Posts Tagged With: marriage

What is this ‘happily ever after?’

073d651ce06a1ef8806ed75f1460084bEvery day of our lives, especially in mine, since I can remember, the world has painted this crazy picture of a ‘happily ever after.’ Every story ever seen or read since I was a little girl, has been about some ‘Prince Charming’ saving a princess, they fall in love, get married and end up living that ‘happily ever after.’

As a little girl I was always in two minds about this idea and my parents can vouch for the long time that I went through a perspective of, “I’m never getting married or even having kids…instead, I’m going to become a nun.” You can laugh and giggle but I truly felt that way. Later I fell into the other extreme of ‘serial dating.’ What I’m trying to say is not that there is something wrong with ‘happily ever after’ but that we must realise what pressures can also come with painting that kind of picture. I am not saying that that can’t be true and that we’re setting people up for some huge disappointment, because that isn’t true either. It is just that there is so much more to the whole dating picture and then marriage after that.

I was a serial dater until I realised how much I kept giving away, how much it was taking away from me and someone else’s possible future partner. I also just started seeing things differently as I got closer in my relationship with God and saw the way He loved and pursued me, and continues to do every day.

You might be thinking there is no way you have given into this idea in any possible way, but somewhere along the line, this idea of a ‘happily ever after’ does creep into your heart and thoughts, affecting them whether you choose to admit it or not.

I realised this before, during and after my serial dating and had to come to a decision. Because of it, I chose not to date again until I was absolutely sure about the guy and that we had been friends and so on. Even now, while dating,  I have to constantly keep myself in check, so that I don’t let this idea of a ‘happily ever after’ become damaging to me, the other person or our relationship as it can cause unnecessary pressures and expectations that aren’t entirely realistic and based on God’s grace and truth.

The day I said ‘yes’ to dating, was also because I believed that is whom I would marry. But for most people this isn’t always the case and dating isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. You cannot constantly date people and throw them away at the first signs of trouble or when you get bored. This creates a false expectation in marriage, and proposes the idea, that if a marriage isn’t working for you, you don’t have to worry, you can quickly get divorced and start your search for the ‘PERFECT ONE’ again.  Hey, I mean – ‘there’s plenty of fish in the sea’ right?!

Dating isn’t a Biblical principle, so I really think that when you do choose to date someone, you need to take that decision very seriously, just as you would with marriage.

Anyway, these big decisions and the idea of a ‘happily ever after’ can put a great deal of pressure on us and we can be made to feel a bit doubtful. Although you say ‘yes’ to dating and even though you may know deep down this is the person you’re going to marry, you too may have doubts or have moments of doubts as they are big steps and very serious times.

In the perspective of the world and what it tells us, the person we marry(or date) is the one who makes YOU happy. He/she is perfect for YOU. The proposal is perfect for YOU. The ring and the wedding is perfect for YOU. The honeymoon is perfect for YOU and the ‘happily ever after’ is perfect for YOU. It is all about YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU!

But honestly, that is what the world says and NOT what the Word says. In the Word it speaks of the covenant of marriage being about God. The journey of navigating through a lifetime of promise like this has everything to do with Jesus. It is about ‘US’ – an equation involving your partner, Jesus and you. And the only perfect thing in this equation for YOU is grace.

I was afraid of making the wrong choice, most of us are. But we make the choice, no one else and I need to believe I make the right one.

Marriage is the covenant, the promise, to God that you vow to love another person just as Christ had/has loved us first. The most intimate, challenging and all-inclusive way of loving is what this vow consists of and is what the vow of becoming one flesh with another person includes. To serve and selflessly love them in such a way, as Christ served us and selflessly loved us to and even on the cross. To carry their burdens, taking the lashings of their shortcomings and bearing the taunting of Satan and the struggles and challenges he may bring. To put them before yourself even to the point where you feel like you may be broken, but can ultimately rise, just as our Great King did and does, in love. Lifting your partner up to Jesus when they feel they cannot do it themselves. This, with a great understanding of the magnitude of the Gospel in which we come to realise a greater appreciation for the power and authority of what was done by Jesus on our behalf and because we are so loved by the Almighty King.

Marriage (and even dating) I have explained to a few people lately, is a tiny yet supernatural taste of God’s love for us. How He treasures and cherishes us. This is a promise not to be taken lightly, because it is ultimately, a promise to accept and love one another (including all versions and parts of one another), like God loves us, on a daily basis. Something we can’t even come close to doing on our own and can only come through natural relationship with God. That is the JOY of saying ‘yes’ in your heart to the covenant of marriage. Be it a choice you made when still dating or asked to date, a choice when proposed to or deciding to propose, it is a choice to be looked forward to and excited about, one to confess with joy in your heart, even on the day of marriage and every day after that. Although, a serious choice, it is one so profound and beautiful. It isn’t that you have found the ‘perfect one,’ but that we are a step closer to drawing back another layer and getting to see God’s perfect love played out in our lives in a rather magnificent way and that we get to share that with one another.

What is truly great about marriage is that, there is the sweetest of sweet joys in knowing that you don’t have to go at this whole thing alone and that God is with us, in this, every step of the way and through Him all the crazy, deep adventures and moments are MORE than possible. It is such an honour to be able to have the privilege of loving and caring for His child in this covenant the way He has loved and taken care of me. The great truth and grace is pure magic that comes with knowing that although we aren’t perfect for each other, we both are committed to making the choice every day to follow the King who showed us and IS the perfect example of how to love. It is a commitment to having our story become a ‘happily ever after’ but one, determined by the Word of God and not the world.

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Magical celebrations of marriage

I just wanted to take the time to congratulate two amazing couples!

About two or so weekends ago, one of my friends, Marcell Coetzee got engaged to Chanelle. Our moms used to work together at Trustbank, before it became absa and for a long while after that. They stayed and still do stay, on a sugarcane farm and we used to visit there a lot, playing games and rugby while our parents still worked together and had braais. We later lost touch and then I got in touch with his mom again just over a year ago. Marcell and I are the same age and he has been playing for the sharks and South African rugby team for the last couple of years. They’re awesome people and it is great to see that Marcell and Chanelle are finally engaged! May God just bless the road ahead for you both and indulge you in His amazing love and grace.

Chanelle and Marcell celebrating their engagement

Chanelle and Marcell celebrating their engagement

The engagement ring!

The engagement ring!

Then, I want to say a big congrats to Ben and Tanja who got married this weekend in Heidelberg. I wasn’t there, and I’m too far to give hugs but I am so happy that it turned out to be such a magical day! It rained on their day but that didn’t get this couple down. It rained and that is just a blessing by God Himself, something I hope for on my day too! They have been a tremendously awesome couple who shared much of their testimony with me and are dear friends. Ben has survived cancer after having Tanja stand by him through each moment. I remember helping Tanja and her sharing much of her troubles and her heart with me, as she tried to support Ben. An intense time that God turned to their good as they got closer to one another and became so much stronger, not letting the enemy of sickness defeat them and their relationship. They just have such a beautiful heart wrenching story and so much thanks in their hearts, they truly are wacky and loving and joyful and you can’t help but feel better after any moment with them. And to be able to see their beautiful wedding photos and the way they just love and adore one another and worshipped our almighty Father in the rain, bought me to tears…it truly is absolutely beautiful. So to them, may Jesus just continue to bless their walk and worship through everything that happens in life and may they continue to be blessed and covered by grace and love in every moment together! You both are such an inspiration! Sending love and hugs from afar! Xx

Ben giving Tanja a kiss on the forehead - such love

Ben giving Tanja a kiss on the forehead – such love

Ben and Tanja worshipping our Dad in the rain - amazing worship, so magical

Ben and Tanja worshipping our Dad in the rain – amazing worship, so magical

P.S – Photos of Tanja and Ben’s wedding was taken by Garick van Staden Emotive Art Photographer. Great photography!!!!

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

44 days & Counting

Exactly 1 year ago, my beautiful friend Liela, met her prince, Yvotte, one who we’d been praying for and whom she had been praying for, for years! They met at Tuks’ annual Missions Week and he was a guest speaker to share his testimony and what an incredible man and story that was!

And now, in exactly 44 days, these two beautiful people will be wed. My amazing friend will be wed and they might be moving over to the U.S after that. Incredible things happening as God continues to bless these two. 44 days til the wedding and we’re all pretty darn excited!

Love this beautiful friend of mine and God truly has blessed me with a special sister and friend – someone very close to my heart!

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Save The Date

savedate1 savedate2So it has come!!!! The Save The Date for one of my dearest and bestest friends’ wedding!!! I am so excited for this wedding. Liela and Yvotte have been such a special couple in my journey and God has blessed me with Liela, as such a close best friend with whom I have been so spiritually connected. It is going to be such a special day as every other moment with her and them as a couple has been. If not more. I honestly am blessed and beyond excitement. And the video that came along with this, made by Yvotte, was adorably cute and had me dancing on the couch!!!! I RSVPed right away…. God really does write spectacular and beautiful stories and I am honoured to be a part of this one and to have them be a part in the one God has been and is busy writing for me.

Xx

Categories: Pursuing Faith, Pursuing Hope, Pursuing Life, Pursuing Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex & the Seal of Marriage…continued

flowersAfter my previous post on sex and the seal of marriage, there are a few things I’d like to say. I know how I felt when I was a virgin…I felt worthy and like I deserved a virgin for a husband… But after that, after being ‘deflowered’ by a guy whom I thought loved me and we’d end up together…when that all came crashing down and I was left alone… I felt dirty and ashamed and stupid and not worthy of anything. My worth had gone from worthy to worthless in about a few seconds. I felt like I wouldn’t ever be accepted or loved and would not ever deserve anything amazing, good or beautiful and that broke my heart and tore me apart…Guess that’s what Satan enjoys doing…

Anyway, as I said before, God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction.

So before – when I was still a virgin – I had remained pure for the sake of the covenant and in doing so I felt entitled to finding someone who had done the same. In my mind I came to expect and think that I deserved someone who had saved himself for me.  However, I now feel it was wrong of me to think in this way. I’m not saying it was wrong to desire that or for someone to desire that, I think that is something God desires for us too.  However, when we come to find ourselves not just desiring, but deserving and feeling entitled to such a thing that’s when a little flag should be raised. I mean it is only by the grace of God that you have not found yourself giving into sexual sin. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. Any good that we do and any obedience that we have done, is by God’s grace and mercy, therefore we deserve nothing and we are entitled to nothing. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute and I honestly don’t think that is what he desired most. But it was through their relationship that God showed His redemption and mercy. You (and I) are called to forgive and called to love. And most importantly you are called to humble ourselves with gratitude that God has protected you from falling into sexual immorality before marriage. It is by God’s grace alone.

After that, I unfortunately did fall into sexual sin and I wish I hadn’t. Since then, I have gone through many motions of self-pity and doubt and just feeling unworthy but I had to come to the realization that it wasn’t too late. So for those of you who have already given into sexual sin, it is NOT too late. You have not ruined your chances to marry a godly man who honours and lives for the Lord. You can repent and in all honesty your slate will be wiped clean. There will be no speck of it anywhere in your record.  And there is that beautiful thing about forgiveness, those who have been forgiven much, love much. There are amazing men out there who will look at you only as God looks at you – clean, without blemish, a bride to be won. Run to the feet of Jesus because He makes it all possible.raindance

I, myself have a friend who gave herself to a man before she was married. Through growing in her relationship with the Lord she found that what she had been doing was wrong. Through tears of remorse she fell down at the feet of Jesus and repented only to find that she was forgiven immensely and she was made new. A few years later she met the man she was going to marry. He was the worship leader at his church, God honouring, good looking, and an amazing man full of life. She felt like she didn’t deserve him. But when he had heard of her past and saw the woman she was now, he wept with her and forgave her and gladly with all his heart married her. Sex under the covenant was as if it was the first time. He loved her like Christ loved the church. And you can experience that as well. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, instead of wallowing in shame and despair – the way I did for quite a long time – look to God, see His forgiveness, and believe that He makes you new. A godly marriage is possible for you, and for each one of us because of the amazing love and grace of Him who loves us most.

So remember it’s all by grace…

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Sex & the Seal of Marriage

seal1Sex….okay, so this is always a heated topic to talk about. Discussing it can be fun or funny or awkward or terrifying, all depending on whom you have the discussion with. I’m pretty used to having this discussion with ladies and very different groups but the other day though, I got to discuss it pretty openly with a guy…a Christian friend. We just discussed our feelings about it and what exactly our views are on the whole sex issue…It really was cool getting a guy’s opinion and together coming to some pretty cool conclusions. He seems to be a lot better at explaining than I am at times and the discussion ended up being very constructive.

*I’m gonna say a few things about sex further on in the post. But this was just a discussion we had and our opinions of it. In no way are we judging anyone who is or isn’t a virgin, as neither of us have any authority to judge anyone. And please do not use the following opinions to judge others and make people feel bad or as if they have failed, or in any sense what they deserve and do not deserve. I don’t agree with having sex before marriage, and I say that from a point of view of the mistakes and choices I have made in my past.

Firstly, God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction.

Obviously, my friend asked me what I thought about it….and my answer – God calls us to “save ourselves” for the person we marry and to not get involved physically with another man before that.  It is something precious, sacred, and a seal for the covenant of marriage.  I believe that God asks us to wait for our benefit.  Not to keep us from something amazing, but to keep us from heartache and pain and any sort of destruction. But in spite of this fact I myself have made some mistakes. Although sex can be amazing and fun and a super beautiful thing – sex before marriage isn’t for me….something about it just doesn’t feel right in my soul. Like sadness fills me as well as a dirty feeling and even panic. So it doesn’t feel right in my spirit and soul and I don’t know how to explain that… I just know, a lot of guys just don’t seem to understand that or respect that about me at all… a lot of them will say they do, until they start using lines like –“if you really loved me though, you’d sleep with me…” So it doesn’t sit well in my soul and neither does it for my friend. For us, it’s just because it feels like it gets between us and God. That when you’re doing that kind of stuff, it just feels like the gap between us and God gets bigger, as if it interferes with our relationship with Him.

Anyway, he then proceeded to explain to me how he sees sex in the light of marriage and God, and it is the way I feel in my soul. So I’m gonna try explain this one.

God created sex and it is a beautiful and precious thing. When two people have sex, they become one, in their bodies and more importantly their spirit. God created it to be under His covenant, marriage, like a seal He puts on it. This protects it, if I can kinda explain it like that. So when it isn’t under marriage and you sleep with someone, it kinda leaves your spirits – that have become one, open for trouble and the enemy. It leaves the door open for ATTACK. The two spirits which have become one fall under attack by the enemy, also in a sense start attacking each other. Some, including us both, can say that, you begin to notice how you take on your partner’s characteristics or personality traits. For example, your partner may have been very insecure and you weren’t. Suddenly you who never felt insecure, is acting more insecure… and because the your partner doesn’t know that person to be so insecure and needy, fighting takes place and slowly the relationship seems to crumble…the same may happen with jealousy and any other traits. Traits that may not have been there before are suddenly coming up and becoming a terrible problem, turning something beautiful into something a lot less beautiful. So without the seal protecting it, the enemy has open access to pretty much anything he wants. And as we know the enemy, he’s gonna take just about everything he wants. He will destroy anything beautiful, every piece ‘til there is nothing left. And what’s even more horrific is that the more, different people are slept with the more crazy it can become, as you’re picking up pieces of other people and their possible past relationships…

Under God’s seal of marriage, however, when those two spirits become one, there may be attack, but there’s more of a refuge and safeguard making a relationship stronger and both more able to fight back as one than those millions of other pieces. Nothing that is broken can outlast a fight against the enemy, and if it seems to, it comes with a whole lot more pain than there needs to be. Whereas something strong, protected by armour, stands way more chance in the battlefield against the enemy than something hurt and broken…ring2

This is just how we see it, and it is amazing how God’s grace comes in here as well. Because even if one or both partners have shared other beds before marriage…if one or both, depending on the situation, go before God and repent and break off all those old ties, by grace, He can renew it and He can build a relationship up from there onward.

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