Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sex & Romance

"I hear with my ears that God delights in me. I understand it as knowledge, I even comfort others with that truth on a daily basis. Yet somehow, at the end of the day, I still feel like I have missed it in my heart."
She reacted to the honesty of her admittance as if she had swallowed old milk, certainly not something she enjoyed. She followed with a shameful sigh as she reflected on all the ways her lack of heart revelation overflows into the lives of the ones she loves. Her poor precious best friend is constantly a victim of her moodiness. Her family members endure her pride. But more than anything she can't shake feeling bad for the way her inability to understand God's love is negatively impacting her marriage. Worse too- this great void of love is affecting her sex and she has been too ashamed to admit it. Who would understand that? Attempting to keep back tears, she went on to describe her inner torment. During sex she imagines herself being someone else, or being with someone else, because even after all she has learned about the goodness of sex- she still struggles with comprehending that sex is anything other than dirty. At this point she just wept because she couldn't take it. She was exhausted from always talking about God and yet constantly feeling desperate to simply be with Him.

In Song of Songs (a great book in the Bible) God uses Solomon to illustrate, in extravagant detail, the passion between a man and a woman. As I decided to really read into this book this morning (using the New Living Translation), I felt as if I had uncovered a hidden treasure. God's word really is alive and active and the revelation of truth that I gained as I started my day is one that I pray will lead you into being further rooted and established in God's love.

All throughout Song of Songs we see a kind of dialogue between this couple. In reading the first few chapters I was struck by how much these 2 lovers delight in each other. Starting from the beginning the woman says, "Kiss me and kiss me again for your love is sweeter than wine". (1:2) My pastor, Brian Sumner, said that the word used for love here in the Hebrew means: chemistry, romance, or erotic attraction. So this woman is extra excited with romantic feelings of love toward the man.

Then the man responds a bit later in the chapter by telling her how gorgeous and amazing she is. He says, "How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves." (1:15) So they go on to lavish love on each other by expressively adoring every part of each other.

I love the picture of God's design for romance that Song of Songs portray. We are to be outward about our love for our romantic partner. Why? Well, ideally we have sought God about if we are supposed to in a relationship with this person. Then once He confirms it, which He really does, then we can be confident that our relationship is His best for us. Once we know that then we know that God is going to be giving us His heart for that person. We will see the other person with an increasing awareness of the love of God for them. We have eyes to see their gifts, their strengths, the beauty in their physical features, and all sorts of amazing wonders about them will stand out to us. If that is how God feels toward them, then who better to communicate the love than you, their committed romantic partner and friend? *However everyone is different in how they receive love so I encourage you to look into the "5 Love Languages" so that you can be most effective in showering your sweetheart with the love they need.

In my understanding of Song of Songs the couple gets married in chapter 4. Then we are able to read into their sexual experience. So again we see the man pouring out romantic compliments over his new bride. He begins with her head, her face, and her smile. Then he moves downward and affirms her in a more sexual tone- offering loving acceptance of her breasts and her thighs. He says in the midst of this, "You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes." (4:9)

As the man praises the magnificence of his new wife, he speaks of the sacred perfection of her sexuality. He recognizes the privacy of this moment, he acknowledges that this precious woman is about to give him a very expensive gift. Her sexuality does not come cheap- it is a "treasure", a "private garden", "a secluded spring, a hidden fountain". (4:12)

How amazing! As women our sex is a treasure- not something to be treated as trash. In a culture polluted by divorce, pornography, and adultery- God declares sex a private treasure. Not to be broadcasted or shared with strangers. We are to actively delight in our spouses and not allow images of anyone else to replace them.

In 4:16 the woman invites her groom to fully enjoy her. She says, "Come into your garden, my love, and taste its finest fruit." She has declared that her sex is now his.

We see the man's response, "I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride!" (5:1) He has received her sex as his own.

There is so much to love about sex and romance, but we will only ever be totally satisfied in it if we trust God with it. God created it. He knows exactly where the greatest pleasure is in it all. Sex and romance done the way God intends us to do it, is to be an example of His relationship with us. We, the Bride of Christ, delight ourselves in Him. God, the Groom, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, delights in us- His Bride, His Children, His Creation.

We open ourselves to Him, standing before Him, hiding nothing, presenting all that we are to Him, and we welcome Him to be physically present within us.

God beckons us to Himself in Jesus Christ, and as He overwhelms us with His perfect and passionate love, He teaches us how to be passionate about our loved ones.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What is love?

Love. I love you. Love you lots.Love you forever. Love you like a sis. Love your hair. I love this drink. I love the ocean. I don't care if we fight all the time, I love him. I love you mom. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love stinks. Love goggles. Love you. Love. Love. Love. Love.
What is love?

Real love. True love. It is not a feeling, though sometimes it feels like passion, excitement, and adrenaline. Like there is a little child inside of you and its Christmas morning and they are anxiously banging on your ribcage like its the door to mom and dads room as they scream "Come on! Come on! I've waited FOREVER for this!"
Love is powerful- causing old men to blush at the embrace of his wife of 60 years. It empowers the drinker to walk in sobriety and the smoker to throw away the pack. Love convinces women to lay down their desire to be thin as they experience the wonder and magnificence of carrying a child for 9 months. Love covers over a multitude of sins. 

He's late sometimes and he forgets things more often than not, but I love him. I love him.
I adore her. 
I can't imagine my life without them.
She is thoughtful. He protects me. 
She is kind and encouraging. He is humble. She never gives up on me.
He is faithful. They love me.

If I break a rule, or a bone, or a heart- they never leave my side.
Love does not suggest an absence of disagreements. Love recognizes the fallen state of all involved and relentlessly seeks to bless and to give and to serve.
Love is to pursue, even when fatigue, or PMS, or hurt feelings say not to. Love is considering others as better than myself. Love is considering myself an adored and precious daughter of the Most High God. Love is speaking the truth even if feelings are bruised in the process. But love is not proud, or rude, or self-seeking. 

Love is 2 bouquets of pink flowers on your 22nd birthday. Love is not giving me another cup of coffee when I have already had one. Love is driving me to volleyball practice when I was too young to drive myself. And its still driving to watch my dance performance, even after I rudely left without offering to give you a ride. Love is taking a bus to Colorado from Montana for my 16th birthday, and flying from Korea to Michigan to walk me down the aisle. Love is tattooing my initials on your hand. Love is taking me in every time I was out. And it is making the point to still be a parent even when I don't act like a daughter.

Love is giving your life to save my soul. Its taking the lonely and putting them in families.
Love protects, leads, guides, casts out fear, accepts, values, cherishes, provides for, helps, cheers on, always hopes, always trusts and always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

From Colorado to LA, From Wilson to Hover, From Lost to Found..

After a few week of talking about how nice it would be to have a blog... it is finally here. It feels strange though to know where to start. I know it is unrealistic to expect that I could communicate all that has transpired over the last few years into one paragraph, but I will do what I can and I pray that somehow this proves useful to someone.

In 2007 after my broken family had broken even more, my purity was gone, my sister and I both had become slaves to eating disorders and I was back and forth on whether or not at 17 years old there was any point in living- God gracefully intervened. Through participating in a production at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Co and experiencing love like I had never seen, I had given my life to Jesus Christ and was looking for some direction. A friend at the time encouraged me to look into Youth With a Mission and see what they may have to offer me. For shallow reasons only I decided that I would look into YWAM Los Angeles. I wanted to escape life in Colorado and the doors to go to LA flew wide open. I came to do a Discipleship Training School in the fall of that year and was extremely hesitant for the first few hours being near the YWAM campus but after an evening with my fellow students I was hooked. Over the course of the 5 month school I experienced God's provision ($7000 in 3 months), His faithfulness (freedom from an eating disorder) and a gorgeous new hope for the future, along with a humble new perspective on the world (I spent 2 months in Thailand serving girls rescued from prostitution, and poverty stricken children living in villages). I met my husband Shaun in the DTS and we began dating in March of '08. After going through another YWAM school (School of Ministry Development) and going on a 2 month outreach to Spain (created and led by Shaun), we then decided to staff a DTS together. My then 17 year old sister had recently given her life to the Lord and we managed to drag her, quite literally, to do the school herself. Again we saw God's provision as another $7000 came in for her to do the program. Shaun and were engaged that December and we led Meredith's outreach team for two months in India. On May 31st, 2009 Shaun and I were married in his hometown, Rochester Hills, Michigan. The wedding date was the anniversary of my grandparents' wedding which was on May 31st, 1947. Shaun asked my grandmother for her wedding ring, which was designed by my grandpa and also has a piece of my great grandmother's ring attached to it. Since our wedding over a year ago we have been living on the YWAM base in LA and have been working with the Discipleship Training School. We led our first school in January and are beginning to lead our second school on September 19th, 2010. My sister is on staff here in LA and will be a part of the DTS staff- leading her own small group and co-leading a team to South Africa in December for two months. Shaun has also started a skate ministry and is sharing the passionate love of Christ at a couple local skate parks, and I am leading a ministry geared towards the Arts, Entertainment, and Fashion Industries with a heart for using the performing hearts as a ministry tool.

Hmm.. I have only written one blog so far but I think that my first blog is my least favorite. There is too much information to tell all at once. Blog #2 will be better. 

All you really need to know is that God is ridiculous, Jesus is the only way to Him- and He is big and real and near and faithful and merciful and compassionate and slow to anger and abounding in love and what He says, He means. If you never read anything else I write that is okay, at least you got the main point.