We are to love God with our whole heart, and others without limits even when it hurts. We will feel the pain of love when we choose to invest in people.
I have heard it said that when you have kids, a piece of your heart lives in someone else’s body. Having three kids of my own, I know this to be very true! Their little smiles, their dreams, their ideas, their laughs, their smells and even their sins are all wrapped up in little packages of human right before me. God took a part of me and a part of my husband and made these beautiful, wonderful gifts. They truly are gifts from God. And my heart is in them, walking around at their school, on their sports teams, in their play, in their work. That is my heart out there learning to navigate this big, beautiful world. I long to be with them, hold them close. I want them to love what I love. Share my passions and my dreams. They are my heart.
I wonder, does a piece of God’s heart live in each one of His children? Does He watch as we take His heart into our homes, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods? Does He long to be with us, long to hold us close, long for us to love what He loves? I believe He does. I believe this is a part what it means to be made in God’s image. But it’s not just my kids. I have left a huge piece of my heart in a nation across the ocean, in another world, another culture.
Living overseas changes you, no matter how long or short your time in another land, you can never be the same. We were blessed with an incredible experience to live in North Africa for a time. It was beautiful. Palm trees swaying in the breeze, gorgeous sunsets like none other, exotic sounds and smells, the kindness of people all around me. Constant jabber in a foreign tongue. I loved it. Living in another country was hard, to say the least. But to me, living in North Africa was a little piece of Heaven. I was home. When circumstances forced us to leave earlier than expected, I wept.
Love With Limits
I constantly feel the ache of knowing that when I left my Beloved Tunisia, I left a piece of my heart there, too. I live daily with the strain of living in one place I now call home and missing another that was my home. I miss the smells, the food, the sunsets, the sounds, the colorful Medina. I miss speaking another language, walking and riding in taxis. I miss looking into beautiful Tunisian faces and telling them they are loved, they are special. That nation, those people and culture changed me. Jesus changed me. It has been seven years since we returned to the States, but I still long to return to my other home.
So being thus tenderly and affectionately desirous of you, we continued to share with you, not only God’s good news (the Gospel), but also our own lives as well, for you had become so very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8, AMP
Love Without Limits
So, how do we do it? How do we live life day in and day out, with our hearts spread all over the place? How do we live with the limits the world and circumstances place on our hearts? Some days my heart feels shattered. I wonder why I am here. I beg God to show me my purpose.
Yet, there is holiness in the shattered pieces. A love that bleeds through barriers of culture, age, status, situation.
Jesus let His heart be shattered to save our world. The more we know Him, the more we become like Him, the more we gaze into His eyes, the more we love like Him. To love Jesus with my whole heart, means I might need to let it shatter.
For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died;
2 Corinthians 5:14, AMP
Don’t be afraid to love until your heart is bursting! Wherever you are, whatever your life stage, you are called to love. Love with abandon, without restraint. Love through the mess, through the aching. When we love Jesus with our whole heart, He holds the shattered pieces, and gives us His own heart. When we choose to invest in people, love without limits, He holds us tenderly. The more we love Him, the more we love like Him.