Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marriage from our view

Today I have been married 9 years! I wish I knew how to upload videos from our wedding but I can't figure it out! That day was so magical for me. I am hoping we can renew our vows next year just so we can do it all over again- maybe at the beach this time.
I gave Tim a globe as a wedding gift with a card that said,
"Let's change the world together!".
"God, You are the Great Architect of Life, Who gives each wedded couple Your set of blueprints for a cathedral called marriage. You so graciously give us ways and means, tools and arts for fashioning its rooms. Help us trust Your flawless design! Live with us, as over the years we build each magnificent space and spire, every intimate chamber. Let our cathedral glorify You, Lord.
May its beauty delight You."
Prayer from my Worship Bible
Marriage has been such a blessing. Is our marriage perfect? No. We are 2 sinners that have given birth to 4 sinners all living under one roof. Most of the time though our marriage is bliss. The ONLY reason for this is because we have built our marriage on the foundation of Jesus Christ and there is so much joy there.
I teach the girls that the wise man built his house upon THE ROCK, the wise man built his house upon THE ROCK, (sing it with me!), the wise man built his house upon THE ROCK... the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the rock stood FIRM.
"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
Matthew 7:25
The foolish man on the other hand builds his house upon the sand. Here come the storms again and his house went splat.
It doesn't matter who you are... the storms are coming. What matters is where your house is built. My marriage verse is

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-"
Jude 1:24
The only way our marriage will thrive and not fall is because of HIM WHO IS ABLE to keep it from falling.
We (Tim and I alone) are unable to have a vibrant marriage. God answered my prayer for a godly husband and brought me to Tim. I still can't believe it. I still can't believe I get to see him and touch him and know what he looks like after years of praying and waiting. I remember wondering what it would be like to be able to talk to the man I had prayed for for so long. Now I can every day!
Our marriage was brought together by the Spirit and must function in the Spirit or the whole thing will collapse. Believe me, when we start walking in the flesh, the fairytale implodes. We both have strong wills. Which is good when our goal is to run our races hard for Christ but if we lose sight of that goal, we are in trouble. We could NEVER build a house together. That would get UGLY having to agree on so many (non-spiritual) decisions.
We have had to seek out counsel to help us learn how to communicate through issues we don't see eye to eye on. We (like any other couple) have a daily choice... to live to please ourselves or live to please each other. That is when it is bliss. When we lay our lives down just as Jesus did.
Then, we can know what true love is.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us."
1 John 3:16
We cannot know true love without knowing Jesus Christ.
Tim is a servant. He serves me like nobody's business. He is constantly doing dishes, hanging a curtain rod, bathing a child, going to Wal-Mart, etc.. That is how he shows me love and it is natural. Our yearly fight is usually because I am passionate and Emotional and he is steadfast and Amotional ( I made that word up- special for him :). We are learning how to fight godly.
Learning how to care more about the written letter our marriage is writing to the world than our "rights".

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Cor 3:2,3
Our marriage is a written letter showing the world the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Bride. What does our letter reveal? The truth about the greatest love story ever told?
I hope so.
It will if it is built on Christ.
This thought helps me when we are in a fight. What is more important.. being right and having the last word or using our marriage to share the gospel with the world?
These verses help me get over MYSELF really quick.
A strong marriage is one of the greatest evangelical tools there is.
I have a feeling you are thinking... "my marriage isn't like this. My husband isn't godly. I am divorced or I don't respect my husband this way."
God can use you right now. Right where you are. Simply surrender everything to him.
Whether its a failed marriage, or a marriage that lost its passion years ago.
Start praying. Ask God to help you build your marriage on the Rock and use it for His glory.
Ask God to help you serve and respect your husband. Pray that God would raise him up to be the leader God has created him to be... not simply to make you happy but to bring God glory!
All of our marriages are a work in progress.
The Bible says that in this world we will have TROUBLE.
If I was allowed to take verses out of the Bible, that would be one of them! But, Jesus warned us that we are going to have trials and challenges and disappointments this side of heaven.
I don't know about you but I don't like "trouble".
But, what does the rest of that verse say?

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

We have been through a lot of stress with small children and when I was sick for 3 YEARS. Tim faithfully loved me during those years when I was so needy. He gave me shots (that looked like a basketball inflater needle) in non-romantic places... full of medicine that was as thick as lotion while I cried. He has seen me at my worst and still loved me. He held my hand as I screamed my head off delivering a baby with no doctor and no medicine (after he begged me not to for 9 months). He thinks I am pretty when I am NOT. He is pure-hearted and a little naive.
He is my knight in shining armor every day. He is my picture of Jesus. He makes me so excited to meet Jesus Christ because I can't imagine someone more loving than Tim. He loves being with me and with the kids. He has sacrificed golf, and his free fun time to be at home discipling his sons. He works hard for us. He cares for us so that we never go without anything we need... never complaining about another trip to Wal-Mart. He makes me look like an amazing mother even though he does a ton of the work. We are one. God has made us one.
We are growing in our marriage all the time. We fail. We pray. We seek God's help. We fail. We pray. We seek God's help.
Tim leads.
I follow.
If it gets out of that order, it won't work.
Don't try and lead your husband.
That is our bent (as women) and it is sinful.
I am much more outspoken than Tim but he is my leader.
I HAPPILY submit to him.
Submission is beautiful. Don't believe the world's lies.
I know I am always safe behind him.
He is a strong leader and I am so grateful for that.
I love making babies with Tim. :)
I call them "little love explosions".
I hope God gives us more.Tim is pretty much done having babies but he loves me enough to pray about it.
I still tell Tim I married him for sex. That is half-true! LOL.
I have no idea why God gave me such a godly husband but I am so thankful He did.
I didn't deserve Tim but we never deserve anything God gives us.
May our love grow deeper and deeper as we grow closer to Jesus Christ.
May our children always have a refuge in our love!
I love you, Tim!

"Kiss me again and again, for your love is sweeter than wine."
Song of Songs 1:2

You all know CS Lewis' story about The Wardrobe, right? Well, Saturday morning, January 19th, 2002 I put on a tux and stepped into a magical wardrobe. I fumbled my way through the events of the day, pretending to pay attention to my best friends and my family, but all the while completely distracted...because I knew it was magical, this wardrobe. I knew I would have a new identity that may be a bit awkward, a new twist on why I go to work, a new filter on where I spend my money...the list goes on. But I was excited. I was alive. A damsel to rescue, a castle to defend. White horses and sunsets. A new chapter, a fresh page...

Little did I know.

When I stepped out the other side of the wardrobe my eyes were opened...someone turned the color up. I spent the best night of my life and felt the warmth of God's smiling approval. No guilt, no shame. Every day on the former side of the wardrobe had just been eclipsed. I was made for this. This damsel was mine, and a life of purpose and promise was ahead of us...

Fast forward 9 years - marriage is amazing. The New World is home. That's my take. We waited on God's best for each other and have found a deep fulfillment, security, and significance in this incredible relationship. Every day of my life since I married Steph I have been exactly who God made me to be. That is to say I was made for this, not that I'm so good at it, but it's what God means for me to be doing. Marriage is having a team-mate. Marriage is being fueled. Marriage is taking flight. But not because it's easy. Steph and I have been through our share, and it's not easy - but it's worth it. I wouldn't trade my life with Steph for anything, even on a tough day..and of course they'll come - in all shapes and sizes, but they are all a chance to get closer to each other and take the relationship deeper.

Here are a few thoughts that I've formed along the way:

1. Nobody wins a fight. Ever. There is no such thing when you love someone.

2. Guys - she is God's girl created to be someone specific...HELP her become that person, ASK her what she needs and make it happen.

3. Guys - Spiritual leadership (girls pay attention) is NOT lofty, religious, and regimented. Nor does it have to be riddled with amazing insights, daily sermons and eloquent prayers. Jesus laid it out. Grab a basin of water and a rag...and wash feet. Spiritual leadership is apologizing. Sacrificing. Crying. Wrestling with it. YOU FOLLOW GOD...and she'll follow you.

4. Girls - LET him figure it out. We are naturally bad at this. Be gentle and don't nag. You can't force it anyway, just do what God asks of you and let Him do the rest. God works in hearts.

5. For goodness' sake, if you are a Christian - DO NOT MARRY SOMEONE WHO ISN'T. I just yelled that. In order to have marriage to the maximus - marriageus rex - you have to marry someone who loves God and is seeking Him.



Erin Southwell said...

This is so so so so awesome. I loved every word of this. You guys are both amazing and what Christ is doing in you is even more amazing. Love hearing from Tim. Happy anniversary!!!

Amanda May said...

This is SO BEAUTIFUL! I wish I had words to express the way reading what both of you have written makes me feel. Thanks for being real, and godly, and showing the world what it looks like to be passionately in love...with eachother AND Jesus!!
Blessings to you both. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela S said...

You all are such an inspiration! I too, can only wish for a marriage as amazing as this. Stephanie totally deserves the wonderful man you are to her.

Tara said...

Beautiful testimony of godly marriage! (Loved hearing Tim's view as well.) Thanks for sharing your hearts!

Anonymous said...

I keep checking your blog for a new post, then find myself eager to reread every word of this one every time - you two are awesome. and what so many people have said to me--that a couple's long-term happiness is largely due to luck--is not true!