And In It Was a Precious Stone

Oh how I love Jesus who loves me as his friend and wife. How I love the Holy Spirit who empowers and speaks life and truth to me. How I love my Father who reigns majestic while holding me to his heart. I understand so little, but the tiny glimpses into the character of God could fill novels. It’s overwhelming.

I’m trying to embrace the fact that spiritual life is never still. Just like watching your kids grow up, reaching a spiritual milestone does not end the journey. It simply begins a new leg of it. That is both exhilarating and exhausting to me. There are times I just want to rest – to press pause and relax where I am for a minute.

In fact…I am recuperating from a time of trying to do just that.

Today I was reading more of the life of David and got to the Bathsheba chapters.

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1

He let his guard down for a second and opened the door to a string of mess – lust, adultery, deception, murder, death, and family chaos. He repented and was forgiven, but there were lasting consequences to this season he chose to sit it out.

What I love about David is that he wasn’t perfect, and he didn’t let failure stop him in his tracks. Tragic setbacks were met with a renewed diligence, a recharged fervor to move closer to the heart of God. He took responsibility for his mistakes, and he kept moving. The cry of his heart was constantly:

Make a clean heart in me, O God. Give me a new spirit that will not be moved. Do not throw me away from where You are. And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Let the joy of Your saving power return to me. And give me a willing spirit to obey you.
Psalm 51:10-12 (New Life version)

The spring David took a break backfired – it added turmoil and drama from every direction. Still, instead of getting side-tracked and wallowing in self-pity or even shame, he turned his face back to the Lord. He picked up where he left off. He went back to the battle, where he was supposed to be. In his victory, he took a crown… “and in it was a precious stone” (2 Samuel 12:30).

That really encouraged me today, as I face the choice he did between diligence and rest; battle or worldly pleasure; joy or self-pity.

There are rewards, both spiritual and natural, at stake here. To win OR to lose. I’m thankful for the reminder to stay engaged and to press on, for the opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes for a change, and for the promise of a beautiful victory in this battle. My life is full of precious stones.

Bitter Root

I’m in the middle of my first fight with my best friend. This is the fourth year I’ve known him, and I’m livid. And so.so.sad.

I’ve always hated to listen to people’s fight stories – I’ve never understood blaming someone else for the way your own choices shaped your life. Especially God. But today…Today I can relate.

See, I’ve given everything to him – my life, my heart. With abandon. With struggle. With joy. I have chosen to walk in radical obedience. To trust his promises. I have believed that he would give me the (new) desires of my heart, all of them, which are pure and good.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

He has drawn me deeper to his heart, taken me to new heights, opened my eyes and ears. I have loved my time alone with him, but I am still a human being. I long for physical, spiritual, emotional intimacy; companionship; a spiritual covering for my family.

So for over 3 years I have waited, with shocking patience, for this disciple. I go to an amazing church and I look around – where is my man?? The women are so strong, so grounded, so empowered. But he’s nowhere to be found.

Who can cover me? The deeper I’ve gone with the Lord, the narrower the pool has become. It feels like the most precious gift has backfired in my face. There is no turning back from here, nor is there any desire to. I just want to find someone who gets it.

This week, I thought I was just sad. But I realized to my great distress that I’m seriously angry. Pissed off at the Lord, for wooing me to this place where no one can reach me. For giving me desires that, looking from my perspective, can only be satisfied through severe compromise.

What I find so interesting and comforting is that Jesus isn’t threatened by my anger. What we have is REAL. It’s a real relationship, and this is just another phase we’re going through which will leave us stronger in the end. And he isn’t Mister Stand-Back-With-His-Arms-Wide-Open either. He is fighting back! He took me to Hebrews tonight to remind me what bitterness and anger will do, not just to me, but to anyone I touch while it’s in me. He has called parts of me weak. Lame, even! Ha! He has encouraged me to stay strong and be patient, because I’m getting dangerously close to a slippery slope.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
Hebrews 12:12-15

And still, he is with me, just waiting for me to stop looking through my tiny periscope. He is still squeezing me hard when I let him. And he is crying with me as I throw my tantrums about this sad, broken world.

It’s not his fault. I’m still thankful. I love him more.

p.s. Thank you for allowing me to be real here. The anger I found in my heart took me by surprise, especially being such an introspective person. It made me realize how easy it is to hide these feelings that seem “bad” from ourselves, when all God wants to do is bring it to the light. I really hope I didn’t offend anyone with my process! Love you.

The Price of His Heart

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
Song of Solomon 6:3

The last few weeks, I have struggled with some stuff. Good stuff from the Lord’s perspective, but pretty overwhelming when I’m looking through mine. Life has been so busy that, though we’re living it together, we’re not connecting intimately. This week I was getting ready to go to yet another big thing, and I just sat down and broke. I was feeling so unprepared, so distracted. So lonely.

In an instant I felt him swoop me up to download a couple giant reminders into my heart. Three little words that imparted novels of grace, love, and empowerment.

Beloved.

Mother.

Woman!

He was just waiting for me to sit still for a second.

There is such a tenderness in the way he loves me. Not just as his beloved bride, but as a bewildered mama who loves him more than life itself and has a tendency to panic when she can’t see where her next step will land. I love the way Jesus treated his mother. He respected her, he provided for and protected her, but he didn’t shield her from reality. She was there at the ugly end. She was strong.

The level of intimacy I share with him is a treasure – but it comes at a price, just like every rare and precious thing. I walk alone most of my days. I’m still walking this out, but there is an increasing denial of and dying to my self for another heart. But what a small price to pay for his heart! For the merging, which is greater. Bigger. No longer mine or his. OURS. That’s what marriage is supposed to be. It has been the most amazing experience of my life.

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Proverbs 31:10-11

The way he loves me is no different from the way he loves you. He longs for that intimate relationship with every person who has ever lived. He’s a gentleman, just waiting for us to sit down and turn an ear his way. He wants to love us, heal us, restore us, transform us, make us whole. What a beautiful partner he is!

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find a man on this earth that I’d be willing to step into that with. It’s hard to imagine – that heart is so uncommon. But maybe. Someday. Until then, I am thankful for continued protection over my heart and others, for strength and focus. I am thankful I am learning to be a good friend. I am thankful the greatest desire of my heart is to melt deeper into His. Miracles.