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romance and the ministry of Jesus

this week i am being actively and earnestly pursued by a God who wants to romance me. yes, you read that right: romance me. 


i'm reading Captivitating (as recommended by Leslie) and i'm doing Beth Moore's Breaking Free study. [i happen to be in week 6 of the study, and we are learning about a woman's heart, which is right in line with the message of Captivating]. this week, all at once, God is flooding my heart with this earth-shattering reality that He wants to romance me. i've always known that "the king is enthralled by [my] beauty" and that i am the "bride of Christ". but honestly, i never really sat to think about what that really means until this week.


my husband is not romantic, and neither was/is my dad. based solely on what i've observed through life circumstances, i've always believed that romance was only for the movies. i never knew that it was appropriate for real life. i never knew that it was actually authored by God, something for which he created my heart to yearn. [i loooove me a good romantic comedy. truthfully, it doesn't even have to be good. it just has to have a love story and a happy ending, and i'm a puddle of tears at the end. it can even be a cartoon, seriously]. i had started to think that something was wrong with me. either i had an unhealthy longing for romance that doesn't exist in real life, or if it did exist, i must not deserve it.


this week God is sweeping me off my feet. he is showing me that i don't need to wait for romance. i don't need to long for it and wish i had it. He wants to romance me. He wants to make me feel like i'm the only woman in the room. the only one He desires. He wants to show me how He sees me. no matter who or what has broken my heart [and he knows the list is long], and no matter what i've done [that's a long list, too] to deserve pain and anguish, He loves me. lavishly. fully. undeniably. beautifully. extravagantly. infinitely. romantically. like a groom loves his bride [but even better]. and He wants me to let Him take all that pain away. and restore my dignity. restore peace. restore worth and value. restore beauty.


this week, as soon as i allowed God to treat me this way, i began to lose this feeling that i was missing out on something. i let my husband off the hook. he doesn't need to be perfect. he doesn't need to be everything to me, not even romantic. i think one of the greatest gifts that you can give your husband is a whole woman. one who is not desperately needy, not always looking to him for approval and worth. one who knows her beauty, strength, value, destiny, as given to her by her Knight, her Prince, her Jesus.


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Tamar was a daughter of king David. she was beautiful, a virgin. her half-brother Amnon raped her. she fled, tore her garments, and heaped ashes on her head [a symbol of mourning]. David did nothing to comfort or avenge her, and her brother Absalom told her just to forget about it, so she lived the rest of her life a "desolate woman". you can read this in 2 Samuel 13:1-22 if you want. let this passage below bless you. it's an excerpt from Breaking Free. it's long, but it will move you. promise. i fell flat on my face in a mess of tears when i got to the last line:


Imagine Tamar: grief-stricken, sobbing, ashes on her head. Her body in a heap on the cold floor. Soot covers her beautiful face and smears the rich colors of her torn robe. Her outward appearance echoes the cavernous darkness in her soul. Hopelessness and death well up in her. She is nothing but a tomb.
The door of her room slowly creaks open. A stream of cloudy sunlight pours through the door. A figure of a man takes form within it. Not Absalom. No, she would recognize Absalom anywhere. Her heart jumps with sickening terror; then the figure steps through the door and His visage becomes clear. Tamar has never seen Him before, yet He looks so familiar. Not frightening. And she should be frightened. No man should be entering her chamber. She should run, but she cannot seem to move.
She glances down at the hands that seem paralyzed on her lap, her palms covered with ash. She suddenly becomes shamefully aware of her appearance. Wretchedness sears her heart. She is certain her violated estate is obvious. She despises herself. 
"Tamar," the man speaks gently and with warm familiarity.
Her heart sobs, "She is dead!" A slave of shame has taken her place.
He approaches and takes her face in His hands. No one has ever done that before. The overwhelming intimacy turns her face crimson, not with shame but with vulnerability. His thumbs sweep over her cheeks and wipe the tears from her face. As he takes His hands from her face and places them on her head, her throat aches with fresh cries as she sees the filth on His hands. Her filth. He draws back His hands and she senses something on her head. Perhaps in His mercy He has hooded her disgrace.
The man offers her His hands, still covered with soot, and she takes them. Suddenly she is standing. Trembling. He leads her to the brass mirror hung on the wall. She turns her face away. He lifts her chin. She gives the mirror only a glance. Her heart is startled. She begins to stare. Her face is no longer streaked with dirt. Her cheeks are blushed with beauty; her eyes are clear and bright. A crown sits on her head, and a veil flows from its jewels to her shoulders. Her torn coat is gone. A garment of fine white linen graces her neck and adorns her frame. The King's daughter, pure and undefiled. Beauty from ashes.


this is the very ministry for which Christ was sent to us. Isaiah prophesied it in chapter 61, and Christ Himself confirmed it in Luke 4:16-21. just unbelievable. He is more than enough. 


From Isaiah:


1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor.




[read part 2 of this post, here]


Comments

  1. I've lived this. Thank you for writing it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow.
    just wow.
    i wish i could give you a hug right now.
    and i am not even a "hugger".
    glad Les recommended captivating.
    and you know how i love that verse in Isaiah.....
    thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. tears, i tell you. my heart says to God, how could this be true? i can barely believe it even now. daily life wears down my belief and we've had a tough night. it is what i needed to read at this moment. the Lord said to me as I read, "THIS is why you do not need to fear someone else's sin against you." this is a holy time for you that you will never ever forget. lets pray together that life would not wear down our belief. amazing post, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It truly confounds all logic, at least the kind I've learned my whole life. But as I'm slowly letting go and allowing Him to teach me this new kind of romance, it's changing my life. Leslie, you're so right that daily life wears down our belief. Oh for the day when we will feel constantly and consistently like the royalty (pure and undefiled) that we are in Him.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely...what a wonderful Saviour...what a beautiful Friend...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful post! Loved Beth Moore's Breaking Free study... love those verses! I can identify with soooo much here.

    Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. a beautiful post.....love your blog and you are a gifted writer....

    ReplyDelete

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