I can see the question sometimes in her eyes. “Lord, why couldn’t she be more normal?” It’s the same thought that set up house in my brain at least ten years ago.
She likes a clean and quiet house that runs on her schedule.
I love a house overflowing with people, noise, music, and laughter.
She is extremely loyal.
I play the devil’s advocate for fun.
She has seen the world and now just wants to settle down.
I crave, seek, and create adventure all day, any day.
She watches Swiss Family Robinson and is thankful at the end that she has a warm house with heat, electricity, and running water. And that her neighbors aren’t pirates who are trying to kill her.
All the while, I am plotting on how to get on the next ship, jump off at the nearest unpopulated island, build a house in the trees and find myself a pet baby elephant.
She dresses in neutral colors with small prints and delicate seams.
I love bold, bright, and simple.
Where I am comfortable, she is completely out of her element.
Where she is at home, I am the house guest desperately trying to climb out the bathroom window.
Neither with clue of what to do when it comes to doing life together.
We begin feeling threatened.
We withdraw to protect ourselves.
And the competition starts.
With our strength we attack each other’s weaknesses.
Intimacy is snipped in the bud.
We become strangers once again.
Forgetting that the only thing that brought us to this day is grace.
Grace that forgave our sin.
Grace that forgot our past.
Grace that served without reward.
Grace that laid down its life.
Grace that stayed and did not run away.
Grace that chose the cross on that day.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. –Ephesians 2
Forgetting that the only thing that will make our relationships work is extending the same grace we’ve received to each other.
Grace that forgives each other’s sin.
Grace to not only forgive, but also forget sinful histories.
Grace to serve without seeking reward.
Grace to lay down our lives.
Grace to stay when we would run away.
Grace to choose the cross every day.
And grace to preach and live the Gospel without shame.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another…. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 6
Relationships will not work in your life the day that others conform to your understanding of what they should be.They will work when God’s grace comes into your life and changes you into what God says you should be.
And because sanctification is a lifelong process, because we are called to love each other – we extend that grace towards each other- humbled by grace so that none can walk with an arrogant swagger but also elevated and empowered by grace so that none shuffle with downcast hopelessness.
God knows what he’s asking. Vulnerability even when you see the knife coming. Openness even when you hear the gossip in dark corners. Forgiveness even when the next offence is coming. Love even when hatred is in the throes of blind fury.
Not just even when. Especially then.
You have the grace. Take it by faith. Wield it by faith. And trust God with the consequences.
You may be abandoned. He will never leave. You may be wounded. He is the great physician. You may suffer. He will bring you into the fellowship of his suffering where you will taste a communion so pure and so sweet, you will be ruined for any other pleasure, any other comfort, any other temporary joy.
He will meet you. And He will be more near then ever before.