I cannot love you as I love myself until I love God as I ought to love Him. –Jack Hyles
When I first read this quote I immediately thought about how God made us in His image. He could have made us in any image but He chose to make us like Him all the while letting us be ourselves. He doesn’t twist or force our love for Him but because we were made from the very beginning to be like Him with a desire to know Him, so that we would seek Him and He hopes that we will love Him. We are a reflection of Him when we grow in our relationship with Him. This is all one giant love story.
As I was mapping out this study I sometimes became frustrated with how messy my own thoughts became. This study was not mapped out and planned when I first started opening my Bible to seek Him and learn from His Word on how to become a better wife. So to me it looks like a mess in hindsight and I struggled for years with even attempting to organize it. Then one day everything was wiped from my computer. Every new page I had written and polished and tried to transform into something beautiful from the mess that was written on my blog, was lost. I thought for a second that meant I should quit but God quickly reminded me through a random stranger, who sent me a timely email, who had read the study and thought it was worthy of my time and it was a work He needed me to do. I pulled an old hard copy that was rough and unpolished back out and wiped off my giant white board in my office and began mapping. What I found was that God had a plan all along. A friend once told me “if that study is impacting that many women while still very raw, imagine what He could do with it polished.”
Let me back up a good 10 years or so…
When my babies were little and I was a new mommy trying my best to raise those little guys, I had an overwhelming conviction about the “image” that I was portraying to them and others. I know I came across to others as unhappy, tired, and miserable, with nothing positive to say. Being a mommy to young ones is draining work and I was not being filled spiritually, my strength was weak. I was unchurched but had a heart for my Lord. Deep in my spirit I knew I wanted nothing more than for others to see God in me. I wanted to reflect our Father in all that I did. I wanted my husband, friends, children, and family to see something much different than what I was reflecting back to them. I knew that if nothing changed, nothing would change. I started praying because I didn’t know how or what to change.
Then one day, I remember not too long after we had started attending church again, the pastor saying that the Lord was telling him something. At that moment it didn’t matter to me what the Lord was saying but that my pastor could hear Him. This seemed so foreign to me and it might seem supernatural to you too. I sat in my church pew with a new baby in my arms and thought, I want to hear Him too. My momma heart needed to hear Him, I prayed more privately and specifically that He provide a way to help me hear Him. My prayer also was that I wanted to reflect God and that I wanted to hear Him so that I could learn from Him. My prayer went something like this.
Lord, I want to be Your worker with a purpose in this life. I want to be a vessel for You to work from, a vessel you can fill so that You overflow out of me. I want people to see You when they look at me but Lord I don’t know how and I desperately need to see, feel, and hear your presence. Help me to know You.
Those words came from deep inside of me and over the years I have learned so much about being a vessel and the need to be continually refilled. At the time, I only knew it was a desire in my heart. It was a desire in my heart because it was His desire all along.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:14
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
God created you for such an amazing purpose that He created you in His image. Let’s think about the complexity of what God did. First, He created us. He knew that we would want to be close to Him, to be like Him and so, he did the simple favor with the slightest of a breath and created us in His image. Our God is a deliberate, thoughtful God. He does not make mistakes and He wanted more than anything for us to love Him because He loves us. Imagine how much harder it would have been for us to relate to God if we knew we were made unlike Him. If we were made unlike Him our thoughts might say…”Well, if He is so great then why didn’t He do us the courtesy of making us like Him”; truth is, He did. He created both male and female in His image.
When you think of God’s character, what words come to mind? Take a moment to write down a few to complete this sentence. God is…
I know I wrote words like protector, strong, unyielding, forgiving, wonderful, everlasting, loving kindness, and grace. The character of God does not change. God’s hope is that we never reject Him, that we love Him and that we trust Him. He wants us to become righteous in Him.
In marriage, we want the same thing, don’t we? We want to have a righteous marriage that reflects Him, that reflects the characteristics of God because God is good and He is love. How do we do that? He doesn’t leave us hanging or wondering. He wants us each to become closer to Him so that when a husband and wife come together, they are closer to Him.
Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
God wants us to be His reflection of love, not only to the world, but especially to our spouse. He has so much in store for us, if we’ll only love and trust Him as little children do. As we turn our eyes and love towards God, His love is mirrored towards our husbands. We begin to see our husbands as God’s children as well. God wants to give your husband the same love He wants to give you. Should you not be just as willing to give your love away as well? Don’t you feel more alive, playful, impulsive, free, animated, frisky, and thrilled when you are loved fully? The list of how love makes us feel could go on and on. When we feel loved by God, we feel things like comfort, peace, satisfaction, thankfulness, and strength. Your list may be different than mine but the feelings are universal; so should the feelings you express towards your husband.
We have only touched on the character of God. For today I simply want you to spend time in prayer and talk to Him about ways you can become more like Him. Listen for His voice today and watch for answers. He will speak to you and it can come in many forms. Ask for eyes to see and ears to hear and He will grant that for you. Ultimately, you are working on becoming a vessel for which He can pour out from you onto your husband. Which means you are more important that you’ll ever know. Mirror the love that God has for us in your actions, a kind word or something particularly special that simply says “I love you.”
If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.