Thursday, January 24, 2013

engagement // be here now.




At my parents house, the backyard is divided into two different yards by a fence, and the dogs are kept on the other side of the fence, from our deck and sliding glass door. The dogs know that the sliding glass door is where they will see us. So, they will sit outside right next to the fence and just look at the sliding glass door. Eventually, they will roam the yard, then come back near the fence and wait to see someone in the doorway. They long to see someone in the doorway because that means either food, petting, or they get to come inside.

There's a window from our living room that looks over the fence where they lay. Today, as I've done many times before, I looked at the dogs from that window. They are so focused on the sliding glass door, that they never see me at that window, even if I make a noise.

I think that's a perfect analogy for what it feels like to be engaged sometimes. My engagement is what is happening now, or me looking at the dogs through the window. My marriage is the sliding glass door. It's far off and I'm looking forward to it, but it's not quite what is happening yet. It's hard not to stay focused on the sliding glass door, especially since planning a wedding constantly keeps you thinking about it. But, I don't want to miss the time in life right now - engagement. I don't want to miss what God can teach me through this time. I don't want to be so consumed about being married soon that I miss the here and now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

marriage.



This is not something that I am an expert on, nor something I could cover in one single blog post. But these are the things I've been learning and thinking about during this time that I am approaching marriage. 

In a little over 4 months, I am getting married. Over the past year, I've been studying and thinking a lot about what this actually means. As a little girl, I always imagined marriage as something everyone does after they graduate college. I thought you meet the perfect person for you, and live the rest of your lives as happy as can be. I thought that you weren't complete until you found your spouse. I guess I can blame my view of marriage when I was growing up on our culture and how marriage is portrayed. But, my view was wrong and superficial. 

The more I learn about what being a follower of Jesus means, the more I learn about what marriage should be, and also what it is not. Jesus is the only one who can complete me and the only one who can complete T. If either of us were to look to the other to fulfill God's role, we would be disappointed. We were lucky in that we met later in life, after we had come to start to understand our identity in Christ. We are not perfect in this at all, but I think we have a better understanding of it now than we did a few years ago. Before we first started dating we had a conversation about this very thing, and how we always wanted to find our identity in Jesus first, and then look to the other person to complement that. I am so thankful the Lord let us be discerning enough to see that at the beginning of our relationship. Yet I know that we will continue to struggle with keeping Jesus as King in our lives until we leave this earth. 


Phillipians 2:3-4
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

These verses are applicable to the Christian life, but also very applicable to marriage. In fact, many of the general life teachings in the Bible can especially be applied to marriage, because marriage is the analogy God uses to speak of our relationship with Him. 

So, if we are the bride of Christ, and He is our bridegroom, should we not also apply how the bride and groom are to treat each other to our marriages? He stays faithful to us, He loves us, He admonishes us, He pursues us. Marriage, afterall, is the most important accountability relationship we will have on this earth. Our relationship with Jesus is our most important relationship, but God uses marriage to pull us towards Him. 
I've heard these verses a lot, but never really thought of them as verses on marriage. That's something I heard recently, and it's so cool to see the Bible in a different light. 

I'm not married yet, but even in my relationship and engagement to T, I've seen this truth. There have been situations in which we both had to seek the Lord, because there was no way we could handle the situation on our own. We've each had to confess sin to the other, and forgive the other. None of those two things we could have done, had we not prayed and spent time seeking the Lord before, during, and after. There have been times when we've each had the privelage to encourage the other about something they are going through. We've had the opportunity to speak truth into each others lives and correct our way of thinking towards the Lord. 

Marriage is messy. It's two sinners living and doing life together. But, hopefully, it is two sinners who are chasing after the heart of Jesus. Two sinners who are encouraging one another towards Christ. Two sinners that confess sin and forgive through Christ's strength. Two sinners that are striving towards getting rid of selfishness and being servants of Christ and each other. When two sinners, truly follow after Christ, confess sin, encourage each other, and become one - the messy can become beautiful. 

I've also learned that marriage is a lot of work. Our relationship this far has already been a lot of work. But it's work that is necessary and completely worth it. Through our relationship, I've learned more about my relationship with the Lord. I also know I have a lot more to learn!