We are both the bride of Christ, and a heir, a son with an inheritance.
As a girl, I get the bride part. But it’s weird to think of myself as a son. I’m sure that for guys it’s probably the same in reverse. Then I learned something…God is bigger and His Kingdom greater. And there are things that don’t translate into this world completely. He explains His Kingdom Truths piece by piece in ways that make sense to us in our experiences in this world. Jesus’s parables are examples of this.
Being a bride is not about being a girl. It’s about the beauty and intimacy of the marriage itself. The relationship. We, in our humanness, often translate intimacy as sex and leave it there. That’s probably why close to half of marriages end in divorce.
In a marriage relationship, sex is an important, necessary and beautiful part of intimacy. It is the one time when you are connected to your spouse body, soul, and spirit. That’s truly beautiful. But if people aren’t opening themselves up and sharing the deep parts of themselves and really connecting they’re missing out on truly becoming one with their spouse.
As a single person who has never been married, I’m relying upon what God has taught me about marriage from His Word and from watching the marriages of those around me. The good, the bad, and the truly terrifyingly ugly that inspire me to remain single. I’ve seen it all. And through it Jesus has shown me why intimacy with Him matters.
And I’ll be honest I suck at vulnerability. I have pretty much loathed it most of my life. It’s a battle that fear has typically won against me. I am not a fan of revealing my heart to people. I was very sensitive as a kid, and I was told to toughen up and suck it up. But in sucking it up and rolling on, I just walled up the fragile parts of myself and never allowed anyone to get anywhere near my heart of hearts. Not even Jesus.
Just hearing the word vulnerable or intimacy caused me to shut down. But I had a break down of sorts, and as a last resort I opened up the outer layers of myself to Jesus, most of which were areas of brokenness. When I did, I quickly learned that He is kind. He is gentle. And that He truly loves me. As He healed the outer layers, I opened up more and more to Him. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now. My relationship with Jesus is personal and I keep that part of my life in my heart of hearts. It’s not something I share easily with people.
So even though I love Jesus completely, I struggle talking about Him and how good He is simply because it opens up my most vulnerable place. Jesus saved my life in every way. He is my everything. But when you tell people this kind of thing…they roll their eyes or say, “Oh amen.” And it feels cheapened. Then I get angry. So I just don’t tell people about Jesus.
Believe me, I am aware that this is the opposite of the great commission and goes against everything I should be doing as a believer. But I choose to just live my life out of that relationship and the love that He’s given me. I treat people better than I ever have. I have a greater capacity to love people, even the people I vehemently dislike. I am more peaceful. I have a greater joy. My countenance has lightened. My perspective skews towards seeing people as Jesus sees me.
I tried to love people before…and I’ll be honest…I wasn’t very good at it. I still have days where it’s hard to be kind and patient. But I find that I’m not as judgmental or critical of myself or others as I have been. It happened gradually, just by being with Jesus. I didn’t try to change. I didn’t do a self-help book or force myself to be kind. It was a side effect 0f intimacy with Jesus.
The more time I spend with Him, and in His Word, the kinder I become. The more I want to put my arms around the world and just hug them until they understand their worth and value. I cry a lot. I am super sensitive, even more so than I was as a child. Yet, I feel safe. I feel protected and guarded. I’m not afraid of being me anymore. The Jill that God designed is sensitive. She was designed that way because she is an intercessor. And she needs to be passionate about seeing healing in the brokenness around her. I was created on purpose for a purpose. Praying continually for people, even people I’ll never meet, is a part of that. This understanding came from intimacy with Jesus. By being His bride.
Intimacy is defined as close familiarity, closeness and also private and personal, confidential. It is characterized by an atmosphere conducive to privacy and comfort. And it relates to and is indicative of one’s deepest nature.
It’s that picture of a bride and groom coming together in marriage. The hope in it. The joy in it. The openness. The joining together. The partnership.
One of the things that helped me to understand what it looked like to be the bride of Christ was reading Song of Songs in the Passion Translation. I highly recommend it, because in this version you can truly see the divine romance between yourself and Jesus. The way He loves us is just so thick and deep and genuine. Reading Song of Songs the first time took me about a month because I could only go a verse or 2 at a time. It completely wrecked me (in a good way).
One of the first interchanges between the Shulamite (me) and the Shepherd-King (Jesus) is Chapter 1, Verse 5:
The Shulamite: “I know I am so unworthy–so in need.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely!”
The Shulamite: “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.”
This verse cut me. I physically felt it like a scalpel cutting away my negative image of myself and replace it with, “I am lovely.” For months every time I’d have a “I’m so fat” or a “I am ugly” thought, I’d hear Jesus say, “You are so lovely.”
I will never be the same again. Ever. I can’t go back to before or undo what His love has done to me.
Point to ponder while you wander…This is what being the Bride of Christ looks like in my life. What does it look like in your life? I’d love to hear what Jesus has shown you about being the Bride. Feel free to comment or to message me privately. Same goes if you need prayer.
Pear Tomatoes and The Sick Day
I’m currently down with a sinus infection. So after picking up my prescription today I went to the store to get some essentials. And I found these…
For those of you who don’t know, these glorious things are pear tomatoes. One of my top ten favorite foods.
NaNa used to grow these for me when I was young. Being alone in a new city, and sick, I needed this today. I needed happy yellow fruit and the memory of something NaNa used to grow specifically for me, because she knew I loved them.
I don’t have a point for you to ponder while you wander today. I just needed to share my little spot of joy in my Kleenex and Neti Pot filled sick day.
I also have a sick day confession… Hallmark Christmas Movies started today and I was sucked in to watching two of them before my nap. I know. I know. I broke my rule about all things Christmas waiting until after Thanksgiving today. But Hallmark Christmas Movies are the cheesiest (and by cheesiest I mean ooey gooey heartwarming and predictable but I love them and cannot help myself) and best! Now I want to have a cheesy Christmas romance in my life soooo bad that it’s ridiculous.
Hallmark Christmas Movies are indeed my guilty pleasure and apparently my kryptonite.
This has been confessions with the Red Hot Jilly Pepper. I am sorry but not sorry. And you’re welcome to join my Hallmark movie support group. I’ve got tissues. You bring the snacks. We’ll watch together and dream of our own perfectly orchestrated Christmas romances. 😉