Every time I study Scripture lately, I learn about marriage. Jesus pursues His bride (the church). We did not find Jesus. We are not Christians because we figured it all out. We are Christians because He pursued us. This means the husband should pursue the wife. & pursuing your wife does not end at marriage. God is constantly pursuing us. He pursues our HEARTS. Husbands should pursue the hearts of their wives - not just outwardly show affection without truly getting to know her heart.
Also, Jesus is willing to go first so His bride can follow. The husband is the spiritual leader in the relationship. However, submission is the wife's choice. I have to trust Christ to guide my husband & teach him to lead. Submission doesn't come easily to me. I have a tendency to think that I have a relationship with Christ, & since He talks to me, I know best. But I need to realize that in a Godly relationship, God lives in my husband, just like He lives in me, so God can talk to my husband too. This is why it's so important to choose a Godly husband. I should be more like Christ because of my relationship with my husband. If my husband is leading me in the wrong direction, our marriage is not serving its purpose.
Scripture teaches that my #1 ministry is my husband. If I neglect him, everything else I do is a joke. Since I'm not married, I still belong to my father. My family is my first ministry. I've been blessed with amazing parents. In the sermon about parenting, Josh said good parents first love Jesus, then each other. This is followed by love for their children, Scripture, & the church. My parents have been great examples of this. We are also taught that discipline must start with delight in the children. Parents should discipline because they want the best for their kids. They should instruct their children & teach them what to do before they mess up, & correct them in love when they do mess up. My parents do this for me, & while I'm not a parent, I try to do this for my sisters. None of us are perfect, so this can be frustrating for all of us at times, but I try to help them when they make mistakes, & lead them back to where they need to be. My prayer is that I am doing a good job of this.
Momma Burrough has also been like a second mother to me lately. I don't get to see my real mom as often as I'd like since she lives an hour & a half away, but I see Momma Burrough every Sunday. It's encouraging to have another mother figure nearby. I love the guidance she gives, as well as the girl talks & jokes we share. She's become a great friend & mentor to me.
Another thing I've learned a lot about recently is community. All gospel community comes back to the gospel. If it is not based in Christ, it is not truly gospel community. Community is not about isolation. Genesis 2:18 says, "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” When you struggle, turn to your gospel community. Don't bottle it up inside.
For me, this means being more open about my problems. I tend to hide things & act like nothing's wrong. This isn't Biblical. While we're not told to constantly complain, Scripture teaches that our community is there to help us. When I struggle, I generally turn to Whitney or to my "Shawnee family" - Rebecca, Laker, Blake, & Momma Burrough. They've been such a blessing to me, & no matter what I go through, they're there to offer prayer, Scripture, advice, love, & support.
That also means I need to be honest about my medical struggles. I feel much better than I did a few months ago, but I'm not 100% back to normal. (On that note - I go to the cardiologist Monday for more tests, if you need something to pray for!) I have days where I feel awful, & times when my blood sugar hates me, & I still can't do much physical activity without becoming exhausted. I need to let people help instead of acting like I'm fine.
For example, Laker, Rebecca, & Blake have been trying to hold me accountable with my diet (No sugar, & I need to eat 5 times a day). However, I've reeeaally been wanting marshmallows lately. Laker & I went to Blake's, & he had giant marshmallows. Without thinking, they gave me one. I didn't say anything & took a huge bite. When they realized I shouldn't have it, we all got into a wrestling match for custody of the marshmallow. Obviously, the guys won. I yelled, "I just want to be normal!" & Blake replied, "You don't see crippled people trying to walk!" I thought this was hilarious, but it's also true. I want to have a normal diet, but I can't, so I need to follow the one that was given to me. (As I said, submission is a struggle for me.)
Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run & not grow weary, they will walk & not be faint." This is my encouragement & prayer. I'll get better. Even though I get frustrated, I need to see that it could be a lot worse, & God is taking care of it. He'll use every bit of it for His glory.
Finally, God has been reminding me of the blessing of music. Blake, Rebecca, Laker, & I started a band called November Something. Sunday we all played together for the first time. We just did a cover of "I Can Feel a Hot One" by Manchester Orchestra, but for some reason, the 4 of us singing & playing together made me so happy. Laker, Blake, & Becc all play guitar, so they were helping me figure out the chords on guitar & transfer them to notes on my cello. It was complicated for me, so we were discussing it & working it out. Momma Burrough stopped us & said, "Coming from someone who is tone deaf & not musically talented in any way, I'm amazed by you guys. Hearing you play & discuss things is like hearing another language. Even though I can't understand it, it's beautiful. Think about it - Could you watch a movie in French without subtitles, simply for the joy of hearing the words spoken?" I'd never thought about it that way. Music is something I've always understood. But it truly is a gift from God & a talent that He blessed us with. I love the analogy of music as a second language - It's how some of us choose to speak to God, & a great way of communicating when words fail us. It's beautiful.
God is so wonderful, & I am so blessed. La vie c’est belle. Dieu est glorieux.