Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: in Annalea's words

{You know how you used to call your friend in Junior High so that you could both wear the same shirt on the same day? Well, Annalea and I sorta did that. Except with blogs. Last week I was over there on her beautiful space, and today, she's here with some thoughts on grace in marriage. I'm so honored and excited to share Annalea's heart with you. I didn't know what she was going to write about, but God is tricky because surprise, surprise...her message is for me, my life, my marriage. Just try to read this and not feel a little (or a lot) rocked. Just try. Thank you, Annalea, for vulnerably sharing your brave passion for commitment and living God's definition of love out in marriage.}

am i willing to be loved in spite of my ugly brokenness?
or will i turn away the gift of grace that God is offering this messed up sinner?

these are the two questions i am confronted with daily.  it seems like an easy choice.  i can receive love or i can reject it.  oh but it is so not easy.  it is a moment by moment struggle to open myself up to what i do not deserve nor understand.
but i want love.
i choose grace.

one of the most powerful messages i have ever heard in relation to love and grace came from randy gariss during his a lifetime love conference.  he asked the question why doesn't love last?  it turns out to be pretty simple.  we have to be willing to love someone in spite of who they are and what they do.  we have to be willing to love with grace.

you see, the world tells us something different.  there are two commonly accepted types of love:
  1. i love you if (or as long as) you meet my needs.
  2. i love you because of who you are.
it seems pretty obvious to me that the first is an immature and selfish take on love, but i guarantee you our divorce rate has been impacted by this reasoning.  the second doesn't seem that bad.  it seems less self-centered and almost wise.  most choose a spouse based on a set of desired qualities.  i hope to encourage my children to look for certain attributes and maintain high standards

but it is not enough.  what happens when the person changes?  what happens when they do something ugly that outweighs the good?  does that give us permission to no longer love?  is marriage a contract that can be dissolved when the terms are no longer met?  or is it a covenant with God?  does the bible say love one another, as I have loved you, but only if. . .?

i am pretty sure there are not any conditions on it.

missing him

a week after i attended that conference, our marriage hit rock bottom.  it was a dark and heartbreaking time.  i can tell you that neither of the world's definitions of love would have brought us through.

instead i filled the pages of a journal with in-spite-ofs.  it was hand written therapy to heal and process.  at one point, i looked down and realized that nothing i had penned about my dear husband was any worse than my own wretchedness.  

i am a sinner.
yet i am loved.

grace is God saying he loves me IN SPITE OF my sin.

He loves me with unmerited favor.
He sacrificed His Son in my place.

and He asks me to love others just as He loved.  He asks me to love jesse in spite of jesse's sin.  i am Christ's ambassador in my husband's life and that is an incredibly high calling.  even more, i am called to be this witness to the entire world.  man is that scary.  i am going to need His grace so so much.  because i am confident i will forget that it is not about me and my needs.  i will forget to love in spite of the pain and discomfort and yuck.

feet in nashville

each day is a new opportunity to receive true Love.
each person is another chance to give it.

i need to choose the gift of grace over and over and over.


  1. thank you, leslie, for letting me share a bit of my story and heart today. it is an honor to be your guest.

    and if it not clear in the above post, jesse has had to love me in-spite-of a gazillion times over as well. i don't want it seem like a one sided deal. :)

  2. this is so.very.true.
    love is not a feeling, but rather a choice.
    i must choose to love when i don't want to, because my heart will always fail me. God never will.
    thanks for sharing this today.

  3. Very beautiful post! Well written & humbling, to say the least! Thanks for sharing! =)

  4. goosebumps. thank you for sharing.

  5. oh boy how this exact scenario has played out in our marriage. ten years of it. we married young, my husband "saved me" from a horrible family life when I was 19...unequally yolked. me thinking i was better for it. betrayal and rough seas, I just knew there was someone better out there for me. how many women do you think have said those words??? but my unsaved rebellious husband forgave ME and taught me the true meaning of love. For some reason after how many times one of us has tried to be done with our marriage, we could never leave. Our final chance, we both said to eachother, there is no other option. Wow this is alot for just a comment...however I am just wanting everyone to know that marriages are being saved for this very reason! God heals and restores. every time i catch my mind saying things like, i deserve so much better, God reminds me of how perfect I am...thank you for this absolute truth. i truly believe there is nothing more important in christianity than understanding that love is not a feeling. and the power that goes along with putting that into practice is unbelievable. I love your blog Leslie. I have been reading every day for a few months now and I cant tell you how much revelation I have received from it. And thank you Annalea for being so honest and open. I try to be very open about our marriage too, as much as my husband will allow, so that people will gain from our mess. What a beautiful mess... ;)

  6. amen. amen. to God alone be the glory.

  7. Good words for me everyday, all my days. Thank you, Annalea. So well put. So good for my heart, as always. :)