Friday, March 30, 2012

40 Days of Virtue: Love Is Patient

March 22, 1997
"Love is patient and kind."

When my husband and I met and began unwrapping our pasts, we discovered we had quite the opposite love history.

Mark grew up in a pastor's home.  He had dated several girls. A couple were long-term and he was almost engaged, but never married.  He was waiting for "the right woman" to come along: the woman God had intended for him. He said he knew after just a few dates if "this was the one". If she wasn't, there was no point in going any further. In fact, as he turned forty, he pretty much decided God's woman was not going to arrive. He began settling into the lifestyle of a bachelor. He passed the time with golf, and more golf, softball, racquetball, cars, and more cars. You get the picture: a bachelor to the core! 

I was raised in an alcoholic home, searching for a safe house. I began dating a boy from a good Christian home when I was just a freshman in high school. We were engaged my senior year and married six months after my graduation. Four years later, my daughter was born. We divorced when she was sixteen months old. Two years later, I remarried and eleven years later, I was a widow. Now thirty-six, I poured myself into college and Nicole's high school activities. No longer interested in men, no longer believing there was such a thing as "the right man", I tended my wounded heart by fully surrendering to a love relationship with Christ.

The "right man" met the "right woman" at Mt. Vernon First Church of the Nazarene. He saw me at the altar one Sunday morning and asked a friend to ask a friend to find out more about me. I was resistant to any and all pursuers. He did not pursue. Our mutual friends continued to negotiate this meeting behind the scenes. After months of their prompting, God began to pry open my heart just enough that I was willing to meet this mystery bachelor. Yes, I know, it was amazing that we had been going to the same church and still had not met. In fact, I would not have known him if he walked past me on the street.

He. Did not. Pursue me.
He was the perfect gentleman.
He. Was. Patient.


Is it any wonder that when I read these three words, my Mark is the person who comes to mind?
He waited. For me.
He took the straight path. I took the crooked one.

In every other relationship, I felt like I was walking on eggshells, waiting for the next explosion. But not this one. He was the first man in my life that knew how to control anger; in fact, he rarely gets angry. He is rock solid. Unwavering. Patient and kind.

But the one thing that really makes this relationship work? The love we have for the Lord Jesus Christ. It was His patience that brought each of us to this Love surrender. Loving Him fully, prepared us to love each other. Patiently.

~If you are still waiting, may God grant you the patience to persevere and the power to remain pure.
~If you have chosen the crooked path, may God renew your strength each day and make your paths straight. I pray He would cleanse your inner being and heal your heart.
~I pray that regardless of your situation, Jesus Christ would become your First Love, the Lover of your Soul. You will recognize Him in this: His "love is patient and kind."

Mark and I celebrated our 15th anniversary on March 22. The song below speaks of the road that led me to Mark. It also describes the journey that opened my heart to this incredible love relationship that is available with Jesus Christ. I pray God will "bless your broken road"!

"Bless The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts (youtube)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true


Now I'm just rolling home
Into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

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