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I’m getting married in 2 months. Actually, 69 days to be exact. On May 24, 2014, I will make the most solemn vows of my entire life, and officially become Mrs. Clay Selway. I will commit to not only share, but entirely give my money, my possessions, my future, my body, my soul to one man. Forever. No way out.

And he’s not “The One.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love Clay with everything I have. He makes me laugh. He makes the bad days good and the good days better. He challenges me to be a better person, and comforts me when I’ve failed that challenge. He’s the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person I know. He’s my best friend, my hero, and the only man I’d ever want to be my husband.

But he’s still not my soul mate, and definitely not “The One.”

Not that I didn’t spend the first 18 years of my life longing to meet my “One.” Growing up, like any good midwestern girl, I was fed a steady diet of the idealized American romance. One boy, one girl – two star-crossed lovers who fight across space and time to fulfill their destiny of being together. From Disney movies to romance novels, I ate it all up. I had my own copy of “Romeo and Juliet,” that I read until the pages started to fall out. I literally watched “The Princess Bride” so many times I could have recited it in my sleep. I loved it. And I wanted it.

But no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t seem to find it. Even the best boyfriend I had failed my weighty list of expectations. No man in the world seemed like they would ever fulfill the ideal I’d built up. I sat around and lamented to my girlfriends ruefully, “I think God made me a man, but somewhere along the way he got hit by bus.” The humor was a thin veneer for some very thick disappointment.

After wading through the smoking rubble from a broken relationship with someone I thought was “The One”,  I met my now fiance, Clay, through some mutual friends. After a year of friendship, we began a careful dating relationship. 2 years after that, he asked me to be his wife. And in just 2 months, we will become one. But he isn’t “The One.”

You see, Clay will never be “The One.” In fact, I don’t even think there is a “One,” not on this earth at least. The very concept of a “One” implies that there is one, singular person out there that will fulfill every single desire of my heart, meet every single need, and heal every single hurt.

What an incredible burden! Actually, what a crushing burden. No man, not even Clay (and I admit I think he’s the best man out there) could do that. Think of who many needs, wants, desires, and hurts you have – could just one person ever take care of all that?

As a Christian, I believe that human beings have eternal souls. Souls that are filled with an immense, infinite amount of desires and wants. We need to be loved perfectly, to be known perfectly, to be cherished perfectly. But, as the they say “no one’s perfect.” And thus, no one, not even your spouse, no matter how well matched, will ever be able to fulfill you fully.

But our culture has told us this lie, and we’ve ate it up. And so we date, and break up, marry and divorce, all the while searching, searching, searching for someone, anyone to fill this aching hole inside of us. But they can’t. And they don’t. And they never will.

I think C.S. Lewis got it right when he famously said, ““If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

You see, I think we were made for another world. A world with no longing, no sighing, no searching, no pain. No disappointment, no unmet expectations, no broken relationships, no emptiness. A world with a perfect relationship with a perfect God; an Infinite being to fill an infinite need. And though we haven’t lived in that perfect world since Genesis 2, I believe that through Jesus, we can still have that relationship with God. And through Him, even while I struggle through this broken world, I have an infinite source to fill my never-ending need.

This is something Clay and I came to realize before we dated each other, and something we realize a little more every day. Because we both have a relationship with Jesus, we have all of our infinite needs, wants, and desires fulfilled. We don’t have to turn to each other for them.

This means that while I still receive things like love, affection, friendship, and affirmation from Clay, I don’t have to. I don’t demand them, but rather can receive them as a gift. On the bad days (or weeks, or months, or years), I don’t have to receive anything from Clay. Fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can choose to serve Clay when he’s not serving me, give when he’s only taking, and love when he’s nothing but unloveable. And on the good days (which, by God’s grace, will outnumber the bad) I will receive his gentle service, gifts, and love with a sense of undeserving joy and gratitude.

He’s not “The One.” The unchangable, unshakeable, never-failing God is “The One.” And Clay is a wonderful, beautiful, completely undeserved gift given to me by The One.

On May 24, 2014, I will become one with someone I love more than my own body. I will happily join with the one God has given me, and together, as one, we will serve The One.

I’m getting married, and he’s not “The One.” And I’m grateful for that.

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There’s always at least one point in my day when something happens and I realize, “Shoot. I’m a sinner.”

In that moment, I have have two options at how I can choose to respond. Option number one is to humbly confess that I am a sinner saved by grace, and in need of grace every minute of every day. Option number two is to harden my heart, become stubborn, continue in my sin, and persist in walking in jealousy, anger, fear, selfishness and apathy.

I have to admit, more often that not, I chose the latter over the former. I choose to turn away from grace, and wallow in sin, shame and misery. I cry to God in a perfunctory fashion, bemoaning my condition but not accepting his provision for my change. In the moment, I turn my back to the cross and declare that the work completed when Jesus cried out, “it is finished,” is not enough for what I am experiencing.

But this where grace comes through. Grace, which has both saved me from the penalty of my sin and cleansed me from it’s effects, does even more. It will not leave me there. In that moment, the Lord doesn’t respond to me in anger. All of His wrath poured out on Jesus, He can turn to me in kindness. In gentleness. In love and mercy.  He beckons me until my hardened heart melts and I cannot resist.

Again and again and again, He calls me back to Him. He pulls me back into his arms and reaffirms what I have already learned. I am forgiven. I am his daughter. I have a kingdom that will never fade and an inheritance that will never perish. In His eyes, I am perfectly righteous and completely holy. Nothing that I can ever do will change that.

“Shoot. I’m a sinner.”
“I know,” he says. “And I love you.”

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Eph 2:8,9

I’ve been debating this post for some time now, unable to decide whether it would be appropriate and beneficial to publish it.  Of course, I mean all that I say within it, and it’s all true.  However, as a sister in Christ, I do care about my brothers – and I think too often, we resort to bashing them as they learn how to be men, instead of encouraging them.  I pray that this post will not be of that sort. I pray that this post is written in humility, love, and sincerity, and that it is read in a similar manner.

That being said, I’m going to attempt to move on to say what is burdening my heart, however clumsily I express it. And it is this – it never gets any less painful to see women that I love broken and defeated by men. It never pains me any less to hear stories of women bruised and hurting from mistreatment. And I will never cease to get tears in my eyes to see a woman of God in tears over a man in her life who isn’t treating her like the daughter of the King that she is.

All of this might be a tad bit easier if the men involved were not believers. If this were so, what they did would still be wrong, but at least understandable.  How can you expect a man who is blind and lame to lead a woman without damaging her?  But these men are Christians, or at least claim to be.

And lest I misconstrue anything, I want to say that I realize that I am absolutely blessed to be surrounded by the men that I know.  You are godly, and growing, and encouraging, and I appreciate you. That being said, much of the damage being done to these women that I love is unintentional.  Hurt caused by men who had no intent of doing so.  Pain inflicted by men who, in all honesty, were probably desperately trying to discern God’s will in their lives.

I get that. I really do. We’re all young. We’re all growing. We need patience and grace.  But here is what I think many men fail to understand –

Women. Are. Fragile.

I’ll say it again. We’re fragile. Delicate. Fine. Fragile.

Sure, sometimes we have backs of steel (or at least we pretend we do). But we have limbs of porcelain and hearts of much finer material.

Understand this, please. We are much, much more breakable than you, or your guy friends. Don’t break us any more than this world already has, enmeshed in sin as it is.

Don’t flirt with us if you aren’t going to pursue us. Don’t even start. If you want to pursue a relationship, pursue it. Don’t leave us hanging.

Don’t begin to pursue us, and then back out. Be serious. Good intentions aren’t enough.  Many Christian men with good intentions still hurt their sisters because they rush into pursuing her before they really think about it, and then have to back out and leave a crushed woman in their wake.

Don’t date us if you aren’t ready. And by all means, don’t marry us if you aren’t ready to love us like Christ loves the Church!

Please, in all your dealings with women, remember – we are far more fragile and easily hurt than you can even imagine.

“live… in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ”
(1 Peter 3:7 ESV)

Being a Christian has convinced me of two things:
1) That I am absolutely, utterly wretched and sinful to my core.
2) That I am loved and considered precious and priceless anyway.

That’s the paradox that I am coming to see in my life.  Each day, it seems, I recognize my own sinfulness more and more. I disappoint myself by every day, “for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15 esv).

But, instead of sinking into despair over my condition, with each passing day, I become happier and happier.

I realize I am bad, I put myself lower, and exalt the Cross higher.

With each abandonment of self, I come to know myself better.

With each experience of dying to myself, I come more alive.

With each day that I put my own happiness aside in favor of the glory of God, I find more happiness than I ever imagined.

This is the paradox of the Cross.

O, the wonderful Cross – bids me come and die, to find that I may truly live”


Last night I had a “girls night” dinner.  A few freshmen girls that I am friends with walked to the nearby off-campus apartment where one of our Bible study leaders lives, to cook a meal, escape dining hall food, and chat.  It was a blast, and I am so excited to get to know all of these girls better throughout the year.  We spent much of the night telling our testimonies, how we came to meet Jesus, and, of course, boys.  However, the course of our conversations wasn’t so much who we thought was cute or anything that you would typically think, but of our failed relationships.  Many of us have just recently ended relationships upon coming to college.  Most of those relationships failed due to deeply rooted sin.  And we can’t even claim that they failed because it was before we knew Jesus – we were all believers who messed up in this way!  No excuses.  This really got me to thinking – how many young Christian women out there have had or are experiencing the same failures in romantic relationships that we had? I think it’s a lot.  More than we’re comfortable admitting.  Why is this? Why are we, believing Christian women, failing so regularly in our relationships with men?

I think the root of it comes down to this – our culture has us absolutely starving for love.  We’re raised on fairy tale Disney stories, spoon-fed the idea that love is a whirlwind emotion that is as easy and natural as anything.  And I think this damages us.  Why are we teaching our children this?  Because I know, speaking from experience, that the real problem is when Christian women start looking for love other than the love that Jesus provides.  And the questions is why?  The love of Jesus is perfect, full, and unfailing.  Jesus will never break up with us because he “needs to find himself”.  Jesus will never flirt with us and then take another girl to the prom.  Jesus never forgets to call.  So why are so many girls searching for love that we think a romance could fulfill?  Maybe it’s our culture.  Maybe it’s the media.  Maybe it’s how we were raised.  In any case, we are the only ones who can fix it.

Now, I’m not going to throw out advice here, because I really don’t feel that I have any room to speak – I just ended a year and a half long relationship that I only recently realized was terrible for me.  It was deeply rooted in sin, had no basis in God, and, I think, sometimes, I even loved my ex more than I loved God.  So for the time being, I’m not dating.  Sometimes (ok, a lot of times), I find myself longing for the comfort and warmth of a relationship with a boyfriend.  I want that feeling of love, of being wanted and needed.  But I just have to remind myself – Jesus is all the love I could ever really need.  And when (or maybe if), I can finally truly say that I could live my whole life single, satisfied with the love that only Jesus Christ can give me – maybe then I’ll be ready to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.  Until then, I’m gonna be doing the “Single Ladies” dance I guess! (Go ahead. Sing it. You know you want to!)

I’m sorry if this has been a long and somewhat rambling post today – it’s a complicated subject that I think I have only begun to understand.  If you have any further advice or thoughts, I would love to hear them!  All I know is that I need no further love than Jesus because, as the song goes – “Love is here. Love is now. Love is pouring from His hands and from His brow.”

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Past Musings