Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crazy Good

The Comment: 

How has your relationship with the Lord changed since you entered married life? How has your relationship with your husband impacted your relationship with Jesus, and vice versa?

It's a big question.
A question that I'm sure is answered differently by married folk all over the world. Because, getting married changes everything...but it also doesn't really feel that crazy at all. By crazy, I mean different. It doesn’t feel that different.

Because, at the end of the day (regardless of my marital status), I’m still a person who is very much in need of God’s grace. So while I have a man beside me who continually reminds me of Jesus, who continually challenges me toward obedience, who shows me the beauty of serving others… I have a man who also draws out my flesh. Around him I am quickly impatient, selfish and self-righteous.

It’s as good of a paradox as any. Constant refinement and continual awareness of my sinful nature as I press on toward Jesus (recognizing again and again how desperate I am for that saving grace).

The thing about my husband, specifically, is that we don’t get to rest in our depravity. We don’t get to sit around all day and wallow in the fact that we are broken. He, instead, wants to live out of his inheritance. He constantly wants to be better. He wants to grow. He wants what is good. He wants to seize truth, claiming it over his life in such a way that his life is defined by Jesus… from the depths of his soul to the words out of his mouth.

I don’t know how that can’t impact a person.
Life feels more hopeful, more joyful. I have to laugh a lot, let go of a lot. There’s this freedom to be fully me, to ask all the questions, to act like a crazy, to vent my frustrations, to admit that I am actually terribly ugly inside. And still, somehow, he loves me.

And if he can love me…?
What does that say about the Father’s love for me?

I think I have a better understanding of the Lord these days (even though most days I still feel like I don’t know anything). It’s probably a combination of a million things, but I think marriage lends itself to that. I don’t see as many traces of the insecure girl who was always questioning God’s love for her. I don’t see the same person who doubted His goodness.

Instead, I know He is faithful.

I don’t know if that answers your question.
In some ways I feel more whole than I ever have. Not that marriage completed me, but there’s this element of recognizing that there’s a person beside me who reminds me of all the things I have the tendency to forget. A person who reminds me who Jesus is and what He has done and what that means for me. A person whose strengths complement my weaknesses and vice versa. A person who doesn’t let me get by with easy. A person who helps me in this endeavor to be more like Jesus.

© Catherine Rhodes Photography 2014
It’s good.
It’s crazy.
Good crazy.
Crazy Good.

We’re both a far cry from perfect, but we’re now in this together.
I couldn’t have imagined anything or anyone better.

And I love that the Lord uses all of this, including my many years of singleness, to remind me of who He is and remind me of who I am called to be.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You Must

The thing about being a famous writer is that people are constantly writing to you and asking you to answer their questions (as if you have some sort wisdom or access to knowledge that they don’t).

The thing about me is that I’m not a famous writer, but sometimes…sometimes people still write and ask me things. It was a large motivator in the reason behind why I even started the blog when I did. I wanted people to have freedom to ask. I wanted them to be transparent. Vulnerable. To be able to remain anonymous while searching out the answers to hard questions. I wanted them to know that they aren’t alone.  I wanted to be transparent for them when they didn’t have the courage to themselves.

So I wrote.
I wrote a lot.
Almost daily.
And then, I ran out of things to say. Life was just life. Good. Busy. Interesting. Boring. All over the place. I made it my goal to be more socially invested in the ministry I’m serving in, instead of hiding behind a computer screen and over-analyzing my own tragedies.

But sometimes people still ask.
Sometimes they still want to know.
And, if we’re being honest, I never stop wanting to write. I just stopped thinking that it mattered.

But, when they ask, I want to answer.
Because, maybe to some stranger, somewhere in the world… maybe it actually does matter.

I got the following email the other day:

Hey, I stumbled upon your blog and I believe that it is not coincidence. Can you please make a write-up about how to handle certain addictions in our lives? I am into something deep right now and I do not know how to get out of it. I want to serve the Lord more by staying pure but my body seems to be thinking the other way. Please, please do help. I cannot do this alone. I also can’t tell my friends because I don’t want to burden them with my struggles. I am completely hands up with this. Please Miss. If you can help me, I would really appreciate it. God bless you.

I wanted to ask a lot more questions. And by golly, I wanted to help. How could you not? Addictions can be prison. 

Without knowing the exact type of addiction and with some slight presumptions, here is my response to you (on the off chance that you ever read this blog again):

To my struggling, anonymous believer:
            You must do the hardest thing you can imagine.
            You must tell.
            You must admit what you are struggling with to someone (a real person in your life) who can journey alongside you--someone whom you trust will most assuredly point you to Jesus in all things. Someone who is older, wiser, cautious of the way they live because of how much they want to reflect Christ in every action. Someone who knows Scripture well.
            You must pray.
            You must confess to the Lord that you are doing the very things that you do not want to do and in your weakness, you need His strength to cover you. You need Him to sustain you.
            You must deny.
            You must deny the desires of your flesh, no matter how much you want something- no matter how much it hurts.
            You must flee.
            No matter the cost. You must run in the opposite direction of temptation and you must make this a priority. You must be diligent in seeking ulterior things to fill this void- things that will remind you of who you want to be and who you are created to be.
            You must read. 
            Dive into Scripture. Invest yourself fully in knowing more about Christ through the Word. Learn about others who struggled, how they responded to their struggles, and how Christ responds to them. 

You’re absolutely right. You cannot do this alone. None of these things will be easy, but you must. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

I can promise you that it’s worth it.
Let the light in.
The more you cling to secrets, the more you convince yourself that you can’t possibly let others “bear this burden”, the more you will be confined to your prison of addiction. The more darkness will set in.
Learn to identify the lies.
Learn to recognize what is real vs. what is not.

Learn to be obedient to Christ, no matter the cost.
Give yourself wholly over to this endeavor.

None of this is easy…
But it will be the most freeing thing you can do.

Walk boldly, my friend.
Walk with courage, with determination… and don’t look back.

There is more for you than this prison of addiction.

You must.

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