I jumped through the window of my two bedroom duplex, just blocks from the street known for drugs and prostitutes.
I lost my key, and was afraid of the landlord.
I didn't know him and feared him being harsh or judgmental.
Still, it was there I spent hours sitting on the kitchen counters talking to my now husband. We talked about everything...and nothing.
We had conversations that went well into the evening. I knew that we had something. Something special words couldn't describe.
But, it's been twenty-four years; and after house payments, sixteen children living with us at one time or another, it can be hard to grab a piece of the counter, going back to the simplicity of that apartment.
Often times, we hear a lot about finding God. We preach for people to come to Him. But do we forget that seasoned relationships take extra care, specific nurturing, intentional pursuit in a way that isn't necessary for new relationships, built on freshness and emotion?
Hosea 6:3 says, "...Let us press on to know the LORD.”
Still sometimes, in marriage, and as Missional Women spending years or even decades with God, we must purposefully stir up faith, be intentional about keeping the fire alive in our hearts.
Here are 4 tips how:
1. Go on Dates - Daniel spent morning, afternoon, & evening, in set apart communion with God. He was intentional, premeditated, and didn't let the “law of the land”, or being thrown into the lion's den, detour Him from connecting with the one who mattered most. (Dan 6:1-38)
Just like in marriage, it would be wise to set apart time alone with God. Something happens in in quiet, when it's just you and the one you love.
2. Keep Talking - Don't ignore Him in the room – Have you ever seen older married people? Tragically, many of them stop talking to each other. And isn't that how we can treat God after years of relationship with him; like a stale, old spouse, who has become unnecessary, or irrelevant?
But the prophets of old knew to keep talking and pursuing fervently. They refused to shrink back from the one who is always standing in the room with us. And isn't it true, the measure we pursue Him, He pursues us? (James 4:8)
3. Have a right view of self, others, God – Isn't it true, breakdown in relationships can be due to a lack of understanding?
As an apartment dweller, I feared my landlord, so I never asked for another key. I acted like an illegitimate renter, though I had a signed contract to live there.
Sadly, I had the wrong view of both my identity and my landlords.
And like the landlord in scripture who gave his servant talents, the one regrettably hid what he was given because he had a wrong understanding of who his landlord was. (Matt 25:14-30)
What might change in us if we truly knew Jesus' goodness, the kind of love causing Him to lay down His live for us? And what if we lived fully from the true identity He gave us?
4. Be Bendable- If I were to guess, the thing I think Jesus came into contest with most about religious leaders of His day, is that their hearts refused to change.
Looking back, I don't think I would still want to be that twenty-one year old, sitting on the kitchen counter of my city dwelling, key-less apartment.
The changes He has made in me and my now spouse of twenty-four years have been good. Though He never changes, it is wise to be increasingly bending in obedience to His Word.
Friends, there is a lie that says, “It's o.k. if the fire dies after living missionally for years or even decades”.
But I challenge you today to press in, spend time, discovering our true identities, and bend towards the light, all the while falling even more in love with Him.
Because a life fully ablaze, shines brighter than any stale relationship.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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