Rough stones

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I took this photo as my wife and I are celebrating 12 years of marriage. The stones represent what we looked like as we entered our marriage – uncut & rough at the edges.

After 12 years, we have had the privilege of being used to knock against each other time and time again – chipping off bits, smoothing rough edges. It hasn’t always been pleasant – having rough edges cut off is often painful (and sometimes brutal!)

But the result is that the stones that we see today (I hope) look completely different to those that we saw 12 years ago, with many of the external ‘rough edges’ knocked off, beginning to reveal smoother sections from inside the stone.

Incredibly, it was recently pointed out to me that what is revealed on the inside of a broken stone has not been seen by any human eye since God created it! What an amazing privilege that is – to be the first human to see the true nature of someone else – to see character, gifts & skills that God created in someone, and to be involved in the process of seeing those serve others.

When we let God be in charge of that process, what is revealed is the true character that God intended for us.The relationship we have is part of His incredible sculpting process that some might call ‘discipleship’..

I have been dwelling on this as I pray for the future – asking God to use our relationship to be part of our discipleship process, as iron is allowed to sharpen iron, or stones are allowed to shape other stones – forming us into Christ’s likeness.

Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. (1 Sam 17:40)

On a certain memorable day, David took 5 smooth stones from the brook – what is interesting is that the stones would have started off like the ones in my picture. We know how this story continues – after years of knocking against the other stones in the brook, they were finally ready for a noble purpose.

I am thankful today for S – that God has allowed the trials and challenges of our 12 years together to make us fit for purpose – and since we serve a King, that is noble enough for me.

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It doesn’t take that long…

So I’ve been going for a little while, and to be honest I’ve been dragging my heels about making effort over the past week. I leave notes on my phone to bless S, and for the most part have become immune…

To me, the thought of thinking of something profoundly loving to say makes me put it off – not that I have nothing to say, but just because I like to give it thought and time and effort.

Which 99 times out of means… You guessed it… Nothing happens.

So here’s a crazy idea – how about I just write something, the shortest blessing… As opposed to nothing?!

Tried it this morning, and this is what I got in reply…

  
So that clearly worked – it’s so great to get an encouragement back… Maybe I’m actually on the right track!

So in short, rather than write/say/do nothing – it’s ok to do a little! 

When you’re tired…

So I’ve had a long few days… Nobody’s fault. But I am tired, and ‘doing good’ can be hard work! Especially trying to be, so and say things that don’t come naturally to you…

I was reading about Myers-Briggs personality type testing yesterday – all about how we have different types and what you should (and shouldn’t) expect from each type in a relationship.

I agreed to a point, my personality type means I am ‘naturally disposed’ to find it harder to express my feelings, I might find it ‘naturally easier’ to hole myself away into my work…

But does that make it excusable?!

I may not get it right all the time, but I want to lay down those ‘natural barriers’ to providing what S. needs – just as much as I’d hope she’d do the same to validate my needs!

Philippians 2 puts it like this:

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4

Which is tough. And tiring.

But worth it.

So, for those fighting against some of their ‘natural urges’ to be the best spouse they can be. Good on you. Keep up the good work. Don’t beat yourself up if you stuff up. Look over my catalogue of errors (sorry, blog) and be encouraged!!

These verses are for you:

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31