What Marriage is For

We, {He and I}, are in the 20th year of practicing marriage.  We practice daily and sometimes we fail miserably. But mostly, we’re getting better. Practice makes perfect and a perfect marriage is only a Heaven’s breath away.

I know that for many of you reading this, marriage isn’t fun or good or even desirable.  I also know that some of you have practiced, failed and given up.  And there are more of you who are trying it again with someone new.  I don’t claim to have the answers but I do know this: when marriage is practiced and learned and done God’s way, it works.  It works because it’s God’s plan.

Anyone can have a relationship.  Anyone can choose to love someone and be intimate with them. Relationships are easy to get and easy to leave. We friend people on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. We e-mail and text and call and write and all of it is great and none of it is special.  Relationships are a dime a dozen, sadly.  There’s nothing wrong with having 100 friends and there’s nothing wrong with only 1.

But marriage; marriage is sacred and holy and reserved seating only.  Marriage is for ONE.

When marriage is right and used to its fullest potential, there is only one and there will only ever be ONE.  That’s what marriage is for.

Regularly I read and hear news of some other state or country or province or group attempting to redefine marriage.  How do we, people, redefine what God himself created? How do we presume to take His most holy earthly relationship and cut it up, serve it out like pie and have everyone partake?  Marriage is not up for grabs. It is not on the market.  It is not entertaining takeover bids.  Marriage is non-negotiable.

And this is not the part where I get on a soapbox and talk about how homosexuals don’t deserve to be married or how polygamists should get their day in court.  Honestly, that is between them and God.  If a man chooses to have 4 wives and another man chooses to have one husband and yet another chooses to never marry but sleep with as many women as he can~none of that is about marriage. All of it is about morality and your relationship with God and your dishonor of His word and His holy matrimony.  To me it is a non-issue that states and governments spend so much time and effort on who should get to be married and who should not. Marriage is God’s.  And people make choices.  And choices are judged…by God, not man.

Marriage is more than rings and gowns.  It is more than bouquets and cake, bowties and bridesmaids.  Marriage is not a paper signed by witnesses or a  one day event we dress up to attend.  Marriage is bigger, deeper, stronger , fuller and richer than I can describe or live.

It is supernatural in its beginnings; that TWO individual people can be joined into ONE FLESH with the heartbeat of God at the very core of its existence. That is miraculous, inexplicable and mind-bending.

It simply cannot be discussed, renewed or lived out without God because He created the capacity for us to be able to live with the same person, only grow in love, for days,months, years and decades.

When the thank-you cards have all been sent and the dishes are dirty in the sink.  When bills pile up and someone needs to work and someone needs to sacrifice ….that’s what marriage is for.

When doctor visits make you cry and babies are born in the snowstorm late at night.  And sitting in that rocking chair all night makes you lose your mind and lose sleep….that’s what marriage is for.

When the dog pees on the carpet and the vacuum is plugged but the kids need food…that’s what marriage is for.

Two heads are better than one and two hearts can tackle a teenager better than one any day of the week. Two hands held tight in the storm make fear take the backseat to faith.

When words fall off the page and you can’t write or think or know what to do next….and he pulls up a chair and holds your hand and looks into your eyes and helps make that mess of words into something beautiful….that’s what marriage is for.

When you can’t stand him because he doesn’t get you and he walks away sad and lonely and defeated…….Marriage scoops  you both up and holds you until the words come out right and the heart is broken and humbly you crawl into each others’ waiting arms and start all over again.  THIS is what marriage is for.

Marriage is the safety net that catches you when you fall from the tightrope you’re on because you think you know what you want and then you fall because you had no  idea why you went out there to begin with.

Anyone can live together and make breakfast and babies.  Anyone can romance you when you’re fit and fertile.  But when pantyhose get replaced with sweatpants and a made up face gets replaced with dark circles and  the bra doesn’t fit like it used to……THAT’s what Marriage is for.

The beauty and the ugliness.  The sicknesses and screaming.  The laughing and the learning.   People give up to soon. Don’t give up.

When you get past the I wants and You shoulds and I wish.  When you learn to stay quiet and love through.  When you have patience and wait. When you give more than you take.  When you laugh more than you cry.  When your crying gets you a shoulder to cry on instead of a list of how to fix it.  When you can’t wait to see him at the end of the day and he wraps his arm around you even though your waist is wider than it was last year.  THIS.

THIS is what Marriage is for.

Break My Heart {Open My Eyes to the Things Unseen}

I wonder sometimes if I have grieved the heart of God by turning my back on the things He cares most about.

And then I begin to wonder if I really know what He cares about.  Do I? Do you?  Do we actively pursue those things that God has asked from us?  Do justice, love mercy , walk humbly with our God…do we?

Matthew 5…these are Jesus’  words and although you may have heard or read them a thousand times before, I challenge you to read them again and let them speak to your heart and your soul:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

   11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We lack conviction so often to speak up. It’s easier to stay silent.  It’s often personally detrimental to enter into a conversation about abortion, Creationism, God, morality, the Bible…it’s uncomfortable.   I get that.  I have been silent for a long time about things that are completely against the Word of God.  This WORD that I say I cherish.  This WORD that I read and find comfort in; it is also a word that admonishes and convicts.  And I turn my back sometimes because it’s easier.   But what is the point then?   Why read it or cherry-pick what is convenient if we are going to completely ignore the very words of Jesus?  I always say and I have always believed that the RED letters trump all others.   Jesus’ words are life-giving, freeing, but they’re also the words of our teacher and our Lord and they bear paying heed to.

~~ do we HUNGER and THIRST for Righteousness?

~~ do we stand up for Jesus? Do we defend Him?

I’ve read several posts and blogs lately about following your heart and passions but not in the way you might think. Did you ever consider that those things that make you cry and make you angry are perhaps the things that God has called you to advocate for?   What makes you so crazy you feel like you might explode?  What issues  get you on your feet?  We’re not all called to the same ministries but we are ALL called to MINISTER.  All of us.

Right now I know of people building houses for orphans in Haiti and Africa.  I know of people feeding the hungry in the Phillipines, in Croatia and in LA.  The need is great and it is everywhere.  There are 27 million people enslaved who need help, NOW.    There are 4000 babies a day dying in the US because they are considered dispensable .  There are women being beaten and forced into loveless marriages.   There are children being raped.  There are coaches and teachers abusing their students.  What are YOU going to do about it?  What am I going to do?  We cannot sit by and watch and wait.

For every Starbucks coffee you think you have needed this week, you could have saved a life.  For every new pair of shoes in your closet you could have fed a family.   For every holiday you take, your money could have provided clean running water to a village.  The need is everywhere; the need is great and we have the means AND the opportunities.

I cannot make you do anything.  But I can write and I can use words to bring light to the needs of this world.  And that is what I am going to do.  It is time for all of us to stand up and ask the Father to break our hearts for what breaks His.

I see the king of glory
Coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes

I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

Hosanna
Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith

I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to
Eternity

Day 19~ Words that our kids should know how to use.

Yesterday, I posted about teenagers and dating. There’s so much more I wanted to say and that I could have/should have said. But I’ll leave it for another day.  Regardless of whether you agreed with me or not, you have to concede that it is important to know where you stand on the issues of dating, sex and more of these pressing social issues.  We’re raising the next generation and at the core of our methods in child-rearing and teaching is the fundamentals of our belief system.  Do you ascribe to a Biblical Worldview or a Relative Worldview?  Do you hold up your decisions to the Word of God or do you go with whatever feels good in the moment? This is really important.  You cannot use a scriptural basis for one decision but throw it out for the next.  Consistency is key and if you’re going to say that one thing is wrong, then you have to back it up.  Kids are smart. I think in many ways kids are more socially aware now than ever before.  They may not have all the book smarts of previous generations but they’re perceptive and maturing at a faster rate when it comes to their bodies and the life-issues they face.

It has really bothered me how we have softened our language.  A lot of it has come because of a politically correct worldview that says some words are no longer acceptable or are too harsh.  Really, what it boils down to is people are scared. Scared to say what something is.  Scared to call it out.  Scared that someone might be offended. Scared that they might stir things up.  It never used to be that way.  It used to be that for some things there was only one word.

My mom grew up in a family where English was not the mother-tongue.  They spoke Low German.  And if you’ve ever heard Low German or any other German dialect you will understand that some things are better said in German. Stories are funnier. Phrases have life and vigor that really mean nothing in English.   My dad, I never heard him swear or cuss  until I was a teenager.  We were out feeding chickens and I don’t know how it came up but he said *shit*.  I was shocked. We never used such language. In our house, vulgar language, cursing, swearing..absolutely outlawed and truthfully, they are unnecessary words.   I gasped. My dad laughed and said, “It’s chicken shit.  If it’s shit, call it shit.”   I have NEVER forgotten that.   ***If it’s SHIT, call it SHIT.***  That is a profound statement.  And so, what are we teaching our kids by not giving them the correct terms and appropriate language to call things? We’re buffering them from the harshness in the world. We’re shielding them from a certain truthful reality.  Everything is not soft and politically correct.  Things in this world are messy, dirty and uncomfortable. Issues are hard and painful and awful.  If it’s shit, call it shit.

  • We call abortion:   terminating a pregnancy .  It’s really Killing a BABY.
  • We call pro-abortionists : Pro Choice(hey, I’m all about choice…I like to choose my cereal, my underwear, my clothes, my drink. I like choosing where to go on holidays.  I’m definitely PRO CHOICE.  But I am NOT Pro Abortion)
  • We call Anti-abortionists :  Pro Life.  Here’s the problem~ you can be AGAINST abortion but FOR capital punishment or euthanasia.   How is that PRO LIFE?  I am definitely changing my mind on this one.  I used to be okay with capital punishment for child murders, rapists and the like.  But I can’t anymore. My faith is solidly founded on the word of God which says “Thou Shalt Not Kill”
  • Pre-Marital Sex~ sounds harmless enough. In fact , we’ve pretty much downplayed this to a point where it is not that big of a deal and up to each person to choose for themselves(as in Pro Choice).  But in reality, this is FORNICATION.  Sounds Biblical and pretty outrageous.  But it is a sin. It is against God’s laws and it used to be illegal(still is in some countries).
  • Affairs~ oh, doesn’t that sound nice? An affair can’t be that bad.  Two consenting adults finding love in each other’s arms….oops, but wait.  That’s adultery.  ADULTERY.  Up until a short time ago it was illegal in North America. In fact, it’s still used as grounds for divorce!
  • Sexual Assault~ This one bugs me because I don’t know what it means anymore. We hear on the news about all kinds of assault but you never really know if it was rape.  Yes, RAPE.  It is horrible  and awful and it is not to be downplayed.
  • Infanticide~ different than abortion because it happens after birth but not bad enough to be murder.  So, legally you can kill a baby in the womb but not when it comes out.  But if you do kill it when it comes out, you won’t be charged with murder..you’ll get a lesser charge of infanticide because somehow a helpless baby is not as bad as killing an older child or adult.  ????
  • Homicide/Manslaughter~ we have a multitude of names for murder.  Murder is murder.  Killing is killing.
  • Miscarriage~ we used to call that “losing a baby”. WE can’t say that anymore because it might make someone considering abortion feel bad.  Or it might cause more grief than necessary. After all, miscarrying a fetus isn’t something to cry over…you can always try again.  Ummm..no.  A baby is a baby. A baby that dies in your womb is tragic just as a baby dying in your arms.
I’m sure you could think of more.  But what I wanted to convey is that we have softened our language so much that we have actually made some pretty awful  stuff  “okay”.  Anything can be justified if you use the right language.  Why is it that so many defense attorneys get guilty people off? Because of wording.  Wording carries weight.  It is one reason why I do not condone swearing.  Swearing minimizes the Name of God to something dirty and ignorant.  Cursing(cussing) or vulgar language degrades women,natural body functions and God’s authority.
How do you handle language in your home? Do you care about what comes out of your mouth or your childrens’ mouths?   Do you teach your children the correct usage of words?  It’s something to think about.