Killing the Holy

“Hot (darn), you sexy beast!”

“Ohhhh, be still my heart, those eyes!”

It’s comical really, this stupid thing called Social Media. I’ll be the first to admit, I spend way too much time on Facebook. I was dumb (once upon a time…?) and “liked” things before I knew what that would mean. So, on occasion, I get subjected to actors’ mugshots and personal lives I really don’t need to acknowlege. (Like the ones above.)

Older women verbally throw themselves at younger men because (newsflash) the photoshop worked. Men very quickly type durogatory things about women no one should ever have to hear… simply because, well hey, the picture’s on Facebook.

It’s harmless, right?

As life keeps marching forward, I’m being faced with one very drastic, terrifying truth. As we sit behind our well-veiled computer screens, somehow personal dignity and boundaries go down the drain. My culture is completely satisfied with making everything that was once sacred public. We’ve gotten used to the humdrum of fantasizing behind a computer screen and we’ve forgotten how to live in the moment for the glory of God. 

It’s just one look, right? It’s just one dreamy idea that my husband will look like Tom Seleck in Heaven, right? (Yuck. No.) … It’s just one objectified exclamation that I could drown in a stranger’s eyes, right? I’ll be godly and satisfied in my husband or wife/significant other as soon as s/he shows up. Really, it’s fine. No one will notice, anyway.

The Bible talks about how we are given the moment–nothing more. Which can go both ways; I understand that. As a believer in Jesus Christ, though, shouldn’t that mean living in such a way to impact the people who are right in front of me right this moment? Who gets ignored while we spend time purusing pictures of people we don’t even know and/or don’t really care about?

Who doesn’t hear about Christ because we’re too busy keeping up with the Joneses and comparing our dirty laundry to someone else’s drama?

The hardest question of all: Who gets their fear confirmed.. Their fear that their worth really is in a bra-size or the definition of their six-pack rather than in the reality that they are a beautiful creation designed to pursue the God of the Universe?

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I am 2nd

In some ways, I press forward in my faith to honor the people who expect me to fail. In one aspect, I do it for the precious ones who knew me when christianity was a status symbol, rather than a Covenant between myself and my Savior. 

They need to know one thing: 

If they’re waiting for me to fail… I will. 

It’s the astonished tone to their voices, “Wait. You… You still believe this Jesus thing works? Don’t you know life without boundaries is so much freer?” The dearest of friends guffaw good-naturedly and mutter the same idea over and over again. 

“Come find me when you give up. Come find me when you’re finally done playing an invisible game.” 

I was reminded the price of my belief in Christ tonight as my commitment, and the shared commitment of another like me, was met with disgusted, confused and annoyed silence. 

My faith has nothing to do with my ability to be good enough, on the straight and narrow enough, or even loud enough about my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God as my savior. Though all those things are a portion of a lifestyle, relational Christianity, that makes it all about me… When it’s not. 

God used a highly frustrated friend to remind me that my faith in Christ is about giving Christ the chance to shine more brightly through my brokenness than I ever could simply out of sheer will. 

When I told the truth about my convictions, my heart broke because I knew he wouldn’t agree. My heart broke as I was silently taunted by the reminder that I was the most unqualified to speak truth. But instead of fighting, I was met with complete silence and God simply whispering: 

This is my story, not yours. You spoke Truth tonight. You might not next time, but it’s not about your ability to convince anyone about My existence. It’s about your transparency in showing how quickly and fully My grace, love and redemption pursue you when you run from Me. 

Hurt Forgiveness

Dearest Enemy,

I have no idea where you are; honestly, I have no idea if you’re still alive. I have no idea if I ever come to mind anymore. I pray I don’t. 

You told me once that your greatest accomplishment was taking the place of God in my life. It shook me up then, and saddens me now. You’ve never known what it’s like to serve, only what it’s like to manipulate and control. No wonder you think you’re a god. You’ve never been forced to come to terms with the reality that you are anything but the God you hate.

Three years ago, I thought I’d finally gotten to the point of forgiving you. It was easier to pass you in town, hear you speak my name and bring up memories that used to make me laugh. Three years ago, I was fairly certain I had grasped what it meant to move on and love you from a distance. Today, 5 years after you became a memory instead of a reality, I’ve finally realized how very wrong I was. So for that, if you ever read this, I ask your forgiveness for lying.

Forgiving you means wanting God to rescue you from yourself. Up until today, forgiving you meant I no longer let you control me. Until today, forgiving you meant not being afraid of what you thought with the way God has restored what you believed you’d captured. Until today, forgiving you meant not asking God to use me in exacting justice. Forgiving you meant letting you believe everything was okay and accepting the fact that restoration and reconciliation would never be provided to truly make it okay.

I realized today that I had truly forgiven you when I fought back tears over the reminder that many of my loved ones–often times myself included–struggle to pray for you… and taking such a blessing away from you felt wrong. You came to mind and my heart sunk because I know you still believe you have more power than the Creator. My heart didn’t sink out of fear, anger or resentment; it sunk out of absolute sorrow.

You rarely come to mind anymore. God’s given me overwhelmingly more than I could ever comprehend in understanding what redemption, love and authenticity look like in relationship. Honestly, the chapter in my story that holds your influence makes me value love even more because I know what it’s like to be lied to. For that, though you had nothing to do with the redemption in that reality, I’m thankful for you in that way. I love better because you taught me the difference between love and manipulation.

When you do come to mind, just know that I do the one thing you detested the most–I pray. Despite the tears, I’m reminded no one runs forever from the grip of Jehovah Jireh. I’m reminded that my sin separated me from God the same exact way yours does now. God provided my freedom, redemption and renewal… I pray some day you let Him provide yours.

Whenever you see me, I pray you only see Him. It’s a daily, moment-by-moment struggle, but I am forgiving you. Though I may not be able to laugh at reminders of you just yet, I can feel God’s smile. His forgiveness of me has given me enough to forgive you. 

— Cass

Spiritual bonding

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There is honestly very little humorous about this post. Unless, of course, you count the fact that it’s humorous that a single individual was drafted to write on the subject of spiritual bonding in marriage. Recently, a ministry I have the privilege to work with here in Alaska finished our rough draft for an abstinence curriculum. It became exceedingly clear that we needed to do what our secular counterparts have not – address how intimacy outside of marriage is not void of that eternal spiritual bond.
I humbly wrote this from the perspective of someone that sees this subject as what it is- something not addressed until choices are made and it’s too late to hide yourself from consequences. Marriage is not quite simply, “making babies and having fun”. Neither is sex outside of marriage. It’s so much more.
.. God said to write for His glory. Apparently, that meant His greatest work done through and in me were the subjects that I had no personal ground to work off of. Ah well, find the otherness of God, treasure it, and learn to laugh anyway.

*****

Spiritual bonding is that scandalously intimate aspect of relationship that is too deeply rooted in a couple’s union to even attempt to describe it. Every couple knows when their union has reached that benefit. Very few, however, can grasp how it happens. It’s something that, when done correctly, can only be seen as a true act of God. At risk of being accused of spiritualizing a cop-out, the reality is, it’s a God-thing.

Aside from the six day creation, marriage was one of the first eternal bonds God created. Marriage was, and still is, seen as a beautiful depiction of the relationship between Jehovah and His creation. As Christ stated in John, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” That love, in it’s purest form, is the love that relationship was meant to be founded on because of what it illustrated between The Creator and His Creation. When relationship is founded on anything less than that agape love, spiritual bonding is tossed about like a wave in the ocean.

Sometimes sex can be construed as a spiritual experience, but is that all God meant it to be? Sometimes, there’s a seemingly quirky revelation that the couple is experiencing their mate at the spirit level; but it is rarely handled with the respect and awe it deserves. In a way, without Christ, that spiritual bond is so rare that it gets ignored out of fear of what it is. Instead of diving deeper; because the uncertainty is worth the knowledge of Christ as well as the knowledge of their beloved; the couple resorts to sticking with the deeply caring, yet platonic love. Spiritual bonding never eternally works between a couple when that union is void of Christ. Whereas sex was once meant to bring Christ into the relationship, it is now an act to relieve a desire.

In marriage, the fact within a command that, “The two shall become one,” is precious. The beauty within the physical only exemplifies what the couple already knows. When their Beloved hurts, they hurt. When their Beloved rejoices, they rejoice. The impeccable oneness that is added within the relationship during sex isn’t seen as a shock, just simply a Godsend of a fact. There are secrets shared void of words during that depth of vulnerability. You know your beloved, your beloved knows you.

Some translations interpret the term, “you shall know your beloved” as “you shall see your Beloved.” There is a depth to this that can never be truly explained. As someone once stated, “Because I see (her) I know, that I know, that I’ll always know, and there is quite simply very little that I will never get to know. She’s mine. I’m hers. That can’t change.” This, friends, is beautiful; if it is seen through the eyes of marriage. There is a protection of each mate that goes untouched. There is a vulnerability there that is shared that is only magnified when sex is shared. It can’t leave. It does not depend on your attraction, your situation nor your temporary decisions. God created that bond to occur between two when they form a precious union.

The heartbreak comes when individuals give themselves away with any chance they get. What could be seen as a lack of judgment, an act of loneliness, or even -sadly – an act of revenge will still hold consequences never considered the moment before two unite. The phrase, “When two become one” is not reserved only for those who have a marriage contract. Sex, as it is the will of God, brings union. That union brings a vulnerability that encourages a spirit-deep bond with your mate. If that mate is only temporary, you find yourself at a loss for words as you discover that although your body may have walked away from that temporary mate, your heart and mind have not. Spiritual bonding is beautiful, but when ignited wrongly, it comes with a high price.

Choose to wait, if simply for the fact that giving the spirit-deep bond to more than one person will make it harder to give yourself wholeheartedly and completely to someone when marriage becomes the answer. Choose to wait, it is the greatest gift you can give.