Motivation for Love

 by Emily R.
original post here

as part of a bible study that i’m co-leading with a friend, we spent last week studying in 1 samuel. one specific verse we were encouraged to meditate on as part of the study was 1 samuel 16:7–

“for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

as i meditated on the pure, limitless, unconditional love of my Father, blaze and his family came to my mind.

instead of letting this ‘distraction’ keep me from spending time in prayer, i decided to “bring God along on my rabbit trail” (something cool i learned to do from a book called A Praying Lifeby Paul Miller). as i expressed my broken heart for blaze and his siblings, i felt God asking me to spend some time praying about their mom—he wanted me to catch a glimpse of his heart for her. he wanted me to join him in seeing her though his eyes.  

my contrary, self-righteousness heart started to list all the reasons why it was too hard to love her (i won’t go into details, but let’s just say, i felt they were very legit reasons), and complain about the heartache and pain it may bring me. i was telling God i was too worried, or scared to love her, because it didn’t feel easy. it was too complicated.

as this inward battle started raging, a passage from luke 6 came to mind—

“if you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? for even sinners love those who love them. and if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? for even sinners do the same. and if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. but love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most high, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

God was graciously reminding me that it won’t be easy to love everyone (if it is, i’m probably not doing it right)—especially people i deem “unlovely,” but that is the kind of love i am called to, and it reflects Jesus’ gospel love.

next, 1 john 5  came to mind—

“there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. tor fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. we love because he first loved us. if anyone says, “i love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar.”

we love because he first loved us. that is my motivation for love. the gospel. if i try in my own strength, or because it’s the ‘right thing to do,’ i will fail miserably. Jesus’ radical love (in willingly giving himself for me) is what gives me the strength and motivation to love and give of myself to others, and to repent and get back at it when i do fail.

tears filled my eyes as i asked God to change my heart. i pleaded with him to take away my fear, and fill me with selfless love for her. i asked him to give me opportunities to interact with her. i asked him to reveal himself to her, and i prayed that she would feel his relentless love pursuing her.

as i prayed, i felt my heart softening, and i became truly excited about seeing her again.

at bedtime that same day, i asked blaze if there was anything he wanted to pray about. he usually tilts his head and says, “i don’t knowwww” (in the cutest voice ever), but that night, he asked if we could pray for his mom, and that he could go back with her. i was so thankful for the work God had done in my heart that morning, which allowed me pray those words with a pure heart—something i probably couldn’t have done the night before.

two days later, i went to a meeting at blaze’s school, and had the opportunity to sit beside his mom for a couple hours, and even chat with her one-on-one after the meeting. she told me that on sunday she had joined a church (same day i had this beautiful time praying over her), and that she wanted to follow God, and put him at the center of her life.

as i hugged her, my heart was happy and thankful–i know that sounds cliche or ‘christianese,’ but it’s true!

i got to see her again yesterday, and will most likely see her again today—God is graciously opening up opportunities for me to love her.

i don’t know what will happen with blaze and his mom. i don’t know if reunification is in their future—but i assured her that as long as blazey-boy is in our care, we will love him, protect him, and do whatever we can to help support her in working towards getting her children back.