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Instant bad mood. I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed. The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs. Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm. The pain of waking up. In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep. (That is if we sleep in heaven.)
My world runs about me in fast forward. Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home. Why do I join the insanity of the crowd? I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here. We are all consumed with what does not matter.
Now. What we want is now. The admiring stares of those we don’t know. Now. The praise of what drives us around. Now. Winners of the race. Packed pantries to overflowing. Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet. Fancy modern restaurants. Everything that our neighbors have. Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.
But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.
Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind. Hey, I can respect that. He likes to chose his words so that other people listen. He doesn’t just fit into the crowd. I respect that also. But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train. When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell. Heaven has got to be boring.” I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”
Heaven is better than being a billionaire. There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold. Heaven is better than pornography! THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED! And it will be a good thing! No one will be embarrassed! (There will be no sin in heaven. Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin. The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.) Heaven is better than Hawaii. All the food will be paid in full! Heaven is better than Christmas! That baby Jesus, he will be with us! It doesn’t sound boring to me!
And what will not be in heaven? Babies without mommies. Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals. There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken. What have you been through? What hurts? What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!” God will end it. He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.
“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.” Tim Keller.
So, look at this world. Read the Bible. Take a look at what is good in this world. LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES! SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL! Get ready. It is going to be the best party of all of eternity. Don’t throw away your invitation.
I am in love with another man and my husband knows it. Not only does he know it, it is the best thing for our relationship. It is the best thing for my daughter. It is the best thing for my soul.
I am in love with an outlaw. His name is hated, he is shut out, abandoned, left to himself. Governments set out to hide him, to lock him away, to keep his influence from taking over their people.
He is dangerous but he is to be trusted. He roams, but he is safety. Outlawed, but can not be hidden. Despised and rejected, but gives his all. He can not be understood, but he is the answer.
I am in love with another man, I can’t keep my mind off of him. When my heart aches, when all this world has to offer is not enough, he is my soul’s satisfaction.
If I did not have Jesus, my marriage would have fallen apart long ago. If I was not totally enthralled with my Lord, then I would have nothing of benefit to teach my daughter. If my God was not all consuming, then there is no need for me here in this earth.
Oh Jesus, I am wholly, completely in love with you!
Love, sweet love, how I love you! Two days ago I celebrated being married to my best friend and love of my life for the last thirteen years. No, I’m not going to write all the mushy details. But they were good and mushy. (Insert silly grin and wink here.)
But also, fastly approaching, are two weddings of family members, one of which is my brother. I got a kind email from a friend of the bride asking if we could put together a book of advice from married women. Here is what I had to say:
A godly bride, who can find her? I am fortunate to be the sister of the man that God has been preparing for you since he was a little boy.
Tall Ben and beautiful Megan squeezed into the love seat in the corner of my living room, “What things do we need to know about marriage that we are not expecting?” Wise Ben shocked me with his question.
After thirteen years of marriage, I have learned a few things and I still have a few things to learn. Marriage is fun to explore new adventures with my best friend, it is comforting to always have someone to cry to, it is supporting to have someone cheering for me, it is inspiring to start a new family, it is humbling to worship and grow together over the years….it is AMAZING!
However, that is not all. Marriage is work. And sometimes it is plain HARD! Only in a Christian relationship, can two sinners know each other inside and out, know their weaknesses and struggles and still choose to love when it is of no benefit to themselves. And THAT IS LOVE!
The “better” is great! But the “worse” is included in our marriage.
“Richer” is fun but the stressful “poorer” days will bind you together.
“Health” is a daily goal, but it has been my days in “sickness” that I have seen how much James loves me!
Until death do you part, you are one with Ben until you figure out this life and the plans that God has for you as a new family.
Love. That is the best advice that I have. When you get into the biggest fight that you have had and you think perhaps you have made one huge mistake, when Ben drives you absolutely insane for the millionth time (in one day), and when HE fails miserably, LOVE HIM! Because we are loved by the perfect one! Forgive because we have been forgiven more, submit to each other because it is the Biblical command of marriage, serve, give, work, and live this life together. But above all, LOVE! The greatest of these is LOVE!
A Psalm 31 woman is not any of these qualities on her own. SHE IS SOMEONE THAT INTIMATELY KNOWS JESUS. she works hard to serve her family. “She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.” She knows what her family needs and she does it. She seeks out wisdom and she acts on it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And she acts on that wisdom. Love does. We are saved by faith, not works. But faith without works is dead. She is a woman of faith with works to serve her family and her community. She is an inspiration to us all.
Love, LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY! That is my prayer, I will be praying that your marriage will be full of love. What could be better?!
It was a cruel addiction, his presence. Ofcourse she was attracted to his eyes, his deep eyes that had no trouble staring straight into her soul. His artsy hair, deep voice, muscular body, model approach to dressing, there was nothing about him that she didn’t like.
What she didn’t like was herself, how her heart choked her voice when she would try to talk. How she could feel her neck and her cheeks turning red when he even just looked at her. Everything she said seemed so wrong. But everything about him seemed so right.
She tried her best to be confident. To be forward and flirty, to say the right things, be in the right places, and dress in just the right way. She imagined, yes, she believed, this must be love.
Dating him was confidence. It was her identity, her strength, her world, her everything. She felt she had found herself. Found herself in him. The actions, words, time together proved she must be in love.
She always wanted more of him, of the drug he had to offer. She had no limits. Before the first date they were touching. It felt so good, it was the most right thing she had ever experienced. She felt she had been cautious, with their relationship defined, she gave it all. She didn’t feel like she was giving, she was taking what she wanted. She was madly, wildly, passionately in love. This had to be love.
Moving in together, a proposal, a nursery painted blue and soon a little sister, the house, a yard, a part time career. Her dreams had all come and passed. This was the life she chose, the life she wanted. She thought. She supposed she must love him. Things just change and that is life. That must be love.
His hair was speckled gray, his apparel a little apathetic, but his eyes were still deep and piercing. He leaned in to kiss her, only because of appearance to their company, and his presence lacked something she longed for. Was it, had it ever been love? It was empty. She was empty. Was it ever love?
Behind his shoulder, she caught a glance. She blushed and turned away. But her eyes returned and met his. A tailored suit, fresh haircut, and broad shoulders gave her a second glance. It was a torturing addiction to be in his presence. Was it, could it be, maybe she missed it the first time, maybe this was her chance at what she longed for? Maybe this could be love? She wanted so much to feel it again, to have it, play with it, and live it. She want so much to be and to give. She wanted love.
*I HATE to add a side note. I feel it distracts from interpretations and I hate that you are reading this now instead of being left with the “last line.” HOWEVER, I write so much personally that I wanted to emphasize that THIS WRITING IS NOT ABOUT ME. It is what I see over and over and over again everywhere I turn in women and men that do not know how to get and how to give love but it is the one thing they want more than anything. Humans were made to love and be loved. Love, what in the world are you? And where can this world find you?
When I am going, when my days are gone, let me be in his arms. He will rub my head and call me baby. We will sit and just be, just be in our old age and he will tell me one more story of our days together. I will close my eyes and smile and the happily ever after will have been lived between us two.
I’ll say walk me down the isle, a tear will roll down his cheek with the thought of giving me away. But because of love, he will rejoice for me. And he will give me away. I will pass from his loving arms into an eternal marriage. A love that will bring me away. Bring me away to a mansion. Bring me away to perfection. Bring me away to the arms of my Jesus.
I believe in goals. I believe in knowing what race you are in and running toward that finish line. I believe in knowing what road you are on and what the destination is.
Love. I want my love to be sticky.
Newlywed James and Caroline were magnificently in love with love. We promised and we dreamed but we were only tying on our tennis shoes and the gun had not even yet been shot. Counseled, researched, planned, and eager, we set out in the race of marriage and a life together. But we had not yet gotten shin splints, holes in our tennis shoes, and the weather was a perfect sixty-five degree sunny day.
Newlywed James and Caroline sat in the food court of the shopping mall, planning where the day and our life would take us. And then we got some of the best advice new love can be given.
Their age was old. The kind of old that can barely move and the movements are slow and thought through. She sat with white hair and a shriveled body in a wheelchair pushed by a white haired man, leaning over using her wheelchair as a cane. Her hand was held across her body and her fingers were gnarled. Their short walk from the door was an exercise in and of itself.
They sat. Sat at the table right beside us. He slowly and patiently moved the chair at the table and replaced it with her wheelchair. There was no talking, just slow movements. And then, she was left, left waiting. He, the more mobile one, departed and began a slow shuffle just a few feet away but each step was a goal accomplished. He achieved what he had set out for and slowly returned to her side.
He dipped the spoon into the cold, creamy vanilla. Their eyes met and they lovingly smiled at each other. He lifted the spoon to her lips, his hands were shaking with a tremor and uncontrolled movements. She opened her mouth as the spoon fluttered forward.
Love. Love fed her ice cream. Love was sticky all over her face. Their painstaking and exhausting mission was to set out and share an ice cream. After a couple of bites, she had it all over her face, sitting smiling, smiling at her love.
The cup was emptied. With great labor, he threw away the cup. With great pains, he returned the chair to the table. And they began their slow march to the exit.
James took my hand in his. We smiled at each other. We each had the same goal.
Now, the gun has been shot. We have gone through a few pairs of tennis shoes. We have helped each other up a few times. We run and run. Quitting is not an option. One day we will sit and have our celebratory ice cream and then we will pick ourselves up and soar one last time right through the finish line.
We never talked to them, but their actions spoke louder: Love can be sticky.
I’ll admit that you look good, but it is just useless for you to smile at me that way. My heart is already taken.
Let’s just say that I didn’t notice you all dressed up. I won’t tell you that cologne smells good.
Don’t sit beside me. My heart won’t stop beating.
I don’t want you to notice the way that I am dressed. Stop looking and approving.
I’ll have to tell you to stop. So, don’t try to hold my hand.
It’s not supposed to be like this. You are not supposed to do this to me.
Twelve years of marriage is supposed to make things old. I shouldn’t feel like this.
But, if you ask, I’ll let you take me out. But I’ll pay for dinner.
If the moment is right, you can hold my hand. But it has to stop there.
And after dinner, take me home early. I can’t stay out late.
Because it’s not just a first date or physical attraction. It’s not my best foot forward, only good times together.
It’s our home and the little girl that has your same smile. It is marriage, it’s forever.
A boy. Had a mom and a dad. Went to school. Got a job. Lived a life.
A girl. Played a game. Drove a car. Ate a dinner. Lived a life.
Blowing wildly in the wind, her finger stroked back her hair, constraining it behind her ear, exposing her blushing cheeks. Beating wildly, his heart was focused on her. Her white smile, her wondering eyes, legs crossed, and perfect teeth biting her bottom lip. Flowers bathed in the sun, green grass welcomed bare feet, and the bench they sat upon was utopia overlooking the flowing river. The people passing by in the park were not there to them. The dogs running freely did not steal their attention. Fixed and enchanted in this perfect minute of eternity. The four inches between them began to close as he inched his arm around her and she lay her head on his shoulder. For the first time. The cherished first time that would begin to bond them in the first moments of love.
Together is the sun shining and the birds singing. Love makes everything much more interesting.
It’s not that funny or as grand, just not that big of a deal unless you are here.
I have this big part of me that has become you.
It’s not a phone call or a promise of tonight.
It is needing you here with all of my might.
I can not think or concentrate.
‘Til I have you by my side.
Cause it’s part of me that’s missing.
How am I supposed to see without my eyes?
Or run without my legs?
Because my heart can’t beat when I’m all alone.
It misses you that’s me.
That is where you are supposed to be.