Tuesday, April 23, 2013
a little on marriage...
I stood in the parking lot of my Graces school this morning crying out again to the Lord. I have a friend who is going through some circumstances in her marriage and we often drop off our girls and end up on that pavement finding our way to the biggest God revelations about marriage and life...he always shows up for us.
My own husband and I do not have a perfect marriage. In fact we have been on the brink of divorce many times...and the two of us struggle in our own ways to be one. We fight each other daily, trying to change each other and many times we have often thought we made a mistake.
But God makes no mistakes.
And when I see this...
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
It stirs up something in me.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Let no man separate. What strikes me about this is what he says will separate two people.
Its our selfish desires.
Its our thinking that we deserve more than what we have.
Its believing the lie that we are being punished for something.
Its believing the lie that we are unlovable.
But then Jesus was born, walked around the earth, preached some and screwed up everything in the best way possible. You know, in reading through the Old Testament this past few months what I feel when I read it is a whole bunch of people walking around in turmoil. Never able to live up to Gods law. It was hard. They made false idols, the believed in people and they walked around aimlessly. They were impatient. They wanted quick results.
I feel like that's what we do in marriage. We look at our spouse and we just get tired. We get tired of maybe being treated poorly. We get tired of our needs not being met. We get lonely...We might feel that life would be better somehow if we were with someone else, in a different house driving a different car.
But all that means is more wandering.
I believe there are simple truths in marriage that goes against everything the world says. Believe me, you will never hear a marriage counselor say this stuff.
You can not change or manipulate your spouse into something to fit your needs. Only God can change the deepest sinful natured parts of us. Yelling, ignoring, dirty looks, rolling your eyes makes you farther away from God, and Satan draws in and starts his work. He is happy when you react in anger and is excited that you opened the door for him with your very own two hands. Demanding that someone changes in order for you to love them is like Jesus saying, I wont die for you because you are sinful, therefore no one gets to go to heaven.
Prayer is the only way for us to hand our battles over to God. When you get on the floor with tears in your eyes and say Father I can not handle this situation one more minute alone...you give room for God to move. He hears you and we are assured of that in his word. His heart aches for you and he has a plan for reconciliation.
The world will tell you that if you have irreconcilable differences you are entitled to a divorce. But God did something totally crazy good and sent Jesus here. And Jesus walked around the earth preaching the heart of God and some called him crazy. But what he said was that we are to love first. Because he loved us first.
And the same goes for marriage. How in the world would I be drawing nearer to Christ if I said to God, I will only stay here if I am happy and my needs are met. Jesus walked around here with no love. People hated him, people laughed at him and eventually crucified him. And his very last words through all that pain and suffering were, forgive them.
We are compelled through the Holy Spirit to love, because we were loved. Broken and a mess, we were and are loved. We are compelled to forgive, because we were once forgiven.
If we really want to press in...if we really want to see the best that God has for us, we need to lay down all the expectations and comparisons and realize that this life is not our own. He created us for his purpose and his plan, his way is always going to be better than ours.
His way is better.
Something really crazy has happened in my own life, the more I read the word and believe it and act on it, the happier I am. The closer I feel to God, the less I actually care about my circumstances. Its crazy. Sort of like His light shines brighter over everything. Like I would rather have him near, giving me the grace to be more like him, than be seperated from him with all the money, the best husband, the biggest house. Take away my God, take me too. Because I cant do this world alone.
Let us lay down everything that keeps us from him. Let us lay down our grumbling. Let us lay down our selfishness. Let us lay down our hopelessness. Let us take up love. Let us take up forgiveness. Let us put our hope back in him and him alone. Let us share our stories of redemption in marriage and how God saves.
The reason why marriage is attacked so much is because that is where the church starts. If we cant keep our families together, Satan knows nothing will stay together. God is the multiplier, Satan is the divider and he is waiting at each and every door.
You do not have to wait for someone to change to love them. Jesus didn't wait for us.
You do not have to fight your own battles. Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.
You are not alone in your suffering. Jesus suffered so he could be our comforter. He feels your isolation, your loneliness...he knows it all.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.
Sometimes God takes us on long, winding roads. And sometimes that road deals with marriage. But I know in my own marriage, the more I put on Jesus and reject the ways of my flesh, the closer I get to God. I don't want to get to heaven and have God say, how did that go for you? That plan you had to try to meet all your own needs? Because I had something bigger and better planned for you..my child. And I was there to help you...you just didn't accept it.
That's how I feel about the instinct we have to run away when things don't go our way. God hates divorce. And the reason why he doesn't give any exceptions in the bible, except for adultery, is because it would takes years to write all of them...the list is exhaustive and inevitable. Its all probably going to happen.
Okay, but only if he doesn't give you the appropriate attention..
Okay, but only is she doesn't satisfy you in the bedroom...
Okay, but only if she lets herself go...
the list could go on.
My husband and I have our own redemption story in our marriage. We have been through alot and I pray one day our testimony will reach many...its big. And believing God when he says he will make a way where there appears to be no way, is what has gotten me through alot. By the worlds standards, we have every reason to be apart. But God has slowly glued together so many broken pieces in both our hearts and has taught me what real love is. Its undeserved. Its blind. It keeps no records of wrongs. It forgives. Its gentle. Its patient...
Last night God was gently speaking into my spirit about my own situation. I have spent my entire life trying to make people, food, identities and things fill me up...fill those loneliest darkest places in my soul and they never do. People always fail me. Food always makes me feel like a slave.
But he just keeps saying, when your ready to hand all that over to me, and let me be your everything...when your ready to get rid of all your own expectations of people, when your ready to turn away from all your false Gods, when your ready to nail all of your old self to your own cross, Ill be waiting...
The same is true in marriage. Let no man separate what God has joined together. Jesus is the only way...the only way to reconciliation with us to God, and reconciliation within our marriage union. Let us be more like him, forgiving, full of mercy, slow to anger...patient and kind, meek in spirit, and less like ourselves...
Please God, help us to be more like you.