photo by Maja Gotti

The words she wrote burn my heart as I read them.

I pull my fingers back from the computer as if it’s a hot stove.

“I’m not so sure about putting myself out there,” I whisper, “Did you see what she just said to me? What if I get hurt?”

It seems my heart hears a whisper in response: “Oh, you mean like someone might crucify you?”

Big gulp.

Huh.

The Spirit makes excellent points. Like this one: The reality that we might get hurt doesn’t give us a reason not to do something.

Jesus died with His arms wide open, His heart exposed so that we could live that that way.

And when we do get hurt {because we will} it is “by His wounds that we are healed” {Is. 53:5}

They are wounds of knowing how hard it is to choose love in an unkind world. Wounds that understand compassion can be scarce when we need it most. Wounds that teach vulnerability is great strength in disguise.

I pull my chair back up to the keyboard. I email a friend and ask her to pray that I will be brave.

Then I type some more.

Because it’s the best way I know of to bear witness to this kind of Love.

Love that holds nothing back–and promises to hold me through it all.

– Holley Gerth, author of the new book You’re Made for a God-sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You

 

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  1. 1

    Absolutely love this post. Thank you!

  2. 2

    I’d never considered this before, Holley:

    “Jesus died with His arms wide open, His heart exposed so that we could live that that way.

    And when we do get hurt {because we will} it is “by His wounds that we are healed” {Is. 53:5}

    . . . Wounds that teach vulnerability is great strength in disguise.”

    This truth is one I read again and again with my jaw open wide and my courage that much stronger. So appreciating how His truth steeps in you and how you share.

  3. 3

    Yes. Yes. Yes Holley! Loving because we are covered by the Spirit’s wing, protected by His love for us. I have to picture that wing sometimes as I step out again to love with my arms wide open, heart vulnerable and hands able to be crucified. It always helps me to lament the pain though, like David and…Jesus. …giving the pain to Abba

  4. 4

    Holly, this spoke to my heart in so many ways. Thank you for the reminder that he knows our journey and is a man “aquainted with sorrow”. What hope and strength is this.

  5. 5

    The dental work hurts but it doesn’t harm us. The Lord will never ask us to do anything that will harm us.
    Btw my new blog baby to encurage victims of childhood sexual abuse, rape, post-abortion syndrome and resultant addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD is up and running at anothersamaritanwoman.wordpress.com:)

  6. 6

    Such truth here expressed so simply Holley. I think this is one of the most challenging and difficult things we face as Christ followers. Will we push through pain and choose love or will we allow the pain to choose us and keep us from loving the way Christ loves? It’s the most brave thing of all, the illustration of faith to choose love. Thanks for making me think, as always.

  7. 7

    Yes! I think it’s another part of “When we are weak (vulnerable, afraid, hurt, wounded), He is made strong”! I think sometimes it grows us in a new way…like He allows the hurt so we lean in harder on Him, learning how to love LIKE Him more, and learning to LOVE Him more!

    Thanks Holley!

  8. 8

    Thank you for this beautifully expressed reminder of the sacrifices made for us. Opening that door back up and stepping back out is hard when you’ve been hurt. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Thank you for this!

  9. 9
    Judy Bertling says:

    What a constant source of inspiration you are to this senior reader. I often share your work with others! This one is so insightful and endearing that I will be posting it on the refrigerator door in our church kitchen! May God continue to inspire you so that you may continue to imspire othes

  10. 10

    Holley,
    “Wounds that teach vulnerability is great strength in disguise.” Thank you for the reminder that my wounds and my vulnerability in my writing are strength in disguise. Even though I might get “crucified”, His glory is worth putting my heart (wounds and all) out there.
    Love,
    Bev

  11. 11

    Thank you Holley for your faithful encouragement. When all seems right in the world, I feel like I have enough of it all on my own. But when there’s days like these, your encouragement {in Christ} is a like a lifeline to the bigger picture for me.

  12. 12

    Your words eased my pain this morning. Especially that verse. Beautiful. I will share with those close to me who are hurting.

  13. 13

    Wow! I needed to hear this today. God bless you!

  14. 14

    Good Morning Holley.
    Today I start my new job. The last few years I have been home, me the Lord, my Bible,
    the devotional , Jesus is calling, Your blog and my favorites on Pandora.
    It has been a time of the Lord leading me through a valley with steep mountains on either side. So close a person could not turn to the right, the left or turn around. I could only walk with Him holding my hand, He lead the way.
    As I begin today I realize my biggest fear is that I will not be able to handle those who would be critical of me. What If I am not good enough? I will most defiantly have different view points.
    As I pondered all of this I remember my prayer ” Lord please be glorified in my Life.”
    So then I don’t need to fear He will walk me through the ” What if I get hurt?”
    I love you Holley and have been so grateful for you and your words ( that come from walking with Him)

  15. 15
    Lynn Warren says:

    Dearest Abba Father~

    I stand together in our dear Lord’s Name, the Name above all Names, that you will bring Robin to this new job replacing any anxiety with faces longing to see and learn of Your light that shines from her. May she feel she has come to a mission field ripe with harvest to know You. And may she remember to work as unto You, that she may always bring you Glory.

    In Jesus Name, we pray!

  16. 16

    wonderful post Holley!

  17. 17

    So many times we are impressed to move out, to do something, to offer some kindness to someone even, and then we stop. We stop because gnawing at the back of our minds and our hearts is the fear of rejection, embarrasment or hurt in some form or the other. This fear cripples us at times to the extent that we convince ourselves that it is best not to do the thing we know we ought to do, that thing that GOd has called us to do. However if we listen closely we will hear the Holy Spirit’s assurance whispering across our hearts, to venture out, to be obedient, to trust that HE WILL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH WITH US. Indeed, the reality that we might get hurt doesn’t give us a reason not to do something, it is reason to lean on HIM, to hold tenaciously to HIS hand and trust HIS heart.

    Be Blessed and be in-couraged.

  18. 18

    Wow. this is so beautiful. Thank you for reminding me of this. By HIS wounds we are healed. It not only means physical but emotional as well.. May I praise the ONE who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead….I ask you to pray for me to .

  19. 19
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    Oh wow. Did I ever need to read this today!
    Thank you!

  20. 20

    Holley, this is incredible. God is clearly speaking through you. Wonderful!

  21. 21
    Anonymous says:

    Just Beautiful.
    Thank you, Holley. I love you.
    Karen

  22. 22
    Karen E. L. says:

    Beautiful Word and straight as an Arrow from the Father, Himself.
    Thank you, Holley. I love you.
    Karen

  23. 23

    Very hard to do when our natural tendency is to want to protect ourselves and our hearts and our testimony.

  24. 24
    Sue Dietsche says:

    Jesus said: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” How true this is. This past year has been a roller coaster for my husband Dave and I. He’s a full-time hospital chaplain, assigned to the oncology floor. Our large church (3 services each Sunday) was looking for an assistant pastor. Over a dozen people submitted his name and we began the long call process. He stepped up to help immediately and preached for 16 months. Every week someone said they were asking the Lord to have him be our pastor. Our senior pastor encouraged Dave all along. A man who was not well-suited to our congregation was presented over a year after the search began. Twenty-three new members were brought in on June 10th, the day of the vote. We were told that many spoke on Dave’s behalf. Someone asked our pastor who he would choose and he said the other man. That swayed enough people and they offered the call to the other man. The vote count was never revealed. We were devastated. We had been active within our church family for 14 years. We felt embarrassed, confused, betrayed and rejected. In the midst of our pain and sadness, the Lord kept reminding us that He would never leave us or forsake us. We spent hours and hours talking, praying and singing hymns together. I cried a lot to see my beloved hurt so badly. Dave is such a humble man and only desires to serve the Lord and bring others to His saving grace. We received dozens and dozens of cards, emails and phone calls from our church family, offering scripture, love and prayer. Our precious children, ages 18 and 19, said it was still our church and that we didn’t have to stay away forever. God’s grace is more than sufficient. He slowly washed away our bitterness. He reminded us of His forgiveness and that we are called to also forgive. God’s gentle love held us close to His heart. Every day, we quoted Hebrews 12:1-3. We took the summer to spend time together as a family and to work towards healing. Through all of those confusing, difficult days, the Lord remained our strength and our shield. He gently restored us. We went back to Sunday School, worship, choir and Bible study in the fall. Dave amazed me once again when he told our pastor that he was willing to preach again whenever it would be helpful. I had been in charge of our February Vacation Bible School for years. I simply didn’t know what to do. Talk about being afraid of being hurt again. Yet the Lord spoke to my heart and helped me to say yes to Him. He enabled me to throw myself into VBS, whole-heartedly, because of His great love. We just shared Jesus with 101 children! This past Sunday evening, He covered me with His constant Holy Spirit and helped me to speak in front of 170, at our Ladies’ Candlelight Dinner. Our pastor was away during VBS in February, and Dave preached twice. The Lord gave us His peace and God’s Word was proclaimed. Do I still get scared? Sometimes, but we choose to keep our eyes on Jesus instead of looking at the hurt. God is greater than anything any of us will ever face. He feels our pain, and He also heals our pain. Turn to Him and pour out your heart. He’s waiting for you with His arms wide open. He loves you so much! His grace IS sufficient!

  25. 25

    Hi Holley. Thanks for your post!

    It’s a great reminder to choose love, in spite of the scariness of what pain we are exposing ourselves too. I’ve always been scared to grow closer to the Lord for this reason, the fear of pain.

    Much love.

  26. 26

    You read my heart this week.. I am giving a speech for a church retreat this weekend and I have been worried about people not liking what I have to say. I have a huge heart so anyone’s dislike breaks me down quick. You reminded me that I have the confidence within me and God’s strength to give my speech without fear! :) Thank you sooooo much!!

  27. 27
    Jeanine says:

    Thank-you! – A timely reminder. Very helpful!

  28. 28

    Thank you so much for being brave with me, sisters!

  29. 29

    Thank you so much for being brave with me here, sisters!

  30. 30

    This. This is what I needed to read. I’ve been having some doubts about a God-sized dream I have because I’m scared of being vulnerable and getting the backlash. Thank you and God bless.

  31. 31

    I am so very grateful that you have chosen to be brave over and over and have encouraged others to do same with such kind and encouraging words!! God bless you Holley as you bless me and so many others so very often!! love you!

  32. 32

    Ah, that evil nemesis rejection! It is so hard to be hurt, and I think we often go to great lengths to avoid pain. Consequently, this sentence really spoke to me: The reality that we might get hurt doesn’t give us a reason not to do something.

    I was at my women’s bible study last night, and we watched a Beth Moore DVD. SHe talked about the pain of rejection, and not allowing the fear of it to dictate our choices. She said (and I paraphrase): How would we know the value of being loved (chosen) if we have never been rejected?
    Zing.

  33. 33

    I needed this today, Holley. Thank you!

  34. 34
    Krissy says:

    Dear Holley,
    I just recently subscribed to your blog and each day I am encouraged!! Your words are simple yet powerful! Thank you for the reminder that the fear of getting hurt is no excuse for not doing. I pray that God continues to speak through you and that you will continue to be a willing vessel that doesn’t mind being transparent! God Bless you

  35. 35

    I loved this post and got so much out of it and also from everyone else’s posts. Rejection has been the biggest stumbling block of my life. I am encouraged to know that other people have the same problem. Hearing how everyone has triumphed from it and see how strong your faith is – is so empowering!! Thank you all for sharing. I pray that God will bless you abundantly……..

  36. 36

    I’d love to live with my heart wide open. But it seems like whenever I do, it ends up getting stomped on. How did Jesus keep going every single day when he knew he was going to be mocked, rejected, and ultimately sent to a horrible death? Why does the human heart have to be so fragile? I love having a tender heart but I hate the bruises it so easily gets. I’m weary of it today. Today is one of those days I wish I could be tougher. Today is one of those days I don’t understand why God made my heart so tender. Today is one of those days I’m tired of hurting.

  37. 37

    Needing these words today, friend. Thank you.

  38. 38

    To love means to make oneself vulnerable and open to recieve wounds and be rejected .Just the very thought of it stings like anything.But that ‘s the way God has designed us and its far better than to be closed in and shut oneself from the fear of getting rejected and wounded.

    Regards,
    Priya

  39. 39

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have putting myself out there on my blog, with arms open wide. I know the Lord wants me to, but I keep saying to myself, “I don’t want to post this!” But I am posting, about my past so others can heal. He was wounded for our transgressions and by his stripes we are healed. To have healing and be afraid to share it because we are afraid of future rejection, I can’t do that anymore. Blessings!

  40. 40

    Melissa, you don’t have to be tough. Jesus will carry you through. Put your “hurts” in His strong hands and lean back into His loving arms. God knows everything about you and your circumstances. He’s waiting for you to give it all to Him. You can trust Him with it all. He understands. When you feel discouraged, turn to His Word. Immerse yourself in the Bible. Pray in the car or the shower. Sing or listen to christian music. Find another christian to connect up with. Know that the Lord will never leave you. I’m going to be lifting you up in prayer.

  41. 41
    Leonie Leitch says:

    Holly I really don’t know what I would do without our loving Saviour and yes, we do get hurt – I have been praying for someone who is not “open” to the word, and she has said some terrible things to me at times and I have left in tears, but I am still praying and still love her.

    Jesus did die for us with His arms wide open.

  42. 42

    Thank you Holly . You hit the spot again. God bless you.

  43. 43

    when i read this it reminded me of an interview i saw with mel gibson after he had done “the passion of the Christ”…he was going through difficulties (nothing like he has had since then but difficulties none the less)…and he was talking to a friend about it. she said ” you made this movie and you didn’t expect to get ‘some’ “… i think we all need to be prepared for a little extra suffering when we step out …it’s just “not done”…but the Joy!! Oh the joy…the peace that surpasses all understanding when you do…it may take more than one step out there….but your efforts will not go unrewarded by Him…

  44. 44
    Shannon says:

    Beautifully written! Thank you!

  45. 45

    Thank you so much, Holley, for sharing this, and those who have replied with such encouraging and challenging words. Whew! I have always had that fear of rejection, being laughed at, etc. and so want to get past it. I must take these words and thought to our Father God. God bless you all.

  46. 46
    Beth Williams says:

    Holley,

    Such truer words were never spoken! We need to venture out into the cold, cruel, sinful world and shtw them the love of Jesus! Might we get hurt–yes, but the rewards are quite worth it in the end!

    God will bless us for trying!

  47. 47

    You are the best kind of medicine, friend.

    Oh, how I adore you!

    xoxo

  48. 48

    Dear Holley,
    I am honestly trying to choose love in an unkind world and it is so hard for me. Thank you for the encouragement to keep trying.
    Hugs,
    Nelda

  49. 49

    So true, and so hard to do after being hurt. I’m slowly trying to come back out of my shell and be real even though it might mean being hurt.

  50. 50

    Thank you Holly. I so needed to read this.

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