Why I’ll Be Getting A Rock For My Anniversary

Posted on August 1, 2012. Filed under: Culture, Relationships, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This time of year is very special to me or a few reasons. My husband and I were married August 4th, our son was born August 11th (no, not the same year), but more importantly for my readers, I started The Renewed Way on August 1st last year. It’s our one-year anniversary! And you know what that means – its time for a rock. A really, really big one.

Unfortunately for the men, rocks are biblical gifts. Unfortunately for the women, I’m not talking about diamonds. I’m talking about the sedimentary kind (the most emotional of the 3 types of rocks).

After Moses died, Joshua led the Hebrews into the land of Canaan, but before doing so had to cross the Jordan River (a mile wide in flood stage at the time). Miraculously, God dried up the river to let the Hebrews pass on dry land. While God seems to be a fan of water, it appears He’s not so much a fan of getting wet. When everyone had finished crossing, the Lord commanded one man from each of the 12 tribes pick up a stone from the river bed and place it where the Hebrews camped that night. So Joshua told his 12 leaders:

“Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:4-7).

God wants us to commemorate the important events in our lives, and it would appear marking these events with inanimate objects as a reminder is biblical (provided you aren’t financing it, of course). We are to share the celebration with others so they too know how awesome the achievement is. But most importantly, we need to remember that the achievement isn’t about you. It’s about your wife. But seriously, it’s about God and what He has done in your life.

Notice Joshua didn’t say, “Yeah these stones are to remind your kids that I was an awesome general” or “These are to reaffirm that I’m still committed to sharing the next X years with you” or “Here’s a nice stone to buy me some wiggle room for a little while.” He gave all attribution, rightly so, to God and the miraculous work that He had done. Anniversaries shouldn’t be about all that we’ve accomplished over a period of time; they should be about all that God has accomplished in our lives.

The Lord has blessed me with 5 years of marriage to an amazing husband and through this relationship He has taught me a bit about patience, faithfulness and of course, love. Through motherhood, He has given me a whole new appreciation for patience, gentleness, and certainly plenty of joy (Galatians 5:22-23).

As for this blog, over the past year God has blessed me more than I ever could have imagined, and it’s my prayer that some of my posts and maybe a few of my bad jokes have blessed you as well.

PS – Mike, you can get me a rock for our anniversary as long as it’s one so big you have to carry it on your shoulders.

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I Will Always Love You…Until I Fall Out of Love.

Posted on February 12, 2012. Filed under: Culture | Tags: , , , , , |

The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album

Image via Wikipedia

What is love? Open up a Danielle Steel book, listen to one of Whitney Houston’s songs (too soon?), or watch any romantic film and love always looks the same. It is a powerful, uncontrollable, consuming, sensual, wonderful emotion. Many of us hopeless romantics (i.e. women) swoon to this concept of love. But is that really all love is? Or has the world, through Dove, Pro-Flowers, Hallmark, and Hollywood, commercialized and distorted love?

If love is just an impassioned emotion, what happens when the emotion is gone? If the feeling of ‘love’ is the basis for a relationship, what foundation still exists once the emotion no longer meets our ‘needs’? By defining love as an emotion, we grant ourselves permission to act without reason (or with a poor one), usually having sex or shacking up because the movies tell us that’s what people ‘in love’ do. Likewise, we also grant ourselves permission to act in other ways when the emotion is gone. Usually by seeking ‘love’ elsewhere via divorce or an affair. Sometimes people simply quit. Ever heard someone say, “we just fell out of love?”

If love isn’t just an emotion, what else is it? I think it’s a choice, a way we choose to live. When the Jewish teachers asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, he answered ‘love’ – love God, love others as yourself (Mark 12:28-34). Specifically, he quotes the Shema I mentioned last week. God actually gives us some insight as to what love looks like in this commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5).

Heart, soul, and strength each imply that love has different elements to it (in some text ‘mind’ is also included because English doesn’t have an equivalent word). The Hebrew word for heart, lebab, shows us love involves our inner-self, mind and will.  The ‘soul’ or nephesh involves our passion and emotion (maybe closest to how the world views love). And finally, the ‘strength’ relates to the might of our love or outward demonstration – how we show the others we ‘love’ something or someone. Sounds like the biblical definition of love is a lot more complete than than the world’s.

Jesus told us to love our enemies (Matt 5:43-48). Not something that flows naturally for most. Paul told husbands to love their wives by giving themselves up for them as Christ gave himself up for the church (Eph 5:25). I don’t think Jesus ‘fell in love’ with the cross. And then there’s the classic wedding verse: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7). Call me crazy, but maybe Paul had to write it out for us because we don’t naturally treat those we ‘love’ this way.

Love is a choice and a way we commit our lives to someone. It’s much bigger than an emotion. For me, that makes love more romantic and fulfilling than anything Shakespeare or Carrie Bradshaw could distort. Biblical love sustains because it is not founded on our emotions, which are bound to season (anyone who says otherwise hasn’t been with their partner long enough). It is complete because it isn’t centered on “me” (selfishness) or even the other person (idolatry); it’s centered on God and how He has called us to love.

So, perhaps Valentine’s Day is the perfect commercialized way to celebrate a completely commercialized concept of love. While the world’s view of love won’t last too much longer than the obligatory rose, a love based on your heart, soul, and strength will see you through the other 365 days this year (it’s a leap year…and yes, honey, you still owe me a gift).

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