One Year Ago Today.

One year ago today (it was a Tuesday night), I was driving home from an indoor soccer game. I was probably jamming out to the Ambling Alp Pandora station when my phone rings. I pick it up (don’t worry, I have hands free bluetooth in my car) and say hello and find Timothy Bono on the other end of the phone…

A little back story…I had at this point been talking to Tim every Wednesday after church for three/four-ish weeks about online advertising for Christianity Explored class which he was gearing up to teach. We had a good time talking about that and other things on those Wednesday nights and though I thought very highly of him I told myself to not expect anything. I convinced myself he was only talking to me about the class and how we could get more people in the area to come…

So I am in the car and anyone who knows me, knows I cannot multitask, so I tell him I’ll call him back when I get home. As I continue driving I am wondering what he would need to talk about at 9 pm-ish on a Tuesday night, and yes the thought that he was calling for another reason did cross my mind, but I again ruled out that he could possibly be interested in me.

So I get home and I call and he doesn’t pick up. Shoot. Do I call again? Do I wait for him to call? Then the phone rings…phew, don’t have to deal with that dilemma! But now I have to keep my cool. 

I pick up, he asks about my day. I ask about his. He asks me about my game. I think we lost, but o well I just play for fun anyway. Then he tells me why he’s called…He’s asking me out. O my goodness. What? Ah! All going through my head at the same time. He asks if I want to grab a drink with him after church the next day (Wednesday). And I can’t say yes fast enough. And then he seems shocked. “Really? Okay, well I’ll see you tomorrow then.” And we hang up. And I gush and I dance and I call my best friend right that second. She doesn’t pick up. I call her husband. He doesn’t pick up. She calls me back within 5 minutes and I can’t contain my joy! And she has already guessed what happened! I love having a best friend who knows everything about me!                        But now I have a date with one of the most beloved men in our congregation. He’s not only well loved, but also respected and sought after for wisdom and advice and comfort. He is also an excellent preacher and, not to mention, my best friend’s brother (who has adopted me as a sister and whom I highly respect) also highly regards him.

Basically of all the men who could possibly ask me out, he is the best. He is pretty much what any Christian women would want in a man.

To say that this day, one year ago was an important one would be an understatement. This day one year ago was the beginning of a long, fun, sad, happy, difficult, roller-coaster year. This entire year since my incredible boyfriend asked me out has not been easy, but I wouldn’t trade this past year for the world. Together, since that first date, we have built a relationship and a friendship that has withstood more than most couples have in a year’s time. And no, it is not perfect. And yes, we fight and hit walls that we honestly feel are impossible to overcome. But, at the end of everyday I want nothing more than to be with him and he wants to be with me.

I know this is semi-cheesy, but I wanted to write this to remember the amazing year it has been. And to celebrate the relationship that Tim and I have built. And to reminisce about the beginning - his surprise and my excitement. I am so incredibly blessed to have Tim in my life and I am excited for the years to come. I pray that we continue to be a team for God and glorify him in our relationship.

“And this is the marvel of marvels; that he called me Beloved.”
— C.S. Lewis (via awelltraveledwoman)

(via themountainlaurel)

Isaiah 43: 2-3

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 

Dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, God is with you at all times. You will never encounter a challenge without the LORD of all creation. He is in control and He is faithful and He loves you. This verse says it all! He will give nations in exchange for us. He will and has given us all things - even His one and only and perfect son! How can he then not also guide us and bring us through all circumstances (Romans 8:31-39). Trust in Him alone. Do not lean on your own imperfect understanding of the circumstances of life because your perspective is small in comparison to the God of history. You will easily lose your way if you don’t see and trust all that God has planned for you. Trust me, I know. I often try to make my own plans and my pride hinders me from wholly leaning and trusting in God’s plan, as if I know better than the LORD of all creation! But He does have a plan and He has shown us this great plan of redemption - Christ Jesus. Through faith in Christ, He will bring you to completion. Trust in the LORD and he will hold your head above the waters, carry you down the river, and preserve you in the fire. For He is the LORD our God, our Savior and He has saved us through the death, burial, and resurrection of the LORD Jesus Christ!

sorakeem:

Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars

(via prettystuff)

Psalm 86.11

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Do not get hung up on the word fear in this verse. Too many in our modern culture think that if you fear something you cannot love it, however in this context fear is equated to respect, reverence, and honor. What this verse is really hitting on is the absolute truth which is found in the Word of God. “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth…” Truth is found in Scripture. To know the truth and “walk” in a manor that reflects the truth, it is important that we spend time with God in scripture. This is the most concrete way we can know God. Because the devil can influence us in our daily lives in our interactions, the people we are with, the culture we live in, and the thoughts we have. To combat temptation or face difficult circumstances, our best weapon is scripture because we can point to what God says about each situation. This is why memorization of scripture is so important to keep the devil away. God tells us that when we draw near to him the devil will flee (James 4.7-8). Think of an area of sin or a struggle you have and link that to a corresponding verse. What does God have to say? Memorize this verse and when the situation occurs again, recite it to yourself and pray. God will draw near to you and be there to guide and comfort you. Maybe not always in the way you hope, but as a Christ follower, you will never be alone.

Proverbs 27.19

As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

This simple line speaks volumes. Have you or someone you know ever said, “That wasn’t my intention.” ? I have, I said it today and I meant it, but even if the intention was good, the outcome reflects the negative and the evil and the poor parts of our hearts. Our decisions tell the world about our hearts, whether good or bad. The good news is with Christ we have the power to change. With Christ and God’s word and the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can change our hearts to reflect what we long to reflect, and as a Christ follower, I long to reflect the love and kindness of my Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to reflect him because he is the ultimate picture of true love. He gave everything, the glory of heaven, fellowship with God and the Holy Spirit, and his life, to make us his own so that we may find joy in this life and know that the joy and goodness we find is only through belief in him and his work on the cross. I want those around me to see me and think there is something different that they have never seen before. I want them to see kindness, love, tenderness, gentleness, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice and all the wonderful characteristics of Christ so that they will wonder why. Because our world doesn’t teach these things as metrics for success. Our world teaches looks, lust, money, power, fame, and greed. Our world tells us if someone falls, we are one step ahead. But we still long for a care that is other worldly and if we strive to be like the one who gave everything for our souls, maybe God will give us opportunities to pass on his love and open their eyes to the reality of the cross. So if your heart belongs to Jesus, strive to be like him. Read his words and bury them deep in your heart so that your decisions and characteristics reflect him. Our lives are acts of worship (everyone to their own gods). Worship Christ with your entire life. With the meals you eat, the work you do, the activities you participate in, and the way you treat other people. Love as Christ loves. To death.

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

Matthew 7 v 13-14

The wide gate Jesus talks about in this passage is the way of the cultural norm. The path through this gate makes its followers apart of the large group that subscribes to the cultural norms and the notion that everyone can live they way they see is right for them. This is not the way Jesus calls us to live. As a follower of Christ, Christians will experience a very different path than the easy path through the wide gate. We will face difficulties because of our beliefs and the way that we are called to live because it is contrary to cultural norms. We may lose friends, family members, relationships, and opportunities in this life because Christ has called us to his standard of living. But don’t be afraid! Christ will give us the strength to follow his path (Phil. 4v13) and when we finally enter through that narrow gate he will reward us with eternal life because of our faithfulness (Matt. 25v21). Let this hope of eternal life spent with our savior carry you to completion (Phil. 1v6).

Unforgiveness is awful. Where I struggle most in achieving forgiveness is letting there be more than one reason or fact exist within the wrong that has been committed. I take all or nothing. There can’t be good and bad existing in one situation in my mind. And this is just not true. Just like in most things in life conflict and hurt are not black and white. And forgiving and moving past the hurt isn’t black and white either. In this same vein, people do not have one side and their intentions are not usually one-sided. They have multiple reasons and struggles and joys and pains and they can’t be all bad because of one bad choice or one bad interaction. There is more to every situation than that.

Here is an excerpt from a great blog for women that I follow. Diane Comer hits my normal thinking hard with this truth:

4.  Untwist the lies. You have an enemy who works with the offenses of others to smother us with untruth. Satan cannot stand our reflection of God’s beauty. He will use the hurts of others to try to convince us that we are ugly and awful and less-than. We need to separate those enemy-fed lies from what actually happened.

So don’t let the enemy win this battle of your thinking. Challenge your feelings and run to the truth that God has given us in Jesus. You are valued, and so is the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is possible with the help of the One who has forgiven us of all our iniquities through love.

http://www.hespeaksinthesilence.com/category/charming/

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Life never stays the same. In each circumstance our mood, attitude, and feelings can change in reaction. But, if I take these situations and the changes in my life at face value and I fail to see how God is working in me, then I also fail to remember how Christ has equipped me and I fail to grow through these challenges. God does not allow the hardships in my life to beat me down, but to build me up in my faith in him. In him, I can have joy and comfort and peace and confidence because he has given me everything when he gave me Christ. Christ died not only to forgive me of my sin once I was convicted of my wrong doings against God, he also died to give me his Spirit so that I can have joy in all circumstances and share that joy with those I meet so that they might respond to the call to repent and believe.

Thank you, God for the gift of your son and all that you enable me to do for your people and kingdom everyday. Help me to grow in this joy and confidence through your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.