Wouldn’t it be great to only feel the good side to love?  To only feel the good stuff but never to feel the bad stuff?  To only have that exquisite romantic love but never have a broken heart?

In a beautiful tribute to her husband and her marriage,  Ann Voskamp posted today (I’m beginning to be a big fan of hers) wrote:

The moment you let love into your heart, your heart starts breaking. The only way to stop your heart from breaking is to stop your heart from loving. You always get to choose: either a hard heart or a broken heart.

A broken heart is really an abundant heart — all those many beautiful pieces only evidence of an abundant life.

This statement has been weighing so heavy on my heart today.  Broken hearts hurt, but they have a lot of love.  Hardened hearts, well, they don’t break but they don’t love.  So we have a choice.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34-35

We can choose to keep our hearts from breaking and go against the command of Jesus, or we can choose to love and experience the fruits of this earth.

One time in college I went through a bad break up.  A boy broke my heart in a huge way.  I was devastated.  I really dove into my art as my therapy and I sketched a picture of a heart with a scar down the middle, surrounded by barbed wire.  I was going to protect my heart.  I didn’t want to fall in love again.  I would be guarded.  I would keep that heart from giving and receiving love because I didn’t want to experience pain again.

a hurting heart is a loving heartI did my best but then my husband showed up and I couldn’t not fall in love with him… the boy who couldn’t stop holding my hand or looking into my eyes or telling me how much he loved me.  The boy who would ramble on and on about me at work to his co-workers.  The boy who got me a ring after a few months of dating that said, in french, “You and no other.”

However, nothing is completely shiny and perfect.  In cutting that barbed wire away I made that heart of mine very vulnerable but the love I was experiencing was telling me it would be worth it.  And so I cut that wire away and was able to give and receive love…  and also I was opening myself up to a broken heart.

It would be a bold faced lie if I said my heart has never been broken since then.  Yes, even that boy who held my hand and looked in my eyes has broken my heart… quite a few times in our 17 years.  I, too, have broken his heart a few times over as well.

Life happens.  LOTS of people and experiences have broken my heart in my 38 years.  My heart is so mangled and bandaged it’s a pathetic looking heart to say the least… but it loves.  It’s not hard.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7

Sometimes it is hard to choose love.  It is hard to choose to be vulnerable and open yourself up.  It is easier to be hard than it is to love.  In choosing to love, however, we are showing to the world our God… the God that moves mountains and answers prayers and does wondrous deeds and works in ways that we do not understand.  We are shining our light.  We are doing as we are commanded while experiencing the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  … fruits of the spirit given to us on earth as we await our arrival to the kingdom.  … fruits of the spirit so we can experience, and allow others to experience, the healing and amazing power of our almighty God.

Let us all tear down our walls and experience love the way God intended for us, with full knowledge that our vulnerability may leave us with a broken heart…  but we understand now that a broken heart is an ABUNDANT heart.

So instead of armoring up with metal and barbed wire, let us arm ourselves with the healing power of love.a hurting heart is a loving heart.