Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Readiness Gem

Twenty four years ago on Monday, I made a vow. A sacred, holy binding vow. Did I know what I was doing? Yes, sort of. Knowing something in your head is not the same thing as knowing it in your heart though. Probably most people know in the head what their vow means and what it will require, but only those who may have seen marriage difficulties in their childhood have a glimpse of the heart knowledge of the vow...and I really didn't.

It was trial by fire for the first couple of years of our marriage. Only the grace of God kept us together, because I certainly wasn't prepared for the hardships of young marriage. My wonderful and soft life of 20 years didn't equip me for what the vow would require and the fact that both of us were still in school, full time, made financial stress as well. Our sin nature put a damper on the young romance as well...go figure. By worldly standards, our marriage looked pretty awkward, I'm sure. Our ducks were not lined up pretty in a row, our plan was long and we were living on love...the tough brand of love rather then the tender sort. Some would say we were too inexperienced and young to be married. Our life and marriage could have been easier had we been older, more experienced and “set up” financially. That's probably true.

Easier and more comfortable is not what God was going for. It's what I would have enjoyed, but looking back, I see providence and wisdom in His ways. My son was in a church skit one time about such a topic and the stressed out, young married couple being portrayed gave the punchline, “Marriage is not to make you happy, but holy”. Holiness. A couple set apart. A picture of Jesus and His people. The purpose of marriage sheds light on my issue and the disease our modern marriages are suffering from.

If marriage was designed primarily for our pleasure than maybe God might have gone back to the drawing board. But He didn't, because that is only marriage's second purpose...the after effect. The primary purpose, according to the Bible, is the same as everything else in a Christian life...for His Glory. He is glorified in a marriage that mirrors His love...suffering and sacrifice which leads to death, then power, ressurection, new life and glory!! That pretty much desribles the 24 years of my marriage...we had to suffer, sacrifice, die to oursleves, then God intervened as we lay face down in the muck. He lifted us, cleaned us, fed us and poured His power into our hearts. We trusted His word with that power and feasted on His wisdom. A new way led to a glorious relationship, one that could never have been born in comfort.

Yes, I was young...young hearts are better to train, teach and guide in righteousness. We went through the fire together. The trials endured together mold two people in a way that is not easily broken. That's what we need...marriages not easily broken. This kind of love making requires two hearts set on Jesus' holiness and cross carrying, I guess that would be the readiness criteria for marriage rather than age. There are plenty of older people in the world with unprepared hearts who would not pass the readiness test for marriage.

My oldst son is 21 in January and his fiance will be 20 on the day they marry. The numbers mean nothing to me. They will face hardship. They will not be comfortable all the time. They are not “set up” quite yet. They understand and are committed to the true purpose and plan for marriage though...and that is a Red Beryl, 1,000 times more valuable then gold, mostly hidden from the world, but seen and treasured by God. Understanding is all they can have at this point. No one is ever really "ready". They could wait a little longer and be a little more "set up", but for the Christian, this wait is a gamble for the loss of another precious gem the world does not see the value of too. It will be hard to watch them in the fire of young marriage, I'm sure, but I know the truth. I know what God is doing and I have to trust that, not their abilities and years. His Word and my own experience have led me here.

This is just another life thing that requires me to “not lean on my own understanding”, not to listen to worldly wisdom...the wisdom of man...which leads to a ridiculous divorce rate and countless unfulfilling marriages. Nay sayers just aren't going for the same thing in marriage as we are. If they understood that, maybe our silly ways might make a little more sense to them and quell their frustration a bit. Even so...

Soli Deo Gloria.

Happy Anniversary beautiful Red Beryl.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Staycation

It's been awhile. Spring probably the busiest time of the year for me...and it's over :) Thought I would show a few highlights of my "staycation". Enjoying the little things, the peace and quiet and taking time to think about good things.

Finally! I got to read a book! Almost through a second one too! Business has slowed enough to rest my mind and think about good things. My choices for this summer, so far, are:

The first book, by Dr.Leaf is not a mystical-mind-self-help book, but a scientific, God-centered approach to healthy thinking. I really liked it. Her whole premise is that science is just recently catching up with the Bible...that there is a physical basis for being "transformed by the renewing of our mind", "taking every thought captive" and "whatever is good and perfect...think on these things". Being a science student, loving Biology and the Bible, this was a great read...and hopefully, will help my mental and spiritual health! It also has great ramifications for education...going to implement these principles in school this year.  

Loving the challenge of sacrificial living, closer relationship with Jesus and understanding His holiness in this book. If only we realized just how much He really loves us and how we should love Him and others in turn. When you love Him wholeheartedly, you can look crazy...perplexing to the world...but it offers joy to a hurting world. 

Denial. I think the world is in denial. Constantly convincing itself that it is happy. Working tirelessly to continue the charade of success. As more and more "successful" people commit suicide and spend thousands on therapy, we keep insisting that happiness is found in self-fulfillment, comfort, money and doing good things. I have to remind myself of this lie EVERY DAY. These two books help battle the lie by saying 1) I need to think like God, not like man and 2) He needs to be my first love...not my husband, not my kids, not myself.

So, thank you Caroline and Francis, for spending some time with me this summer and ministering to my soul. Iron sharpening iron. 

The paint has brought me some joy too recently. Only one canvas so far, but it was a great fun for me:

My "work" lately is keeping up with the garden. I actually love weeding. It's quiet, productive time outside, among the soothing elements, sun, earth and breeze. 

A generous lady neighbor gave us permission to tent on her beach one night last month. I just wanted to hear the river, cook over an open fire, float and be still for 24 hours. It...was...amazing :) My daughter fished while I fried bacon, had coffee and let the others sleep in during sunrise.

Another highlight is our "new" bedroom! Updated after 20 years! I'm SO enjoying the Grant Beige, carpet-be-gone and the scent of crack fill and paint. Is there a candle scent called "renovations" yet? There should be.

None of the above happenings compares with the overwhelming joy of this day. My son and some dear daughter-types diving into the Saint John river in Baptism! As a dear church lady said last night at prayer meeting, this doesn't mean they'll get everything right, but it's a good beginning...a good decision :)

Looking forward to a few more weeks of being home during beautiful weather without a rigorous schedule. The best part is that Fall is right around the corner. Better than summer :)