Love is Patient

We had already said “good night,” but my mind was still running. “When is Erik going to propose? Is he going to propose? Does he even want to get married?” These thoughts were running in circles – for weeks. I very well knew the answer to the latter two questions – yes, Erik was going to propose because he wanted to marry me. I knew this because he told me, we had this conversation, a couple times, yet I was still questioning. It was the first question that I didn’t know the answer to and most of me didn’t want to know – but the controlling woman inside that can often creep up was begging to know the plan. If I knew Erik like I thought I did, I knew my friends knew the answer to this question. In efforts to deny the controlling woman, I wouldn’t talk about this inevitable proposal – because I was not about to put my friends in that uncomfortable position of having to beat around the bush. So instead of speaking out the running thoughts in my mind, I kept them to myself – until this night. I couldn’t sleep, so I spoke up. Liz wasn’t asleep yet, praise God, so I let the anxious thoughts manifest into words. “I don’t know when he’s going to propose. I don’t even know if he will.” As I continued to word vomit, Liz just held her tongue thanking God this conversation was happening in the dark where I wasn’t able to see her facial expressions. I had no idea that a week later I would be standing in this very house for the engagement party she would be hosting for Erik and me.

“Love is patient.”

Oh how much I have to learn about love. Here Erik and I were about to move into a season of preparation for marriage and I am not even choosing to act on the essence of love which is patience. What redemption Christ brings to my sin filled heart.

“Love is patient.”

Over the next couple of months, we will be writing on the first few verses in 1 Corinthians 13 – the verses many of us have heard in a wedding ceremony or two. They are words that may have lost their meaning because of ears so used to the rhythm of the words. It’s easy to let our hearts (mine especially) grow calloused toward scripture. Our hope and prayer as we go through this blog series is that the Holy Spirit would chip away at the callouses of our hearts and bring new life and meaning to the words in this passage. Let us begin with the first three words of verse 4:

“Love is patient.”

In that last week before the proposal, I was far from patient. I was running to control, and I still do this. I find myself looking to the next thing, big and small. Looking forward to where we may live next, when I will get to visit my family again, or even thinking about what’s for dessert… tomorrow. It’s not a bad thing to look into the future, but it can become obsessive when we want to live in the future. It breeds discontentment for the present, a lack of gratitude, and inevitably a lack of patience. This is where my mind was the night I was sharing my anxieties with Liz, I was so desperately wanting to live as “engaged Emily” and get out of the stage of “single Emily.” I was wasting time and energy trying to live in the future.   

“Love is patient.”

This is something Erik and I continue to learn in marriage and probably won’t stop learning. It’s encouraging knowing that we will never have it all together, but our Heavenly Father will. I was once told that you can read the passage by replacing “Love” for “Christ.” Oh what Comfort that brings.

“Christ is Patient.”

Christ was patient with me that season of waiting on Erik to propose. Christ continues to be patient with me. 1 John 4:19 reads, “We love because He first loved us.” The only way we can love, the only way we can be patient, is because Christ love first. When you step into marriage you’re not only making a covenant between one another, but God is there too. As a married couple say yes to forever, He says yes too. Christ knows full well our inadequacies, that’s why He chose to sacrifice Himself. And just like Christ rose, we are invited to rise with Him. Christ’s love doesn’t call us to stand in our shortcomings, but to lean into the saving strength of His Spirit. He allows us to be fountains of His love. Because He loved us, we are able to love, and love is patient.