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 

 

 

God is Always There

The coolest thing about our God is that He is always there, and He is NOT dependent upon me for any of it. Seriously, I had this seemly silly realization this week: God is like the best friend who I can pick up a relationship with, no matter when we had last talked! I love my earthly best friend, and I love that our relationship doesn’t change even we haven’t talked for days, weeks, or months. The greatest thing is that the relationship we have with God is even more awesome than our best friend relationships! God and I can pick up our conversation and relationship if it has been minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, etc, and THAT IS SO AWESOME!

Now, you may think that this is not that big of a relationship, but let me give you the backstory to this realization. I have been in a bit of a bible-drought lately, and it hasn’t felt too good to be out of communication with my Heavenly Father. This past week, I finally got back into the Word and it felt great! God met me again in His word even though we hadn’t talked in a while.

I started reading the Psalms and in Matthew. Personally, I like to read something from both each day, but I read as little or as much as I want to. Some days, I still don’t open my bible and I am praying that the Lord draws me so close to Him that I go running to His Word like I run to my best friends or husband. Other days, I just get in a chapter or two, and feel satisfied to hear His word to start my day. When my day goes how I have planned it, I read a few psalms and a few chapters in the Gospel, while also taking time to intentionally pray with scripture. The best thing is that no matter when, where, or for however long I’m in the Word, HE MEETS ME THERE. I don’t have to bring perfect theology, hours of time, or even a settled heart to feel His love and be sustained through His word.

So go there. Be in His word. See Him. And feel your heart drawn to the one who has made ALL things possible.

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

PS Remember, we are righteous when we put our trust in Jesus, and then His righteousness extends to us! (2 Corinthians 5:21 says “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”). It can be a confusing idea, but I’d love to articulate what I am learning if you are curious. Just send a comment or message my way!

 

Time Together

I have been working at my new job for a few weeks now.  Everything is alright there but it is not without its sacrifices.  Because Amanda and I are both working extended hours and are not home at the same time very often, we do not get to spend much quality time together.   Even when we do have a little time at night, the time is usually spent preparing for the next day, cleaning the house, or something else that seems like it needs to get done.

By the time the weekend comes it is not uncommon to be craving spending time together.  This may look like going to the grocery store together, watching netflix, or even sitting together doing our work.

On my drive in to work this morning I was pondering why we don’t treat God this way? ¬†I mean, we* are pretty good at the first part, filling our schedules so that we have little time to spend with Him, but do not crave that time when it does become available. ¬†In fact the times that I do find myself craving time with God are few and far between, and it takes a lot more than a long week of work to make me crave Him.

I think that in my case this is likely because of the way that I am tempted to see spending time with God. ¬†If you look at my to-do list or at my calendar you might see “read bible” or “devotionals” or some other code-word for “spend time with God at this time of the day.” ¬†If I only spent time with Amanda when it was in my schedule, I doubt that she would be satisfied with what this says about my priorities and God deserves even more. ¬†God is relational, and our relationship with him should be (and often isn’t) on the top of our priority lists.

In the coming weeks, I hope to expound on this topic a little bit more because it has been something that has really affected my walk with Christ and my marriage.  I will have other posts interspersed, but I want to spend some time diving deeper into what God has to say and the practical implications of treating Him relationally as opposed to treating him like a task to accomplish and giving that relationship the highest priority, end long run-on sentence.

As always, I encourage you to be part of the conversation by commenting below and sharing your thoughts.

 

 

*When I say “we” I mean here people, in general, but mostly me.