In just a few short weeks, I will be leaving the mountains (or hills if you live in the Rockies) of West Virginia for the sunny beaches of Southern Florida. Time for another adventure!
Understandably, The Final Countdown is my song of choice while I count down the days to finally live in the same town as Tony. (80's songs are the soundtrack of my life. Don't judge.)
When I left DC five months ago, I would have never imagined that God could do so much in my life and in the lives of those around me, in such a short amount of time. Prayers I've been praying for years have been answered right in front of my eyes. God has taken me back to some places that I would have never visited had I not been living here. He has shown me over and over again just how much I've grown and changed.
The Old me was finally laid to rest amongst the hills where she was born.
I've been through quite a few tough times in my life. But nothing has been harder or more anxiety producing than letting Tony into my heart. I didn't understand the struggle at first. Why would loving someone so completely amazing be a hard thing to do? I realized that I've let men into my heart that didn't belong there and the damage caused from doing so left me building ever-higher walls of protection. Until I met Tony, I had never experienced a relationship with someone that wanted to pursue me, protect my heart, go slow, get to know me, share their heart with me, show me respect, and love me unconditionally.
Due to the high walls built around my heart, Tony has had to take each brick down one at a time as I would go in behind him and put them back up. Each time a section of my wall would come down and he would get in, I would feel the same kind of panic as if I was being invaded by an enemy. Much like a transplant patient can reject a new, healthier organ, Tony felt out of place in the trampled garden of my heart.
Real, selfless love changes you. And maybe I didn't want to be changed.
Sometimes we get comfortable with the fortified walls we build. Sometimes we get comfortable with disfunction.
We feel safe in the prison we create when we let our past pains and fears harden us. The danger is that with a hardened heart you can't love. You can't love others, you can't love yourself, and you can't love God.
God doesn't just suggest that we love one another. He commands it. In fact it's a part of the most important commandment of all.
Luke 10:27 "He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself." (emphasis mine)In order to love, we have to be willing to let our hearts be vulnerable. That's a tough thing to do when you've been hurt; as we all have. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." It doesn't say fortify your heart. It doesn't say close your heart. It doesn't say hide your heart. It says to guard it.
When we let people into our hearts that we can trust to take care of it, we find people that will stand guard at the doors of our heart with us. We don't have to guard our hearts by ourselves. When we try to do that, we will eventually end up building walls. We aren't meant to do things alone. Building walls is the only way one person can defend something so big. Our hearts are designed to be big enough to hold an infinite amount of love.
It's that love that is the wellspring of life.
It is Jesus that is the living water. (John 7:37-38)
As I pack up my things and prepare to embark on this new adventure, I am so thankful to God that He wasn't content to let me continue through life with my walls up. The only way I can follow Him wherever He leads is if I leave the walls behind and trust Him with my heart. Each brick we place in the wall is another hindrance to our freedom. My pride and selfishness have to be left in the dust as I run with perserverance the race marked out for me. (Hebrews 12:1)