love + broken bones

love + broken bones

Love is a funny thing.  I’ve thought a lot about what it means to truly love this week.   I feel like a lot of people I know have experienced loss lately and it makes me think about how vulnerable love can make you. It’s harder to love.  Life would be so much easier if we kept our hearts in glass boxes where they were visible, but untouchable….protecting them from ever breaking.  But I think there’s something to be said for the breaking process.  When a bone breaks, your body begins a healing process that “knits” the bone back together.  When the bone heals properly it  can actually be stronger than it was before.  Sometimes love can be like broken bones.   Our spirit finds that while we sit amongst the rubble of what seems like a dismantling of our hearts, it is in the shadow of that moment that we find our quietest strength.  Strength we didn’t know we possessed, but comes and sits alongside us and slowly helps us piece back together the ripped fabric and broken threads of our life.

When you love, you open yourself up to the great heights of joy, but also the depths of heartbreak.

When you love you are vulnerable…. you carve out this space in your heart for other people to come and reside.  That can be scary and wonderful all in the same breath.  We are not always the best caretakers of love and often forget the fragility and vulnerability that walk hand in hand with it.  Our souls become enmeshed with others….we share our highs and our lows, our celebrations and our secrets, and it sometimes seems that in that we bestow people with the power to hurt us or heal us by their love.  That is the nature of love.

So if it’s harder to love why do we do it?

Because we were made by a Creator that loves deeply.  He wired us to imitate that love…to be the things that He is.  We were made to love, to have faith, to forgive, to hope.  We weren’t made to keep our hearts in glass boxes and spend the remainder of our days on this earth attempting to avoid the dismay of loss that accompanies a fractured spirit.  When you love something rare and beautiful is created.  To truly love makes you more honest, more loving, it brings out the best version of yourself.  When you love, you stitch together stories of beauty, loss, joy, tragedy, faith, and perseverance that create this beautiful display of a life cultivated by a devotion to others. This is a reflection of Christ’s devotion to us.

Our love is not always reciprocated.  Even when it is, it doesn’t come in the form that we expected.  Throwing off what hinders us to love freely is unnatural and frightening. Yet in those moments when we don’t let fear have a place at the table and we love beyond what our flesh tells us is safe, then we will find true reward. We will no longer be thinking about what is at stake, but what we have to gain.  In the end….whether we accrue a strength birthed from the breaking of a spiritual bone during a season of heartbreak or intimacy and depth that overflows from a life-giving source of love …we are moving forward. Taking the bitter with the sweet and accepting the change that both bring.

let’s talk about elephants…

let’s talk about elephants…

Community is hard.  What is it?  How do you live it out?  Why is it important?

These are all questions that have floated in and out of my thoughts over the last several days.  While I have a hard time putting it into words…I know at the core of this concept is one word: Love.

Love can be defined as a thousand different things, but at the core of it is a choice to love one another in wherever they are at in their story…in hopes that they will experience the mercy, grace, depth, and texture of their relationship with Christ which will overflow into their relationships with others.

It’s a choice to push others forward in their story. To be fully known and loved is a freeing feeling.  But to have another person fight for you to continually look more like the image of Christ is beautiful.  This has been one of the greatest acts of love I’ve seen birthed from those that have loved me well over the years. Having people love me beyond themselves, and fight for me through the mess I don’t even want to fight for brings about an overwhelming feeling of humility.  It reminds me that  I cannot and should not want to walk through this world alone.It’s much easier to talk about loving people than to actually love them. To actually love people as Christ does is hard.  It requires discipline, humility, selfless love, grace, and a servant’s heart.  It demands loyalty and a commitment that extends beyond the concern of what you receive in return.

So let’s talk about elephants.  Specifically the “elephants in the room” when we live in community with each other.  We are all familiar with them….we all have them.  It’s our mess.  It’s the mess we see in those we love. They are the broken things that overflow out of us that are impossible to ignore, but feel really risky to address in our own lives let alone the lives of those around us.

When we avoid the elephants in our own lives, and the lives of others we miss the opportunity to see Christ. We get to desperately cling to a distorted broken version of ourselves for a while longer, but we also miss the beauty of the gift we have been given.  The gift is this:  when we talk about the elephants we get to see the beauty in the mess.  We get to see others get down into the pit and sit beside us and fight for us in ways that make the grace, faithfulness, and mercy of the Lord real in our lives.

Life feels fragile sometimes.  It’s composed of a story,  strewn together  with a past and pain, triumphs and mistakes, dreams and disappointments. But our stories are reminders of our greater hope: a day when we look perfectly like Jesus Christ.

Until then we have those around us.  Our community.  Those that walk along side us, encourage us, fight for us, point out our elephants and call us forth to something greater so that we may reflect the beauty of Christ in a more accurate way.

I wouldn’t trade the difficult times I’ve had in the midst of authentic friendship for anything.  There’s too much beauty in the mess. Brokenness is built in silence, and community doesn’t let you sit in silence.

That’s what I love about it.

That is what has changed me.

So while the beauty of community is often hard for me to put into words; it doesn’t bother me.  I know its’ effect.  I’ve felt the beauty of it with tears streaming down my face in the valleys.  And I’ve experienced it while shouting from the mountain tops.  Both are equally as transforming and equally as important.  You can’t appreciate one as much without the other.

May my elephants never stand in a silent room, and may I love those around me enough to take the risk and talk about theirs.  Not because it makes my life more convenient or easy, but because I want the lives of those around me to matter more than my own.   Who they are at the end of this life should matter to me. They matter to Christ so they should matter to me.

I’m convinced that at the end of my life loving others enough to fight for truth in their lives will be my richest reward.



Lately I feel fragile.  It seems like if the wind blows too hard in my direction that I might disperse into a million little pieces like a dandelion’s seeds and gently float the the ground and settle there.  There are times when I feel strong and capable, but as I sit in the shadow of fragility lately….I think it’s where I prefer to be.

When I feel fragile I’m dependent.  I see God more clearly.  He brings me to this state not because He is uncaring or unloving, but because He is.  Often when I feel strong, it is because I put a lot of confidence in me.  Standing on that unstable rock that is my own way always leads to that fragile place.  The God I love breaks me and all of a sudden the thick veil of selfishness that skewed my vision is all of a sudden lifted and these things seem very clear: I’m not in control, I’m not sufficient, and I have limits.  It’s like someone was holding me under water and brought me back up to breathe.  That desperation causes me to cling to the love of God.

I am forgetful though.  It seems so easy to move on.  I get comfortable again…slip  back into that old habit of depending on me like I’m putting on my favorite pair of jeans.  I don’t even notice that moment when I slip from one to the other.

So right now while I’m sitting in the fragile place.  Feeling dependent and completely helpless, yet somehow completely at peace.  I fear slipping back into my own self-sufficiency.  I fear that suffocating feeling that self-sufficiency adorns you with.  It’s so easy to stray and cry back for the slavery you once knew because it’s familiar.  Dependence is hard because we feel helpless and needy, which is contradictory to our natural desire to be consumed with our own glories and our attempts to attain them.

I want to remember the fragile place as I walk through my days.  I want be reminded of that vulnerable, peaceful place that I am kept by the Lord.