I have been told many times since we decided to adopt to “guard my heart.” I’ve even told myself that a few times. Guard your heart when you look at small faces with great needs, lest you fall in love, give into hope, and have your heart shattered. I’ve tried to be diligent in this task– this protecting my heart from pain. The scriptures even say,
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Psalm 4:23
And yet, God is making it quite clear to me that this “guarding of my heart”–this act of protecting myself–is not the context He meant for adoption. God is a God of love, of hope, of second chances, of families. There are real little children, real stories and faces and names and hurts and heartbreaks, and they deserve to be loved. They don’t need someone to say, “I’m guarding my heart against the pain of loving you.” They need someone to say, “This could end in sorrow, but the potential for joy and love far outweigh any pain. You are worth loving at any expense.”
Jesus didn’t come into our broken world and guard His heart against the things that could cause him pain…..the people who might hurt Him. Rather He poured Himself into them. He met them where they were–in all their pain and brokenness and disease–and He loved them. This was done without the thought of whether they might love Him back in return.
In the adoption world, we sometimes become afraid of loving a child we may not have a future with. Almost as though that love could ever be in vain.
It’s so very clear to me now that this “guarding of our heart” isn’t a call to keep our love to ourselves…this isn’t the context at all. Rather, I believe He would want us pour all of ourselves out to those who need it the most.
My favorite singer/ songwriter, Jill Phillips, recently came out with an album called Mortar and Stone. On it is a song called “Broken Heart” and she expounds upon this abandoned heart so beautifully:
There are other ways that Jesus could’ve saved the world
Ones that wouldn’t end up with him dead
He could have done it with an order from the throne of God
But he did it with a broken heart instead
So I’ll take a broken heart …
Cause a broken heart is better than one that doesn’t feel