Love and Fear Dance Together

Today I read this post on Christine Sine’s blog. It was a great post and a wonderful addition to the recent synchroblog on Christianity and Immigration. At the end she quoted this poem by Michael Leuniq:

“There are only two feelings
Love and fear
There are only two languages
Love and fear
There are only two activities
Love and fear
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear
Love and fear.”

As soon as I read this I had this picture in my head of love and fear dancing together. I thought about the Christian life as being a journey from fear to love. There’s a long phase of the journey where love hasn’t totally conquered fear yet, and so they dance together for a while. Sometimes love leads, and sometimes fear leads, but hopefully over the course of the journey love leads more and more often until one day fear is completely transformed and Love is all there is. I’ve been sitting with this picture all day.

Here’s a little something I wrote in response to all these thoughts:

Lord, I reach out to you in my darkness and there is fear.

I speak to you in my pain and there is fear.

In me is fear, around me is fear, from me is fear.

I am fear.

But, Lord, you reach out to me in my darkness and there is love.

You speak to me in my pain and there is love.

In you is love, around you is love, from you is love.

You are love.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

You come

And your love begins to dance with my fear.

And slowly, ever so slowly

Fear is driven out by love’s dance.

And you begin to whisper,

“Come, and do likewise!

Reach out your hand in love towards those in darkness

Speak out in love towards those in pain

Drive out fear from all places where it has made its home.

Be love to the other, as I have been love to you.”

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Marriage: A Picture of God’s Love

This is a guest post from my husband’s “younger uncle”, Geoff. I haven’t spent as much time with Geoff as I would like, but what little time we have spent with him and his beautiful wife, Devon, has been a deep pleasure. They are a wonderful couple who are deeply seeking God and I am excited for the future that lies ahead of them. Geoff is also sort of special to me because my wedding and the people he met there had a profound influence on his heart and were indirectly involved in leading him to make some major life changes and get into ministry. I always prayed that my wedding would be life changing for someone and Geoff was that someone. Thanks for sharing this post, Geoff! I pray that my own marriage as well as yours would always be a beautiful picture of God’s love for all who encounter it.

4155_86597503094_627823094_1842071_7986138_nI have to start off this post by saying that I am not necessarily writing out of experience. Because I have only been married a little over a year, and do not have the luxury of a 32-year marriage like my wonderful sister and previous blogger Lisa Stedman, I decided to share some thoughts that I have on the purpose and function of marriage, and the hope for my own marriage

What is so intriguing to me about marriage is what it is. There’s no doubt that if you asked 10 people what marriage is, at least 9 of them would say, “A commitment”. This is absolutely true. However, as beautiful as a lifelong commitment is and can be, if we reduce marriage down to only that, we miss out on the depth, beauty and purpose of marriage.

So if marriage is not just a commitment, then what is it? Well, to get the answer we must go to a source that defines what marriage is, the Bible. Probably one of the clearest definitions of marriage is found in Ephesians 5. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and speaking about this topic, and quoting the Creator of marriage Himself, he pens these words:

“’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”’ (Eph. 5:31, 32)

Whenever God creates something, He does it with incredible purpose and marriage is no different. In fact, I believe that marriage has one of the greatest purposes in the world. And that is to be a picture to the world of what God did for us through Jesus on the cross, and our response to that.

Stories and pictures are tools used by teachers to help the listeners understand, with even more clarity, the point of the story. God is no different, and when thinking about how to clearly portray4155_86597533094_627823094_1842077_7995748_nhow fulfilling and beautiful a relationship with Him could be, He decided to use marriage. That’s why a couple verses before Paul gives his explanation we just read, he instructs husbands to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. And that the wives, in response to the sacrifice of their husbands, should “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” If this is happening in a marriage, it is functioning as a picture to the rest of the world of what being in a relationship with God is like. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in John 17 when He says,

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

If nothing else, I hope this post serves as a reminder that there is such a beautiful purpose in our marriage that goes beyond ourselves. That if we fulfill our God-given roles in our marriages, the world might know that God sent Jesus and loves them even as He loved Him. In my opinion, there couldn’t be a more fulfilling or rewarding purpose for our marriages than this.

4155_86597133094_627823094_1842003_6622457_nGeoff Francian was married to his wife Devin in 2009. They currently live in San Diego, California. Geoff has spent the last 5 years in ministry at a local church. His passions outside of ministry include, in no particular order, both playing and watching basketball (Go Lakers!), golfing, reading, and movie nights with his wife, complete with a bottle of wine and a plate of assorted cheeses.

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.