“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu
Today my sweet boyfriend Taylor flew back to North Carolina after an amazing week in Haiti. Last Thursday he ventured to our little Caribbean island for his first experience of life in a country very different from his own. We spent the week fumbling through speaking Creole, secretly stealing kisses on the cheek, and laughing constantly. We ventured from the beach up to the mountain of Fort Jacque. We held malnourished babies and played with the very healthy children that I take care of. We ate Haitian food and squeezed onto one moto together. We loved those around us without borders or limits, and it was the sweetest week.
Taylor and I met when we were at the ripe age of 16. I was a sassy girl looking for trouble and he had a heart of gold. Our time together then was short lived. Little did I know he would become the one six years later to make my heart beat a little faster. We spent our years during college a part at different schools but we always kept in touch. When we graduated from college our paths found their way back to each other in the simplest and most beautiful way.
Taylor has always had a way of loving me through my brokenness. I have a history of believing the lies of the enemy, that I’m not good enough but too much at the same time. Taylor has always crushed those lies instantly. I never thought that I was deserving of someone to love me in such a relentless way. However, in an earthly picture of my Father’s love for me, Taylor loves me without question.
What drew me to Haiti for the first time was the simple yet rich life I experienced here. In the same way, I was drawn to Taylor by the depth of his heart and intelligence as well as the simple way he lived and loved. As I decided that moving to Haiti would no longer be a dream, but instead a reality my boyfriend was not thrilled. I’m not sure who would be thrilled to have their girlfriend move away for a year. As the days slipped away and my suitcases became packed, ready to go, fear settled deep in my chest. I assumed Taylor would say that I should stay home but instead he said, “this is your dream. You are strong and you CAN do this.” The first night I called him crying I was expecting an, “I told you so,” but instead I was met with comforting words and encouragement.
Being loved and loving someone in return gives us strength and courage. Love takes strength and it also takes courage. Courage to risk pain or to experience immense joy. Strength to be patient, kind, and vulnerable. Knowing love from the Father and through relationships we are enabled to bloom like the flowers we were destined to be, and through this we know that God is love.
God changes hearts. All of those years ago when I thought Taylor wasn’t the one for me Jesus was preparing my heart to love and be loved by someone who is so good for me it’s almost too good to be true. When fear settles in my heart and cripples me from living fearlessly, God is quickly on his way to change my heart. In the same way, this past week I have seen how God changed Taylor’s heart from being unsure of Haiti to embracing the people and place that I love with open arms.
Father, thank you for your love. Thank you for allowing us to experience earthly love in an imperfect way that always points us back to you. Thank you for the way you work all things together for our good, even when we don’t know it yet. Thank you for how you change our hearts and give us the life you’ve always wanted for us. Thank you for giving us people to come along side us in our mess, and hurt, and adventures, and joy who inspire us and make us better. Lord thank you for the joys of life and the sorrows, because in those sorrows we savor the joy. You are too good to me God and I love you. Amen.