Sheldon and I will have been married 5 months this February 20th, but even early in our relationship, a year and a half in to be specific (August 2013), God was teaching me something radical about Himself– something life changing– through our relationship. I married at 29 years old and was mostly single for 27 years before meeting my husband.
I want to share an old blog post with you now. As a married woman reflecting on this day, there is just so much truth in how God spoke to me, and I believe He has a fresh revelation to bring forth from it now, no matter what season of life this piece finds you in.
As we were driving the other day, traveling over one very long state of Florida, Sheldon and I talked about something we are learning to live out… love.
As we talked, I realized something that I literally never have before and I decided to share my heart with him about it… actually, it felt risky and I was trembling as I spoke.
“Sheldon,” I said quietly.
“Yes, lil lady?” He responded as jovially as always.
“I have really fallen for you… deeper than I have ever fallen for anyone. I know you probably know that but I feel I need to talk about it. With you.”
He simply nodded and glanced over long enough to notice that I had become serious… nervous even. He could tell this was heart-felt and worth turning down the Temptations a few notches.
I continued, “My love for you is different and deeper than any love I’ve ever known. It’s grown so far… so big… and… well, it hurts.”
He looked over again, more quickly this time. This was an abrupt change to where I believe he thought my ideas were going.
“Maybe you don’t know what I mean or just don’t know yet. Maybe you do and haven’t said, but sometimes the thought of losing you… God forbid… makes me ache from the inside out. It’s so weird!” I chuckled then, realizing the seeming absurdity of my dramatic speech.
I saw he was about to respond, so I halted him mid-breath by adding, “It makes me feel out of control, and although I realize it’s the natural progression of love to become a gradual part of the person you love, it makes me scared that I will put you first before the Lord. You know how that has kept me from deeper romances in the past. I’ve literally pushed them away because of my fear, irrational or not, that somehow I would replace my intimacy and dedication for God, with a mere man. A temporal being. An earthly love.”
My thoughts ended there, as my heart picked up pace in anticipation of what I might hear next… would he think I was crazy for feeling for him so deeply already…
Would he consider my heart crazy for risking so much?
…and then he blew me out of the water with his wisdom in response to my emotional overthrow.
“I totally understand and you’re not crazy for feeling that way. “The two shall become one,” (We’ve been referencing this verse in jest a lot as we’ve been learning to overcome our individualistic ways!). That’s a painful process, and it’s a sacrifice of self, but if you feel that deeply for me and have that strong of feelings at the thought of losing me, just think how Jesus feels at the thought of being replaced. His love is waaaaaay deeper and stronger than we’ll ever be able to give, and yet he risks sharing us with the loved ones he gives us on earth, knowing that we could choose to focus on them instead of Him. We’re worth the risk. He hurts at the thought of us loving something or someone more than Him. And yet He chooses to love us anyway.”
“First. He LOVED us first,” I added as cement to his already solid proposal.
“I never want you to love me more than you do Jesus, baby. He loves you better than I ever can or will,” Sheldon continued, “and as long as you seek Him first, above me or anything or anyone on this earth… He will add all of the things you desire most to you… like our love. And the more we love Him and seek His kind of love, the better we’ll understand how to love each other.”
I asked Sheldon for his blessing in sharing this personal story of ours because it taught me something brand new about the love of Christ. I feel there are a few more people than me that continue to be blown away by the depth of His perfect love.
Jesus sacrificed His life for us. He gave it all. He hurt in ways we truly cannot understand, but as a friend I had coffee with this week pointed out, Jesus was tempted in every way and yet endured, even to the cross, without sinning. Through His choice of obedience in spite of temptation, He overcame. And so must we to be like Christ. He is our great example in all things. And just like overcoming sin, we must seek Jesus first for that victorious and loving spirit to overwhelm us in word and in deed. It’s not enough to say we love Jesus if we are numb to choosing others and our stuff over Him. He is so jealous for us.
I get jealous; I’ll admit it! I try not to, I pray through it like a good Christian girl should… but in the end, I want to be 1st place in the lives of those I love most. Specifically, in the eyes of the man I love most and want to be my groom. And there’s the point. Jesus is the spotless groom and we are His radiant bride. He longs for us with a love that is so pure… so transparent… He LONGS to reveal to us the truth of who He is and how He feels about us, His BeLoved.
1 John declares that God. Is. Love.
I want to be LOVED more than anything else in this world and well, as I write, it is confirmed… I want to fall in love so deeply with the Lord that the chest pains I have at the thought of losing the earthly man I love pale in comparison to the ones I have when I am found distant from my heavenly love: my God.
I love Him because He first LOVED me. Period.”