For our first six months of knowing each other, Julie and I corresponded predominantly via email and Skype. We had the most intentional and intensive conversations I’ve ever shared with another human being. I guess when you know that you know that you know, you more readily embrace vulnerability with the other person.
After spending much time in prayer about our relationship, we knew God called us together, and that was all the confirmation we needed. We both wanted to explore the beauty of what Christ has in store for our lives, and we were done with childlike games that people play before they settle down.
Today, we’re living out our relationship day-by-day. And everyday is an adventure.
I’ve been staying with Julie’s grandparents in Knoxville, and they’ve been a tremendous blessing to me—taking me in and treating me as one of their own. Over the last several weeks, Julz and I have spent almost every dying minute of everyday together, and I’m proud to say my time with her has been a blessing too.
Has is been hard? Of course. If any one knows Julie and me, we’re both extremely hardheaded and stubborn. We each know what we want, and we’ll fight for it. So, what happens when two people know what they want, but they want different things? Conflict, that’s what. We’re learning to be real with one another and to face our disagreements head-on.
But has is been worth it? Since day one.
I want to share with you something I wrote to Julie on September 27, 2013 whilst she was working in Thailand:
So often we look at people and see a lot of ourselves in them. No wonder I sometimes hate people as soon as I meet them. OK, “hate” maybe a bit overboard, but I seriously dislike. It's because I see parts of myself in them, and that makes me want to shut them out and write them off. Who am I to do that? Sometimes I think those situations arise to show us how repulsive we can be. And that’s how other people feel about us when we operate that way. Wow, that’s heavy. It really is. It’s then that I need to go to God and surrender my heart—ask for transformation and love fully. Embrace grace for myself and give grace in abundance.
So many people are focused on the destination. But I’m more concerned about the journey, about making the most of the adventure before I get to the “Promised Land.” I know eternity in heaven is my final stop, but until my train stops at that platform, I’m going to enjoy the ride to the fullest, and I know I’ve got a few stops on the way.
The gift of life... what a concept. The gift of eternal life... now that blows my mind. All gifts are “given”... but unless we reach out our hand and take it, accept it and cherish it, we’ll never enjoy the fullness and functionality of the gift. If we don’t receive the gift, when we walk away, we leave without it. Life is a gift. But we must receive it, then live it.
If someone gave you a horse, would you keep it in a stable all of its life? Would you put it in an open field then put a small wooden pen around it? Or would you ride it on the beaches? A horse that is kept in a stable is a waste of life. A horse kept inside a stable all of its life will never know about freedom. It’ll never know the feeling of fresh ocean air rushing into its lungs. It’ll never know what it’s like to gallop on unchartered land, to feel its heart pumping in its chest, to feel the blood gushing into its tired muscles, to win a race, to lose a race, to buck, to fall. It’ll never know what life is all about. In the stable, it’ll think that’s all to life. When all we know is the stable, we may think we’re living... but we’re dying.
When we do the “same thing, different day” kind of stuff, we never ever realize all that life has to offer us.
The horse in the stable gets fed food and water and has a place to sleep. It's sorted and lacks nothing. Meanwhile, it lacks everything.
Matthew 6 says God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers in the fields. And are we not more to God than that? God calls us to leave our comfortable houses, to leave our families, to leave our homes and to go running on the beach in absolute freedom. On the beach you have to rely on God for your provisions, your shelter, your food, your security. But through obedience to God, we’ll surely live blessed and honoured lives.
My question to anyone is: Do you want to ride in the horse pen and sleep in the stable all your life? Or do you want to ride on the beaches and feel the wind in your hair?
Sure, living “all-out” for Christ may be scary. Heck, it may be terrifying at times, but He calls us to live on the edge. The sky is the limit. Possibilities are endless, and what an honour. What a privilege it is to have the opportunity to live like that... a life of full influence, a life of fullness and completion in Him.
The best way to live it all for God is to give it all for Him. Let’s live it all. Let’s fly.
After I wrote that to Julie, I wrote this in the next paragraph: “I feel like I could’ve blogged all of this stuff. Hahaha. I enjoy being able to share my thoughts with you and to actually put them on paper. The future is bright.”
So there it is in blog form. Just like I’d casually joked about seven months ago. I hope you take something away from it. I know I have.
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.