By Pauli Miller
I have been known to learn things the hard way. Determined. Stubborn. Anyone else know what I mean? I fight hard and I love hard. Thankfully, God is gracious, slow to anger and He loves with a fierce and mighty love that is stronger than death.
So, can I just say that it takes time to grow up? When I first noticed the desire in my heart to get married, I was 21. I had already made a plethora of mistakes in relationships by that time. The heart is deceitful. Although I had begun to discern the voice of God, I did not yet know the craftiness of the enemy. I was very trusting. Needless to say, I didn’t heed the messengers of wisdom, I married too quickly and divorce was soon at my door. But nothing in the life of a Christian is wasted when presented back to the Lord. The desire God put in my heart to be married was a pure desire. It came from Ephesians 5. The mystery between a husband and his wife as compared to Christ and His Bride. What fellowship, what joy to be had! It was not yet known to me what trials, what hardship and what lessons would be required. It takes time for love to grow up. But when love shows up, it can face any battle and win.
One day I was making my bed and I heard the Lord say “I have not forgotten about you.” I just began to weep because I had already settled it inside myself that I had made a mistake and I would just move on. Being married again was not on the agenda. I messed it all up and that was not ok for Christians. That’s what I told myself. I thought pain belonged to me and it was what I deserved for my poor and hasty choices. Somehow, in the midst of loneliness, I forgot God’s promises to me. I forgot that God really loved me. I forgot that God still saw me.
My story is like many other stories. I faced failure. I felt shame. I got knocked down and I got back up again by the grace of God.
Fast forward – I did meet a very nice man that I am grateful to call my husband. I did get another chance. And I did remember who I am in Christ. Love calls us to togetherness. It calls us to show up and do something for someone else, not just one time at an altar, but on a regular basis. It calls us to grow up and stop being selfish. It calls us to keep the promises we made, not just in front of our family and friends, but when we are behind closed doors in front of a host of heavenly witnesses who observe the behavior of Christians. It calls us to lay ourselves down and be a friend. And because it calls us to go up higher, we must be joined to Love Himself.
Fifteen years ago, I was searching for love and I find myself still seeking this Love I wrote about then:
I want this amazing thing
A love, companion and friend
So, I reach and reach and reach
To nearly every end
I search far and wide
For the perfect love for me
Many times I opened the door
But my love, I still didn’t see
Oh lover, where can you be?
The One who loves me inside and out
No answer and nowhere to be found –
My mind is raged by doubt
“Can you hear me or even see me?”
I cry out in desperation
I stand shattered and alone
As I face the separation
A calming voice, I hear
A sweet, soft whisper
That speaks against my fear
“With lovingkindness, I have drawn thee
And will never leave your side
I love thee with an everlasting love
And that is why I died.”
So, there my love was waiting
As I anxiously opened the Door
“There you are!” I exclaimed,
Though He was standing there before.
See, I told you I have been known to be a hard learner. Ha, ha. I think the important thing in love is that we recognize when it shows up. Love is not all rainbows and butterflies. It is also about facing hardship together so that we know what we can become in love. If everything were smooth sailing in love, we would not know the lengths and views afforded to us just a little further away. And we don’t know what the next day holds. I have learned so far that love is made up of many small kindnesses and that if we just keep holding on, we become stronger in love. Love surprises us. But we must cooperate. We must show up.
Pauli Miller – Legal assistant by day, writer by night. Full time wife and mother of three children. Her main goal in writing is to encourage and inspire others to seek the Lord, especially in seasons of weariness, and to keep recalling the truth of who God is and who we are in His Son.