A note from Kelly King: I have fond memories of putting puzzles together with my family around the holidays. In today’s article, Kaye Hurta helps us understand how loving others is a picture of what the Lord desires in our relationships, whether they are hurting or struggling during a difficult season.
Last month I celebrated a birthday. My husband and two girls (ages 18 and 16) made a lovely dinner for me. As is our custom, everyone shared a “word” that they feel best describes me (or the one being celebrated) along with why they chose that word. It is a tender tradition and very life affirming. This year, to add to the fun, I bought a puzzle for us to work on after dinner. We had a fantastic time working together on that silly puzzle. I’m not a puzzle person, but I learned something important about them that night. Do you know what the most important piece of the puzzle is? No, it’s not the corner or the edge. It’s the box top. The most important piece of the puzzle is the vision of what it is supposed to look like when it’s finished.
I thought about that as it relates to the pain and hurt of this life, especially during the holidays. Quite often, in seasons of pain, we lose sight of what this life is supposed to look like. The life of loving and being loved becomes blurred by the pain or hurt that clouds our vision. Pain distorts the picture. Pain robs us of the box top.
If you are paying attention to the church calendar, this weekend is the second weekend of Advent, when we light the candle that represents love. It represents a love that came down—a love that was born into our broken, hurting world, inviting us in and changing everything. I’m convinced we are happiest when we are free to love God completely, love others compassionately, and love ourselves correctly. That is life’s picture on the box top! A life marked by giving and receiving love. I’m equally convinced that because God is love, the enemy takes dead aim at doing all he can to distort, destroy, steal, kill, twist, counterfeit, and defile love.
It is no surprise that the holiday season can be the most painful season for many. A season marked by anything but love.
- Someone you know is fearful of the holidays because she will be face to face with an abuser, maybe even around a table.
- Someone you know is dreading the holidays because of someone who will never be at the table again.
- Someone you know isolates herself during this season because she can’t bear to remain unseen again this year.
- Someone you know is struggling with depression that seems darker against the backdrop of tinsel and lights.
- Someone you know is convinced that God will never love her because of what she has done. And what she has done remains a secret because she is convinced if she tells it, no one else will love her either.
As a healing and helping community, let’s commit to model for those who are hurting what life’s box top looks like. Let’s be the physical expression of God’s love that transforms. Let’s love others well.
Loving well involves:
- Listening without judgement
- Serving unconditionally
- Holding to a boundary
- Finding someone who is hard to love and loving them anyway
Love came down to put the pieces of life’s broken puzzle in place. If you are in a season of pain, I am so sorry. Would you let someone trusted love you? Let them remind you what the box top looks like. Because love came down, you are loved and you are lovely.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.