Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a Change

With the wedding in less than three weeks, I am in the process of packing up my room. I've already boxed up half of my million books and most of my winter clothes. Now I'm on to the rest of my books, my movies, my music, my shoes, the rest of my clothes, and various other things. It's difficult, I will say, to go through years of pictures, school projects, AWANA awards, old Teddy bears and dolls and slowly pack up my memories and pieces of my life. It's quite a change.

Today, while I boxed up more of my belongings, I thought of how different my life will be one month from now. I will be a wife. I will have new responsibiities and obligations. It will be my duty to love and care for Grant, to meet his needs, to encourage him, follow him, and bring him honor with the way I live and keep his home. It's a change....but it's a beautiful one!

Life is full of changes. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, every phase of life has its share of newness. Every season brings about a new thing. Summer brings the heat and the excitement of family vacations, camp, and swimming pools! Autumn brings a chill in the air and colorful leaves. Winter brings the snow and the holidays. And then there's spring, where everything comes to life and is brand new. There are changes everywhere. So with spring in the air and my wedding two and half weeks away, I'm definitely thinking about change. But today, while packing and preparing to move, I thought of the biggest and most delightful change - salvation.

I've blogged about my testimony and the beautiful, redeeming love of our God throughout this blog, likening it to several areas of an engagement and a wedding, and it's funny how so much of the process is just like salvation. Having your man propose, getting engaged, sending out the invitations - there are so many reminders of God's goodness and grace...including packing up, moving, and beginning a new life with your husband/wife.

How? you may ask.

Well, just like my life will change when I say "I do" next month, my life changed years ago when I said "I do" to Jesus Christ. When I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me and come into my heart, my whole life changed. My desires changed. My responsibilities changed. My thoughts changed. I wasn't my own anymore, but belonged to Christ. I became His property. Every aspect of my life changed the day I was saved. And in like manner, every aspect of my life will change next month when I become Grant's wife. I will, then, have to follow him and obey him. My desires will be to please and make him happy instead of myself. My body will belong to him. My life will resolve around him and our life together. I will become his help meet, his companion....his wife. My home will be his home. I will leave my family and things that I am used to and am comfortable with, and will step out on faith and out of my comfort zone into a whole new world.

THAT is a change!

But it is a beautiful change! It is difficult to walk by faith and trust God. It is difficult to let Him grow you. He stretches you. He bends you.....but He doesn't break you. :) Change is hard. But change is good for us. It matures us. It helps us. It teaches us.

.....and change? Well, it SAVES us too!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Love Never Fails

In preparation for my upcoming marriage, I have been meditating on love. Not the modern rendition of love where it flares up one day and dies the next. Not a feeling kind of love, but the choice love; the God love. The kind of love that is discribed in 1 Corinthians 13. Last year, a man in our Church put an interesting and thought provoking spin on the famous love chapter, and it showed me how much I lack the love that is Christ. I mean, really..... the love of God that is so great and so rich and deep that it could never be written across the great expanse of the skies.

What do I know of love?

What do I have that is even close??

What do I know of the self-giving, self-crucifying, self-denying love that is found in 1 Corinthians 13?

Very little, if at all.

I have learned something in my life, growing up with a great man of God for a father. We can do nothing in our own strength. We can only do what God enables us to do. And as for the great love that never fails, I am completely unable to exhibit it without the help and aid of the Great Lover that never fails.

And, personally, I'm glad He steps in when we can't do it alone. :)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:

Love is patient. Christ is patient. …Am I patient?

Love is kind. Christ is kind. …Am I kind?

Love does not envy. Christ does not envy. …Do I envy?

Love is not proud. Christ is not proud. …Am I proud?

Love is not arrogant. Christ is not arrogant. …Am I arrogant?

Love is not hateful. Christ is not hateful. …Am I hateful?

Love is not selfish. Christ is not selfish. …Am I selfish?

Love is not easily angered. Christ is not easily angered. …Am I easily angered?

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Christ does not keep a record of wrongs. …Do I keep a record of wrong?

Love finds no joy in sin. Christ finds no joy in sin. …Do I find joy in sin?

Love delights in the truth. Christ delights in the truth. …Do I delight in the truth?

Love can bear anything. Christ can bear anything. …Can I bear anything?

Love never loses faith. Christ never loses faith. …Do I lose faith?

Love is always hopeful. Christ is always hopeful. …Am I always hopeful?

Love endures all things. Christ endures all things. …Do I endure all things?

Love never fails. Christ never fails. …Do I fail?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.
– From The Message Bible

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].– From The Amplified Bible

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Will Be Here

While enjoying this beautiful song about lasting marrital love, I couldn't help but put it in spiritual terms.

No matter what may come about in our lives, Jesus, our Lord and our Love, will always be there. When we cry, He holds us. When we're angry, He speaks softly to us. When we laugh, He smiles with us. When we go through difficult or painful circumstances, He walks with us. On and on it goes! What great love He has for His bride....

Hebrews 13:5b -
"...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Matthew 28:20b -
"...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Love and Letters

Thinking on Thursday's post of love letters and missing my groom very much while he is away, I got to thinking of the first real love letter I received from my man. It was late autumn of 2008 and a sweet-smelling envelope came in the mail. Seeing it was from my beau, I curiously opened it and found myself in near shock at what I found and what I read. What I found was rose petals and what I read, I will never forget.

Later that day, I sent an email to my dear friend with a strange, yet gloriously beautiful thought. Here is what I wrote:

This morning, I received an absolutely beautiful, sweet, Godly and completely lovely letter from my gentleman "court-er." :) It wasn't an was one of those old fashioned, completely charming letters you get in your mailbox!...which I love, if you can't tell. And it was filled with all those sentiments we girls love so much, along with a Godly type of love and romance. Perfect. :) I read it and I sighed and smiled and did the whole "fluttering eye" thing, but then it was like God struck me with something. You know how we go through life "knowing" a lot of things, but then one day we are actually "hit" with it...and then we REALLY know it?... *hopes that makes sense* Anyway, I felt nearly convicted with this thought: as giddy and girlishly happy that I get when receiving a love note from my earthly suitor, how much more happy and in love I should be when I read the words of Christ?...who is my TRUE love, my heavenly Prince. It really made me think. I hate to admit this, but sometimes I have read my Bible out of obligation...and I never read a love letter that way! That really made me think. The other day when we were talking, you mentioned that marriage gives a whole new perspective on the love of Jesus...well, I'm beginning to see it in a new light. Falling in love here on earth is soooo amazing. It's so exciting and nerve wracking and scary and perfect all rolled into one big emotion! But it makes you feel like nothing can possibly beat that feeling. And then, you are reminded of God's love. How He loves you SO much more than any human being ever could. That really startled me today. And for some reason, I felt I needed to share that with you!

Pray for me. I know you are, but pray that no earthly romance will ever become more important...or even more exciting...than my relationship with Christ. Pray that no matter how in love I become here with Grant, I will always have Jesus as the supreme Lover of my soul. I'm praying the very same for you. :)
Looking back, I can see that at that moment, God began doing a bigger work in my life in drawing me closer to Him and viewing Him as the all-consuming, passionate Lover of my heart. I still have quite a ways to go in my pursuit of Him, but how thankful I am that it was on that day that the Lord revealed such a wonderful thing to me! I have enjoyed thinking back to over a year ago, when my first love letter from my groom greeted me. And along those same thoughts, I have also thought back to the first time I was given God's love letter (aka - The Bible!). Growing up in a Christian home, I can't tell you the first time I heard the gospel. Perhaps it was while I was still in the womb! But I can tell you about the first time it hit me and changed me. I was five years old and with my family in north Arkansas. I was trying to understand the concept of a God that was bigger than anything my imagination could come up with...bigger than time itself. And suddenly, while the preacher was preaching, God began to speak to my little heart. I suddenly knew I had to believe through faith that the Jesus I grew up singing about, reading about, and loving was GOD. THE God. And He loved and wanted me. No matter how I misbehaved, He wanted me. I remembered the verses I had been taught...

...That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

...And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

...For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Needless to say, it didn't take long for the truth that was in my head to become truth that was in my heart and soul. It became faith. And since that day, Christ has drawn me closer to Him, showing me over and over and over again that He LOVES me! He shows me His love through the sunshine, through the wind, through the birds chirpping, the deer running, the flowers blooming, and all of creation singing! He tells me He loves me in the quiet moments...and in His indescribable love letter! He showers me with blessings and reminders that He is completely in love - with me! ....and how I long to shower HIM with the very same reminders.
Ladies....brides....fellow Christians....let this simple post and ALL of the world around you be a reminder of the King of Kings....and His love toward us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Best Dishes

Have I showed you all our china patterns yet?? No? Well now, I simply must! :)

Grant and I picked a very simple, yet elegant pattern from Noritake called "Stoneleigh."

Flatware? As a gift from my grandmother, we have "Tabora" from Reed and Barton.

Crystal glassware? "Paris" from Noritake.

Now, there you have it! :)

My faithful few readers must be thinking, "Okay, HOW is she going to liken this to something spiritual? I mean, it's dishes!" I appreciate your confidence! :) Actually, I was suprised when it hit me just yesterday afternoon while finalizing a few china issues. What is china for?? I mean, all you need is everyday dishes to get you through. When do you ever even use your wedding china??

Well, in my family, we get out the china dishes when there is a special occation. Thanksgiving, a birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc. We take them out and place them neatly on the table when there is some sort of celebration. It's the very best. Sometimes we do the same thing for company. We don't want our company to eat off of the broken and chipped dishes, we want them to have the best!

Now do you know where I'm going with this??

It may not be much, but while I was thinking about china and how beautiful it is, I had to think of how Heaven gave us its very best when Jesus, God in human flesh, came down to earth. With all my sin and all my shame, our Heavenly Father looked down and decided to send the best Heaven had to offer to redeem me from sin. He did the same for you too! And when He saved me, He didn't just forgive me of all I had ever done up to that point.... He kept on forgiving! He washes me clean every day. He loves me unconditionally. He doesn't have a limitted amount of love or pardon or grace.... He doesn't give me the "chipped and broken dishes" - He breaks out the china! He doesn't set His table with paper plates and throwaway cups. He sets His table with overwhelming mercy, unfathomable joy, unspeakable peace, indiscribable love - THE VERY BEST! He gives the best gifts. He gives a human race that scorns Him, ignores Him, and spits in His face His very life. And He gives His children, who stumble and who question Him, the best of all that He is!

....I will never be able to look at wedding china without thinking of God's "best dishes" too.

Luke 15:22
"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:"

1 John 3:1
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Write Me A Letter

There is something about a love letter.

Throughout mine and Grant's courtship and engagement, we have exchanged letters to each other. REAL letters. It's sweet to see how they have evolved. At first, you could see Grant's hesitant pursuit and gentle, slow winning. In mine, you could see the sweet friendship and joy. Then you could see the love growing and the letters becoming more tender and personal as the months went by. Now, as we are nearing the end of our engagement, letters are full of building love, the blessings of God, and the exciting anticipation that SOON, there will be a marriage!

Love letters are a beautiful thing...

Being an ultimate girly girl who loves candles and bubble baths, the color pink, and fluffy pillows; who cries during movies, while reading books, listening to music, and talking with friends, I dearly love letters from my man. There is something in a girl that loves the adoration, the reminders of affection, and the tokens of love. It's a sweet thing.

A few months ago, when I flew to Colorado to visit some of my dearest friends, my groom - the ever-romantic one - suprised me with a package of letters he had sent ahead of me. So upon arriving in Colorado, my dear friend excitedly thrusted a big envelope into my hands. In it was a letter for every day spent in Colorado. And if that wasn't enough, each letter had a different color of rose petals along with it! Talk about heart fluttering! Well, early tomorrow morning, my groom will board a plane and head to El Salvador for a week-long mission trip where he will do all he can do to spread the wonderful news of Jesus Christ! As I said goodbye to him this afternoon, I slipped into his guessed it! A love letter. :) Letters are a big part of our relationship. They have been from the very beginning.

If you were to sit and think about it, you would see that love letters are a big part of God's love relationship with us. How?? you may ask.

The Bible is His love letter to us! Think about it..... over and over, He tells us of His love:

I will never leave you or forsake you...

Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee...

I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you...

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever...

Peace I leave with you...

Behold, thou art fair my love...

And I will dwell in the midst of thee...

O my dove... let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice...

Sounds like a love letter to me!

If you are like me, then you love receiving love letters. You welcome them with awe, an excited smile, and a desire to write and send one in return. So much more does our Lord long for you to do the same with Him? He has written the grandest, sweetest, most beautiful and fulfilling love letter of all time! And how He longs for us! How He desires intimacy with His bride! How He wishes to see an eager and excited smile when we open up His love letter to us. He looks over at us to see if we are in awe, if we are humbled and moved and touched and completely in love with Him in return!

I pray it is so with you...

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Public Announcement!

Psalm 22:22
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Last month, our wedding announcement was put in the local papers and it looked wonderful! It made its way into four different newspapers in four different counties.

Thinking on our newspaper announcement that goes into the hands of nearly every person in town, I've thought of this: Why don't we make our salvation more of a public announcement??

Think about it. When a couple gets engaged, they are so in love with the other and they begin right away telling those they know that they will soon be married! The bride shows her ring to all of her friends and all of her family members. The groom tells his buddies how fortunate he is to have the most sweet and beautiful girl in the world. The bride gushes to her friends how wonderful and handsome her husband-to-be is! Even while shopping for wedding supplies, people notice the purchases and then notice the ring and a "Congratulations!" normally will follow. People quickly hear the news when a wedding is being planned! The word spreads!

So, in our Christian life, I have to ask myself the question, "Do people see the joy and love in my face, in my eyes, and in my life when I speak about my Heavenly Bridegroom? Do they see the excitement of preparing for my Heavenly wedding? ....Do I even show it??"

I enjoy it when people ask about my groom, my wedding, and my planning. I enjoy talking about it and I believe they can see the excitement when I tell them all the latest bridal news. But my deepest prayer is to have so much excitement and joy over my Prince Jesus that everyone I meet can see it written on my face and glittering in my eyes and smile. I want to open my mouth boldly and unashamedly and "announce" what Jesus Christ has done in my life....with no reserve, no hesitance, no embarrassment. I am not ashamed or hesitant when I speak of my earthly bridegroom. So speaking of my Heavenly Groom, the One who moved Heaven and earth for me, the One who redeemed me and cleansed me from my sin, the One who welcomes me into His holy presence, I should never falter to speak joyously about One so great as my Heavenly Love.

Let me encourage you....TELL PEOPLE about Jesus Christ! Tell people what He has done for you! Tell them what He has rescued and redeemed you from! Do not be ashamed of the Creator, the King of all Kings, the Savior and Master that is GOD. Spread the joyous and amazingly wonderful news and declare His mighty, saving grace to EVERYONE you see.

1 Chronicles 16:24
Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Matthew 9:31
But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

Friday, March 5, 2010

When Flowers Bow Down

I now have all the flowers for everything...FINALLY!

The boutinneers came in yesterday. The corsages are being made as I type this. The flowers for my bouquet are ready to be put together. The flowers for the bridesmaids are very nicely laid across the room. The flowers for the cake are in a small bag ready to be brought to my cake-baker! And the flower petals to be dropped by the flower girls are in a box next to my hope chest.

...that's a lot of flowers.

In a previous post, I wrote about my flower choices and why I picked lilies, dogwoods, and della fantasia. I also admitted to be an extreme flower lover! You name the flower, I will most likely fall in love with it! Call me a girly girl... I don't mind in the least. There is something so delicate and feminine about flowers...and I embrace it! :)

Thinking on my flowers and what it will be like to have them dropped at my feet as I walk down the aisle, I can't help but wonder if flowers will be dropped before us when we, the Bride of Christ, enter into Heaven's courts and walk toward our Bridegroom. Will we carry a bouquet of flowers up there? I hope so! Will the stars sing as we enter? Will the angels flutter their wings and rejoice? Will the lights of Heaven shine a bit brighter? Being royalty, being the very bride of Almighty God, surely all of creation will burst into praises! Surely all of Heaven will celebrate the Great Wedding Day in Heaven! It's something to think about....  

One of my many platforms is reaching out to girls and young women and reminding them that they are royalty in the eyes of God. They are His Princesses! We live in a world that tries to destroy all that is valuable in a girl. But in the sight of the King of Kings, His children are exalted much higher than the angels. The flowers will bow down before us when we walk, in all our bridal beauty, towards our Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus.

Girls and ladies, don't forget your worth and who God made you to be. He made you feminine and delicate like a rose....and He also made you royality! So let us live as mighty and Godly princesses, as we await our wonderful wedding day!

She's In Love

This is one of my new favorite songs. Every Christian girl should be labled as - "In Love." Not with material possessions, not with her current boyfriend, not with a TV show or movie or Hollywood celebrity, but with Jesus Christ; the ultimate Lover, Champion, Prince, and King. Girls, join with me to be a girl and young woman that inspires the men and boys around her to say, "She is in love!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


In the midst of all this hectic, crazy planning, and with the wedding a month and a half away, I've been trying (**key word there, TRYING**) to work out and get in tip-top-shape. And

While panting for breath and gulping water as my heart rate slowed back to normal, I got to thinking about all this toning and working out that I am doing. Here I am, a bride-to-be, working myself into the ground trying to eat right and excercise in the midst of my ever-crazy schedule. I'm trying all the tricks I can think of. I'm drinking lots of water. I'm trying to watch what I eat and how much I eat. I'm washing my face with honey and cinnamon. I'm using apple cider vinegar, baking soda, strawberries, milk, lemons, and a handful of other various kitchen products to better my skin, hair, face, teeth, and body. I'm working hard! Why? Because I want to look the best I can for my groom.

I can't help but wonder, "Why do we not work as hard toning our spiritual body?" Why is it that with my wedding day a month and a half away, I'm going and going, working hard with fierce determination. Yet Christ could come at any time. Am I in tip-top-shape in that area? Are there things in my life that are sloppy and disgusting in the eyes of God? Are there sins I haven't repented of? Are there things I haven't done? We tend to justify our spiritual laziness while we take every measure we possibly can to ensure that our physical body looks good for our wedding day. We tan or get our hair highlighted. We go to the Spa or join a fitness program at the gym. But yet....our spiritual body is in desperate need of a makeover! Far too easily do we, as Christians, turn into a spiritual couch potato. We don't excercise our mind and heart so we can be fit for the battle every day. We don't learn our weapon (the Bible). We don't strengthen our arms and reach out to the lost. We don't beautify our inner being so we can shine Christ's love... but we fly into hysterics with one wrinkle or gray hair!

As I try to tone my physical body so I can be pleasing to my husband, I am working hard to tone up my spiritual body so I can be pleasing to my Savior and Heavenly Bridegroom every day. My husband deserves a strong, fit wife who isn't lazy or sloppy. So how much more does my God deserve a clean, spiritually strong and able woman in His Kingdom who is ready and willing to serve? Fellow brides....and fellow Christians, tone up your body so you can be strong and healthy on earth. But also, tone up your spiritual body so you can be better used by the Lord.

Romans 6:12
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."


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