from an article originally posted September 25, 2014…
We crowded our table with families that are partnering with us in life, in brokenness, in limping together to the gospel and looking to our dear Jesus together. Last night we all braved hard, shared burdens, admitted to the struggles we have faced and by God’s amazing grace come through. We shared the edges and the fog within which we all still struggle. We ended in prayer, and by the end my spine and my hip were screaming in such pain I had to leave the room. Tears were coming on their own as the pain was so great.
Then the kids ran upstairs and quickly readied for bed and came eagerly to my room to hear the end of Harry Potter. I was grumpy and struggling with angry edges from the great pain. I looked desperately at my kids and said I couldn’t. I saw a deep disappointment in their faces. But all at once, the pain lessened. I called the kids to return, and I repented my unkindness. Then we all snuggled close and listened to the end of our book. There is a stunning part I have to share. Harry could not understand why he was not destroyed. Destroyed as a baby, and destroyed as he faced Voldemort. And the answer Albus Dumbledore gives him is stunning. I could hardly choke out the words. Because the words are also my words, my hope, my love.
Harry asks: Why couldn’t Quirrell touch me?
Dumbledore sweetly answers, Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign.... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marred by something so good.
Isn’t that beautiful? Though this is obviously a fantasy story, it rings of truth. Love changes us, it changes those we extent our love to, it is amazing the power it has to change a hardened heart. Love, simple love matters. But we must allow ourselves to first be loved well by Jesus, and from that knowing, receiving, accepting the generous, undeserved love of God, we can brave loving the hardest of hearts. Love—I don’t think I’ll ever come to an end of talking about it. Love and repentance. What a gift they both are. Jesus showed up last night. He helped back off the pain, helped me repent my snappy attitude, and move in love. It’s a fight. It’s not simple. No, hard things never are. But worthy, how worthy is a life fighting for love.
Trust me, friends, I write a lot about love and kindness. I write so often because I need reminding. I can get lost in my own sorrow, my own fears and shame. I can become consumed with my own story and forget to look for moments to meet another in their story. I may write about these lovely moments, but I struggle just like you to fight my own desires, my own selfishness, my own pain to meet another in love. I love comfort just like you. I love ease just like you. I love quiet and peace. I love it. Some days forget to fight for kindness so I come here to be reminded to look for love to fight for kindness to remember my great calling to love BIG as a mama is able to love. To press past my own strength in loving and my own limitations in loving and move into God’s big abundant love. That’s the love that will last, that will sustain my loves. Passing on the love of God—it’s bigger than my limp and selfish love. That BIG love will go on forever and ever, amen. I blow it often, but in that place there is repentance and forgiveness. May you meet them both today.