Friday, January 27, 2012

Driving = Forced Sanctification

What is it about driving that brings out the struggle of marriage more than other activities!? Is it the control issue? Perhaps it is where our differences are most quickly manifested!

It can be as simple as going to church or a road trip to visit family. "I think you are too close to that car." or "The light was definitely red when you went through that intersection." What was meant to be a gentle reminder quickly escalates into a heated debate about the rules of the road.

We take our driving VERY personally!

When you do something routine for many years you tend to think you know best when it comes to that routine. If you are like me I tend to drive more than my wife and can subtly start thinking that I am a better driver. Therefore, when a suggestion is given or even a critical observation is made about my driving the first inclination is to remind her that I'm the expert here! She drives differently than I do and that's okay - except when I'm behind the wheel!! Instead of appreciating how we can continue to learn from each other to be better drivers we get defensive and act as if there is nothing more to learn.

The life application to our marriages is pretty clear isn't it? The perpetual call of the gospel is to learn from each other and to in turn grow with each other. My spouse is given to me by God not primarily to make me feel better about myself but to make me more like Jesus. He or she is my spiritual partner in life as well as husband or wife. I need them in order to grow in the likeness of Christ and sometimes that means to be sharpened by them.

"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another." Romans 12:3-5

Yes, the challenges of life can be great (especially in the front seat of the car!!) but like the car we are in this together. The destination and calling are the same. We want Jesus to be honored and seen in how we love, learn and travel together.

May God makes us couples who love to travel together.

Go take a drive!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Miss You

When dear friends move away or when we lose loved ones our minds quickly fill with things we miss about them. Whether it's conversations, trips, smiles or trials we suddenly hold more dear those memories and don't want to loose them.

I miss my mother's voice. She has been gone almost three months now and I have been frantically searching my phone for a recorded message from her. I had erased most of them and realized on this earth I will never hear her live voice again.

I miss her.

What I so often took for granted is now gone. My heart and mind are filled with memories that are all the more precious. Mom was always in my world through childhood and adult life. When I now recall those memories I find great encouragement and gratitude to God for her life and love.

The Apostle Paul loved to remember. While in jail he wrote to the Philippian church and made some emotional statements of how he missed his fellow believers. "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you...God is my witness how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." He missed what he had and hungered to have more fellowship with them.

Our marriages and families should be a place where memories are made. These photos in our mind are not just for holding onto when people leave us but are also to be a daily appreciation of what we have when we are together. Ideally, a marriage should be a place where you see how God has not only sustained you through each other but how he has blessed you with each other as well. Yes, life can be hard even with memories we would like to forget but the underlying mercy and love of God proves to be the best platform for memories. In a real sense Paul was saying to these believers he was separated from, "I miss you!" He missed their faces and conversations but he also wanted to remind them of what they learned, like, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

There is great power in shared memories in our marriages and one of the fruits of that union is a growing desire to be together to create more. It's not a shallow sentimentality but an honest realization of the need to be and grow together in life and in Jesus.

Imagine what it would look and feel like to have an awareness that is expressed in some form daily that says,

"I miss you."