Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Love & Connection…Basic Human Needs

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God created us all with basic needs. We need oxygen to breath. We need nutrition and water to sustain life. We need shelter and clothing. These are all needs, but we shouldn’t forget that one of our basic human needs is for love and connection. God created us to NEED love and to feel connected to other people, both in friendship and also in romantic/intimate love.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18

It wasn’t good for man (or woman for that matter) to be alone. Alone. So many people are feeling alone at this very moment…their hearts aching to feel loved and connected. It’s such a strong longing that it can consume a person. It can steal his joy and leave him wondering how he will persevere through another day without it. God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. We were made for connection.

We were made for romance too…

“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19

Sounds a little racy for the Bible right? God created romance. He created sexual intimacy. He created us to desire that connection. This is a such a strong need that it often leads people to be tempted to sin because of the lack of fulfillment. A husband or wife who is cold to his or her spouse is tempting them to sin. Is that an excuse to sin? Of course not! There’s never an excuse to give in to sin, but there is responsibility there.

“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

“So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Matthew 19:6

One flesh…in both spirit and body. They are one. God made us to need to be one with someone. He designed us to need to be one in a spiritual and emotional connection. A deep connection…one that is exclusive and evident in their lives. Couples who have this connection and oneness are so in sync with one another that they finish each other’s sentences and anticipate their beloved’s next move. They know each other’s interests, goals, dreams, likes and dislikes. They understand their spouse’s fears, struggles, joys and needs. As they grow and change, they change together and continue to learn about each other.

God also made us to need physical oneness. I mentioned it a few paragraphs ago. Sex. Intimacy. Connecting in a way that, again, is exclusive and vulnerable and a primal part of the human experience. Do you know how difficult it is for most people to live without sexual intimacy? Singles usually struggle immensely in this area, as do married people in lonely and cold marriages. Why struggle? Because humans were designed to need sexual intimacy and oneness, and we ache for it when we don’t have it.

So many marriages are made up of people who are still two separate beings. There are many reasons this happens. Some reasons are due to sin, ignorance of God’s plan, interference from outsiders and a general fading away of love. In these cases, there is every reason to hope for and work towards fixing the problem and connecting with your spouse.

Others have a much more difficult problem. There are many, many couples who married for all the wrong reasons. There are couples who married before they were believers only to find out that they shared none of the same values, passions and goals. There are marriages consisting of one believer and one non-believer.

These problems are not so easy, folks. I think sometimes The Church as whole looks on these issues as being minor or of little consequence. People are told just to “keep their vows” and not worry about the rest. Well, I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t keep vows or that marriages with issues should just be abandoned. I’m not advocating for divorce…not at all. I do think that Christians need to be very careful not to dismiss the heartache, pain and loneliness that people are feeling in their broken marriages. We need to have empathy and compassion. We need to understand that what we are advising is not easy at all…it’s literally denying one’s basic needs in service and obedience to God.

There are few things as destructive and hurtful as a marriage that has no love and connection. It’s devastating for the children. It’s a daily emotional and spiritual and even physical beating for the unhappy and unfulfilled husband and wife. Is there hope? In Christ there’s always hope, but that doesn’t mean the day to day life is any easier. It doesn’t mean the tears shed every night aren’t real. The pain is real. The loneliness is like your heart being trampled and abandoned day by day, and oftentimes no one even knows it’s going on behind closed doors. They suffer alone.

Connection. How can people feel connected if their core values are different? How can they feel loved if sexual intimacy is always withheld? How can marriage be successful if the two people in it are complete opposites and have no understanding of each other? Sometimes they fail. Sometimes there’s divorce. Sometimes bad marriages are so painful that people become physically sick. Sometimes sexual immorality enters in. Sometimes there’s depression and suicide….

…but sometimes there are miracles. Sometimes people find God and change. Sometimes wives read the Word and start to follow the leadership of their husbands. Sometimes husbands learn to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Sometimes love and connection is rekindled, or formed for the first time. Sometimes people changed profoundly by the hand of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit. It does happen.

I very strongly want to encourage my fellow believers to lift up in prayer people in lonely, broken, loveless marriages. We were designed to need love and connection. If we don’t have that connection, there is suffering and pain. It’s not a minor issue. It’s like living without air. Like drowning. It’s a BIG issue.

So stop downplaying it. Stop giving easy answers. Give scripture, yes, but acknowledge that it’s not an easy road. Most of the time one spouse is willing to try but the other isn’t. Many times one won’t even admit there’s a problem. No one is guaranteed a good outcome. There are couples who never had love for one another and maybe never will. Acknowledge that their pain is real before you tell them just to choose to love. Have some compassion.

If you’re reading this and you’re longing for love and connection, just know that you’re not alone and your feelings are valid. You were made to need love and connection. It is a deep and basic need. My prayer for you is that you will be able to withstand the temptation to sin, even in your pain. I pray you are able to find love and connection to the right person, your spouse if you are married, or in a future spouse if single. Praying for all of my lonely and hurting friends tonight that you would feel the comfort of a God who loves you, that you will not fall into despair and that you would remember that your life is important to God and to your loved ones.

Photo credit: Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas) First dance! via photopin (license)

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Why Be Grateful for the Storms of this Life?

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bernat… via photopin cc

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2

EH? Count it joy? Be happy about trials of various kinds? I can honestly say that we go through a great variety of trials and I confess that it is rare that I leap for joy at the discovery of a new trial or time of tribulation. Yet, we are told to count it joy. There are several reasons we should be grateful and joyful, even in the midst of great trials and sometimes tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. Here are some of the reasons we should be grateful for the storms of life…

  1. Trials teach and grow us in patience and faith. The testing of our faith produces patience and works in us to develop our faith to maturity. It is during times of trial that we grow the most in our walks with the Lord as we put our trust in Him alone.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-8

  1. Trials produce endurance, character and a more confident hope that will never let us down. We know who our hope is in and that He will never fail us or let us be destroyed.

 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

  1. Trials and pain bring us closer to the Lord. We draw nearer to Him and He is right there for us, bringing us comfort, strength and peace.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

  1. Our faith through trials brings honor and glory to God, not to mention the testimony that it is to the lost.

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

  1. When we go through trials, God ministers to our spirits in a very personal and beautiful way. He renews us and establishes us. We see His work in our lives very clearly.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

  1. The end result of enduring through the trial is the crown of life and glory beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

No one asks for trials, and yet we see that experiencing trials produces some wonderful fruit, in us and around us. We may not see the fruit now, nor may we feel God’s loving hand in it, but we have a blessed assurance that it’ll all be worth it in the end. If we truly believe God’s Word, then we have every reason to be grateful for the trials and storms this life has for us. As we put our faith in the God of all creation, we can face today and everyday with strength, hope, peace and joy.

Praying today for people going through horrific trials, that they would feel the very near presence of God and know His love.

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Finding Mercy and Grace in Times of Need

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Confession time…I’m a a worrier. I tend to struggle with anxiety, stress, worry and even panic from time to time. When times get tough, this woman right here turns to mush. I don’t really have a tough bone in my body. The good news is I don’t need to be strong, independent or tough when the attacks of the enemy and the darkness of this life get me down. I can approach that glorious throne of grace with boldness and find the only mercy that truly ministers to me.

What a blessing is the mercy of the Lord! What a treasure is His peace!

I find very interesting that the verse above says we can enter the throne of grace in times of need to receive this ministering. I think we can all agree that coming to the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ is such an amazing and awesome privilege. Notice, however, that the scripture specifies we come in time of need. Isn’t it so very true that the times we recognize our need for Jesus the clearest are those times when we are suffering or facing diverse trials? The sufferings of this world make our hearts cry out for Jesus even more. The pain of sin, sickness and death remind us how much we need Jesus.

I love the song, “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.

“Lord, I need You, Oh I need You. Every hour I need You! My one defense. My righteousness. Oh God how I need you!”

I don’t know about you but I need God every hour of every day. This world is full of hard choices, temptation, struggles, pain and suffering….without the Lord we are going to fail and fall hard. I’ve been there. I know. When I begin to lose heart, and the world around me starts to look like it’s going to consume me, I remember the throne of Grace. I remember that God calls me there so that I can lay my needs, my fears, my worries and my pain at the feet of the One who conquered every evil thing with His death and resurrection.

I come boldly to the throne of grace. I confess. I repent. I surrender. I am forgiven. I am freed.

What I love so much about the Lord is His compassion and understanding. Sometimes when we go to friends and family, even brothers and sisters in the Lord, we come with our weakness and receive disappointment, judgement, disregard and piety. Yet when we come to the throne of grace, our Lord offers us mercy, love, forgiveness and compassion.

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” Hebrews 2:18
 
We have a High Priest who understands our suffering, our temptation, our trials and our pain. He has suffered the same and worse, yet without sin. He overcame and defeated sin, and He is so very able to help us in our weakness. He does not despise us for it, but covers us in His perfection. He clothes us in His righteousness. He welcomes us into His throne room with love and mercy. The very thought of it moves me to tears.
 
Praise the Lord who loves us in our weakness. May we run to Him and remain in Him every moment of every hour of every day until He returns or calls us home. Amen?
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A Perfect Helper

“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help-meet for him.’ And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help-meet for him.”         Genesis 2:18-20

Now, I am the kind of woman who likes a good, old-fashioned inductive look at these passages. Getting back to the original language and all possible translations can often give us a better idea and a more complete picture of what the Lord is saying to us. After all, why does the King James Bible use the word “help-meet” in this passage to describe the woman He was about to fashion? One would think a more appropriate word would be “lover” or “dream girl” or something of that nature. Of course, God knew what He was doing and there is so much we learn simply from this very word. Let’s take a closer look.

The Hebrew word for “help-meet” is the word “`ezer”, which means a “help, an aide, a succor, or one who helps.” Basically God was saying that it was not good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper. Adam had everything good in the Garden of Eden. He basically had a sweet deal. Talk about the ultimate bachelor pad! He had the beautiful scenery, of which we cannot possibly imagine, freedom, the animals, no hard labor, no heavy responsibilities, no mortgage payments…are you starting to get the picture? Adam had it made. He was literally the master of all God had given unto his charge. So, why did he need a helper? Why did he need a wife?

We can’t assume to know the answer to that question. We do know that God said it was not good for man to be alone. Perhaps the man was lonely. We know that God intended all living things to be fruitful and multiply, and clearly a suitable partner was required for that act. Maybe God knew that Adam would never stop for directions if he didn’t have an efficient wife in the passenger seat! Regardless, God made Eve to be a helper, or help-meet, for her husband. Everything God makes is good, so it is good for man to have a wife. We can trust God’s plan. Many of the world’s finest Biblical teachers and shepherds will acknowledge the support of their wives, their helpers, as being crucial in their ministries.

Ladies, this may come as a shock to you because it’s not usually worded this bluntly in today’s society, but if you are married, then you were created for the primary purpose of being your husband’s helper. You were created to encourage him, build him up, help him accomplish the tasks God has given him, and to meet his needs. You are indeed your husband’s helper and it’s a beautiful calling to have upon your life.

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