Who Do You Love?

In one of my favorite movies, Facing the Giants (http://www.facingthegiants.com/), the main female character, Brooke Taylor, after realizing that she is not going to be able to have kids, promises the Lord to always love Him in spite of this.  It is a moving and wonderful scene…and right after that in the movie, big things start to happen, so I won’t spoil it if you have not seen it.

When I was single the first time, I longed for two things…for a husband here on earth…and for the ability to say the same thing…that God was fully enough for me as a Husband.

It was an odd place of dichotomy, but I think fairly typical to many deep places in the Christian life.

It finally happened one year at Valentine’s Day.  After praying and studying hard on the subject…real work involved here…I was finally able to say that God was completely and fully enough for me, even if no earthly husband ever came into my life.  What a freeing moment that was!  Praise Him for leading me faithfully to that point.

This begs the question…where am I in my second singleness?  Have I achieved this same peace and joy with God alone as my Husband and the Love of My Life.

Uh…no…wish I could say it was so…but…no…not fully.

I loved being married to Keith and we had a good marriage.  There’s a lot about it that I miss.  Having a flesh-and-blood husband is very comforting and strengthening on many levels:  someone to hold me, someone to help me, someone to share with me.

God is there always…I know that as clearly as I know there is air all around me.  But, He cannot take someone to guitar for me, or wash dishes for me, or physically hold me when I cry.

On the other hand…

  •  I have the unique opportunity to be able to pick up and go any time, anywhere, without regard for vacation schedules or days off.
  • I can manage on the fly a bit better, changing the plans to fit our needs and things that pop up better.  That certainly did not happen married to my sweet-but-structured husband.
  • I can stay up with a girlfriend, listening to her problems and concerns and not take time from a hubby.
  • I can serve cookies for dinner (yep, I have) and leave the folded clothes on the other side of the bed until morning.

So…I will wait on Him…wait for that feeling that He is enough…wait in this limbo that singleness necessarily creates…wait for Him to fill me as no other.

John Waller has a wonderful song that was in the movie Fireproof (http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/) called While I’m Waiting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6X71sXagUY).  Here are the lyrics:

I‘m waiting, I’m waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I’m waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race even while I wait

I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful, I’m waiting on You Lord
Though it’s not easy no, but faithfully I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race even while I wait

I will move ahead bold and confident
I’ll be taking every step in obedience, yeah

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint

And I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You Lord

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting

Amen and amen!  God’s got it.  I don’t need to worry about it.  He will tell me when the waiting is over…whatever form that may take.  And it will be glorious!

Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lordwill renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:30-31

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The Glory in the Morning

Tuesday was just a glorious day for walking!  The sun was shining, the birds were singing!  We were having one of those Virginia midwinter days that hit the 70’s.  A wonderful reminder and promise of the coming spring!

I love when these days hit, and we seem to get a few each winter–contrasting with our normal weather of darkness and gloom, bluster and rain, and even cold and snow.  Everyone around seems to smile just a bit more, basking in that pre-spring glow.

A promise of the warm weather to come.

Isn’t it the same with God?

In the darkest times of my life, when I have felt broken to pieces and lying in a heap on the floor, ready for the dustbin, He gives me reminders that He is there, that He cares, that one season leads naturally into another.

A long time ago, 1990 to be exact, I was leading a life that was very far from God.  Then I was introduced to some wonderful Christian people, and decided to get my life together and to walk with Him.  I met with the minister of our church to discuss my baptism.  We met in a local restaurant for coffee, sitting for a couple hours in discussion.  Our waitress was diligent during our entire visit…carefully filling and refilling our coffee cups…and probably catching snippets of our conversation as she was in and out of our area.

It came time to leave.  Our sweet minister Dale and I prayed and then asked for the check.  Our waitress came over and proceeded to hand us bits of paper instead of a check.  “Merry Christmas,” she said, not understanding fully what was going on, perhaps not being a believer herself, but recognizing that things of God were happening right there in front of her, and reacting, prompted I am sure by the Lord to respond.  Our endless cups of coffee cost us nothing…and may have even cost her a bit.

We were surprised, of course.  Dale said, “I’ve never had anything like this happen before!”  I just smiled, even then.  God was talking to me through this sweet and attentive waitress, a promise of things to come in my life with Him, and I recognized it as such.

Thus began my life with the Lord.  He’s always there, whether I see Him working or not.  And…when I need those reminders the most…like the warm spring days in the middle of a Virginia winter, He reminds me that He is and always will be.

Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,

But a shout of joy comes in the morning. — Psalm 30:4-5

Unpacking Christmas

It is the beginning of December and that means the annual frenzy to get the house ready for the season.

Right now, it looks like Christmas threw up.  Not a pretty sight.  Boxes are strewn everywhere.  There is foam and fake pine needles all over the floor, and half-done shopping lists and baking lists cover the counter.  You can barely move without having to shift something else first.  I rush around, doing one thing, until I spy another that needs to be done just as much, and stop and tackle that.  The boys try to be helpful where they can, but they don’t think like me (imagine that).  (Actually, that is a great blessing.)

Currently I am unpacking the boxes of ornaments for the “family” tree.

And in this activity, I get my first Christmas miracle.

This is the tree of memories.  I have the pretty tree in the living room, but this tree holds my heart.

I unpack ornaments that graced my tree as a child:  a knitted stocking Mom made, needlepoint I did, wooden Santas as old as the hills that may have even come from Mom’s tree growing up, my grandmother’s Hallmark carousel ornaments.  I praise God that I grew up in the family that I did, with love and joy all around, and with Christmas memories that still bring me to tears.

I unpack the first Christmas ornaments that my mom so lovingly picked out for me and Keith, and Christmas ornaments that we got for our wedding from the Huffs and the Fontaines.  I praise God for a loving husband.  Even though he went home to Glory early, I would not have traded one moment with him.

I unpack the ornaments made by the boys over the years.  Some are crude and falling apart, but they make me smile.  I praise God for loving children, who love God, and who love me, despite my cranky days.

I unpack ornaments that Shari and Julie helped my boys to make a year after Keith died, the presents they gave me that year.  I praise God for friends who care enough to make my Christmas special.

I unpack a bell from Becky’s wedding, and bluebirds from Courtney’s, favors that have graced my tree since those blessed events.  I think back to the beautiful brides they were and praise God for their marriages and their children.

And then I find it.  It doesn’t look like much, but to me, it is priceless.  Aunt Hilda gave my sister and me each one…can’t even remember when.  It is about 1″ x 1/2″ x 2″…Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in a little glass box.  From the time I was little, I just knew looking at this ornament that it was real…He had been here as a baby, and a man, for me.

And that is the greatest miracle of all.

I pray that this moment can stay fresh in my mind through this entire Christmas season.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  – John 3:16

Daddy’s Girl

There is a dad whom we see every morning walking whom we find intriguing.  He walks his middle school-age daughter to the bus stop each morning and waits with her for the bus.  Then he walks back to the house and drives off to work.

I must admit that he has caused us to speculate.  Is there potential for trouble at the bus stop?  Is she a problem?  Has he a need to ride the bus?  All idle speculation, but I think born of a desire to understand, not gossip.

After watching him since the start of school, I have come to the realization that he is just a dad who loves his daughter.  He loves her enough to eke out each moment he can with her in the mornings, not letting his schedule get in the way of his love.  And that is beautiful!

Almost even cooler is the fact that she doesn’t seem to mind.  She seems to enjoy her moments with her dad just as much, not copping a preteen attitude or acting embarrassed.  The mark of a close daddy-daughter relationship.  And that is beautiful, too!

I have a great dad.  I don’t tell him enough, but I really do (yes, I am sending him this blog).  He is strong and brave and has had my heart from the time I was a little girl.

He is the type of dad who would walk me to the bus stop, I am sure of it.

My dad has been my number one fan since I was a little girl, accepting me as a bright and capable person, and encouraging me to reach for the stars.  He has always been fun and funny, a fact that my children now appreciate as well.

In fact, my dad is so wonderful that when I married Keith, I looked for qualities that were like my dad…decisive, bright, dedicated to family, loving and caring.

Because of a good relationship with my earthly father, it was easy to develop a relationship with my Heavenly Father.  And that has been crucial in this widow’s walk.

From the beginning of this journey, I have crawled up in Daddy-God’s lap, much like I climbed up in my daddy’s lap, accepting His love and support, His direction in my life, His love and acceptance…much as I have always accepted these things from my daddy.

That is a beautiful and special place to be all around.

And I cannot imagine my life without either one of them.

Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.  Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory.  Amen and Amen.  — Psalm 72:18-19

"Love you, too!"

I never realized how much I would miss saying, “I love you.”

Sure, I still say it to my kids and my parents.  (Well, I text it to my teenager – he seems to like it better in that form.)

But the person I said it to most was Keith.

We would say it at least once in every conversation.

We were actually quite silly about it, now that I look back on it.

Our conversations went like this:  I love you.  You.  You.  You.  You.  You…..You…..You…………You……………You…………………You.…………………You.

Now I have to content myself with new ways to say “I love you”….and to receive them.

My sweet friend Tammy is big about saying it.  Many conversations we have, she ends with “love you.”  I respond back, “love you, too.”

And I do love her.  She is a good friend and a good neighbor.  She is a blessing in my life.  I am happy that she tells me that she loves me, and I am happy to tell her.

It is a word we don’t use enough in general language.  Oh sure, we use it for TV shows, coffee, new clothes…but that is not where it is really appropriate (well, maybe for coffee…nah, not even coffee).

But do we use it to tell those in our lives who mean a lot to us how we feel?  That we get that they are a gift from God and that we appreciate that gift?

So…I am freer now with the I-love-you’s.  I tell all my friends and family that I love them.  (If I haven’t gotten to you yet, know it’s coming!)  I end emails and texts with “love you” or “luv ya” or xoxoxoxo — or all of it!

Time is short.  I don’t know how many opportunities I will still have to say “I love you.”  Things can change in an instant.  So my view is say it often, say it with truth and meaning, make it count.  You don’t know how much someone needs to hear it.

I know I need to hear it.

And God knows that, too.  He tells me a million times in a million ways that He loves me.  My soul hears the words and glories in them.

– The sun is shining gloriously today.  God saying, “I love you!”

– My children are healthy, happy, and well fed.  God saying, “I love you!”

– We have had a good first week of school.  God saying, “I love you!”

– My seven-year old is making connections in Bible learning that are amazing.  God saying, “I love you!”

On and on, over and over, His love shines in all I do, all I see, all I can be.
 
bask in His grace!  Little ole sinful me is loved by the God of the universe!  Mind-blowing, when you think about it.

And I love Him, too.  May I always express to my Lord just how much He means to me — in all that I am and all that I do!

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. – Psalm 52:8
 

Couples Time

Okay, so I have been incredibly busy.  You may have guessed that by the lack of posts.

Things have been crazy here, and, often, so have my responses.  It seems the volume of our house has changed and everything occurs at a new volume in the last few weeks — and that volume is not softer.  Just so we are clear.

What is the problem?  I have wondered.  What is going on with them, with me?

Then it dawned on me.

I remember being married to Keith and in some seasons I was with him, but not with him.  We were near each other and working toward a common goal, but did not have the time or the energy to just be together.  Too often, due to the busy-ness of life, we had what my sister calls task talk only, and not lover talk (that  intimate talk that was not about the words but about the blending of spirits, the openness between us).  I have to admit, mostly it meant that I dropped my agenda and listened to him instead of just pushing on.

Now, in this life I lead, God is my Husband (and so much more, but that will be for another post).

Unfortunately, I am guilty of the same thing in this relationship — doing mostly good, God-honoring stuff, pushing along to what I see as His goals for me and for the family — but not spending that intimate time with the Lover of my soul.  Oh, sure, I am reading my Bible and doing my Bible study work, but I see that as becoming more like task talk than lover talk.  

I am an overworked mom (can anyone relate?) who spends more time dealing with broken feet and dog throw up and dirty socks and grading papers than I do basking in the love of my Savior!

Revelation made.  Now how to solve.

Cheap quote from The Princess Bride:  “I am waiting for you Vizzini! You told me to go back to the beginning, so I have. This is where I am, and this is where I’ll stay. I will not be moved.” – Inigo Montoya

That really is the answer, though.  Go back to the beginning.  When do I feel closest to God?  When do I listen best to Him?  Probably for me, the answer is in writing and prayer — which often occurs simultaneously.

So, that is the goal.  To be still more to know that He is God, and to rest in His arms, having lover talk with Him whenever, however possible.  It is crucial to my life, as the last few weeks have indicated.

Watch and pray with me that I can find quiet time in Him, and thereby find peace in me.

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. — Revelation 2:3-5a