Heaven and Hell

In marriage there are glimpses of heaven. I once described my honeymoon week as “Eden.” It was a time for discovery, for us to adventure together, for uninhibited intimacy, and for us to block out the rest of the world. My one focus was on the person I loved most and on making him happy. And I was so completely fulfilled to do just that. I call it Eden because the joy was overwhelming, any pain or frustration washed away, and I could focus solely on loving and being loved. It was beautiful. I think that’s what God intended our lives to be like, before evil crept in.

But in marriage there is also a bit of hell. There are fights and tears of frustration and pain. There are yelling matches and silent treatments. There are times where my sharp tongue whispers biting words, leaving my husband feeling unloved and disrespected. I wrestle daily with ungratefulness and selfishness as a result of my surmounting pride. I don’t love my husband as well as I should. My husband is patient and tender and the hardest worker I know. He is a man of integrity and honor, and he protects me and our home well. My husband is God’s greatest gift to me. Our marriage, while still blossoming, has taught me more about love, heaven, grace, and God than I ever could have imagined. But while we have the same ability to make each other the happiest, we have the capacity to hurt each other the most and deepest.

A woman once told me, “It’s better to be alone and lonely than married and lonely.” Her words encouraged me when I was single but haunt me now. There are times where, despite our best efforts, my husband and I feel more apart than we do united. In those moments, I know exactly what those words meant and how she felt the moment she said them. When evil creeps into a marriage and pulls partners apart, the resulting moments are deathly lonely.

I write about this topic because I struggled with loneliness as a single. And frankly, I expected my husband to solve that. I look around at my peers, and we’re all in a state of transition. Some of us are adjusting to married life. Some of us are preparing to make that commitment. Some of us are struggling with what it means to be single when everyone seems to be coupling up. Truth is, we’re all struggling, looking for the same things in different circumstances. We all want to be loved. We all want to feel special. We don’t want to be alone. And thus, we fear rejection and isolation. We fear being left out. We fear losing the love we have. We are all feeling the same things.

But loneliness is a heart issue, and one that can only be filled with perfect love… the perfect love of someone who knows each step and each breath.  Jesus came, and died, so we could feel that love to our core. That was what Eden was like, and I think it’s what heaven will be like: we’ll be wooed by the true lover of our souls, Christ, and share that adoration with Him only. We will keep looking for perfect and complete love wherever we go until we find rest in communing with the only one who can love us enough to make us beautiful again.

Captivated

There have already been a lot of posts written about the book Captivating, so you can add this to the list. But I’ll try to go above and beyond the content of the book to explain what it’s taught/teaching me. The thing is, I’m only a chapter into the book and it’s already changing how I view my relationship with Christ. Talk about epic!

The book talks about the heart of a woman: how she wants to be pursued and admired for her strengths and passions. She is strong and independent, but her soul was designed to want someone (a man) to fight for her, someone who has strengths that complement hers. The book briefly goes into how a man is designed, and how men and women are designed to be perfect companions. Sounds a little gushy, doesn’t it? But it’s not nearly as sappy as it sounds.

I want to be married eventually, and I want kids. I want the whole stinkin’ American dream with the white picket fence and Mini Cooper in the driveway. But at the moment, I don’t want any of that. I’m happy. The book touches on a very important part that’s often left out of modern-day Christianity: Christ is the groom of the church. I feel that women have the potential to have a unique relationship with Christ. As women, we have the capacity to love the Savior of the world in an emotionally intimate and loving way… the same way that we longed to be loved by an earthly man.

As I put down the book after reading the first chapter last night, my mind began to spin. I began thinking about how much my relationship with God has grown over the past few months. I can’t explain the details of how or why it’s grow, but it has. As I grow in my daily (more like moment-by-moment) walk with Him, I’m getting to know Him better and better. I’m delighting in His features… His personality quirks… His sense of humor. And in return, I can feel Him smiling in my direction. Sometimes it’s when I’m being a total dork or say something stupid, and sometimes it’s when I’ve done something that really makes Him proud. There have been so many quiet moments between Him and I where He catches my eye or ear in a room full of people. I’m surrounded, yet He’s the only one I can focus on. I’m captivated. It reminds me of one of those movies where the girl walks into a room, she makes eye contact with the guy, and everything else fades away. Nothing else matters. That’s kind of what it feels like. I’ve never been in a sincere, mature, adult dating relationship (I look forward to it!), but I think I’m learning what that’s going to feel like.

I’ve often thought “If I can’t have a sincere, loving relationship with the God of the universe, who is perfect, loving, patience, and doesn’t leave the toilet seat up, how can I have a true relationship with an imperfect man?!?” Well, maybe God is teaching me a few things………….

I’ll keep you updated.

</ food for thought >