Those who love well

A great many things have been mulling around in my mind and heart the past week and a half. Life is so full of change and change is so full of pain and pain is so full of possibility. As our life changes greatly and we anticipate new things, I am still in the ‘change is full of pain’ part but in my heart I know I will get to the next place. As I’ve observed people’s words and attitudes for the past few days, one common thread has become so clear to me. The thread of pain.

One friend, not an intimate friend but one I’ve known quite a while, responded instantly to my text message Thursday that said basically this “I am wondering if you aren’t too busy today and are possibly able to come over and help me. I am overwhelmed with laundry and dishes and pain.” She was in her car right away, brought lunch, cleaned my disastrous kitchen, folded load after load of laundry and exuded peace and compassion the whole time she was here. Her pain? The one that comes to mind immediately is her time spent in Africa working among AIDS victims, she will never be the same.

Another young man who when I first met him he struck me as unusual in the best sense. He talked so fondly of his family. He was so delightful to chat with, so comfortable with our family, asked thoughtful questions and played amazingly with our kids. He seemed out of the ordinary to me and I was blessed by it. His pain (that I had no idea about until today)? His father died a couple years ago, leaving I think 5 kids behind.

Last week, when I missed a meeting I’d looked forward to for weeks, after all the kids were in bed I heard knocking on my door. I’d cried the better part of the day and was still in the previous nights’ pajamas. Two women who’d been at the meeting met me at the door, came in to sit on my couch and love me. One held my head to her shoulder as I sobbed for a long time. The other calmed down my confused and upset children. They both extended the arms of Jesus to me in the most physical, tangible way. They had no expectations, they stayed until almost midnight knowing Chris was working super late and I would be alone. Their pain? Lots of things-wounds from people, from loss and from deep struggles in their marriages.

Another whole family has showed great empathy and understanding and care to us. Their daughter cried on my couch with me this week too, another in her kindness and hugs made me cry at church. Their pain? Having to walk through something similar to us several years ago among other things as well.

Last Sunday, lots of people had no words for me, wouldn’t talk with me, walked right by even after making eye contact. But some people did. The ones who did, almost universally, were the ones who have been softened and molded by the presence of great pain. I have consistently watched myself change as year after year it seems, there is a different struggle, a different thing that makes my heart ache. It is through my hurt that God softens my heart to others and is able to better extend love through me. Sometimes I’d like to say, that’s enough-I don’t want any more. But the honest truth is I love what God does in my heartbreak. He doesn’t waste an ounce of it. He lets it touch the lives of other people in ways beyond my understanding. He always brings about good in the midst of what I can only see as bad. He meets me and calms my heart.

That I love. That I want more of. In my pain I want to continue to become one who loves well and can share His love in the most tangible ways.

-Karissa

Comments

Steph

That is incredible. I have no other words. Incredible.

Mackenna

Karissa,
I just wanted to let you know I will be thinking and praying for you and the family tonight. I love and miss you all!

kimberly

Praying for you and thinking of you all day today–for peace and for closure. You do love well, you are such a vessel for reaching others, God’s work is done through you! Thank you for sharing your heart. Email soon…

Julie Huebner

I don’t know specifically all that you are going through right now, but I know our heavenly father does. I know that the first 9 years of ministry/married life for me were filled with pain..agonizing pain. The Refiners fire is always painful, but it is perfecting us for what is to come…big, big things! This last year has FINALLY been one of peace, and abundance in life, friendships, love, etc. All those years have paid off, and they were well worth it. I will be praying for you guys, and whatever is going on. I think that God is preparing you guys for something big, and the preparation process is always hard. Don’t underestimate the beauty of change either! It’s scary because it is uncertain, but through it you can discover the wonderful things in life you have been missing and craving! We love you guys! Let us know if you need anything!

Kelly

Philippians:

1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.”

God’s word says we have been granted to suffer, like the lucky winner of a lottery. Only nothing is by chance in His kingdom. We have been “luckily chosen” – and some of the benefits you have already described. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

Love you…..

Kristin McKinnon

OK, so you really do have to write a book some day. My heart is very touched after reading this. It makes me want to embrace pain as God desires. Thank you for being an example of humility & transparency.

Heather

Karissa, thank you for sharing a peice of your heart and walk so honestly and openly (it’s refreshing). So true, so true….I echo what you’ve said here from personal experience and from walking along side others whose pain far surpasses mine, that’s what following Christ is all about…walking with others, laying down your life for others and bearing burdens with others..as you turn towards God for the strengthening, understanding and ability to keep walking with Him.

I hope to see you sometime soon, it’s been too long.
In HIM ~ Heather

Mackenna

Hay Karissa,
This is the only way I can write you. So I was wondering if I could get your email address from you.. That would be super! Thanks! I hope you are doing well!
Miss you!