Leadership Blog

When Love Hurts

Posted by Caitlin Carpenter on

There is a price to pay when it comes to love. Love is costly. It can leave your heart in a million pieces. It can leave your heart all around the world.

This month while in Ethiopia, the Lord taught me a lot about sacrificial love and how it truly changes everything. He taught me about love through 24 orphans and a little three year old girl. That’s what love does, it allows your heart to be held in the hands of others. Vulnerable. Exposed.

I’m learning about myself that I hate goodbyes because with most goodbyes there is pain. Being on the Race and having goodbyes every month makes this lesson a rollercoaster to be on. I am always saying goodbye to some place, to someone. And this month, I knew it was going to be hard because I was living with orphans 24/7. I knew I would get attached.

At the beginning of the month, the Lord asked me: “Are you willing to still love if you know at the end, your heart will hurt?!” And to be honest, I didn’t want to answer this question. I didn’t want to love to a point where I knew I would be in pain in the end. That isn’t very fun. I would rather keep them at arms length so that I could escape pain. I will love them, but not with everything in me because that costs too much. That is too much pain. Thankfully the Lord is patient with my selfish self, and I finally came around to answering His question. I did... I do want to sacrificially love, despite what may happen to my heart. I am learning that choosing love, means potentially choosing pain, choosing hurt.

Now it is the end of the month. Almost 30 days under my belt with 24 orphans and 5 house mommas. That is a lot of hours with little nuggets who I fell in love with. And yes, my heart hurts. My heart hurt seeing them cry as we said goodbye. My heart hurt as I hugged my sweet girl, Senna, goodbye... and she looked up at me asking “See you tomorrow?!” My heart hurt as we tried to leave but some of the older kids built a road block with dead trees and pipes so our van couldn’t get through. Although it hurts, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret kissing them on the cheeks. I don’t regret hugging them every chance I got. I don’t regret calling Senna “my baby girl.” And I certainly don’t regret the hundred of “I love you mores.” I can’t regret anything, because I chose love and love conquers everything.

Love allows you to walk away knowing you made somewhat of an impact. Love allows you to pour out Christ’s love with no limit. My prayer from the very beginning was “Lord may they see You in me and because of the love I give may they know without a doubt that You love them.” If they experience Jesus just a little bit more, it is worth it. All the tears, worth it. All the late night prayers for their little hearts, worth it. The feeling that your heart is fixing to explode at any second, worth it. My month at HOPEthiopia was absolutely worth it.

I know love is worth it because it is who God is. The love God created and demonstrated was a costly one... it was sacrificial. He gives me ALL of His heart, why wouldn’t I do the same for others. He didn’t take the easy way out, so why would I. The love He lavishes on me is the ground of me being a person of love.

I want to be a person of love. I want to extend genuine, real love everyday. And I want to do this because He first loved me in a sacrificial way.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgement, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” - 1 John 4:7-21


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