Categories
Christianity TGIM

TGIM #6: The Gate Of Family

I notice simple but peculiar things when I read the Bible. Things like how God tells people about their future spouses and/or children long before they materialize. Then I start asking questions. Like does stuff like that happen any more?

A few years ago, I was asking a whole different set of questions when God decided to start talking to me about marriage and family. In my mind it couldn’t have been more inopportune time. I wasn’t dating or even thinking about it and I felt far too young to be talking about a lifetime commitment.

But I think God gets a kick out of throwing curve balls at me lol…and so I found my 22-year-old self having serious life conversations with my Friend.

The Blueprint

He started to share His vision for what family is supposed to be. And that’s the first thing that many of us miss out on. God doesn’t randomly put people together. You’d be surprised how much divine orchestration goes on for seemingly random couples to happen. There is a purpose and a blueprint for each and every family. Right from the man and woman who will get married and constitute that family.

Yes, I said man and woman. I won’t get into the LGBTQ debate because that’s not really the point of this post. I will say this. God never puts all His eggs in the same basket. Beyond the natural/physical, there are spiritual components God places in a man that a woman does not have. There is that which He will place in a woman that no man has. When the components in man and those in woman come together in holy matrimony, there is a divine union in the spirit that activates a crazy depth and number of spiritual transactions to happen henceforth. Sex is a physical manifestation of this spiritual union.

Now a man-man or woman-woman relationship can and does yield spiritual transactions. Just not the kind that lead to the fulfilment of God’s perfect will. It is not that the union of two gay men or two lesbian women wouldn’t make for a happy family. Let’s be real here. If the gauge is mere happiness, then there are certainly LGBTQ relationships out there that meet that measure and surpass it. To balance this out, the same goes for any heterosexual relationship that isn’t submitted to God. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you can’t achieve the will of God if you’re not in it to begin with. No matter how Christian or straight you are.

The foremost purpose of any relationship we have with others is to make us holy not happy. This whole story of relationships being solely for our happiness is a beautifully weaved lie that’s all over the world. However wonderful it may sound and that so many believe in it – even Christians – doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

If you’re looking for happiness devoid of holiness you’ll believe you can find it in anything and anyone you’re determined to pursue. If you’re looking for holiness and the eternal joy that comes with it, God’s already laid out a blueprint for it. He is determined for us to have holiness because through holiness we get the eternal version of far more than we could dream of for ourselves – including the very happiness we’re quick to look for outside of God. An eternal version that is not subject to the limitations of man and this world but is fully open to the expanse of His Kingdom.

The first lie of the enemy – one that he still uses to date – was that God is holding out on us, that He makes mistakes with us. Yet He looked at everything He made and called it good.

Nakedness

The first family – Adam and Eve – were naked before God, which means they were also naked before each other – without shame.

When you just know a person in the general sense, you only have access to information that is limited by experience, time, observation and disclosure. When you have a revelation of them, God shows you who they are – past, present and even future.

A person can only give you knowledge, even of themselves. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal spirit to spirit, much like how He reveals the Spirit of God to our spirit as men. There is a depth of intimacy that can only come from revelation.

If you’re in a divine relationship (whether dating, friendship or family), it’s not enough for you to merely know someone. It takes revelation to love them the way God wants us to. It takes revelation to fulfill the purpose for which God has put you in their lives and them in yours.

The One

But just how do you go about finding “the one”? Scripture is wonderfully vague about this and I say wonderfully because as human beings we have a thing for trying to fit everything into templates. Love stories are far too grand and unique for one common template. I’ve written more about this in Marrying The Perfect Guy.

I don’t believe there is only one set person –  a soul mate – for every individual. One, there is no mandatory clause on relationships. There are those who prefer a life of singlehood and so long as that’s in accordance to the will of God in their lives (and not in reaction to past relationship drama and/or trauma) there’s nothing wrong with that.

Second, we live in an imperfect world. Life happens. Death and divorce. Relationships that don’t last for one reason or another. My spiritual father always says that the purpose of God will never be held hostage by man. In the same way God can pick one human vessel for His purpose, He can take that purpose and put it in another vessel if need be.

The purpose of God in our lives is a constant, the people with and through whom it is accomplished may change.

That said, my own experience has been that God can reveal to you the purpose He has for your relationship, marriage and even family as well as the kind of human vessel. Sometimes, He’ll go a step further and reveal a specific person or very specific details about them.

Because some of the people out there claiming God has spoken to them about marrying certain people are jokers (God’s name is played with way too much), I need to make it clear that while God may speak to one person earlier than He does the other, He will ultimately speak to both parties. I know of a good number of relationships including my own where this has been the case.

Before my husband and I met, almost a decade prior, God had given him a specific list of details about his future wife and the role she would play in his life. My husband knew about us – and me – before I did. And rather than getting all up in my business about it, he wisely and patiently waited for God to speak to me as well. So by the time we were having that initial conversation about us, there was no question about whether God spoke. We both knew He did because He had spoken to each of us and to others as well.

God is not the author of confusion. There is no prophetic word He will ever give to an individual without bearing witness of that same word to another.

Happy Holy Every After

So much focus and emphasis has been placed on the wedding day both in the world and in church that I need to say this: there is life after the wedding. Y’all won’t be transfigured into eternity after the reception so you best be ready for the rest of your lives.

The primary sustenance for marriages and families is the word of God – His daily bread not a once-in-a-while snack that will barely get you through the smallest of challenges.

The Lord regularly speaks about my marriage and family (including my in-loves) through prophetic words we receive individually, together as a couple and indirectly through people He brings our way.

My husband and I are in a constant state of discovery about each other through knowledge and revelation that births even deeper intimacy between us. God has spoken of the kingdom assignments He has for us as individuals and as a couple; given specific direction for when we need to do what, with whom and how to go about it. For everything He requires us to do and be, there is corresponding grace and wisdom.

We know the ministries each of our children will carry. We have an inkling or two about the grandchildren. And so as early as now, long before any of them are physically conceived and birthed, we are able to prepare for them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. When they come, we won’t be surprised when they lean towards certain interests. If anything, with the foreknowledge we have, we’ll be able to create an environment for those interests to organically thrive. God is as practical as it gets when it comes to every day life.

The reason I share all this is because ignorance causes death. And there are far worse forms of death than physically not breathing. There is so much – so much – that we have access to as children of God but many of us have no clue. So we’re living hit and miss lives and inadvertently putting our relationships and families on the line.

The Lord Himself repeatedly says in Scripture that they who seek Him in earnest, will find Him. It’s not a question of if they find Him, but when and how.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married or parenting, know that God has a plan and a purpose for you and your family. For your parent(s), sibling(s), partner, spouse, child (ren).

If you’re called to the gate of family professionally – as a counsellor, service provider e.g. wedding crews (planners, caterers, video/photographers), etc – the same thing goes for those the Lord brings your way. What you offer and what the world has to offer cannot and should not be the same when you have access to the divine blue print and understanding of those you are serving.

Seek Him and you shall find Him. And He’ll blow your mind with all the incredible things He has in store for you and those He has brought your way for you to serve and care for.

P.S. I write more on family in this Wednesday’s post – Entitlement & Grace: Homes.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is where I got my categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website for free. Just click here. 🙂 

Categories
Christianity TGIM

TGIM #3: Love Them

Taking the gospel to the marketplace sounds like a good idea until you get to the practicality of it.

Exactly how are you supposed to get it done? Where does one even begin?

In my 1st year in the marketplace it was a question I posed to God.

What do You want me to do with these people?

His answer was surprisingly simple.

Love them.

It was at that point I realized that there was probably a thing or two I needed to learn about this love that God considered to be of utmost importance.

What does love mean to You? Would You teach me to love like You do?

There was no verbal response from Him this time. Instead, He led me into a pivotal set of seasons in my life.

I would get home in tears almost every day due to the craziness at my then workplace and wonder what hell I’d gotten myself into. Answered prayers don’t need to feel good to work. I’m saying this out loud for anyone who thinks that all prayers are answered with rainbows and unicorns. God will give you what you need and it won’t always be what you want but it’ll always work for your good. Answered prayers don’t need to feel good to work. He was blowing to smithereens everything I thought love was and I’d be lying if I said any of it was enjoyable. But it created room for the new understanding He wanted to give me. The understanding I had prayed for.

Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that for God to love unconditionally, there was something He was seeing that I wasn’t. Because everything I was seeing made me not want to love.

Next thing I knew, I found myself in a matatu with a drunk guy near or next to me at least four or five days a week. First time it happened, no biggie. Second time, it happens. Third, fourth, fifth time? Lord, what are you up to?

It didn’t matter when I tried to be more thorough in my matatu and seating choices. Like clockwork, there would be a drunk guy within arm’s reach. There were times when I wanted to move but the Holy Spirit would insist that I stay put.

During those awkward rides, God would begin to show me what He felt for these men. A compassionate love that was starkly different from the side-eyes and uncomfortable glances they were getting from the rest of us.

I began to see them beyond the messy situation they were in and to the people God had created them to be. The purpose He still had for them and still held dear to Him despite the decisions that had gotten them to this point. Unlike their physical unsteadiness, God’s love for them hadn’t waned or wavered one bit.

I began to see that God doesn’t just see us the way we see each other – as we are in a given moment – at our best, worst or every day in between. He sees us from eternity – where our past, present and future all gel into one. He sees who we are and all we can be. He sees what we’ve done and what we’re capable of. Not setting a comparative yard stick to beat us down with and remind us how far we have yet to go. But as a beautiful reminder that truly there is nothing on earth or in the heavens that can keep us from His love.

The knowledge of God’s love that was in my head started growing into revelation in my heart. When you see people the way God sees them, you can’t help but love them. That’s how I know when my heart has shifted from God’s.

Loving people doesn’t require a 10-step program. It all comes down to the things you say/do or not each day. For me, it looks like stopping for the one, as Heidi Baker often contends.

It looks like getting more carried away by who a person is rather than who they are not.

It looks like being understanding when someone is having a rough day and acts uncharacteristically.

It looks like stopping to ask how they are and how I can help.

It looks like saying please and thank you and meaning it every time.

It looks like cracking jokes as we get the work done.

It looks like extending grace where it’s needed not just where it’s purportedly deserved.

It looks like being reliable in what someone entrusts me with – whether it’s work-related or personal – no matter how big or small.

It looks like being intentional with extending love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

I’ve been truly fortunate to work with some incredible people over the years. Some of them don’t necessarily believe the same things that I do about God but it didn’t make them less human or wonderful. I see Jesus in them even when they’re not aware just how much they look like Him, how much they embody Him.

I’ve also had the divine challenge of dealing with a handful of difficult ones who inspire hair-pulling one strand at a time. These ones, I consider dear to my heart for making me more like Jesus. I like to call them my heart gym trainers. And truth be told, while I may heave a huge sigh of relief once I no longer have to deal with them, there are those who still remain in my heart. For beyond the rough exterior, I’ve seen what God sees – His Beloved.

As you get into this day with the people you’ll spend at least 40 hours of this week with, love them. Whatever that looks like, whatever that sounds like. Know that when you pour out your heart to them in earnest, God will meet you with a flood of His love to keep you going.

Because that’s the thing about God’s love – it always runs deep, it never ever runs dry. And it always changes everything.