I met my husband at the city center bus depot. We stood downtown amongst a handful of other college-aged students ready to work and share hope with homeless teenagers. Over the following weeks, in the midst of exhaust fumes and ministry, something began to blossom and we began dating a few months later. I remember distinctly, as we began to discover what God might have in store, the charming line he espoused that has now been quoted in at least one wedding toast, “You can fall in a hole, you can fall in a pile of poop, but I don’t think people really fall in love. Love is a choice.” Later, we stood before hundreds of friends and family and vowed to choose to love one another every day. No matter what.
In a few weeks we’ll have been daily working out that promise for 6 years. We have failed each other and forgiven; we have chosen self and chosen the other; we have battled over small things and held each other in deep sorrow. Faithfulness did not keep us from failures, but it did help lift us from them. We choose it even in the moments when the other does not, for this is what God does for us.
“If we are faithless, [God] remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:13
Faithfulness is an expression of the fruit of the Spirit that I believe comes through small mundane choices that build into a solid foundation. Countless opportunities are in front of us each day to build or tear down the life God can build when we choose to look to Him to help us love.
In no way is marital faithfulness the only area God grows devotion and consistency. Small, deliberate choices over time change the trajectory of life in friendships, raising of children, vocation, and virtually any relationship with another. To have a relationship for any length of time means that both parties must choose at some point to forgive, overlook, or assume the best. If not, a trail of broken relationships is all that will be left behind.
Faithfulness is counter cultural in the era we are living in. Gone are the days of choosing a vocation and retiring years later from the same industry with an engraved gold watch to testify to years of trustworthy service. People these days don’t stick with much. We throw away items rather than mending them, quit when things get hard, and move quickly from one friendship to another. It becomes easier to leave than work out the hard things. Our devotion is short lived, and looks more like passing interest than an investment of time and energy.
This is the amazing truth about God’s faithfulness to us: He loves us, and is devoted to us even though we mess up constantly. His faithfulness is the bedrock that gives us incredible security. He has chosen to love us. Amazingly, he then gives us the fruit of the Spirit so that we may mirror Him. We too can be given the power to love other people through all sorts of days.
- We call our Mamas to let them know we love them. Let’s be honest, we will never fully understand what it took to raise us.
- We go to work even when we don’t want to.
- We visit the friend who hasn’t been able to visit us.
- We reach for the hand of a spouse even when in the midst of an argument, because, even though our blood may be boiling, we faithfully want to show we are in this together.
- We check in with Grandma remembering to ask about that last doctor appointment, because that has become a regular part of her life.
- We parent through horrible tantrums when we want to just give up.
- We do what we know is right.
- We choose love.
- We show up.
Faithfulness comes out in the small things, but eventually builds into a way of life. Luke 16:10 tells us, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much….” A sincere, faithful life is one soaked in integrity that points at Jesus.
Love is a choice every day; we know that because God puts people in our path that we have been chosen to love. Yes, just because they are there, for they are there by design. Not because loving others is natural (it is much easier for us to love ourselves), but because that is the way God has loved us.
Readers, we each have a million choices and opportunities to love one another over time. Who needs a faithful act from you today?
Holly is a wife, mother of one, and foster mother to many. She seeks to glorify God in all she does, for all her life. She studied Intercultural Studies at Corban University and loves to build bridges between cultures and people. She welcomes people into her life, into her heart, and into her home with hopes of offering encouragement. You can find more from Holly here at Anchored Voices or at her blog Called to Restore.