“Momma knows best.” That is so the truth. From the time I was six and would have emotional breakdowns, my mom would patiently say, “Honey, its time for a nap.” I would be so mad at her for not taking all my tears and “legitimate” concerns to heart.. But as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out. She knew what I needed. Since living in Africa, I have skyped and messaged my momma pretty consistently. Wise advice was always what I found. A couple of weeks ago, I got ahold of her and asked to talk.
You see, I had reached a breaking point that I had never hit before. I was starting to despair about humanity. I know how that sounds, dramatic and pessimistic. But that was honestly where I was at. New depths to my own heart had been exposed. It was as if each week brought a new flaw to my attention. Perhaps it was gluttony one week as I ate my weight in chocolate to escape, then fear of failure as I pondered my ability to effectively teach the next week, discontentment as homesickness flooded my heart several days later. Living overseas for a significant amount of time and continually adjusting is like standing in front of a mirror, all day, every day. There is no escape, no way to outrun your fears or hide who you are. It is all out on display. Not only are you more conscious of your weakness but you see everyone else’s with more clarity and you better believe they see yours.
It was as if it all seemed to bombard my heart at once. All that I had seen in others and in myself weighed heavily. Dysfunction, bitterness, pride and the stench of self-righteousness, blindness, emotional scars, pain, compromise, apathy, despair.. Heart wrenching poverty, abuse, corrupt morals, consumerism and excessiveness.
I broke down.
I wondered “Is it worth it to continue putting myself out there? Is it worth it to love when pain is inevitable? We are all cracked and broken and when I see the edges with such clarity I grow afraid of ways I might get cut or cut others. Can we change?”
I was there. I feel guilt and shame to even admit that, but its the truth.
“Mom, have you been there?” “Yes, hun. Many times. ” My mom proceeded to tell me about the times when she wondered whether it was worth it and if she would ever see change in people.. “But Hattie, you don’t know what God knows. You don’t see what He sees. He doesn’t just see our flaws or the place where we currently are. He sees us as we are and where He wants to take us, how He will change us.” We talked and cried together for about 2 hours.
I am cracked, most definitely. Broken, most assuredly. Flawed, to the very core. So are the people around me. But, there is a Man who I have come to treasure that has taught me something so utterly valuable about humanity and love. Love involves pain. Love is not blind, despite what people say. Infatuation most certainly is. But love sees the scars and the sharp edges that are sure to cut. It sees the cracks that run deep, the pitfalls and it CHOOSES to place itself in the path of pain for the sake of loving. Jesus saw the ways we would hurt Him, trample Him and trade Him in, but He laid it all on the line.
“We love because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19