Monday, April 19, 2010

When Fierce Love No Longer Works In A Family

I have been asked to write about family several times, but each time I chicken out. My family reads mom, my sister, my mother in-law, my aunt-in-law (love your emails, Aunt Connie!). I am sure that many of you know what I am saying. Some life lessons, you can’t just put out there if it could hurt other people.

So, my disclaimer to this post is that it does not concern any of these family members. In fact, this post is about anyone who has an object of fierce love, especially the kind we assign to family members.

Fierce love is different from other kinds of love. Fierce love is what happens when someone talks about your sister. You can talk about your sister, but that privilege does not extend past you.

Fierce love is willful.

Fierce love is disappointing.

Fierce love aggressively invades your life and their life.

To test what kind of love I have for these individuals who hang on to my prayer list with sighs and head shaking, I have decided to check myself with this verse...

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NRSV

If I am honest, I have fallen into fierce love which is a twisted earthly ambassador of its pure inventor. I find that I am not bearing anything well, or believing that they will ever change. I lost my hope with trying, and I cannot think of enduring in this state forever. Sound familiar?

I am finding that fierce love is what makes my sister mine to love, mine to fix. We are bonded in a way that no one else can understand, and I have the right to feel territorial. It should not be a surprise when one of these objects of fierce love becomes the reminder of where we end. Oh, what a difficult day that can be!

I was talking with someone recently who said she was done. She could not put her heart into her family problems anymore. It left her empty and the drama left her tired. I know what she means.

Then I realized that this is a moment of hope, not defeat. I just kept hearing, “Good, you end here.” It is good that we end. It is good that we understand that God is in the places that we cannot go. We are not capable of changing, enlightening, altering, or loving someone into submission, or (my favorite) reality. We end in defeat and He begins in power.

Have you ever been there? Have you invested yourself in a person who just can’t seem to get it together? They bring you the greatest hope and follow it with the greatest defeat. Always hand in hand, this roller coaster makes you want to say, “Enough, if I don’t get off now I am going to be sick!” That is exactly how fierce loves affect us. We want to ride with them until we realize that they are the only ones enjoying themselves, or we are going to, physically, throw each other off this ride.

We have to make a conscious decision to get off this roller coaster.

What a moment of trust that it takes when we look at God and admit that this object of our fierce love has remained that way out of our pride, our ego, our last name. We have not turned this person over completely to Him because somehow we believe that God honors our vested interest and our shed tears. How many tears has He cried over our family members?

So, there is an end. At this end, we know that the only thing that we can do is pray. Why? Because this is when we claim His power. We trust that He will, not can but will, do infinitely more.

He will do it because He loves them more than we can imagine, more than fierce love.

Have you fallen fiercely in love?


  1. Tracy, you have no idea how much this post touches me.

    I am going to share my story on Wed.. (I hope you come read & cheer me on.. never shared before) on this topic of what you call "fierce love". I reached the end. And it was a good thing.

    Thank you for sharing this... because it is the truth, and it is honest and at times, in our faith walk, this is exactly where God wants us.

    ... btw,thank you for coming by this am to share at FaithBarista.

    There is encouragement in knowing we all share a common desire to grow closer to God, and the challenges that go along with it.

    I'm so happy you came to visit and share a bit of the day together.

  2. wow - thank you so much for posting this! I have these struggles in my family too (the kind your friend talked about.) There are times when I am just worn out by the drama and I'm ready to disembark the vehicle! For me, it's having to take a step back and set up safe boundaries while loving them the best I can...

    This is such a great post filled with wisdom!

  3. This is a great post. There are so many times I have been sucked into the drama and then just become so drained. I am tucking this post into the memory banks for those times where I need to realize I just need to step back and pray and let God take over to heal and guide in ways I cannot.

    As always, your writings touch my heart.

  4. I so needed to hear (erhm read?) this. I am struggling with this right now and I am ready to get off. I am done. So now I am going to learn to take steps away from fierce love. Thanks for the reality was very needed :)

  5. YESS! Yes and AMEN!!! That is where I've been living, Tracy! I was just telling Mer that I'm having a problem 'loving well' those whom I love the most fiercly! That sentence is a grammatical nightmare - but you get me! Thanks for sharing this, and reminding me that prayer is the anti-venom to drama...

  6. Oh, I like this! Yes, I am there - I like knowing that where I end, God will pick it up.

  7. Tracy, great post! Wonderful thoughts on how we should love those around us.

  8. Amen. Rob Bell has a WONDERFUL DVD called "Luggage" in which he addresses this very thing. He incorporates Proverbs 26:11 (As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.) and discusses setting boundaries with those you love. It is profound. You are right - you can still love them right where they are but you don't have to go back to the vomit with them. I also love what you wrote about how you can talk about your sister but other people cannot - I am so the same way. If anyone ever says anything about someone I love fiercly, watch out...:)


Your comments mean so much to me. Thank you for taking the time to share what is on your mind.

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