My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for December, 2011

Relationships – Mind blowing intimacy

Genuine love ultimately seeks covenant relationships.

Love's progression

Years ago someone I dated for a very short time told me I was not romantic. I did not know a lot about him. He had shown me his garage, it was full of fancy cars; he had told me of beautiful female celebrities he had spent time with and that his career was moving him to very exciting places — so, when I had gotten up from the sofa, pulled the front door wide open and wished him a good night, he was quite surprised.

There are certain things I don’t argue, this was one of them. I understood that the idea of romance meant different things to us. Romance to him simply meant sex. Romance to me means simple things, like walking and holding hands, dancing without music, walking on dried leaves just to hear them crackle and touch with no particular agenda – just the intimacy of that physical connection.

I’ve always been a watcher of lovers. I’m intrigued by that exchange, when it’s felt that no one is looking.

Many years before that, while I was still 20 something, my pastor had showed up at my mom’s house late one evening, visibly upset. He had proceeded to give me a dress down stating that someone had told him they had seen me holding hands with my fiance in “town,” our capital, Basseterre. He then said that there’s a survey that says 10% of what you see in public means that there is 90% more going on in private.

I’ve learned a lot about respect and honor over the years but back then I had calmly replied, “Really? Does it mean that when you treat your wife with total disregard in public that there is much more of that going on in private?”

My pastor who had known me since I was a child had not spoken to me for a long, long time after that.

But I’ve always been an observer of lovers, especially those who have been married for a while. I’m fascinated by what love looks like when it is lived out — maybe because I still don’t love as well as I’d like to.

Until I was in my 30s I had on my relationship “never list” – never marry a pastor, they don’t know how to love their wives.

How is that possible, though, since they represent such a phenomenal lover?

I’ve been excited for several days about this love chapter that I’m reading in John. About the relationship and mind-blowing intimacy desired there. You know how difficult it is to separate from the one you love – you always want to know when you’ll see them again. Here, Jesus calms his disciples anxiety over his departure with the promise that he’s coming back to get them.

Still teaching he leads them to an understanding that as he’s preparing a place for them, he needs them to invest that time in becoming a prepared people. A prepared people whose hallmark is love for God. Jesus then demonstrates what that looks like as he talks about the love and intimacy between Himself and his father — we are so connected, Jesus says, that if you know me you know Him. An intimacy so riveting that every action is about fulfilling the desires of the other – His Father.

Jesus makes it plain that love and intimacy is not only about the climax of one’s emotional high but that love is responsive in other ways – love seeks to know, desires to please and strives to obey.  “Whoever has my commands and obey them, he is the one who loves me…” John 14:21

Love ultimately seeks to be in covenant relationship. It’s progressive. Jesus promises that when our response of love is our obedience, then something truly intimate happens. There is an exposure, a baring of sorts, as he reveals intimate details, has intimate conversations, moves in with His father to make a home with us, and builds a relationship based on trust. There is a safety in true love and intimacy that dispels fear and allows us to live in peace.

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When love does not come quickly

What happens when love intentionally and deliberately chooses not to show up when needed?

Keep looking up and wait!

I have to confess that in the past I would end relationships in a heartbeat because of some action or inaction that I construed to be unloving. If the truth be told, many of us who desire to love and be loved can find that our greatest obstacle is the ideal love that we seek.

Just imagine you are dating a physician, and during that time you fall dreadfully ill. You reach him on his cell to let him know and he tells you he’s just a few blocks away visiting friends, and he’ll be there shortly. You wait, and wait, and wait…. Then, several days later he pops by to “see how you are getting along…”

What happens when love does not come quickly? When the actions that give life to our words of love do not immediately show up to protect, care for and defend. I think with maturity we realize — not just from the imperfect love we have received but also from the imperfect love we have shown — that love can fall short of expectations and even with our best efforts we can still hurt those we love. We are human.

But what happens when God acts like that?

Is it unsettling to realize that God DOES NOT always show up and deliver us when we want Him to? That Love does not always run quickly to our aid? Remember that story about Lazarus? The sisters of Lazarus send word to Jesus telling Him that the one He loves, Lazarus, is ill. I had to check several bible versions because I was unsettled by the “So” in this version. Look at this! “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. SO, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Really? That makes no sense. We can understand if love is unexpectedly detained but it’s difficult to understand a love that intentionally and deliberately delays when needed. What was Jesus up to? Why did he wait until Lazarus had died before he showed up?

There can sometimes be so much uncertainty while we wait. Not to mention the increasing pressure that our challenges can bring. But, is it worth the wait if somewhere during that process we encounter The Resurrection and The Life? An encounter not just through mere word, but through an experience where we see God in action.

When love does not come quickly, keep looking up and don’t give out in the process. One certainty in the midst of all uncertainties is that God really loves us and His love is the only ideal. The “so” becomes easier to understand when we realize that Jesus had a purpose in waiting. Challenges test our faith, but challenges also give us an opportunity, if we believe, to see the miraculous display of God’s power that will result in His glory.

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