Do It All For Love
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been a while since I have sat and written a post. It feels so so good to sit and write. Life has been a little cray cray the last few weeks. The past week especially has been a tough one for me. I’ve had to come face to face with some ugly realities in my heart and I’ve had to process them through prayer so I could find the roots and then start to pull out the weeds. I have had to be brutally honest with both myself and those I love and I have felt the pains of my heart breaking while also being full. WHAT!? Guys…it’s been a ride.
What I do realize though is a very special gift the Lord blessed me with. He allowed me to feel just a little bit of how He feels; just a little bit how He loves. He let my heart experience pain and suffering this week because of love. I was struck by the realization that I was why Jesus had to die. He died because he loved me. If I want to love like Jesus does, that means I have to die to myself out of love for another. It’s painful. It hurts. Jesus does it anyways.
I thought a lot about suffering this week. I came across this reflection I wrote almost exactly one year ago to the tee and was amazed at how relevant it is. I decided to share it for my post this week….
March 14, 2019
This first full week of Lent has been a rough one for me. I have been plagued by quite a bit of anxiety and I have found myself frequently asking the Lord the mother of all questions, “why?” I headed out on a run this morning to try and process a little of what has been flooding my brain and I was so surprised by what the Holy Spirit revealed to my heart.
Last week, right before Lent, my morning prayer began as it always does, “Good morning Jesus, this is Your day. I am Your child, please show me Your way.” However, on that morning in particular my prayer progressed a few extra words. I prayed, “Show me Your way, TO THE CROSS.” I don’t know where these words came from or how they managed to slip from the well of my heart out of my mouth but they did. The words were out and I couldn’t get them back. I prayed to be shown the way to the cross because that is what true love is. It is what love requires of me. Love requires me to get out of myself and put another first. Love requires me to suffer and sacrifice for the benefit of another. The cross is also our victory, for when we are crucified with Christ, we are also risen with Christ. If I walk the way of the cross, I will rise and those I walked the way of the cross for will be saved and redeemed and this is the goal of love. To offer myself as a living sacrifice so that another may rise. So, as I prepared to journey through Lent, I desired to walk the way of the cross, the path filled with hardship, suffering, and sacrifice with Jesus. I figured if I walk it with Him, He would show me the way and help me.
Fast forward two weeks to the first full week of Lent and I am already second guessing my desire to be shown the way to the cross. I’m realizing how little my soul is. This week the Lord revealed to me a cross He is asking me to carry. A unique suffering, one that I don’t want, one that taps into a deep desire of my heart, one that causes me to grieve and cry out from the depth of my soul for the Lord to take it away. I don’t want this cup. I want to get rid of it. It’s too heavy. I am too weak.
At morning mass the priest spoke in his homily about the words Jesus uttered in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, let this cup pass from me, still, not my will, but Yours be done.” Abandonment. Pure abandonment of our will to that of the Father. What a perfect example. What a blessed reminder.
Then, the Lenten morning meditation ended with the song, “Lead me to the Cross” by Hillsong and a lyric in the second verse struck my heart, “You were as I, tempted and tried.” My little mind thought, “Wow, Jesus! You were completely human just like I am. You felt every emotion that I do. You were tempted and tried, yet you still chose abandonment. You still chose to be led to the cross.”
Jesus isn’t very subtle. He sees my little heart starting to fear what the cross means for me and He tries to ease it by continuing to encourage me to keep my eyes on the cross. The cross is how to love. I want to be better at loving so He keeps turning my heart to the cross. However, I start with such good intentions but my broken human nature is quick to turn the table back to myself and wonder how it is going to affect me. How is my life going to change because of this? How will good come from this? I can only see so far. The Lord is in control.
As I continued to run, a few rain drops began to fall. Again, from the well of my heart spilled the words, “Lord, let it rain.” Essentially my heart begged the Lord to let me suffer with Him. To accept what He had given me and just let it come. Suffering in itself is pointless. Suffering because I love, is redemptive. I decided on my run that I refused to let this suffering be pointless. If I was chosen to endure it, then I was going to use it for good. I decided to offer up my suffering for a very special intention of another that has been entrusted to me. I told the Lord that I desired for this soul to be free from bondage, redeemed, whole, capable of love, and at peace. I would start loving this soul by first suffering for it. According to St. Therese, “My vocation is love.” I desire to begin to live out my vocation and so I desire to begin to love, and love fiercely.
I’m not perfect, and I know I will probably ask Jesus to take this cross away from me hundreds of times throughout Lent, however, I’m reminded of how Jesus had to ask for help when He carried His cross too. It was heavy and it hurt. I’m not called to carry my cross alone. He is right beside me to lift it when it gets too heavy. He is right beside me to wipe my brow and dab clean the bloody wounds I collect. He also will give me a few trusted souls to walk the journey with me and help me carry the cross when I feel too weak to even take another step. I’m never alone.
There is no fear in love. I suffer because I love. I love Jesus first. It breaks my heart to see Him hurt and I want to help lift His burden by carrying a piece of His cross. Jesus took up His cross because He loved me. Therefore, in imitation, I love the particular soul I am choosing to suffer for. I desire the good of this soul and therefore, like Christ, I am taking up my cross with courage. The grace of courage will give me the grace to choose abandonment. Once I choose to abandon my will, to deny myself and pick up the cross, I will be set free. I will see the fruit of my suffering.
Is my suffering easy? No. It hurts. Is my hope in the redemptive quality of this suffering greater? Yes. Therefore, by the grace of God I will continue to walk forward. I will continue to unite my suffering to His. My soul, in silent stillness will wait, surely my hope is in Him.
So yeah, I’m just kind of going to let the Holy Spirit do His work here. Not much else to chime in after that. I just wanted to share because amidst the difficulties this week has posed for me, this was a beautiful reminder to my heart that there is purpose for the pain. There is meaning to the struggle.
Love is the reason. In all you do and say, do it all for love.