Yesterday my family all gathered together for the first time in two years. It was to be a weekend full of quiet reunion and just living together for a few rare days. Then came in one son and brother, with heaviness and pain showing in his face and his step; yes, it was a lingering health issue we all knew about- it was easy to forget his pain because it was so daily and familiar. Honestly, when I saw it was worse, I wished it away and got a little angry. This, of all days to be weighed down by sickness! when we were all in one place for once and just trying to have a party before reality set in again.
And then my Daddy came in and gathered us all together. “We need to pray,” he said, “because when one member hurts we all hurt.” With his Bible trembling in his rough hands, he read from psalm 91, wavering but always coming back with strength. And he prayed. The often absent brother prayed too, full of love and boldness and coming to the throne for his brother. And I wept… because here I found meaning in the pain that I had wished would go away. It wrapped us all closer together in the arms of God and in such a deep family love that I could feel it, and I remembered that He does all things well.
I’ve been feeling the absence of love for others in my heart, and need this truth…
1. Joy is love enjoying.
2. Peace is love resting.
3. Patience (or longsuffering) is love waiting.
4. Kindness is love reacting.
5. Goodness is love choosing.
6. Faithfulness is love keeping its word.
7. Gentleness is love being able to empathize.
8. Self control is love being in charge.
-Dr. Charles Stanley, http://www.intouch.org
when I have found him whom my heart loves,
he will first love me with his eyes, deeply
and tenderly finding my soul hidden there.
and when my eyes answer to his and his to mine,
then coming to me, my beloved, coming at last to me
will be the haven to my storm, the candle to my flame
and the love to my longing. my beloved, my own.
Tonight I found out that I don’t even want to date. My roommates threatened to “set me up” with a premed major named Phil who “is really nice.” My excuse for refusing? I didn’t give one- just said I didn’t want to, thank you very much. Later I realized how deep my convictions had become without me knowing it. Because I believe that God has promised me that He will clearly show me the right man, I have decided to just wait. What’s wrong with dating? Nothing… but I know that God has a different plan for me. I know most people my age would consider me warped. [“How are you ever going to get married if you won’t date?”] etc. etc. You know what? This isn’t a gamble. My future marriage is in God’s hands just like my future career is and everything else about my life… and I am committed to leaving it there.
He’s a man who stops and prays just because, and he doesn’t care who’s watching him bow his head. He refuses to be in bondage to anything and satiates himself from the fountain of living waters. He does the business of life with all of his heart and sometimes makes big mistakes, but love covers all. He gets up early and goes to work with a packed lunch and stays overtime, all for the love of them. He still gets excited about water fights and chocolate chip cookies and boxes in the mail. He loves on his wife with a holy passion and holds her hand in public. He lives day and night for God with no breaks and no barriers. I know this man exists because someday he will be my husband…
and I walked in the door with old friends,
but there stood a new one & he was polite
and we shook hands all around,
but when I got to him I waited for his hand first
because I didn’t want to be bold…
then he pretended to be hurt, and I said sorry
and in the laughing awkwardness I felt his grasp.
none of this cold fish business, but strong
and warm and willing. and dear Father,
he has the cutest grin. please, make him like me
and when I think of him, is it okay to want him
if I just pray instead of wishing? because
last night I fell asleep with his eyes in my heart
praying for him, and only him…
and I think I have never prayed so fervently
I wonder if it’s really possible to change and be the kind of person that likes bright sunlight, energetic children, and parties… I’m not sure if that’s the goal or not. Hasn’t God created me to love things like fog and rain, and dusky skies, and sleeping babies, and an evening alone? Maybe love means being willing to change, to spend your life in ways that you might not have chosen. Isn’t that what my own mother has done? I know that I get my personality from her. She, like me, prefers silence and solitude, yet she had five children and not many times of quiet, and then had to start all over with grandkids. Sometimes I look at her and absolutely tremble at the thought of having to endure and learn and grow as she has. I know that with God all things are possible, even though I still am surprised whenever he answers my prayers. I just need the eyes to see what should change in me, and the faith to actually pray for them.
This quotation makes me shrink away… but it is true, I know.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C. S. Lewis)