These stories-in-parts challenge me. I leave my thought half-written for a week or two, and mentally continue to write and think through the topic. I can't dismiss it, and the waiting-on-the-writing grows me. Before you read this post, you may want to read Love Stories: The Purse - Part I. I'll be picking up from there.
Need-meeting isn't always love. And it is love that fills us up, that nourishes relationship, that changes a life.
There is a breaking that happens when you love. A shattered vessel, a broken heart, glory poured out into dust, soaked up, spread around.
Love is not need begging need. It is not a well-stocked Purse designed to secure fulfillment - for self or for others. Love is a giving that expects no return and wildly hopes for a response.
Love is not being God to others.
We love because He first loved us. When we do love, really love, we love others as He loved us. It has something to do with falling into His love, with being full up with Him who is Love.
A purse can be dropped, emptied. There is no end to Him.
His words left him vulnerable, left me vulnerable. Was it worth it, this love? Was it worth hanging onto, nurturing, pursuing anymore? Was he worth it? Was I worth it?
We shared thwarted desire, reasons for doing things, gentle explanations of un-communicated feelings and misunderstandings. Heart-conversation making two into one again.
Piper was asleep after another day with no nap. Bredon was nursing in to sleep too. We didn't have to talk over a crying baby, wait through toddler demands, take another phone call. We were in the same room, with the same thing on our minds - ships no longer passing, finally stopping to see.
Every time she goes for a walk, Piper picks flowers and gives them to me. She insists that I take her gift. "For you, Mommy, for you!" Over and over and over until I acknowledge. She is stubborn, that one. In the best way.
I am often too tired to do anything with them and I often brush her off. But sometimes I see.
There is a little man in my life that doesn't ask for my love. He can't yet. But he offers all of his little love. He delights in my smile. He takes me where I am and gives his heart with every cooing giggle.
I cannot help but see.
I have carried The Purse for so long, tried to be God to these hearts in my life.
But The Purse has become a weight, something to lay aside with every weight to run in the freedom of my Savior's grace. Its contents are dependent on what I have to give. The "love" I receive in return is often misplaced. Something in which I can glory.
"Look, see what I did? See how they love me now?"
I want to deserve love somehow.
But The Purse leaves me alone with my inadequacy. When I can't be God, there is nothing for me but empty failure and relationships built on foundations that won't stand. Because needs change. Because deep down, we're all longing for deep love.
We're restless for it.
Every day, my husband gives of himself. He sets out my pills and my breakfast most mornings; he helps with the meals; he does the laundry and the housework that I have no energy to bear. He loves with his service, loves with his whole heart. All I have to do to receive his love is to see him, let him see me. Receiving his love humbles me.
Piper loves out of her innocence, too young to manipulate, moving from spanking to hugs after we've had a confrontation. All I have to do is accept her flowers, acknowledge her sweet heart. Receiving her love changes me.
Bredon loves me out of his very full baby heart. He knows who I am. He searches my eyes and asks questions that I don't let anybody ask me. His unassuming love chases the fear far, softens me. Receiving his love is joy for me.
They aren't asking for what is in the now-empty Purse. They are asking for my heart.
And I'm begging God's heart. Filling up with Love Himself.
Because nobody's got a purse big enough to meet my needs.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)