These 8 words: My beloved is mine and I am his

man and woman holding hands while walking on bridge
Photo by Scott Webb on

Sheila Dougal-8

“My beloved is mine and I am his…” Song of Solomon 2:16

So the people who know these things (at least the ones I’ve heard) say the Song of Solomon is about a husband and his wife.  It’s a love story.  Others say its about Christ and his Church.  A love story.  I say yes.

These eight words:


are deep calling to deep for me.  Echoing waves of, “So be it!” rise from a cavernous thirst when I read them.  I ache deep, longing for the fulfillment of those 8 words.

My marriage isn’t easy.  I know, probably you would ask, who’s is?  It’s foolish, and evidence of my self-centeredness, but sometimes I feel like my marriage is harder than the average marriage. We don’t share the same love of Christ.  We have scars.  And walls. And chasms of distance.  Sometimes we’re close and enjoy the common grace poured out on us.

Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

And I say, if I find in myself desires which this marriage can’t satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another “marriage.”

While Jesus walked here his observers and critics questioned why his disciples didn’t fast like John the Baptist’s.  Jesus answered their skepticism with an allusion to an ethereal marriage:

‘And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. ‘ Matthew 9:15

But it won’t be ethereal.  It will be very real.

What Solomon pictures in the love of the woman and her beloved is a oneness even the best marriages here can’t fulfill. There is a oneness, a unity, a belonging one to the other that is to be tasted of in marriage and consummated when we see Jesus- our beloved who has redeemed us and called us his own.

My beloved Jesus is mine.  And I am his.  And that is a truth beyond capturing in words on a blog.

‘Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. ‘ Revelation 19:6-8

‘”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. ‘ Ephesians 5:31-32

Being God’s child changes everything – A meditation on 1 Peter 1:13-16

Sheila Dougal-8

‘Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16

As you’ve probably heard, if you read the word “therefore” you should probably look at what precedes it so you can see what it’s there for.

Before verse 13 Peter breaks down the weightiness of this salvation we have received as Christians.  I’ve grown tired of the phrases, “born again” and “saved”.  They come with the connotation of a superficial Christiandom that says it’s #blessed and has no sobriety about what it means to be saved or born again.  But Peter gets to the down and dirty of  what it means to be born again and saved in a way our western evangelical selves have gotten all sterilized and plastic.

Maybe I’m cynical. Maybe it’s because I live with an unbeliever, but for me, all the Christianization of things is nauseating. If Jesus isn’t real, if he doesn’t change the way I think and give me a whole new outlook on life and new desires and affections… if he doesn’t really turn my world upside down then he’s a hoax and I’m a liar.  But if I’m really born again I’ll find a whole new kind of life growing in me.  And if I’m really saved, that will mean something that’s very sobering.  I mean, if “saved” just means put the Christian cherry on top of my devil’s food life then fooey!  That’s not saved, that’s sugar-coated.  Peter doesn’t say in verses 3-12 that we’ve been sugar-coated.  Jesus had things to say about people that said they were saved and evangelized others to make them “saved” when they were really rotten dead walking around in white washed tombs making walking dead in nice suites out of their converts.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15

Peter, the one who knows what it feels like to betray Jesus, fall under the weight of that shame and guilt and experience restoration with Jesus, talks about being born again as a radical, life changing experience Jesus does in us.  Being born again we love a Savior we have never seen, even while we suffer (vs.6-8). Our affections have been radically changed. It’s like we’ve been born all over again.

And our salvation is just that… a new birth that will grow up (by God’s tremendous grace and mercy) till the day when Christ perfects us at his coming.

Salvation isn’t a ticket out of hell.  It’s death to our old self, daily.  And new life growing in us, daily.

This is what verse thirteen’s “therefore” is there for.  I just see Peter full of expression and passion looking at us with wide eyes after showing us the scandalous wealth we’ve been given in being born anew as God’s own children, saved from the destruction our sin-rotting selves were destined for, and say, “Put your big boy and big girl pants on cause it’s war now! You’ve been utterly changed, and now for the rest of your life here you need a sober perspective.  You need to stop putting your hope in people, status, wealth, achievement, health… even this life and you need to fix your eyes on that promises that you’re gonna see Jesus.  And when you see him, you’re gonna be made like him.  And the war will be over!”

I was born in 1974 to Bob and Verna Deane.  In 1990 I was born again to God.  And now as His child, I don’t go the way of Bob and Verna and all that my firstborn self had set her hopes on.  All those passions I had were due to ignorance.  I had no idea how good God was and so I put all my hope in things and people that are not good. As God’s child I am set apart from all that.  I don’t live from a place of poverty hoping that some broken person or lying status or temporary wealth will make me satisfied and secure.  I live from a place of abundance with confidence in the One who laid down his life for me and took my old passions and all the deadly fruit they bore with him to the cross.

I am holy. Because my Father is holy.  And by his grace he is bearing the fruit of his holiness even in me.  That’s beyond amazing.

Coming Friday! 

A new series

Short almost-true tales-2

I’ll be posting a historical-fiction short story this Friday.  This first installment of Fiction Friday comes from a piece I submitted to a writing contest.  It didn’t win, but it got me thinking I should try to write some fictional pieces more often. I really enjoyed it.  Anyway, I’d love it if you joined, and if you’re so inclined to write a short 1500 words or less fictional short story and email it to me at I’d love post your piece on one of my Fiction Friday posts.

Monday Meditations: Matthew 22:38-40

Sheila Dougal-2

Welcome to the late night launch of Monday Meditations. I decided to start a regular series every Monday sharing thoughts I’ve been chewing on after hearing or reading a passage in the Bible for me, and for you.  I’ve found when I share something I’m thinking about, particularly concerning the Bible, it sinks in deeper.

But, since it’s nearly Tuesday, I’ll make this 11:18 PM meditation short.

In Matthew 22:38-40, Jesus, answering a testy lawyer trying to trip Jesus up by asking him to pick the greatest commandment in God’s law, did not go to the 10 commandments.  He went to the heart of what Moses told the people of Israel when God gave them the 10 commandments.  The greatest commandment, Jesus said, is:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This deserves a long, not short, late night meditation. But nevertheless, I’ll sip from it’s abundance before I go to bed.

God’s laws- You shall have no other gods before me… You shall not murder… Honor your father and mother, etc.- are like low hanging fruit on an enormous tree that can only grow when a tiny mustard-seed sized gift of faith is planted in a humbled, receiving heart.

A person, like me, might say she doesn’t murder or steal or commit adultery, but she can’t say she loves the God who made her with all their heart, nor can she say she loves her neighbor as herself.

If you never murder anyone, or steal anything or commit adultery, but you don’t have faith that sees Christ as your hope for peace and relationship with God as he intended, your ability to not murder is fruit growing on the tree of knowledge of good and evil and it only leads to death.  But if you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and you’ve been given eyes to see the beauty and worth of Christ and you love him, the fruit of loving your neighbor that produces a life perpetually pruned of self-righteousness will be life giving and reproductive.

God did not intend for us to just jump through hoops to look like we are pretty good people.  He intended for us to love him and love others.  Without a whole new life growing in us, we would never do that.

The first and greatest commandment and the second that is like it are impossible without God miraculously giving me faith. The faith he gave me to believe Jesus is producing a tree of righteousness in me that has all kinds of fruit of His Spirit hanging from it.

Thank you Father for giving me eyes to see Jesus for who he is and to love him. Produce the life-giving fruit of your Holy Spirit in me for your name’s sake and for my neighbor’s sake. Amen.