The risk of investing everything

The other day, I made a comment to a young lady telling her that her boyfriend was worth the investment.  I didn’t put a lot of thought to the comment, it just came out because I believed it.  After I said it though, it really made me think about relationships between a man and a woman.

The young man I was referring to is someone very near and dear to me and someone whom I have always seen great potential in.  From the very start, I have seen the man who God wants him to be.

Of course, this is a young couple who are both growing and maturing, figuring out who they are in relation to themselves, each other, and I would venture to say, even God.  As I watch and pray for them, I can’t help but see the importance of investing in the person we are with .. not just the relationship.

I’m amazed as I watch this young man grow and see him maturing.  I have watched him grow from almost indifferent towards his girlfriend to being just that .. invested.  No longer is it just a relationship for the sake of relationship.  It’s something more.  It’s a realization that the other person has taken hold of a place in your heart that no one else can or ever will fill.

What a hopeful thing to see!  When we are invested, we are willing to go through a thing or two.  When we are invested, we have something to fight for.  When we are invested, we allow God to show us the person we love through His eyes instead of our own.  When we are invested, we are willing to bear our hearts, even when it hurts.

I believe this is one of the key factors to really good marriages.  Marriages shouldn’t be just a matter of convenience or filling financial and physical needs because it’s some sort of contract.  Marriage should be an investment in a person that God chose for me.

Unfortunately, I’ve been through divorce and didn’t realize these things in my previous marriage.  I fell into the trap of believing that marriage was about our individual happiness.  Mostly, I didn’t have God focused eyes to help me see the things I could not see.

While I’m not proud to say I’m divorced, I am thankful the situation ultimately led God to open my spiritual eyes.  I’m also thankful that God had someone in mind for me because, being the gracious God He is, He would give me a second shot at marriage.  God would teach me the importance of not just being committed to a marriage, but being invested in the man He has chosen for me.  What a difference investing in the man versus the marriage makes.

Why?  Because now that I invest in my husband versus my marriage, I’ve been given a glimpse of the bond that God truly intends between a man and woman .. and I realize just how valuable that bond truly is!  It is something to desire and strive for.  It’s beautiful and it’s worth every bit of effort and ugly thing you have to go through to get it.

When you are truly invested, you have everything to lose .. yes.  But on the other hand, when God is the one leading the investment, you have something that is priceless to gain … a type of love that only God can create.

I love my husband.

 

 

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Resting in His hope …

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m seeing progress in a place where I wasn’t sure there was any or if because God has endowed me with an extra portion of faith and hope, but I truly have an optimism for the future.

The messages haven’t changed .. I still recognize the constant barrage of ‘fear tactics’ from the ‘enemy.’  I still see the dreadful things that are happening all around the world.  I watch and pray for Israel as it continues to get bombed.  And still, the message of hope is there.

I know we are on the cusp of something great, and potentially terrifying, and still .. I have hope.

Maybe we are decades away still from Jesus’ return or perhaps it could happen within the next year.  But it honestly doesn’t matter because right now .. I have hope.

What a blessed thing it is!  I’m so thankful for God and His glorious ways.  I’m so thankful for His Holy Spirit that continues to work on me .. challenge after challenge growing and changing me.  Keeping me moving forward.  Keeping me on the path towards His righteousness.

Every once in a while He gives you a glimpse of what He’s been doing in your life and let’s you know .. your role really matters.

I had someone in my life tell me that just recently.  Someone that I have been spiritually battling for.  Silently I’ve been in the back corner, constantly watching, praying and loving .. even when it wasn’t always easy.  This is someone whom I never expected to hear much from.  I never started the battle looking to hear those words, but feeling the words of thankfulness spoken at a time when I least expected it made … such a difference.  The battle isn’t over, but hearing those words spoken from this person .. someone who didn’t acknowledge my efforts before, has really put a boost in my step.

I’m so thankful.  Not just for God’s part in my life, but the bond that God is creating between me and others.

It really is about loving God and loving people.

Today .. I hope that you too, feel blessed!  🙂

Predetermined, predestined, or pre-planned?

When I started my spiritual quest 5 years ago yesterday, one of the questions I remember discussing with my brother is the fact that God had things planned out already.

Perhaps this was something I just heard or maybe it’s biblical, but I had this thought that God has already dictated what was going to happen in our lives.  As in, we are playing out pre-determined roles.  Truthfully, this has always bothered me.

I remember telling my brother, ‘What’s the point in living if it’s already pre-determined?’  I recall thinking that every move, every word, every action was already foretold.  I didn’t like that thought.

I’d like to believe that maybe God has a direction that He’d like us to go, and that He’s given us gifts to be the best Us we can be, but that He hasn’t laid out every inch of our lives already.  I don’t know about you, but that just makes me feel like my part wouldn’t matter at all.  I’m just filling a role that anyone could have filled?

I want to know that my walk here on this Earth was more than just filling a role anyone could have filled.  I’d like to believe that my life wasn’t already planned out.  That maybe I had some say in my own direction .. that I wasn’t just some prophecy being played out.  I’d like to know that my relationship with Christ meant something to Him.

The past few years, I have really looked at prophecy and the fulfillment of it.  Especially with all the election buzz.  In Jesus’ time, many of the dots didn’t get connected until AFTER He had ascended back to heaven.  We know this because we have the New Testament in which we see Paul connecting those dots for us.

Today, we still do the same.  Although we know things are still to be played out, we do our best to guesstimate not only what has happened in relation to biblical prophecy, but what will happen.  There are literally hundreds of sites that will tell you that ‘such and such’ is the play out of a particular prophecy in the Bible.

What’s interesting is that our Bible isn’t the only thing that makes predictions.  The Quran does, so does the Book of Mormon, and I’m certain other religious texts.  I say this because there are some that claim 9/11 was a prophecy fulfillment from the Quran and did you know that a Mormon in the White House is predicted in the Book of Mormon?  Huh … interesting.  Looks like it almost came true.

Personally, when I catch myself falling prey to the ‘signs’ of the time, I recall the scripture that says, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,’ Matt 16:4.  I also think about when Jesus said, ‘My yolk is easy and my burden is light,’ Matt 11:30.

I’m learning not to fret about biblical prophecy or my role in this whole thing.  So maybe something I say or do was predetermined or known in advance and perhaps even revealed to someone else along the way.  I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with that because 1.  I’ve given God permission to lead my thoughts, words, and actions.  Sometimes that means I’m going to say or do things that I know are dictated by Him.

2.  My relationship with Him is solid.  I love Jesus and I trust Him.  I trust that His intention is to save not only me, but my loved ones, and in fact, the whole world.  I’m willing to be used by Him to get us there.  After all, as a member of His ‘bride church,’ I believe it’s important for me to submit to His will.

3.  Until I know for certain which actions He directs vs. what I direct, I’ll take responsibility for my actions.  I try not to get too caught up in the signs because that scripture warns me doing so can lead me astray.  Instead, taking responsibility always leads me back to the cross which lets me know … I’m still on track.

So are our lives predetermined, predestined, and already planned out?  Umm .. I’m still not quite sure.  Maybe, maybe not … but it doesn’t matter because I haven’t played my role and I don’t have a script to read from, so I figure I must get a say in the matter after all!

What’s funny is that I really think that one of the things that kept me from coming to Christ sooner was that I didn’t want to have my life already dictated out.  Ha!  Little did I realize that whether I wanted to play a part or not, I was part of the plan all along.

So glad knowing Jesus is more than just playing a role in His big show though.  I’m thankful today that I really do matter to Him.  🙂

Umm … that was awkward

Have you ever witnessed spiritual bloodshed?  In our day and age, it’s not only something that we witness and partake in, but something that they create entire television series on.  This is the battle of the tongue where people lash and gash at each other with verbal assaults.

I almost think this kind of assault is worse than murder.  Jesus claims it’s the same.  In a murder, the body you just took the life of doesn’t get back up.  In the world of the tongue however, the body may be bloody, but it gets right back up.  Umm .. can we say, awkward?

I’m guessing now that the political race is over, this is how many must feel.  After the most expensive presidential race in our history, our ballots have been cast and counted, it turns out, not much has changed.  We are right where we left off.  So now what?

Can I just tell you that I really feel a lot of hope for our future?  Truthfully, I cast my vote for Jesus, along with 2 million other voters, and it turns out that Almighty God said .. ‘Let it remain.’  It’s almost like Dad stepped up, took a look and said, ‘You all got in this mess together and you will sit here and work it out together.’

Seriously!  This excites me.  We have been through 9/11 and we lost several thousand lives.  It shook our nation!  There are many that believe this was a wake up call to our nation because we have strayed from God.  I can’t help but suspect they might be right.  But yet, God hasn’t destroyed us, as He did Sodom and Gomorrah.  I see Him giving us mercy after mercy!  He is working with us to correct us instead of simply destroying us!  WOW!

Even as our country has fallen into economic debt, I see this as hope.  I suspect that we are on the cusp of some awesome things to come .. but I see God’s hand orchestrating and waking us up.  Waking us up to realize that we all need Him, not just the homosexuals and those that have had abortions.  But what about us?  Weren’t we using our tongue casting spiritual bloodshed just yesterday?  Did we not involve ourselves in that?  Truth is, it isn’t just those that carry their sins on their sleeves that need a big dose of repentance and fear of God, but ALL of us do.

I really do believe that Jesus wants to deliver all of us from sin.  Things may be awkward today because yesterday, we were all picking sides.  But today, we’re all still on the same team.  It’s like God is saying it’s time to play together and allow God to work in all our lives.

We can either choose to come together and work towards that goal, or we can make things worse and give the Mormon’s a chance to have their White Horse prophecy come to pass at the next election because it didn’t play out this round.

I’m personally choosing to support our president, our God chosen leadership, in prayer.  No, I don’t agree with all his decisions, but I know this, my duty as a God-fearing Christian is to pray that God would lead and direct him and open his eyes to God’s ways.  This is exactly what I intend to do!

The blood bath is over and luckily, the only real lives that were lost were due to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, a natural disaster.  Today though, we have a chance to start a new, roll our sleeves up and say, ‘Okay.  Let’s get back to work.’

I’m excited about what God is gonna’ do!

Awake not love until it so desires …

As a woman, I can say that I’ve had a good look at how the world expects us women to act.  This, of course, was before I knew Christ.

In the world, society teaches us that we are to dress a certain way … typically as eye candy to ‘please a man.’  We are to act a certain way … typically a bit on the ‘seductive’ side with flirtatious demeanor.  And in today’s world, as women, we are to even be the ‘huntress’ … typically we are expected to be the ones to lure men.

This is what society teaches our girls from a very young age.  This thought process, in my opinion, is one of the major factors that leads to teen pregnancy, broken hearts, broken relationships, and ultimately a society full of divorce.  Our girls are being taught that love is all physical, from how you look to getting a man to touch you.  And our boys are being taught that they have their pick of the litter, devaluing the real beauty of what a woman has to offer.  Every where you look there are love-sick souls seeking a love that just doesn’t really seem to be attainable.  Wounded hearts .. warped minds .. and laden with all kinds of physical and emotional diseases in the aftermath.

But the Bible teaches a different kind of love.

In the Song of Solomon, it’s a beautiful book of love and passion … romance.  It speaks even of sexuality .. embracing, kissing, and of physical intimacy through caressing using language that made me blush the first time I read it!  After all, it is the Bible.  But this is not a book about sex.  It’s a book about love and desire.  The biggest message I hear is … awake not love until it so desires.

In our society, desire drives us.  We ‘long’ to be loved and ‘crave’ it so much that we find ourselves, both men and women, doing silly and hurtful things to ourselves to find it.  Yet the Bible tells us to wait for it.

When we take time to allow it to happen and not rush it, we allow God to open the door to passion on His timing.  In our ‘NOW’ driven society, it’s hard for us to imagine waiting, but when we do, we allow God to create something that we could only know because we waited for Him.

I was reminded this morning of Christ’s love towards me.  After a short but heartfelt prayer inviting Christ in to my heart today, I felt Him draw near just a short time later.  I could feel Him embracing me.  As I continued on in my day, tears came to my eyes as something caught my attention that only He could know I had been thinking about.  I knew that He had been paying attention and listening to me.  I knew that He cared.  Honestly, I can say that I am blessed because I have those moments with God.  I have experienced an intimacy that I know others have not.  I have spent time getting to know Him and waiting for Him to reveal Himself to me.  But to me, that’s the easy part.  After all, He’s God.  He can read my thoughts and His spirit is in me.  However, I know that His desire is not just that we would have this great thing with Him, but that His church, His bride, His children .. would understand that He desires for us to experience that same level of love towards one another.

So I’m not really quite sure exactly how to do that.  Truthfully, I’m still figuring it out myself.  I sometimes want to rush into the ‘feel good’ moments with people because I too, am still in this world.  But one thing I do know is that it involves waiting.  I’m thankful that I have a close relationship with Christ because when I get impatient and want to rush, He somehow gives me a gentle look and I’m compelled to continue to wait for His timing.  When I feel I’ve done all I can do with no results and want to move on to something else, He gently puts His arm around me and somehow, waiting doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Awake not love until it so desires …

I’m fairly certain that Jesus has big things in store for those who wait.  I’m fairly certain it involves that love that seems to be so unattainable in this world.  As a matter of a fact, I’m certain of it because He’s given me glimpses of it .. and not just with Him .. but with my beloved husband, my children, and even an occasional fellow Christian or two that I’ve encountered in my walk.

When you wait for love instead of forcing it … it’s so much more than what the world has to offer …. it’s absolutely … breathless!