It was a heartbreaking post.
A woman who for decades dedicated her life to military service, was deployed multiple times overseas and sacrificed so much was told she did not qualify for a particular program that offered the care that she needed.
What does it take to be qualified?
My mind wandered to others areas where this word qualify stands out.
The Boston Marathon immediately came to mind.
Having some friends who are runners, I know that you have to achieve a certain time in order to qualify for this prestigious race.
The dedication it must take to prepare for one of these marathons, the daily training and commitment amazes me.
But even with all of the training and sacrifice, it is still possible to be denied a spot.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, there were over 30,000 applications received from qualified runners for registration last year.
Just over 23,000 were accepted.
Due to field size limitations, over 7,000 people, despite being qualified, were not accepted to participate.
It does not seem to make sense.
Qualified but not accepted.
Can you imagine the heartbreak of knowing you have sacrificed so much only to be told you are not accepted?
Yet some of these runners made the sacrifice anyway.
So did Jesus.
Because of Him, I am both qualified and accepted.
And I know that I am not qualified because of anything I have done.
“By ourselves we are not qualified in any way to claim that we can do anything. Rather, God makes us qualified.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 GW
I am not sufficient by myself, but through Him I have what I need to be qualified.
The sacrifice that makes me accepted was not my own.
It was HIS.
There are no field size limitations that take me out of the race.
There is a spot for everyone.
“My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you?” John 14: 2
Everyone who believes qualifies to be a part of His kingdom.
Qualified and accepted.
This morning I woke up and thanked God for the blessed union of souls.
No, not the 90’s rock band.
We will talk about them in a minute.
21 years ago today God joined my soul with John’s.
Happy Anniversary to my hunky husband.
I can still feel the weight of the beaded train of my ivory wedding dress as if it were yesterday.
I can still feel his hands holding mine as we said our vows in front of our family and friends.
To stand by your side and sleep in your arms.
To forgive as we have been forgiven.
It was a picture perfect autumn day.
But married life is not perfect.
After you cut the cake and toss the bouquet, you begin the journey of living out your vows.
For over two decades, we have stood by each others sides during some of the most painful and vulnerable moments we have ever endured.
Raising children, the illnesses and deaths of parents, my battle with cancer, job changes –
Our love has endured through many changes and seasons.
We have found refuge from the world sleeping in each other’s arms.
We have had to forgive each other many times since we said “I do.”
Cue the 90’s band, Blessid Union of Souls.
In their song, I Believe, they tell listeners that “love is the answer.”
And they are correct.
But it is how love is defined in His word that is the answer.
This passage of scripture is read over and over again at weddings.
It was read at our wedding.
“ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NLT
We forget when we get married, that we are joining two flawed and human souls together.
Our feelings get in the way of the promises we make to each other.
We forget to be patient and kind.
There are days we want our own way.
There are days that we are irritable and rude.
There are days that we keep a tally list of the things we think our spouse has done wrong.
And then we are reminded of this verse.
Love does not have to have its own way.
Love is not irritable or rude.
Love does not keep a list of wrongs.
Love forgives quickly.
God shows each of us this love.
I need a daily reminder of this definition in all of my relationships.
I am grateful for a husband who understands the meaning of love.
But it is because He first loved us that we are able to continue to love each other through this crazy thing called life.
Love is the answer to all of the questions we have.
Today I am thankful for this blessed union of souls.
And I am forever grateful to the One who joined these two flawed and human souls together.