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Love has open hands

October 26, 2014

Love is expensive stuff.  And you can take that statement to the bank.  If you’re going to love—really love—it’s going to cost you.  And sooner or later, it will cost you big.

When it costs you big, that’s when you discover the quality of your love.  If your version of love is impatient, selfish, or conditional, you won’t want to make good on that price tag.  You either refuse to pay up, or you’ll do it begrudgingly.

As I sit here typing, I am aching from the cost.  Because today, love was really expensive.  It cost me something very, very dear to me.

It costs me my church family and my pastors.

This church, these people, these pastors, are gloriously imperfect and deeply beloved, just as I am the same.  But we’ve sought the presence of the Lord together.  We’ve laughed together, cried together, eaten together, dreamed together, prayed together.

But eventually, Love whispered to our pastors and said “Will you go?”

And Love whispered to the rest of us and said “Will you let them go?”

Our hearts all broke together.  They did not want to go.  We did not want to let them.

But Love asked.  How could any of us say no?

My heart quickly reminded me that a thing can’t be taken from you if you willingly give it.  I knew in an instant that this had to be my deepest response, deeper than my tears (there have been plenty), deeper than the pain.  And so I chose to send them with love and blessing.  The rest of my church family chose the same.

It doesn’t feel good.  It really hurts, because this has been one of the sweetest, most fruitful seasons of growth I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, and I don’t feel ready to leave it.  But there is peace in it, and joy too…because I am sending my best offering.  No second-rate goods here.

Our last gathering was this morning.  There will be no replacement pastors.  As an organization, the church has disbanded.  As an organism, it is alive in our hearts, bound together by the same Spirit beyond space and time, and we all carry that life with us as we each face forward and begin to move into the next new normal…whatever that may be.

I don’t know what’s next for the Sparky people.  I feel a little adrift.  Ok…a lot adrift.  But God has something in mind, surely.  And I walk out of this church very different from the person who walked, or maybe the better word is crawled, in almost two years ago.

Love is the only thing that can break a heart like this.  But avoiding pain is really choosing to avoid love, and that’s a different kind of expensive.  That’s a price I’m not willing to pay.

So Jesus…You filled my life with wealth so that I could then turn around and pour it out for You.  You gave me good things so that I could be generous in Your kingdom.

Do it again, Lord.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kip permalink
    October 26, 2014 10:25 pm

    Just out of curiosity, why do all you Christians post only the beginning of each article so the reader has to click on your site directly to read the whole thing? Are you Christians really that concerned that you get more “traffic”? It actually works out the other way. Most people simply ignore articles that are posted this way.

    • October 26, 2014 10:27 pm

      Actually, my settings are supposed to show the entire article, not an excerpt. If it’s showing up in some other way, I’m not aware of it. But I’m pretty sure the choice to use excerpts isn’t limited to Christians. :)

  2. October 27, 2014 9:26 am

    “Us Christians” have no control over what WordPress does. (???!!!) This was a beautiful post and I could tell how much you are hurting over the disbanning of your church organization. I hope you will find a church home that is equally as fulfilling as this one. XXOO

    • October 27, 2014 10:50 am

      Thank you. I so appreciate that. It’s a tall order and I need God to adjust my vision so that I don’t just compare everything to what I had. New means new, and I hope that means that I’ll have the best of what I had PLUS some new things that will both bless me and allow me to be a blessing.

      • October 27, 2014 12:58 pm

        I understand what you are saying about not comparing the new to the old. It is almost impossible not to do so. I have high hopes that you will be pleased. :) with the new.

    • Kip permalink
      October 27, 2014 12:18 pm

      Settings>Reading>For each article in a feed, show Full text or Summary. Joy, why do you Christians take offense so quickly? Don’t you understand your jump to emotionalism over the slightest little thing is one of the main things that turn people off? You sound like you don’t want to save lost souls, but rather manage your little club.

      • October 27, 2014 12:31 pm

        I’m so sorry to hear that’s been your experience with Christians. Actually, it’s a huge turn-off for me, too. Christian or not, if that’s how a person operates, they aren’t likely to be permitted in my intimate circle of influence. The world is crazy enough without inviting that mess to have a voice in my life!

        Thanks for letting me know how to check my settings. I’ll see if something got switched up!

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