When hope feels impossible...
How do you forgive the unforgivable?
How do you trust the untrustable?
How do you love the unlovable?
With acceptance that forgiveness is actually a gift you give yourself.
With acceptance that trust can only be earned with time and opportunity.
With acceptance that love looks different in every season... and that at times, you have been unlovable too.
Acceptance is the part of the grieving process I hate the most because I actually think it's the hardest step to wrangle. I don't want to accept the brokenness in my life, in my faith, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my relationships, in my career. Because accepting unacceptable things feels like a cruel insult to injury. And staring at all that brokenness, hope feels impossible.
How do I forgive someone who inflicted an unforgivable wound? How do I trust someone who has earned nothing but my distrust? How do I love someone who has hurt me so profoundly?
All three impossible feats truly are divinely possible, so hold onto hope. There is no human power that can truly forgive, trust, and love enough to repair irrevocable damage, so choose to be willing to rely on God's power, if only for this one moment. (Before you get mad about that - what do you have to lose?)
So, sure, "God's got this," but what do I do in the meantime?!
Our human work begins here. All three impossible feats of forgiveness, trust, and love come with one same caveat: boundaries are key.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. And forgiveness also does not guarantee trust.
Trust is earned back one tiny trustworthy experience at a time. Yet the relationship may never look the same as “before.”
Love looks different in every season. You can love someone yet require them to earn back your trust. You can love someone yet request their patterns to change. You can love someone at arm's length - or from across a canyon - until they have found a path back to your embrace through reflection, hard personal work, and proven changed behavior.
Because loving a person requires you to first love yourself. And loving yourself means understanding the respect and care you need (deserve) from the person who loves you too.
But how do we get from fairy tale love… to tolerance… to disdain… to disgust? How does love so devastatingly erode?
Related: Choose love
Love in the trenches
Love - real, true love - is locking eyes in the trenches and choosing to make it through alive. Sometimes you fight together. Sometimes you fight alone. Sometimes someone needs to rest, or be carried, or tend to their wounds. Sometimes your radios will break and you will need a translator. A code breaker. Sometimes a spy throws you off course. Sometimes the enemy destroys any progress you’ve made.
Sometimes you’ll both just want to lay down and quit.
There’s light at the end. I promise.
So when you’re ready - stand up and trudge forward anyway.
That’s doing the impossible.
When hope feels impossible
Here’s a little something from our socials yesterday. Let hope find you today.
Hope is sometimes a shiny pearl
Hope is sometimes a tiny ray of light
Hope is sometimes a resting place until your strength comes back
Hope is bloody knees and tear-stained cheeks
Facing forward into the wind.
However you’re striving to forgive, trust, love, or hope today, stand firm knowing you’re loved and held as a precious image bearer of the One who created you. Keep going.