Tag Archive | marriage

Me, Heaven, & Righteousness

I recently began a fantastic bible study written by Kay Arthur, Lord, Only You Can Change Me.

I picked this study because it is one of Kay’s studies, and ALL over her books, studies, etc. are outstanding.  Another reason is because I’ve been trying to get myself back to the right path in my life.  One that is Christ honoring and not so self centered.

One of the first things this study does is to take the reader through the Sermon On The Mount, reading all of Matthew chapters 5-7.  Then going back and marking each reference to ‘heaven’ and ‘righteousness’ throughout those passages.  Next, going through and listing the verse reference and what it says about heaven, then the same for righteousness.  If you are having any doubts  about your own position in on your journey toward the pearly gates, this is a good place to start.  It is an eye opener.

Here are some of the things I learned about heaven:

It belongs to the  poor inspirit.

It belongs to those persecuted for righteousness.

Our Father is there.

Until it passes away none of the law will pass away.

Unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees we won’t enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Our Father there is perfect and we are to be perfect.

God’s will is done there.

Not all who call out “Lord, Lord” will enter there.

Only those who do God’s will can enter.

Our forgiveness from our Father hinges upon our forgiveness of others.

There were many other things, if you mark the word ‘heaven’ then go back and list everything these chapters say about it, but that gives you an idea.

The list for righteousness was a real eye opener as well.  One of the biggest being we must SEEK it.  That was my “one word” last year.  I fell rather short on SEEKING most anything I needed when it came to my journey.  Praise the Lord for His forgiveness.

While going through these passages for this study I did note that I have the following passage highlighted in every bible I own, and I had underlined verse 44 in addition to the highlights.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

For the record, the red highlight above (my doing) is the verse I underlined.  This one is a place I fall very short.

I wonder about where my heart might be today had I stayed more grounded in the Word of God and not allowed myself to move away from what I knew deep down was right.  Would I still be married? Or how much faster would I have healed (still in that process) if I had clung to God’s Word when going through the divorce and afterward?  I can honestly say I did NOT love my ex-husband through that time, certainly did not bless him or do good by him.  For the first time in our history I said unkind things.  Throughout our marriage, when outside of our home, I never spoke ill of the man.  But once he sought a divorce and I had moved out, I let it fly with both  barrels in my other blog and to anyone that listened.  I turned my hurt into hate.  And because I could not begin to pray good things for him, I simply didn’t pray at all.  No, not blaming him for my failure to live a Christ like life, that is all on me.  I’m not responsible for his actions, only my own.

Another section that really bothers me when I read it, is Matthew 5:31-32.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

I don’t know where to go with this one.  I struggled with it when my first marriage ended, and even more so now.  Not having been the one that ended the marriage, where does it leave me?  Per the passage it causes me to commit adultery because he divorced me.  Does this mean that blame, that sin, is on his head and not mine?  And what of a future marriage…if I marry again it causes someone to commit adultery.  It is a messy business, this whole matter of divorce.  I understand now why the bible says that God hates divorce.  It causes ripples of pain, confusion and further sins in the lives not only of the one wanting out, but for the one left behind too. (For more about this topic see Matthew 19:3-9)

I’m a long way from that place, but I have a long way to go.  I’m past the meanness in my heart and soul, the hate, but the pain is still there, my heart very raw.  But I will be applying scripture to my life in this and every other area, and praying for ME to be the one changed.

SEXUAL PURITY – Satisfying The Hunger Part 2

Disclaimer: The subject matter of this post is a bit adult in nature and not appropriate material for younger audiences.

This is the second part of this subject matter, if you missed Part 1 you may wish to read that first, click here.

I was not at all prepared for the intense connection that I have with Mr. Wonderful.  When we met up and reconnected I had made it crystal clear that I was NOT seeking a relationship, just a friend with benefits.  He saw through my shield and into my heart but was willing to go along with things as I stated.  Things between us moved at incredible speed and next thing I knew we crossed into a physical relationship.  What took place between us was truly making love like I’ve never known.  He agrees, nothing ever was so intense for him before either.  We both realize more than our fleshly desires were there, our minds and souls connected, and our hearts.  We got a very serious education that day in  the two becoming one flesh.  It isn’t just the physical act, something happened that forged all of our beings into one.   I wanted to believe it was just that first time rush, but I’ve had my share of ‘first times’ and nothing in my experience or his compares.  Despite our carefully built walls when in those moments of physical expression we both realize we are seeing clear the core of each other in the eyes and there are no blocks, no locked doors on our hearts and souls, and frankly it is incredibly beautiful and special, and unnerving. 

Bigger than that…it is wrong.  It is sinfully wrong and I don’t mean that in a good way.  God is crystal clear about sex outside of marriage and we chose to ignore that and go our own way in this one area.

We have both realized that when two TRULY become one,  being apart is hell.   I  don’t just miss him, his voice, his touch, my heart craves his, my mind desires his, my soul feels as if it is torn and not whole  when his is apart from my own.  Two becoming one,  truly one,  is meant for the married because you crave the other person on every level,  not just physical.  In fact we’ve come to realize the physical is an expression of what is going on at the heart, mind and soul level.  We HUNGER for each other, and at least for me I can say it is a tormenting thing.  I now understand 1 Corinthians 7:9 so much better:

1 Corinthians 7:9 (New King James Version)

9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

The burning passion is painful on each level.

I’ve become aware now of something else. Now understand this is my take, my perspective on this.  We come into this world without God, in a state of sin and until we find His perfect forgiveness and grace we hunger for Him.  As we grow that hunger grows with us, but we try to fill that void with all manner of things, collecting things, over consumption of food, alcohol, drugs or even sex.  We are never completely satisfied until we turn to the Lord, nothing we do can fill the hunger with in us.  Love and marriage, per the Bible, is a reflection of the love Christ has for His church, His people.  It is the earthly example of true love, putting the best interest of others ahead of ourselves regardless of  cost to  ourselves.*  In a marriage relationship that honors God,  things work like they should.  Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be perfect.  I saw a tweet from Pastor and singer Steve Camp (@sjcamp) the other day that said “marriage is two forgivers learning to live together”.  OH how true that is! 

 I have also come to realize that before we ever experience sexual relations with anyone we begin to hunger for our mates,  prior to even knowing them.  Something within us desires to mate, to share that special one fleshness, our souls begin to seek.  We search for something to fill that hunger, and sadly often attempt to fill it with sexual promiscuity.  We go from encounter to encounter trying to fill  an unsatiable desire within us that can only be filled by that one person meant to be our partner for life.  Perhaps there is more than one out there, but I think so many are so unhappy because they jumped into a marriage with someone they did NOT connect with on the heart, mind and soul levels before taking  their vows and then connecting physically.  Love at first sight may indeed be real, but more of a intense draw at first sight.  One soul recognizing the other as it’s mate, or other half.  Mr. Wonderful experienced that with just seeing my photo on my Myspace, the intense desire to know me and not on a physical level.  When I met him I too felt that, but I was married and did the right thing by ignoring it and keeping him at arm’s length to avoid the temptation.  Had I entertained a physical encounter then, when deep in a sinful lifestyle that would have allowed for it,  it would have destroyed my marriage and I knew it.  At the time I did not understand why I knew this, I just did.  Something in both of us screamed “MINE” and it was horribly upsetting and painful.

Sadly, while we’ve desired to do this relationship the right way, this is an area we crossed lines in and have sinned.  Now in a desire to back up the truck a bit and do it ALL right in God’s eyes, we have to deal with the intense craving that burns deeper than  the physical desire for each other.   The hunger that distresses our minds, hearts  and souls when apart.  While the physical need is a difficult struggle, we actually do find without the sexual part, when we are together,  the other levels are satisified for the time we are in each others presence and the physical takes a back burner.  This spoke volumes to me about what we had done in crossing the lines and allowing the one flesh before it was the right time.  The hardest part of this being that as jaded as we both are we don’t even know where this will head.  We both carry so many scars from past relationships, so many cracks in our hearts from gluing them back together that we just don’t know if we can proceed toward a life time commitment.  I only know that now that I realize the level on which we connected, I cannot be satisified with anyone else.

Meanwhile…the area  of sexual purity is one I have struggled with all my life because I long ago crossed the line,  continuing again and again to sin in this area.  It is the one area I am most weak and the one I am now most determined to keep right and honor God in until such a time as it can be RIGHT.  If  I can continue to see my sin as God sees it,  as filthy rags, then I cannot say I love Him and deliberately,  knowingly go against Him in this area.  If and when marriage again is a part of my life, then the hunger will be satisfied as it should be.  And until then I must honor God and satisfy the hunger with Him and His Word.

*condensed version of a definition of love an elder at church came up with –  will share full version as a blog later this month.

Copyright © 2011 – The AirBrushed Diva/Marti Gardner – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

SEXUAL PURITY – Satisfying The Hunger Part 1

Disclaimer: The subject matter of this post is a bit adult in nature and not appropriate material for younger audiences.

I’ve been jaded regarding sex, purity and the church  over the years.  In my journey back on the path to a life lived for Christ I’ve had my eyes opened in some new ways, and seen both some very unpleasent realities  in my life but also that there is so much that is beautiful and waiting for me now.  One topic that keeps coming up (not by my choice mind you so it must be the prompting of God) is sex and sexual purity.  Maybe this is because it is the single worst area of sin in my life.  As I study, pray and learn, I thought I’d share what I am learning and if it does anyone else any good then it will be good.

First let me say I am no expert in anything.  I have learned a little bit about a lot of things in life, and in a few areas I’ve learned a lot.   I’m an oldest child so my parents cut their parenting teeth on me first and I wasn’t the easiest to raise.  I was that kid that had to learn everything the hard way, sometimes more than once.  I never seem to do anything halfway either, so if I am going to mess up I am going to be an over achiever.

I was not an angel in the area of sex as a teenager, evident in the fact that I gave birth for the first time at 16 years old and gave that child up for adoption.  One would think I’d have learned then but like I said, I excel at making mistakes in life.

I believe we are sexual creatures, wired to find a mate and then enjoy the physical expressions of love with our significant other.  The bible speaks to relationship of a husband and wife and sex.  One reading through portions of the Song of Solomon and it is rather evident that sexual love is supposed to be something beautiful and enjoyed and more than just for procreation.  Even I have blushed while reading those passages!   The Lord takes the sexual side of our relationships very seriously.  Genesis speaks of the man leaving his mother and father, cleaving to his wife, and the two becoming one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 (Amplified Bible)

24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:16

16Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh.

This becoming one flesh I always understood to be sexual, but in recent months I’ve come to understand it as far more than a  sexual thing.  I’ve come to understand it is a joining at the heart, mind, body and soul.  But Satan takes the beautiful things of God and pollutes and perverts them.  Physical love between a man and a woman certainly is near the top of that list, the porn industry alone can attest to this.

Because of how we are wired,  to desire the opposite gender and mate, as we reach puberty and our hormones kick in, we begin to notice each other.  I think along with the hormones the heart and soul begin to wake up too, helping to grow our desire to mate.  I used to believe sex  with anyone I really “loved” was acceptable.  Certainly I knew what the bible had to say on the topic but I could justify that away easily, after all it is what we sinners do, we justify everything.  If we saw our sin as God sees it, as filthy rags, we’d not try to justify it quite so often.  I’ve read multiple studies that the ‘filthy rags’ as it is translated were rags that were used to wrap wounds,  so the fabric is covered in blood, puss and disease.  Not a very pretty picture.  So if my sexual sins are seen that way to God, should I not stop trying to justify them and start seeing things as my Father in Heaven does?  Funny what we can put out of our minds when we determine to do things our way.

Back to this joining and becoming one flesh.  I have been married twice now, and despite being ‘joined’ in matrimony to my husbands, and sharing a bed and a life, I never really understood this whole being one flesh thing until recently.  Oh I thought I understood it but I was so mistaken. Had I clearly understood it I would never have married either of them, let alone partaken in a lifestyle where couples are openly sharing their spouses with others.  Call me a lunatic but I believe God has a mate in mind for each of us, and when we meet them we know it.  The draw is powerful and nags at the core of us.  I met what I believe is that man years ago but at the time was happily, or so I believed, married and turned away from what I sensed could be a destructive force to that marriage.  I kept it to myself and never spoke of it, but the pull  was there.    Fast forward to the past few months when I reconnected with this man.  I had always held him at arms length, fearing what I had felt, and wasn’t at all  sure it would  still be there.  When he  kissed me the first time I knew it was alive and well.

We connected immediately at a level that was beyond my understanding…more than physical, the stronger draw was from the heart, mind and I’d come to realize the soul.  Something deep inside screamed “MINE” and is not silenced, it demands to be heard and known.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Copyright © 2011 – The AirBrushed Diva/Marti Gardner – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED