed that young man I married, who was now fully man.
While it felt scary, the LOVE was greater than the fear.
HE was with us.
I hung onto every promise and truth, and I found that it was exactly that. TRUE.
The African dust settled, and things that were so unfamiliar and uncomfortable quickly became comfortable and normal.
I followed this man around, and trusted him to show me the “hows” and the “whys”. He did that. We were able to LOVE and be LOVED.
The people from the community began to see that our LOVE was real, and deep, and helpful, and strong, and from Jesus Christ himself. Our love grew, and so did theirs.
We kept loving, even when we didn’t know how.
We made the choice to love.
And so we did. We loved each other when it wasn’t easy.
We loved others when we wanted to quit.
He loved me when I was in despair. I loved him when he was spent.
Somehow, Love was also crazy.
And this crazy love brought us the gift of 2 more sons. Not in baby form, but in the form of preadolescent bodies.
And Love kept us fighting for them.
HIS love is relentless, never gives up, and is full of HOPE.
That’s the place we must love from.
Together, we have loved over 370 students… their caregivers… our staff… our team.
LOVE has come in the form of sitting with grieving parents as they mourn their children on the dirt floor of their home.
LOVE looks like holding ones crying from the grief of loosing a brother or sister. LOVE advocates for those who can’t… and gets them the care they desperately deserve.
LOVE speaks life giving truth into a child’s mind, not once, but continually until they believe it.
LOVE is allowing your family to become theirs.
LOVE takes a risk… and forgives that child who has messed up… AGAIN AND AGAIN…
LOVE scoops up the sick off the hard ground and carries them to the doctor. LOVE corrects and disciplines the children going astray. LOVE forgives… quickly and fully.
LOVE goes after the ones who have lost their way.
We’ve seen the power of LOVE transform… hearts, minds, behaviors. We’ve seen the courage of LOVE literally change the entire future of a person.
All of that with a little thing called LOVE. The greatest thing about true LOVE is that it is never a ONE WAY STREET.
The LOVE that I’ve received, is by far the most valuable of it’s kind.
LOVE in the form of letter, or paper watch, or art.
LOVE in the form of a student giving me an encouraging word from the Bible, LOVE from those across the Ocean who were willing to do almost anything to love us.
LOVE in the form of visiting and LOVING the ones WE LOVE.
LOVE in the form of note by your own son.
LOVE through giving whatever they have.
LOVE through acts of service.
And the LOVE of my husband when I wasn’t really LOVABLE at all.
Never be confused that LOVE only flows outward. It is a continual river running, being fed by LOVE so that it can run with LOVE. That’s God’s creative way.
And now, LOVE is asking me to do the hardest thing of all.
5 years of deep, deep LOVE.
Something that no one could ever explain unless you have walked it yourself. To me, 5 years seems so small. But the past 5 years have taught me more about LOVE than the 31 previously.
This man, whom I adore and will spend the rest of my life with, is being led to walk down a new road. Only, this time… He feels it, and I do not. That is a first for us.
It is like my head knows what my heart is incapable of feeling.
So, in June of this year… our family will once again be selling the small items we have acquired… and once again leave the place that has now become so familiar, so much a part of WHO WE ARE… The place where God did miraculous and wonderful things, and we will start to look forward to yet another adventure.
And I will follow this now life-experienced and seasoned man. The one who kills snakes and navigates the African countryside. This man who was so brave to say YES to God and YES to LOVING in such a crazy way!
I will follow that man.
I will continue to trust the same God who has been with us through snakes, malaria, medical evacuations, adoption roadblocks, ever-growing and changing projects, the God who spared my sons life…
Yes. I will trust THAT God.
The coming was hard. The going unbearable.
I can’t speak for the road ahead, for it is unknown. It is the first time we have walked this way. We can only hold on to what we know to be true…
(HIS) LOVE never fails. LOVE is always worth it.