Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tough Love

There once was a time in my life when I was under the impression that love should be easy.  If it was hard or messy it wasn't worth it. If it was painful or made you sad then it wasn't really love. Love should be fun and easy going.  It should flow naturally from our hearts like chocolate from one of those fountains... Love should be easy.

 But that is not the case.

Love is hard.  It is messy.  It often hurts and it can break your heart.  And it is absolutely worth it.

We have been a family of seven for a little over 5 months now.  These have honestly been the five hardest months of my life.  I am talking tear filled, stressed out, crying into a costco size box of oreos hard.  Adoption is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Love is hard.

We are dealing with a combination of things from our newest addition.  Everything from misplaced anger to complete emotional shutdowns and shutouts.  Our four others are grieving what they thought they would have but don't, and also trying to navigate a new life with parents that have less time (and less emotional energy) than they were used to.

We as parents are struggling with fear, doubt, fatigue, stress and heartache over a fractured family.

I'll be honest - there are days this kid is tough to love.
There are days where love is the hardest emotion to feel because the frustration, heartache and  pain are just too much.  

So what do we do when we come face to face with tough love?  

My flesh wants to find a cave and hibernate till he goes to college...but apparently that isn't an option.

There are days when my heart wants to give up and treat him the way he treats me but that would be immature.

I have moments when I want to run away from it all because it just seems like it's too much to handle and "another day like today will do me in".

But I can't give up or walk away.  And I won't.  

Why?

Because I, too, am tough to love.

I have a rebellious heart, full of selfish desires and stubborn ways.  I have fought against the correction God has given me and pushed against the good He wants to do in my life.

I have kicked and screamed at change.  I have cried and fought over discipline.

The harsh reality is that I am no different than my son. 

And yet, God continues to love me.  He is patient.  His love is consistent and unconditional.  He speaks the truth in love into my heart and life.  Even when I push against Him, He does not move.

It is hard to love someone who doesn't seem to want love.  It hurts when that person scoffs at your affections or rolls their eyes at your affirmations.  It is hard to show love when all they show is anger and hate.  

It is tough love, but we can do it, even though is feels impossible.

1 John 4:19 says "We love because He first loved us".  We can love the tough people in our lives, because God has set the example by loving us.