I always dreamed of having an old claw-foot bathtub. You know, the old white ones that you always see in movies but hardly see anymore.
One year, I think I was probably sixteen at the time, my New Year’s resolution was to take more bubble baths. I don’t know how I came to that decision, but I had this “ritual” for the longest time that on Sunday nights I’d spend the evening cleaning and organizing – getting ready for the new week – and then would soak in the bathtub to wind down. I took creating this relaxing environment very seriously. I’d make sure everything was clean and picture-perfect, I’d light candles that I’d place on the edge of the tub, turn off the lights and play soft music. Usually I’d listen to worship music or read during this time. I had no idea how important and good-for-my-heart this weekly ritual was.
I spent the next four years without a bathtub and consequently without those quiet nights of introspection and rest. I found other ways to substitute this time I had grown so accustomed to. Instead, I’d light candles and play piano, singing to all hours of the night or scribbling vision of pieces of paper as I processed and grew into new seasons.
But there is a time for everything.
And because the Lord loves me SO much, the perfect little house that He has put Seth and me in – the house that has been the answer to so many unique situations and desires of our hearts – has a vintage claw-foot bathtub!
Sweet Jesus, it’s the little things!
After probably one of the hardest weeks I’ve had so far in this “Great Tribulation” journey – of being engaged, the pressures leading up to the invasion of Heaven on Earth in our God-man covenant, and the complete and full activation of restoration – I decided to hole myself up in our little house and do nothing but try to wind down. No to-do lists, no pressure, no schedules, no time constraints.
This is the perfect moment for God’s little gift of enjoyment – and sanity – to me.
My sixteen year-old New Year’s resolutions has been reawakened and I have the prune-y fingers and the refreshed heart to prove it!
Last night after some good ol’ Holy Spirit time in our living room, I decided I’d take a bath (at midnight? Yeah, no time constraints) and pick up where I left off several months ago listening to “The Supernatural Ways of Royalty” audiobook.
I had first listened to this book back in the summer. I would spend hours a week running and listening to Kris Vallotton’s and Bill Johnson’s words about honor, influence, and provision for the daughters and sons of the King. This book was the precursor to seeing the incredible favor of God on my life in the marketplace, not because of anything I had done but because of the position I realized I now stood in as a a chosen and adopted daughter.
I had no idea that later in the next year this book would build and add-to an ongoing revelation I was having to learn about the selfless, freely-giving picture of the love of Jesus through covenant marriage.
I pressed the play button to resume wherever I had left off on this audiobook last summer only to hear that this chapter was about True Covenant.
I had been set up.
The lavender-scented bath and resonating words were exactly what I needed and refreshing to my restless heart.
He gave me vision.
I wanted to post the “highlights” of this chapter I’ve now listened to four times in the last twelve hours.
As we’re beginning to write vows and collaborate with the Holy Spirit on what His vision is for our hearts being united, this chapter and revelation have come in perfect timing.
I’m trusting the Holy Spirit will give us creative inspiration on how to say, “I covenant to spend the rest of my life serving you. One of the main goals of my life from this day on is to make sure that you accomplish all that God has given you to do with your life and I will stay with you until I die.” without all of the corny, cliche phrases of marriage vows these days.
Let’s just get to the point: I’m making a commitment to love you – fully and rightly – regardless of how I am loved in return even to the point of dying to myself.
When you put it like that, it seems crazy. I mean who really wants to guarantee they’ll die to themselves just to freely and fully give everything to someone who can’t guarantee they’ll do the same. This is the Gospel. This is the intense and ridiculous revelation of the passionate love of God that does not even make sense to my human heart.
BUT LOVE IS THE MOTIVATION.
Joy is the reward to give and love freely; to go lower and lower still.
How happy it is to love without expectation.
How sweet it is to go low.
On this quiet Sunday morning, I feel like for the first time, I’m only beginning to understand the LOVE of Jesus. The real, intense, abandoning love of Jesus that costs everything but is counted worth it just for one glance of our eye.
Sweet Jesus, I’m signing up again.
It is the kindness of God to let us grow.
This pressure is not in vain but strategically engineered to bring me into a greater revelation of the Husband-Father-COVENANT LOVE of God.
OH, THAT I WOULD SOMEDAY BE ONE WHO LOVES AND IS LOVED WELL.
Fatherhood begins with Marriage.
Marriage is initiated through Covenant.
Covenant is comprised of three facets:
- It means an agreement that is only to be broken by death
- The nature of a covenant is that those who make it die to themselves for the sake of their covenant partner
- People who are in covenant give each other the right to influence their decisions
In other words, “I’m in this relationship not for what I can get out of it, but for what I can give to it and I have complete control over my own behavior.”
The Judas-spirit is so prominent in our culture today…He was in relationship with Jesus for what he could get out of it, and he pursed intimacy without covenant, which is why he later betrayed Jesus with a kiss. When he realized that Jesus was about to sacrifice himself for the sake of Christ, he sold out what he had left of his stock in Christ for 30 pieces of silver. He didn’t want to be in relationship that cost him.
Many want intimacy without covenant.
But God is a covenant-making being. He made a covenant with man that was based on man’s ability to be righteous through keeping rules (Old Testament). Later, God wanted to change the covenant that He had made with man, but a covenant is terminated only by death. Therefore, God, as Jesus Christ, had to die so that He could change the agreement. He changed the conditions of the covenant to allow us to freely draw near. He gave everything so that we could be everything we were created for.
Do I really believe that if I give my life to serve that he (my covenant partner) would reciprocate the relationship?
More importantly, do I trust that Jesus could give me the desires of my heart while I am the servant of another man?
Could I live with my covenant partner getting credit for the things that I accomplished?
Do I want to spend my entire life in the shadow of another man?
ALL FOR THE SAKE OF LOVE.
The mark of true royalty is the ability to lay down our lives in covenant with others for the sake of the Kingdom.