"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

To see Christ glorified

Today I'm thankful for:

* the sight of kiddos working together on some math problems
* a crazy student who made it halfway down the hall without shoes before realizing she in fact didn't have on shoes
* Jude asking if he can tell me a story.  Which he proceeds to make up.
* A short conversation with my sister, who I will get to see this weekend
* the fact that Jimmy can bring up a song and it can lead in to an entire theological conversation.  I love talking about 'deeper' things, and it's lovely to have my soul nourished and thinking like that
* candle light in the windows
* my Christmas cards which came in today
* the handmade snowflakes which are currently hanging from the ceiling of my classroom
* an afternoon of Bible verse sharing with some of my favorite teachers.  And encouraging each other to love our kids a little better.
* getting to share the joy through my friends moments with their kids



Thoughts on 2 Thessalonians:

1: 11-12  With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  We pray this so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, acccording to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I read these verses and thought about what it meant to allow Jesus to be glorified in me.  Jesus' glorification came through his resurrection.  He conquered death and then showed His Father's power through that.  For me to show Christ as glorified is to show Him in his resurrected state.  To show his victory over sin and death.  His glorification is the very crux of the gospel.  The gospel is the hope of Christ's glorification and resurrection over all that enslaves us.  For me to allow Christ to be glorified in me, I need to be showing his power at work in me.  I need to be constantly sharing how I can't but Christ can.  I need to be boasting in my weaknesses because in those moments Christ's resurrection shines forth.  Yesterday, I mentioned being freed for a purpose- to praise God.  But I think these verses show what I'm praising God for.  Praise God, Christ is risen.  Praise God, Christ conquered the sin in my life.  Praise God, that these weaknesses no longer control me.  Praise God, Christ is in me- in all his glory- and my shame and fear is gone.  No. Longer. There.  There is only Christ, Christ glorified.  If I am always remembering who I was before Christ and who I am now in Christ, I will always be glorifying and praising the One who saved me.

I can't praise God and show Christ as glorified without humbling myself, though.  I have to be willing to set aside all praise and love of others for His glory.  When people tell me I'm a good mom or a good teacher, the things I want to think are mine, I have to lay them down for the glorification of Christ.  And acknowledge that the good you see is Christ alone.  Christ glorified in me, changing me.  Showing that God's power really can resurrect the dead.  It resurrected and is resurrecting me.  People today can't witness the original Resurrection.  But they can witness my life.  They can watch me allow myself to be transformed by the grace of God from one controlled by greed or pride or bitterness and see me become someone who lives with their eyes on Jesus, always thanking Him for the grace and the resurrection.  I want to live, truly live.  And that can only really be found in the one who brings life from nothing.

To live IS Christ.

Loved and Lovely
The Fontenot Four

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Freed for a Purpose


This week (and many weeks lately, honestly) I have been overcome with how much beauty there is in life.  I mean this world is just so achingly beautiful.  I have literal aches in my heart because I don't know if I can stand the way I feel about things.  And its just random things.  Like this view out my classroom window.  I love that bright red tree in the middle.  I love the way my room is so high and I can look out and see the yellowing trees stretching for miles.  I love the yellow brown prairie grasses that are everywhere round here.  I love the grey clouds blanketing the early morning sky.  I love the steam rising from the roofs.  I love branches laid bare waiting for winter.  

Today I saw the most perfect full moon over the hillsides as I was on my way to drop off Jude.  So bright and full and I would have given anything to capture it.  I could cause wrecks on a daily basis with all the shots I want to take of grassfields and sunrises.  I really want to start carrying my good camera around and trying to take more pictures.  But pictures or not, I am just so awed by the glory of each new day.

During my quiet time today, I read Joshua 10, Psalm 143 and 2 Thessalonians 2.  I will touch on Thessalonians in a couple days since I will finish that book tomorrow morning.  However, a couple verses in Psalm 143 really spoke to me today, and honestly Joshua 10 tied in to it.  It's really interesting to me how often each chapter I read seems to flow together.  God's amazing like that, ya know?

Psalm 143: 5, 7- You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living... 
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.

I am just amazed more and more each day by how very little I really need.  The Lord is our portion in the land of the living.  That means He is what we need on this earth.  We are so quick to place high importance on people we love, things we love, places we love.  But none of those things are our portion.  And the reality is, if taken too seriously (ie worshipped) even the good things become our prison.  I am so thankful each day that the Lord shows me how He is the only thing worth gaining.  I feel so free from so many things.  

The past 2 years of divorce and single parenthood have nothing short of a fight for freedom.  The beautiful thing though, was it was never me fighting.  It was always the Lord fighting these thoughts and feelings and people and everything for me.  (see Joshua 10:25- do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  be strong and courageous.  This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.)  He's freed me from so much- and still freeing me.  There has been such joy in being freed from the need to be trendy, which has been the current prison.  The freedom of self control.  The freedom of not worrying as much about money.  The freedom of being able to give to others more than before.  The freedom of having my mind being directed to Christ every time I feel myself going down the familiar path of "I want".  I really perceived that this cutting back the excesses was going to be a true 'sacrifice' on my part.  And I guess, at the beginning, it was.  But as I move forward, there is no sacrifice about it.  Just joy.  I love how Christ continually places the things I think I'm losing with more of Him, more joy.

Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name...

I was freed for a purpose.  I was freed from marriage for a purpose.  I was freed from worthlessness thoughts for a purpose.  I was freed from materialism for a purpose.  I was freed from discontent for a purpose.  I was freed from codependence for a purpose.  So many things.  The question is what do I do with this freedom.  I praise the Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior.  Because the testimony of the redeemed has been the only thing that's ever changed the world in the first place.  

I don't know where I'm going from here.  But I know what I'm going to do.  I'm going to praise the Lord.  In the morning.  When I'm doing cafeteria duty.  When I'm telling students to sit on their pockets for the umpteenth time.  When I'm smiling.  When I'm listening to a story.  When I'm having coffee.  When I'm reading to Jude.  Whenever and wherever.  That is where my purpose is for that moment.  Each second I have a purpose.  Praise the one who set me free.




Into The Word Wednesdays

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Thoughts on 1 Thessalonians

One of my Christmas card pictures- kinda love it


Today was our first day back from Thanksgiving break.  It went well all things considering.  Highlight- I let my kids share 1 thing they did over the break if they so desired.  One of my little friends went on and on about his girlfriend from Sherman.  Um he's 7.  Literally referred to her as his girlfriend 4 times. Giggle.  Sigh.  Love them.

Also, I am currently excited about the cold front moving in.  I had to stay late today to finish up a 2 hr course on how to use time out and restraint (yes you read that right) so it was getting dark on my ride home.  I just was amazed by the darkening clouds rolling in with the cold air, the trees with just a few yellow and red leaves hanging on.  So much beauty y'all.  Who would have thought my drive to the country would bring such blessings?  I mean daily.

Anyway, this morning I finished 1 Thessalonians.  Amazing.  Convicting.  Inspiring.  One of the things that stuck out to me at the beginning of the book was just how often faith is driving these churches reputation.  This is pretty much all of chapter 1, but I think verse 8 clinches it for me, "your faith in God has become known everywhere."  As in all those countries on the mediterranean.  They know about this one church's faith.  How profound!  How humbling!  It seems like American churches are known for two things: 1) the preacher and 2) the size.  But the faith of the people attending- not as much.  Are you defining your church or is your church defining you?  I'm pretty sure that I have a lot of room to grow in order to have a reputation based on my faith.

In general, I just found this book really encouraging.  It kind of reoriented me as to my focus, my goal as far as daily life as a Christian.  I'm supposed to be keeping my eyes on Jesus, trying to make choices that bring him glory, loving and encouraging those around me, and just making my life my ministry, my voice.  I really found 4:11-12 interesting.  It talks about making your ambition to live a quiet life, working with your hands, earning respect of others, and not being dependent on anyone.  It's so countercultural to all things American.  Who's goals consist of a quiet, hardworking, respectable life?  Not really a lot of people.  But that should be a focus for the Christian, according to this verse.  And really, how gracious is our God to not expect us to drive ourselves to exhaustion.  He expects us to be average in our worldly pursuits, but strive hard for holiness and knowing him more.  I don't know, maybe I'm weird, but I find such comfort in knowing the "American dream" doesn't need to be my dream.  At least not in an over the top materialistic way.  Maybe it's the hippie in me :)

And finally, a controversial call to thought: vs 19-20 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  I have an issue with the whole denominations of the church thing.  Why are there two 'Holy Spirit' alternatives (basically)?  You either have to go to one extreme where you only focus on the Holy Spirit or you go to the other extreme where you rarely acknowledge the Holy Spirit. By mathematical logic, I'm going to assume each part of the Trinity has equal daily relevance.  Which means the Holy Spirit should receive 33% of the focus, Christ 33%, and the Father 33%.  Rough estimate.  I personally don't think any extreme has the answers.  I just think that there should be some convergence on this issue.  There should be fire.  The question is what proportion.  And for that, I don't have the answer.  

And to close on my favorite note.   5:16-18 are beautiful reminders as always of just what this daily life looks like as it's played out.  The joy in the simple everyday gifts of a quiet life and hard work.  The joy of praying and being in  God's presence continually.  Just being thankful always for everything.  Literally everything.  So much simple joy in the Christian life, and isn't that what everyone is craving?  It's right here in Christ.


miscellany monday at lowercase letters        
Covered in Grace
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wreck Em Weekend





This weekend was basically awesome in all the right ways.  My family was together and we were able to knock out some family Christmas pics, which are uploading as we speak.  Can't wait to get those Christmas cards done!  And bonus they came out pretty cute for once.  We took them around downtown McKinney where they had a ton of cute Christmas stuff going on.  Recommend.  Here are a couple of shots of me and Jude- not the ones I will actually be using on our card though.  I will put those up another time.

On Me: scarf- no idea, cardigan- Old Navy, T shirt- Charlotte Russe, jeans- levis, heals- no idea
On Jude: shirt- Old Navy, corduroys- Children's Place, shoes- Converse
Side note- in the pics below, the heels totally came off and were replaced with my trusty converse- my shoe love of my life.



Top Left: Me and my sister Megan.  Top Right: Me and my brother Joel
Bottom Left: Me and Jimmy.  Bottom right: Megan and Bryan

After pictures, I went with my brother, my sister, her husband, and my bf to The Hub- which is a pretty awesome bar owned by Texas Tech alumni.  We watched Tech vs Baylor, which was a real shoot out. Unfortunately Tech lost, but it was awesome to just be watching football and drinking and eating and just generally being with some of my favorite people in the world.  We laughed.  Megan and I sang old Alpha Chi songs upon realizing my brothers gf was also an Alpha Chi.  The guys all rolled their eyes.  It was awkward and amazing.  And of course every time Tech scored the bar crowd errupted in a little fight song and Raider! Power! action.  Always a win.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grace upon grace

This summer I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I started rereading it shortly after school started this fall.  In the course of my life, there have been 3 books that have really, truly changed my life.  The Bible, Breaking Free by Beth Moore, and One Thousand Gifts.  The premise is seeing each moment of your life as God's grace, a gift from a good and loving Father.  Even when its chaotic and overwhelming, or scary, or sad, or hurtful, there is grace to be had.  For me, its just not the way I looked at each second of my life.  I've never been one to allow myself to see the good in difficult.  I don't think that comes natural to anyone.  But since this summer, I've been challenging myself to change my thinking.  

I can see God doing good things in my heart with regards to thankfulness.  When you are on this search for all these gifts in the every day, you heart is always more open and receptive and willing to see.  See the good, the beautiful- even when it's ugly.  I can feel the change in just the peace and joy I do have.  And I am really only at the threshold of this journey. 

I've listed gifts since this summer.  I think I'm on about 470.  But the truth is, I see all these gifts all the time I never remember to write down because I'm in the car or I'm not by pencil and paper.  It's still beautiful because even though I am not physically writing these things down, my heart is stopping.  Stopping to smile, to thank God for the moment, to be all in right where I am receiving the joy of the now.  And just worship this loving God who fills my life with grace upon grace upon grace.  My eyes are so much more open now to all He's doing around me, to the way he loves me, to the way he blesses us all.  

Thanksgiving is just not supposed to be once a year.  Christians are called to a life of thanksgiving.  We just seem to forget that.  It's a hard way to live.  Constantly choosing to thank God when it's hard and when it's easy.  Life gets busy and you forget.  I'm still struggling with thanking God in the midst of the crazy that is my classroom at 1:30.  (my kids just don't have the attention span past then.  things become overwhelming.  but there are still gifts to be had.)  But I have seen the difference thanking God through the moments has made.  The littlest things now bring me the greatest joy.  I've missed so much in my 28 years, but praise God, my eyes are now open to the little gifts, the big gifts, and hopefully one day soon, the painful gifts and the busy gifts.  

Examples:

 Thankful for a little boy who's creative and playful.  I'm thankful to have my house full of his life.  Thankful that even stickers on my dishwasher remind me of him and all the gifts he is....

 Thankful for my family, the way we have traditions, that holidays have this predictable flavor each year.  I love knowing Thanksgiving and Christmas will be full of food followed by games and laughter.  I'm thankful that we are actually really close.  That my siblings are some of my best friends.  That I know my entire time on this earth will be blessed with them.

Thankful that sometimes Jude pulls me aside to read to me.  I'm thankful that I've gotten better about allowing myself to stop 'doing things around the house' to just sit with him and soak up all his preschool beauty.  Because this moment I can never get back.  And I could have passed it up to clean.  I'm realizing how being Martha vs Mary like does not just apply to Jesus, but so many things in life.  Taking time to be present with Jude is worshipful and leads me to thank Jesus for all I'm blessed with.   

Thankful for those little moments that make you laugh.  Jude snuck a whole box of Cars bandaids under here.  I guess he knew he wouldn't be given them to play with.  But it makes me laugh to see all he thinks of to do.  I' m thankful he's usually such an agreeable kid.  God has really blessed me with him.  

I have a million of these little moments that just come along and I enjoy them and thus worship God.  Life is full of them.  Oh how I challenge you to list the good in your life- even if it seems trivial.  (examples- post its of every color, cows in a field at sundown, black crows on a fence, steam from a hot tea cup...)  It's amazing the change in attitude that comes with thankfulness.  You are surrounded by grace upon grace.  You just have to open your eyes to see it...

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you...

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


The Fontenot Four
Loved and Lovely

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love the Christian, Love the World



So for those of you that have read my last few posts, I've mentioned how I'm currently reading through the Bible.  And if you follow me on instagram (thistleashd) you definitely know, since I post pictures every time I start a new book.  It's pretty encouraging for myself to do that, sorry if they aren't interesting to you :)  I'm loving reading through the Bible for about 84,000 reasons.  I've learned so much.  My current goal is to blog about whatever book I just finished- the different things that stuck out to me.  Hopefully this will get me to actually blog more.

Colossians:

1:4- We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints...  Being at this point in the Bible, I've read several of Paul's letters.  Without fail he consistently admonishes, encourages, commends the churches for their love of all saints.  That means their love to other Christians.  Now I am in no way saying we are not supposed to love non Christians with what I'm about to say.  However, how often are we really evaluating ourselves or trying to grow in our love of other Christians?  Yet, that is solely what Paul stresses.  Honestly, at this point, Paul has not stressed love of the poor at all.  He stresses sharing the gospel, but not "loving" them in our post modern, tolerance based understanding of it.  He stresses loving our church members.  And really, with good reason.  The church has a terrible reputation for not loving each other.  In my own experience, I have cried many tears over feeling like I'm less accepted within churches simply because I don't come off as quite as conservative as other Christians.  There is nothing more hurtful than having the body of Christ reject you because you don't fit their mold.  We are so good at trying so hard to love the people outside of the church who are different, we forget that God has called a variety of people to be a part of his body.  Or that the people like myself who appear more edgy and less conservative have a vital role to play within evangelism.  There are a whole lot of people in this world I can reach better than Suzy Christian in her cardigan.  And there are a whole lot of people that Suzy Christian can reach better than me.  We are unified because of our faith.  We need to love Christians for their faith- not how much they act like us.

4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone...  I surrounded these verses with stars.  If the 1:4 is what directs our love for other Christians, these verses direct our love for non Christians.  How do we truly love the lost?  We are wise in our actions.  We make the most of the opportunity.  I don't think that this means we have to be super legalistic and avoid certain things so we look holy.  Rather, wherever you go and whatever you do, you should use that as an opportunity to share the gospel.  Being a good friend is not sharing the gospel.  The gospel is that we are lost, beyond our ability to save ourselves, and separated from God who is holy.  God in his grace sent his Son to cover our sins with his death.  We are given the opportunity to know God deeply and enter his presence and be freed from sin.  So if I am at happy hour with the non Christian, my job is to allow my love and gratitude for Christ to flow freely as I talk.  It really should be logical.  My day is full of the grace of God.  He sustains me during stress.  He encourages me when I'm overwhelmed.  He is so much a part of my day.  How can I share my day with a friend and NoT share what the gospel has meant for me that day?  How can I not acknowledge that it's the continual saving grace over my life that makes each day possible?  My conversation should be seasoned with grace, because my life is seasoned with grace.  I get asked all the time how I manage to do what I do as a single mom.  The answer is the gospel.  God's grace comes in to my life and gives me the strength to do what I could not do on my own.  The salt is the acknowledging the gospel truth.  Not shying away from the intensity that a Christian's life should be.  Salt goes through food and enhances everything.  Christ is in my life and enhances my everything.  The gospel should be the Christian's life.  In Christ, we live the day to day, we move from seemingly ordinary event to ordinary event, we ourselves are centered in Christ.  If we are recognizing the way the gospel is our every second of every day, our interaction is all Christ, all gospel, all true love for the world.

What do you think?  How do you feel you should interact with the Christian and the non Christian?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just a Closer Walk with Thee- The Daily Quiet Time


** Pardon the pictures which will have nothing to do with this post**

I've been asked a couple times here lately how I 'find the time' to have daily time with the Lord, etc. It's actually not that hard.   I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if I can manage this, you can too.  My job is crazy busy.  It can be crazy stressful.  I have a 3 year old.  I take care of him by myself.  I don't think you can be much busier than me.  So it can be done.  You just have to literally make it happen.


My 'recipe' for spending good, quality time in God's Presence:

1. Wanting to actually do it.  That seems kind of simple, I suppose, but the reality is, that's the hardest part.  I am desperate for more of God's Presence.  I crave that part of my morning.  And on the rare occasion I miss it in the morning, I cringe because I don't like doing my day without throwing myself all in to God's Presence.  And the reality is, listening to Christian music and praying on the drive in are just NOT the same as reading God's Word and letting Him meet you and fill you.  So if you struggle with the desperate need for God's Presence, start by praying that God would make himself so desired to you, that you literally just don't want to do a second, a day without more of Him.  There is an old hymn that goes something like this "I need thee every hour, oh precious lord.. I need thee oh I need thee.  Every hour I need thee."  Until that is truly your hearts desire, a consistent quiet time will never stick.  Now please don't think I'm oh so awesome for desiring this.  I am only like this because by myself I am just not the person I want to be.  Praise God for the darkness of my own heart though, because it makes it very clear how I need Him.  Every second.


2. A specified time.  I set my alarm at 4:00 and am up by 4:30.  I have myself and Jude's lunches packed between 5:00 and 5:15.  Then I sit down with my breakfast and coffee and spend 45 min give or take reading the Bible.  I leave my house around 6:30.  I'm literally up an hour earlier than I need to be almost just so I can make the time to spend with God.  I make it happen.  Because the reality is, by the time I get home from work, spend time with Jude, get dinner cooked, do something that needs to be done, a quiet time ain't happening.  It's just not.  I think that's the reality for a lot of people.  I know most of us aren't morning people.  I'm not either.  But I know that starting my day off right makes a huge difference in the way I'm meditating on God's Word from the get go.  I haven't slept it off overnight.  I actually became convinced this was the way to go years ago when I studied Genesis.  Cain brought a sacrifice.  It was rejected because it wasn't the FIRST fruits of his harvest.  Abel was bringing the BEST part of his life.  The question becomes what's really the best part of your day?  And this is supposed to be a sacrifice of praise and time.  Sacrifice doesn't imply convenience.  It implies work.  The first fruits of my day are at 5:15.  And I can tell a difference in the continual gift of His Presence that I find.  Tommy Nelson once said this "You don't have enough time to read the Bible?  Don't eat!  You can live without a meal- might even be good for you.  You can't live without God's Word."  I just do both at the same time ;)


3. A plan.  I currently am reading through the Bible.  I read 3 chapters a day, one chapter from each book.  I started in Genesis, Job, and Matthew.  So it's OT, Poetry/Prophet, NT.  Right now I am at the end of Deuteronomy, Psalms (still!) and Colossians.  There are a lot of plans to study the Bible.  But I'm telling you reading through the Bible has been the most life changing one I've ever done.  First of all, it forces you to read the 'boring' books, which incidentally I really think are life changing.  Second, you realize how the verses you were taught to memorize actually fit into all of scripture.  For example, who doesn't know Philippians 4:13.  No Christian I know.  How many of those Christians realize that Paul was actually talking about doing all things pertaining to being content and rejoicing through having little?  Not enough of them!  We act as though that verse means we can almost pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and call it Christ.  It's really about doing nothing, relying on Christ to do everything, and being JOYFUL during it all.  Contentment- something that's pretty far from most American's in our gimme culture.  Considering all the Lord's been teaching me about contentment, that verse has taken on actual significance.  Read through the Bible.  I challenge you.  It will actually change your life.


4. A way to focus.  I say this because it would be really easy to just sit and read my 3 chapters and think man that was great, and move on.  However, that is not what we are supposed to do.  Yes, read.  But then meditate.  I don't know what that looks like for you.  Here's what I do- I write out my prayers. Some famous Christian I can't remember said something about pens having eyes to your soul.  Something like that.  There is just something about writing it out that focuses you down deep in to your soul and pulls the depths out.  Personally, I write all my reflections on the chapter I read.  I basically highlight and stop to reflect over each section.  I write my reflections out in prayer form.  And the amazing thing is that as I write my questions become answered or my confused thoughts become clearer.  And that's the amazing part, because that is the Lord meeting me there in my quiet place and speaking to me in whispers to my soul.  Honestly, once you experience that #1 pretty much takes care of itself.  Christ's Presence is just addicting in all the right ways.


5.  Just keep doing it.  Make it happen.  Daily.  At your specified time.  Don't expect it to happen easily, because it's a discipline, it's work, and it's a sacrifice.  But keep your eyes on God knowing He is the author and perfector of your faith.  He will give you the grace the meet with Him if you honestly desire that (see#1).  God wants to meet with you daily, hourly...  The question is do you truly want to meet with Him.  Try it.  It's just worth it.  If you seek Him, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart.

Go find Him friends :)

Do you have an awesome quiet time already?  What are your secrets?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Lover of My Soul


Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul 
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
 and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
 and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


I can't tell you how many times in the past year I've wanted to write this post, but my thoughts on it are so great, it feels impossible to get out.  I finally decided to force myself to do it because I haven't blogged in so long and a conversation for a friend I've added to my prayer list.  Couple of friends really.  

First of all, God is amazing.  Just the way He sovereignly knows what I need, knows how to orchestrate the bad in my life to be the biggest blessings just blows my mind every time.  And just then stacks blessing on top of blessing.  I cannot fathom the way He loves us.  

As you know I got divorced 2.5 years ago.  That was by far the darkest hour of my life, emotionally.  I just felt like I was in this emotional fog constantly, and never really knew how to stay afloat.  And I certainly didn't keep myself afloat. I literally felt God carry me.  I mean literally hold me together because I was falling apart.  My opinion of myself during and after marriage was shattered.  The 4 years of that relationship were focused on me being reminded I was basically worthless.  And even when I walked away from that mentality, the mindset stuck for a long time.  (Still even being healed...)

God, in His mercy, brought me to a place where I had very little.  I was forced to rely solely on Him, to recognize all the ways I didn't put Him first.  And it was the biggest blessing.  Just feeling yourself carried through the day by Christ alone is a huge blessing.  I mean some days He's just there ya know.  (He's there all days, some days you just are more in tune.)  And I love that.  

There were a whole range of emotions I experienced the first year of that, most of them negative.  But each time I reached out to Christ, almost solely.  I learned so much about who Christ is during that time.  If there is one attribute that sticks out- and one I try to live daily still- it's that Jesus is the Lover of My Soul.   

I have to admit I always thought it was weird how that term was used to describe Christ.  It seemed so weird.  Not anymore.  Jesus was the one who hugged me emotionally.  He reassured me when I felt like I was nothing.  He made me know I was unconditionally loved when I felt worthless.  He was dependable when the person I thought should have been never was.  He made me feel special and adored and accepted because He chose me out of this world.  He took the time to come into my mess and transform me into something completely different.  He told me I was beautifully.  Not physically-but soul beautiful.  All these things I thought that a husband was supposed to do- He did.  And he did them so much better.  To the point I felt totally filled in every way.  I loved Christ's presence so much in my life, I came to realize that dating and getting remarried someday would be lovely and certainly a great gift, but never necessary.  Christ was able to satisfy my entire emotional desire to be loved.  100% able to.  Phillippians tells us that Our God will supply all our needs.  For some reason I thought that meant financially, physically, etc.  I just never realized he could meet all these emotional needs that I have as a girl.  The need to be loved, treasured, taken care of was His job alone.  And He could do it fully.  And there is not a person on this earth who would do it better.  This lesson has been the greatest gift of divorce.  I have felt so loved and secure the past year or so.  So far beyond my understanding.  And even now I fear these poor little words will never do justice to the way it is to be emotionally taken care of in Christ.  To not need a guy to tell me of my worth.  It's just crazy to me.  Mind blowing.  Christ loves you so deeply.  Experiencing Him is just beyond words.

My prayer for all women is that they understand that their heart is the most truly satisfied in Christ.  That regardless of how the person you are married to acts, you are totally loved and accepted and treasured by Him.  That if you are depending on a guy to fill that need, let go, and give that need to Christ.  And if you are single, be thankful.  Because you can pour yourself into Christ's love and find the fulfillment you crave.  And if you learn what it's like to be loved by Christ, it's amazing how much you can recognize godly when another guy does come along.  And it's amazing to me how liking a guy because of the way he acts like Christ in itself is so much more exciting that the romantic things.  Liking someone more and more because they are like Christ is both reassuring and truly exciting.  But more on that for another day.

Today, date Christ.  Let him woo you and be the only true Lover of you soul.  He can satisfy that need in amazing ways.  If you aren't a Christian, I encourage you to just try to get to know Christ.  You might be surprised by what you find.  I know He surprises me daily.

Also, Jude turned 3 in October!!!