A New Kind of Tender

Thank you to all of the ladies in my life group who have stirred up these thoughts and emotions in me.  I count you all as greatest blessings.  

 

I have always been tender hearted; you know, the girl in the class the almost cried because the teacher yelled at someone else.  Yeah. That was me.  As a home school kid in the fourth grade I was ignorant of social norms, and that served me well because had I known what everyone thought of me, I might have died.

I have always hated this tenderness. I feel weak.  Easily wounded.  Hurt often.  There have been more than enough opportunities for me to become jaded.  I have been jaded.  I have been hateful.  I have been ugly.  I have wanted to squelch that tenderness inside me and make it bend to my will… My pitiful little will.

When the ugliness finally caught my logical brain’s attention, I asked God to help me to Love.  It was something I thought I was good at before it was truly put to the test, and now I know that only God is doing these things through me.  But with this new love for people comes a new kind of tender.  I find myself crying about God’s love and how we ought to love.  I tear up in movies like Finding Nemo (dumb I know) thinking about how far a father will go to get back to his son.  I cry at the good things, much more often than the bad these days.  Many times I do not even speak because I know that I won’t get past the words “I think that….”  or “God is…”.  Then I start to wonder if people think I am faking it, or if I am being pharisaical in my demonstrations of love for people and for God.

So when the tears rise up, I feel weak.  I get angry that I can’t seem to even get the words out before the tears start rolling down by face.  It’s hard to talk through a sob. I tell people that it is something I hate about myself.  But now, I am wondering if that should change.  I was called “such a lover” last thursday night.  I was told that people loved me, and that THIS is what they love about me. I was told that it goes along with the spiritual gift of compassion.  I was told to stay tender, soft hearted.

That scares me.  So MUCH.  Sometimes I wish that loving Jesus was safer…  not in the sense that I wouldn’t die for my faith, but safer for my heart.  But the fact is that if we truly love him, then we are ALL IN.  Nothing left.  We are sold out to Jesus and dedicating our lives to love people the way He loved and with gentle hands to lead them towards Him.  It isn’t safe.

I make excuses… well I don’t need to love that person because they don’t want to be loved.  I don’t need to love that person because they have already thrown my love back in my face…

But how many times have I, even as I am a Believer,  thrown Christ’s love for me back in His face?  Every time I beat my self up with my perfectionism I am saying that his gift is not enough.  Every time I try to do things on my own power and my own will I reject the fact that he has already given me all the strength I could ever need.  Every time I tell Him WHY ME!  COULDN’T YOU HAVE DIED FOR SOMEONE ELSE??? SOMEONE BETTER, MORE WORTHY?  WHY DID YOU WASTE THIS ON ME???  I misunderstand the absolutely insane way that GOD LOVES ME!   And He loves me even still.

This new kind of tender is terrifying, but in opening myself up to the kind of heart-wrenching pain that I know Jesus feels constantly for those that do not know and love him, I know, at least, I hope, that there will be some kind of peace.

4 thoughts on “A New Kind of Tender

  1. Allan R. Morton, Jr.

    You and your gimpy fin… love it. You inspire me to go deeper, strive longer, give more. Amazing post – I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you for sharing it and laying your heart bare. The Body of Christ (and this world He dearly loves) is in DIRE need of those who risk it, who pour themselves out and trust that God will be their replenishment.

    And to echo the sentiment of your group, your tender heart is a gift. And yes it will be considered weakness by many if not most. But God himself delights in the weak and chooses to use them first and foremost. That all the more the image and reflection of Jesus would be clear to those around you. May your tenderness lead to the reconciliation of countless people to the Savior that loves them through you.

  2. Joy Morton

    I’ve always loved your tender heart, though it sometimes made parenting you a bit more difficult. I know that God will greatly use your gift of compassion. I am so proud of you!

  3. Alli Howald

    Amazing blog entry Gracie. It is so true that not just you, but all Christians need to strive for this kind of tender heart. You are not alone. We all try to tell ourselves that others or even ourselves are not worthy of Gods love. But in the end, Christ always wins because He did die for us. You couldn’t have said it better. This makes me wonder how the beloved body of Christ (the church) would be different if more of us had this kind of tender heart. I think more grace and love would be shown to those who need it most. I love you very much. 😀

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