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 ūüôā 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. РPsalm 143: 8 

 

 

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What Makes Me Cry

I am not really emotional. ¬†In fact, Amanda will likely tell you that I am incredibly muted and don’t show too much emotion. ¬†Secretly, I sometimes even wonder if there is something wrong with my amygdala but the curiosity quickly passes.

A good joke will make me force a smile. ¬†The best gift will bring me joy, but my face and body likely won’t show it. ¬†The cheesiest of love stories might warm my heart, but rarely will they make me smile (don’t tell anybody but there is a part of me that likes chick-flicks and hallmark movies). ¬†I still experience all of these emotions, but on the outside, I typically don’t show them.

We recently watched a movie where the display of familial love was beautiful, the injuries and deaths were sad, and the hope was heartwarming. ¬†Even still, I don’t think I shed a tear*. ¬†I did, however, start to get choked up until I saw them relinquish their efforts and trust in God. ¬†True faith makes me cry (it will be our secret).

It is sometimes really hard to not be emotional. ¬†You let people down when you don’t seem excited. ¬†You can bore people when they don’t think that you are enjoying the conversation. ¬†People can find it hard to read what you feeling and thus makes it difficult for them to react appropriately.

Even with all of that, I would not trade my extreme reaction to faith for any other emotion.  In 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul writes:

6¬†But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you‚ÄĒ7¬†therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8¬†For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.

9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?

Faith brings about emotion.  Sometimes it is comfort, sometimes it is joy, sometimes it is encouragement.  And for each of them, we can be reminded of our true God, and becoming thankful for who He is.  I can be content feeling my strongest emotions in acts of faith because in those moments I can give thanks to the Lord, and through Him, I can experience the full range of emotions.


This brings us back to something that I wrote about in some of my first posts on this site.  God is a relational God.  He is not isolated in Heaven.  He does not set us up for life, and then let us go.  He does not play with us as some ruthless deity.  He humbles himself (the one being who would be fully justified in never humbling himself) and came to Earth and wants a deep, intimate relationship with each of us.  He wants to walk with us as we experience the many tears and smiles that come from knowing Him and holding the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

 


 

*By contrast, my wife was crying and laughing at probably 90 minutes of the 120 minute movie.  It was rather emotional