Love is a Verb, by Mandy Lail, Back2Back Mexico Staff

I love the complexity of God.  I may have charged into the city of Monterrey with great passion for changing the lives of orphans but I keep seeing God doing His work on me as well!  Right now it’s grammar lessons.

I am always fascinated with the word love.  We love to be “in love”, to feel loved, even feel love for another but that’s just one sense of the word.  I am fascinated at our preoccupation with love as a noun. It’s this wonderful, sometimes elusive thing we are constantly seeking.  But what about when love is a verb?  What about when it’s all about our actions and not our feelings?  What about when loving someone hurts? But we do it anyways but God calls us to love.  While I am sure He would be pleased if it felt good to us I believe He calls us to action with love.  He wants us to pour it out on others and pour it out and pour it out and our it out.  Regardless of how it feels.
God has called me to a complexity of love.  Parenting is love.  It about actions for sure but often we can carry those out because we FEEL so much love for our children.  We fall in love with them often early & fast and that fuels our ability to love in action. We serve & sacrifice because we feel love for them.  We tolerate a complete loss of control of our personal time, TV choices, dining choices, even sleeping arrangements in order to love/serve/parent our kiddos. It’s hard but our feelings for them keep us going.

So this I am experiencing this new level of love with my foster sons. I do feel love for them for sure but it’s not the same.  We haven’t bonded the same as my little ones.  They aren’t always wiling and open to be loved unlike my little ones. They come with other family attachments that can make it hard for them to figure out where we, their house parents, fit for them emotionally.  So it’s this new level of love for me.  I get a lot less back emotionally from my sons.  So I have to dig deeper into Jesus and into that sense of unconditional love … action love.  Sometimes I don’t want to love them like they are mine.  I want to guard my heart.  They can be hurtful at times.  I could lose one of them at any moment (should they decide to leave the program etc.) It’s so hard to love them with as much of me as I can when it doesn’t feel the same.  It doesn’t always come back to me.  This is where I am learning to lean in more to Jesus for His strength to LOVE (verb) them the best I can.

Now we are fostering a toddler son as well.  And I find this grammar lesson digging to new depths.  Again I want to guard my heart.  I don’t want to “fall in love” with him, to bond too deeply because I can only imagine how much it will hurt when he leaves.  But he needs it.  He needs my love in action.  So I am learning to lean in, to press harder into Jesus for the strength I need to love.  Learning how to rely on Jesus to give me what I need to love this boy like he is mine, to love with all I’ve got…because that’s what God wants for Him.  That’s a way God will show himself to this sweet boy.  And for me it’s a hard but important grammar lesson.  Isn’t God a God of action?  Doesn’t His immense love for us play out with His son dying on a cross? If that isn’t love in action, I don’t know what is.