Friday, March 6, 2015

Faith expressed through love

The only thing that counts is faith expressed through love Galatians 5:6

My son is singing. In his sleepy sweet voice he is crooning "grown ups come back". He has an unbreakable faith that those he loves come back to him. Mom,Dad, Nanny, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Hudson, Brett the cat. These people love him, therefore they will come back. I am in awe, and finally get the goal of child like faith.

I never believed people came back. I was distraught to see them leave and sure they wouldn't return. I lived in constant terror of losing my family and being alone. The roots of my anxiety disorder are pretty clear. I still live two minutes from my Mom and see her almost everyday. I still get anxious when we travel apart from each other.

This fear has impacted my faith. If you believe you will be abandoned, you will always be looking for the "good enough" balance. I did this great thing, so they will stay, but I also was bad so they will leave. You need the right balance to ensure security. Don't mess up or bad thing will happen and you will be alone and worthless.

I learned this as the daughter and step-daughter of two emotionally abusive fathers. They both gave and took love based on inconsistent and petty whims. They both used their words to hurt and manipulate. They used anger to control, and they both left. At 16, I determined that I couldn't balance the scale for a God whose love would only turn out to mirror my fathers. I wasn't worth loving.

I was a failure. An ugly failure. An ugly, fat, failure. I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to earn the love I wanted. Then I married a man who knew my worst secrets and loved me in spite of them. I begin to wonder if I knew anything.

I spent the beginning of my marriage waiting for him to leave. Waiting to tip the balance, waiting to be proven unlovable. He told me he wasn't leaving. He worked through the rough patches, held me while I cried, he had faith in us and he expressed it by continuing to love me when I didn't deserve it.

There is no "good enough " balance. All that matters is faith expressed through love. My husbands love impacted my faith. If I believed that God brought me Justin, then I had to believe He could offer me the same love.

I had to come to the Cross with the same faith my son carries everyday. Jesus was always there for me because He loves me. His love makes my faith possible, and that faith grows when I allow the Spirit to teach me to love.

A girl so like me returned to my life a day after I asked God to give me someone to share His love with. She is struggling to fight demons and be good enough. Unlike my son, her faith in those who should love her was shattered a long time ago. She lies, and runs, and manipulates. She cries, and begs for help, and I have a longing to love her. A fierce desire to protect her. She isn't my child, and the help I offer is small, but I love her. I have no scale. I can only offer love.

Of course I feel the same love for my son, but that love was born with him. This love came to me in an assurance of faith. This is Jesus using me to show how big His heart is. This is faith expressed through love. I am not good enough to love like this on my own. Scarred hands softly make my heart bigger and through that my faith grows. Loving this child is a gift.

I am not an exceptionally good or loving person. Anyone can have this love. Anyone can feel this joy. Anyone can be this hopeful. Anyone can revel in this faith. Ask for it. You don't need anything else. Jesus will do the rest. Your faith will grow when you accept His love. It will explode when you share it. No scales. No good enough. Just faith expressed through love.

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