Love Story

To Walk Among the Clouds

I woke up to love songs and a fallen cloud surrounding my house. Am I crazy to say it felt like a fairytale? Like the romance I always hoped for actually came true? He is my greatest romance. He is the peace that passes all understanding. He is the Bright and Morning Star, the Star that shines even on dark mornings when the sun won’t even dare. He is Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He is Perfect Love, calling out all fear. He is the courage to shine when the world says don’t bother. He is Seeker to the brokenhearted, Declarer of the good news, Liberator of captives, Comforter of all who mourn, Healer of the sick. He is my joy made full.  He is Glory lifted high, above and beyond all things. He is the strength that lets me walk in impossible places. He is beautiful. And His banner over me is love. And He is mine. For I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.

I don’t know how my dream came true. I don’t know how I woke up to the fairytale, walking among the clouds while He sings over me with love. But I guess it was never to be my doing. He thought of me. Exhilarated and insistent on my existence. And He created me. Intricately involved in my every detail. Unashamed of all I am. And He loved me. Anxiously awaiting the day I would look with new eyes and see Him. And He came for me. Leaving glory and a thousand and more hallelujahs. God wrapped in human skin, lying in a manger. Indeed, as the carol sings out, “The hopes and fears of all the world did rest on Him that night.” And He pursued me. Walking this earth for thirty some years. Thinking of me. Living for me. Dying for me. And when He died, He died for me. Painful and enduring, exhausting and breath taking. He was beaten, till skin broke open and blood poured fourth. And nails pounded, and He cried out but He never let them stop. Because He loved me. He loves me still. And He forever romances me.

Yesterday, I followed that cloud in the wilderness. Today, He sent the cloud as a reminder. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we walk among the clouds. We walk among the clouds forever. He remembers His covenant forever, the promise He made, for a thousand generations. For I am my beloveds and my beloveds is mine.

 

 

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A New Day, Dear Love, Holy Moments, Love Story

Cups

My whole life I have dreamed of my wedding. Of being a bride. Of being a wife. Over and over and over again I dressed my dolls in white, traipsed them back and forth across brown carpets letting them walk imaginary aisles towards their grooms. When my mom went to work I would sneak into her closet, dressing myself in lace scarves and gloves all white and stare, always stare into the mirror and into my imaginations. I was not a girl playing dress up. I was a bride. I was beautiful. I was wanted and loved.

As the years passed I fell asleep dreaming of him. The one that I would meet who would want me over any other. The one who would, on one knee, look up at me with eyes so genuine, asking me to be the one he would wake up to, share coffee with, while morning sun spilled down smiling faces and into cups, the one I would drive to not so far off adventures on weekends, laugh, share life.

As I got sicker, I wondered if he would care. Would he love me enough to find joy in protecting me, providing for me even when there wasn’t much I could give back? Would the sick get in the way of the love? Would it still be worth it to him? I walked into events, always looking. Was he that one? Or the one leaning against the wall? Or the one laughing with friends in the middle of the room there? Was he here? Or would I meet him next week, at the the Starbucks on Morrel? My eyes were always looking, my heart was always wanting. The little girl in me still staring into her imaginations.

And I don’t know how exactly the sickness took the attention. But slowly, I noticed less and less, as the caring dwindled and the keeping up rose. And slowly it was other things that took my attention, namely the basics, the everyday needs of life that suddenly felt so much heavier than they ever felt before. And I didn’t care so much about finding him, because there were too many other things that deemed themselves prevalent.

Isn’t that how it goes? The child in us, ever hungry for relationship and love, seeks out, longs for, hopes in. And time goes by and we age through circumstances, and independence and necessity for the to-do’s and the to-get-done’s becomes louder and louder and suddenly relationship no longer seems vital, and love is merely a luxury rather than a need. But the to-do’s and the-need-to-get-done’s, that never ending list, that always-being-added-to list grows heavier and heavier to the burden of our backs and for a girl, like me,  who can’t notice details in the healthy, it is an impossibility in the sick. And suddenly, I was thick in the quicksand of self-sufficiency. Gurgling calls of help as fingers sunk deep into sand. And my mind went back to the One, the One who loves me over any other, and I couldn’t see Him, but He said He was there. He said He would never leave me. And suddenly, again, I was reminded that it was His presence I needed over any other.

And so we talked. He and I. We talked. And I told Him all of it. Every day. Ever hour. We talked and I reminded the One who didn’t need reminding. And we talked, while morning sun spilled down not so smiling faces and into cups. Into cups I didn’t want. Into cups I never asked for. Into cups I hoped to rid myself of.

If you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Into cups that gave more than just drink. Into cups I found more than just relief of thirst.

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you…

Cups of covenant. Cups of remembrance. Cups of relationship. Cups of love. And over those cups, He asked me what I wanted.

Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.

What I wanted. What I wanted? Did I even know? I had always wanted a husband. And that dream seemed so long ago. Slowly, life shook and cracked and crumbled around me. The strippings of a world no longer necessary, a world full more of superficiality than I had ever noticed before. What I wanted. How could such an easy question feel so difficult. Words that felt so tangible I rolled them around in my fingers. Possibilities flipping through my mind, and after so much, they no longer seemed important. I wanted security, but money no longer seemed necessary. I wanted peace, but at what store do we buy peace? I wanted to breathe, but how do I send off for breath? But a husband. The age old desire circled back into my mind. The little girl in me hoped, but the worn, tired heart wanted more.

“A husband.”

My answer, alone, exposed, and unsure. My answer, reeking vulnerability as I placed it there, open on this table of discussion, this table among cups. I looked to Him. I looked at Him. His words, an open invitation into more, but did I want more? And what did my answer mean? A husband. A husband? I thought again. I rolled those words over and over my fingers, like a marble and a trick I never knew I had.

I said it again, “A husband.”

Confident and sure. It grew in me. And slowly, with each time spoken, I knew. I knew what I wanted.

A husband.

Tears fell. Cups were poured. Covenant. Remembrance. Relationship. Love.

Memories came. Aching, longing, difficult memories. Reminders of all the moments. Those strippings of life, of hopes, of dreams, of security, of security feigned. I looked back on all the years, years stolen by drought and famine. By pain and loneliness. By disease. By fear. I looked back at those memories. At looked at the cups He poured now. It had to be Him. It had to be Him! I cried. Tears fell. I poured out into those cups. My aches, my pains, my fears. Never before had I realized. Never before had I seen what I really longed for. Never before did I know. But I now knew. Now I saw. In the multitude of this famine, this drought of the soul, this drought of my life. No job, no car, no thing. No things. No security, tangible and sure. Just aches, just pains. No insurance, no remedy. No remedy? A husband. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find. A remedy. A husband. Even in saying it I slowed my breath, I slowed my heart. And question turned to confidence. My eyes and mind focused together. It had to be Him. With realization I looked up and I saw, I saw the cups He placed before me with new eyes.

It is the lie of the enemy. Self sufficiency. Independence. The American dream. It is the lie of the enemy. I do not need anyone else, I can do this on my own. Provider? Protector? I can do it. I can make it. It is the lie of the enemy. And we fall so easily. We let it coat our souls like oil lathering skin. We sit in it. We get comfortable in it. Yes, this feels good. And so we settle in. We believe. We get up and go to work, we earn our money, we watch our bank accounts fill. We gather our manna. We eat our fill. We think, “I have gathered. I have done this. Look at what I have done.” And we forget our Husband. The one who gave. The one who provided. The one who filled. It is the lie of the enemy. I see with new eyes.

“It has to be you,” I say. Once again, I look across the table, past the cups and into the eyes that have never moved. “It has to be you.”

I pick up the cup. “Drink this in remembrance of Me,” He says. I drink. I drink from the cup. I accept the covenant gladly. “With this ring, I thee wed.” I drink. Because it has to be Him. It has to be Him. He is my husband. He is my protector. He is my provider. And were it not all stripped from me, would I have seen it? I look around my kitchen, I look at these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. And then I see the sun, dripping down these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. He is in it. He is in it all, and yet I hardly see. Not until today. It has to be Him. I want no other. No other husband. I only want Him. And so I drink. Hearty, mouth gulping, pouring down my chin, drink. The new covenant of His blood. Covenant. He and I. My greatest and only Love. I drink, and with each drink, I know. I have found the One my soul loves.

Drink this cup in remembrance of me.

I drink. And I remember. And I with grateful gulps I remember. I remember what He has done. I remember what He does. I remember what He will do. For my maker is my Husband, whose name is the Lord of hosts; And my Redeemer is the Holy one of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. My Maker is my Husband. It had to be Him. It was always Him. With this ring I thee wed. With this cup I thee wed. I drink. And I am loved.
It was always Him.

 

Luke 22:42 | I Corinthians 11:25-26 | Song of Songs 3:4 | Isaiah 54:5

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A New Day, Dear Love, Healing From the Inside Out, Love Story, The Plans He Has for You

In The Lap of Love

It started with a problem. With two. With four. Multiplying and adding up until soon like bees they swarmed around my head. And there were so many, so many that stung. I remember crying. I remember biting my tongue to keep the tears from coming. I remember the chin tremors, the heaving shoulders. I remember it was all just too much. And I was mad. I was so mad. Angry. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Burned out. Confused. Tired. Sad. Grieving. Yes, I was all of those. And more.

And so much more.

Everything felt wrong. Everything felt heavy. I had worked it over and over in my head. I had thought through a million different options. A million different answers. A million different exercises and choices and things that could work or may not but at least I could say I had tried. But in the end they all felt like that thing we can’t make sense of. That thing between a rock and a hard place. They all felt stuck. And so I kept thinking, and I kept trying, but mostly I just kept crying. Because it was hard. It is hard. And it didn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense how He could see all of this. See me go through all of this, and just do nothing. Why wasn’t He doing something? Why wasn’t He stepping in and fighting for me? Because I was tired, and I was weak and suddenly it was all too much. And I couldn´t make any sense of it. Didn´t want to. I was too burned out to put any more thought into it, and yet it was the only thing I could think about.  Just this rock. Just this hard place. I couldn’t see any other thing. And so we talked, Jesus and I. We talked and I poured out my heart. Poured out my fears. Poured out every ounce of me that couldn’t handle this life. And He just sat there, and listened to me. Like He always does. He´s always open to listen to me. Even when it’s what I think I shouldn’t be saying. He sat there and He listened to me.  And suddenly I found myself saying something I never expected to say.

“Jesus it was so much easier for you than it is for me.You had no problems”

I don’t know where I was going with this thought but suddenly, like a snowball, it just rolled out of me, growing bigger and bigger as I spoke. It felt like blasphemy. But it also felt so right. And so I kept it. And I chewed on it like a wound on the side of a cheek. And whether or not I wanted to it was something I kept finding myself going back to. It didn’t seem right and yet I couldn’t see a fault in it.

No problems…

No problems.

I chewed.

And it stung

I chewed again.

And like truth always does, something resonated.

No problems.

Yes, somehow I think that’s right. It felt so wrong to say, but the more I looked, the more I confirmed.

And so I thought back. Looked back. Compared. I looked at His life. I looked at mine. And then back to His. I compared and compared until I couldn’t do it anymore. Me and Jesus. My life. His life. All my pains, and all my blessings. All my loss. All my gain. All His pains. All His blessing. All His loss. All His gain. It didn’t make sense. In every comparison I came out the winner.  

I lie night after night in a bed made up with pillows and blankets, and He continually had no place to lay His head.  I have never had to think of where a meal was coming from, even in the tightest  days. And yet, I think how many times did He have to look to the mercy of others. How often did He change out his garments, buy new ones. I thought of my closet, full and overflowing. He never had a full time job, never kept an incoming salary, and yet, yet there was something more. His life was indeed exceeding and abundant. His life was joy.  His life was happiness.  His life was abundant. It didn’t make sense. But I couldn’t stop coming back to it.

No problems.

No problems.

Yes, of that I was sure. Jesus had no problems.

And so, there must be something more.

I looked over His life again.

“What am I missing?” I asked Him. “What is it that I can’t see?” I looked. I looked again. My brain chewed on those thoughts soon creating a knob of mental flesh.  Quietly, He spoke. “The Father.”

The Father. You had the Father.

I looked back over His life, and I finally saw what I never saw before. I finally saw the difference between Him and me. The everyday difference. Everyday. ¨You spent everyday in the lap of your Father. You spent every day in the lap of Love. It wasn’t just desire. It was necessity. He was your life source. Love was your life source.¨

I and the Father are one. Even as you, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.

I and the Father are one.

Could it have been more than just a declaration of divinity? Could I really have read it wrong all these years. Could it have been a declaration of identity? A declaration of security?

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we exist through him.

It was so much more. He had no problems. He trusted in His Father. Looked to His Father. No, there were no problems. Trials? Temptations? Pain? Suffering? Yes, absolutely. But not problems. How could there be?  He sat every day in the lap of Love. Trusted every iota to the Giver of good gifts. Communed continually with Jehovah Jireh. If He didn’t have then His Father would provide. Either through the power of the Holy Spirit, or generosity of those around Him. And if He knew there would always be provision, then there was nothing to fear. And with no fear, there are no problems.

When there is no fear there are no problems.

I chewed again. It was a meaty thought. And suddenly, I began to digest.

Problems aren’t really problems. Problems are only moments of fear. Moments in which we can’t see the way out. But perfect love casts out fear. And when we soak in the reality of Love we have no fear. And with no fear comes no problems. Every problem is just the inability to see His provision. Every problem. Every problem is just a moment of fear. Every problem.  But when we walk through the problems. When we see what we are truly afraid of, light shines in and darkness is overwhelmed. When we walk through problems so that we may sit in the lap of He Who Is Love, when we talk out our fears and see that He holds them in His hand, that He carries us past our problems, past the wilderness and into promise, then fear is conquered and we are left only to love. Only to be in love. Only to soak in its fragrance. Only to find joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control. And when we walk through our problems and collapse in the presence of Love we gain boldness and courage and days are no longer weary, and nights are no longer long. When we walk through our fears and into the presence of God the Father, when we learn how to sit in His lap and depend, consist, survive off His love, we find the provision rather than the problem. And when we find the provision, life begins to happen.

Walls begin to crumble. Hurt begins to heal. Color begins to shine.

When there is no fear there are no problems only provision. And when we find the provision, life begins to happen.

John 10: 30 |    John 17 :21|   I Corinthians 8:6

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Dear Love, Love Story, When It Gets Dark

My Romance

I dreamed last night. And in that dream, there I stood: alone. In the middle of a makeshift gym court turned dance floor. I was there all alone as Tony Bennett crooned his romance through old speakers that crackled in rhythm to his song. And I wanted to dance. I wanted so much to dance. But I was alone and broken and weary. And with that broken spirit, all I could muster was a slight sway. Back and forth, off to one side, and then to the other. There, in the middle of an unnamed high school basketball court. All alone on thick glossed floors, alone in the spotlight. But as I swayed, suddenly He was there. Walking towards me, with hands held out- for me and only me. Nail scarred hands, open and inviting and seeking me. Tony Bennett sang about his romance and all the while I experienced my own as my greatest love walked up to me, took my hand in His and suddenly we were dancing.  

He and I. The One who loves me more than I could ever know. My Greatest and Oldest love twirled me on the dance floor, all the while inviting me to more.

“I have not forsaken you.” He said.

“It feels like you have.” I whispered back.

His hands held mine just a little bit tighter.

“Trust in me with all your heart. Don’t lean on your feelings.

I couldn’t speak. Too much grief in my throat choked any words I could speak. But even in my grief, we danced. His hands held me as if I was His most precious possession. And in His presence I was perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. Even in all my insecurities, I felt secure. In the entirety of all my doubt nothing hung in the balance. I laid my head on His shoulder. I pressed my burdens onto Him, and let everything blur into redemption. We swayed. Back and forth, back and forth, relaxing into our steady rhythm, and there was no one or no thing but us. And I don’t even know how long we stayed like that rocking together as He soothed my anxious heart. Minutes. Hours. Days. We rocked. Back and forth, back and forth, until a splash stole my attention. And as I looked down at our feet I watched as ocean water pooled below us. I don’t even know where it came from or how it got there. And just like every other thing I seemed to be coming up against, it made no sense. Water on a dance floor? It wasn’t even an inch deep, but there it was, whooshing its sea foam around us, our own little riptide.

And I remembered. I remembered that time I stood there on the shore watching the tide come in. Watching the sunset. Watching the beauty, completely entranced. I remembered how He was next to me then. “Stop worrying about the details, just focus on the beauty of what I am doing, Beloved.” That’s what He told me way back then, and it was what I was reminded of in that dream. That dream that seemed all too real. 

“Deeper waters, Beloved. I am taking you to deeper waters. Don’t lean into your own understanding. Trust in me with all your heart.”


My eyes opened and suddenly I was no longer in that gym but awake in the darkness of my bedroom.  But even in the darkness of midnight, He was still there. And I could see with refreshed eyes all that lay before me. Even in the darkness, even in the confusion, there was light. Because despite my circumstances, despite all my questions about the unknown, despite every frustrations and every sigh, He is there. He is directing and creating, building and writing every detail into existence. And He does it all for my good, for my benefit, to create a better story for me. And all the while, He woos. He romances. He reminds me who I am and why I matter. He is never too busy for me.  And despite the million things that need His attention, it is never so much that His attention is diverted. He is my greatest and oldest love. He is ever and always for me. And His romance is my romance. He holds me. He protects me. He works for me. All the while twirling me in steps of beauty. And in the safety of His arms, while He continues that good work He is completing in me, we dance. He and I. Back and forth, back and forth. We dance. And I remember the greatest romance my heart could never have imagined. And my anxious heart is anxious no more. Because He loves me. And His romance is my romance.

 

Hebrews 13:5 | Proverbs 3:5 | James 1:4

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