Journaling, Spiritual Growth, The Marriage Chapters

Back Porch Fellowship

Back-porch-bible-studyA couple months ago I took a day off of work to spend with Hawk. Our calendars have been full the past year and a half of our marriage. Honestly, many times I’ve resented Hawk’s busy schedule and the commitments that take him away from our home and me – every time I got a calendar notification alert, I’d sigh. I felt like those notifications, those commitments that we had no control over were controlling our lives, our plans, our marriage. And I was lonely.

One night it just became too much. I felt bitter and I felt distanced from my husband. So I took a day off of work to spend time with him. It was a Friday. We slept in and I made coffee and leisurely completed my Bible study on our back porch as the morning sun rose high. As I read, I glanced sideways out of the corner of my eye, admiring Hawk as he mowed the lawn.

I still remember the topic of that morning’s Bible study.

Koinonia. Fellowship.

My pen transcribed my raw thoughts in my journal:

Sometimes marriage means taking a day off of work to prioritize each other. Today we did just that.

As I sit on our back porch with my coffee and Bible study, I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the goodness and pure graciousness of God. We don’t deserve it, but He is so good and gracious indeed.

Koinonia means “Fellowship.” Today I am enjoying fellowship with my God and the husband He has blessed me with.

Needless to say, it was a great day – a day of falling more in love, spending quality time with each other, and much needed reconnection.

Yesterday morning I happened to be sitting on our back porch again with another Bible study watching Hawk work in the yard again. My mind brought me back to that moment months before where I was introduced to that word Koinonia. 

I thought of koinonia with God. I was challenged by a statement I read earlier. My mind processed it as my hand moved steadily across the journal page, working it out.

Do I really believe God loves me?

Am I confident in that fact? Do I live in that reality? Do I embrace wholeheartedly that God really loves me? That He doesn’t just tolerate me or is burdened by me and all my neediness, but that He genuinely likes me? Even daresay, delights in me and enjoys me?

If I’m honest, sometimes I’m not so sure. It’s human to question love. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked Hawk “Do you love me?” in casual conversation. I know he does, it’s obvious, he married me and he shows me his love every day, but it’s human to question. It’s human to want it said, to want it confirmed and reconfirmed, to want to be reassured.

“However,” I wrote in gray ink, “by not being confident in Christ’s love I miss His entire character – I miss His heart. How else am I supposed to believe anything else He says if I don’t first truly believe that He does indeed love me?”

I’m very blessed to be able to say I grew up in church. I’m pretty sure I had John 3:16 memorized as soon as I learned my ABCs. Yet, I wonder if we’ve memorized and heard it so many times that it no longer falls fresh on our hearts.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That right there, summarizes the Biblical narrative – God’s rescue mission for us. And the motivation behind this rescue, this redemption, the reason He sent a Savior to ransom us despite our own personal treason?

His Love.

Not His tolerance of humanity or His boredom that He needs us around to keep Him entertained like a sitcom – but His love.

Do I believe in His love?

Not just in His love for the world or His love for all of humanity, but His love for me? For me personally?

His love has nothing to do with anything I do or don’t do. His love is His character. His love is His desire for koinonia. He loves us beyond our understanding, yet He also longs for fellowship, not because He needs it, or because He has to offer it, but because He genuinely wants to fellowship with His people.

He loves the quiet, personal moments He has with me on the back porch. He loves koinonia. 

Humanity is flawed. People lie. People manipulate. People abuse love.

But, the Savior, He cannot lie. He cannot abuse His love. He created it.

If we “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22) and in full assurance and deep confidence of His genuine love, it frees.

It frees me from striving so hard – it frees me to embrace His grace.

It frees me to be able to reciprocate love to not only the God who loves me, likes me and delights in me, but also to others who are difficult to love, and can I even say to those who are impossible to love without Him.

I am only capable of genuinely and purely loving others, even Hawk, through His love. To do that, however, I have to first accept that I am deeply loved by the God of the Universe Himself. I have to take hold of that assurance and take Him at His Word – that His love is secure, unconditional, and a pure gift for me to just receive – believe – and enjoy.

The Lord created koinonia because it delights Him – and I’m so glad He did.

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