Relationships are God’s greatest gifts to us. They are fragile and beautiful and precious. God has revealed “himself” to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit…essentially a co-equal community so tightly woven that three are one. Since we are created in the image of God, we need community!
I come from a broken community. I shared in previous blogs how my family was broken and with that brokenness came a great deal of pain, remorse, and heart-ache. I also know the nature of our Triune God is to create community and to offer healing to the broken and resurrection even in the face of death. God did not leave me in my brokenness and I am very grateful.
I celebrate with you a new beginning. Jeana is God’s gift to me and I aspire to be God’s gift to her. Ours is a relationship born of a friendship that God sent when I was at my most broken. Although I can’t tell you when our first date was, I do know that we met through church (we worshiped at different congregations and lived in different towns). I was filling the role of a consultant, as her church was seeking to offer a contemporary service. Over weeks that became months, we talked about God’s work and how to begin a contemporary service in a traditional setting. Our friendship grew around our shared love for Jesus. After being friends for many months, if not a year or more, we found ourselves meeting and talking more and more. Eventually one of her daughters thought of our relationship as a dating relationship. I was surprised at first but then I thought “why not!” We knew each other for about 5 years before she too felt the call of God to take my hand in marriage. On June 9th of this year, she became my “forever” partner in life and in service to God.
There is so much I could say about Jeana. She is my friend and my confidant. I love her with my heart and soul. She brings out the best in me and supports me in my weakest moments. She knows me fully and completely and still embraces me. She makes me better, stronger and encourages my relationship with God. She is much more than just my wife. She is my partner in ministry and in life. I truly believe God called us to journey together and I see her as a gift from God to me. We lean in together when the storms of life come and we weather them together as we seek Jesus. I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else and for this reason, I am blessed!
I wish the same for you in your relationship. People think affairs kill marriages. Marriages are usually dead long before an affair can take place. A marriage is in trouble the very moment when you no longer look at your spouse as a gift from God. Long before our hearts grow cold or we turn outside our marriages to pursue someone else, we stop seeing our beloved as a gift from God. How might you celebrate the gift from God in your life? How might you draw nearer to your spouse? For those who aren’t married, how and where are you looking for your spouse? Who might God be sending your way and how might you prepare yourself to receive the gift God wants to give you?
The month of October we are focusing on building better, richer, stronger relationships, especially marriages. The series is called “The Vow” and will run for the 4 Sundays of October. Andy and I are praying for all our relationships. We understand the deep need at Asbury Church to engage people in relationships where Christ transforms. Sometimes, the relationship we need to engage isn’t out there or far away. It is the one closest to us.
I hope you will join us this October as we journey through “The Vow.” We will talk a lot about Godly relationships and how to make our marriages stronger, richer and more full. Much of what we will be talking about works for all our meaningful relationships and won’t be limited to just marriages. For the many of us who are married or hope to be married one day, this will be an enriching time. For the first time in my life I have a healthy marriage and I am eager and excited to help you strengthen your marriage, whether it be present or future…
Grace to you and peace,
Tom Newman, Lead Pastor