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Fixing the Focus

(Photo by Alejandro Avila from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-book-close-up-decoration-288008/)

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a wedding in New Orleans. We walked in just as the ceremony began and slid into our seats. The wedding was out doors and the weather was perfect. The wedding party strolled in, paying close attention to the wobbly stones under foot.

We all rose and the beautiful bride made her entrance. A big smile crossed her face as she floated, escorted by her father, to her groom. The officiant began by asking that we pause and take a moment to reflect on marriage. Each time he began however, there came the rumble of motor cycles and the cheers of passersby. I chuckled to myself as I reflected on the moment and marriage. Throughout the rest of the ceremony there were pauses while ratchet music played in the background, steamboats whistled, and people walking the streets cheered.

As the ceremony closed I thought, “Wow! What a beautiful picture of what I have learned about marriage.”

Now, wait. I know you think I’m crazy. How do ratchet music and steamboat whistles reflect marriage?

Hahahaha! So, here is how I see it. Each time the distracting sounds began I looked more closely at the bride and groom. Through the distraction and slight irritation of the guests, the bride and groom continued to look deeply into each others’ eyes. They smiled and breathed in the moment.

Here is the thing. Life is always full of distractions. Whether it is the demands of work, pressure from friends and family, the allure of an attractive, attentive person, financial struggles, fertility issues, or children tugging and pulling. As life happens, where is your focus? Are you focused on your spouse and leaning on the strength of the Lord? Or, are you allowing the ratchedness into your line of focus?

The ratchedness.

The ratchedness.

I love weddings. Weddings are a beautiful picture of a bright hope. A promise. I love weddings, but sometimes they are difficult to attend. The tough and honest reality is that no matter how hard we try to block out the distractions, we are not perfect.

Weddings are a great reminder of the love I have for my husband, the commitment that I made to God to love him. Weddings are a great reminder of all the ways I have failed to love him. The ways he has failed to love me. The cracks, the pain, the broken promises rise to the surface in the face of the bright shining promise standing at the top of the isle.

Weddings are also a reminder of God’s sweet grace in spite of the pain. His unending, unflinching, uncompromising, unfailing love. HIS. Hallelujah!

                                       “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,                                                                      for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast                                                                     all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the                                                   power of Christ may rest upon me. 
II Corinthians 12:9

Weddings are a reminder of the sweetness of a true, tested, tried, and triumphant love. After some very extreme trials over the last few years, my husband and I have come to know God in a much different way. We used to say we relied on God and He was our foundation, but He wasn’t. Not for real. When God is the foundation of your marriage He is not just a savior. He is not just good for getting you out of mess and covering your sins. God at the foundation means He is also Lord of you life. This means going to His word when you come to a fork in the road. This means listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, seeking wise counsel, having accountability partners, and submitting to His wise will. It means that when you are broken and hurting you turn to Him and not the temporary comforts of this world.

Looking at my own wedding pictures … somewhere along the way we let the ratchedness slip into our line of focus. Somewhere along the way we decided our way was better than His way.
I don’t have the recipe for a perfect marriage because I am not a perfect person. We are not a perfect people. What I do have is a God who is perfect. And the 3 shall become 1. God’s perfect love creates the bridge between our very imperfect efforts. His grace keeps us through the good and terrible and horrible and amazing and unbelievable. 
It has been a long time since my last blog post. I am thankful for the bride and groom this past weekend – inspiration from your promising love story.. I am thankful for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for obedience. I am thankful for a God who is healing our marriage with each step we decide to take forward. 
Always Striving,
Joce
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