Friday, February 8, 2013

Marriage, Love, and the Power of the Holy Spirit

I've been doing a little reading recently and have come across two (very different) amazing articles that I thought I'd share with you, my dear readers.  I've also included my reflections on each article - I'd love to hear your what you think of them as well!

First, I came across this article:

Three Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married by Tyler Ward

E.A. Creative Photography
I'm not married (as evidence by my Valentines Day Blues post) but I do enjoy reading about what others think/recommend/advise about it.  I look at it like this: if I get married I'll be aware & prepared, if I don't - oh well!  I blogged about the book Altared by Claire and Eli which had such a fresh and inspiring perspective on love, marriage, and singleness.  If you haven't read it yet (the book, that is) YOU SHOULD!! 

But, back to the article... I appreciated Ward's points.  I think the first one is my "favorite".  One of the things I've heard from my various married friends is that marriage is not a fairy tale.  In my naive, single-person perspective I'd like to think it's possible to have a "happy ever after" ending...forever.  In reality, it really is two sinners coming together and living under the same roof.  To me, that does sound like a recipe for disaster. 

I think the only way that marriage can work and not end in divorce is to put Christ at the center.  That's where, with Ward's second point, I have to disagree - maybe just a little?  I mean, I get where he's coming from and what he's trying to say - put your spouse first because your selfishness is what is getting in the way.  I see evidence of my own selfishness just within the context of living with a roommate!  It's so easy to put me first and ignore Jenn or what is best for her.  When I put me aside and focus on what is best for her, my attitude becomes one of service and not selfishness. 

However, I do think the only way that anyone can "fix" this selfishness problem is by putting God first - that is, having Christ at the center of any relationship, whether marriage, friendship, or roommate-ship (yes, I just made up a word).  I wont sit here and say I know how to do this well, but it is definitely something I want to strive toward now and (maybe) in marriage.  I'm sure Ward was not insinuating that married couples should put one another before the Lord, but I just wanted to make that little statement anyway.

Second, this article:

My Train Wreck Conversion by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

I love the tagline of this article from Christianity Today: "As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one."

I happened upon this article from a friends post on Facebook and all I could see was the tagline, but I knew I had to read it.  It's definitely a controversial topic, but worth the read.  The article is so well written and comes from such an educated perspective! 

1 John chapter 4 = understanding of love
I had two favorite parts: One was the response to her own article that made Butterfield take pause - the pastor who's letter she read and tried to throw away but couldn't.  He gives us such a fantastic testimony to all Christians as to the way in which we can speak truth in love.  Truth is a sword but when it's used like an ax we end up hacking peoples emotions (whether spiritual or intellectual) to bits.  Instead, when used through the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be a truly beautiful thing.   It can be done in love!

The second thing that stood out to me was the incredibly powerful nature of the Holy Spirit and His work in the hearts and lives surrounding this story.  I mean - talk about amazing! Here was a woman living a lifestyle of sin, actively perusing her flesh, and what did God do?  He placed people and situations in her life to woo her to Himself.  That makes me want to cry in wonder and shiver in awe all at the same time!  It's such a beautiful story of redemption through love that drives me to seek out ways in which I can respond in all situations with Christ's love - not on my own strength but through His.

These articles, though completely different in topics, are worth the read!  I'd love to hear what  your thoughts were on them!

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