I've been fighting what God wants me to say for a couple weeks... not sure why really... perhaps because it won't pertain to all of you, or maybe because I don't want to sound too "preachy" or even cliche... but He keeps bringing me back to what's been on my heart recently... relationships... marriage. A handful of you have had conversations with me about this very topic in recent weeks, and there's a couple others who aren't on our email list who've revealed things about their significant others and life's situations. So I'm rolling with this out of faith that one or all of you can use these words to find more enjoyment and satisfaction in your relationship with your spouse (or future spouse)... and ultimately, grow closer to Christ as we all hope in Heaven to come.
My wife and I have definitely had our share of struggles, as nice as we may seem to have it... something many of us can relate to. The last couple years have been a very trying, but growing experience for both of us. Both in our faith in Christ to see us through and our understanding of how and why God's designed us. I'll never claim to know it all, certainly not about women, but what I have learned and come to know has been profound. And while it'll never make our relationship perfect, it will make it permanent.
I don't believe in "soulmates", or that there is only "one" significant other out there for everyone... that just sets us up for all kinds of trouble. You see, it paints the picture that you can find a perfect relationship, or a perfect person, but I think we can all agree that doesn't exist. What makes a relationship function isn't that you've found a perfect person, but that you've chosen to care for them in spite of their imperfections. Just as being a Christian doesn't mean we're perfect, but that we recognize we're imperfect, and in need of a savior. Think about it... EVERY relationship has its ups and downs, and extremes in both... and when it hits a low, or an extreme low, many will think, "She must not be the ONE" or "I made a mistake" or "He's changed" and on and on and on. Then what comes (especially in marriage, after not only the commitment has taken place, but a covenant has been formed)??? Resignation, separation, divorce, guilt, scars, unworthiness, on and on and on and it affects everyone and everything (kids, work, friends, family, etc) in a way that can take many further from God in an infinite number of ways... why? Because Satan is at work AGAINST the things of God.
All of us were created in the image and likeness of God...yet men and women were clearly created different... equal, but different... both with qualities and attributes that speak of our Creator. Man alone cannot fully reflect the attributes of God, just as women alone cannot fully reflect the qualities of God... but when rightly united, a man and a woman can reveal God in so many ways. And when you begin to understand relationships in that way, you realize Satan's reasoning behind the constant assault on marriages, especially of Christian marriages! Satan is in constant opposition to all things of God. And nothing showcases the Glory of God like a Christ centered marriage... love, mercy, forgiveness, protection, beauty, devotion, commitment, tenderness, power, unity, happiness, oneness. By devouring Christian homes, Satan is trying to destroy the integrity of the Christian faith, and through it, children are left with missing pieces, while thoughts of hypocrisy creep into skeptical minds. Don't you see how this fits into the larger story of life?! There is a very real enemy in the world today, and not just on the news, but in our homes! We need to change our outlook, often times, as to who the enemy really is... it's not our spouse, our kids or our job causing the turmoil, it's the "great deceiver". He's given that name in scripture for a reason.
This isn't the time to reflect on mistakes that may have been made in the past, we've ALL got those... these words are to bring HOPE from this day forward! Please take from this what is meant to be shared... encouragement for the future and all you can control from now until Christ takes us home!
As I close this out, the MOST IMPORTANT thing I've learned through the ups and downs in Mindi and I's relationship, is that LOVE IS A CHOICE. It's not a feeling. Sure, the feeling is there from time to time and should be, but there are times it's not; let's just be honest with each other here. After all, Christ didn't FEEL like dying on that cross, He CHOSE to. Let Christ's death define love... He SO LOVED the world, He died for our sins, so that whoever believes will gain eternal life.
"Love is not a place to come and go as you please, it's a house we enter in, and then commit to never leave...so lock the door behind you, and throw away the key, work it out together, let it bring us to our knees." Click play below and listen to the song by Warren Barfield... and may you pray for for angels to guard your doors.