The recent occurrence of Valentine's Day got me reflecting on the topic of L-O-V-E. In my near 13 years of relationship and marriage with my husband I have transcended from starry-eye school girl love to eyes wide open love! Oh! If I could only convey to you the depth of heartache we have encountered and overcome in our years together, but alas some things simply cannot be communicated through words. They have to be lived. However, I can share with you a few things I have learned, if you can bear with me. It's a tad longer than my normal posts. :O)
1. I am thankful for the sorrow that deepens love. Thankful for sorrow you ask? How could that possibly be?!? First of all, I know that I know that I know that I love my husband and that's a good feeling. No doubt, just confidence. Sometimes we say these sweeping, grandiose statements but in truth they are shallow, lacking depth, and when the hard times come we scratch our heads and say, "Do I really love this person?" or "Did I marry the right person?" or "How did I end up here, was I duped into this somehow?". When we encounter suffering, the depth of what is in our hearts is revealed to us and we find out what we really believe and what we're made of. There is an authenticity that comes from suffering and an authority that comes from overcoming suffering that can only be earned through suffering.
There was a time when I shrank back from heartache and sorrow. A time when I was so broken and hurting that I wanted to live in a happy bubble and never hear any of the bad that existed in the world. But now I can say that the Lord has encouraged me. Literally given me courage and I learned that I have what it takes, though it was learned through "The School of Hard Knocks". (And can I just say that I only have what it takes, IN CHRIST.)
I also learned a new depth of Christ's love for me. His availability to me in my time of sorrow, His nearness to me when my heart was broken. I learned that it is only through broken vessels that fragrance can really go forth. And I learned something about my Savior. Something I knew with my head, but I now know with my heart. He was, "A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief..." Isaiah 53:3. And the truth is He (willingly!) suffered for me and because of me. Now I don't shrink back from sorrow and suffering, but have learned the value of it. That is where Christ is. It deepens my love if I respond to it, which to me means, I cry when I need to cry and I cry out God in the midst of my pain. I embrace the feelings of loss and grief and work through them with the Lord that I may know Him, and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10). I lean into the Word and throw myself on His promises and find hope! With Christ I can face the hard things head on and tack into the wind instead of tucking tail and running in the opposite direction. And I can tell you, with a smile on my face, that my relationships are stronger and better for it and have an authenticity and depth that are a continual blessing to my life.
2. I believe in "True Love" and "The One" in the person of Jesus Christ! If I could say one thing to you it would be this: How I wish we would stop setting our love on other people instead of God! This does not mean I do not love my husband, I do! It simply means that I do not expect my husband to be my all in all. I do not expect all my happiness to come from him nor do I expect him to meet all my needs. I have gotten off the crazy cycle of unrealistic expectations and disappointment which leads to self-pity which leads to magnified and long and drawn out (and unnecessary) heartache. I love my husband with my eyes wide open now, with all of his strengths and wonderful attributes and with all of his hang-ups and weaknesses, and I know he feels the same about me. I know that we will fail each other and hurt each other's feelings. But I also know, through experience, that we love each other enough to see it through. We value one another and we value the process that has gotten us to this point. Truth be told, we are the happiest we have ever been, and we have the most hope about where we are going TOGETHER.
In our culture, women (and I'm sure even men) are indoctrinated about ideas of romance from a very young age and I don't think any of us have escaped unscathed. We have been fed a steady diet of what to think about love and marriage and men. And almost all of it is a lie! Men were never meant to be our saviors, only Jesus can fill that role. They certainly are made in the image of God and have desires to fight for us and rescue us, but we were never meant to be totally and utterly fulfilled by one person here on the earth. We will always have a deep longing on the inside that can only ever be fulfilled by Jesus Himself. He is our true love. Our One. And He is jealous for our love and devotion. He will never let us find lasting fulfillment from another, even from our spouse, that is meant to be found in Him. We shall have no other gods before Him.
It can be a painful and lonely process to disentangle oneself from things we have been led to believe all our lives, only to find out they are not true and leave us wanting at the end of the day. And if you currently find yourself there, I pray grace for you! And I hope that these insights, purchased through many tears, will help you find your way!
If you find yourself longing to know this man Jesus in a real way all you need to do is pray the following prayer: Jesus, I believe You died on the cross for me and rose again. I repent of my sins and ask Your forgiveness. I ask that You would come and live in my heart and wash me from all my sins. I receive You as my Savior and I thank You for what You did for me because You love me. Please help me to know the true love You hold for me in Your heart in a deep and real way. In Jesus name, Amen!
Romans 10:9-11 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."