“These are my life’s achievements”
As I have been reading through Bryleigh's Bible, it has brought me to the Song of Songs. I have been very interested to see what this time and entanglement will bring for my heart as I address her in writing regarding a book that Jewish boys were not allowed to read until they became men. Today, I read chapter 2 and came across verse 15. The bride says to her lover, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards while our vineyards are in blossom."
As The Song can be applied to both our relationship as a bride to our bridegroom, Jesus Christ, it can also be applied to the true love relationship we have with our spouse.
These foxes are any of those things which keep us from Jesus and the life He intends for us. Catch the foxes! Remove the foxes! They must be caught and removed from your relationship with God.
But they ALSO must be caught and removed from your relationship with your spouse. This is an address to husbands! Catch the foxes! Remove the foxes. They must be caught and removed. The good marriage relationship will be one in which you both, but especially the man, DOES the work of catching any foxes which hinder your relationship and your marriage.
I wrote this in the margin of Bryleigh's Bible, and it has stuck with me all day: "If your husband is unwilling to do this sort of work, I doubt his love for you."
So many men are willing to work hard to make money for the family. They are willing to protect their wife from physical harm. I have known countless men who are unwilling to do the work of catching the foxes for their marriage and their family when it comes to the actual relationship. This will require work; uncomfortable work. Your hardest day of work may not compare to the hard work you will do in addressing those things which hinder your relationship and harm your wife to a far deeper place than any physical harm would bring to her. But if you truly love your wife and your family, you must catch the foxes! You must remove the foxes.
If you are unwilling to do this, I question your love for your wife.
The question of just about any presentation of grace is the same Paul rhetorically poses, “So then should I just sin so that grace may increase? Of course not.” So what is the answer to anyone who DOES sin so that their grace may increase? What about those who will say, “I have a reason and excuse to sin. I can sin because PC said God doesn’t care what I’ve done. God will love me.” That picture is again the outstanding picture of grace that is my marriage.
I vowed to love Tonya and cherish her as a gift of God. I would be naïve to say I will always do these things without tripping up. There WILL be times I will not honor Tonya perfectly. There will be times I will not cherish her and hold her in the regard she should be held. There will be times she does not receive love from me as she needs and desires.
Now will she give up on me and divorce me? No! She will go on loving me even though I have hurt her. But that is not the deepest cut. The deepest cut comes from the fact that I will have broken an eternal covenant we set in place through spoken vows. Each time I do not love, honor and cherish her, I break a covenant. She still loves me anyway. I DON’T DESERVE THAT!!!
Now imagine you are good friends with Tonya or some other wife, and she comes continuously to you about her husband. Suppose she tells you how many times he has emotionally wrecked her with absolutely no regard. Suppose she tells you how many times he unabashedly destroys the promises he made to her. Suppose you knew these things. Are you inclined to say, “Well Tonya! That’s great! Now your grace may increase to him?”
I am compelled to realize how much grace Tonya really does show me. How much of an idiot I would be if I paid no mind of her grace and continually abused it! Sure she may always forgive me and love me, but in the end I'd only be abusive.
I see how much she forgives me and loves me despite my broken promises and I desire even more to love and serve her.
Such is God’s grace! Do I just abuse it or does his grace drive me to a realization of my disregard?
Intimacy is often defined in Christian church-talk as "Into me see". Denial of intimacy with the ones you love the most is hiding what is really inside of you. You are not willing for them to see who you really are inside, and you make all sorts of attempts to hide it all...subconsciously or not. This is not only applicable to my marriage, but to God as well. Though he already knows all that is within me, how much am I willing to reveal to him. THAT determines my desire for actual intimacy.
God, into me see!
Another great nugget is "The deeper the love, the greater the hurt." [click to tweet that] This basically means people you do not know cannot hurt you. How true if you do not know someone, you could care less what they say. But our biggest wounds and hurts are inflicted by the ones we love most.
Why does our sin hurt our God so deeply? Because he desires us and is truly in love with us. The intimate God of love is hurt deeply because he really does know us....
Why does the church hurt us so badly? Why do other Christians hurt us so badly? Why am I capable of hurting my wife more than anyone else can?
WHY IS GRACE SO BEAUTIFUL....AND TRULY HEALING?
College relationships can be very ridiculous. One of my favorites is when you see a couple get really close without actually dating. Then one or both of these people involved will drop the dumbest crap I have ever heard, and it happens a lot. "I just need to wait on this relationship for a while. I need to figure some stuff out right now. I need to work on my stuff and get my stuff right before I can get into a relationship right now." Absolutely ridiculous!
I love that someone wants to put off a good relationship because they do not want to bring their crap into a relationship. Newsflash! You are going to bring your crap into a relationship no matter what you do. I do not care if you work your crap out and then get into a relationship. There will always be crap in your life, and it will always follow you into your relationship. You cannot allow your crap to affect or taint your view of your relationship.
I may be married, but Tonya and I both have crap we bring into our relationship. Does that mean our marriage is horrible? Of course not! We have a beautiful marriage that continues to show me more and more of my crap I never knew about, and yet our love grows as I trust her in the revelation and healing process of mine and her crap.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE MORE AFRAID OF TRUSTING THE OTHER PERSON THAN THEY ARE OF BRINGING CRAP INTO A RELATIONSHIP!
How great an analogy is human relationships to the connection we have with God! How familiar are those situations to the relationship I have with Christ! I am still learning not to approach God like a college relationship. I will too often look at my relationship with God and get frustrated. I often look at my lacking quiet time. I look at how uncompassionate I am to the broken among me, and then I assume my relationship with Christ must be failing because of all this crap.
I cannot keep connecting all these factors to the "success or failure" of my relationship with Christ. I cannot look at my lacking church attendance or missing a week's tithe and saying, "My relationship with God sucks!" My relationship with Christ is still in pursuit, and all those things are not indicators of a failing relationship. I will always have crap. I will always have walls. I will always mess up on my disciplines. I will always have things I am not that great at doing, but I cannot assume that all these things make my relationship with Christ horrible.
It shows that I do not really trust God's grace and love. I bring all my crap, all my inconsistencies, all my past into relationship with God and trust in his grace and his love. Yes I do have crap! Yes I am inconsistent in my discipline. Yes I need to be more compassionate, but my relationship with God is enriched by my need and desire for Him.
God does not NEED me to love him. I NEED God to love me.
I NEED to love God.
I have been thinking over these statements today and trying to allow the realities to sink in.
God is not going to sit around NEEDING me to love him so that he can function; so he can live the life He needs to live.
I, on the other hand, need a God who loves me. I need God to love me in order for me to live my life well. My life goes as it should because God loves me. My life is full of unloving circumstances and disappointments; I NEED God to love me.
I NEED to love God. My life operates as it should when I love God. I NEED to love Tonya. My life, as it should be, would fall apart if I did not love my wife. My marriage is a significant, indentifying part of my life; TONYA is almost the most important thing in my life. If I failed to love her, my world would fall apart; my life would not be as it should. I NEED to love Tonya.
I did say that Tonya was 'almost' the most important thing in my life. Of course, God is the most important thing in my life. I NEED to love God. I need to love God because my life would be destroyed if I did not. I NEED to love God because my life is identified and defined by my love for God.
God does not NEED me to love Him.
I NEED God to love me.
I NEED to love God.
Hidden in these sentences are the likes of divorce, adoption, and diabetes. Also there will be found marriage, birth, and milestones alongside brokenness, addictive numbing, and wounds. Good luck discovering those things between the lines as these lines are much thicker than the revealing space between. (I gave up trying to think of things for a few years I just don't really remember much about.)
*This was an idea I received here.
1980 - Naked into this world I came. 1981 - Some of the best memories are those you don't remember. 1982 - It was never your divorce, but ours. 1983 - 1984 - 1985 - 1986 - 1987 - 1988 - Two families converge 'forever' with adoption??? 1989 - There is now more than corn in Indiana. 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - Time to be a man, boy! 1993 - 1994 - Wade out a little bit deeper. 1995 - Commit to your life's largest choice. 1996 - 1997 - Search for future while you relish tonight. 1998 - Release! 1999 - A bold use of poetry will get you married some day. 2000 - The end is further than we ever think. 2001 - The death of naive safety will never be forgotten. 2002 - Never take for granted a gift of grace. 2003 - A degree does not qualified make you. 2004 - Marriage slays any selfishness to which I thought I held. 2005 - Two converged families fracture with only a letter. 2006 - Shedding the man you used to be is a temporary joy. 2007 - Bodies stop producing insulin and emotions at the same rate. 2008 - Stir in a little Mexican, lots of insulin, and a charge of passion. 2009 - What.is.happening 2010 - My heart exploded with more love than I ever knew I was capable of. 2011 - New life is on the horizon.