Tough Love Holds

This Post is dedicated to all the people that offer to serve with their lives: Coast Guard, Navy, Marine, Army, Firefighters, Policemen/Police women, EMS. . .

Wire Heart Love

I had no idea. No concept of tough love.

But, I’m getting it. It’s not the “tough love” concept in parenting, where the parents have the “lay down the law” with a way ward child. It is not inmeshment where I cling to a person in desperation. This is something different. It’s a hold on God’s Best for another. It’s the “true grit” of lay down your life. It’s the “I’m gonna hold on for dear life, because you are too significant to do it any other way.” “It’s the love that insists on seeing it through.” It’s the sound of solid wood beams intersecting as the horizontal of  worldy life meets the vertical of eternal life and it resounds deep, wide and high and shakes the heavens with a Cross that will bear whatever it takes to live. We think of the Cross as where Jesus died. . .but the Cross is where He LIVED the greatest of His life. It is, was and will be the only perfect example of tough love.

I know when God began to forge the love of His Son in me: I was lost in a sea of strangers, a house full after my father’s sudden death. I wore hand-me-downs cut down two sizes to fit and was teased. I was two grade levels behind in the SRA reading box. I wanted to be purple. (Anyone out there remember those reading boxes in the classroom?) It was when my classmates “set me up” to humiliate me with my “crush” David in fourth grade, pretending he was going to meet me at recess. It was the bridal shower where the hostess complained the whole time to me and few attended. The wedding where the true life friends came through. The honeymoon where I cried as I left my sister. The tough delivery where you gut out the pain for the one who needs you more. Temper tantrums that raised the roof on our house and our blood pressure. A lost child in a resort in Mexico. Surgery “Waiting Rooms for Parents”where every minute stretches past the last in what feels like forever.  A wrong assessment, “She will always be developmentally delayed and struggle with reading.” Pregnant and scrubbing vomit for four straight days. Marriage front battles in which we BOTH lost. Another sudden death, this time, my mother. Declarations of “independence” with children that made me cling in desperate dependance on God for the next move. Friend issues that shook the ground, I thought I was standing on. . .Ministry “criticism” that made me want to hide behind closed (maybe I’ll lock it this time) doors. Preparation of a tender heart that would need a tenacious spirit. . .

And then the cross beams of life shakes me to the ground in an earthquake of heart proportions. And all those other times, my hands clung to the love I knew in God to “hang on. . .” Now, my whole body is wrapped around the Cross. . .legs, arms, fingers, toes, tightly fixed as hurricane winds attempt to loosen my grip.

Tough love says, “I am not letting go.” I think I am saying those words out loud to comfort myself. . .but the Truth is, is it Jesus saying them to me. I lived on that Cross for you through the most intense suffering only I could endure. “I am not letting go of you.” Once you experience that hold on life, there is no other way to love another. It is a grip on life that communicates love without words. Tough loves endures the “death” (betrayal, financial ruin, loss,) that this worldy journey brings on, and triumphs anyway. Tough love holds tight when others tremble. Tough love “sees it through” even though the cost cannot be calculated, yet. Tough love carries the weight of loss into a win. Tough love speaks, it’s not about me, it’s all about the God in you.

Tough love grows tenacious tendrils of fragrant vine that clings to the Cross of life. Love grows tough to embrace and empower life. . .This challenge grows tough love in me that speaks, “I am not letting go!.” I am NOT letting go of hope, faith or love for me or for you. The power of tough love is a hard, dusty, sandaled travail, but it will make a God-sized difference in someone’s life. Grab the courage God gives you for the moment, and hold on to love. . .

Mine and Ashie’s Favorite Movie: The Guardian/ Ending youtube clip (heart-breaking, but God brought it again and again as His illustration)


8 thoughts on “Tough Love Holds

    • Ashie, four daughters empower more than any word can ever approach. . .so we let God do His workings with our hearts and we grow into tough love that tenderizes the world for His Kingdom. It’s interesting as I think and ponder God’s Hands in this concept. . .It is not the heart that toughens, it the love that reaches in which the strands become like the steel cable that held the swimmers. In this world, it’s not “fray proof” but it reaches down into the stormy waters anyway. XO Mom

  1. My dear sister in Christ, One only knows what one knows. Tough love as so beautifully share is a wonderful example of His love for you and you for Him. Being wrapped around the cross as you are makes rise up as you so lovingly have. I feel like I am looking up at you with Him. There is a peace in your face, as your body fights to be. I look in His face and I see your face – cheek to cheek, arm in arm, tears with mixed. All of us must go on with what we are given, as much as we hate to do so. But life is not the same. We are all living a new normal. As I reflect on my beautiful pillow with you and I in photo sleeping away in our early days, I stop, kiss it, and walk away with head down – not understanding why you. Coming to hold you on May 5 I am. Love, Toby


  2. You brought tears out that I didn’t know I had. If you want another hero Joni E. Tada on Revive Our Hearts today. I am such a chicken and pray I will be brave when the hurricanes form I see so much in your word pictures. I have your name all through my bible and prayers love dana

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