You know how relationships always evolve? Like when I first moved here, I so desperately wanted friends I ended up chasing down a sweet girl at church and opened my mouth to an outpouring of nonsense and somehow managed to invite them over for dinner. By the end of the conversation though I was red and blotchy and saying to myself, what did I say???? Thanks Em for not judging:)
And then pretty soon it gets to the point where you start to hang out, to texting, to laughing about how you first met. You know the routine. But the thing is, IT TAKES TIME! And then there’s the relationship with the hubby. You go through the “dating” phase and think you are in a wonderful fairy tale with all glitter and sparkles:) Then you get married and live together, at least that’s how we did it:) And that’s when you realize, I did marry my father:):) Love you babe! But the point I’m getting at is until you live together, and see each other 24 hours a day, through thick and thin, makeup and no makeup, pms and cramping…you don’t TRULY know the whole side of the other person! There are levels. Levels to all relationships.
And isn’t it wonderful when our relationship gets to the point where we can 100% be ourselves. We don’t have to try, it doesn’t have to be awkward, we don’t have to get blotchy while talking or second guess everything we are saying?? That’s when we truly know they will love us no matter what.
My relationship with Jesus has been quite the same. I must say, it has gone through so many “levels.” But if we truly are in a relationship with Jesus, than our relationship should change, just like our relationships with friends and hubbys change…they evolve.
My relationship with Jesus started as a kid and grew through high school, where I learned a lot of the character of God and stories of the Bible. My knowledge of Jesus and God grew leaps and bounds.
Then I headed out to college and was on my own. The Lord placed amazing girls in my life who had such a passion for Jesus. Soon my relationship went from a knowledge of God, to a relationship with God. I desired to spend time with Him in prayer and I desired what they had. Isn’t that crazy how we can just see Jesus in other people and it makes us want it all the more. The bugger about this time in my life though, was that I started to fear God. Now the fear of God is a good thing, but I saw verses like…
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:22-23.
and I thought to myself??? What if He says that to me? I would miss a morning devotion and feel as though God were so disappointed in me. I constantly was trying to live up to what I “thought” God wanted me to be. Soon I learned that this was not healthy. It was not works or good deeds, or spending daily time in the word that would get me into heaven. Sure it was all good stuff, but I was missing the point.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- Ephesians 2:8
I didn’t need to DO anything. Except accept, and truly believe God loved me. I was freed from the unhealthy fear I had of Jesus and was able to focus on who God truly was. God is love!
After college I ended up moving out to the middle of nowhere (oh wait, that’s where I still am:) and only knew 2 people. My sister and brother-in-law. I ended up living with them in their upstairs for almost a year until mister wonderful came along;) At this point in my life though I needed Jesus in a whole new way. I had no one else. At least that’s how I was feeling. I had no friends (in the close vicinity) to fall back on, no boyfriend of the sort. All I had was Jesus. This time was so sacred to me. My relationship grew leaps and bounds. I needed Him. I remember Friday nights where I would just spend journaling, praying, and praising God to praise and worship music. They were pretty amazing dates if I do say so myself! And God met me. I felt Him in almost a tangible way. During this time God was preparing me for my husband, and brought him to me in a miraculous way:) When I thought I gave up everything, the Lord showed me he was preparing something wonderful for me. If you want to read about how Ryan and I met you can read it here.
Soon we got married and not much longer babies came into the picture. I felt the closeness of Jesus slip away. My attention was torn in so many different directions. I tried so hard to get back to that intimate time I had with Jesus and just couldn’t seem to get there. I would get frustrated, try again, and give up again. But through this time Jesus never left me. This was a point in my life where I started to build relationships. Relationships that would show me Jesus in a whole new way.
And then came Jules. The biggest test of my faith. This is where I was able to see the whole of my relationship with Jesus come to fruition. I could look back in my life and understand why the Lord took me through each step that He did. And I praised God for it! I praised Him for the knowledge of who He is that I learned as a child. I praised him for the dependence on Him I experienced as a young adult all by myself, and I praised God for the time that I thought was a drought, when He allowed me to grow relationships and see Jesus through others. It was at this moment that God gave me such clarity. He showed me that He had NEVER left me. He was ALWAYS right there. He was PREPARING me.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phillipians 1:6
In some ways, I wish everyone could go through an experience like we had with Jules. Not because it was easy, because it wasn’t. Not because anyone wants to experience loss, because we don’t. But because of the way we got to EXPERIENCE GOD. It was AMAZING. And it’s something that is so hard to try to explain. My relationship grew to a much deeper level through it. I took everything I had learned in my 29 years of life. The knowledge, the truth, the intimacy, the love, the relationships, and used it all in this one life changing experience. And in the end I had a better understanding of what is truly important in life. It’s been a process, but the Lord is helping me to see eternal, instead of earthly. The bigger picture. God showed me that He is good, all the time, by bringing about peace and love in the most difficult circumstances. He poured His love on us through relationships we had created with so many different people. He blessed us and allowed us to see just a bit of the eternal impact that Jules’ had, that kept us going, and still allows us to be so humbled and grateful that we got to carry this gift. He held our hands the entire time and never let us go.
That’s where my relationship with God has gone, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’m sure there are many triumphs and trials yet to come, and I pray that through them all I continue to grow closer to Jesus. Because in the end it really doesn’t matter how much money I have, what my house looks like, what political party I vote for, how many people like me. In the end it really only matters that I get to spend eternity with Jesus. And see all my family and friends in eternity as well!