Marriage is…

Many people have asked me “How is being married/married life/etc.?”, and for a long time, I said something like “It’s hard but good!”. I recently read a blog post by a married Christian missionary that questioned why we always describe our closest earthly relationship as hard. Our two year anniversary is this week, and I’m now stumped by what to say to this question. Marriage is… interesting? awesome? brings it’s challenges? How can I describe the relationship that I have invested so much time, energy, love, commitment, tears, laughter, etc. in with just a few words?

This then got me thinking about the other deep, intimate relationship I am in right now; my relationship with the Lord. No one has ever asked “How’s being in a relationship with God?”, but if they did, would I think “hard, but good?”. Maybe, but this means I need to re-frame how I view my relationship with God. I don’t want my personal relationship with Jesus to be remotely described as hard. Jesus says that his burden is easy and we can rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30), but Paul does describe a lot of the persecution and suffering that we will experience in this world. However, I don’t think suffering should lead to us describing our relationship as “hard”. Jesus always is loving us, forgiving us, and calling us to Him. We are always moving, either away from the relationship, or (hopefully) we are striving to be closer and more connected to God. Maybe turning from sin is “hard”, but the freedom we can feel in Christ is a huge gift and blessing!

Both my earthly marriage and my spiritual relationship with God are wonderful blessings that are exciting and interesting. My relationship with my husband has it’s moments of challenges and difficulties, but that is because I am a sinful human in a relationship with another sinful human. My relationship with God is only imperfect because of my sin, but He still loves, forgives, and cares for me despite my failings, and that is SO AMAZING. In our marriage, we try to love, forgive, and care for one another, especially when mistakes are made, but let’s be real, we mess up quite often. The fact that God a) doesn’t mess up, b) still hasn’t stopped having His everlasting love, and c) is always drawing me to Him, is just such an amazing blessing that sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around it!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17

I know many of us have this verse (or at least the first sentence) locked in our memories from childhood, but when you take a second to really look and see the love God has for us, it is so beautiful. Our Heavenly Father sent His son, Jesus, on a mission to death so that we could be reconciled and saved. I’m not sure about you, but that always makes me smile and get all warm on the inside 🙂 The God who did that wants to be in a daily, personal relationship with us, which means we can daily feel His love, peace, encouragement, and hope.

This is the verse I read this morning, and I will leave you with these parting words of faith and encouragement:

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. – Psalm 143: 8 

 

 

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Reading in the Old Testament

I was asked the other day if I was a Christian who used both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and I responded with a mildly confused, but affirmative answer. And then I thought about it more, and realized that since we live in such a “you-pick” culture with so many different kinds of Christians that it makes sense that someone would ask that kind of question when trying to figure out where someone stands. And that makes me sad. It makes me sad because both Old and New Testament help us to know and love Jesus, and if we discredit a part of scripture, then we start to discredit a part of our Savior too.. But I digress. I want to share a few revelations from some of my reading in the Old Testament*.

During my devotions one morning, I read from both the book of Malachi and the book of Jude (both are really short and are at the end of the OT and NT, respectively). I saw a parallel between these books; the authors are speaking God’s words, and they sound the same… I mean, we all know it is the same God, but when you open to a book in the front, and a book in the back and SEE it, it feels like a “woah” moment, or at least that is how I felt! I felt wow-ed by His ever-present consistency in scripture, and I was reminded that He is constant in my life too!

I saw a parallel in their content in that both authors are condemning the ungodly people and defining their unpleasant fate, but both books also offer encouragement to the ones who pursue the Lord. And that encouragement sounds kind of like a reminder of Jesus.

In Malachi, we read this tidbit of encouragement, given after a lot of information about how the unfaithful Jewish people will suffer:

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. – Malachi 3:1

Sound familiar? It sounds like a prophesy about John the Baptist and Jesus to me! So the Lord encouraged the Hebrews by telling them Jesus was coming! Cool! So then, in Jude, we read this:

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life… To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen! – Jude 1: 20-21, 24-25

So in this letter, we are encouraged again by a reminder of Jesus! Jude knew more of the story when his letter was written, so it makes sense that it is a little more full and juicy, but it is so cool that the encouragement to the faithful believers was Jesus in both places in scripture!

We can be uplifted by the fact that Jesus has come to save us from our sins, and that He will be coming again. We can feel empowered to know that He left the Holy Spirit with us, and that we can live our lives in this temporary home as followers of the One True God! We have a purpose and an Awesome God who cares for us! I could keep going like a giddy middle-school girl in love with her favorite __, but I’ll be concise.

Not only does the message itself encourage me, but the fact that this message was present before and after Jesus walked the Earth is even cooler! God had a plan for the world so that we could all know Jesus and His Grace. Don’t forget that He cares about little ol’ you and me too, and He has a plan in process for us as well 🙂

I pray that you can feel His love and be encourage by His presence! Have a good week!

 

*Side note: I wish that I read in the Old Testament more often, but I’ll be honest, this is a skill I’m working on. Be patient with me?