Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spirituality of Relationship

I chose my boyfriend to interview. I chose him for several reasons. The man that I married at the age of 19 I met at church. We always went to church together. The issue of not going to church never came up. But looking back I realize he had the same issue my mother did- there was one set of behavior for at church, during church time and there was a different behavior for the rest of the time. Needless to say that I became a very jaded person when it came to trusting others who said they were “Christians”. The funny thing is that my faith never wavered. Once I came to the place that I acknowledged that I couldn't do it by myself and I needed to live what I said I believed, my faith in God to be in control and to care for me remained constant.
I knew my boyfriend 25 years ago, in another life. Through an interesting series of circumstances that I am convinced were a God thing our worlds collided almost a year ago. He began actively pursuing me at that time but I kept turning away from him, fighting the curiosity that crept up in my heart. Finally I gave in and responded to his reaching out. But we only “talked” through email for 3 months before we met in person after all those years. The first time we talked at Lloyd Center mall. The second time I went to his work. The night before I went to see him I was praying about all this. I am scared because of my past, because of the relationship I am coming from, even though it has been three years. I prayed all this to my Heavenly Father and asked Him to show me very clearly what path I should take. I said, “Lord, if you are telling me it is okay to see where this path leads then when I get there tomorrow Lloyd has to pray. I am not going to say anything to him about it. I will go in and talk with him, but if he doesn't pray then I will not take the next step. I cannot date a man who does not love you first, to whom talking with his Lord is not as natural as breathing.” I was saying all this in my head, I couldn't even speak it out loud for fear of jinxing something. The next day I got to his work and walked into the office. He stood and pulled out a chair for me, just like an old fashioned gentleman. Once I was seated he went back to his desk, sat down , and started praying out loud. I started crying.
He was raised in a catholic church, then he attended a Pentecostal church as a young man. Neither group felt right to him as far as their theological belief systems, he says they seemed to regimented, too legalistic. He wants his relationship with God to be one of awe but also one which feels natural, just happens without having to think about it- like breathing. Over the last several months of dating we have discussed all manner of subjects but as I was asking him questions over the weekend in reference to this assignment I found that in many ways it was like talking to myself. I thought that was absolutely awesome. I think I serve a Great God who wants us to have an abundant life and to have it beginning here on earth.
My former spouse and I couldn't talk about things that we appreciated about God, or ways he was working in our lives, or bible verses that touched our hearts. Lloyd and I can do so and do it several days a week. This is not to say that all we talk about is God or that I am putting him or us on some kind of pedestal of perfection. But I value that fact that we can talk about so much more than my ex- and I could. I value the fact that without even knowing God seemed to be at work in both our lives bringing us toward one another through each step of our lives.
He will stop as we are walking together and show me something. Oftentimes that something is very simple, like the first bird of spring up in the branches of a tree and talk about how God works to renew the seasons of life year after year after year. He will break out in prayer on the spur of the moment and take me by surprise quite often. It is almost as though he is having a running conversation with God all day long. I do the same thing. I do not feel this is approaching God in a manner that is too casual however.
God desires to be in relationship with us-that ought to blow your mind- He desires for us to be in relationship with Him. Lloyd is in relationship with God. He can see how every step of his life-good and bad- has helped to create the person he is today. He knows God created him for a purpose and he feels he is fulfilling that purpose.
Ever since acknowledging that my marriage was a toxic one and ending up a divorced single mother- something I promised myself I would never do- I have had one focus. This focus has been to make sure that everything I do, no matter how small, is done the way God wants it done. My marriage was something I never prayed about prior to getting married. My relationship now, and all other areas of my life I pray about frequently. I do not want to look back in 10 years and realize that I was on a personal foray again and not on the path God had planned for me.
As Lloyd and I talked last Saturday about his religious upbringing and his thoughts about living a Godly life I realized that here was another person who also was focused on living an abundant life like Jesus talks about in the book of John. I remember thinking how amazing it was that we have lived life completely separate from one another yet have arrived at virtually the same place in our walk with the Lord. I am dating a man who loves God, who lives God, and yet who isn't one to shove God down the throats of others. I want to be in a relationship with God that makes it almost impossible to see where I end and he begins because he is so much a part of who I am and what I do. I see this in Lloyd. I am amazed at the way God works. It was an enlightening conversation to have, especially since I have had all this time of dating him to be observing his actions prior to hearing the words. The awesome thing is that the words match up to the actions I have observed.

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