Breaking Ground

‘Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love; and break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord.’ – Hosea 10:12

We started our marriage preparation course on Saturday. I had anticipated it being quite hectic (G was as usual, totally calm), but I honestly was not prepared for the revelation of its significance. Yes, we were given anologies of ‘when you want to drive a car, you first go for lessons… and when you want to operate in surgery, you get trained… why should marriage be different?’ I agree completely: being the nerd that I am, (if I can help it), I only step into things after I have prepared for them (being called to live by faith doesnt always allow for that, but in this case, thankfully God has given us a season to prepare).

This morning I sat with Holy Spirit (yay for school holidays) and ‘randomly’ found this scripture in Hosea. Wow. It really spoke so clearly to me regarding this Season of Preparation. Like a farmer prepares the land in the season before wanting to sow seed and hope for a subsequent harvest, so too do we need to prepare ourselves for marriage – and seed can only be sown into ground ready to receive. This morning I realised how much ‘land’ in my heart, mind and life has been allowed to grow wild – untendered and well, possibly just a little feral. Without having anyone to really consider (or keep me in check), I have allowed unhelpful habits and ways of thinking and doing things to creep in like weeds. That ground is definitely not suitable for sowing any kind of seed, let alone hoping to reap a good harvest! And so, the season of breaking ground has begun.

And it is uncomfortable.

Saturday’s session was Communication. An important foundation, but not totally ‘sensitive issue’ stuff, right? Oh, so wrong… my little field was filled with roots and rocks that need removing. The revelation that life is no longer about me or simply doing things as I have always (unquestioningly) done hit home; if I am going to be the best wife for G – the one he needs me to be in order to help him lead us well, and to encourage the best out of him… well, I have some work to do. Yes, the significance of this season lies in the Forever Future ahead of us, but more so, the next 87 days will require me to be more vulnerable, open and humble than I have ever been. And it requires an incredible depth of trust; revealing both the good and bad parts of myself to G, (hoping and praying) and trusting that he will not only accept them and extend grace towards me, but will cover those areas in love (Colossians 3). I am continually in awe and so very grateful that God would give me someone who is not only the most patient man I have ever known, but so kind and gentle in how he draws me out from my fears, insecurities and overthinking head. He leads me well.

So excuse me while I go hunt for some wellies and dungarees and a garden fork… or maybe a tractor and plow may be more useful… there is work to be done – and it doesnt involve colour schemes, flower choices or picking dresses…

( significance of photo: its the view from our venue – and symbolic of looking into the future…)

 

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The Heart of the matter

I’ve been a little quiet lately. Its been an odd place of trusting in God’s promises for the future, but also guarding against the frustrations of reality seeming so very, vastly far from where we want to be… a strange tension builds into a sort of vacuum. This week has probably been the worst, resulting in lots of comfort eating yesterday and much vulnerability.

My struggle has been a heart issue and having to face that truth has been tough.  Its never comfortable facing the ugliness inside of oneself or realising just how imperfect you really are, beyond the social facades of pleasantries I’ve become so good at.  To be very vulnerable: I felt like a fraud – that I had had the audacity to begin a blog that testified of pursuing a godly relationship… and yet, in the depths of my heart was an icky mess.  What do I know of godliness or living up to the standards I speak so casually about?  More days than not, I do not get it right.  There.  I said it. I am a selfish, pride-filled mess of a person and left to my own devices, would destroy the absolute gift of a relationship that God has given me with G.  I have no righteousness, no sense of holiness or purity in my own being.

It sometimes feels like we live in a society that tolerates everything with reckless abandon, terrified we offend anyone.  And sometimes in the church, it feels the opposite; judgement comes quickly and easily.  I realise both statements are far extremes and equally unhealthy and incorrect.  But that’s the two extremes that have fought it out in my head over the past few days: the extreme liberal tolerance of all things waging war against the pharisee-like religious spirit of condemnation. Its exhausting.

Having said all of that, Today is a New Day.

I live by God’s Grace alone. At my weakest and my worst, His Grace and Redemption is most apparent. Does this mean I continue in my bad attitudes, mindsets and behaviours? Not at all… the revelation of His Grace only draws me closer to His Heart; wanting more than ever to change my ickiness for His goodness. If I really do want a relationship that not only testifies of God’s Goodness, but also extends His Kingdom, I need to be prepared to do things differently.  Having acknowledged my failings and brokenness, I choose to leave those past habits (even the ones only a few hours old) behind me – dead in the past – and step into a New Day.  I love that as I write this, the rain is pounding on the roof above my head, reminding me that God’s Grace washes away everything I release into His Redemption. My faith says I get a fresh start; I get to try again. This time, I choose to do it with God’s help. Beyond all the external behaviours and attitudes, God looks at our hearts – He examines the core of our being and draws out the broken pieces, healing those areas and replacing them with His Love.

Relationships are hard.  They have the potential to bring out the best in you, but also an incredible ability to draw out the worst, with the purpose of removing the filth for the benefit of healing… much like a drawing ointment pulls out a splinter in your finger.  Its both sore and liberating at the same time.  I guess that’s where I am at the moment: having thorns (there seem like so many of them this week) pulled out and its a little eina… but I am trusting that its a good thing. That as G and I prepare for pre-marital courses and me moving across to his church to begin growing together under the same spiritual teachings and authority, I know God is busy refining us – testing our foundations and the way we have begun to build this relationship.  We both desperately desire a relationship that has Him as our foundation, but we’re also human – and so, as the foundations are shaken, we can only hope that what remains will be strengthened in the next few weeks as big changes loom.