The Sanctity of Marriage

Oh, the covenant we are living in. It’s more than rings on hands, it’s the yes to the unknown… What was easy to say is now staring us down. Is it ’til death do us part or ’til a change of heart? Feelings go so far, but where are we when they’re gone?

rs-wedding-221When I made a covenant to my husband in marriage almost six years ago, I signed on for a lifetime. I thought, I am heading into a life of love. Of treasured memories. Making a family. Ministering together. A life of substance. All True. But there are mysteries within the space of marriage, between the lines of those vows I made. God breathes life into that space. It’s sacramental; there’s something supernatural happening in this covenant. Something out of my control and out of Robert’s control. Something clothed in divinity and wisdom.

Marriage is hard. Many don’t last “for better or worse” or “til death do us part.” Going into it, I knew a little about sanctification: God does work in my heart. He allows circumstances to test my faith.

But. I couldn’t possibly comprehend–much less feel–what it would be like to go through not only my own sanctification, but also Robert’s. The stretching, the testing, the trying. The refining fire surely burns in marriage. It burns in the way we see ourselves and our own failings reflected in the hurt of our spouse. It burns in the way we are wounded by their choices, too.

God sets us apart. He makes us new in his love, returning us to our proper, created purpose. The sanctity of self and of marriage hinges upon releasing my white-knuckled grip on what I imagined, intended, or even desired for my marriage. In letting-go I find myself consumed by love that does not run out.

img_4476Each night last week we lit our Advent candle and prayed for Hope. This week we pray for Peace. The little flames are like marriage outside of The Mystery, outside of The Story. They burn rather dimly compared to the gaudy twinkle lights on the tree. Seemingly less powerful than those electric bulbs, the candle-flames are affected by each breath and movement.

And yet, we continue to meditate on the deep symbolism of this Advent wreath and anticipation of the coming Christ. The burning flames are pure and elemental. If allowed, they would grow and provide life-sustaining warmth. The could light up a dark room.

rs-wedding-144Hold the flame of my marriage covenant next to romances of this world, some alluring dramas or epic sparkly love stories… It seems dim and powerless. But hold it closer… let it catch. Allow it to burn anew with the love and light of Christ. I’m in it. The wind may gust through like a hurricane sometimes, but this flame is not going to blow out.

It costs something when we enter the covenant of marriage. There will be struggle. There will be sacrifice. This is what we signed up for.

We are holding on to Him as He is holding on to our covenant. We reflect the greatest story of our King and His Bride. We’re not hidden but shine brightly bearing witness in the night. -Bethany Barnard


Preparing to Wait

An important part of the spiritual life is to keep longing, waiting, hoping, expecting. In the long run, some voluntary penance becomes necessary to help us remember that we are not yet fulfilled. A good criticism, a frustrating day, an empty stomach, or tired eyes might help to awaken our expectation and deepen our prayer:

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

-Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

It feels fitting to return to this little space as we approach the new church year. Advent begins this weekend, and we will celebrate with a New Year – Autumn – Friendsgiving party! Surely there’s a birthday to celebrate too, right?


This morning I climbed up to the tippy top bookshelf where we keep our seasonal books. We’ve enjoyed these books in Advent seasons past. (Click the cover image to view on Amazon)

watchforlight sacred-space waiting

**Sacred Space for Advent and Christmas is sold out, but Sacred Space 2017 would make a great Christmas gift!

I have my eye on these other options for this year, but may just end up using an old faithful. Open to suggestions!

Advent and Christmas Advent and Christmas Prayers preparing

Also, enjoy my Advent playlist on Spotify!

THEO: month 2

I know I’ve been posting a bunch, but really who can complain about a cute video of a baby??? If you are complaining, I dare you to watch this quick 2 and a half minutes … I am so proud of myself for finishing this one day before Theo’s 2 month mark! We love our little sticky bun. 

The song is “Save the World” by Charleston duo Shovels & Rope (who I would love to go see tonight in St. Augustine with Jason Isbell… swooning over that lineup and location!!!)

when you’re caught in the wave
of a terrible tide
suddenly you’re struggling
to stay astride

so you calm your hands
and you cool your mind
and you wake up happy
on the other side

when there is a trouble
you can not command
maybe it’s God trying
to guide your hand

to shine a little light
upon where you stand
so that you can genuinely

that you got what it takes
you got what it takes
to save the world

-Shovels & Rope