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In Sickness and in… More Sickness

Portrait Photographer MissoulaIf you’re married chances are your vows included something along these lines

“I ________ take you to be my __________ from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…”

I’m pretty sure our vows should have just said, “In sickness and in more sickness” because I don’t think my poor husband is ever going to see me in “health”.

But then, isn’t that true of all of us?

If we’re breathing, the sickness of original sin is inside us and will present itself in countless ways throughout our lifetime.

It bothers me when I hear someone say of their spouse, “He/she isn’t the person I married…I didn’t sign up for this!” So many DID sign up for this, though they may have failed to fully consider the words before they said them.

If our marriages are meant to be a model of Christ’s love for us, perhaps we should contemplate what His vows to us would be. I imagine they would be something like this:

I love you __________. And I will never stop! I will love you in your physical sickness; in your sickness of pride; in your anger; in your gluttony, laziness, addictions, and doubt. And I will rejoice with you as I help you overcome those things. I will never leave you.

The thing about Christ is that He is the only one who knows how to love this way. We are called to love this way because Christ does (see 1 John 3, 4:7) but we need Christ in order to make that happen. Only by His spirit in us will we be able to love in the way we should.

Let us ponder that today. Whether we are single, or parents, or spouses, or friends…are we allowing Christ to love through us?

This may sound silly, but I actually consider myself fortunate to have had all the health issues I did before Nolan and I even started dating. I love that Nolan knew exactly what he was getting into when he married me. He knew I may never be “well”; he knew I would suffer, and that my suffering would cause him to suffer; he knew loving me would take work; and he did it anyway…with JOY. That will forever be a stunning illustration in my life of God’s love for us.

He loves us anyway. Any way. Every way. Whichever way. No matter which way. All ways. Always.

Praise Him!

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

No Trespassing

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A couple of years ago I was in West Virginia doing a concert at a homeless shelter, and there was a young guy there about 21 years old I think, we’ll call him Marshall. After the concert we were just hanging out, visiting with people, and Marshall starts telling us about a dream that he’s been having. He said he has had the same dream every night for the past few months and he doesn’t know why.

In the dream I’m always sitting in my living room, and I’m not doing anything, but this guy (I think it’s Jesus) is walking around the outside of the house. And he keeps looking into the windows but never coming inside. I keep waiting for him to come in but he just keeps looking in the windows.

Now, I’m no prophet or interpreter or anything, but the meaning of this particular dream seemed so clear to me, I had to say something.

Not that you asked for my opinion, but I think God is just waiting for you to invite Him in.

I think about Marshall and his dream from time to time because I think it has some great reminders in it. Here are just a few:

  1. God is a gentleman. He will not force His way into our lives. If He forced us to love Him it wouldn’t really be love, it would be coercion.

  2. God is not a watchdog. Sometimes we treat God as if He’s merely there for our protection. You stay outside and protect me from bad things, we say, but don’t come in here, I don’t want you messing up my house.

  3. The Safe Zone is not the Satisfying Zone. Sure it seems like the best of both worlds to have God on the parameter, in case we need Him, while we get to have our own personal space. But just like Marshall, if God is not on the inside, we aren’t really doing anything. Things might seem to be going really well and you might just be minding your own business, being a “good” person, but if God is not allowed into our lives…into every crevice of our being, nothing we do is going to fully satisfy, so we might as well be sitting doing nothing.

I could keep going, and talk about how God isn’t interested in a lukewarm relationship with us, or how we tend to think we should clean up our house before we invite Him in to stay, but I’ll save that for another post.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Oceans

ImageWe’ve been doing this song at church lately, from Hillsong, called Oceans. You have probably heard of it, because…well, because it’s Hillsong and everyone knows their stuff. Anyway, it’s a really fun song to sing and, like many others, the bridge is my favorite part.

 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without boarders

Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

 

I love that 3rd line!

 

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

 

Perhaps this is reading too far into the lyrics but what I take away from them is this: we are never going to simply stumble into a deeper relationship with God, because His love is not accidental. His love and His mercy and His grace are completely intentional, and we need to at least turn ourselves toward Him so that He can lead us into the great unknown.

 

It’s silly for us to acknowledge that our earthly relationships take work, (they take time, energy, and dedication, in order to make them great) yet we fail to apply that same knowledge to our relationship with God. We think we can just call ourselves Christians, show up to church on Sunday morning, and flip through the Bible on the rare occasion we need a “pick me up,” and think that constitutes a relationship.

 

There has to be a giving up of ourselves. A moment when we say, Spirit, You know all things, your way is GOOD, please lead me in it. I’ll go wherever you want me to, even if I don’t understand it, or it’s uncomfortable, because I know it means more of you when I get there.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
Video

Your Hands: Cover by Maine Story

In honor of my Golden Birthday (that’s when you turn the age of the date of your birthday) I have decided to go out on a limb and share something even more personal than my thoughts. So here’s a video for ya. It is from about 2 years ago and we are super boring to watch (my apologies. We never thought we’d show anyone the video so we didn’t think about an audience at the time) but the song is wonderful (originally by JJ Heller) and it often helps me to refocus on the Lord’s faithfulness when I’m having trouble remembering. I hope it does the same for you.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Video

Faith & Feelings

Last week I asked for suggestions for what to blog about next. Since I only got one suggestion I guess it’s pretty clear what I have to do. So this week I’m posting a special video blog based on my talk at Epiphany Station. Please excuse the lighting, it’s not the best.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Suggestions?

ImageWow, I had a whole twelve weeks where every blog post was already written out and planned for me, since I was using my school work as blog posts. Guess it’s good to begin coming up with new material again. Let me just throw this out there to anyone who is reading…What do YOU want me to blog about?

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Life Line Part 12: The Married Life

ImageGiving into the Lord by giving into Nolan was the best decision I could have made.  From the first moment I told Nolan about my change of heart the Lord began to open my eyes to the perfectly intricate love-story He had been writing all along. For months I was ceaselessly bombarded with the details of God’s creativity. I would be reminded of prayers I had prayed in high school that the Lord was fulfilling through Nolan. Nolan would say things to me that I had only heard in movies, he made me feel like I was a gift to him, but the more time I spent with Nolan the more I realized he was the real gift. Suddenly I couldn’t believe I had gone so long without noticing how wonderful he was, and the days of not having romantic feelings for him were long gone. Just sixteen months after we started dating, Nolan and I were engaged, and in May of 2013 we started the most exciting adventure of our lives: marriage. I thought my twenties were the most thrilling years of my life, and like many people I dreaded turning 30. I became a wife only three months after my 30th birthday though, so I’m quite confident the years ahead of me will be just as exciting as the years behind.

It has only been four months since our wedding, but God has shown me a lot since then. For starters, just because I am no longer part of CTI Music Ministries doesn’t mean my life of ministry has ended. Our whole lives are meant to be ministry. If we call ourselves Christians, we are called to minister to people around us, whether we’re a banker, or a pastor, or a stay-at-home mom, the calling is the same. I don’t need to be traveling the world and playing concerts every day to be part of the same kind of ministry I was doing with CTI. I can be part of the worship team at our home-church, I can visit the prison right here in my own county, I can mentor younger women in this very community, and I can even share my testimony every once in a while. Probably more importantly though, I have learned that my relationship with Christ does not diminish because I’m married, it flourishes. I am being challenged in new ways, and my eyes are being opened to so much more of the character of God. In all honesty, I would not go back to my old life even if I could.

The thing that is most exciting in this entire story is the evidence that I will never reach the end of God. There will never be a moment when I will have experienced everything there is to be had in Christ, because He is a never-ending. I will spend my entire life on earth, and the rest of eternity, being baffled and standing in awe of Him. That’s amazing!

Affects on Counseling

Being married to Nolan will affect my counseling simply because he is supportive. His goal is to love me the way Christ loves His church. Sometimes that looks like listening to me vent, sometimes it means helping around the house so I can spend more time with clients, and it means challenging and praying for me. The client may never see those things, but they will directly affect my confidence as a counselor, and the attention I’m able to give to each client, not to mention the impact prayer from a supportive husband can have.

Overall, the thing I will take with me into counseling is the attitude that I will never stop learning. Just as I will never have God all figured out, so will I never arrive at perfection when it comes to counseling. I anticipate just as many humbling moments, moments of weakness, and moments of total surprise as I have experienced in my life thus far. I look forward to the challenge and joy that will bring.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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