Since being on this peculiar path of sojourning to different lands, I’ve often said God may call you to do some ministry, or take some job, or marry that person, or move to an unknown land, or to buy a sailboat, or some other form of action in order to reveal and hopefully heal your heart. Living in a tiny studio, first on my own while my husband was still in Pennsylvania taught me I was putting too much trust or relying too heavily on my husband to meet my needs (i.e. financial, physical, etc.) rather than trusting in God to do so. During those few weeks of living in and remodeling that studio-sized beach condo, knowing not a soul, nor knowing what we would do for income in that foreign-to-me land, stretched my faith tremendously. I would not change that experience at all for I grew leaps and bounds in my love for Abba Father and life in general. Eventually, my husband and I were reunited and it was a learning curve adjusting from living in a 5 bedroom house back in Pennsylvania to a small-one room studio in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But we did it and most of the time enjoyed it and each other. After all, if an argument ensued, it was easy to go for a nice long solo walk on the beach to get one’s head and heart in alignment again.
Similarly, and yet differently, about 18 months later, we felt led by the Lord to sell that condo and eventually, per His leading, we bought a tiny 30 foot sailboat here in Texas to live on together full-time. The boat, like the small studio, for the most part has been an enjoyable experience; however, all the little unknowns and insecurities of being rookie boat owners and learning to sail combined with BIG confident personalities of Texas, has formulated an atmosphere of revelation. Remember how I said God loves to use our circumstances to reveal things about ourselves that need healing? Well, it all is part of what I call the “horribly-amazing-purification-process”. There are some amazing aspects as well as horrible ones to this ongoing, life-long, purification process. Additionally, since being in Texas, it’s as if Abba has truly opened my eyes and senses to the spiritual realm and battles going on among us and within us. I look forward to and can only assume He is revealing such things so that they can eventually be healed. But before having us help reveal and heal others, it appears, the Lord is focused on revealing issues within our marriage and one another first, rightfully so. It’s as if the bandaid has been ripped off or glasses have been put on helping me see more clearly things perhaps I did not want to see or could not see. Not just with relationships with friends here in Texas, but with our marriage, and with relationships with family too. Honestly, it can be overwhelming.
Ultimately though, I realize the purpose in such revelations is to heal, but God’s Spirit can only heal us if we are willing to cooperate with what He is revealing. So even though I can easily point the finger at my husband or anyone else for that matter, three more are pointing back at me as I evaluate my heart, my role, and my responsibilities. There are many variables to each relationship, but ultimately, I in of myself cannot change anyone – all I can do is change myself with the guidance and direction of the Spirit of Holiness. His Spirit longs to purify, to clean our hearts by prompting questions for us to ponder such as: Am I enabling x,y,z? Do I have any form of x,y,z in me? How can I be the catalyst to change? How I can I best love and serve my husband, neighbors, and family now having my eyes open to x,y,z? What type of boundaries could I establish to not enable x,y,z or to protect myself, as well as demonstrate tough love or enforce my boundaries or what I believe? What do I do, God, if those boundaries are violated? What are the consequences if authentic repentance doesn’t manifest? Moreover, how do I not only establish healthy boundaries for myself, but enforce those boundaries while still being motivated by love and being mature enough to respond in love versus hurt or bitterness should my boundaries be violated?
One thing I can testify of is we all have relationships marred by some form of sinful dysfunction and we all could take the time to evaluate our own heart while comparing it to true love, God’s true love and His holiness. This is not to say we should become doormats, punching bags, or weak individuals who misuse Biblical concepts of forgiveness or turning the other cheek as an excuse to not set or enforce healthy boundaries. Rather, we look at God’s boundaries of love found throughout His written word and allow it to help us establish and enforce our own boundaries. For God’s boundaries teach us how to love Him and how to love others. God clearly outlines consequences to violating His boundaries as well as a means to reconciliation should authentic repentance and active willingness to try to be in relationship with Him manifest. But He also demonstrates enforcing His boundaries by cutting off those who refuse to respect His boundaries and those who refuse to repent. In doing so, He actually is respecting their choice – their boundaries. Most people lack the courage to actually tell you what they genuinely believe, what they feel, or what they think about you and your relationship to them, but they WILL show you in their day-to-day actions. You too have to have the courage to evaluate such sometimes difficult truth, believe it, and then respond appropriately as God does and will continue to do. Moreover, when God enforces His boundaries by cutting off those who repeatedly disrespect and ultimately reject Him, God is still demonstrating love because love is inviting, not demanding. God does not demand you love Him – He invites you to love Him because He loves you; God cannot force you to accept His invitation to be in relationship with Him; He cannot force you to obey and honor His terms of His covenant; God cannot force you to receive Him and all the many gifts and blessings He wants to offer you; Likewise, God cannot force you to respect Him; Rather, God, out of His respect and love for you as well as others, chooses to respect your boundaries while also respecting and enforcing His.
On this Valentine’s Day, a day reminding us of love, I invite you to evaluate true love or lack thereof within you and those around you as well as how you can demonstrate true love while acknowledging healthy boundaries and how tough love is a form of true love.
This is a unique call to examine repentance, holiness, and moreover, true love.