Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fields of Grace

How does one combat the struggles and trials of life with hope all of the time? I mean I am a pretty optimistic person, but there comes a point. Especially in a relationship when you shove two different people together and tell them to make it work and love each other and never fight or struggle. As a young twenty something girl with many boys that have entered and exited my life without sticking around for long, it just doesn’t add up. How are you supposed to trust that a relationship will last forever? How do you put all your eggs in one basket and believe in love till death does you part? I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Some would say it’s because I’ve never loved someone like that. I disagree. As a girl that loves with a Christ-like love, and human ferocity I can certainly tell you love isn’t hard for me. It’s keeping that same love around for a lifetime that boggles my mind. I mean look at the divorce rate and all the struggling marriages out there. I’m sure plenty of people reading this can relate to the fact that their parents’ marriage is not always a happy one. All parents have to fight or struggle at some point. We’re human. It’s inevitable. This is how my brain operated, until a week ago. I viewed marriage as a lasting, but kind of unrealistic commitment. Then I wrote this article…

“Elmbrook Church has been a real blessing to us,” said Jarett Fields who has been attending Elmbrook with his wife, Kisa, and two children for about two years. The couple began attending after an invite from a friend, but no one could have foreseen the amazing work of the Holy Spirit occur within them and their marriage through this church and staff. 
The Fields were married three years ago, and began life together. The roads of married life are not always smooth, though, and Kisa “knew that we needed help. And I felt that it needed to be Christian-based.” She sought advice through the Counseling Referral Line on the Elmbrook website. She was put in touch with a couple that began helping them work through the problems within their marriage. Kisa found Christian guidance through the prayers and weekly meetings with a woman, Sue, which allowed her to work through Christ-centered solutions. Jarett found healing in the weekend services and began to “separate the difference between what I think of marriage, as a husband, and what God thinks of marriage, as our Father.” 
A few weeks after they sought counsel, the Fields sat in the pews on a Sunday morning listening to Pastor Jason speak. Kisa was moved to approach the front when the call for prayer was made. “I remember grabbing Jarett’s hand and walking forward and it was Shanthini Baskaran and her husband, Vinod, that prayed for us. After that, it seemed like every subsequent message had something appropriate to help us get stronger.” This furthered the healing process in the marriage of the Fields, having gone through a lot in the three years of their marriage. Jarett “delved into the Word to really think about the unconditional love that I am supposed to have for God’s daughter, who is Kisa.” That was a big turning point for Jarett as he realized this and began an intentional move to work as a team with Kisa. “A marriage in my eyes was the man is the head of the house financially. When I read the Word, the man is the head of the household spiritually. It’s easy to get caught up in what the world demands and forget about the piece that you are supposed to be leading the family in a Christian way.”
The Fields began to grow together and grow spiritually. Kisa decided she wanted to be baptized, and when Jarett asked how he could support her, Kisa replied that he could get baptized with her. After praying about it, Jarett agreed and they experienced Baptism in the Pond together. “When your marriage is falling apart and you have kids relying on you, then you need to have something that can help be the glue to keep you together. We needed to be intentional about serving the Lord, and focusing on the marriage, and communicating every single day… The baptism represented a fresh start,” Kisa said. It was not only a fresh start for their relationship with the Lord, but a new commitment to marriage focused on God first. “You try to handle everything on your own, and not bring God into your marriage… We understand now that we don’t have to have it all solved. We can pray and ask for God’s help. God will help us. God will handle it,” Jarett concluded. 
As the Fields come out of these experiences and move into a new chapter, they strive to be intentional, to do things together, to commit to devotionals and daily Bible reading. “You have to be purposeful. You have to make time for each other,” Kisa stated. God was at work in this couple as everything came together at the perfect moments. “Elmbrook has been a real blessing to us. Without the relationships that we’ve built there, without attending and having an impetus to embrace the Word of God in our lives… You never know.” 

Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

After I wrote this, I was seriously befuddled. It didn’t compute that a couple who experienced a hard marriage and was on the verge of divorce, just decided not to. It gave me a realistic perspective on the fact that marriage can and does last despite the trials because love, even though its hard sometimes, can always endure. But why? Why is love the one thing that lasts through everything? That is the heart of the matter. I know that God’s heart is love. God created us solely with the intent to love us. He demonstrated and continues the demonstrate His love for us. So if we are a being created out of love, then love should be the strongest part of us. We desire love, search for love, love others, love ourselves, hopefully figure out how to love God in return for loving us. Our whole existence is based on love. We wouldn’t exist without it. We run on love. 

“If I… do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1

Without love, I am inanimate, unliving, unfeeling. Without love, I am not who God created me to be. Without love, we are nothing. As beings who run on love, when it gets tough we are set to this auto pilot mode of fight or flight. When fight doesn’t work we just flee. But God loves me in spite of all the wrongs I do. If He loves me through all of that, then shouldn’t I be able to love someone else that same way? It doesn’t need to always be easy to love someone, but we are called to endure through it. He promises help and guidance. I can confidently enter a relationship and know it won’t be rainbows and sunshine every day. But I know He will be there and will help me find the one who strives to make me happy every day and I will want to make happy every day too. How blessed are we to have a God that wants us to be happy and feel loved each and every day. Thank you to the Fields for helping me, and hundreds of others see how struggling marriage can make you stronger and actually bring you closer together if you let it.