Incest, Homosexuality, & God’s Ideal

I love my job.

Last Monday night, at a teen girl’s Bible study on the book of Ruth, we read this from chapter one:

But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters!”

I could see the look of terror & confusion on the faces of the 6 girls sitting around me. I tried to explain the value of family/name/inheritances/etc. in that time period and the devaluing of women-especially widows.

But before I could drone on for too long, one of the girl’s said, much to the delight of some other girls in the room, “Oh, so incest is okay, but the gays aren’t?”

Good question!

[SIDE NOTE: It makes me VERY HAPPY that the girls are comfortable enough to say/ask these sort of things. That is a legitimate and completely understandable point!]

I didn’t address the comment too much right then. Partly because I was a little thrown off by it, and partly because I don’t want to make that the focus of the study. But this week when I meet with them, I want to talk about it-because it’s an excellent point, and I want the girls to understand what Christians believe and what we don’t believe. They are hearing a lot of WRONG things about Christianity (from Christians and non-Christians alike!) and I want to help them see where I (and the Factory) stand! And so here’s sort of what I want to say:

God, as the creator of all things, made things for certain purposes. And He LOVES what He made. One of the brilliant parts of His plan was to design male and female to compliment and complete each other-both in body and in self. He made them different, and He made them for each other. Then He established the union of marriage, so that these two people would be committed to each other for life. In so doing, they would have the security of having ONE person who loves them, knows them, serves them-for a lifetime! It would take all that time to grow in understanding of the other person, and a lifetime to grow deeper in love with that one person. He decided to give humankind that long term love so that they could experience a depth of love that one could never experience with just short flings. Love planted in the security of a lifelong commitment, growing through the soils of perseverance, produce the most beautiful and precious flower of being fully known and fully loved.

God could have created just that. Man and woman who compliment each other-are different and help each other with their corresponding strengths and weaknesses, and give them the mandate to be loyal for life-so that their joy is ENORMOUS and their hearts are secure. BUT He did even more than that. He took it a step farther and created sex.

Knowing that a lifetime of commitment would be difficult in many ways, due to people’s own selfishness and the stresses of life-He created sex. The way He designed it is MIRACULOUS. Yes, it is to procreate-but it is so much more than that! It is for UNITY and it is for PLEASURE! In God’s brilliance He decided to give the couple that enters the challenging, rewarding lifetime commitment to one another the gift of intercourse. This gift would bring so much joy, it would bring a closeness and a oneness that is unlike anything else. It would cause the man and woman to love, know, cherish, and protect one another’s bodies. God infused chemical reactions into the process that binds the couple together in an even DEEPER unity and an even DEEPER adoration. It would tie them to each other. Such a unifying act with that one person strengthens their bonds of commitment. The deep intimacy, care, and dependency on one another’s strengths and differences brings about the most wonderful, delightful, glorious union.

THAT is God’s plan for marriage. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Isn’t that #goals? THAT brings US the most joy. And OUR utmost joy, brings HIM JOY.

So the reason He disapproves of homosexuality, is the same reason he disapproves of sleeping around, of having sex before you are married, the same reason He hates one night stands, and cheating spouses. It’s not his perfect plan. It robs us of the joy that we COULD be experiencing if we OBEYED him. That’s what God is all about-us loving him and finding joy and fulfillment in loving Him!

A couple of other things:

  1. I want to remind them of the kindness of this “marrying of relatives”, that incest is strictly forbidden in many parts of the Bible-but this is making sure family takes care of family, in a time where being a family-less widow was among one of the worst possible things could happen to a woman. Women couldn’t inherit anything, they had NO rights, and couldn’t get jobs to take care of themselves. For a widow without a family to take her in, the options were  pretty much just begging, prostitution, or starvation. Being a wife once again, would be protecting, providing, and honoring her. Weird and confusing, I know. But history is history!
  2. Homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin. God lists it among other sins like greed, pride, and stealing. I don’t want to elevate it to somewhere it shouldn’t be.
  3. I love the gays, JUST like I still love my friends who are sleeping with their boyfriends. I just think they are missing out on God’s BEST for them.
  4. God loves the gays. No one is going to hell because of their sexual preference. The only reason people spend an eternity apart from God is if they don’t love God –> meaning they don’t know him (@Jesus) –> meaning they don’t believe and trust Him –> meaning they don’t desire to obey Him.
  5. I don’t expect you  (as a non-Christian) to believe homosexuality is wrong-in fact, I expect you to believe it is FINE! If I were not a Christian, I would be fine with it too. Let’s be tolerate of each other’s views-and agree to disagree.
  6. Lastly, the Bible says that a marriage relationship (in it’s most perfect state) was given to be a picture of the relationship that God wants with humankind! God wants commitment, unity, delight, and teamwork with the Church! And that to me is really cool!

Writing this all out helps me process and prepare! Thanks for reading, and as always, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts!

marriage-2

 

A Single Believer’s Guide to Attending Weddings

I love weddings.

The beauty.

The joy.

The tears.

The message.

The speeches.

The creativity

The eating.

The dancing.

 

But for some of us who are not on the precipice of marital bliss, weddings can be…well…painful.

 

For the single mom who regrets her wedding day.

For the guy whose girl just left him.

For the girl who guys never fall for.

For the recently widowed.

For the girl who “wasn’t enough” to marry.

For the guy who was too late in asking her.

 

What do these people do as wedding invite after invite flood their mailbox? How do they prepare themselves for walking into yet another celebration feeling alone? How do they look forward to:

 

Sitting alone at the ceremony

Sitting out during the “couple dances”.

Sitting with all couples or families.

Or perhaps worst-sitting at the “single” table?

If you are a believer, I have 3 encouraging verses to share with you to help you honor God and enjoy the weddings you attend. These have wonderfully changed how I attend weddings and I can honestly say they are a JOY. Though during the wedding/reception the sting of singleness may still arise, its pain doesn’t linger, and I am truly able to rejoice in the day! I hope these help you to attend weddings with gospel rooted happiness, clarity of mind, and focus on others!

  • Pray for selflessness
    1. Romans 12: 15 says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. So, as you are tempted to think about your loneliness, your heartache, your etc. etc. etc., remind yourself that this. Is. Not. About. You! Yes, it may hurt, but take your eyes off your own pain and pray for eyes to see and rejoice in the excitement and joy of others. Pray for the ability to put your mourning on a shelf, and for the night, focus solely on praising the Lord for how he provided for this couple. How he blessed this couple. How he led this couple. Because it’s okay that he chose not to do that to you. His timing and his way is perfect, and he is to be praised in the land of plenty, and the land of drought.
  • Look for others to bless
    1. God is a God of comfort, and he desires and commands us to comfort other (2 Corinthians 1). Chances are that in this situation (as well as most situations) if you are slightly uncomfortable, there are others there feeling that exact same way as well. Try and find a person who looks like they need love, and make it your job to encourage them and help them have a joyful experience! By taking your eyes off yourself, and onto someone else in need-both you AND the other person will be blessed.
  • Let their love point you to a bigger Love
    1. In my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT point to focus on during weddings is this one. Ephesians 5:25-33 talks all about how a husband and a wife are simply a PICTURE of Christ and the church. So during the wedding think deeply on what their love tells you about God’s love for his people. Think about your “conversion moment” when you hear about when the couple first fell in love. Think about your “salvation prayer” or when you dedicated your life to Christ as they exchange their vows. As you drive to the reception, reflect on the journey of life God has given you. When you reach the reception, know that when you arrive in Glory, there will be a celebration for the Groom and his Bride that will go above and beyond anything this life has to offer. And as you feast, and dance, and laugh, know that love IS worth celebrating and in Christ you have the most glorious, perfect love ever offered.

So before you apply your waterproof mascara or put that church’s address in your GPS, pray. Pray for someone to bless. Pray for a heart of gratitude and joy. Pray for eyes to see the parallels between husband and wife with Christ and the Church. Pray that your affections for God are strengthened and increased. Pray that you can impact others at the wedding with the love of Christ. And know that when you pray, the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind (Phil. 4:7)-and I guarantee your wedding experience will be better because of it! 🙂

Also, quick shout out to the 2015 weddings I went to that were FULL of worship and joy: Amber & Christopher Gomes, Amy & Blair Fisher- I love the four of you DEEPLY and am SO thankful for your love, example, and friendships! ❤

P.S. Below are some of my favorite quotes about marriage! Enjoy!

"Marriage is two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love & consolation, a haven in a heartless world." Tim Keller:

"The love language of all marriages is self-denial." (Burk Parsons):

John Piper on marriage:

John Piper, Momentary Marriage:

I have this marriage, so blessed.:

Marriage:

Marriage:

And this one..hee hee hee…

A Question for my Married Friends

So this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

The Old Testament is full of the relationship between God and his chosen people being compared to a husband and wife. And then Jesus, in the New Testament of course, says that awesome bit in Ephesians 5 about husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the church. So I infer that the opposite is also true. Wives then are to love their husbands like the church love Christ, right?

So I’ve been asking myself, what does that really look like?

This is what I’ve come up with. God/Christ/Husband Figure is supposed to be the pursuer, the delighter, the sustainer, and the provider. That is what God does with his people. He chooses us, he lavishes love and (TOTALLY UNDESERVED) grace upon us. He is the one that keeps the relationship together. Though we are prone to wander (Lord, I feel it!), it is HE who fights for our unity. He gives his children all that they need and satisfies them.

The proper response of the church-is to be crazy about Jesus, right? We are to be all about praising Him, and lifting Him up,and helping others see Him as glorious and awesome as He truly is. We should LOVE being with Him more than ANY other thing, and we should respond to his love with delight and thanksgiving. We should be ALL ABOUT serving Him, and ALL ABOUT pleasing Him because we are so grateful for the way that He loves us.

Right?

And our marriages are supposed to reflect that, right? OBVIOUSLY, no couple will ever be perfect. And OBVIOUSLY we should NOT worship our husband, and we DON’T save our wives. But in a smaller, defaced humanistic sort of way, isn’t that what it should look like to the outside world and feel like to us?

I need to know what my married brothers and sisters think, because I know I dream big and am a die hard optimist. Am I seeing this correctly?

One day I hope to be married, and I so badly want people to watch the interactions my husband and I have, and say “that’s awesome”. So that my response will be: It’s awesome because it’s a reflection of God and us. And then they’ll be all like “whaaa” and I’ll tell them the gospel, and how awesome God’s love is, and how easy it is for me to serve Him with my life because of his love. Then I want to look to my awesome husband, and point out that though he is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from perfect (am I equally, if not farther from it), he loves me awesomely, which makes it’s easier to selflessly serve him.

Where am I wrong in this analysis? Where am I right? Help a sister out!

Mounted Scripture Art 16x20  Ephesians by ToSuchAsTheseDesigns, $45.00

If I Was in an Arranged Marriage

Imagine with me, that my awesome parents set me up in an arranged married.

Scary, but let’s go with it.

So they tell me that they have my amazing groom, and, crazy as it seems, hes royalty. Duchess Betty, now that has quite a ring to it. Anyway, I am going to marry this guy in a few years (he’s got family things to attend to before wedlock can happen) and that fortunately I am going to be able to talk with him via email, letters, chat, etc., but I won’t be able to see him face to face (or even Skype!) until the wedding day.

Humph. Well that is a bummer.

But just because I can’t SEE him, isn’t going to stop me from trying to get to know him AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE before we actually get hitched. I am going to talk with him ALL THE TIME, and read about his family and their history, get to know what his country will be like, and prepare myself to be his wife. Because, as much as possible, I don’t want to be surprised by anything! I want to know him so well so that when I finally do see him face to face, I already know him, and being with him is just what I imagined it would be. It won’t be a stranger I see in white that day, it’ll be my long distance best friend, and acclimating to full time life with him will be a breeze. 🙂

It would be really silly, unbelievable even, to be apathetic about seeing him. I would be a big ol’ goof if I didn’t want to get to know him as much as possible before the wedding, right?

Well…here’s the thing. I believe that one day I am going to see Christ, face to face. After years of getting to know him through letters and late night prayer conversations, finally, I will be with him. 

So here on this earth, I want to get to know him, and tell others about him so that they can get to know him. Just because I can’t SEE him, isn’t going to stop me from trying to get to know him AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE before we actually start spending eternity together. I am going to talk with him ALL THE TIME, read about him throughout history, get to know what his kingdom will be like, and prepare myself to be his bride.Because when our day comes, as much as possible, I don’t want to be surprised by anything! I want to know him so well so that when I finally do see him face to face, I already know Christ, and being with him is just what I imagined it would be. It won’t be a stranger I see in white that day, it’ll be my long distance best friend, Savior, King, and acclimating to eternity with him will be a breeze.

I Know Why You Are Still Single

I feel like I hear the question “What’s wrong with me? Why am I single?” on the lips of my dear female friends a lot. Whether they are 20 or 30 or somewhere in between, they seem to have somehow been convinced of the idea that their singleness is a result of something they are or are not.

They aren’t outgoing enough.

They aren’t thin enough.

They aren’t young enough.

They aren’t pretty enough.

They aren’t smart enough.

They just aren’t enough.

Let me tell you the real reason why you are single right now. It’s not because you are awkward, or overweight, or too homey or too make-upped, or too loud, or too quiet, or too anything. Because, let’s be honest, think about it, there are LOTS of happy, holy people who are married that are *seemingly* alllll those things.

It’s simple really. The only reason you are single right now is because God wills that to be.

And if God wills it to be-it is the BEST thing for you.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can ABSOLUTELY be playing a part in that process. If your desire is to be married, there are things you can be doing to aid you in getting there. You (and others) can be (and should be!) praying. You can respond to godly pursuit. You can find ways to mingle with godly, mature men. You can read books on godly masculinity, femininity, and relationships. And all the while you should be working towards sanctification. Not for/because of a one day relationship-but because of a deep desire to please and look like the Lord.

But ultimately, it is up to the Lord. He is sovereign over all things.

[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will.
(Ephesians 1:11)

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
(Psalm 115:3)

I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
(Job 42:2)

He can easily bring someone into your life. He can easily incline someone’s heart to you.(Proverbs 21:1!) He could have easily had you married years ago! But that was not His will for your life.

A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way?
(Proverbs 20:24)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. . . .  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
(James 4:13-15)

God chose to allow a season (or lifetime) or singleness, and that is okay. He has a reason for it. And that reason is that through this season He is going to be able to work in you in remarkable ways for His name’s sake. He is not punishing you. God only allows and permits things in your life to make you look more like Christ. There may come a time, my dear, dear, sisters, where that refining process of sanctification will take place in the covenant of marriage, but until then, don’t be anxious! Concentrate on knowing who God is, and being what God calls you to be, instead of concentrating who “he” (future-Mr.-godly-pants-spouse-husband-man) might be and wondering what he would want you to be.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Your Savior is your first love, your ultimate love, your only perfect love, and your only everlasting love. If it is in God’s sovereign plan for you to have a spousely love,  it will happen! Not too early. Not too late. All in his perfecting time and because of His sovereign will.

~ Psalm 37 ~