Back in May – May 18th to be exact, I had a conversation that would fuel a pondering and a processing that would last for months… It was odd, in that I’d spoken to the individuals once and twice before, but it was deeply good, and has helped me in more ways than I even know…
It should be said, up front, that I’ve felt like a fish out of water this past year. For 17+ years, every conversation I’d had with a man has been within the context of my relationship/marriage. I’ve had firm boundaries about what I would and would not say, about how I carried myself, how I interacted, about the fact that my husband was told of the content of every conversation I had with men… Having watched my parents divorce due to a lack of communication, boundaries, & protection which ultimately led to an affair, I wanted to do all I could honor my marriage, my husband, and to make sure I didn’t go there…
So, when I suddenly was without husband, and headed toward divorce, I found myself struggling even with simple conversations with men I knew and loved as brothers, not to mention those not so close. Where did the boundaries need to be now? The obvious answer (tho I didn’t see it clearly till it was reflected back to me that evening in May) is I needed to hold the same boundaries for myself as I had once for “us”, However, it had to be communicated in vastly different ways – because my boundaries are not now predicated by a marriage, but by my devotion to YHVH and to guarding my heart in obedience to Him.
Add to that, in November, for about a month and intermittently since, I reacted to men in ways I totally didn’t expect, and left me confused and a bit embarrassed. What was going on?!?! I don’t blush, I don’t do embarrassed – why is my face suddenly hot and red when I’m not attracted to this person, and the conversation doesn’t warrant this response?! A friend summed it up well, when she said, “You are beginning to feel. I went thru the same thing. When you close yourself off from feeling as an act of protection, and then when you begin to come alive, when you begin to feel safe, the body goes thru this weird “getting used to it’s own skin” again, in bizarre ways where even the wind on your face feels completely different. Your senses are waking to truly feel life again.”
Regardless of the cause – the entire idea of relating to men was a bit scary and off-putting. Yet, I knew I needed to grow in this area. Prior to “the incident” that ended my marriage, I was pretty comfortable in my own skin, within my norm of marriage and family. By early May of this year, following a time of deliverance from spiritual assault that had attempted to reach itself into my life and put a strangle hold on me, I was again free in my own self… by myself… But interaction with men was fraught with nerves and a strong desire to keep my head down and just keep moving. Eye contact especially challenging – a conscious and deliberate choice…
One of those rare “remember for a lifetime” conversations that would work it’s way to my heart, and free me….
We were in a group of people, 3 of us single and one married, who had once been in my position. The other two singles were talking about a commitment they’d made in regards to looking for a spouse, as they read thru Scripture. You may recall that Abraham was VERY adamant that a wife for Isaac be chosen from amongst his Father’s house. Rachel, too, pushed Isaac for a wife to be found for Jacob, from amongst her Father’s house.
There is a deep spiritual truth in these stories, and example for us, that if we are looking for a future spouse, we must look within Abba’s house. “Abba’s House” might look different for others, but for me, it means looking for someone who worships in Spirit and in Truth. Someone who is searching Scripture to learn more of Yeshua, and to learn more of what the Abundant life Yeshua offers looks like in the day to day. Most importantly, it means, someone filled with the Spirit of YHVH, with His fruit bearing in their life, in the midst of their personal obedience to YHVH, within their personal relationship with Him.
The second part of their commitment is that there would be Unity by the Spirit between themselves and YHVH’s intended partner for them, prior to unity of anything else between them. I didn’t get the impression that this is the unity of Spirit which comes often in the fellowship with other believers – when, in a small group, there is unity between all in the worship of Elohim – altho that might be a good place to start looking for someone from Abba’s house.
No, this was a deeper, individual Oneness in Spirit connection between two people, male & female. This was the stuff of “what Elohim hath joined together, LET NO MAN put asunder” in absolute declarative!!
I sat with this thought process for weeks and by mid June was comfortable with agreeing to the “big picture” – the details took even more processing.
In late June, I listened to two sermons, while driving backroads of WV, on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The rest of the time driving was spent connecting what I was learning in regard to the Holy Spirit with what reality and the details might look like if one searched within Abba’s house for a mate AND waited for the unity of Spirit between the two individuals before moving forward in any other unity.
As I processed thru the details, what the reality of this commitment looked like to me was a whole lot of surrender. Surrender of interest, desires, dreams, lust, passion, love.
Surrender often – Likely daily, maybe moment by moment at times. In Rebekah’s story, she chose to marry Isaac sight unseen and I’m sure she had a whole lot of surrendering to trust on that ride from her Father’s house to Isaac’s Mothers Tent, and clearly, she was willing to go the day after the servant approached her, which means Abraham’s prayer, that the Spirit go before the servant was answered – however, in today’s world, the reality is much more likely that at some level a person would “know” the other before YHVH put the two together. In that knowing comes the need for surrender to YHVH’s timing, sovereignty and will. It means listening for YHVH direction in every male/female relationship. It means surrendering one’s own desires and one’s own fears, and acting in obedience to the Spirit’s prompting. It’s reminiscent of –
“Young women of Jerusalem, swear to me
by the gazelles
or by the does in the field
that you will not awaken love
or arouse love before its proper time.”
And then – there is the moment in which YHVH makes it clear, by the Unity of the Spirit abiding within each that this is the Intended spouse.
The declarative moment when YHVH says,
“What Elohim hath joined together let no man put asunder.”
In Rebekah’s day, Isaac took her to his mother’s tent and they were married… Bringing that forward to now – I’m kinda thinking there might be a lot of heads snapping on FB when a relationship status goes from single to married in a very short amount of time (especially for those who haven’t observed the exercise of daily surrender). In today’s world the expectation is an engagement period, and a preparing for the elaborate wedding, and …
Ok, so obviously, at some point along the way in Jewish tradition, there became a standard protocol of a betrothal period, a time following the making of the commitment to marry and provide for; when the bridegroom would go back home, and prepare a place for the bride, and His Father was the one to decide, “Yep, the bridal chamber is ready, it’s time to go get your Bride.”
So, when Yeshua said, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and receive you unto myself” and “no one knows the hour but the Father” he was making a Complete Reference to the wedding practices of the time and culture. (A culture which, as I said back in “In a Land Far from Home” feels much more mine than anything I see around me today)
At first glance these two conclusions look to be opposing – that of a necessary betrothal period, and that of becoming married in the moment of, or VERY shortly after YHVH creates a unity of Spirit… However, as I followed it out further, I realized that if a person is waiting on YHVH all along the way, and surrendering completely to Him day by day, and IF that person is doing all that YHVH directs them to do which prepares them emotionally, spiritually, physically ahead of time for the bride or groom that YHVH has chosen, then the betrothal has already occurred on the spiritual level, because the betrothal is really a commitment of faith and trust before Elohim, to dedicate oneself to whomever He choses.
Hence, the “unity of Spirit” could easily be the equivalent of YHVH saying, “The marriage chamber is ready – it’s time to get your Bride/receive your Groom”
And we’re back to heads snapping, mouths gaping on Facebook. 😀
Granted – YHVH is incredible in how He works, and we must always remember that we don’t know the mind of Elohim. So there is likely a spectrum of how He works the timing out – from Rebekkah’s story, of leaving the next day for husband unknown and marrying him within the day of arrival, or Ruth’s story, when she follows the directions given her, makes herself known to Boaz at night, and the next day is married…. all the way to a year or 2 years long betrothal or even to Jacob’s story of 7 years of work for his bride. However, if one is going to truly trust YHVH for direction, then one must equally accept the possibility of both ends of that spectrum!
After thinking that all thru for a while, meditating, praying, etc.. by early July or so, I had decided that I too would trust YHVH in the deepest place of desire, in the most intimate of relationships that I will potentially face as a single woman. I would surrender to the process of 1. Not even considering someone outside of Abba’s house, and 2. Surrendering the day to day interactions with any and all single males, until 3. Unity in Spirit, directly from the Spirit of YHVH, makes His will clearly evident to myself, to the intended groom, and by default, those walking most closely with us. 4. At that point following the leading of YHVH for His timing of whatever marriage details and other essential rubber meets the road stuff sure to follow.
I will walk in that surrender to YHVH, for He truly can be trusted with this!!
What I didn’t expect was the consequences of that decision. I didn’t expect that when I surrendered the deepest of desires for the most intimate of relationships, it would naturally overflow into all of my relationships. But, the past couple of weeks, I’ve been amazed by how much the decision to surrender there, has given me freedom across the board, especially with men.
The pressure is off. It’s not up to me to make something happen, nor to keep something from happening. It’s only up to me to follow YHVH’s leading – daily. Obviously, if He says speak, then it’s time to speak. If he says, Hold your tongue, then I’d better shut it. If He says to go, or to stay then I should follow that. And I should follow the general boundaries He’s already given me … However, there are no longer the jittery, fish out of water feelings present in my interactions with men. I can be me. I can be who YHVH created me to be with no reservations. I can trust His sovereignty and His will in all of my relationships!
Trusting Him isn’t a new thing for me; nor is Trusting His timing. … How many times have I said, “that’s not a battle I have to fight today, it will come, in the right time” ? How many times have I felt one thing, but stayed surrendered & obedient to His word to me regardless of my feelings?
However, in this space of my heart, it is new… I’ve been in a relationship or married since 1993. All other relationships were secondary.
That has changed, and by default, so have the nature of all the other relationships…
But, in trusting YHVH with the timing and sovereignty of my desire to someday have a true human Husband, all other relationships, male and female, fall into the place of trust also.
So, when I can’t be at my grandfather’s bed during his ex-tubation with the whole of my extended family, I trust YHVH’s timing. When it is my time to be at his bed – Guess what – YHVH shows up in some awesome ways, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His timing for me and for my grandfather is perfect in this moment, so that, when his eyes close in final rest, I can say, “Grandpa, we’ve run the good race, we’ve finished the course set before us.”
So, when my dear friend calls in labor, a labor and birth I’d planned to attend, as I sit holding my Grandpa’s hand, his time being counted in hours, I trust YHVH’s timing. When her daughter is born, 1 hr and 15 min after he passes, it’s a tremendous blessing for my grieving heart, and I trust YHVH to know that He has my friend in His perfect will, love and timing also, and has a blessing prepared for her.
So, when friends are supposed to meet me on the mountain balds, and one passes me by a mile (or just 50 ft, but might as well be a mile in the cloud) I trust YHVH’s timing that Yeshua and I needed more time together alone; and He also had an incredible blessing in store for my friend as he watched the unveiling of the mountains alone.
So, when 7 are invited to join in a project, and one shows, I know that’s what YHVH ordained, and guess what, my alone processing time prior to his arrival and the work accomplished after his arrival, and the conversation over supper, and the fellowship in worship were exactly what we both needed for that day.
So, when I have several stops/meetings planned, and in the course of the day, some of them fll thru, I can trust that the stops that were made are the right ones, and the time spent at lunch with a dear friend, and later helping her with some details that I would have otherwise not had the time to do – it’s what we both needed for that day AND that those I didn’t see are within Abba’s will also.
and So… someday, when the proper time has come, and YHVH awakens love, with whomever He choses, I can trust it will be deeply good for both of us… and likely in the perfect timing not just for us, but for many more affected by our union.
And that’s why I’m so very grateful for the perfect timing and sovereignty of YHVH.
The timing was right when the conversation was had one evening in May. The result of me taking that conversation to YHVH and walking thru the implications in my mind, has opened me up to freedom of Trust, where I was once immeasurably unsure and shaky. Should, in the process of surrender, YHVH never bring a human husband into my life, I will be forever grateful for the eternal benefit of freedom in trusting YHVH in all of my relationships, which came out of that one conversation. Absolutely breathtaking and of eternal value it was!
Yehovah’s timing and sovereignty in my daily personal life, is just incredibly good!