Friday, February 14, 2014

NFP and Our Longing for God

NFP blesses my marriage with many graces.  Patience is not one of my virtues, but it forces me to have it.  It challenges me to find ways to show love to my husband.  It forces temperance upon me.  Our marriage, already strong, has flourished with chastity.  It is honestly a blessing in more ways than I can express in words.  It has taught me so much about marriage, my husband, and God.

I've known and had feelings for my husband since I was 14 years old.  We only started dating when I was 21.  I know what it is to long for him.  Whenever I am approaching the time of my cycle where my husband and I will need to abstain, my brain starts going all Dr. Manhattan on me.  I'm fifteen years old, holding Steve's hand in his car, knowing that he's willing to kiss me but not willing to be my boyfriend.  I'm sitting in our family van, and Steve is driving in the funeral procession for my grandfather's funeral this summer, and I'm crying and missing my grandfather, wanting Steve to hold me.  I'm 16 years old, crying to Steve over instant messenger because my boyfriend broke up with me, wanting to scream, "I WANT YOU! THAT'S WHY I'M CRYING!" but I can't because he has a girlfriend.  I'm 21, I'm sitting on the trunk of my car in Steve's driveway, newly single, supposed to spend time with Steve, not knowing what I want from seeing him or what waits for me inside his house.  All of these times of extreme longing and desire for something more.  Something bigger than what I had.  Something I'd lost.  Something I wanted to gain.  Something I could barely begin to grasp and describe in any language, but I know is written on the hearts of all men.

These thoughts and memories come flooding back right around when we are going to be abstaining because my subconscious knows it is almost time to long for him again.  For there to be something just out of my reach that I can't quite grasp, no matter how desperately I want to.  I don't begrudge these feelings, though.  Like I mentioned before, they teach me more than I ever thought possible.  More than any instant gratification of my desires could give me.  I've been told that sexual intimacy is a taste of the intimacy that we will know in heaven with God.  Not that we will have sex with God per say, but it is a small glimmer of what we can expect at the wedding feast in heaven described in Revelation.  The longing we feel for that physical intimacy is simply another way our hearts and souls long to be united with God.  We cannot be united perfectly with Him in this life, so we must long for Him all our lives until we hopefully meet His embrace.  When I long for my husband's arms, I'm reminded of how much I also long for God and how I desperately want to live His will so that I can be with Him for eternity.  Even more beautiful is that St Teresa Avila revealed to us that Jesus also longs for us in the same way,
"I would create the world again just to hear you say you love me."
I really believe that when my brain is constantly jumping me through all of these memories that end with sitting on the trunk of my car, confused and longing for the man who had been out of my reach for seven years, it is God reminding me that He longs for me this way as well.  And my husband.  And my enemies.  He longs for all of us with a deep passion that we mortals couldn't even begin to comprehend.

When you feel unloved, remember how much He loves and longs for you.   When you have problems loving your neighbor, remember that He loves and longs for them just as much as He loves and longs for you.  Be thankful for the heartache and imperfection of your life as, if you let it, it can remind you of the beauty of your Creator and the intimacy with Him you were made for.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, everyone!  May you truly remember how loved you are.


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