Friday Ramblings

Friday, February 18, 2005

I think I'm going to attempt to switch my font over, so forgive me for being a little schizophrenic this week. *wry grin*

I have a couple of thoughts to write here, nothing really profound, I guess. Minor updates: Pete and I are headed to Connecticut this weekend, and we found a place to hold our wedding reception. My parents are moving today and tomorrow, and Kate will be back up on Sunday (Yay!). I currently have three bridesmaids and am accepting brilliant ideas on how to plan measurments for the one who is pregnant now and will be unpregnant in October. Oh yeah, lol--we set a date! October 9!

I'm still reeling from what happened this week, trying to pick up the pieces and understand how I am supposed to deal with this feeling of... violation. I know in my head that it hurt, but it seems so distant right now, as if all I can do is move ahead, do what I need to do, and keep living the life that God has given me to live. One thing that is coming quite clear is that I cannot answer the person in kind. I'd love to. My first reaction is to completely flip about their underhanded way of shredding me and calling my entire life and identity into question.

But this is the cool part of what I want to share. God has placed a man in my life who wants His heart. He has taught Pete how to fight for my heart--not to win it for himself, but to point me to God and His love. No matter how my trust has been betrayed, or how my innocence has been violated, or how my heart has been questioned and dissected--my life and my identity have to come from the Cross.

I don't understand the gift God has given me in Pete. I don't understand why God shows him things that He doesn't show me, that I can't figure out through the cloud of my emotions. But I see Pete laying down his life for me--setting aside his right to blow the whole world up to protect me because God is leading him to ask me not to grow bitter and to live the love of Jesus Christ even to my enemies.

I think what it comes back to is the answer to a couple of questions that I was asked: What is *my* idea of love? I asked God to make it His idea, and I am learning that it is not a grasping, selfish "I must have you or nothing" feeling, as I have felt in the past. It is a giving, truthful, helpless, strong letting go that enables me and another person (whether it be husband, parent, sister, or friend) to walk together seeking God's heart above all else.

Sometimes, friendship or courtship can have the unhappy result of turning our human focus to knowing and being known by ourselves and by another person. When that happens, I think we tend to forget that God already knows us intimately; He chose us before the foundation of the world and formed us in the secret places of the earth. Psalm 139 bears the cry of a human heart who cannot know his ways, but he knows that God Himself does--the Psalmist begs him to search his heart.

It is too easy to forget that God already knows where to find me, and while my feelings and emotions sometimes feel as though I am dying, what is it that Paul says in 2 Corinthians? "Always bearing in our body the death of the Lord Jesus..."

Jesus Christ was Messiah. He was the One, come to ransom His people and save the world. He had all of the power of God to free His people from the oppression they had been under and gain an earthly kingdom for Himself as He protected them from the Romans that had enslaved them. But I'm learning something about Jesus' love for me as I watch Pete follow God's leading in this situation.

Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church... and gave Himself for it.

Jesus Christ died... for the church.

Instead of simply conquering the world on behalf of Israel, He showed an obedience to His Father that extended a grace beyond comprehension to generations who had never heard His name. He laid down His life, giving His entire person to become sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. In this, He earned not just His earthly kingdom promised to Him upon His return, but a kingdom and a temple in the hearts of His people, a bride for Himself, and a glory that is above any that will ever be given.

That's HUGE.

And it's really cool to see the man that God has brought into my life setting his own angry reactions aside to love a person who Jesus loves too, and by his example, challenging me to love this person because Jesus loves him.

Man... I cannot tell how amazing this gift is! I prayed for a man after God's own heart... but you know, I don't think I ever knew what he would look like or act like. I am drawn closer to my Abba because of Pete's love for Him, and my heart starts to swell with praise (and not a few butterflies!) when I think about the work of Jesus Christ in his heart.

Pete is not a "man after God's own heart" merely by definition. He lives it. It is his identity. He walks it before me, before others he loves, and before his enemies. I watch him walk in the grace of God, hoping in His mercy, and I am reminded of God's love and strengthened in my own courage to walk in Him.

Everybody's story is different. God has a different path for us. There is no "right way" to fall in love. But if I could say one thing that has made all the difference for both of us--don't try to know yourself or your loved one before you have known that God knows you and known Him to be a Person who longs for you. Fantasies and impressions will fall. People will change. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is our firm foundation.


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