I actually titled and began to write this post on Friday (January 27th), but I ended up writing a different blog instead. The title is the same as what I had – I just saved it as a draft. I’ve wanted to write about this and have had it on my heart for many months now. It gradually began hitting me in late December (after the time I wrote But now, Lord, what do I look for?… and Broken But Open). I guess God needed to do a bit more in my heart on this particular area before I fully engaged in writing its contents, because I’ve wept quite a bit lately and had quite a few situations arise that seemed to go hand-in-hand with what’s been on my heart. The Holy Spirit certainly came in and did a number on more than just my heart since January, so it’s apparent that God had/has a purpose for what He’s been doing – even if it doesn’t all make sense at this point.

There’s something unique about my family that I haven’t yet seen anywhere else or amongst other families I’ve come in contact with. Something that stretches even beyond how close we are. We fight for each other. I’m not meaning like fight on behalf of; I’m talking about fighting for the others’ relationship in general. We pursue each other. We are still human and hurt each other on various occasions and because we are so close and know each other well – we know right where things can hurt the most and in our flesh we can cut right to the quick. Yet God then humbles us and we often realize our faults (not always), which then makes us still fight for and run after the person even if they’ve hurt us or we’ve hurt them. We forgive and move on which then cultivates a deeper love for that person. In all the years we’ve lived with and known the other – we still go deeper and desire to draw even closer together.

This phenomenon has a lot to do with my parents and the way in which they desired their family to be. They were and are really incredible vessels that the Lord uses in a mighty way. It baffles me often how the Lord moved in our lives the way He did and does to keep my family close. Somehow, as the Lord guided our lives, hearts, circumstances, etc. – and as we listened to Him as He would speak through our parents, for the most part my siblings and I learned and developed this pursuant nature. So many people don’t know quite how to describe my family and are left to the limitations of the word – “intense”. If you know us, there’s no doubting how tight knit we are… I credit my parents and the Lord for this. I wish I could honor my parents more for being such vessels.

Since this pursuant nature is a big part of our character, it tends to bleed into other areas of our lives though as well. We place high value on any relationships and deem them worthy enough to fight for. It’s so foreign to us if/when a person high-tails it, runs away, or escapes having to face an issue – especially when it comes to a relationship. When we’re pushed away, we tend to push in harder and figure out new ways to get back to that relationship. My Dad is a key component to this. He doesn’t quit and his example of persistence and perseverance are pieces of his character that have always resonated within my heart and impacted my life in every area. It takes courage, heart, perseverance and true unconditional love to fight for someone, especially when they may not fight for you back. I rarely see this in other people anymore.

Most people spend their lives not taking the risk. They’d rather not risk their heart being crushed, the pain of facing someone or finding out that they may not care for you back. It’s scary to really fight for and pursue someone, because that kind of love is risky. It’s taking you to the end of YOU. The end of your comfort zone. It makes you have to put yourself aside and let go of your rights, hurts/resentments, and control. You then have to be vulnerable. And who likes to be vulnerable? So many would rather hold onto their control, pride, and self. Yet, people who don’t risk and who just go through life this way are missing something much more here…

Jesus Christ on the Cross was vulnerable… He risked this kind of love. He’s the only one I know who really loves this way always, unfailingly, and unconditionally. He fought for and continues to fight for us. He always pursues us. When we push Him away, He gently tries to move in deeper while still giving us the free will to choose Him. He’s persistent and perseveres. Despite how we hurt Him, He still comes after us. So to me if you aren’t risking your heart, your rights, your control… and if you aren’t being carried beyond yourself to fight for and pursue someone else, willing to die for them as Jesus died for us – then you aren’t really loving… are you? What are you really fighting for then?

I’ve been challenged by God a lot recently about how I love and what I’m actually fighting for in this life. He keeps bringing me back to the simplicity of Love and living a life of Love. REAL LOVE… not this pseudo-love that society talks about or movies shove down our throats. The love that is so big that it is severely painful to our own self. Where’s that kind of love? I’ve found it fully and wholly in only one Man, but I’ve seen evidence of it many times in people who serve and want this One Man, Jesus. That’s the only way I’ve seen it.

When I wrote those two other entries mentioned in the first paragraph, I was hurting. Then, God started showing me that I needed to move beyond myself to fight for and love someone. I had to risk facing disappointment, rejection, more pain, etc. to even just attempt to get back a relationship – a human one that meant no guarantees. The Lord was putting me in a vulnerable situation.

I’ve shared this quote from Oswald Chambers before… but it still applies here.

If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love. If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all. It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.

Have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it at all beyond the fact that I love Him?

My Utmost for His Highest

Like I said, lately the Lord keeps bringing me back to love… true, raw, unfailing, never-ending freeing love… the kind of love that sacrifices unto death (even if not literal death, but death of personal rights, opinions, control, and pride). If I go about my life living in my own little world, not risking the pain of intense love, then is the love of God even in me? If I do not love (FOR REAL) then am I following Christ and allowing Him to change my heart? If I do not fight for and pursue my relationships with the people in my life as a result of my pursuit of my relationship with Jesus – where am I really or what’s the point? Who am I really serving in this life?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:7-21

Do not fight for independence. Do not fight for your rights. Do not fight for your opinions. Do not fight for success. Do not fight for anything that isn’t worth the fight…

What am I fighting for these days? I’m fighting for Love. I’m fighting TO Love. I’m fighting for the relationships that God has placed in my life. Pushing past the “comfort” of my rights as a sister, daughter, grand-daughter and friend… I’m not entitled to be loved. I’m already LOVED more completely (and am still undeserving) by a Man who loves perfectly. And if I am called to this Man – I am therefore am called to love, no matter what – even if the love is not reciprocated. I do not always actively live this out… but the Lord is showing me more how He does things. The Jesus kind of love is unlike anything on the planet. It’s love in its purest raw form… you and I are loved that way, so let’s live it and spread it around by His grace and the Holy Spirit. Let’s fight for this, to show this Man’s love to everyone. And you can start at home… with the people closest to you. Do not negate that responsibility and that call to love.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. – Mother Teresa