Sunday, April 4, 2010

Old News

How many relationships have you seen start out amazing at the beginning, but then as time goes on, they slowly fade into a mundane routine? Where the love which was once new and exciting has become old news? The man pursued the woman's heart, fighting to win it; but after he won it and she said yes, things change. He may stop pursuing and she doesn't strive to allure him. Where she once found joy in discovering ways of serving him, it has now become a list of tasks which she is expected to do. He may think he knows everything about her, and treats her according to what he knows, which may have changed. Fights break out; the drive to know each other better and serve the other person all but disappears. Where the words "I love you" used to be spoken with a depth of emotion, they have now become a way to end a conversation or a phrase which has become habit to say.

This is a concerning sign to most. An indicator that the relationship is in dangerous territory. Those around the couple may be able to see it and express concern and advice. Steps are taken to begin repairing the relationship, fighting for the love and passion which was present at the beginning.

As I think of couples I have seen go through this, my thoughts turn to my own love story. The divine romance I said yes to a few years ago. How many times has my relationship with Jesus done the exact same thing I see in human couples, yet it often doesn't concern me?

Unlike an earthly relationship where this may happen, Jesus is the perfect Husband, and He never stops pursuing me. Whether I am saying "I love you" because I mean it or out of habit, every time He says it, He means it with all of His heart. He hasn't ceased to do things to win my heart. Daily He is asking me to deepen my relationship with Him.

He showed me how true this is just the other day. He woke me at 6:30am. My first reaction was frustration.
I don't have to be up for another hour, why am I awake?
I rolled over to go back to sleep, then I felt Him gently touch me.
I couldn't wait any longer for you to wake up. I want to spend time with you so much.
I was a little surprised. Jesus had woken me up because He wants to spend time with me?
Ok, I'll get up and get my Bible and journal, I guess. Although, I'm not sure I'll be able to stay awake very well.
You don't need to get up, I just want to be with you. Will you let me hold you?
That really surprised me. Physical touch is my love language, but could God really want to show me He loves me through that? He wanted me to just stay in bed and relax in His presence? I had never really heard of anything like this before. I had asked for a divine romance though, and this was definitely romantic.
Yes, please. I would like to spend time with you.
Then I felt His arms wrap around me. I closed my eyes and just rested in His arms. It was just as if a human was holding me, although so much better because my heart was at rest as well. For the rest of the day, I couldn't get the smile off my face. God created me to have physical touch as my love language, and He was willing to communicate with me through that. I said yes a long time ago to a divine romance with Him, but He didn't stop His pursuit of my heart once He had a yes from me. Whether it's through a hug or a flower or a beautifully painted sunset, He is still interested in who I am. I never have to worry that He will start saying "I love you" out of habit. Never will He stop pursuing me. He is the perfect Husband. All I have to do is continue to say yes. With a Husband like that, how can I do anything but strive to know Him, love Him, and serve Him to the best of my ability?

I want to encourage you, if your relationship with Jesus has become mundane, start by looking at how He first pursued your heart through what He did on the Cross. Then take a look at how He asked you individually to be His. Finally, look at how He has continued to pursue your heart. I think you will be surprised and overwhelmed by what He does that is specifically designed to capture your heart. Once you see that, you have a choice to make. Just as with a couple who has realized that their relationship is in dangerous territory, you must decide what you want to do. Jesus has already committed to making this relationship work; His desire is for you. How will you respond? He doesn't want your relationship to be old news, He wants it to be a daily adventure that is better than anything you can imagine. You said yes once, will you say it again and allow Him to transform your relationship into breaking news? Listen for the invitation, say yes, and get ready for the best relationship you've ever had!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I said yes!!!

Every girl has a dream. A dream to be pursued by a Prince Charming. For her heart to be romanced in a way unique to her. As a woman, there is a part of my heart longing to share itself in its entirety with one person. A longing for someone to know me better than I know myself. For a man to care so much for me and be so enthralled with my heart that he takes the time to carefully win my trust. Who has the patience to slowly gain entrance into my heart, walking me through my fears and reservations with tender love. I long for a man who has eyes for no other woman, because he is enthralled by my beauty; who loves my weaknesses just as much as he loves my strengths. For me to be able to be myself all the time, having to hide nothing. A man of integrity, who protects me from those who wish to harm me. A man who can wrap me in his strong arms and cause me to feel small, delicate, feminine, and protected. A man who longs for me to awaken just so he can look into my eyes and hear my voice. A man who creates special moments which bring joy to my heart just so he can demonstrate in yet another way the depth of his love for me.

Many women feel such a man cannot exist. I disagree, for I have found such a man. He is more than I could have ever imagined. He has given me the most incredible love story I could have ever dreamed up. I've known of him for a long time. People would tell me how great of a man he is and of the incredible things he was doing for people. I first noticed his pursuit of me about 3 years ago. It was gentle, yet persistent.

At first, I thought of him as a friend. I was interested in other guys and didn't really think of him in a romantic way. He was always there, but not terribly exciting to spend time with. I couldn't comprehend that he was interested in me as anything but a friend. He knew I thought of him as a friend, and he knew I was interested in another man. He continued to pursue, gently trying to tell me the other men would break my heart because they didn't cherish it as he did. I rejected his advice and his advances. As the ever patient man he is, he waited, worried for my heart, but allowing me to make my own decisions.

My heart was broken. Shattered to pieces, I was left alone, crying myself to sleep at night. He tried to reach out to me and comfort me, but I would have nothing to do with him. I was angry with him because he was a man, just like the man who had broken my heart. He tried to walk through the brokenness with me, but I wouldn't allow him even a glimpse of my heart anymore. Not as a friend, and definitely not as a lover. I was hurt and decided I would never again allow a man access to my heart because then it could never again be broken.

My parents saw how faithful of a man he was and encouraged me to spend time with him. They didn't know of the heartbreak I had experienced, so they couldn't understand why I refused to have anything to do with him. They noticed me becoming reclusive and became worried. Finally, they put their foot down and forced me to go to a youth conference.

He was there and wouldn't leave me alone. The first night of the conference God broke me and showed me how I had rejected Him and the man He had put in my life. He was behind me as I stood weeping. I felt his arms hugging me, holding me up. I was thankful for his strength, for I had none of my own left. Then he whispered into my ear, “You are my beautiful and precious bride.” I couldn't believe my ears. I knew who had said it, but I couldn't believe he had said that about me, especially when I was an absolute mess. For the next few days, he stayed by my side. I was still shocked and in disbelief that he had said that to me, but I began to enjoy spending time with him.

Over the next few months, he carefully and tenderly won my trust back. He was there for me as I walked through the healing process, never demanding anything, but always offering an invitation to spend time with him and learn more about who he was as a person. He showed me his love for me in a thousand different ways. Sometimes it was just a little note reminding me that he was captivated by my beauty. Other times, it was a simple flower or a smile. He wrote me letters and sang me songs. We spent more and more time together. Each moment we spent together made it easier for me to think of him as a lover and a friend.

One day he gave me the invitation to spend the rest of my life with him. An engagement of sorts, a commitment to live my life with him and know that I am his and he is mine. A betrothal.

He was always the perfect gentleman. My parents and friends approved, although my friends didn't always understand the relationship we had. I couldn't think of any reason to refuse his offer, and I could think of a million reasons to say yes. He gave me time to think, and was still the same patient, gentle, kind, and tender man I had grown to love.

He asked the question a few weeks before we were to leave on a mission trip to China. On the trip, we only grew closer. To be able to work together was incredible. I didn't tell anyone of the question he had asked me, for fear of ruining the sweetness of it. Half way through the trip, I realized I never wanted to go a day without him. I didn't want to do anything apart from him. I was head over heels in love with him. He stayed committed to me even when I was distracted by other things. He knew my heart better than anyone else, better than I even knew it. He was passionately in love with me. I could allow him to see all of me. My weaknesses and my strengths. He shared his heart with me if I would only ask. He covered my weaknesses with his strength. He was tender and strong. Gentle with my heart, yet he challenged me to grow.

These realizations struck me and I ran to find him. I took his hand, looked into his eyes, and with tears brimming in my eyes, said “Yes, I will be yours. I will follow you wherever you go. I never want to be separated from you. I want to live the rest of my life with you and love you forever.” My heart overflowed with joy as he embraced me and expressed how delighted he was.

What we have is unique, and unlike any other relationship I had ever had or heard of. I share everything with him. I get mad at him and argue with him. He is patient with me, but has no qualms about telling me when I am being stupid. He sees the faults in my heart and loves me despite them, yet he challenges me to work through them and get rid of them. Things aren't always easy between us. It's the most difficult relationship I have ever had in my entire life, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Since I said yes, people have noticed a marked difference in me. He brought my heart to life and now I live more fully than ever. He tells me of the plans he's made for us and our future together. He promises me he will always be there for me. He completes me in every way. Each day he finds a new way to tell me how precious I am to him and how much he loves me.

He gave me a ring a few weeks after we returned from China, but the most important thing is how my heart is sealed as forever his. We live life together, so it's not all flowery all the time. I am still learning what it means to be the woman he deserves, but he is so patient and he helps me to learn. I fail, I get angry, yet I can always run back into his arms and know his love for me has not changed based on my behavior. Sometimes I forget about the passion which burns in him for me, and I relegate him back to friendship status, but he gently reminds me that he doesn't want to just be my friend. He wants the full access to my heart that only a lover has. My love for him grows each and every day. I am so blessed to have such a man with whom to live out the adventure of life. I'll never forget the day I said yes, and I'll continue to say yes each and every day for the rest of my life.

Great story, huh? Does it seem too perfect to be believable? Maybe some of you know me and you're wracking your brains to figure out who this man is? Maybe some of you have already figured it out. The man's name is Jesus. Now, before you check me off as an allegorical writer, please hear me out. Every single word of this story is true. It isn't symbolism or creative license. My relationship with Jesus is more real to me than any other relationship in my life. He truly completes me and has taken the time to win my heart. He created my heart and has every right to gain access to it, yet He took the time and effort to win my trust and gain my permission to access my heart. He cherishes it and knows it better than I do. He continually gives me invitations to know more of who He is and surrender more of myself to Him. Just as I want to give myself entirely to my earthly husband, I have first given myself entirely to my heavenly Husband. He is my first love and has taught me how to love. The adventure He has taken me on since I said yes has been incredible and breathtaking. He is the perfect Husband.

Think of all your deepest desires. The things which are in your heart that you are afraid to even speak out loud because there is no way there is a man who could fulfill them. Jesus can and He is giving you an invitation. An invitation to live the rest of your life with Him. If you haven't experienced Him romancing your heart, ask Him to do so. He will be faithful to answer, only be ready for the most exhilarating time of your life. Do you know Jesus as your friend? He wants you to know Him as your lover as well; He longs to romance your heart. How will you respond to His invitation?