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My husband and I were talking about romance last night…lol! If you know us well, you know that this is always a hilarious topic for us. Why? Well, we try so hard, so so hard, but yet, we fall short constantly being “seriously romantic”. We can plan a date night (a whole evening together), but by the time the night comes, we’re at the restaurant people watching and other random things that keep us cracking up together. We try cuddling with each other and whispering “sweet nothings”, and it’s all good until one of us, draws the other close and literally says, “Sweet nothing.” Then we both bust out laughing, and the moment is gone…lol! Last night we talked, and I wondered, is our relationship too practical? Did I conjure up being romantic because other women do and because it seems like the right thing to do? Are we missing out on something because we don’t have a lot of public displays of affection and confessions of love?

Well, I honestly don’t know whether having fresh displays of love or being really practical is best for marriage. But I can say, it is the unique way God drew us together. When we spoke last night of how our love has grown for each other in the marriage, we both highlighted 1 Corinthians 13. We spoke of love unfolding in our lives in practical ways. For me, I’ve grown in love because I’ve come to recognize pride in my life more quickly. As damaging as pride and selfishness are to my relationship with God, they are also damaging to our marriage. For him, he’s found that he’s grown in love because of what we are both bearing and enduring through since we’ve been married. So, receiving flowers has dropped up dramatically and writing poems has disappeared, but the love between us is being perfected, inspite of our circumstances. And honestly, I’m happy about that. Could I have forseen any of this? Absolutely not. Did I think that I was prepared for all of this? Absolutely NOT!!! In fact, I felt so unprepared that I spent a good couple of weeks in complete tears whenever I was home trying to figure out how I was going to deal with things. But things have dramatically turned around since July.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 says:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it semed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…”

And Isaiah 29:16 says:

Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Going through life circumstances and unforeseen challenges, I have often felt like I was completely unprepared to handle things. There were times where I was really confused with God’s intended will. There were times where I was upset because it was seemingly impossible to cope with, and I became upset (or really angry or bitter) towards God.There were times where I became utterly despondent and hopeless in the situation, and I had no joy or peace internally. Obviously, marriage is not a cakewalk, and my husband and I have dealt with big challenges since June 4th 2011. But, over time, I have come to realize that God is completely well aware of every circumstance and challenge His children go through. In fact, we are His “handiwork” (Ephesians 2:10), and He, like a potter, has shaped and molded each of us for a certain work and purpose.

I wonder how many people really think about that: God the potter of our lives. He took clay, shaped it, spun it around and around, fashioning a vessel for Him to use. Once fashioned, the clay vessel must go through fire and become hardened to be fully productive for use. But once prepared, anything that He places in that vessel, it is placed there because the vessel was intended to hold it, to contain it, to carry it. This goes for the good things and the the less desirable to bad things.

As a child of God, there is not a situation or circumstance that you encounter that you were not designed to handle or endure through. I know it’s hard to believe that when things are really hard, but for me, I realize that it is another matter of faith. Do I believe that God is truly working all things (both good and bad) for my good to be conformed to the image of His Son? Do I believe that His will for my life is perfect? Do I believe that His work is perfect, or do I think that He starts things and doesn’t finish them? Do I believe that His strength is made perfect in my weakness? Do I believe that His grace does not extend to the fullest extent of my problems?

You see, I have often questioned my own abilities to handle difficult challenges in life, but my life belongs to Him. When I question, I’m questioning His work in my life. When I doubt, I’m saying, “Well Lord, I think that you should rethink this. Maybe you should have added more of this here and more of that there.” But who am I to question One so much higher, so much more perfect, the essence of Wisdom?

So at this point, I’ve learned to quiet myself, especially in difficult times. My husband and I are expecting a child to be born to us any day now (literally, one of the most surprising things that has happened to us since being married). His initial stance was to trust God, and my initial stance was to tell God how much I was unprepared for this. Since July, we have completely changed all of our plans around. My husband is graduating this year and searching for a full-time job. Having just started a graduate degree, I scaled down on my academic workload, planned to keep my job through May, and then be a full-time mom. Do I know what is ahead of us at this point? Absolutely not (granted, I would really like to know though…lol). But, these passing months have shown me that my faith and trust has to remain in God, but it also must remain in His Word and His works. There is nothing that He does in our lives that is imperfect. There is never a moment that something can come up that I cannot handle. He made me to be able to carry it. I just need to trust in the quality of His work. I spoke of the practical nature of my marriage, and even with all of these things we have dealt with, we both remarked last night that we thank God for joining us together. Being practical has served us extremely well in dealing with these challenges. It is as if God knew full well what was going to happen, and He needed two people joined together that would remain committed to Him and each other throughout the process. And though it is humorous to us, and other people at times, His work in joining us together was absolutely perfect. His work of blessing us with this child and completely changing our lives around was and is absolutely perfect. It’s all perfect, and we are handling it with joy and in peace.

So, my prayer is that if you are dealing with any difficulties in life, be encouraged! Remember, He is the potter (an absolutely perfect potter that does impeccable work) and you are the clay. He has created your life as a vessel to carry things, all sorts of things. You were made to be used by Him. And there is no circumstance that you were not created to endure in Him. And I hope that as you realize this, you will be flooded with joy and peace because He is just that awesome!

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