Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dear Lindsay

This Saturday marks an important moment in DFH history. The first among us is getting married!

I wrote out this devotion for one of Lindsay's bridal showers and I thought it had some ideas worth sharing! A lot of them come from "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller. Hope you enjoy it!

In general, our culture has a terrible view of marriage. It's seen as outdated, boring, disposable and often not worth the effort to save.  We are surrounded by peers who cannot fathom the idea of a relationship where living together is not a precursor to marriage. Our society has more examples than it could ever need of couples who couldn't make the relationship work because they could not put the "we" above the "me", but this isn't the example of marriage we are meant to have.

God has a better plan for marriage. A better way. A better example.

In Ephesians, Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands and tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. In God's example of marriage, we are called, not to selfishness, but to sacrifice.  We are not to live for ourselves but for the other.

I know you have all heard this verse many times, but try to think about the words.
Love is patient, kind, it does not envy or boast, it is not proud, rude or self-seeking.

None of these words are about preservation of self, not of them are about making us feel better.

If this is real love, how many celebrity marriages can you think of that show this example of love, how many movies portray this kind of sacrifice and grace.  They don't. You know why? Because, Satan hates marriage, because it is an example of Jesus' relationship with the church.  He wants us to keep thinking that the root of marriage is all about self.  But Christ didn't come down to earth for himself, Christ came and laid down his life, so that we might have life… what a great example of selflessness, what a tremendous example of grace.

Lindsay, this Saturday is a marking point, another step in the journey that you and Steve have already started on, a chance to see, live and experience the wonders of marriage that God has prepared for the two of you.  You will have disagreements, you will have bad days, you will going through trying times, but you will also have the amazing privilege of being an example to others of the grace we have been given through Jesus.

Marriage isn't supposed to be about us. It's meant to be part of our testimony to those around us. Lindsay, through your relationship with Steve, I pray that you are each able to show grace, as Christ showers his grace upon the church, not only for the sake of each other, but also, so that others might now the grace of Jesus through you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Near Future Husbands

It's amazing what can happen in a year and a half, since we started this blog.
What started out as a half-serious joke has become a great source of discussion and encouragement!

Dear Future Husbands,
Through this blog we've come to really examine our ideas about our relationships with you: assumptions we've made that we've learned to let go of, and character qualities we've learned are essential.

Future Husbands, we love you, and we're looking forward to spending the rest of our days with you!

On behalf of Brittany, Lindsay, and Marlys:

Thanks for the bling :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Worth Waiting for

Dear future husband,
It may have taken me 22 years to realize it buuuut.....

I may be the worst athlete ever but I still play the game.
I may not be able to open every jar, but i can cook a mean meal
My muscles may fail me, but I'm strong-willed
I am the worst navigator but I love a good adventure
I may complain, but I will probably make you laugh in the process
I may be stubborn, but I know what I believe in.
I sing all the time, but I'm not awful
I may take long showers, but i smell good just for you
I may not be fit for the cover of maxim but I am beautiful

It's hard to find someone who can see beyond the acne, the clumsiness, the goofiness, the quirks, the flaws...
but I swear I'm worth it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fasting from Intimacy

I believe that one day, I will look at my life and say with confidence that the single greatest blessing I have experienced of singleness has been pain of learning to live without physical intimacy.

Part of why it’s been so painful is probably the confusing struggle. It’s been (and is) a pretty hard sell to get my body on board with the idea that I’m not missing out on what I was created for. It’s challenging to not feel entitled. And in a moment of absolute vulnerability, it’s one of the things that has made it the hardest to trust my sweet and faithful God. And in some ways – in dark and frightened places – I feel forgotten and betrayed and confused.

Because I know He knows me. I know He knows my body and my heart ,and I know He designed and wired this desire inside of me in the same way He wired my belly to grumble slightly around 11:02 AM. My hunger is designed to prompt me to eat. And so I do. And yet, my Father has told me that when I am hungry in this sense I must trust Him and not find food for myself. And He has seen fit not to give me any guarantee that this hunger will ever be satisfied.

There is pain. There is pain in watching my friends be fed one after another with the thing I feel like I need the most. There is pain in facing each morning with the knowledge that today there will be no daily bread for this hunger. There is pain as I sit, feeling as though I am starving to death, and listen to my married friends try to explain to me that eating is overrated.

And the truth is: this is the biggest blessing of my life.

You know what it makes me think about? Fasting. Fasting is strange. I think it’s weird that God is about physical fasting. It involves a need that is seemingly purely physical.

When I am lonely, I ultimately want God. When I am sad, only God can bring true joy. When I am afraid, it points me to the promises of God. When I feel rejected, unwanted, unloved, alone, in all these needs, God alone will bring true and lasting peace.

But, when I’m hungry, I want a cheeseburger and some fries.

Physical desires seemingly terminate on physical things. And that’s the beauty of fasting. God commands us to fast, not so that He can prove He is as good as a cheeseburger by making our hunger go away. God commands us to fast so that we learn to feel hungry and trust Him in the midst of that gnawing sense of need.

The goal of fasting is not for God to remove our hunger, but for us to learn that in the midst of hunger He is trustworthy. The feeling of hunger is the point of the fast. God wants us to feel hunger so that we are reminded that we are not supposed to be satisfied and we are supposed to long for Him. We fast to reflect that we trust God regardless of what our bodies tell us. He is our authority, not our bodies.

Today, my body wants something tangible and physical. My body doesn’t know that God will satisfy all my needs. It just wants what it was made to have. And today, I don’t get to have that. And so the line is drawn in the sand and the challenge is made. Today, what will be my source of truth? Who will be the one who determines what I need? My body? Or my God? Who knows my needs better? Me or Jesus? When I feel so clearly what I ‘need’, will I trust Him that there is a greater need? Will I learn to be hungry so that I can trust Him in hunger, not just in plenty?

There is no area in my life that makes me more likely to doubt the promises of God than this area. I have told friends through tears that many days I do not feel like I have everything I need for life and godliness because of this. I do not know how I am going to persevere in light of my hunger and in light of my Father’s gracious call to purity.

And so, this pain, more than anything else will teach me to trust. Each day, as the sun goes down and I still find myself securely held in the arms of the Father, my faith is built. He doesn’t promise to give me everything I need to never be hungry. He promises to give me everything I need to not starve to death on the road home to Him. And today I’m alive; He has proven Himself faithful. There is only one thing I really need. And it is secure.

You will waste this suffering if you fail to use it to witness about the greatness of God. Our God is a God of pleasure. He is not calling us to hunger because he wants us to be miserable. He is calling us to hunger because He wants us to experience the greatest pleasure available to man. There is nothing that sounds as foolish to the world as a person who would pursue purity, not out of some sense of religious obligation, but out of a faith that there is a greater pleasure in store for those who would trust in the Creator. There is nothing that makes God look as beautiful as when we, who have tasted His goodness, would use our lives to testify that we will forego any momentary joy in order to taste more of Him.

Fabienne Harford lives in Austin, Texas where she works on staff at The Austin Stone Community Church. You can find more thoughts from Fabs at fabsharford.com.

Via [Relevant Magazine]