What is better—to continue to love but ache from the bitter slashes of hurt and betrayal or to build a wall of steel and never love deeply again?
Early in my life, like so many of us, I learned about the sting of rejection and careless words. That sting took a toll on my heart and affected me emotionally for many years. Eventually I built a wall, placing it between myself and meaningful relationships. Turning my back when things got rough seemed to be my safest option…or so I thought.
But then I met Jesus—or I guess I can say I experienced the fullness of His love. I’d always been a believer. I revered a powerful God, never doubting His existence. However, I didn’t walk with Him, instead I admired Him from afar.
This time around, though, I met Him in a different way. A way that allowed me to walk with Him and believe in the power of healing through His name. I believed His desire to see me live a life of wholeness and love. I learned that the hurt didn’t need to be filled by the people who disappointed me, but rather filled by the only One who would or could never betray me. I discovered that through each and every rejection–every betrayal—every careless word and selfish action, Jesus had been working on my heart. He was refining the work He started so long ago. The work He would not let go unfinished.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. —Philippians 1:6
Today I walk in the ultimate battle of love versus steel walls. It’s a battle for my daughter’s heart.
Long before she was my daughter, I loved the little girl I knew we would someday adopt. I prayed for years that God would bring adoption into our family. That my husband’s heart would have the same desire and that God would prepare our boys’ hearts to love beyond measure. I prayed for the little girl somewhere in the world that was or would be orphaned…and for a mother struggling with a life-changing decision to make.
When the decision to adopt became unanimous for our family, the love in my heart grew even more. We jumped in wholeheartedly in order to bring our little girl home as soon as possible. Nearly a year after we signed our original paperwork, I saw her face for the first time. As my heart burst, I knew I’d seen the face of my daughter. A daughter born in my heart.
“I instantly knew that God grows a child in our heart as unmistakably as He does in our womb.” —Lori Schumaker in Surrendered Hearts
Over the next 18 months we faced intense challenges. We loved, we lost, and we learned to trust. We learned that surrendering doesn’t come easy, but that it’s the place where God calls us into the middle of His miracles.
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. —1 John 4:18 MSG
After a long and mighty battle our little one finally came home to us. This weary mama was ready to rest in the love for her baby. I was ready to wrap my arms around my little girl and feel peace. But that was not our story. Our Selah wasn’t about resting in anyone’s arms. Instead of cuddles, she was up for the fight of her life. So injured by rejection of the most catastrophic kind, she had built walls of steel so high only a miracle could bring them down.
That miracle is God’s love.
Together, our family is learning about loving well. Each of us in our own way, but all of us finding that strength through Him.
When you are a mama loving with all you’ve got, rejection from your child hurts deeper than any kind of rejection from the outside world. My heart shattered so many times, I longed to protect it with the strongest and highest of steel walls. But it was in those moments that I searched for the power of a God who loves us in spite of the most painful rejections. And there He was, handing out the miracle of just a crack in the wall. Because that’s all it takes—one little crack. One little crack allows His love to seep through. The very love our souls long for and the only love that can fulfill our every need.
It’s the kind of love that gives us the strength to love others when it isn’t easy.
Friend, I know that whatever pain you are feeling may make you want to build a steel wall worthy of protection against the fiercest of attackers. It is necessary and healthy to put boundaries in place, but there’s a difference between a healthy boundary and a wall that stops love from flowing into and through you. Those kinds of walls only serve the enemy’s purpose.Let God have a chance to work in each moment, breaking down the walls. Let His love and healing pour into you and watch it then pour through you to be a catalyst in the healing of others. Jesus came not only for us to have life, but as His Word says,“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10.
Thank you for coming to save us and to give us a rich and satisfying life. Thank You for your love and patience in spite of every mistake or rejection we make in the face of your love. Lord, I ask You to heal our hearts and make them whole. Keep us brave in the face of rejection and refill our hearts with your unfailing love. As we seek to love our children well, we ask You to tear down the walls of steel built firmly around their broken hearts. Heal their hearts of the effects of painful pasts. Give us wisdom to recognize the difference between healthy boundaries and steel walls. I know that You have commanded us to love You and to love others—help us to do this to the glory of Your Holy Name.
As wife, adoptive and biological mom, teacher, writer, speaker, and coach, Lori’s heart is to encourage others to meet the challenges of life with the hope of Christ. Wherever you find yourself today—walking through the difficult, longing to find your identity and follow your purpose, or simply experiencing a season of beautiful chaos, Lori’s blog found at LoriSchumaker.com is a place where you can find the encouragement you need today. In her first book, Surrendered Hearts, she shares her family’s adoption story and lessons on surrender, trust, and loving well.
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