Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Give it TIME.

Today, Tim and I are celebrating our 11th year of marriage.
"Marriage should be honored by all"
Heb 13:4
I remember when I was a pharmaceutical rep when we were engaged and I was OVER-THE-MOON excited that I was going to get married. I can't tell you how many times people would say to me, "Just give it time, honey." Or, "Come back and talk to me in 5 years". There is such a negative image of marriage. 
What was going to happen to us in 5 years???
We actually went to a Christian marriage conference before we were married and, by the time it was over, I wasn't sure if I still wanted to get married. Marriage sounded more like a scary prison where you lose all your rights than what I had dreamed of since I was a little girl. By the way everybody talked (even Christians), I was really afraid of this negative thing called "marriage". Even now people talk about how marriage is a picture of the gospel and how we have to DIE to ourselves and love the unlovable. "DAILY dying to ourselves"..."crucifying our flesh"... etc.. 
 Where is the love??  the phileo (friendship) and eros (romance)?

While this is true, it shouldn't be the daily norm. If it is, something isn't right. Marriage is suppose to sanctify us, yes... but it is GOOD. When a husband is fulfilling his role to love and protect, and the wife is respecting and following... it is not that hard. It is a refuge. It is friendship. It is the closing thing to heaven on earth. I LOVE my husband. It isn't that hard... because he loves me. He is my best friend. We are in the mountains for our anniversary. We are working on our friendship love (phileo). 
I think it is very interesting that this word is the word used in Titus 2:4.
This is the word for friendship love...
"train the younger women to LOVE their husbands and children"
We are suppose to have friendship love for our husband and children. In other words, we are suppose to LIKE them. :) Be FRIENDS with your husband. Get to know him...spend time together like friends. Find a common hobby. Listen to him. Let him talk. 
I love it when Tim talks to me. Guys don't talk as much as we do, so when they do, we have to STOP TALKING and listen! 

I love hearing my husband laugh. 
I love watching gray hairs starting to come in. :)
"Just give it TIME".
I love that there are things about him that I am the only person on earth that knows. I love hearing him play his guitar and read the Bible. 
I love that I think he is getting better looking with age. 

Tim and I got engaged 3 months after we met. We hardly knew each other. I didn't even know when his birthday was when we got married. But, we knew ONE THING for sure... God had brought us together.
I wrote about more about that in a POST a few years ago. It was a love story only God could write. He truly does give the fairy tale.  The King sends princes. And the prince will be like the King. The more you know the King, the easier it will be to recognize a prince. Spend your single days falling in love with the Lord.

Our wedding day was a dream. It was a freezing cold and rainy night in January. The only reason we got married in January was because we couldn't wait until Spring. We had waited until marriage for sex so it couldn't come soon enough.
**Single girls, STAY PURE. It doesn't matter where you have been. God can restore and wash you white as snow. He really can renew your purity. You will have to work through some tough consequences (that is why the Word tells us to FLEE from sexual sin- there are consequences). 
Start obeying TODAY. 
Honor God with your body. Sex was meant to be SUPERGLUE to glue you to your husband. Don't superglue yourself to someone who is not your husband. Turn from sexual sin... save your soul. The world has nothing to offer. The enemy will lie to you and trick you in order to destroy your life and all that God has for you. God wants to give to you.
He has pleasures forevermore at His right hand that He wants to give you.
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Ps 16:11
Do things God's way. Offer your bodies as living sacrifices... you ARE HOLY. You have been declared holy. Don't let the enemy take what has been declared holy and use it for unholy purposes. You were created for more.  Don't read the magazines at the check-out counters about sex. The reason the "experts" work so hard and give you a list of 1 million things to do to have better sex is because they don't have a good sex life. :) 
Obey God's Word. Stay pure until marriage. God will bless your obedience. It doesn't matter where you have BEEN. Repent, turn from sin, and start obeying TODAY. Do it God's way... 
"They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights." (Psalm 36:8)
I wish we would have waited to kiss until our wedding day. Our honeymoon night was amazing. I gave Tim a globe as a wedding present and told him I wanted to change the world with him. That globe is in our den now. I still ask God to use us to to turn the world upside down for Jesus. Our lives and our marriages are a written letter read by everybody. 
"You yourselves are our letter... known and read by everybody." 
2 Cor 3:2

Our first year of marriage had bumps. We were both super selfish and had no idea how to conflict. We got in fights about REALLY dumb things.  I didn't trust yet. I was scared to be fully vulnerable because it felt to dangerous. I had never known this type of love. The type of agape love that flowed from God into a man. That kind of love isn't conditional. It doesn't give up. It doesn't FAIL.

I didn't know this type of love existed in marriage. Agape love only comes from God. It is the kind of love that only desires to give- not take. We don't have it unless God gives it to us. I am so thankful that God poured out HIS AGAPE love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. I call it "Holy Spirit #9! :) 

 "God has poured out his (AGAPE)love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Romans 5:5

"(AGAPE) Love is patient, agape love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (AGAPE) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (AGAPE) Love never fails."

Holy Spirit #9 gives you love you don't have for your spouse. And praise God AGAPE love is given to your spouse to love you with. It makes them think you are pretty when you aren't. It gives the ability to love when it isn't deserved. It protects. It trusts. It perseveres!
Tim says the law of thermodynamics says everything is getting worse, falling apart, dying thanks to our sin. So, normally if you give something time, the natural progression is disintegration. But, when you put Jesus Christ into an equation, dead things come to life... keep coming to life... and produce life.  So, all marriages has gravity pulling them apart yet Jesus says that in Him all things hold together. He SUSTAINS all things by His powerful Word... even marriages.

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word" Heb 1:3

"Sustains" here means TO CARRY or a GUST OF WIND, to move by bearing; uphold (keep from falling)

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Col 1:17

Gravity and time are not on your side... unless Jesus Christ has breathed His pneuma breath into your marriage.  I just read some cool thoughts about the name of God...

God’s name, in the Old Testament, "YHWH", is comprised of aspirated consonants that, spoken, are the sound of breathing. When we are born, we take our first breath.   On our deathbed,  we breathe our last breath. Or is it that we cease to be alive when the name of God is no longer on our lips? Could it be that your marriage is no longer alive because the name of God is no longer apart of it? Cry out to God and ask Him to breathe His life into your marriage. Even if there is no longer a pulse in your marriage, God resurrects the dead.

"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it."
John 5:21

Tim and I have not had an easy 11 years. We have been hard pressed on every side through trial. We have hung on to Jesus with all of our might believing that He was going to sustain (carry) US and our marriage.
We have gotten into disagreements that we didn't know how to sort through. We have had to reach out to older wiser couples for wisdom. We have worked hard raising little children. We have had more health trials than most and endured a chronic illness.
We have disappointed each other and wounded each other with cutting words.
We both have major character flaws that God is helping us with.
He has had some serious pruning to do in us and still does.
Yet, because  of agape love, there was forgiveness made ready and available. There was hope. There was love.  There was PERSEVERANCE.
And through the hours and days and years, TIME was marching on.
And time has grown us. 
Time has deepened our love.
Time has proved God's faithfulness.
Just give it "TIME".
We both woke up on our fifth year anniversary, and thought... what is about to happen to us?
The dreaded fifth year!!
But agape love, phileo love, and eros love kept flowing from a source that has no end. 
That is what has carried us through SO MANY trials.
We never dreamed we would have 5 children.
Tim tells me the whole thing is slanted. That having all of these kids and all the trials that come with them, forces us back to the feet of Jesus. Crying out for help. Realizing our total and utter dependence.
We have no idea how to teach our children the fear of the Lord or how to teach them His Word.
So, we ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK in prayer.
And then we receive, find, and open.

Pray that God would show you the right way for you you and your little ones. 
Sometimes I feel like our family is being carried in a current and we have to stop and cry out to God,
"Are we going the RIGHT WAY"?
"that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones"
Ezra 8:21

"His God instructs him and teaches him the right way."
Is 28:26

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way."
Ps 25:9

"Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left."
Is 30:21

A good marriage is not the norm. But, the key is soaking your marriage in the WORD. The statistics of marriages where husband and wife read the Word together and pray together ending in divorce is like... um.... 0000000%. You will be on the narrow road, that is for sure! But it leads to LIFE.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matt 7:13,14

I will definitely say serving God together as a team has been one of the most strengthening things we have ever done. Serving the King of Kings with your prince is amazing. 
One of my favorite things we have ever done is a drama based on John 3:16. Because Tim is such a picture of Jesus to me, I hardly have to act. 
Click HERE if you haven't seen it before.

We renewed our vows last year. If you have never done that, I would HIGHLY recommend it.
It was more special to us than our wedding. 
Here is a video of our vow renewal... and HERE is part 2 (if you are really bored). 
So, apart from Jesus, our marriage would have most likely fallen apart by now... along with everything else that is deteriorating. But, by God's power, He has sustained it and deepened it with time.  Is your marriage falling apart? There is HOPE.
There is ONE who can bring EVERYTHING under control... if you surrender ALL to Him.

"by the power that enables him to bring EVERYTHING under His control"
Phil 3:21

EVERYTHING includes EVERYTHING (marriages, addictions, job situations, depression, etc...)
Again, Tim and I give all the glory to God for SUSTAINING our marriage. We are 2 hopeless sinners who have given birth to 5 little sinners who look like us. We all live together in a house. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. He is breathing His breath into our marriage and home and we are so thankful. Single girls, PRAY, SERVE, STUDY THE WORD, WAIT... then do it again. Get out of ungodly relationships NOW. 
Marriage is beautiful.
A husband is a GIFT FROM GOD. 
You can have the husband the Lord has chosen for you or you can have the one you have chosen. (Gen 24:44)
Be blessed~


Anonymous said...

AMEN to the glory of GOD!!!! Makes my heart want to sing - couldn't agree more with all your wrote. We know our Savior lives through the love that He pours out on each of us in our marriages and gives us the love to love in HIS way to our spouse. I felt the same way you did when I got married, everyone was so down on the marriage thing! just wait to after the honeymoon, etc. stuff. SO discouraging. We too have been through storms that are UNBELIEVABLE -- BUT God is soooo amazing! Oh, how awesome to have not only God but our man to cling to in the storms. God is the key - real relationship with Him. Oh, and what you said about sex - amen. What an awesome thing. Fav past time. And the world wants us to believe that doing it out of His timing is the only way for it to be "fun." oh what a lie! Thanks for encouraging women everywhere in this marriage thing. Let's get the real message out - it's not popular, and well, I've learned satan really hates it and will fight hard to destroy you if you stand for godly marriage and not giving up! But it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

You continue to be a God-given inspiration to me. You are beautiful! Your faith is beautiful. Your dedication to family is beautiful. What an Godly example. But, Steph, I am concerned bg