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Posts Tagged ‘everlasting’

Twenty-three years! How can it be?

What were we thinking twenty-three years ago, as we stood in front of friends, and family, and God promising to love and honor and obey (yes, obey) “until death do us part”?

I know what I was thinking, “this is going to be easy, because we are so much alike.”

Ya, right! Of course we had only met about one year earlier, so, what we knew of each other was alike, and what wasn’t was shaded by rose-colored glasses.

We were young, too young (I say that as a now older woman who can see what each of us may have missed out on … the gift of knowing God’s calling for us as individuals before we were to become one couple … but that is topic for another post). Hubby was fresh out of university, only twenty-three. I was fresh out of my drafting program, just twenty. And we embarked on a lifelong, covenant relationship.

After twenty-three years, I now know that we are more opposite than alike, and easy could never describe marriage.

I also know that what we share, similarities and differences alike, is held together by the covenant that we both hold dearly. The marriage covenant is more commonly known my the word promise, but a covenant is more than a promise, more than something you say, more than something you do. It is a vow that includes us two, and the originator of covenants.

Really the marriage covenant is a metaphor for the covenant that God made with Israel (Genesis 17:7):

“I will establish my covenant, an everlasting covenant
between me and you and your descendants after you

for the generations to come,
to be your God
and the God of your descendants after you.”

God’s covenant was that He would be the God of Israel, from before the beginning of time (everlasting) to everlasting. A marriage covenant is like this in that it is a promise between a woman and a man that nothing will separate them, like God from His people.

But, like the Israelite people, we who make a covenant with another in marriage, fail to live up to our end of the agreement. And that sometimes means we are wandering through the desert, tired, frustrated, disappointed and there is no Promise Land in sight.

Like God’s chosen people, who were probably heard muttering under their breath, “well God, where is the land flowing with milk and honey?” we wives and husbands can dwell on the (yet) unfulfilled promises of our wedding day. Promises get broken, expectations do not get met, dreams fade, and the wandering in No Man’s Land is endless. It can begin to feel that marriage is more like a life sentence.

But, it is a covenant, and God is not dismayed by the unfaithfulness, broken promises and apathy from His people. In Jeremiah (31:31-34) God provides yet another opportunity to meet at the alter:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Let me re-write that as a wife (who has lost the rose-colored glasses from the alter):

Soon, we will simply need to start over,
you and I.
We cannot still make the vows we made back in the stone ages,
before wrinkles and cellulite
before broken promises, and disappointments,
even though we both made promises many years ago.
We need a fresh promise, a brand new covenant.
God would agree with that, and He will be faithful,
and others will see Him through this covenant He has for us
 not just because He has been faithful in the past,
but because of what He will do in the days to come.
We, you and I,
we’ve got baggage.
But, a new start, a new covenant,
That could give us the chance to forgive each others broken promises,
and remember each others sins no more.

Happy Anniversary,
From everlasting to everlasting,

Your Bride

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Back to school arrived last week, for me.

The first week back, after summer vacation, is always a difficult week at work for me, for a few reasons.

One is that summer is over (it really does not matter what the weather is, or what the calendar says about the end of summer being a month later, summer ends when school begins, period).

Secondly I work in a school … with students, and before Labor Day weekend, there are no students at school. Work without students is … boring!

Another reason is that, in my line of work, every year can mean a completely new assignment, with completely different students, in completely different classes and grades, working with completely different teachers. Everything, and I mean everything that I was confident in just two months ago is gone, and is replaced by something new.

And, finally, people ask how I feel about being back, and well, considering the above mentioned reasons for the first week being difficult, that is an answer that I really do not want to give … because it makes me sound terribly negative, and feel terribly depressed.

Once I get to work, on this first day back, I am (along with my colleges) given our schedules, with the reminder that we should not write down anything, except in pencil (things can still change for the first couple of weeks of school). It is then that full panic mode begins.

For the past few years when I receive that initial schedule for the year, I really start to feel panicky because I feel as though I am so inadequate to do the job that has been handed to me. And then, from that moment until the first day of school, I get increasingly panicked.

I often consider resigning, saying no, running away. Anything that will allow me to put distance between my job assignment and me. At this point, I am convinced those little butterflies in my stomach have changed into buzzards, and they have come home to roost inside of my innards.

As I was driving to school the final day of the week I was drawn in by the lyrics of a song that was playing on the radio …

“A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace”
Oh man, how did God know that it was fear of my own failure that was making me anxious?
“Your will above all else,
my purpose remains

The art of losing myself
in bringing you praise”
Oh ya! This job, this life, it’s not about me, it is about me decreasing so that He would increase.
“My heart and my soul, I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise, become my embrace
To love You from the inside out”
Oh, how I needed embrace right then. And He met me where I was was at, and the reminder that in giving Him control, justice and praise would fill me from the inside out.
“Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, O my soul cries out.”
I get it. I remember now. I will praise You, from the inside out, and leave the anxious, fearful thoughts of my job assignment to You, because You are everlasting and faithful to me.

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