Marriage: A Holy Mess (5MF)


Marriage isn’t perfect, because people aren’t perfect. So I ask myself why would I expect  perfection when there might be more right here in the messy reality. I think there was a time, ya know, BM…Before Marriage (not Bowel Movement) when I thought  there were certain things that guarenteed security, in marriage and life. And friends, I say this to myself and you, even if you think you know it already because we need to remind ourselves… there are no guarentees in life. We are not promised that we will live a pain free, perfect life. We follow one who walked through agony to secure our future and He does not promise that all our childhood dreams will be fulfilled, because He has His own King Sized Vision for us. He sees beyond our current “mess”. He sees us in His holiness, robed in fine linen of white. He sees beyond our mess into the beauty of  Holiness…His glory!

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

Five Minute Friday

When the Enemy Strikes Your Marriage (Thoughts For Runaway Brides and Brides to Be)


 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21
I hardly recognized myself. There I stood screaming in my my kitchen, words pouring out of my mouth, like lava from erupting volcano. All around me felt buried in ash. My, husband returned the heat and I felt that we had turned down a dark road, unknown. I crumpled to the floor in the midst of the ash pile and wept…

He’s my very best friend. I would never intentionally hurt him. We made it to the alter after 20 years of friendship. We have stood by each other and with one another through the seasons of Good, Bad, Ugly and Outright Foolishness.

We have only been married for ten years…and the day he slipped the engagement ring on my finger, my best friend turned into my enemy without me even understanding how or why.

When I say the enemy with regard to my husband, I mean to say, more accurately, the one who suddenly became The One. The One that was supposed to have all the answers, The One who was supposed to read my mind, The One who was supposed to make all my dreams come true. OK, seriously, I did not actually say that, or even realize that I was expecting more from my husband than he could give. I came to realize in this one transaction called marriage, something so many refuse to see. See, before we were married, being friends for so long allowed me to see clearly the way the enemy connives in the lives of those set on marrying before and during marriage.

 What changed? My best friend, was now a friend I had to …cough, choke, gag- submit to. Huh? Wait, there’s more. In my wildest imagination, I dreamed of marriage and how easy it would be to “submit” to my Prince Charming. Because he of course, would be perfect. Oh, stop snickering, you believed the same lies, I am so sure. Before I married and lived with my hubby, we had a great friendship. A lasting friendship, and in it, God showed me a lot about lasting relationships, authentic friendship and commitment.

My Hub (friend at the time) and I did something needful to survive in life and community with others. We were committed to our relationship. It happened over time. We grew and built upon it. We were bold and honest with one another. Eventually we shared the skeletons in our closet, and took them out to dance together before dismembering and throwing them away.

Becoming one, is a beautiful process, beyond a physical experience .

We held our dreams and hopes tenderly and supported on another. We walked and talked, and drank lots of coffee together. We confided in one another. We became the safe place for each other. What we had before we married was what was needful and is needful for relationships to survive the daily grind, time and tedium and attacks of the enemy. We mutually submitted to one another, and were committed to our friendship through all seasons. There were seasons when we were closer, by design, and others more distant. But the port remained open for the ship to safely find shelter in the harbor of this commitment.

We are opposite in many ways. Yet we have this common core, our commitment and mutual submission to one another.

The third and most important thing that we have is our commitment to Christ who inextricably brought us to Himself and then to one another in accordance with His will. Which I still don’t always understand.

The enemy seeks to strike these things and in our current season as we go through a difficult trial, the enemy strives to destroy that which God has given to us which is precious in His sight.

 I cling to the fact that what God has brought together, no man can destroy. No man and no enemy. The enemy seeks to kill, maim and destroy anything that is of value to Christ. Christ values souls. Christ values the covenant of marriage. Christ values sinners who have followed Him into uncharted territory and who rely not on happily ever after or perfect circumstances but who rely on His grace, truth and mercy. Christ does not turn His back on the broken hearted, and God says that He will not despise a broken and contrite spirit.

All this to say that when the enemy strikes your marriage, in order keep it from being a casualty of the schemes sent your way, Consider these things:

1. Your individual commitment to God-I became a Christian later in life as did my hubby. We have a history before and after. But, my commitment to my individual walk with God is also the key for me not wanting to smash the wedding China and runaway from home. But sometimes I do entertain the idea. Which leads me to the saving grace of number two.

2. Your commitment to one another– Whenever I am angry or feeling misunderstood, and contemplating action, one of the things that really helps me with perspective is considering my best friend’s feelings. How can I feel good when my best friend is hurting? How can I hurt my best friend? Our friendship is a constant when I feel our marriage is on the rocks! Go figure. It keeps the ship firmly docked in turbulent times.

3. Your ability and willingness to mutually submit to one another- The self is sacrificed on the alter of marriage, in a way that it is not destroyed but able to be more beautifully revealed. Marriage is truly and act of daily dying but not in a way that brings death. It brings life, beauty and blessing. I’m still learning, and so is my hub, but we have a history behind us, a future glory awaiting us and Christ in the  present moment before us, leading us to number 4.

4. Your Covenant before Christ – A covenant is God initiated, and as so, also is God maintained. If God is for you and your spouse, nothing can separate what He has joined.

It all begins and ends with God, doesn’t it? 
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:5

Lord, you made marriage, for your own glory. You have made everything for yourself, to reveal your perfection and beauty, and we belong to you. Help us to learn your ways, which are above our ways. That we might be wholly submitted to you, the One True Living God.
May we not forsake that which you consecrate and call together in holy union.
Let us be as little, needy children, desiring your grace and truth now and forever.
Bless our marriages, give us humility and a desire to serve, not grudgingly but with reverence. That which is unseen, is eternal, let our hope remain in You alone. 
In Jesus name, Amen.

Linking with Michelle for Hear It, Use it; Inspire Me Monday @ Create with Joy; Timewarp Wife; Cornerstone Confessions, Soli deo Gloria @ Finding Heaven, Juana Mikels for Wednesday Prayer Girls & Link Up.

For Those Unmarried

This post could be inspired by a couple of interactions I had today. Or it could be a word that has been longing to come out of me for awhile.
Either way, I need to have a word with those who are unmarried…
I know you think that you are missing out. You are longing to be held, cherished, honored and respected, by someone. Forever. You feel like God has abandoned you, or maybe you don’t feel that extreme. Yet. Except in the late hours. When the clock ticks on, but sleep evades you. You wonder if God needs your input, help, or persuasion. Or you ponder the one (s) that got away. You think that you have done everything right, and God owes you this one thing. Oh, you don’t come out and say it like that, of course. But, you think it. You wonder why God would withhold this good thing from you. You wonder what is so wrong with you. You are tired of waiting and wondering. Maybe you are just plain tired.
Can I tell you one little thing that God has shown me. One thing I know, if nothing else. I say this not as a “pat” Christian answer. I tell you because I have spent many nights listening to the clock tick, wondering whether God remembered this child. The fact is God does not withhold from you what is for you. 
But also, God wants to be your number one.
Not your fallback. Not your I’ll check in after the heartbreak. 
Not your Sunday buddy. 
God wants you to desire Him more than a husband or wife.

It’s not that it’s wrong to desire a husband or a wife.
But, it is wrong by His standard to desire anything or anyone more than Him.
You can believe it or not, but it’s the truth.
Because God is the only faithful one.
And He loves you more than any earthly love will.
If He gives you the desire of your heart, He still longs to be your One True Desire. 
Another thing I want to tell you, is once you are married, longings can still keep you up late into the night. They may be different, but the fact remains, He is the only one that can bring peace, contentment and joy whether you are single or married.
If you are not completely satisfied with Him and what He gives NOW, trust me, you will not be MORE satisfied with what He gives after you are married.
Work on the relationship that matters most-
your relationship with Him, because He is the only one who will sustain you.
Lastly, I want to assure you that marriage is a continual turning to Him, and laying down your rights to yourself within that context. Not before (but that’s another post).
Marriage does not eliminate loneliness. There is nothing more lonely than being lonely in marriage. Marriage does not guarantee scheduled sexual bliss. Or regular intimacy (and that’s also another post!)
Marriage will not free you from financial obligations.
Marriage is not a one way ticket to your personal Happily Ever After.
If you want a good picture of Marriage,
 look at Jesus.

Then never take your eyes off of Him.
 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:3-11

When you can look at the person you THINK you want to say I do to,
without compromise ask yourself the following- 
Am I ready to love like this? 
Laying aside my own personal ambition for the well being of the one to whom I am committed?
Can I count the other person’s needs and desires above my own?
Am I able to be emptied of myself, to serve even when and if I don’t “feel it”?
Ask yourself:
Are you ready to die to self so that Christ can live and love through you?
Are you willing to “serve” this person, even when you feel you are not being served yourself? 
Can you forgive the way Christ has forgiven you for every sin…including hidden or repeated sin?
Because friends, I am pretty sure that unless you are living in Disney World, this is what it will take.
So know this…
He loves you More than you can ever know.
Trust Him. Know Him.
Make this verse your heart’s prayer and affirmation:

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Psalm 73:25
Lord, I pray that you would bless my friends out there who are single with peace, joy and contentment. Increase their confidence and trust in your complete ability to do abundantly more than they can imagine. Satisfy them with your love and remind them that your mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. For my married friends, I pray your blessing and protection over their sacred vows. Help them to be good forgivers and willing to yield their hearts and lives completely to you in good times and trials. Encourage all of your children with your faithful, gracious, merciful love and empower them to learn to love like you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Linking with Hope For the Weary Mom

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On Brave -Because I’m Not (5 Minute Friday)

I think of myself and know the truth. God knows I’m not brave. 
When I hear the word brave, I think of my husband. Spot on.It takes courage to take on a family. To step out in faith and say the words, marry me. And trust me I was fearful, because I saw so much ugliness in marriage as a child that I dared not hope. Pressed down that little girl dream that is dormant within every little girl’s heart. Yes, I said every little girl. We all long for the kind of faithfulness that comes from above in a man. And that is the loftiest of all dreams…dangerous, risky. But this precious, man. Long time friend has shown me his courage, again and again. In the way he gets up and goes to that job. Loves this sinner graciously. Models gentleness to this fresh chick and loves me just the way I am. Even likes me in my yuck, but sees past it. Sees something in me beautiful that I can’t see.  Models, patience and true bravery while living amongst the land of drama. We two girls have our moments, and he so sweetly holds us together in love that reflects a love I feel unworthy of but oh, so grateful for. How this man loves us. And in this love I see him brave. And in this love I see Him. 
I’m rambling, exhausted, but made it to my first late night FMF Party! Yippee! 
See you all in the morning. 
That was really fun. And awkward.

Join in by clicking below! 

The First Date (His Version…Finally)

Even though he refuses to ask for directions, I think I’ll keep him.
He’ll do just fine! One of my fave pics of him, on our wedding day.
twenty years after the day we met we finally tied the knot!
So a year ago I started a bunch of posts about the my hubby and my “history”….I kind of just left off mid way. So here we are a year later, and I am finally sharing…somewhat, his version of that first outing that will forever be known to us as The Night They Got Lost on What was NOT a FIRST DATE. 

Here it is:
What he “remembers”: 
He was driving his 1976 convertible, silver, Buick Le Sabre (oh, please stop me…just taking notes here) 
which his dad had purchased from his aunt as his first car. 
He picked me up at my grandmother’s home.
He was nervous about meeting my Italian Grandma, having already had his own!
He had on his long blue Pea Coat (what guy remembers this?) with mints in his pocket (really?).
 We went to the movie-after which, at some point (he admits) he drove the wrong way out of the parking lot
We ate at a restaurant that had a toy train that went around a track that circled the dining area near the ceiling.
He remembers we took a “left ” out of the restaurant and stopped at a hotel to get directions (If we had been married, we would have driven in circles till the cows came home-no married man will ever ask for directions. Certainly he would not allow me to ask either. It’s like accepting defeat. We have had more driving scenarios with me begging to just stop at a gas station to ask and him smugly refusing.)
I (not he) went into the hotel to ask for directions. (God’s prophetic humor is woven into our story from the start-CLEARLY). 
Says he: “We had only needed to take a right out of the parking lot to get back home.” (Notice how he has brought up directions three times? This is absolutely a male fixation. They must know where they are going. If they don’t, they refuse to admit it and/or ask for directions)
He got home after curfew and his dad was waiting up for him. His dad didn’t believe the story about us getting lost in Westerly BUT “big brother” stuck up for him because he confirmed the restaurant with a train did really exist. 
Dad took the car away from him for two weeks. 
Seriously, my version is better, but I’ll keep him anyway. He’s a keeper for sure, and I love that guy. Maybe I’ll even buy him a new Pea Coat for his birthday (and even throw some mints in the pocket!)
Here is “My Version” of our “first date”.

It’s not too late!

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