The RISK of Love

There is such a great risk in loving.  We all choose to love people in our own ways, wherever God has planted us.  But it is difficult and messy and RISKY.

I love brownies but there is no risk in that.  They always love me back with their chocolatey goodness.  I know what I am getting.  People are not like brownies.

When we love we put ourselves out there and we never know what we will receive.  But TRUE love is loving and giving all without knowing what will come back.

This week our Ubuntu son Zakhe who has been living with us for the past three months has moved out.  I will not belabor the details out of respect for him, but it did not end well with us, and he was happy to move out of our home.  He made mistakes, we made mistakes, and in the end our family was just too much pressure for him and not the right space.

So if you are counting we have taken in two kids from other communities (Ntokozo and Zakhe) over our four years here and invited them into our homes and families.  Both started great and both ended in a fiery disastrous crash.

I loved Ntokozo deeply and when she left our home in 2011 I was devastated.  Now we have an incredibly deep relationship with her and are ‘family’ for sure even though she doesn’t live with us.  God has completely redeemed that story.  We love her and she loves us.

With Zakhe I am not sure how the story will end.  I know that we love him very much, but he is working through many things and isn’t sure how he feels.  We hope that by moving him into the black township in our area with another coach he will feel less pressure and be able to become a healthy and vibrant part of the Ubuntu community.  The story is still being written right now.

I will say that personally this journey with Zakhe has been exhausting and devastating.  God told me to take in one of the boys in January and Zakhe was placed with us.  I tried not to have hopes in him or our relationship but fell in love with him and it’s not a good relationship at this moment.  I am heartbroken and confused.

However, in my heartbreak haze there are a few things I know.  I know that God loves ME and I know that I love because of the love of Jesus deep in my soul.  We don’t love because it’s deserved or returned.  We just love because we are loved.

So I will continue to risk and continue to love.  I can do that because I am loved by the Greatest Love in the universe.  God’s love defines me and fills every part of my being.

“We love each other because he loved us first.” -1 John 4:19 NLT

Keep risking love.

“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”  -Henri Nouwen