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Whew! First, a note about last week. I realize I pushed us all into the deep water, but you swam with grace and gumption! The subject and the scriptures were challenging, and emotions ran understandably high. There aren’t many places where I would even dare to do what I did, yet I have found this place to be an amazingly safe place to try, together, to plumb the deep waters of our mysterious God. Thank you, for your spirit, blog sisters. Bravo!

You have two weeks to do this lesson since the 2nd week includes Labor Day weekend and many of you will be taking a break. We are covering the huge subject of marriage, but we need all of you. You are the body of Christ and every part is important. Often singles and those unequally yoked can see things those in believing marriages cannot see. In addition, every single one of us needs to attempt to see the mysterious parallel to Christ and His Bride. This is a mystery, but like the deep waters of the ocean, where there are swarms of brightly colored fish without number, there is great beauty to be gleaned in trying to grasp this parallel.


12-9Steve and I began to attempt to live out the gospel in our marriage, and it was the breath of life to us. In the message from Tim and Kathy Keller next week, you will hear Kathy say that both the man and the woman are called to play the “Jesus” role in marriage.  The husband is called to lay down his life for his wife, living sacrificially, as Christ died for the church. The wife is to not cling to her rights, but to submit, as Jesus did (Philippians 2), not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped, but humbling himself, even to death on a cross.

Like Cyndi’s brave testimony last week, these truths saved my marriage. The gospel is continually saving me, not only from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin.

I was the foolish woman of Proverbs 14 who was tearing down her house with her own hands.

I was, as Meg Ryan declared herself to be in When Harry Met Sally, DIFFICULT.


Difficult people are not happy people.

When Steve was doing his 120 hour a week internship in Seattle, even though I was a new Christian, I did not support him. I was angry all of the time. I told him I wanted him to find a way to beat the system or it didn’t pay to be married. Even when he finally had a free night and he got a sitter and took me to a fancy restaurant to try to soothe me, I would not stop venting my anger. A photographer stopped at the table asking to take a picture of this “happy occasion.” I refused to give him a real smile. Can you even imagine living with me?


Steve tried to beat the system that was so unfair to interns, but could not. My pivotal moment was after he had seen the call schedule for the holidays and realized he would be working every holiday. He called me to tell me the schedule and was very quiet. Then he told me, and I knew he meant it because I knew him, “I’m willing to quit.” He was willing to give up eight years of medical training and his dream of being a caring physician. He was willing to lay down His life.

Just as the love of Christ had brought me to repentance, so now the love of my husband brought me to repentance. I determined to be supportive of him, to not “cling to my rights,” but to lay them down that our marriage could be a Christian unity. It was a pivotal moment not just in our marriage but in our walk with God. He blessed our marriage in ways He could not have had we not begun to live out the gospel in our marriage. Steve is with Jesus now, but this week was my birthday week, and all of my children and their families (22 in all!) came to bless me for the whole week — doing all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, planning, and endeavoring to bless me every house. I have never had such a birthday celebration — ending with a powerful worship time led by my oldest son J. R. I am so thankful that my children know both that they are so bad Christ had to die for them, but so loved that He did. And I watch these ten grand-daughters and two grandsons running about and pray each of them will know it too, for His blessings come to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. That is the power of the Gospel.


Dee surrounded by two sons, three daughters, and their families: ten grand-daughters and two grand-sons.
Dee with sons on either side, three daughters, spouses, and twelve grand-children.

When Steve and I wrote our guide, Building Your House on the Lord, It was during the backlash to the 2nd feminist movement and some of the teaching from the pulpit and Christian seminars went way to the other end of the spectrum in attempt, I think, to balance things. It was the time of Marabel Morgan’s Total Woman, where women were told to make their husbands the center of their lives. It was the time of Bill Gothard who taught that women should submit to any wish of their husbands, even immoral commands such as abortion, and trust that God would deliver them in the nick of time. (Today there are still large recovery groups for those who were so hurt by this false teaching.) It was a wild time to write a study-guide, but truly I believe God called Steve to that task. We worked together, but Steve gave us the vision. He saw then, how it all began in Genesis. He also saw, and articulated that ” the prevailing emphasis in Scripture is not ‘Who’s in charge here?’ but rather, ‘The two shall be one.'”



Again, I know i’m plunging into deep water and there are those who will disagree, but here we go!


I am a complimentarian rather than an egalitarian in that I believe “head” means authority rather than “source.” However, I also believe that “headship” that is a constant issue is the sign of an unhealthy complimentarian marriage (or for that matter, local church.) Either the man is abusing his power, or the woman is not being a true help meet, by helping her husband discover the mind of Christ. I have a friend who said, “My mother tried to never make a decision.” I cannot conceive how that would be God’s will for co-heirs in a marriage, or, for that matter, a church body. Jan Silvious reminds women, “Your husband is not your daddy.” We need to mature into our role of being a true help meet: a confidante, a counselor, and a co-heir. Luci Shaw once said to me, “Harold is the head of our home, and I submit to him, yet in twenty-five years of marriage, it has only come up twice.” That is how my marriage was with Steve. From what I can see, that seems to be the thrust of Tim and Kathy Keller’s marriage. She is certainly a strong and outspoken woman, and sometimes he needs to tone her down, but he also respects her so and tells how greatly she has impacted him. She didn’t want to come to New York, but when after much discussion they could not agree, he reluctantly stepped into his role as the leader who would bear the responsibility of the decision, and she stepped into the role of submitting to something she didn’t want to do. Neither liked their role, but they say applying the gospel to their marriage has made each of them more like Christ.

Always keep in mind our Bridegroom lay down His life for a difficult bride in order to transform her into a pure and beautiful bride. As we respond to that love, dying to ourselves, we are continually transformed into the image of Christ. Also remember, difficult brides are not happy brides.

Week One (Beginning August 24th)

Sunday Icebreaker:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Friday Bible Study:

2. Read Genesis 2:18-24

    A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?

    B. What is God’s solution?

    C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”

    D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?

    E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)

    F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendrick’s says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?

     G. Now — think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?

     H.  They key verse about marriage in Scripture is first stated in Genesis 2:24. What is it, and explain what is meant by “for this reason.”

     I.  What are we told in verse 25?

J. What parallel can you see in verse 25 for our relationship with Christ? How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?

IF3. Let’s consider the three parts of this key verse on marriage:

A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment — why or why not? What does this look like, practically?

B. What does cleaving mean?

An important book for me early in our marriage was Walter Trobish’s “I Married You.” He talks about cleaving as being like glue — and to separate means you tear into each. Jesus repeats this command in the gospels twice in regard to why divorce is so serious.

C. What are the effects of divorce to each person and to the children?

D. Challenge question: When we each live out the gospel in marriage, how does it make us one flesh?

E. How did Jesus leave His Father and then His mother in order to acquire a bride?

4. How does Paul use this key verse as an argument to speak against infidelity in 1 Corinthians 6:15-17? How do you see the gospel in this passage?

    How might you apply this verse as either a single or a married woman?

(We’ll look at the culmination of “the two shall be one” in Ephesians next week.)


5. What is your take-a-way, and why?

Week Two: Living Out the Gospel in Marriage (Week of August 31st)




The two shall be one is God’s high calling for marriage. Becoming one can only happen as each spouse plays the “Jesus” role. The husband must love sacrificially, as Christ died for His bride, and the wife must not cling to her rights, but lay them down, as Jesus did, even to death on the cross. When a couple does experience the beauty of oneness it is as close as we get on earth to what will be reality in heaven with Christ. It is also why the death of a spouse is so painful, why divorce is so painful, and why being in an unequally yoked marriage is so painful. That is not how it is meant to be. But one day, for believers, a great mystery will be revealed. There will be no more death, no more tearing apart, and no more sin in our hearts. We will be one with our ultimate Bridegroom and one with one another. I felt I tasted just a little of that my birthday week with my children and grandchildren. We are all a little quirky, all with faults, but grace was able to cover it. My youngest grand-daughter, Lily, who is just 18 months is already learning to sing: “Grace, grace, God’s race, grace that will pardon and cleanse within…”

One day, as Tim Keller says, we will be seen completely naked, and yet we will be so delighted in we will be unashamed. There will be no more enmity between us, no more shame, and no more rivalry. It is a mystery, but let us try to peer into it through a glass darkly.



Sunday Icebreaker

Read over last week’s opening again, and then this week’s opening.

6. What stands out to you and why?

Monday-Tuesday (Bible Study)

7. Read Ephesians 5:21-33

A. Egalitarians would use verse 21 to say there should be no “headship.” When you look at this passage in context, do you agree or disagree?

( D. A. Carson addresses this in the plenary sessions of The Women’s Gospel Coalition Conference of 2014 if you are interested in listening.)

B. What parallels do you see in this passage between the role of the husband and the role of Christ?

C. What parallels do you see in this passage between the role of the wife and the role of the Bride of Christ?

D. How does this passage elevate marriage beyond the world’s view of marriage?

Wednesday-Friday: Message

8. Listen to Tim and Kathy Keller on marriage and share your notes and comments here.


9. What’s your take-a-way and why?






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  1. 2A.  God said “It is not good that the man should be alone.”   This does make me think of the fellowship of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit……that even in creation God was saying “let US make man in OUR image…..”.  I believe that the perfect love of God seeks fellowship …….perfect love, by it’s nature, OVERFLOWS!  And, much as I get enormous blessing from time with animals (as I’ve mentioned a few times on this post!  🙂  )…..they are NOT “enough”……I NEED kinship with my own!!  While animals may bring me a ton of joy, they do not speak my language (Horse Whisperers aside!)……only with other human beings can I find that “spirit to spirit” connection.  My dogs and horses may give me a whole lot of warm fuzzies and laughter…..but at the end of the day…..they could care less that my children and my husband do not know Jesus personally- and are living their lives completely apart from Him!  My dear friend Jestina, on the other hand, UNDERSTANDS…..and so many of you here sharing on this study blog UNDERSTAND! 
    Even as I re-read this I see that I am dancing around the MARRAIGE aspect of this piece of Scripture…..Eve being created for Adam and from Adam was God’s perfect design for Adam’s lonely condition – “not good” even THOUGH Adam had the perfect fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at that time!  (Jill, I believe it was you who articulated telling yourself that He should be enough…..I don’t HAVE to have friends……and still…..finding yourself lonely……He knows this is how He MADE us….to need one another!  There’s no shame at all in crying out in our loneliness)  I don’t think any of us, regardless of the state of our own marraiges, could possibly deny that the BEST marraiges are the BEST relationships this world has to offer (my parents’ marriage was such a lovely one)!  There is a depth of intimacy that simply cannot be found in other relationships – even those with our beloved children.  The last words of our passage here are “they shall become one flesh”…..I don’t think God’s Word says that about ANY other relationship!  Period.
    That said….the Word is abundant with God’s heart for the lonely, the sojourner, the outcast……I think of Deut. 10:18&19…..God says he “loves the sojourner” and that His people are to “love the sojourner”……and of course, Jesus’ own words and the apostles’ writings in the NT drip with God’s love for the neglected, the poor, the abused, the lonely, the misfits……or, as we called them (and us!) a few weeks ago…..the ragamuffins!  One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture is found in Psalms 68:6…..it begins with “God sets the lonely in families….” it comforted my heart greatly over the years as my eldest son struggled with a “learning disability” as we called them at the time…..and all of the social isolation that came from that- particularly in elementary and middle school (in high school he discovered high school rodeo and found an amazing world of acceptance)…..and Rebecca, as school begins again, I’ve had your Isaac on my heart in this same way…….how beautiful that He has set Isaac in YOUR family though!  And certainly, the Church should be a place where the lonely can find a family…..though sadly, I’m not sure that’s the case often enough.  We still struggle with James, chapter 2!  We just are “drawn to” those who look good, smell good, live in nice houses, drive nice cars…..have wonderful talents ……and Jesus Himself seems to have been drawn to SOME of those people…..the ones among them who were “poor in spirit”……but on the whole we see Him spending time with the “least of these”……sorry, I’ve gone far afield! 

    1. Jackie…my heart grieves with you.   Your so right about everything you said.  Prayers for you…my sweet one.

    2. Jackie–love this whole post, how your heart “oozes” out of your word…love this reminder too “we see Him spending time with the “least of these””

  2. Was praying for you all this morning and this song came to mind. I hope it blesses you.  (I hope the link works)

    1. This is beautiful and calming, Jill. Thanks.

    2. Thank you for this song Jill ~

    3. Thank you for sharing the song, Jill.  It is very soothing!   

    4. I’m praying for you, too, Jill – as you move and for housing to become available!

    5. Jill…..lovely song.  I sorta got lost in it for a few precious moments!  And  where DO you and the family live until “permanent” housing unfolds??  Will you be on the base in something temporary or are you “on your own”?  What base are you on?  What branch of the military is your husband serving in?  Praying right now for some special friendships awaiting you in VA!!

  3. 2B.  (I think I said enough about that in answering 2A!)
    2C.  Kathy Keller…… interesting article….first of all, it struck me that Kathy (who didn’t even want to come to New York!) was able to pitch in and do many, many humble and menial tasks for some period of time – obviously with no guarantee that this would ever change or “pay off” in this life!!  However, even with so called menial tasks, it can be hard to hand over what has been “ours” to someone else…..and as the ministry grew and changed, Kathy seemed very astute to the timing and nature of the changes….and she began to “let go” of her responsibilities and seek where God may be leading her to use her gifting.  Even more interesting to me was that, after a period of time leading the Communications and Media aspect of Redeemer, Kathy was able to clearly see that the tech changes unfolding were resulting in her being “out of her depth”…..and she “let go” and moved on…….I guess the pattern I’m seeing is that in her role as a pastor’s wife she didn’t appear to much look to want the church might EXPECT, but rather what the LORD was leading her to do….as Tim’s ezer.  Since letting go and moving on can be VERY hard for us women, she’s a great example of how the Lord can use our willingness to follow Him in all of life’s details…..she is a picture to me of Philippians 3:13&14:  “But one thing I do;’forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the ‘prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 
    I did keep thinking though, as I read the short article…..how MANY Pastor’s wives in the world are in small, struggling churches.  I’m wondering if it’s not MUCH HARDER there to not be “stereotyped”.   Diane, I couldn’t help but think of some of what you have shared.  I get the picture that you are a small church pastor’s wife……and I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on Kathy Keller’s ever evolving roles in their church….? 

  4. 2D.  Wow….it just struck me anew as I read these verses just now…..God was just so matter of fact about this!  He brought the animals to Adam….and whatever Adam named them, that was their name!!  God didn’t say, now, now…..are you SURE Adam?  Anteater?  can’t you get more creative than that??  What I see here is God’s DELIGHT in Adam!  God LOVED watching Adam in action!  No second guessing Adam or correcting him….just loving Adam’s being Adam! 

    1. I like this, Jackie!  Like how your mind imagines and paints word pictures so well……Was just reading about this style of praying in Yancey’s book  Prayer….yesterday.  🙂

  5. 2E.  The first bride was formed from Adam’s rib.  The second bride….that is harder to figure out……when Paul talks about this in Ephesians 5:32, even he says “this mystery is profound”…..(speaking of the two shall become one flesh referring both to human marriage, and more importantly, to the body of Christ and their place as His bride….)…. even though Colossians doesn’t specifically use the term “bride of Christ”, that’s where I ended up while pondering this relationship of intimacy that we have with Him….specifically Col. 2: 9-13.  This does clearly speak of Christ’s headship and our mysterious union with His very life.  Though I don’t think I’m really grasping the meaning here completely……indeed, I’m with Paul “this mystery is profound”……..

  6. 2F.  When thinking about Adam’s emotions upon being presented with Eve, I strangely thought about a movie title from several years back   “As Good As It Gets”!  Or perhaps “It doesn’t get any better than this!”.  I think Adam must have been simultaneously blown away by Eve’s uniqueness…she was “different” than him in a way that was mesmerizing and drew him to her like a magnet!!……and yet….he recognized that they were of the same flesh…..she was his kin, his soul mate in perhaps the purest form ever experienced in this world.  At that moment, completely pure and untainted by sin.  We can only imagine!!    

  7. Response to jackie (though you others can listen in):

    “Diane, I couldn’t help but think of some of what you have shared.  I get the picture that you are a small church pastor’s wife……and I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on Kathy Keller’s ever evolving roles in their church….?” 

    Jackie, you have no idea what a tough question you have asked me! When I married Aubrey, I did not know that he would be a pastor, though God gave me an inkling that Aubrey had a pastor’s heart. I disliked the notoriety of being a PK (pastor’s kids) and wanted to be “one of the crowd”. When I found out God was calling him to pastoral ministry, I was not happy. You might even say I was “difficult”. 🙂 
    I knew the pain that church politics and stereotyping caused pastoral families. Also, having been a missionary’s kid (I lived in India for 6 years), I knew the expectations on MKs and PKs were very high. I learned to “play” the roles – be the model kid even while I was hurting inside, with only occasional explosions of what I would diagnose now as mild depression. Particularly, I HATED moving – leaving friends to often never see them again! I had a couple of really hard experiences with moving as a kid. When God called us to be a pastor’s family, I was also terrified – I didn’t want to play the game and have tried hard NOT to be stereotypical. My mother had been a wife and mother first, then a pastor’s wife, so that helped give me freedom. I worried about the impact on my kids as well. I tried hard NOT to put pressure on my kids to fake their faith and actions for the sake of the church. God has been gracious and has given me three children who are still walking with the Lord, though some of their paths have been quite rocky.
    Small churches often have so many needs with no one else to do the job; so I have found it relatively easy to do what I was able and felt called to do, though I sometimes feel guilty that I cannot do it all. Yes, it is ever evolving. Generally, people seem to appreciate whatever I do and do not demand more. I do not play the piano (a common need in small churches); but I do sing and have variously led music and sung. Also, I have taught various groups (children and women) as well as done various editorial, typist and computer roles as needed for my husband, general advisory capacity for him and so on. As Kathy indicates as well, I generally enjoy the behind the scenes jobs. I try not to be the boss of anyone – that is an awkward position for me as an introvert and a female in a male-led churches. I have led women’s groups but prefer the team approach whenever possible.
    I have been a somewhat reluctant pastor’s wife, but God has been gentle and given me opportunities many women have not had to do “ministry”. I consider Aubrey and I a pastoral team. 

    1. What a beautiful “answer” Diane.  Even as you call yourself a “reluctant pastor’s wife”, I see a lot of peace and contentment in your description of what your “role” has been!  I love that you share that “God has been gentle and given me opportunities many women have not had….”   so thankful that this has been your experience!  

    2. Diane.….I love your honest response.  I grew up in a very small denomination of which my parents were charter members and very, very involved.  It was/is comprised of many, many small churches and I know many pastors wives in that denomination.  (my sister and sister-in-law for starters).  I’m not sure there IS a stereotypical pastors wife anymore.  The pastors wives in my current church are light years different than the ones I knew growing up and in a small denomination.  I mostly just love that you respond so graciously and humbly….not just to this question but to everything on the blog.  Your church is very blessed to have you and I’m glad you have found some freedom….and that you can fellowship with us here, as I know, it can be difficult to be transparent in your own church when you are in the pastor’s family.  

    3. Love your reply Diane.  You are a wonderful pastor’s wife!

    4. Diane–whenever you share a glimpse of your past or insight to your heart as you have here about being a pastor’s wife…for as long as you have been on the blog I have honestly always had the same picture in my mind…I just imagine you sitting and talking and I am at your feet (is this sounding crazy?) but I do, I just feel myself pull closer and want to glean all the wisdom I can from you! You have such a wise, quiet steadfastness about you–true godliness. I love what you said of being a wife and mother first, we really see that in you. You don’t play any of the stereotypes or the “games” you are real and honest. Like I said to Rebecca, you too model “naked and unashamed” in His presence. 

      1. Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. You have no idea how much they touch me today. I don’t deserve them. I am feeling discouraged and feel like I am not a very good wife, mother or pastor’s wife right now. I definitely don’t feel very wise, Elizabeth. If I am, it is only by God’s grace. Right now, I am so tired I just want to turn the world and all the expectations off. Thanks for “holding” me up. 

  8. 3. Read Kathy Keller’s interview on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment – and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not Your Stereotypical Pastor’s Wife”?
    Perhaps they titled it this because that’s how Kathy refers to herself in the interview! I am not sure what a typical pastor’s wife “looks like”, and I think Kathy wondered the same thing in the article. At the two different evangelical churches I’ve attended, the pastor’s wives are kind of behind the scenes…you may see them sitting in the worship center as their husband preaches, or they may speak at a women’s ministry event, like a Christmas Tea. At the church I attend currently, I believe the pastor’s wife is a teacher and I don’t really know much about her. We have another woman who is the full time women’s ministry director. But I see how Kathy was Tim’s “ezer” in that while he has been in ministry, so has she, just in different roles. One role was being the manager of their home, as in the bills got paid, groceries bought, and children taken care of. Then when they started Redeemer, she was the staff, doing many different things until the church was established and others were hired or perhaps volunteered to fill those positions. She’s kind of a “jack of all trades”! She doesn’t fit into one particular role; she constantly grows and changes and adapts as the needs change. But in everything she has supported Tim and his calling, while at the same time trying to fulfill her calling to being used in God’s kingdom.

  9. Wanda and other ladies who share her heart for your children –  I just listened to Midday Connection today, and their guests were Charles and Janet Morris (Haven Today). Anyway, in particular, the last half of the program they specifically talked about some of the things that concern us about our children, especially when they are unsaved, and it made me think a lot of what Wanda posted earlier; how we struggle with guilt for not doing it right and wondering about the impact on our adult children. The Morris’ share very honestly – they had a son, Jeff, who died of an overdose and another son who also got into trouble. It encouraged me to listen and perhaps if you are interested you can also listen at http://www.MiddayConnection.org.

    1. Thanks so much, Susan……Will try to listen soon…..appreciate your sharing this.

      1. Wanda, I just re-listened this morning. Janet talks about getting out from laboring under that burden of thinking we have to do everything right in order for our kids to turn out to be great Christian kids. And that trusting Him is entering into that rest Jesus promises. Sometimes we have to actively go after our adult kids, but a big activity we can do is pray, and rest in Him.

        1. Susan…..I just listened.   I did really like the assurance that ‘ultimately, the only thing we can do for our kids is to pray for them’.    It was interesting that their son went through Teen Challenge.  We just heard the Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge Choir and testimonies this past Sunday.  Every time I hear them, I wonder what my kids would say to their testimonies.  Sometimes, there have even been people who are from our own community (and well known) who have come back and testified to changed lives.  I know it’s still a struggle and I know some who have gone back into drugs…BUT I am always so impressed at the stories that begin…..”I was raised in a Christian home.  My parents taught me all about God….’  and on and on.  It was good to hear a high profile Christian couple like the Morris’ share their stories.  Comforting.  I loved what they said about the gospel.  That if we think if we do everything right, our kids will turn out ‘right’…….that is not the gospel!  It’s all by grace.  (For anyone who wants to listen, this part of the discussion happens fairly late in the program…..over half way…..in case you want to just find that part.)  

  10. 2. Read Genesis 2:18-24
        A. Over and over, God has said “It is good.” Now, in verse 18, something is not good. What is it? How does this apply both to the gift of marriage and to the general concept of the fellowship of believers (the corporate bride)?
    It was not good for man to be alone.    God (as a part of the trinity) did not feel complete and felt a need to create man “in our image.”   So God was very aware of the need for relationship and companionship, and quickly realized the need of man to have a female partner/wife/companion.     As far as applying this to the corporate  fellowship of believers, I can see this at two levels.   First of all the church is to be the bride of Christ,  and the church needs to be in intimate relationship with Christ.   However, I see another level which is that each person in the church needs to be in the fellowship.   Sometimes I have called on people who have dropped out of the church, and have heard them say something along the lines of “I can be just as good a Christian without attending church.”    At this point, I feel they are deluding themselves. I strongly feel that Christians need to be in close relationshp with  other Christians, for encouragement, for rejoicing together and crying together, mentoring one another and loving one another.   I also think that it is immensely difficult (perhaps impossible)  for one person to serve Christ in a vacuum from other people.    
        B. What is God’s solution?  
    God created woman to be a help-mate for man.   
        C. Read Kathy’s Keller’s interview (LINK) on being Tim’s “ezer” (help fit for him) and comment — and why do you think TGC titled this, “Not your stereotypical pastor’s wife?”   
    I think the stereotypical role of the pastor’s wife has been one of walking in the pastor’s shadow and not calling attention to herself.   I remember long years ago a snide remark being made by one of the women in our church about our pastor’s wife then that “she didn’t know her place!”   🙂    Kathy Keller seems to have never lost her image of “being called” herself.   Sometimes she just felt called to do the little things that needed doing that no one else would do.  Other times she would be involved in leadership roles.  It was determined by what she felt “called” to do.   Somehow that sounds right to me!   Some pastors’ wives that I have known seemed to be concerned with “staying out of trouble” and “not causing waves for their husbands.”    I think that is a negative view — although I understand where it comes from!    I think it is so much better for the pastor’s wife to feel “called” to a ministry that is her own. 
        D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
    God formed all the animals and brought them to Adam to name.   When you name someone or something, it is almost like you “own” them.  It definitely is a designating of authority — God expected Adam to care for the ones he named.   If God had brought the animals to Adam and said “This one is called ‘dog’ and that one is called ‘cat,’  this one is a ‘horse’ and that one is a ‘cow ,’  now, Adam, you take care of them,”   it would have given Adam an entirely different feeling about the animals.  God allowed Adam to name them, claim them, and care for them.    
        E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)
    God could have formed Eve from the dust just the same way he did Adam, but instead God decided to form her from Adam’s flesh and blood.   This mystical symbolism indicated that a man and a woman are to become “one flesh.”     So, to plow into the challenge question:    The bride of Christ (the church)  was bought with Christ’s flesh and blood on the cross.   It is that act (and our gratitude for it)  that binds the church to Christ eternally.  

    1. Oh I like your answers for D and E,  Deanna.  Very clear…..and made me think.  (I’m gleaning from others again this week……as it is so broken up for me to be able to dive in and answer questions.)

  11. Sherryl, I am praying for you (as I am sure others here are) as you have your eye surgery and recovery. I pray all goes really well and that your time in bed will be a good time with the Lord in prayer.
    Jill, my heart goes out to you as you move, especially in your not having a place of your own when you get there. I also pray that you will find godly friends in this new place. If you read my comments above regarding my life as a pastor’s wife, you know how hard I find moving and you have my sympathies.

  12. Sherryl…I’m praying for your eye surgery today…love you sister!

    1. Praying Sherryl for a successful eye surgery today…may you experience the peace and the calm that only our Lord can provide.  Know that I will continue praying for your healing and recovery.  Blessings to you, Sherryl…you will be in my thoughts today with special intentions throughout the day and especially at/during that 3 p.m. hour.

    2. Prayers here too, Sherryl…..for a very successful surgery and all the support you need through the recovery.  

    3. Praying for your move also Jill.

  13. Sherryl, I am praying for your surgery and recovery. Please let us know, when you can, how it went.
         H.  They key verse about marriage in Scripture is first stated in Genesis 2:24. What is it, and explain what is meant by “for this reason.”
    “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭24‬ NIV)
    The NIV says, “That is why…” I’m not sure of the answer here, but I think it is because of verse 23? She was taken out of him and so she is part of him. He needs her to be complete; he is not complete without her. 
         I.  What are we told in verse 25?
    We are told they were exposed but not shameful.
    J. What parallel can you see in verse 25 for our relationship with Christ? How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?
    We shouldn’t be afraid to claim him as ours; to admit we are Christians? He bled and died for us and we, accepting him, helps to make His “purpose” complete. He came to Earth to save us. If we aren’t saved then the union isn’t made perfect. It’s a beautiful thing when we are His. In fact, even though my life is ups and downs, I have reacently thought how happy I am for the first time in my life….It must be Him! I can’t explain it; maybe happy isn’t the right word. Perhaps I should say “at peace.” in each day to day situation, I know His hand is there in charge of all in my life.

  14. 2G. What parallel do you see with Jesus and His bride? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?
    The union of Jesus and His bride is the day that our Lord longs for…the day when we are His, no more evil, suffering, disease, pain, when love prevails above all…I expect that He will experience great joy.
    At root, I believe that Jesus loves me, but so easily doubtful thoughts can invade (e.g., “you???…maybe (insert name), but you???”).  The Lord gave His all to bring me home…I need to remind myself that even if I was the only one needing His saving grace, He would have provided for me.  Song of Songs study was pivotal for me in its pointing to Jesus revealing to my heart and mind in a way like never before that I truly am the Beloved’s and the Beloved is mine…putting it at this very personal level is what I need for the reality of the Lord’s love to really permeate.  I need to remind myself that even the best examples of love this world has to offer are only minute fractions of the love my Lord has for me.  The comfort this provides is indescribable…what comes to mind is a warm blanket over me to shield me from extreme/bitter cold; the warmth penetrates my body to it’s very core with all areas (even toes and fingers) feeling the warmth…ah!

    1. Nanci, I also like to return to those truths we learned in the Song of Songs. Every time I hear that book referenced as being about the goodness of sexual intimacy, I want to say “But that’s not all…it’s about so much more than that!”

        1. I think you would get a lot of takers Dee!

    2. So good and descriptive, Nanci.   Wonderful to think on.

       I need to remind myself that even the best examples of love this world has to offer are only minute fractions of the love my Lord has for me.  The comfort this provides is indescribable…what comes to mind is a warm blanket over me to shield me from extreme/bitter cold; the warmth penetrates my body to it’s very core with all areas (even toes and fingers) feeling the warmth…ah!

    3. Nanci–this is beautiful “even the best examples of love this world has to offer are only minute fractions of the love my Lord has for me. “ It is really is such an indescribable, hard-to-believe LOVE, “a warm blanket over me to shield me from extreme/bitter cold”

  15. Sherryl–praying for you too–for the doctors to have skilled hands, for everything to go as well as possible, for His peace to cover you and for your recovery

  16.  Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
    If I ask my son to run an errand for me, I’ll give him a signed note to show that he has my authority. I’ve given him my name to use as his sign of authority. (That’s like when Jesus invites us to pray in his name, using his authority). When Adam named the animals, it was with God’s authority because he was following God’s instruction.

    1. Thinking further on this, the authority given is not absolute… it is only when doing what was asked. For example, my son would be exceeding his authority if he used my name for something he was not asked to do. So, Adam only has authority to do what God has asked him to do… because it is not actually his authority; it still belongs to God.

      1. Really good clarity, Kerryn.

  17. 2G.  In Revelation, it seems that there is in general a lot of loud rejoicing and praising when it comes to the marriage of the Lamb(Rev 19:6-8)….but as for Jesus’ specific reaction…..???  I keep thinking of Song of Solomon – I know you all studied this book some time back…..I wasn’t an active participant in the study at that time, but it seems to me that so MUCH of Jesus’ “reaction” to His Bride is found in that book!  Such words as “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away…….let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.”  Again and again throughout, He says “you are beautiful, you are beautiful….”  The sheer delight of the bridegroom (Jesus) is so hard to fathom, but yes, I do believe that He sees me as beautiful.  Impossible, but true.  The more I ponder this truth, the more I find myself falling in love with Him!  Desiring to please Him and delight in Him in the “moments” of each and every day……..

  18. 2H.  This verse is foundational….and Jesus refers back to this very Scripture in Matt.19 when the Pharisees were once again testing him by asking him about marriage……his reply to them is “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh, so they are no longer two but one flesh.”  Not to get off track here….but when my kids and I discuss “gay marriage” (and I have dear ones in my life who are gay), these are the passages that keep ringing in my ears…..even though there are those that specifically speak of homosexuality (Rom 2…..), it’s in going back to Genesis that I see the BEAUTY of God’s design……from the beginning, male and female….THEREFORE….the two shall be one flesh……this IS God’s definition of marriage!  As in all of life….God so wants us to experience the WONDER of His design…the “Eureka” moments that are God blessed and sacred. 

  19. 2I. God’s desire for us – innocence (lost in the fall)….and no shame….shame cripples and demeans us ……

  20. 2J.  Romans 10:11 says “For the Scripture says ‘ Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame'”.  And Romans 5:5 “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Wow – the gospel does tell us that the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us…..God’s love POURED into our hearts…..HOPE permeating our moments……and all of this because of our beautiful, suffering Redeemer, Jesus Christ!  If pressed to name a “favorite” chapter of the Scripture, Isaiah 53 would be my choice……and I’m going to take a moment to read it now. 
    PRAYER REQUEST……interestingly, I have a situation late this morning where I can identify “shame” trying to creep it’s nasty way into my thinking…..please pray that I will be filled with the Spirit and that Christ will be seen in my life as I interact with someone who is dear to me and for whom I have been praying for her salvation for nearly 17 years now.  It’s too complicated to share, but please pray!  So appreciated!!

    1. Jackie–praying now for your time with your friend as you have asked and for God to use this time for His purpose and glory–to give you the words and for Him to soften her heart to Him

    2. Dear Lord, please cover Jackie during her time with her friend. You see her love and concern for this friend, that she would know You, so the enemy is trying to creep in with thoughts of shame. Those thoughts are not from You! Remind Jackie that those who look to You will never be ashamed. Please give Jackie a spirit of humility and winsomeness as she talks with her friend today.

    3. Perhaps I am late, but I am adding my prayers for you and your friend that the Lord will use your time together and work in both your lives in this relationship and in your relationships with Him.

    4. I saw this probably ‘after the fact’……especially with your time zone being ‘earlier’ than mine.  But…..praying that the Holy Spirit will continue to use the conversation that you had……and regardless of how it went and the initial responces……that He will continue to do His work in your friend’s life.  Blessings, Jackie.

    5. Jackie, Just saw this now… praying that your relationship and conversation would bear fruit for God’s glory.
      I quickly scrolled through to see if someone had responded to “J.”  In the question, the words “naked and unashamed” jumped out at me.  Thanks for much for posting the encouraging verses about not being put to shame.  Your words touched me deeply — and I don’t have the words to respond, though the “floodgates” opened.  I received some (potentially) sad news earlier this week and didn’t have the energy to type out the answers to some of the earlier questions (I got stalled on 2.A. !!).   Jackie, your response reconnected me here.  Feels as if I have crammed a month into the last 3 days, and I even wondered if I should “sit out” the rest of this study — probably more related to shame, than to the topic. 

      1. Renee – so grateful that the Romans verses found you right where you are…..it is amazing to me how sad news (and so much in life, actually) can sap our energy ……and yet……God “finds us”…..through the Scriptures…..the prayers of the Body…..a few simple encouraging words ……He is good. 

    6. Jackie,
      Thankyou for your contemplations on Romans10:11…    Such life-giving words….. that He removes our shame and continues to remove our shame.  
      “hope permeating our moments”   Love the way you put this, Jackie.    The Lord permeated my driving-home moments  tonight.   I was listening to Christian apologist Ravi Zacharius  on the radio.  In speaking of God’s mercy he said, “the gentleness and wideness of God’s mercy” . 
      Lord, may Sherryl know  the gentleness and wideness of your mercy tonight.    May Jill know it as she is in transition to a new community.   And, Lord may all of us moms with prodigal children know the gentleness and wideness of your mercy to our children.

      1. Nila – the new picture is so beautiful!  And I’m hoping you get a chance to read (or maybe you have already) “Prayers for Prodigals”…..I’m thinking that it was Anne on this blog who recommended it some weeks back…..I bought it and have found myself praying so many of the prayers therein!  Drips with Scripture. 

    7. Jackie….prayer for your friend and you!   I’m also loving your comments!

      1. Jackie, ditto to Joyce’s comment…

    8. Jackie….I just saw now that you said Isaiah 53 is your favorite chapter (if pressed!)……I have long said the same……The whole gospel is in those prophetic verses……

      1. Wanda – Amen to that! 

  21. Sherryl, I do hope that you see that your blog sisters are praying for you today and that you will feel those prayers surrounding you as you have your eye surgery today, and keep surrounding you as you recover. Praying for His peace to surround you…praying for a successful surgery…healing and recovery.

  22. D. Giving someone a name is a sign of authority. How do you see God giving Adam authority in verses 19-20?
    God created all the creatures but brought them to Adam to name them. He gave Adam the privilege to name His creatures. It says, “Whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” I like that. God didn’t say, “Wouldn’t something else sound better?” This strikes me because, as a mom, I want to encourage my children to grow and be responsible, yet how often do they make a decision and then I come in with a “better suggestion” instead of letting them decide? I see God giving Adam authority and also confidence as a leader.
    E. In verse 21-22, how did God form the first bride, and what parallel can you see to the second bride? (Challenge question)
    First, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. I’ve heard a sermon on this which says this was like being under anesthesia; a death-like sleep. Then God took one of Adam’s ribs; He had to open up his side because it says that God closed up the flesh at that place. The NASB says that God “fashioned into a woman” the rib taken from the man, or “built”. I see this as taking some time and careful attention to detail. So how does this parallel the second bride, the Bride of Christ? Here are my thoughts – if Adam was put into a death-like sleep to form Eve, Jesus also had to sleep in death for His Bride to be brought forth. Jesus’ side was pierced as He was on the Cross, and His blood flowed out. His life-giving sacrifice of His own Body is what brought about our “birth” – that we could be His Bride.

    1. Wow, Susan…I never thought about the “death-like sleep to form Eve” related to Jesus’ “sleep in death” in redeeming us, or Jesus’ pierced side and Adam’s rib removal comparison…so interesting; thanks for sharing these insights.

  23. F. Adam’s response to Eve is the first audible human comment recorded in Scripture. Howard Hendricks says it is like “Eureka!” What emotions do you see here?
    Thank you Dee, for pointing out that this is the first audible human comment recorded in the Bible…I’ve never thought of that significance before!
    Perhaps he also said “WOW!” I see first the emotion of identification – she is like me; she was taken out of me. Like Jackie said, we all need a kindred spirit. Animals can be great companions and comforts, but only so far. It doesn’t say, but I imagine a profound thankfulness expressed to the Lord for this woman – a gift from the Lord designed just for him. The joy of knowing this one will be the one to share life with.
    G. Now – think about how Jesus will respond when He sees His Bride on that great day. What parallel can you see? Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?
    The parallel I am seeing with Eve being like Adam, and I’m not sure this is theologically correct, but it is said that God is a Spirit, without a body. But Jesus, the Son of God, took on flesh and became fully man, and He still has His body. We share that aspect with Him – being human and having flesh and blood bodies. Perhaps that’s why one day He will raise our bodies and we don’t just remain invisible spirits for all of eternity? Without a body? Jesus will dwell, in His Body, with us, in our resurrected bodies. That tells me that thought Jesus is God, He delights in being like us in this way. He can say, “This man, this woman, is bone of My bone and flesh of My flesh” – taken out of Me.
    Hebrews talks about Jesus enduring all the shame of the Cross for the joy that was set before Him. I believe that we are His joy. He loved us, He loved me, so much that He died for me. When He sees the “perfected” me, dressed as His spotless pure bride, finally free from my sinful nature, He will rejoice because it will be before His eyes what His sacrifice accomplished for me.

  24. Jackie,
    Lord, may your mercy cover Jackie’s conversation with her friend.
    May the Lord sustain and comfort you.

  25. Praying for all of my blogs sisters, especially Sherryl for peace and a speedy recovery and Dee, as your children leave that the God of all comfort and peace will surround and overwhelm you with his presence ! 

  26. Having internet problems at home right now… need to get my son onto it or I will be very, very quiet here

  27. Sherryl,  Continuing to pray for you.

  28. Renee…glad to see your face…love to you!Also pray for Deanna’s husband John….he is 88 and has had a light stroke.  Praying Deanna!

    1. Oh, I pray Deanna’s husband, John, is alright!

  29. Your prayers were so appreciated and I literally felt “carried” through the situation I requested prayer for!  It was a sweet, heartfelt time together and I do feel the Lord brought healing and connection and opportunity for “seed planting”. 

    1. Jackie, such good news…”seed planting” is always the beginning…so glad it was a “sweet, heartfelt time together”…can’t imagine a time with you being any other way…:)

    2. Jackie, so glad your time with your friend went so well. Praise God for the healing and connection and seed planting!

  30. 3A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment — why or why not? What does this look like, practically?
    I don’t think it actually means you “abandon” your parents; that sounds so harsh!….. As if you will never see them again…..almost like you leave them in a bad spot; negative vibes. So, no, I don’t think it means “abandonment.” However, it does mean you are  no longer under the care of them. You now have someone else whom you are under the care of; whom you trust to protect you, sustain, you, love you. This goes for both the man and the woman. They both leave their parents and they both need to fill that gap for the other one. I feel like we have discussed this before and so frustrated that I can’t remember all the details! 
    What does it look like? Well you physically leave their home to go live in another home. You may move to another state, or country. You sleep in your bed with someone now. You have meals together,  just you and your husband.  You care for each other. You consider each other’s thoughts before making decisions. I’m not sure I’m getting the point here……
    One thing I had to do this past summer was go through all my moms belongings with my siblings. We found lots of letters from the time when they got married and began their family. Some of them were from her parents to her because she physically wasn’t near them anymore; she was several states away. It showed me a whole different relationship between my mom and dad. Remember, he died when I was 12. For example, he addressed his letters “my dearest,” and closed them with, “yours.” He really loved her. The letters from her parents to her we’re mostly talking about the weather, or relatives’ news. You could tell they missed her (Maybe they were abandoned?!). Sometimes they would talk about buying practical things for her and the family, and saving them for their next visit home. There was one letter from an aunt to my mom and dad when I was born. They hadn’t picked my name, and the person was telling them which names they liked. The letters from my dad to my mom made me tear up. He was in the Air Force, and they were separated. He had to find housing for her and my sister to come live with him and he couldn’t find anything. He knew of a couple of apartments; he drew floorplans for my mom to see what they would look like. He was very concerned with her welfare. Sorry to get off on that tangent, but it is kind of applicable. Both sides were affected by this marriage of two. 
    B. What does cleaving mean?
    It means to remain faithful, or cling to. 

    1. Laura, I’ll bet finding those letters was like finding buried treasure…it let you see a whole new side of your parents and what a heritage they left you…their love reflected in those letters.

    2. Laura – love, love, love all that you wrote about the letters of your parents and grandparents!  I don’t think it was off on a tangent at all….delightful!  Makes me think though……will our kids and grandkids have any actual letters???  We do everything on the computer…….a blessing, but a loss too, I think!!

    3. Laura, thank you for sharing your “find” (i.e., your parents’ letters)…the consideration and love your father had for your Mom is evident and heart-warming…he drew floor plans for her to review…:)  So glad that you found the letters; what a lovely gift (a kiss from the King no doubt).

  31. Doing this study is causing me to examine the scripture and to apply it to my own life.
    I so appreciate, Dee, your sharing of what marriage looks like, as God designed it. It is a beautiful
    example. My Mother passed on to me my Father’s letters to her during World War II. His love for her
    was deep and his commitment was evident. Unfortunately he did not return, and I was an infant.
    2H. The key verse about marriage: Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.
    The unity of the two, and the representation in one flesh. As Christ died and was raised, and was united to his body, the church, “all those you have given me, and also he prayed for all those who will believe in me through their message.”
    John 17:20, 21, ” that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
    2 I. They were naked and knew no shame.
    2J. What parallel can you see for our relationship with Christ?
     The gospel should make us naked and unashamed. How?This is a revealing question. Yes, God is omniscient, he knows
    everything about us. He knows our hearts and sees our sin. However he promises in I John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
     So we can be naked and unashamed because he knows our repentance, as we turn from sin and seek His will.
    Sin gives shame ( the natural result), Forgiveness uncovers; God’s grace accepts our repentance and  cleanses.
    Question 3 What does it look like to ” leave and cleave”?
    This command brings to my mind each level of leaving: physically moving from the home in which they were raised, emotionally and mentally detaching from the bonds of the parents.
    Cleave is a concept that represents to me all these levels and looks like a united marriage of two who will function together at all levels.  When one level is not joined there is a weaker bond. To separate means to “tear into each other.” This separation may even occur when the two live together, but do not agree, I believe. For many reasons a marriage may be in word, but each may function independently of each other.
    Being unequally yoked but married was part of my marriage for many years. it could have led to divorce. By the grace of God I was kept in it. My emotional bond to my Mother was an issue that I could not even verbalize yet it caused me much anxiety. I could not rest for being concerned for her well-being. So many issues become Satan’s playground in marriage. This is an attack on God’s plan for marriage, a symbol of Christ and His bride, the church.

  32. Laura, I so appreciate your sharing of your Mother’s letters. Yes, these letters are so important in seeing the heritage of
    Godly parents and grandparents, and of seeing the relationships. Letters have been a help to me as I have found comfort in my Father’s letters to my Mother. He wrote almost daily and I have a box of them!

    1. Shirley – I think of the Scriptures being God’s “love letter” to us……and I believe that buried in our souls is a yearning for letters from the heart.  My heart just SANK when I read of your father writing with love to your mother…..and then he didn’t come home.  Oh, but what a gift to YOU that box of letter is…..never could it be simply words on paper – this expresses your father’s heart!  People sometimes ask the question “what would you grab if your house was on fire?”……I’ll bet for you that box of letters would be way up the list!! 

    2. Shirley, that is so sweet that your mom kept the letters and then gave them to you. How special! Just seeing my dad’s handwriting again was pretty cool too. I remember it for some reason. One letter from her to him was so cute; she was bored and went shopping in their town. She found a beautiful yellow hat that she felt was too expensive to buy and ended up buying a couple of things to use for baking. She told him that she looked good in the hat but she “restrained” herself! I burst out laughing on that one! Leave it to my mom to buy things for the kitchen; she was a great baker/cook.

  33. 3. Let’s consider the three parts of this key verse on marriage:
    A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment — why or why not? What does this look like, practically?
    I don’t think it means abandonment..Perhaps ‘cleaving’ is the key word here? Practically it means for me that Patrick and I are one- glued together and we have four boys as well-I have my ‘new family’. While I don’t neglect Patrick’s or my family: our moms, dads and brothers, we have to be careful not to place them as a higher priority than our boys and us.  They are still our family though. 
    I found this interesting but an old Pastor friend of ours said once that it is interesting how God designed marriage..It is in 3: Husband, Wife and then children come from that union reflecting the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I extend that to say, even with couples who are unable to conceive it is the same..whether they adopt or work with and minister to children. 
    B. What does cleaving mean?
    I may have answered it above, but it means to be joined together as one-as Dee said, like glue. 
    C. What are the effects of divorce to each person and to the children?
    For the man and woman it is like tearing apart two pieces of paper that are glued together. They rip in all kinds of pieces..that is what happened with my heart when my x-husband left me. We didn’t have children though.
    I come from a divorced home and I can attest first hand what it does to children-but I can also attest that Jesus redeems that over time yet depending on the heart and His most wise, perfect timing it can take many many years of Him cutting stones away. My parents divorce caused me to be the parent in my life even though they still parented me. I didn’t trust their decision making. The hardest part was the wall I built up being afraid to trust that if someone really loves me they won’t walk away if I mess up. As a result made it difficult for me to believe God really loved me-that He wouldn’t abandon me at some point if I messed up. That is what divorce taught me..If one spouse isn’t cutting the mustard, leave. That is how I saw God. As you can see it has taken until my mid-late 40’s through Idol Lies AND Song of Songs for Him to break through my stony heart and for me to see His beauty and His love-oh..and finally I am resting secure in His Love.

    1. Rebecca – your words as the child of divorce pierce my heart.  You nailed the crux of the matter:  your TRUST in your parents was shattered….no matter that they were still “parenting” you…..and you spoke so well of the direct connect between your broken trust in your parents and how that impacted your ability to trust your loving heavenly Father.  I love how the gospel shines through in your life though too…..Jesus redeems and you are now – “through many dangers, toils and snares…” – able to rest secure in His love.   Hallelujah!

    2. Rebecca, what you say here as a child of divorce really spoke to me. So sad!  As Jackie says,

       your TRUST in your parents was shattered….no matter that they were still “parenting” you…..and you spoke so well of the direct connect between your broken trust in your parents and how that impacted your ability to trust your loving heavenly Father. 

      I feel this is what has happened to my daughter’s children as a result of the divorce. Makes me cry. One of the son’s often refuses hugs and kisses. Another son seems at times to deliberately act “bad” just to get attention. I pray earnestly that God will rescue them from their pain that they are too young to verbalize or understand. How hard it will be for them to deeply trust their heavenly Father! It is so hard to watch or know how to deal with. 

      1. Oh Diane, but really..be encouraged! God is sovereign and I do believe He is the great architect! I have learned to trust that nothing in my past was an accident or just circumstances beyond God’s control..He was in control of all of it. Just clinging to Him in that brings His peace!

        I have to add to my story that I wouldn’t trade my past! Without these valleys and stones I wouldn’t desire He come and rescue me out of the wilderness.  Yet HE is the one who causes me to desire Him in the first place. 🙂 The pain and the walls I built in my past have helped me to run to Him, my only refuge-they have helped me see HE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL, and  I seriously can’t live without Him. He has come mightily in my life and is my balm more and more, and He is tearing down these walls to build me up in confidence of His Love for me. Without the walls could this happen-yes I am sure, He is ALL MIGHTY..all I know is that He knows what I have needed my whole life and I trust His timing.
        He has used my past to help me love my parents, to respect them more, to see they did the best they could-to see they are just as fallible as I am. To show me without Him as the glue in marriage it will most inevitably fall apart.  He has used my past to help me to see my idols are liars and whores-seriously! but His LOVE -OH!  I wouldn’t trade my past no matter what!  
        He is sovereign and He will take the ashes of your grand children’s  lives and make them beautiful-I know He will. So take courage sister..Just continue to love them and pray He would take this and make them beautiful.
        Sorry this is so long-I am in a hurry to get ready for work, but I love you Diane and so hope this encourages you. Keep pressing into Him..I so love how you love your grand children and your daughter. 

        1. Rebecca, you have such a sweet spirit and stirring testimony. Love your winsomeness and your encouragement. Thank you.

    3. Rebecca–your “C” struck my heart too, I’m sharing it with my husband–he suffered through 3 divorces on both sides, and though God has redeemed and healed, there are still definite scars where we see the effects almost daily. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably–modeling “naked and unashamed” before us. 

  34. Sisters, it is “pre-class week” for me and my second week back to a full-time schedule…definitely transitional.  I scan through comments, but don’t always get to do a thorough reading until evenings or weekends…I do my devotions in the morning…:)
    Jill, know that I am praying for your move…that rich friendships await you.
    Dee, I SO look forward to your book on Song of Songs…I’m sure it will be one of my all-time favorites as the study was.
    2H.  What is key in v. 24 to marriage? What is meant by “for this reason”?
    v. 24 tells us that “two are united into one”
    “for this reason” is the therefore to achieve this…
    I. What are we told in v. 25?
    That Adam and Eve were both naked but unashamed.
    J. What parallel can you see in v. 25 for our relationship with Jesus?  How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?
    Jesus sees us for what we really are…there is no facade, pretense, or covering that fools Him; He knows us better than we know ourselves.  I would equate this to “naked.”  Jesus loves us…He couldn’t love me any greater or any less…despite my faults, shortcomings, sin, good deeds done with a wrong heart motivation, etc., He loves and continues to love.  Indeed He works to transform me into His likeness, but regardless of progress, He loves and provides His gift of grace to me.
    The gospel truth related to “nakedness” is that our sin isn’t hidden from the Lord…we are seen for what we truly are and with full understanding.  The gospel mercy related to “unashamed” is our Lord’s mercy…He provides His gift of grace for our accepting.  He knows our need and provides out of His mercy and love.

    1. Nanci, praying for a smooth transition back to full time…I may have missed this but are you a teacher or employed in a school?

      1. Thanks for your prayers, Susan. 
        FYI…I work at a public comprehensive university…I work with faculty as part of the governance of the university.  My job certainly wouldn’t be everyone’s “cup of tea”…lots of details, organization, compliance, follow-up, etc., but it is a good fit for me…:)

        1. Nanci J., I worked for a few years as an Administrative Assistant to the Faculty Dean at a small Christian University – assisted the Dean in all aspects of his job, took minutes at meetings, planned Convocation, details, details. I loved the job but then we moved …. oh well.

    2. Nanci…I’ll miss your pretty face here.  Pop in now and then okay?   Praying for your daughter and  squeeze the stuffin’s out of that precious….beautiful grand baby girl!!!   Good luck…getting back in the groove of full time.

      1. Oh Joyce, you are such a dear…:)  I will still be participating, just not able to probably keep up on comments in a timely manner as I would like to.  The comments are so rich and add SO much to my study (and life).  As you can likely see from the time, I am up early reading through the comments that I didn’t get to read thoroughly earlier in the week.  What a treat!

  35. H. The key verse about marriage in Scripture is first stated in Genesis 2:24. What is it, and explain what is meant by “for this reason”.
    This verse states that a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh. This verse begins with “for this cause, or reason”. I am thinking that the reason-cause is back up in the preceding verses…that God made man and woman and what Adam said about Eve, that she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh…she was taken out of Man. Even though married women today haven’t literally been created from their husband’s bones, this is the pattern since Adam and Eve…the mystery of two people coming together and becoming one. God designed our bodies that we can become one in sexual intimacy, and also we are to become one in a multitude of other ways. Emotionally, spiritually…I’ve known couples that can finish each others’ sentences because they know each other so well….one in purpose.
    I. What are we told in verse 25?
    The man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed. This is the first use of the word “wife”.  I think this also alludes to the fact that at this point, they were without sin…it is sin that produces shame.

  36. J. What parallel can you see in verse 25 for our relationship with Christ? How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?
    We are the Bride of Christ. We stand before Him completely transparent, as if we were naked. Try as we do to cover ourselves, to hide our sin, our pain, our fears and doubts from Him, He sees right through our coverings. I believe that as we “get” the gospel more and more from our head down into our heart, we will feel less and less the need to hide things from Him, to hide ourselves from Him. We can know and trust that He sees us with all of our flaws, yet loves us. He died to make us holy, pure, and beautiful in His sight.

  37. Deanna praying for your husband…I just caught Joyce’s post above and I’m not on the Facebook page…please let us know how he is doing when you are able.
    Also, please pray for my mom and dad…my dad was very tearful yesterday…the daily stresses of living with my mom who has early stage Alzheimer’s and my mom also has bad days where she misses her home that they moved from last year, and friends and activities that are no longer in her life.

    1. I’m praying for them Susan…how very hard this is for them and you.   My mom had dementia before she died of heart desease.  Her home (the home us kids grew up in), after 60 years in this home, that my dad built and added on and remodeled many times….is going to sell soon or be torn down.  My heart is breaking over a dumb house! I know it is  stupid….but I understand how you feel about your home and your parents home.  Praying for their health and for you too.

    2. Susan, my heart hurts for your Dad…oh the stress and sadness in seeing the one you love on those “bad days”…I will continue to pray for you all. 

    3. Alzheimers Disease is very hard for families – I think maybe as hard as for the person with the illness. I work with these people every day. Have you heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? I think it takes a village to care for someone with Alzheimers too. It’s too big, too much for one person, or even one family. My prayers are with you and your family Susan.

  38. H.They key verse about marriage in Scripture is first stated in Genesis 2:24. What is it, and explain what is meant by “for this reason.”
    “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”. “for this reason”—“because woman was taken out of Man”. The reason a man shall “leave and cleave” is because they were created from one flesh and are designed to re-unite as one flesh. They were created from and for one another. 
    I like again, the reference in Ephesians 5:28-31—it parallels how man is to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church: “ In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
    I.  What are we told in verse 25?
    I love this verse. “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
    J. What parallel can you see in verse 25 for our relationship with Christ? How should the gospel make us naked and unashamed?
    This is always a tender passage for me personally. To be “naked”—nothing covering myself up; no defenses; bare, vulnerable, open, exposed. I do feel that God-created longing to be able to be “naked”—emotionally, relationally. And yet, how many times I have felt hurt from being vulnerable, or transparent—either with the wrong person, or simply because of fall of man, we are so rarely able to accept one another’s nakedness. That “as is” state. In the last 7 years of my marriage, God has done a miracle and clearly I can more “safely” expose myself with him than anyone, yet there are always the times I regret having shared or it might be used against me in a heated moment. With Christ—to know that I am already completely stripped bare. He sees my thoughts, my idols, my heart. And He loves me still. To the degree I meditate on that as fact, then I know I can rest unashamed. He looks at me in my raw, bare state—and He says, this is why I did it, this is why I went through the excruciating pain of the Cross, this is why—to give you my Robe, my covering. 

    1. Beautiful Elizabeth…..something in my heart “moved” when I read your response to “J”. 

      1. In my heart, too… Helps the “right” answer to the following ?s soak in: “Do you really believe He will react to you in this way? Do you believe He loves you that much?”

      2. I felt the same way as Jackie…Elizabeth.   How beautiful…vulnerable and raw.

      3. Agreed…thanks for your vulnerability, Elizabeth…lovely…

  39. 3A.  I often feel like I’m answering these questions from a “back door” approach….my mind just seems to work that way!  At any rate, when I began to think about this subject of leaving our parents and whether or not that means abandoning them…..I immediately thought of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees in Mark 7:9-13.  I always feel that ANYTHING Jesus confronts the Pharisees about is a place I do NOT want to be!!  Here Jesus is talking about that strange practice the Pharisees had called “corban” – which I don’t have any kind of in depth understanding of…..but essentially, they had found a “clever” way of getting people to donate to the temple – which of course, meant to THEM……by donating  funds that SHOULD HAVE BEEN USED TO HELP THEIR AGING PARENTS  and calling them “corban – dedicated to God…..oh boy…..how wily and depraved is the sinful human greedy heart????  I love how Jesus refutes this practice by going back to the commandments and Moses……”Honor your father and your mother”.  Clearly, Jesus is saying that true love for God includes HONORING your father and mother.  I think this was the Lord’s reminder to me to interpret Scripture with Scripture.  None of it contradicts.  I even think of Jesus’ words in Luke 14:26  “If anyone come to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”  Well.  This does NOT contradict “Honor your father and mother” and so many other commands that we love and sacrifice for our families……but Jesus DEMANDS the supremacy in our lives! 
    I think that “leaving” our parents simply means a CLEAR shift in our life’s priorities…..so many here on the blog have covered this so well.  We are now building a NEW family – something we need to respect and honor in our own adult children’s lives as well! – and that means that our hearts and our time and our energies are focused there…….but obviously, a loving husband and wife are going to continue to honor their aging parents and support one another in caring for them as well.  It doesn’t have to be “either/or”, but if we put Jesus first, He will be faithful to guide our steps and remind us to tend to the home fires of our marraiges and children and not let those precious ones get “lost in the shuffle” of caring for aging parents.
    My heart is aching as I think of the whole “aging parents” issue.  My mom went to be with the Lord at the age of 54 (I’ve shared my testimony here of how it was her dying walk with the Lord that broke my rebellious heart and brought me to Christ).  My father contracted cancer at the age of 59……he was given 6 months to live….but he lived 14 wonderful, productive years!  My brother and I had talked endlessly of how we would manage to care for him in the future, as the cancer, Multiple Myeloma, is not curable.  The planning was a good thing and it really showed me how MUCH I loved my dad and wanted to “be there” for him in the future, even should things be VERY difficult.  This would have involved my commuting from Maryland to Wisconsin, something my husband (thank you Jesus) was fully supportive of me doing – in essence living a week or two a month in WI and then back to MD.  But the Lord knew.  What happened was…..one morning dad got up, took his new medication…..and died of a heart attack.  The tears are coming as I write this.  Losing my dad so suddenly still hurts me so much.  He was my tender, tender papa.  All of this is to say that I will never know the privilege of loving on and caring for  my aging parents.  That wasn’t God’s plan for my life.  But ….for those of you who are so blessed as to still have your parents walking this earth……cherish them.  Every day. 

    1. Oh Jackie….I so agree with you….I’ve lost both my parents now too.  Dad was 68 of a rare lung desease and mom lived until 4 years ago to 89 years…never remarried as she loved and missed him for over 20 years, everyday.   I was thankful that they didn’t have to go to a nursing home, as both was a sudden death too:(  I’m tearing up now! 

    2. Jackie, you are so wise…thank you for sharing your thoughts; you touch my heart with your love and gratitude.
      I am one of those blessed with aging parents (82 and soon to be 86)…I cherish their presence in my life.  I would not be the person I am today without their love, support, and grace.  It is my priviledge to help help them in whatever way I can.

  40. 3B.  I couldn’t define cleaving any better than you did Dee…..”like glue”.  I first saw this when my mom left this earth to be with the Lord….her parents, her sister, my brother and my dad were all gathered around her bed.  My dad knew WHO mom was leaving us for…..and that he WOULD be with her again…..and yet…..oh my.  The ripping and tearing of his heart and soul.  As hard as losing my mom was…..seeing this tearing apart of the incredible, beautiful bond between the two of them that I had been privileged to dwell in the midst of for all of my life…..well, it was CLEAR that they had been bonded like the most unearthly “glue” possible!  No words for watching him stroke her hair and speak words of life to my mom as she died……he told her over and over again…..”you can go….Jesus is coming for you…..it’s good…..He’s coming for you…..I’m coming too…..” as he wept his heart out.  My mind was just exploding…..I felt for a time that dad was going to lay right down next to her and die himself.  Oh the bond, the cleaving.  If I had seen it in life…..how much more I saw it in death.  Holy.

  41. 3C.  I’m going to default to “see Rebecca’s answer to this!”.  She was so eloquent.  I can’t do better.  (I’m talking too much anyway!!  🙂   )

  42. Mary E.   missing you ……

  43. Renee, praying for you in your difficult situation right now!

    1. Yes Renee

  44. 3. Let’s consider the three parts of this key verse on marriage:
    A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment — why or why not? What does this look like, practically?
    I’ve hesitated on this answer because I know (in my own sinfulness!) I have been tempted to allow this to mean more than may be intended (keeping that vague!). But I like what Keller says in The Meaning of Marriage: “You have failed to leave your parents if you are more driven by their wishes and expectations than by your spouse’s… when you marry, you commit to becoming a new decision-making unit.” And “you can also fail to leave your parents if you resent or hate them.” I think you can really only be fully devoted to your mate, when you have left behind that first family. Both my husband and I have a ton of “baggage” from our past…I like to think of Isaiah 43:18-19 here “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
    B. What does cleaving mean?
    I had never heard of “I Married You” by Walter Trobish—so I ordered it a few days ago, don’t have it yet. I like the 1828 Websters’ “cleave-to stick;  to adhere; to hold to. I’m jumping ahead—but  I LOVE the thought of being “stuck to Jesus”! In marriage, I see it as inter-woven. Bound-tight so that if you rip it apart, both sides are shredded, frayed. 

    1. So good Elizabeth….your A and B.

      I just want to say divorce is almost as hard as death…in the ripping apart.  You  grieve  too….very much….even if it’s you that left.  Your love doesn’t just stop for the other person….just because he has a mental problem and it’s life or death if you stay with him.  Your heart is still ripped into:(

      Plus…the “leaving” in the cleaving part has to also come from the parents to the child, too.  My mom was glued to me…being the baby and only girl…so much she was very hard on my marriages.  She tried her best to break them up by practically living and eating  with us all the time after dad died. 

      As much as I loved her…it was so hard, as she smothered me so much.  It was almost as if she became a child of mine as she got older and older…clinging to me for love and attention.  She didn’t give her heart to the Lord until her death bed.  That’s why it’s much easier to let your adult  kids go, when you have the Lord for your very own love.  When I get to missing my two oldest kids so much…. is when I’m not clinging to my Father in heaven as I should be.   He helps me through EVERYTHING…..whether it be a very small thing or a very large….tragic thing. He’s always there no matter what.  Thank you Lord!

  45. C. What are the effects of divorce to each person and to the children?
    Well, I have been divorced once, at an early age (24). Thankfully we didn’t have children. It did, however, truly hurt my sister because she and her husband were close to my ex-husband. They knew him well  because we lived near them for the entire 3 years we were married. In fact, it was my decision to ask for the divorce, and I told them they should be there for him; he might not be okay. Unfortunately for me, they did support him throughout it all, and then I felt left out! I was so young and stupid. By the way, it really was a marriage of convenience…..we were dating in college and staying at each other’s apartments all the time. We shouldn’t have been doing that! We decided to get married to make it official and save money. Like I said, young and stupid.
    So, to answer the question posed, it rips apart the extended family as well as the immediate family. We didn’t have kids, but I teach many kids of divorced families. It is frustrating to watch as they leave their belongings in 2 places and seem very unorganized because of the situation. They are actually split up in their physical space; split between two homes. That doesn’t even touch the emotion of the division. I’m sure it is devastating.

  46. 3D. Challenge question: When we each live out the gospel in marriage, how does it make us one flesh?
    I am sure I am making this harder than it needs to be but there is a piece to this that is a mystery it seems so I will try.
    In a nutshell, HE is the glue. :))) He transforms us into His image individually and that flows into our transformation as One. In the valleys as we press into Him individually and on behalf of one another, our one-ness in Him grows deeper..It is a mystery really because as we are pressing into Him and cleaving to Him, He grows us both individually and together as One.  His wisdom, patience, long suffering; His Love, kindness, and just His beauty in us grows and therefore as One unit we radiate Him and we are closer as One flesh. 
    E. How did Jesus leave His Father and then His mother in order to acquire a bride?
    He, being part of the Trinity, left to be born a man. He was forsaken by God on the Cross so that He could acquire us, His Bride. 
    Also, on an Earthly level he left Mary and Joseph in order to acquire us.

  47. 3A. What does it mean to leave your parents?…abandonment? What does this look like practically?
    To leave your parents in this sense means that our primary relationship moves from being your parents to your spouse.  It doesn’t mean abandonment, but change.  Your spouse is your “primary” family…the spouse becomes a part of the others family; is is an enlargement, an adding to the family structure with the couple becoming their own independent unit in both family structures.
    B. What does “cleaving” mean?
    To adhere closely or firmly or loyally and unwaveringly.
    C. What are the effects of divorce to each person and to the children?
    Divorce is a splitting, a severing of a relationship that was supposed to be for a lifetime…this severing causes emotional wounds that scar.  There are often negative, hurtful financial and psychological issues in addition to the emotional that accompany this severing/split.  The children are innocent casualties that live the results…two households, two families.
    I am not a proponent of divorce, but I know that in regards to my first marriage that ended in divorce, the split was a blessing.  My first husband came from and perpetuates an extremely dysfunctional family; he was an alcoholic (presently a recovering alcoholic).  I was his second wife…he had been married previously, had two children with his first wife and divorced when the children were young.  I was young and foolish…I believed him when he told me that they split because “she didn’t understand him”…I was 21.  Well, history repeated itself…we married, had two young daughters and he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of being married and being a full-time father.  We were married for 10 years, but in reality he lived as if he were single, for the most part, for the last 8 years of our marriage.  We went to counseling multiple times in an effort to work through and resolve issues.  I was devastated at the end of our relationship; thankfully the Lord used my time being single to strengthen me.  He blessed me and my children with a wonderful husband and step-father…Greg and I have been together for 16 years, married 14.  Had my first husband not been honest and our relationship not ended, I would not be experiencing the relationship I am blessed with now.  My children would not have had the opportunity to see a marital relationship of love, companionship, respect, etc. that they were allowed to experience (I was primary placement; the girls spent only every other weekend with their dad)…they would not have the rich relationship they have with my husband.  The divorce was truly…TRULY…in my case, a blessing in disguise.

    1. Your story of how God has rescued your life and that of your children from a hard-hearted spouse is encouraging to me. Really, I am discovering a number of people here who are divorced, scarred, but still redeemed by God’s grace. It gives me hope. Thank you all for your honesty. Praise God.

      1. I’m glad, Diane…the grace the Lord has shown me is incredible.  Greg and I are “two peas in a pod”…we enjoy each others’ company whether we’re grocery shopping, gardening, sitting on the front deck with our coffee, vacationing, etc.  The love and respect we share is truly a gift…a gift from the Lord, no other way to characterize it…:)  earlier in my life, I never imagined I would be blessed with the love and companionship I am now experiencing.  I do not take this for granted…not even for one day…

  48. 3. Let’s consider the three parts of this key verse on marriage:
    A. What does it mean to “leave” your father and your mother? Does it mean abandonment – why or why not? What does this look like, practically?
    I did a little reading on the internet, and sources suggest that “leave” may not necessarily mean living in a separate location from one’s parents. In some cultures, extended families live in close proximity to one another. It means leaving a state of dependence upon your parents, and coming out from under their authority. The man is to be the head of his own household and responsible to care, protect and provide for his own wife and children. The wife is to come under the headship of her  husband; she should not still be under the authority of her father. It does not mean abandoning your responsibility to help and care for your parents as the need arises. I think Jesus once scolded the Pharisees for neglecting their duties to care for their parents. As a mom this speaks to me because if and when my own children marry, I must not interfere and try to run their lives. I must respect that my son’s wife is the “first lady” in his life when he marries.
    Practically, I’ve listened to a lot of speakers talk about how a couple needs to establish their own traditions and decide together how much time to spend with parents; whose house are you going to go to for Christmas, etc… It’s a much discussed topic because in-law issues seem to cause a lot of disagreement between couples. In my own marriage, the biggest disagreements came when either I felt that he was putting his parents first before me, and vice versa. It’s not meant that parents and the husband or wife should compete with each other. Elizabeth has a great quote from Tim Keller in her answer to this question about what it means to leave.

    1. I appreciate those thoughts about leaving, Susan. I’d wondered at interpretations that seemed to be speaking about nuclear families. That’s our culture, but not necessarily what the Bible is talking about.

  49. B. What does cleaving mean?
    It means “to adhere to, stick with, join to”. It’s a verb, so it suggests action – it takes work. It means that when the road gets rough and rocky, you do everything you can not to quit or give up on your marriage (not talking about cases where separation is a must for safety). Just day to day living…who is going to get up early and take out the trash…can feel tiring and wear you down. So can the proverbial “He left his dirty socks on the floor again”. But you determine to stay, to remain committed to this “imperfect” person as you hope they stay committed to “imperfect” you!