Surviving Love: The Way of Grace in the Pain of Now

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Love is is filled with intense emotions, joyful high’s and neverending laughter, sexual pleasures, even the joy of holding a new baby – the ultimate mama high.

This past month I’ve been reminded of the pain of love. The relationship struggles, the end of love, the goodbyes, the deaths, the letting go’s, the end of dreams, even the bittersweet emotions of parents as they give away a beautiful daughter into the hand of another, or watch a child leave for military basic training, college, or simply “good-bye” without knowing when you may again say “hello.”

For deeply passionate people love and hate, anger and joy create a place where the tensions of each must find rest. Newton’s third law:  “The law of interaction is also Newton’s third law of motion, stating that each action brings an equal and opposite reaction. Forces are either pushes or pulls resulting from the interactions between objects.

Push and pull, pursue and retreat. In relationships, we each become the object of the other person’s actions and reactions. 

Created in the image of God we are so easily reduced to the scientific matter of our creation as opposed to the spirit person God has breathed into us. Only the Holy Spirit of God – the essence of the Trinity can hold a sacred space within this dichotomy,  a third space between the dualism of “either or” in relationships. This is the place where Shalom resides yet it is so hard to locate with the broken compasses that make up our lives – our world.

This matter we live in – this ordinary creation in ordinary days are the places of extraordinary moments caught in cosmic battles of redemption.

God enters into this common, chaotic, ordinary space and simply is.

He doens’t show up through binding or loosing, by claiming or declaring, in prayer or fasting – or even seeking – He simply is.  When we know our compass is utterly worthless and we can’t find our way to Him in the desperation of trying, He is. When we are crying out in pain and anguish “Daddy, please, please help me,” as our souls are ripped asunder from the pain of this world, He is. When it feels as if we will never, ever, ever be whole again, He is. 

All of a sudden He is becomes more than the plea to find him – but the essence of the plea itself. In the calm – grace. In the quiet – grace. In the rest- grace. In the midst of the heartbreaking pain and confusion, the Trinity is holding together time and space – suspended in infinite now.


Just for a moment, He breathes for us – between the sobs, between the tears, He breathes for us. The breath of life goes in and we know and the utterance of grace comes out. We know we’ll be OK. Somehow.

We are going to be alright because the God with us sacrificed himself that he maybe become the God in us. 

It’s tangible. Real. Embracing. Otherworldly. God in Triunity with our singleness dancing in harmony, twirling in pieces of healing among the shards of brokenness. Undivided – us and Him. Infinite love. 

Even now – I am feeling the pain of a broken, wounded relationships. A few nights ago I wept those tears that rend the heavens in waves of grief but as my plea became his presence I felt the cosmic shift. I’d like to say the pain was gone but it wasn’t – it isn’t. It’s wrenching at times – but He is. To walk through fire means we get to know God’s fireproof presence. How can we know if we can walk on water if we never get tossed into the raging sea To be under crushing weight means we get to know His strength. His strength. His strength. It is only when we are weak that we know His strength (2 Cor. 12:9). I am so thankful to learn of his strength.

We never know ourselves, our strength, or what we are capable of nor do we never really know God or his strength or his faithfulness unless we’re given a chance to prove and to be proven.

So if anyone is surviving love, it is all about grace.

We keep moving forward with love, in love, revealing God in the presence of love and pray that grace will clear the path.





“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down. Lent, ashes, and mother’s love.

Children sing it joyfully. Dancing in celebration of all the good and playful engagements that childhood is made of. On Ash Wednesday the song played and replayed in mind…

“… ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”


Ash Wednesday is a reminder that from dust we came and to dust we will return. It is a reminder that the cross is at the end of dust.

We, His beloved, are at the end of dust. 

The forest fire wipes clean the growth of everything that is dead and barren, but in just a little while we see the new growth rise from the ashes. Resurrection.

If we can hold on just a little while longer, and sometimes just a little while longer yet. 

The earth doesn’t want the pain of fire. There is a surrender to the flames that are beyond its control. Beyond our control. Something greater is about to happen, but it is painful, oh so painful right now.

So Lent begins – ashes, ashes, ashes. 

We are reminded that all of life is a circle – a ring around which we play and joyfully sing…

…and the fire where we fall.

We are feeble. We are burned. It’s terrifying. Exhausting. We cry out for answers in the midst of the flames but all we get back is the crackling of the fire. Noise, chaos, confusion. We strain to listen for that still small voice…                (I Kings 19:12).

…we know you are there God. We are listening for your to speak. We are begging you to respond.

Are you weeping too? God my Father – is your son grieving? Is your Spirit moving? Is the Trinity mourning with me? What does your dance look like today?  

My friend is in the fire with her little girl. Her beloved. Claire has been struggling with life-threatening medical issues for too long.  Pain for too long. A ring of ashes without the joy. Every day in March is an anniversary of one year of hospital stays. One year of turmoil. One year of suffering

Lent ushers in a long year of ashes for Claire.

The pain and the fear are unbearable. Yet God remains silent in the midst of it all and the questions rise. The unbreakable wall between the fire and safety grows bigger. All God has to do is shout and the wall comes down.

Why don’t you shout Lord? 

Why are You silent?

Why don’t you break down the wall between death and life, winter and spring, suffering and joy?

You are in the whispers, the gentle, the consoling. We have to strain our ears to listen and the noise drowns out Your voice.

Yet, You are there in the pain. In the fire. In the suffering.

In the Love

He doesn’t shout over our fears or command over the fire – He walks in the pain, through the flames, consumes the fire.

God stills our hearts. He embraces our soul. He picks us up when we fall in the ashes. He cradles the grief, the loss, the emptiness, and the questions. 

We may not know when, or how, or always have the answers we hope for – the longed for answers…

…but we have Him. 

And he remains. Even when it feels as if he is an eternity away.

God is in the dance of pain and suffering and leading the ring of weeping. He is holding our hands with a grasp that never, ever lets go. He is breathing, and moving, and flowing through the new life that springs from destruction. It’s just a tiny indistinguishable seed among the ruins right now but it is there…

…growing, yearning, reaching for the life.



He is nurturing the seed and bringing life. To Him, it is already a forest full of grace and beauty, planted before we were formed – growing as we wait.

We wait for the end of times that is just the beginning of something greater. As mother’s we question and cry and suffer, and ponder…

… and Hope.

We hope with vision. We believe that what we don’t yet see is greater than we can imagine. We hope for the rains. We hope for the sun to shine. We hope for the light.

We hope for Life. 

fb_img_1488550724530God, our mother hearts wait for you. Among the ashes, we wait. 

We wait.

We love.

We surrender.

Please pray for Claire and Claire’s family. 

(Ring a Ring o’ Roses is not about the plague, that is an urban legend.)

For more on Lent and Ash Wednesday.

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