Well-Worded Advice

God has seen fit to bless me with a five-year-strong marriage and three beautiful children.

Along with these areas of great blessing, I have had moments of great need — for support, prayer, help, and advice.  Over time, I have found the more incredible words from friends and my heavenly Father building up into beautiful inner dialogues, sometimes battling or encroaching upon my more negative dialogues, even eradicating them, but always consistently energizing me and keeping me going.  Praise God.  These words are as refreshing as a Texas water canal, filled to the brim, gushing into a vivid-green rice field in the middle of our dry, reddish-brown countryside.

Let me share with you some of these reverberating cheers of my soul.

My Mother-in-law: “Leave the crumbs where they are.”  She said this right after my toddler son dumped something all over the floor.  We were all having to walk all over it while trying to serve dinner.  I loved her for that grace, that kindness, and that relaxed attitude about the mess.  I try to extend it to myself when I have chunks of food on the floor, etc. and have so many other things to do…

Our marriage mentors: “Intimacy is not the icing on the cake, but rather the yeast.  And intimacy is not so much about a goal, but about being together.”  How much effort and stress that has saved me in the past few years!  I could say the idea of being together applies to any activity I am doing with my husband, or my kids!  The goal is being together, not just to do whatever activity I have planned.  It helps me to keep that in mind!

My sister in Christ: “One thing I wish someone had told me when I was a new mom… take 5 minutes every so often, and stop, and rest, and breathe.  It’s okay, and the kids will be fine.  I flew around everywhere trying to take care of everything.”  Enough said, right?

The Lord (direct tap): “Trust me.  And ask me first when you don’t know what to do.  I will help you.”  More recently, he also told me “It IS good enough, and so are you.”  I have this posted above my sink now.  Thanks God, for taking my inabilities and making things happen supernaturally.

The Lord (through Scripture): “You are blessed beyond the curse!”  In frustrating, hormonal, or tired moments as a parent, spouse, or woman (pregnant or not), this speaks to me deeply!  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Blessings, Friends.  Thanks for reading!

Sing Me a Love Song

Most love songs remind me of my husband.

There are a few songs for old boyfriends (either I don’t really listen to those, or they talk about what I don’t miss — and point the way to true love instead).

Then there are some that I love to sing for my sister (do you know how many ‘sister’ songs there are out there???) or my dog (I don’t have a dog but I’ve always loved Benji… cue Dolly Parton… “Roll over Beethoven, I’ll be your Beethoven!”)… le SIGH.

So, here’s a thought…. while all those points of love (and pain) are real and right on, I also love thinking of a lot of love songs as the perfect expression between the LORD and myself.

Ew, YUCK!  Some of y’all might think.  Love songs aren’t for Jesus!  How can you even relate the bedroom to God?  Uh…. yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I’m doing.  Complete nastiness is only a worldly twist on the passion we can experience in the bedroom — which, in itself, is an expression of the intimacy we can have with God.  Therefore, IMHO, all that love-song passion is a perfect expression of what I feel for God (and He for me).  Bends the mind, doesn’t it?

After all, who has loved me the most perfectly?  Who has REALLY held me when I was otherwise completely alone?  Who held my head over the toilet when I was throwing up while I was pregnant and helped me wash it all off when I was done?  (Okay, so my husband did that last one, when he could.  But still, God does that with the state of my heart, all the time…)

I love God.  I love Him so much, I can’t wait to rest at his feet daily.  Sometimes this is figurative, in my heart or my emotions: coming to Him about it all.  Sometimes this is literal: sitting outside and just resting in body, and letting His love be the soft blanket of quiet for a few moments.

I remember when, before I was married, a man I liked had dragged me through one very deep heartache: chasing another girl after flirting with me all weekend at a church retreat.  I went outside, sat down under a beautiful pink oleander in the Texas heat, and stared up at the sky, waiting for the Lord.  My hurts were big, but I had begun to learn how to ask Him to meet me there.

The quiet subdued me, and I felt a song begin to drift into my heart: “You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song.”  The Lord was making love to me!  I mean that in the purest, yet the most sweetly romantic, heavenly, passionate way.  God himself has outdone even the tenderest of moments that anyone has ever created for me.  This is not to say that humans aren’t part of his outreach to us (husbands, friends, and families included), yet I must say that I am forever besotted with the Most High God.

His love only hurts when I can’t take it all in.  He forgives me so deeply where someone else (usually me) wouldn’t or can’t.  He helps me in ways that only He and I can see.  He teaches me patiently.  He encourages me tirelessly.  How can I possibly return that love?  I am so dependent on his mercy for my often faithless and fickle heart.

Even doing my best, I minimize his power and love.  Feeling the deepest about him one day, I can wake up unhappy the next.  This is not doubt, it is just my variance in attitudes, my own peevish moods that want things the way I want them.  I forget whatever lesson he has already taught me, three times already (or thirty).  Anyone hear a rooster crowing?  Or, wait — do I hear mercy falling???

So yeah… I love taking a moment with the love songs on the radio or in my playlist, and dedicating them to My Truest Love: that Man, that great Counselor, and that intimate God who is near me always.

Sing it again, Sam.  Whoops, wrong context.  Oh well.  You know what I mean!

Thanks for reading, Friends.