{Loving God When It’s Hard}

real love is no fairy taleI wish fairy tales came with labels, warning, disclaimers of some sort before we get swept away by Prince Charmings and Happily Ever After Endings.

One such as “real love is not how it appears on this screen” or “don’t forget that this is just a made up story.

I have nothing against Prince Charming.

Or damsels’ in distress waiting to be rescued by knights in shining armor.

There’s nothing I look forward to more than the movie ending with the bride and groom declaring their endless love to one another and riding off into the sunset together.

Disney movies are great for entertainment.

But they are terrible at portraying what true love really is.

Because real love is so much more than feelings.

It’s so much more than words of affection.

It’s so much more than living out the perfect dream.

Sometimes I wish they showed what happens after the “happily ever afters”.

After you have put your tux and wedding dress away.

Because that’s when true love is tested.

After the celebration of your love.

After you have made your promises and said your vows.

“Till Death Do Us Apart”

It looks so nice written on paper.

Sounds so sweet when you say it out loud to one another.

But it’s not easy when it comes to living it out the day you get back from your honeymoon.

Not when your wife is lying in the hospital for months suffering from cancer.

Not when your husband just lost his job.

Not when your marriage isn’t that fairy tale that you have always hoped for.

And sadly it stops being “till death does us apart” but “till hardship does us apart.

Often times it is the same in our relationship with Christ.

In the beginning we are so enthralled with Jesus and what He has done on the cross for us.

We want to spend every moment seeking Him.

We are just overwhelmed with His grace and love.

And one day we make that declaration of love to Him.

Of our dependence on Him.

Of our faithfulness to Him for all the days of our life.

We walk into the water and as we get dunked under we make that commitment to serve His needs over our own.

To follow Him wherever He will lead us.

To love Him even in our darkest days when we don’t feel Him near us.

And we do just fine until we get up the next morning and realize that life with Jesus is no happily ever after.

Instead it’s a straight and narrow road.

A road with hardships that you were not ready for.

Twists and turns that you weren’t expecting.

Deserts and valleys that you didn’t prepare for.

And all of a sudden those vows you said don’t sound so sweet anymore.

That promise you made when your heart was just bursting with love is foreign to you.

When you are the one facing trials and you feel forgotten and alone.

When you are the one lying on that hospital bed fighting an illness.

When you are the one who loses your job, your house, or someone you love.

And it’s at that moment that those vows of love you said are tested.

Not on the good days.

But on the bad ones.

Not on your wedding day when everything seems like a fairy tale dream.

But on the days that follow that may seem like anything but a dream.

Divorce keeps on rising because people give up on real love.

They give up on fighting for each other through the tribulations and trials of life.

They would rather do life on their own then struggle through it together.

And don’t many Christians do the same?

We trust God in the good times, but when the hardships come we are nowhere to be seen near Him.

We love Him and serve Him faithfully when it’s easy and everything is going our way but we pull back when life makes no sense and nothing is turning out how we expect it to.

We confess our love to Him on Sunday morning when we are feeling our best, but we don’t live it out on Monday morning when are feeling our worst.

Our vows become empty promises that we made but never kept.

Our “love” grows stale and we retreat back to trying to do life on our own.

I think there is nothing sadder than giving up on love.

Then breaking promises.

Then letting go when the going gets tough.

For some reason we falsely expect our walk with Christ to be easy, just like we expect our marriages to have fairy tale endings.

But the truth is marriage is no fairy tale.

And neither is our relationship with Christ.

And in the end what will get you through is not a feeling but faithfulness.

Faithfulness to go on when you are feeling weak.

Faithfulness to keep on trusting when it gets dark.

Faithfulness to love Him when doors are closed and prayers are unanswered.

Because God wants more than your words and your promises.

He wants your commitment and your heart every step of the way.

For better for worst.

For richer for poorer.

In sickness and health.

Until death finally brings you together.

The truth is real love is hard… but it’s possible.

I know not because I have experienced it myself but because I have seen it lived out in my home from the moment I was born.

I have seen my parent go through heartbreaks and hurts.

Through tribulations and trials.

Through sickness to the point of death.

I hear them pray together in their bedroom every night.

I see them encourage one another through the hard times.

And they are a constant reminder to me that love is no fairy tale… but it’s worth the fight.

It’s worth protecting.

It’s worth pursuing.

It’s worth cherishing.

It’s worth living your life for.

So today… choose to remain faithful to God, especially if it’s hard.

Your happily ever after will come in eternity with Him after He comes to pick you up on those clouds.

But for now, keep on loving and fighting the good fight!

It will be worth it in the end.

Be blessed! -Anna… 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”- Mark 12:30

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49 thoughts on “{Loving God When It’s Hard}

  1. Awesome post, Anna!
    My wife and I have been married for 28 years. The first 11 years were as close to a fairytale as we imagined. Then I was diagnosed with ALS and everything changed – our vows of “for better or for worse,” “for richer or poorer” and “in sickness or in health” have all been severely tested over the last 17 years.
    It’s far from a fairytale now, but if we depend on Christ, He gives us the daily grace we need.

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    • Thanks Bill. You and your wife are truly an inspiration to me (and I’m sure many others). It is so encouraging to see a husband and wife stick it through the good and the bad times in life when so many others give up on marriage when the first hardship comes along. May God continue providing you with the grace you need to make it through and to help you love one another more and more with each passing day. Be blessed!

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  2. I am so glad you are on WordPress! Every time I read your posts I know God is talking to me. Love it! This is something everyone needs to learn about love in the real world!

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    • Thanks Kayla! I was really confused when I saw your comment because you have always been “Patty” to me. Thought my mind was playing tricks on me 😉 I’m glad we are both on here too! It’s such a wonderful way to share what God has been teaching us and connect with others who are going through the same thing!! 🙂

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  3. This reminded me that we have entered into a covenant relationship with the Lord. This is the deepest commitment and therefore first and foremost we are “married” to Him. This is our foundation in life. Getting saved is only part of the picture. We can leave it there if we want and give Him second best or we can seek to make our covenant relationship with Jesus the most important motivating factor of our lives. We can seek to give Him everything and lay everything down. When we are baptised we actually symbolise that we are dying a death to our old life and entering a new life of commitment and sacrificial love. We are laying down ourselves for someone else. This should be at the heart of marriage. Serving the other person and putting them first whatever life throws at us. Jesus paid the highest price to seal the new covenant and all that embraces through His blood. We should reciprocate by giving all to Him. This love is not easy but will be tested by the severest trials and reproofs of life. So many in the Body of Christ who seek to love God with all their mind, body and soul are experiencing these trials. In fact, those who seek the most earnestly seem to be facing the most strenuous trials. However, our love for God has to be so deep, intimate and unmoveable that we can say “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” as Job did (13:15). This says that nothing will stop us from loving Him. You can take it all and even slay me but I will love Him because He first loved me and gave Himself for me. This is not comfortable Christianity. This is the narrow path of following after the one who is Master over our lives. This is the path of the disciple. A different path to that of just a church goer. It is a privilege to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, even if the world hates you for it.

    As I read this, something that was highlighted to me was that your mum and dad prayed together. The revelation I got from this is that this has created a great bonding and it is a defence against the plans of the enemy. Marriages today are a key battleground and have to be fought for and defended. Passivity will not do. You have to fight. From this revelation of man and woman praying together and in intimate fellowship with God, I saw that this as a picture of the very first church. To me, serving someone and caring for someone in the bad times is at the very heart of love and compassion. This is real “church” in my eyes. Away from the meetings and conferences and all the church stuff. Real church is in the home and the idea that it began in the hearts of two people in love who God created for fellowship with Him is some revelation. I think Billy Graham said in one of his books that a marriage may be made in heaven but it also has to be worked out on earth. This has such great depth. Sadly it seems today that some are not sure of that true “joining” by the Holy Spirit. Where there is a genuine “joining” its is an awesome work; that God would bring two people together for His purposes and for His glory and yet there are the practical realties which have to be worked out, which include lifes trials. Just as we are called to follow Jesus for the valleys and not only for the hill-top experiences, so too is the commitment within marriage.

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    • Even though He Himself slay us, yet will we trust Him? Yet will we praise Him? How many are willing to go this far? Life will be full of our own personal Gethsemane times if we are seeking the narrow path that Jesus spoke of (Matthew 7v13-14). Many are choosing the broad path. Individuals, whole churches and even entire movements within the Body of Christ.

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    • “This love is not easy but will be tested by the severest trials and reproofs of life. So many in the Body of Christ who seek to love God with all their mind, body and soul are experiencing these trials. In fact, those who seek the most earnestly seem to be facing the most strenuous trials.” So true. I feel like trials come to many – but they especially come to those who want more of God in their lives. It’s almost like God allowing Job to lose everything he had to prove that he truly loved Him, not just His blessings.

      It’s once we are left disappointed and heartbroken at the heartaches and tragedies of life that we will truly be able to see whether it is only God that we need or whether we are looking for satisfaction, for deliverance, and for peace from other sources in this world.

      Many of God’s blessings are not just the gifts that He gives us but also those things that He takes away from us that we treasure, whether that’s a person, a possession, or a dream. Sometimes those things that we hold on to so dearly are the very things that cause us to stumble and to hold back from surrendering our all to God. Sometimes we allow them to become idols in our lives and God lovingly takes them away from us so that He can have the rightful place in our hearts.

      It is most definitely a privilege to be a child of God and to know Him personally. Life would be absolutely meaningless and purposeless without Him.

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      • It’s easier to love someone who you know well, so that even when times are difficult and trials abound, you can still love; but God expects us to love Him without us really knowing Him. Mere descriptions in the bible of God’s love are still remote from the heart and there is no real emotional connection with the plain words of biblical text. A person who is hurting needs to experience the love an power of God; to only hear of the love and power of God is no comfort to the sorrows of the suffering, is no consolation to the emptiness felt deep within the hurt of the outcast and neglected. If God wants his creation to love Him without seeing Him, hearing Him, or experiencing His power, and so-called kindness, then I think many people will go through life and travel the broad path, not because they are unwilling to love God, but rather because they do not know how to love God. Who here knew Saddam Hussein? Did anybody “love” him? He was an enemy of Christ, and the bible says to love our enemies, even the one’s we don’t. When Saddam was hanged and died, how many Christians mourned for him? Most people can’t love somebody they don’t know, not with the kind of love the bible says we are supposed to love God with. Are we commanded to love our enemies with one kind of love and to love God with another? Are there different kinds of love in this sense and as described within the context of the relevant versus of scripture?

        For me, I want to love God, but I can’t pretend to love what/who I don’t know. I am a finite being and it’s time God attempts to communicate His so-called infinite love in a concrete, more personal way so that finite, and fallible minds (like myself) can comprehend it, otherwise, when God calls upon people to open their hearts to Him, all that will be heard in return is the reverb of an infinite and divine voice that was returned void and unnoticed..

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  4. Hi Anna, I am new to your excellent blog and I am so blessed that I have found it this morning. Thanks for such an enlightening view of true love…it’s worth bearing in mind and sharing 🙂

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    • We all need to be enlightened a little don’t we? I’m glad God always reminds me of what He values in this world so I can do my part in sharing it with others on here. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Nicky. Be blessed!

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  5. I recently sat down and watched Cinderella for the first time since I was a kid and your thoughts here were exactly my thoughts at the end of the movie when Prince Charming and Cinderella drove away in the carriage after the wedding. We, especially us women, get so caught up in the romance of relationships that we forget about the reality of relationships. We have in our minds a fantasy about what love is so when we find that romantic guy that knows how to speak sweet words to us we think we found the real thing. God shows us in His word what real love is and it is more than romantic feelings. It is sacrifice for the well being of another. As in the words of the old D.C. Talk song, love is a verb. 🙂 Now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head. haha! 😉

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    • Yes, I think the romance can get into all of our heads in some way or another (which is why I never cared too much for romance novels or films). It’s easy to get carried away with fantasy and forget that that’s all it is: fantasy. Real love requires sacrifice and selflessness which seems to be hard to find (as well as develop) these days. I’m going to have to listen to that DC Talk song now. Hopefully it doesn’t get stuck in my head too 😉

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      • I got into romance novels in my twenties and then realized what it was doing to my concept of real love. I felt God convict me of it and so I quit. And trust me, it (the DC Talk song) will get stuck in your head. heehee. Good times. 😉

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  6. Anna,
    It is apparent you have a deep love for God and wisdom beyond your years. Based on my 28+ years of marriage, your post covered everything I have experienced. I’ve been down the cancer road with my wife and from that experience I learned about true friendship (which is one of my post) and the importance of staying close to God. Your post is also very encouraging. Keep up the great writing.
    Thanks,
    Patrick

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    • Staying close to God is really the only way you can go through the struggles of life together with the one you love. It is only with God’s strength and wisdom that you can get through all of the trials and hardships of life that come your way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Patrick! It’s always encouraging to hear from husbands and wives who have stuck it through and trusted God during all seasons of life. Be blessed!

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  7. I love this Anna! What poetry! I wrote a post that seems to be a zeroed in complement to yours — talking about just missing my Best Friend. Bless you for your word to us today. ;0)

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  8. Dear Anna.
    I want get married for a couple next month. I really blessed read your article. Everything that you wrote is very true. Dear Anna, May I print this out for my archive.? Thank you. Many blessing to you.

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  9. Yes, marriage is definitely no fairy tale. I think the thing with God is, He’s never going to leave us and He’s always going to be giving 100%, investing in us, seeking our best. When we give up on that love, we give up on someone who TRULY loves us. Marriage is tougher, because our spouse doesn’t always love us. Sometimes our spouse isn’t willing to give 100% or invest in us or seek our best, and when that happens we’re in a situation that’s so far from what God designed. We should never walk away from God, because He’ll never leave us.

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    • That’s such a good point Kim! God is really the one who loves us perfectly and unconditionally (even though He sees every little imperfect thing about us). It really is a shame to take His love for granted because no one in this world will (or can) truly love us the way He does. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Be blessed!

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  10. I was thinking the other day that the entertainment industry is responsible for shaping the country’s expectations for love and marriage, but their lives are riddled with adultery and divorce, far beyond the norm. (Although our norm is struggling to catch up.) These are not the people we should be listening to. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

    P.S. 20 years this coming March.

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    • 20 years!! That’s fabulous. Congratulations! 🙂 I think the entertainment industry certainly hold some responsibility for shaping our country’s expectations for love and marriage but I also think it’s up to parents, pastors, and church leaders to help shape those expectations even more. After all, what is the norm for the world should never be the norm for believers. If we are taught about what true love is and how real marriages looks like from a young age then children can be influenced to live differently than the way media tells them to.

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    • Thanks Judy. As much as I love when life is smooth sailing I know that it takes trials and hardships to become like Christ so I appreciate them (and try not to be too discouraged by them) because I know God is just molding me through those particular trials in my life.

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