Tonight, I was lucky enough to have my usual fun Thursday night date that I so look forward to with my amazing fiance. We grabbed some dinner, got hot drinks, and talked before heading to our premarital group at church. In the midst of this group, we were listening closely and reading over the outline of notes they had given us. As the married couple was sharing and talking about some of the dos and don’ts of emotional intimacy and healthy communication, we found ourselves a bit shocked. Not because these dos and don’ts were strange or unfamiliar, but because we knew them all too well.
Nathan took the pen and scribbled something down onto my paper. My eyes read the words he wrote:
“We’ve come so far!”
I glanced back up at him and smiled…completely overwhelmed with joy…because he was so right. When it came to doing everything right, having healthy communication, respecting each other, or having a perfect relationship, we were definitely not on the right track for a very long time. We were two selfish individuals trying to make a relationship work without God’s say in the matter, without any wise council, and without preferring each other.
The fact that we were able to sit next to each other in a premarital class as an engaged couple and see how healthy we are now, how close to God we are, and how much our relationship is flourishing, completely blew my mind. Listen, friends-we didn’t get any special, magic potion that seamlessly transformed our selfish, broken relationship into a healthy one. It took work…it took time…it took change…it took wisdom…and it took God.
There is a song that always connects so deeply with my heart when I hear the lyrics:
“I felt it first when I was younger
A strange connection to the light
I tried to satisfy the hunger
I never got it right
But your love, your love
The only the thing that matters is Your love
Your love is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It’s your love, your love
All I ever needed is your love”
We all have the fire deep inside of us that yearns for this light…this joy and love in our lives. When we don’t know quite how to satisfy the hunger or fill the void in our lives, we try so hard to figure it out on our own and fill it with our own decisions. This is how we did our relationship. We wanted so badly for it to just work, but until God came into the center of it, there was always something missing. God came into the dark areas of my life and brought them light, joy, and transformation.
Friends: this transformation and complete life changing love and joy is not just for me! It’s not just for my fiance. It’s not just for “some” people. It is for YOU. It’s for ALL. Romans 3:24-26 says:
“ALL are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is provided in Christ Jesus,
Whom God put forward before the eyes of all as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.
It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time, now in THIS season, that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has true faith in Jesus.”
I am so incredibly lucky that our God doesn’t expect perfection. He doesn’t ask us to pay for our sins or live according to who we used to be. If God judged me based on the girl I was 10 years ago, 1 year ago, or yesterday, I would be a lost cause. But that isn’t how it works with Jesus. Our faith in Christ changes every little bit of our lives. I used to try to compartmentalize my relationship with Jesus…you know, let him into some areas, not let him into others. But guess what, friends? He loves us so much that he wants it all. He came into my heart, even into the dark areas, even into the areas of our relationship that were difficult to fix and he mended them flawlessly.
My past was dark, and now it is full of light.
Our relationship was rocky, and now it is on solid ground.
I once was lost, and now I’m found.
We’ve come so far…and you will someday look back on who you are today and be completely blown away by how God turned your life around and into something so beautiful.
God doesn’t look at our mess and see a lost cause…He sees potential for a masterpiece.