Good morning all-
I was running errands yesterday, trying to find jeans for a giant and getting his beautiful main cut, when I had a moment to read some of the words I have written over the last couple of days. It's amazing when I read back and wonder, "Who wrote that?" The words come pouring out almost as if I'm not even writing them. My words have carried strong messages of my love for Jesus Christ lately and with those words I realize that my hope has strengthened, my heart has expanded and my need for Him has grown. Also, in return, my faith has been tested, mightily!
I have often spoken of the tumult I have right here in my own home. How to be a good wife? I struggle with that more than anything else in my life. I have married a man who doesn't mind me being strong. However, my strength means that he doesn't have to be. I often understand how our men feel when we are wishy washy, don't talk to them about our feelings, and struggle to forgive. He can recant what he believes I have done against him months after they occur. I don't understand it because I try to forgive and move forward. Men do that, they fight and then it goes away. The hurt does not build up and break like a river going over the banks. I know that most women work this way because I have talked to them about forgiveness and moving on. I learned long ago that if I was to have any kind of marriage I would have to forgive, forget and build on what I have today, not what happened a year ago.
Living with someone, man or woman, who holds their feelings inside, resents and recants old hurts is very difficult. Their frustration with you can build to a point you don't even want to be in the same room with them. You wait for the attack because the attack will come and you hope you can stay faithful through the next battle. It's not always easy and I don't always stay faithful. When I was young, it was easy to forgive because I love the idea of love, commitment and family. I love the idea of growing old together and guiding one another to the end. I watched my parents do that and it was beautiful. That's not to say they didn't get frustrated and angry with one another but their love was far deeper than I have experienced. It was a sense that without one, there couldn't be the other. I know that's why my mom finally let go because the thought of losing my dad was greater than leaving us.
Satan loves to destroy marriage and family. I think it's the fabric by which evil is built. If you can destroy love, trust and faith, then what do you have left? I often cried out to God asking Him to heal my marriage and to show me the way. He was trying but we were failing. Our hurt and pain were more important than finding Christ in the middle of it. That doesn't mean that all marriages will stay together, especially when there is tremendous abuse. I'm not talking about striking a woman; I'm talking about working through hard issues and not letting your feelings get in the way.
As I have gotten older, I have become much stronger and more thoughtful. I have looked for Christ in difficult times and not expected a miracle but more of a gentle guiding. My prayer is often, not to be rash but to be obedient to Christ. It's hard to do that when you would rather be anywhere than in the presence of the one you love. Life was never given to us to run from it. It was given to face our circumstances and find God in them and through them. What happens when selfishness outweighs obedience? Well, I think you know but just in case here are just a few things that occur: divorce, adultery, abuse, lying, fighting and the eventual destruction of love. Take a look at those six things and see what God calls the greatest of all. Doesn't he speak on love? And isn't love destroyed when people let us down, aren't honest and continually and intentionally cause pain for their own satisfaction. I don't think anyone intends to hurt someone else but our world is about destruction, not about love.
I went to bed thinking on this and wondering why I am always facing obedience over my own feelings. That doesn't mean I always handle every situation with grace, far from it. However, when the fire is hot, I know it because thoughts that shouldn't be in my head come crashing in and the last thing I think of before I fall asleep is, "What would Jesus do?" If you read your Bible, you already know. He died for a man that betrayed Him, He had nails put in His hands for a man that denied Him and He carried the sins of nations so that all of us, even 2,000 years later could have eternity. Really? And I'm worried about how my husband and I are going to get through the next 24 hours?
Love holds the key but love is not a feeling. No where in the Bible does it talk of romantic love, except in the Song of Solomon and even then, we all know that Solomon married women that had different belief systems and did not always stay true to his God. I, once, believed that I would get married, have kids and live happily ever after. I watched Cinderella more times than I would like to admit. I waited and believed that God would provide my prince and that I would be forever loved. Wow! Even writing that makes me think that was naive!
God has taught me different over the years. He has taken my hand and expanded my definition of love. He has taken the blinders off to romantic love and given me a greater desire to know His love. He has wiped the slate clean of a little girls fantasy and raised me up to see what real love is. It's not a fairy tale, that doesn't mean that some of you haven't experienced a great love, one that fulfills you in every way, it just means that love is not a feeling, its a commitment.
I question often if I have what it takes to walk in obedience, especially in a world full of self-gratification. Can I continue to understand and be wise in my intimate relationships? Wouldn't it be easier to give up? And then, I meditate on Jesus. Wouldn't it have been easier for Him to give up? I doubt He really wanted to sacrifice His life on a cross? From personal experience, most people wouldn't volunteer for that role. We sacrifice and many have lost their lives for their country but contemplating being hung on a cross, a slow death and nails in my hands and feet would make me flee and hide. Not Jesus. He stood strong, went and prayed and cried out to His Father. He asked for His cup to be spared but in the end His love for us won out. He carried our burdens, was beaten for our iniquities and paid the price for us. Put that way, I really don't have much to cry about.
His love has shown me time and time again that I must be obedient to His word. I must trust in Him and in the end, I will see His hand. I might not like what is happening and I may want to flee but in the end, the only solution is to look for Him and pray that He will keep me on course. My feelings really don't play apart in His commission but my obedience does. Loving isn't easy just look at the people Jesus has saved. You think loving us is easy? We are stubborn, self-absorbed, greedy, dissatisfied people. Would you die for that?
I've probably gone on and on today but my heart is open wide. Love is so important and it means so much more than we believe. Love is sacrifice! The question remains, are we willing to sacrifice our desires for His love? I pray that the fire never gets so great that I forget this. I hope you are doing well and that God is showing you His commitment and love for the broken. May He spread His wings throughout this world and bring people forth that abandon their feelings for true, eternal love. Be obedient to Him today and let Him carry your burdens, so that you can spread His love.
Psalm 56:3 NIV:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Hebrews 5:7-10 NIV:
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
2 John 1:6 NIV:
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.
My prayer today:
O, Lord, I come before You seeking obedience over desire. If I had my way, I would flee far and long. But as I stand before You, all I can think about is the sacrifice You made for me. When the choice was Yours to flee or remain faithful, You chose us over You. The world would have me believe that my desires are more important than sacrifice. We both know that is a lie. For Your life stands as a testimony that faith, love and obedience are the only way. I know that I often come to You with my desires and often, I don't see them being granted. I can't say that I never question why because I do. The greatest thing about being with You is seeing Your hand in all that I do. You may not fix my problem today but I have faith that I am growing to know You better. I believe that many face trials and wonder where You are in their lives. How many times has a woman questioned why they aren't loved or why they have to carry the burden of Cancer or worse, why a child was taken from them? These are just a few of the many things we face here on earth and yet, I'm inclined to proclaim that You are in control and that Your glory will reign. If all of this was for me to see You, then let me see You brighter and bolder than I have before. If the fire is so hot that I'm refined, let that carry to others and illustrate what true love is and not the fantasy that we all wish for. Help all of us to stay obedient to Your word and look for You in every circumstance. Like the birds who sing to You, may we sing not just in love but in obedience. Please help us to be more like You, to refine us to love when we don't feel it and to give of ourselves when there is nothing left to give. I am trying to purge my feelings so that the only thing that stands in my mind is my obedience to You. Being obedient means that I must surrender my desires to my King. I do that today and ask that I will be likeminded with You. The world dictates what we should think about which is what's best for me, while the power of the cross speaks the truth. It was by Your obedience that we carry the love of a Father. It was by the nails that we have grace and it was by Your sacrifice we have eternal life. Please keep those at the forefront of my mind so that I can carry that with me. I know that my loss is Your gain so if I must lose to win You; I choose You! For every moment of pain I pray You reveal Yourself to this world. Remind us that Your commitment was our reward! In Jesus Name, AMEN