Love always hopes and perseveres

31 Days of Marriage Guest Series: Love Always Perseveres

We fight depression and “man” colds, job losses and panic attacks, miscarriage and grief, sinus infections and the stomach flu. Together. We battle insurance claims, broken pipes, family caregiving, moving and childrearing. Together.

Even when both of us are feeling selfish. Even when both of us are feeling exhausted. Even when both of us want to throw in the towel, lift up our hands and cry out to God in agony, “We surrender.”

31 Day of Marriage Guest Series: Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

After a fight in that first year (of which I have no recollection what it was about), my husband said something to me that made me stop and think — and changed the trajectory of our marriage.

He said, “I need you to stop nit-picking. If something bothers you, I need you to ask yourself if it is going to bother you tomorrow, or next week, or in a month. If you still think it is something that is going to bother you – say something. If it is not, let it go.”

Let it go.

31 Days of Marriage Guest Series: Love is Not Easily Angered

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is placed between chapters about using our spiritual gifts in service to one another and worshiping our Creator.

The kind of love that is sandwiched between service and worship and bound up in love. This kind of love “is not easily angered.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5

31 Days of Marriage Guest Series: Love Does Not Dishonor Others

Hurtful phrases often begin with two words: “You never…” or “You always…” or “You are…”. Hearing those declarations made about you long enough, one begins to believe… “I always” and “I am”. When you find yourself defeated, you give up — on yourself, each other, and your marriage.

31 Days of Marriage Guest Series: Love is Not Self-Seeking

Maybe we think our spouse should be the one to show us some attention, or they should be putting us first. While that is a valid point, we can only control our own actions. So a better approach might be for us to focus on what we can do for our spouse instead of what they are not doing for us.

We need listen to what the Bible tells us about love: It is not self-seeking.

You love your spouse. Put aside yourself and show him.

31 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage

When the Perfect Marriage Falls Apart: 31 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage

And now I know, the moment you believe your marriage is immune to big problems is the exact moment it becomes vulnerable to big problems.

I was convinced we would never struggle.

Then all of a sudden, there we were, two-freaking-years into this thing and practically underwater.

A Prayer For Jesse

I don’t know how to articulate the change that’s going on in me. I can’t express the plans I have to turn that change into action. All I know is that God is revealing truths to me, about my ignorance, my pride, my preoccupations that rock my core.

I live in a two-story house; I worship the white-man’s God; I have an obsession with cute shoes; I spend an obscene amount on fast-food; and I know that one block away from my house a woman was shot and murdered a few years ago by her boyfriend. I sit in this room and contemplate and conversate and ruminate over the struggles of the poor man and the oppressed man, and I leave to obliviously crawl into my double bed with the three-inch orthopedic mattress topper I found on E-Bay to read more about those struggling folks I don’t know.

But I do know them. Yesterday. I saw one. I saw one walking down Judge Ely with a limp and three grocery bags, setting down the bags every few steps to catch her breath. I see one standing on the corner at Wal-Mart with a sign nearly every time I go to spend money on those things I can’t live without.

And then there’s Jesse, six-years-old, a bit small for his age, with the most genuine gold-capped tooth smile. Jesse, the homeless kid in class whose mom is a stripper. The nights she works, he stays with his teenage aunt in the hotel room they live in with his 4-year-old and 10-month-old brothers. Jesse, who knows all his letters and numbers and reads better than any student in his kindergarten class, but will never be taught how to rise above his circumstances because he’ll just be learning how to survive. Jesse, who left halfway through the semester to go to his fourth elementary school in a year because his mom is running from CPS.

And I cried that day. But then I went back to my side of town to play private school soccer and make semi-funny jokes and do my bible homework. Just another day in the life of me. So my tears dried up pretty nicely.

What good are tears if they don’t clean out the dirt and grime and indifference and inaction from within? Jesse will never see my tears. He doesn’t care about my tears. He has his own. But it made me feel better to cry it out. Tears make me feel like I care, like I sympathize, and like I’m a good person for feeling sorry for them. I’m sure those struggling folks are really happy I feel sorry for them.

You see, I claim to be color-blind. But really, I’m just blind. Blinded by my passions, my pursuits, my people. But mostly blinded by my self-righteous, vain, futile tears. The tears that convince me that I’m doing something. The tears that run down my face and fall aimlessly on hard, cold ground so they can dissipate into nothingness. The tears that evolve from that place deep within me that is angry at the injustices, marginalization and rejection of God’s people. The same place that action is born and dies.

So here’s to replacing tears for warfare. Because Jesse doesn’t need tears, he needs a battle waged in his name. Because tears don’t give him a home, or a better mom, or a good education, or a future. I’m laying down my warm fuzzies and exchanging my pocketed hands for fists of indignation.

I hear stories of change, justice, service, love and I praise those courageous people for their purpose. And sit. I watch videos of Mother Teresa and weep at the materialism of my life and the direction of hers. And sit. I encounter deprived and unloved and angry people and turn my back to their distress. Because I’m too busy sitting.

Jesus never sat. He walked, healed, glorified, baptized, praised, preached, led, discipled, cared for, ministered. And if he was ever tired, he knelt.

So God,

I am kneeling. I am kneeling that I may stand. I want to stand and be your hands and feet. And heart. I want you to stir within me so greatly and unmistakably that I am physically moved out of my seat. I finally understand the purpose of my formation. I am formed not so that I can be your best follower or favorite daughter. Not so that I can feel good about my religiosity. Not so that I can be a great Christian leader in the church and impress others by how many verses are underlined in my bible. But so that I can better serve my brothers and sisters. I am born again so that I can constantly be transformed and reformed in your likeness, which enables me to walk, heal, glorify, baptize, praise, preach, lead, disciple, care for, and minister.

Open my eyes, God, to those moments. And move me to take advantage of them.

And help me see the emptiness of my tears.