Today, Seth went to the shooting range with his brothers. He returned with a rather impressive target. It was his first attempt shooting a nine millimetre baretta, or whatever.
He was so proud, in fact, that, when I wasn’t looking, he posted it in the office.
There’s just one problem with this. The office is also the guest bedroom.
That’s right, when guests stay with us, they will think twice–maybe thrice–before they mess with our personal things.
Over the past few years there has been an increase in noise about how it is a mistake to believe that there is such a thing as gender roles within the covenant of marriage. The topic has been around for decades, but recently I have been immersed into an academic setting that is permeated with an almost militant and martyr-complex regarding the promotion of an anti-gender role ideology. The attitude that is expressed verbally (directly or with strong innuendo) and through required reading is that anyone who dares to read the Bible for what it says (without doing verbal gymnastics) regarding gender roles is at best an ignorant fool but more likely a promoter of abuse, chauvinism and oppression. A non “straw-man” presentation of a complementarian theological position has yet to be demonstrated in this particular academic setting.
As a point of clarification, I do not have an issue with the academic institution having an egalitarian stance. It is the nasty and derogatory attitude toward those who hold a different view that is arrogantly expressed (by some, but not all of those employed at the institution) that I find to be saddening and irritating.
While watching some videos on the Gospel Coalition website I came across a simple presentation of biblical gender roles from a complementarian point of view. Stephen Um gives a brief, simple presentation with a practical application in the video linked to below.
Passion. Grief. Self-deception. Conviction. Illumination. Pointed humor. Repentance. Creativity. Conviction. Dedication. True love. Godly love. The poem I’ll Wait for You by Janette…ikz contains it all. It is a poem that I strongly suggest all singles to listen to… all singles being everyone who is not married. In fact, all who are married should give it a listen as it gives great insight into the struggles of a single person and helpful counsel for you to utilize when with singles.
I know the struggles of being single. I know the struggles from being in a relationship but living sexually pure. Having a view of purity that is not self-focused but rather focused on the glory of God and with deep love for my future spouse reduced the weight of living under a condemning law. It freed me to have a servant’s heart in regards to my sexuality. The focus of purity also kept my view of sex beautiful as the Bible intends for sex to be viewed in the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. Having this mindset did not reduce my passion and lust, but it made it more manageable because I was living unto the expressed will of God (1 Thessalonians 4:3. For more on this listen to The Will of God from Oasis Christian Community). In the end, by the grace of God, I maintained my sexual purity and entered my marriage as a virgin. Now, I enjoy the purity of sex within the marriage covenant with my lovely wife.
Knowing the struggles against the pressures of society, peer pressure, and internal lust in regards to sexuality causes me to have great compassion on those who are single. It can seem much easier to give in to the pressures, yet do so with the self-deceiving excuses of “this will keep the person around”, “this will show my love”, “it is no big deal”, “they will change”, “we are married in our hearts”, “it is ok as long as we are in love”, “it is only sex”, “if it hurts anyone, it will only be me”, “we’re going to get married anyways”, “it would be against my biological desires as God made me not to”, and on, and on, and on. In the end, all of the self-deception comes down to, “I don’t trust God in this area of my life. When it comes to sex, I am my own god”. Ironically, claiming to be your own god means you are actually a slave to sin. A slave deluded into thinking that you are a in control.
It is one thing for a non-Christian to live under the slavery of their sex drive and act upon their sexual impulses without much reservation, and even a form of celebration when engaging in sex outside of marriage. They are simply living out their passions under the illusion of freedom that sin sometimes provides.
For Christians it is another story. It is a sad story. My heart aches and I have compassion and understanding for those Christians who have given into their lust, but have a repentant heart and then strive through the power of Christ to live sexually celibate until marriage. It is those who boldly profess faith in Christ yet unrepentantly and even cavalierly live sexually active lives that baffle, enrage, and sadden me all at the same time. Yes, we are all sinners who sin, even if redeemed sinners. But part of being a Christian is permitting the inward speaking of the Holy Spirit and the outward speaking of the Scriptures to change us inwardly and outwardly (in our living) into the image of Christ. For a person claiming to believe in Jesus to knowingly live contrary to God’s expressed will for our lives without repentance is stupefying.
All singles, especially Christian singles, heed the words of I’ll Wait for You. Let the Word of God penetrate your heart and become your food, supply, and strength as you wrestle with the passions and desires of the flesh. Remember that the God who created the universe, who created you, who died upon a cross for you out of love, has your best in mind. A young lady named Rashell Kimball has lived her life this way and with great insight said, “I’d rather do it right than do it right away” (check out a blog post based on that quote). Wise and godly words for all of us to heed.
According to common talk, money is the number one cause of divorce.
Maybe a couple got married, were making decent income, but just disagreed with how to spend the money.
Perhaps they had plenty of money and one or both of them spent even more than they had.
Maybe one spouse never learned how to manage money before getting married.
Maybe they both made bad decisions involving credit, savings, or everything.
Whatever the case, money can cause stress and anxieties that no marriage can successfully ignore.
In our marriage, Seth is by no means financially idiotic. He managed his money just fine before I came along. I follow a more strict regimen. Together, we make enough to get by and enough to get ahead and even enough to save a bit. We just have to play it a little close to the vest in order to be more successful in this area of our marriage.
But it’s no wonder that money can cause such a riff in a marriage that it’s difficult to recover. Impossible for some.
A disagreement in this area can cause ruin for the whole family. Too much debt can cause so much pressure on bread-winners that they collapse. Houses are lost. Electricity is turned off.
Let’s not forget how powerful the force of money can be. Bribes. Blackmails. Cover-ups. Possession. Such power can fuel resentment and hatred.
Personally, I was surpised at how easy it has been for me to share money with Seth. I thought that I’d have some sort of ill feelings or emotions that would scream, “Hey! You’re wasting MY money on coffee!?” I haven’t had that feeling even once. Not at all. At the root, I am sure this is because I sincerely care for Seth. But, also, he doesn’t abuse or waste money. Besides, it’s his money, too. He makes a living. Who can tell if that dollar cup of coffee on Mondays is financed by his income or mine? It comes from the same card!
Hopefully, we’ll continue to build our marriage on this awesome Foundation we have started. Hopefully, we’ll continue to be open with one another. Honest. Accepting. Loving. Tender. Then, when tough times come, we’ll get through them. When finances are stressful, we’ll persevere.
So, we’ve been married over six months. Statistically, Mars Hill in Athens, we are working to keep the joy of this beautiful thing called marriage. Thankfully, we are both on winter break. His primary flock has fled for winter break and I am enjoying winter break from teaching. This has provided time to relax, sleep in, cook, and enjoy one-on-one time with one another.exit the honeymoon phase by the sixth month. While we are certainly not chillin’ on the Mediterranean beach or exploring
During this time, though, we’ve both had time to reflect and realize that we have not been appropriately paying attention to our spiritual needs. In an effort to jumpstart a change in this area of our lives, we are declaring a media fast for tomorrow. We will spend time in The Word–together and apart–and will fast phones and phacebook. And any other type of communication media. All electronics are not off limits, but the most distracting ones are: facebook, internet, video games, television, Netflix, texting, etc.
This is not something I feel everyone should do and I am certainly not saying that these are inherently evil; however, I have most certainly overused these and underused my Bible–and my prayer time.
Besides this so-called media fast, Seth and I are taking steps to make changes in our everyday life. Seth has contacted his two closest buddies to attempt a weekly conference call and Bible study/prayer. I have gotten information about a women’s Bible study down the road, which is attended by a woman on Seth’s financial support team. Only problem: It’s on Monday nights, when Seth is off work. I’d really like to find one that’s on Tuesday nights, since Seth will be gone next quarter until 10:30 or 11:00 at night.
I know that I really need accountability in my life–other women who love the Bible and mentoring. This is, perhaps, the biggest thing missing in my new married life. Pray that we will remain consistent and faithful in this aspect of our lives. Pray that we will not allow major life changes to negatively impact our reliance on The Word and godly fellowship.
I did it. I just got back, actually. I went to the gym. And, yes, I even worked out.
Now, if you know me, you know that I am not very athletic. A thin girl. Rachel Sullivan calls me “deceptively unfit.” I was not raised in an athletic family. I played volleyball in middle school and a little bit of high school, but the most running I’ve ever really done was when I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off during high school in college. I was so busy working and schooling; it was nuts.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t work out so hard that I had to wring out the sweat from my clothes; I did something simple: the treadmill. I did 20 minutes: ran 1.33 miles and it didn’t seem terrible.
This was a new venture for me. I’ve never belonged to a gym and, as it stands now, we are only enjoying a free one-week trial at the gym down the street.
While I was there, I began to think about the view of the gym versus the view of The Church. Hear me out.
How the Church behaves like a gym:
Many people claim they are “not gym people;” many people claim they are “not church people.” I’m one of the former people. I claim that I am not a “gym person.” Yet, The Husband and I are planning on joining this gym and are going to make a 2-year commitment to boot. I am going to suck it up and start making physical activity–namely, gym-style exercise–a part of my normal routine. Eventually, I will be physically fit (as opposed to deceptively unfit) and my gym visits will become so much a part of my regular life that I will miss it when it’s gone–when I’m on vacation or whatnot. I wonder how many people decide to become “church people.” Do people ever decide to push themselves into getting involved with a church community? Furthermore, do these people ever get to the point where they miss church activities once they are unable to partake in them–like when they are on vacation or ill?
How the Church should not be like a gym:
People go to the gym with an isolated mentality. Gym-goers wear headphones to block out others and usually walk in alone, exercise alone, and leave alone. People should not go to church this way. Church-goers should come to church to encourage one another in their relationships with Christ and to be encouraged by others in their own relationship with Christ. People should not arrive at church, participate in worship without interacting with others, and then leave alone. The church isn’t meant to be a religious soliloquy. It is meant to be a place where one can find a Christian family–a mutually beneficial community.
How the Church should be like a gym:
Avid gym-goers go to the gym at least three times a week. They don’t just haphazardly make a trip to the gym. They implement discipline. They make exercise a priority in their daily lives, even on rest days. People should go to church this way. Church-goers should come to church on purpose; they should participate in the Christian life daily–serving, fellowshipping, Bible reading, and praying. People should not neglect any of these important aspects of Christian life, just as a person who wishes to be fit should not neglect a balanced diet, physical activity, and other healthy habits. Joining a gym doesn’t make a person fit, just as sitting in a church service alone doesn’t create intimacy with Christ. A person must make Christ the Savior the center of his or her life in order to live a life close to Christ.
We’ve almost been married for three months. So, essentially, we’ve spent three months together as husband and wife. Our fingers have been effectively chafed from the new wedding bands; we’ve hung up all our travel pictures and wedding gifts; I’m employed (Thanks be to God!); Seth is getting ready for the school year; grocery shopping happens regularly; we’ve had a budget meeting or two. Things are settling in quite nicely.
That’s not to say everything has been 100% perfect. We are both imperfect and we irritate one another. But I’ve found Seth to be an incredibly patient man (exactly what I expected!) so far and we are definitely reaping the benefits of reading Love and Respect before we got engaged. We are so glad that my friend suggested we read it.
At any rate, we are feeling very settled in our townhouse apartment. Seth is excited to know that we’ll be staying here for a few years; he has moved around several times in the two years I knew him leading up to our wedding: an apartment, a friend’s house, a guys off-campus house. I’m no longer waking up wondering where I am and why I hear these citified noises outside. We’re getting used to the light switches, we’ve installed a wireless doorbell on the back door, and we’ve switched some electrical outlets around so I don’t have to hold the hair dryer plug in the socket in order for it to work.
And yet, things are going to continually change:
- In a few weeks, campus church will start back up again. Seth will be back into full, long hours for the first time since becoming a husband.
- In October, Seth will begin graduate school, which will last around two and a half years. He’ll have a lot of extra reading to do, papers to write, and classes to attend.
- Winter will arrive soon, which I always hate; and I will be learning how to navigate winter in this yank part of the country–with the crazy Columbus drivers
Yes, things are going to continue changing. Eventually, there will be children, who will bring with them all sorts of needs requiring flexibility and adaptation. So, I’ll settle in with this new season and adapt when necessary.