Opening to Love

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“God’s pursuing, persevering love.”  

 

During a restful week of celebrating and reflecting on our 43rd wedding anniversary in the beautiful north Georgia mountains we sought to come up with how we’d describe our marriage in just a few words.  My words were “God’s pursuing, persevering love.”   

In the midst of our teenage ignorance, and immature love, Mary and I believed God was leading us together. As I look back over these 43 years, I’m struck by God’s overarching sovereign care, his gracious pursuit of us, his never ending perseverance, and his amazing love all in the midst of our brokenness, resistance, numerous mistakes, and outright sin.  We are slowly growing in yielding and opening our whole hearts to his love. Here is one way that He is blessing us through this process.

In the last few months, God has been revealing to me that when I experience affirmation from people I often don’t let it go deep within me. Therefore I’m blocking the transforming voice of God from my brothers and sisters.   I began seeing this through some challenges our board experienced.  As I worked through those with each person, I chose to pause, force myself to deeply listen, and then to open my whole heart.  I would often take several minutes of quietness, awkward as it might be, to seek to truly hear the person and the echo of God’s voice through them to me.   As I did, I could sense God touching me, loving me, healing me in Larry_and_Mary_Bolden_-_Wellspring_Group_(2).JPGparticularly significant places of my life. 

As Mary and I spent the week together I realized that I’ve had the same response with her.  On my 60th Birthday among a small group of friends, she shared a rather vulnerable affirmation of her love for me.   She remembers being negatively affected that I did not let it go deep within me.  I too remember, though I attributed it to being in a group setting.  However, looking back I see that it was this same protective strategy of not opening myself to truly be loved. 

In our three week silent retreat in May, 2013 I made major progress in this area, but during our anniversary trip I realized I’m still not fully opening to receiving God’s love through Mary. So I chose to believe that Mary deeply loves me, and I chose to open my heart to be loved.  It made a significant difference in our experience of our anniversary celebration.  I am choosing to continue to open as we enter into our 44th year together.  There will be challenges, but unless I risk, I’ll never experience the fullness of “God’s pursuing, persevering love” through my beautiful, precious wife.

 

Larry Bolden - Wellspring GroupLarry Bolden is the Executive Director of Wellspring Group. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in English Literature. After college he returned home to Dothan, AL and spent 13 years in financial consulting and then 13 years as pastor of Dothan Christian Fellowship.  In the latter part of that time God took him into a four year chapter of brokenness in which he came into a whole hearted knowing of God’s love, grace and truth that changed his life, relationships, and ministry.  He began Wellspring Group in 2003 and obtained an MA in Counseling from Philadelphia Biblical University in 2004.  He has done postgraduate work in Leadership Coaching at Regent University and was President of Wellspring Performance Group, an executive coaching firm from 2004-2008.  He and his wife Mary have a son, daughter-in-law and five grandchildren who occupy much of their hearts and time.

 

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  • commented 2016-09-30 12:31:48 -0500
    Larry, I want to thank you and Mary both for being willing to be so transparent with your relationship with each other and your relationship with God and his tremendous love for the both of you. Your openness allows me to relate and therefore gives me hope which is such a blessing to both myself and Jill. I also struggle with allowing words of love and affirmation to truly settle into my heart. When you talked about sitting in the awkwardness of the silence in order to hear the true message and the echo of God’s voice it inspired me to do the same. Thank you. May God continue to bless your marriage. Much love to the both of you, Buddy
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