Today's post comes from Kelsey. This girl means more to me than I could express. We are basically the same person in so many ways it's freaky. Her love for her husband and the Lord is abundantly clear in her life. I asked her to share today on something I think so many girls are facing in their dating relationships and even in their marriages. A misplacement of Identity.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kelsey Bobo. I married my husband, Hunter, on May 19th, 2012 after about 5 years of dating. I am a 6th grade teacher (I was blessed to take over Katie's teaching position after she had C). We became instant friends with them when we joined Revision 3 years ago. Josh & Hunter are both musicians and led worship at our church until Josh moved to executive pastor, and Hunter is now the worship pastor. Katie & I discovered very quickly that we are actually twins so that makes for a solid friendship.
Now that I've stalled long enough, let me get to my topic that I was assigned. Katie asked me to share with you guys about how The Lord provided me with a godly husband. As I pondered how to express what The Lord has done in my life through his provision in Hunter, I felt it was best to tell you "where I came from". In other words - my life before Christ.
As far back as I could remember (even as a little girl), I dreamed about my future. In my future, I would be married to the man of my dreams; I would have 2 kids (one girl and one boy - of course), and I would be a very successful and wealthy physical therapist. My entire childhood and teenage years were devoted to making this happen. I was also very insecure, easily influenced, and in serious need of feeling loved. Now insert this girl into 4 years of high school. I had a few serious relationships and all of them were worldly, ungodly, and just all around unhealthy. The easiest way for me to explain is to tell you all the things that I did wrong and then tell you how The Lord redeemed my idea of a relationship.
Like I said previously, I dated a few boys in high school & college including my husband, Hunter. In all my relationships but especially in my last relationship before I dated and married Hunter, I identified myself as his girlfriend. Everything that I was centered around being in relationship with him. Friends, family, interests, etc. molded to fit him. I should have just worn a name tag that said, "Hello My Name Is _____'s Girlfriend". I wanted to be everything that would make him happy, and I wanted to keep his attention. I was constantly seeking his approval so I began to take steps to be more like him.
I blame romantic comedies, Nicholas Sparks novels, and our culture's obsession with famous celebrity couples like Beyonce & JayZ (whom I still not so secretly love). I wanted my relationship to look like The Notebook. I wanted someone to declare their love for me the way Ryan Goslin's character does for Rachel McAdams' character -"We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day." What girl wouldn't want their boyfriend to say this to them? I craved this kind of dedication. From my interpretation, it appeared that along with emotional closeness came physical closeness. It never truly satisfied my desire to be loved; now I was just very attached and insecure. All I wanted was intimacy -to feel truly known and still loved.
To say my previous relationships were rocky is a huge understatement. I was constantly worried that we would break up and that I would be all alone again. Needless to say, it was a full-time job making sure that we were "okay". What held our relationship together? Mutual attraction, attachment to his family, my desire to have a husband and children, fear of being alone? I'm not sure, but I began to question -was all that enough? Are those things the foundation of a relationship? If I tried hard enough, could I sustain this relationship?
So the question is - how did The Lord redeem this area of my life and provide me with a godly husband?
Well in early 2009, I surrendered my life and my heart to Christ. I repented of my sin and accepted him as Savior and Lord. I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year, and The Lord began reshaping my views on everything. I was consumed with a love of his Word, and through the coming months, years, (and still to this day), The Lord taught me what it meant to glorify Christ with my whole life especially in relationships.
As I studied Scripture and learned from women and marriages around me, I learned that my marriage is to mimic the relationship that Christ has with his bride - the church.
The Lord taught me that my identity is in Him.
1 Peter 2:9 - "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light"
When I answered the call of Christ, he changed my identity to follower of Christ, and he called me to a purpose - to declare his praises with my life.
If my whole life is Christ now, how could I possibly marry a non-believer? How could I marry someone who I can't share my whole life with? My marriage is to sing his praises. My marriage is supposed to be a display of the gospel to the world. The Lord was so faithful to provide Hunter, whose identity is in Christ and desires are for The Lord's glory.
The Lord taught me that true intimacy comes from knowing Him.
Jesus is the one that truly knows me and loves me any way. Despite my sin, he chose to pursue a relationship with me! He came and laid down his life so that I may have right relationship with Him. This is such a beautiful truth that he revealed to me. How could I not respond with surrender of my heart & sing his praises? I had been trying for so many years to find a man that would show this kind of love and sacrifice. I filled this void with the definition of love and sacrifice - JESUS. Through his faithfulness, he brought me Hunter, who is filled with this same joy in the gospel. Together, we strive to mimic this love and sacrifice displayed through Jesus.
The Lord taught me that I am secure in His promises.
I no longer have to fear being alone; I don't have to try hard enough to sustain my relationship with Christ. Because here's the truth - if it was left up to me to sustain my relationship with Jesus, it wouldn't last very long (much less for eternity). Praise God that he is much more faithful than me! He has promised to never leave me and his bride. In the same way, our marriage is not built on the superficial things of this world (like attraction, common interests, family, money, sex etc) - our marriage is centered and grounded in Christ. We rely on Him to continue to work in our relationship. He is the sustainer. It's our love for Christ that causes us to love and serve each other.
Ultimately, my marriage is not about "us" - its about HIM. If we are more concerned about "us" than the gospel then we have missed the whole point of marriage, and we have most certainly missed out on the blessings that He pours out on those who center their lives on Jesus.
I urge you sisters to fall in love with Jesus first. There is no greater love, joy, and fulfillment. He healed my broken heart and showed me the wonders of His love. Pray that he sends you a man that understands this type of love that calls out of darkness into the light. He is faithful today, tomorrow, and forever.