Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Love Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.

-found on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta

I have seen versions of the Paradoxical Commandments many times in the last several years. It has taken on new meaning in the last couple of weeks. I will not get into all the details, they are irrelevant, but I have been disappointed and rejected in a way that has cost me a great deal of time and money by someone I felt led to help. Interestingly, I don't feel angry. I just feel disappointed and sad. The Enemy has even tried (and almost succeeded) to use this to harden my heart and give me a sense of hopelessess about the hurt in this world. Why am I even trying?

I want to be wiser in future situations, but I don't want to become cynical. I must admit the experience has left me a bit harder. I fear I'll be far less extravagant with my love the next time a situation like this arises. My pride is screaming, 'Why are you such a sucker?" Meanwhile my heart hurts that the person in my life is still lost, lonely and in trouble.
I have been feeling foolish. Yesterday, the Lord used a good friend to remind me that I prayed a lot before taking action...that others also prayed fervently. I am reminded that many times we do not get to see how our actions impact others. We are merely sowing seeds.
Service, giving, love, obedience...it would all be so much easier if we were able to somehow see the fruit immediately and were able to celebrate the results of our toil and sacrifice. It wouldn't really be about obedience to Christ then though, would it? It would be about making ourselves feel better: a selfish, wrong motive.

So, here I sit licking my wounds, praying about a right perspective and reflecting on Romans 12.

"If you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
(Romans 12:7-13 The Message)

Don't you love that the Word of God is still alive and active? Thank you God for words written so long ago that speak in a fresh way to my wounded heart!

14 comments:

HW said...

I am sorry you have been hurt and disappointed.

I believe we are called to give of our time and money; what the receiver does with it speaks more of him/her than of us. You have done the right thing by giving of yourself; and I admire your comittement to remain open minded and soft hearted;despite your disappointment.

mememe said...

This post reminds me perfectly of a song i heard on a retreat once..Have you heard the song 'Anyways'by Martina McBride. If you haven't you need to hear it...it's a beautiful song that seems to express exactly what you're feeling. Let me know if you like it:)

Anyways by: Martina McBride
You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy
It's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyways

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yea - sing it anyway

I sing
I dream
I love
OH Anyway

mememe said...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1FdB5Adws78

joan said...

Your very sensitive heart for doing what is right comes from God. It is a gift. I love your openhearted posts, your complete honesty, your transparency, and above all your commitment to the Lord Jesus. He will bless your tender conscience, your deep concern to raise your children “in the way they should go”.

People disappoint us. It is hard and it is heartbreaking at times. It can make us doubt ourselves, but I’m still learning that when I put time and or money, or both into a situation, I have to give it all to the Lord and do it for Him and not for the situation at hand. I think that is what you are saying. We must be faithful to follow the prompting of the Spirit in what we do....and often when it doesn’t result in what we had hoped for, we do doubt ourselves and our motives. At least I do. Having experienced a life time of raising other peoples’ kids, getting them ready to return to the mess they came from, and not seeing any fruit from the years that they spent in my home, has been hard. I think I have finally learned to leave it for eternity to reveal the fruit. Certainly not all the situations ended negatively, but enough to know disappointment, enough to doubt if I was truly following God’s leading, enough to doubt myself....and sometimes God’s leading.

Off the subject....I can so identify with you wanting to leave the house perfect before vacation, ironing the clothes, having everything perfect. That was me forty years ago....even telling the girls the underwear story just like my mother had told me--you know, in case of emergency, clean underwear!!

Grandchildren have loosened me up like I would not have believed. I am so much more relaxed and enjoy them so very much, because they are not my responsibility to raise!!

JMom said...

God is still working this out in my heart.
We are called to obey, even when we do not know why...
God is still Sovereign. I believe that.
This was about God's call to obedience
Good thoughts, ya'll. Thanks!

wendymom said...

J,
Reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, you can find it online at his website. Anyway, there are so many good points to this book that pertain to your current situation. Basically he asks the question Can we become a disciple of Jesus and/or engage the enemy without risk? Wow. I think about what you are going through, and I don't know if that certain question helps, but I know that with sacrifices and callings there come many risks. Don't allow the enemy to trick you into believing we can serve God without taking risks. Those risks are big and they hurt, but oh how they advance the kingdom of God. You did the right thing and ONE DAY the seeds you have planted will grow. I pray for her safety and your peace.

Tara said...

Jen, I don't know if this is at all relevant to what you are going through but I can at least relate to the feelings you are expressing. In my role here at the Big D, I have been hurt repeatedly when I have poured my time and energy and love and prayers into one of my charges (sometimes every day for YEARS and at the expense of time with my own kids) and then they make a decision that seems to fly in the face of every word I ever said to them and seems to reject all the love I've tried to give them. The first time it happened, I cried literally for days. I just could not believe it. Now, after six years in this role I have learned that it's really all about letting God use me however he wants in the lives of these kids. Regardless of their fate HERE and NOW, His purpose in bringing them into "my family" will eventually come to fruition--even if that's many years from now. God gives me encouragement in this area by occasionally bringing some of these young people back into my life when I least expect it, and they always come back with words of understanding and thanks. I will pray for you my friend!

Danielle Polk said...

I have been reading your blog pretty faithfully these last few weeks since I found it- your posts make me laugh out loud, and there are so many that I can relate to... especially this one. My heart is breaking this evening over a similar situation in my life, one with a family member. A godly friend and my pastor reminded me of two things: 1) He is lost, therefore he will act like it. I'm not, so therefore I should know better, and I shouldn't expect him to act like he's saved, but display for him all the grace and mercy that Christ showed me; and 2) I need to relate to him like I would with any other lost person. Without all the emotion- just loving on him and listening to him like I didn't have this huge history of past hurts. Hope this helps, I just felt compelled to comment.

georgia mom said...

All of these comments are so good. I don't have anything to add, just that I am praying for you. M

Tiffany said...

I am so sorry you are hurting right now- but please don't feel foolish. A tender, giving heart is a beautiful thing, no matter how wee (or not-)it is received. Don't allow this to weary or harden you- this is a special gift from God that not all christians even have. I treasure the "cheerful giver," b/c it inspires me to do more and be more for our Lord! May He bless you ever more abundantly for your willingness and your heart!

Tiffany said...

Sorry- that should have been "well received" not wee...I also wanted to say that the last part of the quote really stands out to me....It was never b/w you and them anyway!

joan said...

I'm sorry you were hurt and dissapointed. But I loved this post and what you said. Take care.

Todd and Randi said...

I was reminded in your post of what Dee Dee used to tell us, and still does, of the impact we made being TAs. You may never know in this lifetime, but you are making an impact for Christ!! And your obedience will be rewarded.

Tracy said...

i have been reading your blog for a long time but decided to come out of the woodwork when i read this. i can empathize with you and sometimes experience the same feelings. my husband and i are foster parents. we have had 8 kids over the last four years (plus we have three biological children of our own)...right now, four children, 5 yrs and younger. when people ask us why we foster or how we do it, we tell them that we feel like this is what God has had in store for us. He prepared our hearts, and our ONLY big goal (along with lots of other obvious ones) is that each child will see the love of Christ in our home, feel safe, and leave our home with a seed planted in their hearts that will hopefully grow forever.