Strategy 4, Your Family.
By now you know I’m reading the book FerVent by Priscilla Shirer. The chapter on “Family” was familiar. I have three beautiful daughters, and I’ve been married for 27 years. Most books and Bible verses on marriage, I’ve read a thousand times, or heard lectures with similar themes and messages. I’ve been to multiple marriage retreats, and we’ve led marriage workshops. I offer premarital counseling as a therapist.
I praise God that I never quite arrive, and my marriage is a constant work in progress. Because of this, His Word is fresh and new, and I have amazing encounters with Him.
I will admit, I skimmed over the chapter. I know that my marriage is supposed to be a living example to the world of the covenant relationship we have with Jesus. My husband offers me his life in a covenant relationship; He protects and loves me as Christ loves His church. I am his wife who accepts and honors this love–clinging to him and surrendering to a love that provides security and joy.
Lets be real. We strive for this example, but all marriages fall short. Don’t hang out there. Remember we talked about not focusing on the weaknesses and circumstances, but to trust and believe in God’s promises and provisions–what HE CAN DO!
Last night our family watched The Notebook. I’ve seen the movie multiple times–a classic love story. As we all gathered in the dark room, you could hear sniffles, mild moaning, then sobbing. One of my daughters said, “I’ve cried a river over here.” As their mom I talked about the joy in the movie–their love, their full life, and their passion. In their youth, because they have not experienced marriage, they could only see the sadness of her illness and the loss. There is no amount of talking that can fill your children with all your life experiences–it’s their future story with God.
This morning, in Bible Study, I closed my eyes after reading the “Family” chapter and reflecting on the movie. I loved Allie’s unbridled joy when she was with Noah. Her joy was brazen and untamed. With him, she was free to explore her dreams, talents, and take risks. Noah pursued Allie, kept his promise to build their house, and never left her side. Their relationship was filled with arguments and questioning, but their love for each other never ceased.
The Holy Spirit washed over me and connected the last 12 hours. I worshiped and praised His name!
My favorite scene (video) is posted after these few lines. In order to view the YouTube video of the closing scene of the movie, you have to be on your computer, or physically click on the post to go to the blog website if you are on your cell phone.
In this scene, Allie is on her death bed with dementia, and Noah, her husband, is in the same assisted living center with his heart issues. He breaks the rules to come visit with her after his return from the hospital. Although she has difficulty remembering him, she misses him while he is away, which may be the reason she recognizes him during this scene, and, she calls him by his name, “Noah”.
Noah (or Duke) begins the conversation.
“Hi sweetheart” (Jesus calls you His beloved)
“I was afraid you’d never come back to me.”
“I’ll always come back” (Jesus promises to “never leave us, nor forsake us.”)
“What’s going to happen when I can’t remember anything…What will I do?”
“I’ll be here.” (Our Savior is always near. He is gentle and keeps His promises.)
“Do you think that our love can create miracles?”
“Yes I do…that’s what brings you back to me each time.” (Jesus pursues us even when we turn away from Him, forget, or live in fear.)
“Do you think that our love can take us away together?”
“I think our love can do anything we want it to.” (His love for you can produce miracles and joy unspeakable!)
“I love you….Good night.”
“I’ll be seeing you…” (His Word promises that “we may weep for a night, but JOY comes in the morning!” One day we will awaken in the arms of Jesus. We will see Him face to face. )
Why did my girls weep when they have not experienced this type of love with a man? It’s because God has placed in all of us this canyon sized void that can only be filled by His love. Not even realizing “why” themselves, they are responding to love–God’s love. His perfect love. Our earthly marriage will always pale in comparison to this perfect love, but what a joy and challenge to try to emulate this perfect love that will never cease.
If your marriage is in the worst state it’s ever been, you are single, your spouse has gone to be with the Lord, or maybe you’ve just experienced a divorce–please hear THE love story.
Jesus loves you more….
He loves you more than any person or pursuit.
He wakes you up each morning calling you His beloved, and His love for you creates miracles. He is building a house for you right now–He promised.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3
As for me, I have two goals after reading my Bible study, reflecting on some Christian friend’s comments about the movie, and my personal reflections….
Passionately accept and enjoy my first love–Jesus.
Cling to my husband with unbridled joy and trust.
A verse that spoke to me this morning. I want this above all else…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)