"Who writes these??" I was attempting to find an anniversary card for my husband of twenty five years.
Then it hit me. If statistics are true, chances are those who write the plethora of cards that fill the card aisles, particularly in the realms of marriage and anniversaries, are woefully lacking LIFE experience in the areas for which they are writing the cards.
Far from capturing the very real, tangible essence of the refining, rubber-meets-the-road, unconditional love that my marriage has been constructed under for the past twenty five years, I had to settle ....because after the third store and seeing many of the same cards at each store... it became clear: the contenders filling the aisles really had no idea what twenty five years of marriage under the tutelage of Christ entails...nor yields!
Last night as my husband and I were out to supper and as we strolled back to our car, my hand in his, I couldn't help looking at this man and thinking, "Who were we 25 years ago?!" - because I know neither of us, (With an abundantly thankful heart, thank You, Jesus!), is remotely the same person we were then.
There is so much nonsense bantered about when people speak of marriage...especially to those just starting out....often spoken by those not married or those married for a short time, such as "don't lose yourself".
Hum.... that's the ENTIRE point ....not just to marriage, but to life: to lose yourself ... to die to yourself... for the sake of another. It's in the Bible! Look it up....study it.... it's meant to be walked out!
Somewhere along the way, if you claim to be a Christ-follower, an EPIC battle WILL take place.... make no mistake about this. And in the battle, you will have a paramount choice to make: die to self or live for self.
A Christian marriage takes the two individual epic battles to a whole other level; a level that I do not believe can be adequately described, only experienced.
One of the many observations I have made over the years as I have observed numerous marriages is the rush to make paramount decisions in the heat of the moment(s).
In my own marriage, I dedicated long ago not to outpace the Lord. What this meant is that there were times when my husband and I were at odds for lengthy periods of time...lengthy.
The death of self can indeed be a lengthy process.... a process that we, as Christ-followers, do NOT get to select the ways and means.... a process that we must be committed to with patience AND endurance.
At the end of the day, we each must decide how we represent Christ to not just the "blanket world" - but to the closest of close in our life.
Through us will they ultimately taste His forgiveness or our ravenous flesh-driven hunger for justice?
Through us will they ultimately hear His call to righteousness or our offended flesh's demands?
I'm not saying be a door-mat, quite the opposite in fact. We are to be as iron sharpening iron. This process only occurs, "If one of the pieces is heated up significantly, it (then) becomes ductile and hence can be sharpened by the other one." We tend to RUN from heat, but what we fail to realize much of the time is heat comes from the holiness of God and IS transformational.
My message this morning to all those married: be patient... don't run from the heat, whether it be upon you or your spouse... and most importantly, be disciplined to endure for the sake of your spouse, which is the heart of God.
Marriage: it's a reverent walk together towards holiness.....
a journey well worth the taking.