Since it’s a new year I thought I would do a sort of a re-introduction to this blog and the why behind it.
A central theme written over my life and tied to everything I write is faithfulness.
About 14 years ago I started blogging. Almost everything I write, whether on my blog, in a poem or essay is born out of nearly 30 years of marriage and 20 years of raising sons. And in those relationships especially, the pursuit of faithfulness and faithful love reigns.
I’m on a quest in life, in my marriage, my parenting, my writing, my work to see the faithfulness of God and learn to live faithfully as well. A persistent question never leaves me, “If I’m really a Christian, if Christ is really risen, if he really dwells in me, then can I learn to love like Jesus?”
Learning to love is tied closely to what it means to be faithful as a Christian. Throughout scripture, God describes his faithfulness in terms of faithful love. A simple search of the phrase, “faithful love,” in the Blue Letter Bible shows how often God is described by his faithfulness and faithful love. Jesus said loving God and neighbor are the greatest of God’s commands and the evergreen tree from which all his law and prophets hang like pine cones.
So what is faithful love? What does God’s faithfulness look like? And What does it mean for me to cultivate faithfulness? It would require much more than a short blog post to answer those questions. Exploring the answers to these questions is what I aim to do on this blog. It’s what I aim to do with my life.
As a point of reference, I looked up the words cultivate and faithfulness in the Webster’s dictionary the other day.
Cultivate means to prepare, to loosen or break up soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor; to further or encourage.
Faithfulness is being steadfast in affection, allegiance, firm in adherence to promises or observance of duty; given with strong assurance, true to the facts, to a standard, to an original.
But it’s the message of Psalm 37 that has illuminated my desire to practice faithfulness and faithful love more than any modern definition.
Trust in the Lord and do good; Live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. –Psalm 37:3 NASB
In Psalm 37, David explores the tension and feelings of anger and discouragement sure to rise up while living with people who don’t seek to love God and others. And what is the solution David lands on for how God’s people are to live in such stressful circumstances? Trust God. Do good. And cultivate faithfulness.
And this is God’s instruction to me.
In this marriage, God has not called me to save my marriage, prevent a divorce at all costs, make my husband happy, or employ any formula to get the kind of marriage I want. In my parenting, God has not called me to save my children, prevent them from wandering away from the faith, keep them happy, or make them the people I want them to be. He has called me to trust him and do good. To live in this Arizona suburb with this man, these sons, these neighbors, this church, this government, this job, etc., and prepare the soil of my life to grow the fruit of the Spirit. And to do so steadfastly.
This means not only am I to live out what Eugene Peterson called a long obedience in the same direction, but because of my prone-to-wander state, I must determine to live out a long repentance in the same direction.
God has planted his faithfulness in my life. He has given me the seed of his word. He’s called me to spend my life letting him teach me, and help me, to love him and my neighbors, right here under this roof, and down the street.
I do not claim to have the answers. I have in the past, and probably will still foolishly stumble into blogging, writing and speaking as though I do. If I have any answer it’s a mysterious and real relationship with the Jesus of the Bible. So, as Mary Oliver said in her poem Mysteries, Yes:
Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.
I pray this blog would be a place where I can say, “Look” and we can laugh together in astonishment and worship in response to God’s faithful love and the miracle of his work to produce this love in us.
With the Lord’s help I plan to spend my days growing in the faithful love of God; turning the fallow ground of my life, and learning to produce faithful love the way I was created to. Will you join me?