Hedges 2: Playing Together in the Sandbox

Last week, I started a series on building hedges to protect your marriage. Installment #1 dealt with building hedges at work (if you missed it, you can read it here). For installment #2, I thought I’d talk about building hedges with friends of the opposite sex. But before I go there, let’s revisit my disclaimer for this series…

While I think that all Christian married couples should work to protect their marriages based on these passages and others, not every couple will go about it in the same way. The “hedges” that Dan and I have set up are good for us. They may not be good for you, and that’s okay. The hedges you and your spouse put up are between you and God. Period. No judgment here.

Now back to our scheduled programming… 🙂

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a lot of “boy friends.”

As a toddler, I had tea parties with Lance and indoor picnics with Charles.

In kindergarten, we played a recess game called Cats and Dogs. The boys were the dogs and the girls were the cats…with one exception. The boys got to choose one girl to be the Queen Dog and the girls got to choose one boy to be the King Cat. Poor little Bruce was chosen to be the King Cat. Me, on the other hand…I had the honor of being the Queen Dog.

If you look at pictures of my Sweet 16 Birthday Party, you’ll find my best friend Bethany…and about a dozen guys surrounding us.

And when I got to college, I made a few close girlfriends, but spent a lot of time being “one of the guys.”

Needless to say, building hedges with my male friends is still an adjustment for me.

When I married Dan, I had to change my friend habits. I’m no longer “one of the guys” but a wife to one man and one man only. I didn’t have to change because Dan is some sort of crazy controlling husband. I wanted to change because I love him dearly and want to protect what we have together.

So what has this looked like for me? Before you continue, remember my disclaimer;)

1) I don’t do one-on-ones with my guy friends. Ever.

There are two kinds of guy friends: married and single. Most of my single guy friends have moved away, so I don’t have to worry too much about it. But when and if they come back in town and want to get together, they can either come over to my house and spend time with Dan and I, or we (Dan + me + guy friend) can meet somewhere. Honestly, if they care about me, and I love Dan and enjoy spending time with him, then I’m sure they’ll enjoy spending time with him too. Plus…and I’m being completely honest here…I don’t think I’ve ever been really good friends with a guy who at some point in time I didn’t find myself remotely interested in. Even if I was just interested for a moment during a long-term friendship, I wouldn’t want that moment to creep back up on me. So, I’m protecting Dan, yes, but I’m also protecting myself.

Married friends are a bit easier. Dan and I only hang out with friends of the same sex or our married COUPLE friends, and I don’t think either of us feels like we’re somehow “missing out.” It’s just double the fun!

2) When we do have “couple friends,” I remain guarded.

Sadly, I have known a few people whose marriages have fallen apart when a spouse from Couple A and a spouse from Couple B end up having an inappropriate relationship. To avoid that fate, all communications between me and another person’s spouse are done out in the open. Very, and I mean very, rarely do I text or email one of my friend’s spouses in the private sphere. They might get a text from me on their birthday or Christmas, but that’s about it. No long conversations back and forth, no private facebook messages, etc. If I do happen to send or receive a message to/from a male friend, I try to share with Dan so he’s in the loop and not taken off guard by anything, and if I’m the one sending, I might “cc” my guy friend’s wife on the text so that she’s not taken off guard.

I also try to be very sensitive to my surroundings when I’m with other couples. Either boy, girl, girl, boy or girl, boy, boy, girl at the movie theatre (I’d rather share my armrest with my hubby!), and I try not to sit right next to another married man on a couch or at a table if I can avoid it. Obviously you could take this to the extreme, but as a general rule of thumb, I try to sit next to my husband or another woman.

These are hedges of protection for me and Dan, but I also think that they’re hedges of protection for our friends. I would hate for one of my girlfriends to for some reason see my name in her husband’s inbox and have that rush of panic come over her. Even if my intentions were completely pure, I wouldn’t want her to feel any sort of fear or anxiety. Romans 14 says to never “put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother,” and I never want to be that stumbling block. Yes, hedges protect my own marriage, but they also protect the marriages of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

3) I don’t touch.

To be honest, I’m not a huge “toucher” in general. In normal conversation, I wouldn’t lean over and touch someone’s knee or shoulder to make a point, so for me, not touching isn’t that hard. But I do try to keep a decent circle of space. I do high fives and side hugs (if you want a good laugh, read Jon Acuff’s post on side hugs over at Stuff Christians Like) with my oldest and truest guy friends, but that’s about it. Ha…how corny do I sound right now–high fives and side hugs? Pffft.

4) I do touch.

I’m all about appropriate marital PDA. I hold my husband’s hand, rub his back, and kiss him on the head when I walk behind him. These are all little reminders to him that HE is my husband and that I chose HIM over everyone else. Plus, like I said in installment #1, when people see you interact with your husband, they are more likely to respect your marriage.

5) I play taboo.

As I discussed in installment #1, I try not to get all “emo” on my guy friends. No deep, emotional talks without my husband present and no discussing my husband’s flaws, our marital issues, or our sex life. I also don’t discuss things that I haven’t discussed with my husband yet. In other words, no secrets that my husband isn’t aware of.

If there’s ever a question in my mind as to whether or not I should be discussing something with another man, I try to think, Would Dan feel comfortable if he were sitting here with me right now? Or better yet, Would I feel comfortable if Dan was talking to another woman like I’m talking to this man right now? Do unto others…

5) Center my friendships around the gospel.

If my friendships with men are centered around the fellowship and furtherance of the gospel, then I have nothing to fear. (I totally stole that phrase from Warren Wiersbe, so no, I’m not that amazingly smart all by myself!)

Think about it…

I have non-Christian male friends. If I am constantly keeping the gospel at the center of my heart and mind, then I will not act inappropriately with them. God designed marriage to be a beautiful representation of Christ and his church. If am continually trying to further the gospel, then I will not want to distort this representation. I won’t act inappropriately because I will want to show proper respect for my husband to demonstrate the respect I have for Christ. If the furtherance of the gospel is at the forefront of my mind, then I will want to be the best testimony possible so that God might use me as the salt and light in my friend’s life.

But there are also my Christian friends who already believe in the gospel. Often times we describe the time that we spend with our Christian friends as fellowship. “Come on over for some fun and fellowship.” “Thank you, Lord, for food and fellowship.” “Would you like to come fellowship with us as we watch the Bears destroy the Packers?” Good ole’ fellowship. 🙂

But what exactly does fellowship mean? Literally, it means “in common.”

As Christians, we have one thing in common: the gospel.

Warren Wiersbe says that salvation is a threefold work: 1) the work God does for us–salvation, 2) the work God does in us–sanctification, 3) the work God does through us–service. We are a saved people who are being sanctified by God in order to best serve and glorify him. If we keep the gospel in mind, then we will never want to do anything to hinder the work that God is doing in and through our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Instead…

“…Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10: 19-25

As a “girl friend,” and more importantly as a sister in Christ, I must only act as to stir up my brothers to love and good works, encouraging them, as the Day of the Lord draws nearer.

In closing…

Be a dog on the playground. Have fun with the boys. Girls rule, boys drool, and hedges let us play together safely in the sandbox. All to the glory of God.

JOY!

2010 was, to put it bluntly, the worst year of my life. For a while I felt guilty saying this, since it was also my first full year of marriage, but Dan agrees, and we’re okay with that. Our marriage is solid, we love and appreciate each other more, we had lots of good times…but it still sucked. Pardon my French (I’ve always wondered why people say that after every crude phrase…anyone know? Hmmm?)

So, let’s just say I was ecstatic to ring in a new year. Goodbye 2010, helllloooooooo 2011! Welcome, welcome, welcome! The Stanleys welcome you with open arms! And so does Mariah Carey…

Pfffft.

I’m so not a New Year’s resolution type girl, but this year, I’m giving it a whirl.

This year, be it resolved, that I, Chelsea Kathleen Stanley, will pursue joyfulness.

Pursuing joyfulness. How hard can it be, right? Ha. Three days in, and it’s already a struggle.

So what am I doing to pursue the joy? Here are my sub-resolutions…

Physical
Exercise more. As Elle Woods would say, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t just go around killing people.” Booya…in your face, Kate Gosselin! (I’ve been saying that all day for some reason…and I kinda like it, I’m not gonna lie).

I also want to cook more meals. In 2010, we went out to eat a lot because I just didn’t have the energy to come home and take care of us. This year, even if it’s hot dogs and crescent rolls, I want to have more meals on the table.

Mental
More reading. Can I just say, Zion-Benton ruined me for life? I DESPISE reading. Seriously. I used to love it. I was reading novels in kindergarten. I couldn’t get enough. Then along came active reading, and I was ruined.

BUT…I’m going to try to love it again. I need something to help me relax, and I think it might just do the trick. So far, I’m halfway through Noel Piper’s “Treasuring God in Our Traditions” and I’m actully enjoying myself. Plus, she taught me how to make killer spaghetti. And how cool is it that I get to make Noel Piper’s spaghetti for my husband who adores her husband? Ahhh…the circle of life.

Emotional
No more anxiety. No more depression. No more anxiety. No more depression. No more anxiety. No more depression. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Last year, I had an intense battle with anxiety, and I wasn’t quite able to kick it. This year, I’m determined to “be anxious for nothing.” A goal that I think will be beneficial for me and my sweet, patient husband.

A while back, during one of my bouts of anxiety, Dan found a strategy for fighting it. It’s actually from a John Piper article on fighting lust, but it works just as well on anxiety. He calls it ANTHEM. And it will continue to be my ANTHEM for 2011.

A-Avoid situations that you know will bring about undue anxiety and remove yourself from situations if you know what they’re leading to.
N-Say “No” within 5 seconds. “No. In the name of Jesus Christ, I will not be anxious.”
T-Turn your mind towards Christ. Think about what he’s done for you and who he is.
H-Hold on to those thoughts. Keep holding. Hold on tight!
E-Enjoy! Get to a point where you have been holding your thoughts so tightly that you begin to enjoy and savor Christ.
M-Move into a useful activity (hence, my reading/exercise goals).

I seem to get stuck on H. I turn my mind towards Christ, but I just don’t hold on long enough.
Not too long ago, I was home alone when I was hit with a big dose of anxiety. I called Dan, and he told me to open my bible to Psalm 23 and to keep on reading it until my holding turned into enjoying. No joke…I repeated Psalm 23 for 2 hours straight. And in the process, I memorized it (why I hadn’t memorized the 23rd Psalm before that night is beyond me, but c’est la vie…) That night, I decided that I had to memorize more scripture. So this year, I am hoping to memorize the book of Philippians. Which brings me to…

Spiritual
I’m starting a study on Philippians…Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Joyful.” I love the subtitle of the study…”Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy.” Story of my life right now. I desparately need joy, and I need to find it in Christ. Thank you, Warren Wiersbe.

I’m also hoping to read through the bible this year. Not to “say I’ve done it.” I really really want to. I’m trying a chronological study in hopes that it’ll be a better fit than last year’s. I am not the type that can read 4 different books at once. Can you say overwhelming? The chronological plan seems to fit my style a bit better. One chunk at a time.

So that’s where I’m headed in 2011. A few days ago, Dan and I were talking about how all the bloggers seem to have “theme words” for 2011. Dan decided his would be “brilliant.” I thought there might be some “brilliant” meaning behind that word choice, so Iasked him what it was, but he said it was just the first word that came to mind. Ha. I actually came up with my word for the coming year. No surprise here…

JOY.

And my prayer to go along with it (from Psalm 51)…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.


BRING ON THE JOY!

D-Day

So it’s official. A day that I will never forget. November 30, 2010. The day my parents divorced.

Dan called me during lunch today and asked how I felt. There’s no real way to answer that, but I tried my best to explain. “It’s like knowing someone is going to die. You’re expecting it, you’ve tried your best to brace yourself. But the minute you hear those words…you still feel like someone knocked the wind out of you. You still mourn and grieve. You’re still devasted by the loss.”

This may sound “morbid”, but I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile now. What will I write on that day? Will I even want to write? What would I even title something like that? And every time I thought about it, “D-Day” popped into my mind. I wasn’t even sure what that meant to me until today…

D-Day.

Divorce. Depression. Disaster. Disguist. Disgrace. Disobedience. Denial. Distress. Division. Derision. Darkness. Danger. Defeat. Destruction. Desolation.

These D’s don’t need any explanation. Just devastating.

But there are other D’s…

D-Day.

Devotion.
Today, I stand more devoted to my Lord God and to my husband.

Depth.
Today, I am deeper in love with God. He is faithful. He is true. He will never break his covenants. Romans says “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

Discipline.
Today, I can say that I know the meaning and value of “church discipline.” I can also say that I now see the importance of discipline in my own life. Hebrews 12:11 says “For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those have been trained by it.” This is a lifelong race. I need to start training.

Delight.
Over the past year, I have dealt with a great deal of depression and anxiety. No more! Today, I find delight. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and yours words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16.

Defend.
Today, I reaffirm my commitment to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim 6:12) and to defend and protect my marriage. Ephesians 6 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Desire.
Today, in the midst of my sorrow, I find myself desiring God. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73

Dawn.
Today, I dare to believe that I still have reason to sing. This song has given me great hope over the past few months…

“Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.” Psalm 112:4

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Dancing.
Today, I dance. I find great comfort in these verses from Psalm 30, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” HE will turn my mourning into dancing. HE will loose my sackcloth and clothe me in gladness. I don’t have to do it on my own. Let’s boogie.

Daughter.
Today, I am thankful for my earthly father and mother. I am thankful that they raised me in the ways of the Lord. I am thankful that I grew up in a Christian home. I am thankful that we went to church and prayed as a family. While I’ll never understand their divorce, I am thankful.

More importantly, I am thankful that I am a daughter redeemed. Blessed be the Lord, for he has not left me this day without a redeemer. Hallelujah! I’m adopted. My father, my redeemer. I am truly a daughter redeemed.

No More Night

I am extremely thankful this Thanksgiving season.

I don’t remember ever being as thankful as I am this Thanksgiving. It seems odd to me, since this has been one of my most difficult seasons of life, but I just can’t stop giving thanks. And with that being said, today, I am especially thankful for…

No More Night.

When Dan and I first started dating, I brought him to a Gaither Homecoming Concert for his birthday (go ahead…you can laugh). One of the reasons we were so excited for the concert (go ahead…laugh again) was that David Phelps would be singing. He is still one of our favorites to this day. And one of my favorite David Phelps songs is “No More Night.” A beautiful reminder of the hope we have as Christians.

On Sunday, we attended a Thanksgiving service with some friends, and one of the men who spoke said that he was thankful for “the now, the never and the not yet.” The “not yet” being the day when there will be “no more night.”

In a time when I feel as though the night will never go away and the dawn will never come, I am thankful for these promises in Revelations:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’…No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Amen and amen! “For the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

The beautiful “No More Night” by David Phelps

The timeless theme, Earth and heaven will pass away,
It’s not a dream, God will make all things new that day.
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell.
Evil is banished to eternal hell.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the “Great I AM.”
We will live in the light of the risen lamb.

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing.
The only sound is the praises to Christ our King.
Slowly the names from the book are read.
I know the King, so there’s no need to dread.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the “Great I AM.”
We will live in the light of the risen lamb.

See over there, there’s a mansion prepared just for me.
Where I will live with my savior eternally.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the “Great I AM.”
We will live in the light of the risen lamb.

The Family Worship Basket

For the past few months or so, Dan and I have had what we call “family worship times.” They’re not overly consistent (we’re working on that!), but when we do have them…oh, how they refresh my soul! We typically start out by singing a few hymns or praise songs while Dan plays his acoustic guitar. Then we’ll either look at a passage of scripture together or use Tabletalk magazine as a devotional. And we end with a time of prayer.

Not too long ago, we had a family worship time, and I realized I was running all over the house trying to find our family bible, the hymnal, our binder full of worship songs, etc. So I decided to gather all of the items in one central location so that I wouldn’t be searching in the future. The result? Our family worship basket. And let me tell you, I LOVE it.
It’s such a simple idea, but I just love having a special place for our family worship materials. I can just picture our kids (Lord willing!) scampering over to the worship basket to get the family bible and song book so that Daddy can lead us in a time of worship. It brings a smile to my face!

This is a really easy project. All you need is a basket…

I like baskets with liners. They’re great because you can switch out the liner for different seasons!

Then add your worship resources. Here’s what’s in our basket…

Our Family Bible (a wedding gift to ourselves)

A Hymnal (I might have accidentally swiped this from my childhood church…)

Worship music binder (full of chord sheets from our years of leading worship together)

Tabletalk Magazine (started getting this for Dan as a V-Day gift long ago…)

And voila! You have yourself a family worship basket.

What items would you put in your family worship basket?

Dirty Dishes

Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers, a stay-at-home mom, said she was looking for women from different walks of life to write guests posts on how they stay organized. I saw “married woman with no children” and got really excited…only to realize that I’m not organized. I want to be. I desperately want to be. But I’m not. Insert frustration here.

So, of course, I immediately went to the kitchen and started chipping away at the mountain of dirty dishes that had accumulated over the past few days. And I beat myself up. How are all these women so much better than you at keeping their homes organized, Chels? How is it that your friends are able to crank out home project after home project when you have been scraping wallpaper glue off your walls for months? Are you just lazy? What’s wrong with you? There must be something seriously wrong. You need to get up earlier. You need to set a routine. You need to do this, you need to do that. What kind of a wife are you?!?

My friends, I came to a realization today. This is EXACTLY what Satan wants me to think. He wants me to beat myself up. He wants me to be jealous of my sisters in Christ. He wants me to think that I’m a failure. He is the master manipulator, the father of lies, and he wants me to fall right into his trap.

As I thought through each and every one of these lies, the Holy Spirit helped me see the truth to attack each one them.

How are all these women so much better than you at keeping their homes organized?

Most of your friends are stay-at-home moms, so they spend more time in their homes! And many of your friends have been married for 3,4,5, even 10 years! They have had LOTS of practice and probably struggled adjusting to their role as “homemaker” too. Give yourself some grace! You are a lot better at taking care of your home now than you were a year ago. A year from now, you’ll probably improve even more! And in the meantime, instead of being jealous, enlist your friends for some homemaking advice. Titus 2 says that the older women are to train the younger women, so ask them for pointers. They’d probably be glad to help you out!

How is that your friends are able to crank out home project after home project when you have been scraping wallpaper glue off your walls for months? Are you just lazy? What’s wrong with you?

Ecclesiastes 3 reads:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.”

This is not the “time for home projects,” daughter, rather a time of mourning, brokeness, and loss. This is a difficult season of life for you…a season of divorce, a season of broken relationships, and a season of changes. Do not be jealous of others, for they are not jealous of your circumstances.

In this season, it’s okay to not have the perfect house. Focus on making a home instead. Love your husband. Honor and respect him. Take time to pray. Spend time with God. There will be a time when you, too, will be able to crank out home projects. For now, just do the doable.

You need to get up earlier. You need to set a routine.

The truth is, you could stand to be more organized. You do fall short in areas, and you need to work on being more purposeful with your time. You say you don’t have time, but much of your time is spent watching TV or browsing the internet. It’s important to relax, so do that, but don’t be dependent on those things for your relaxation. Find your rest in me. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary or heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Spend time with me on a daily basis, and I will give you what you need to get through the day.

A routine is a good idea, so you should start implementing it, BUT don’t feel like you’re a slave to it. Much of your time is consumed by dealing with this difficult season, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get around to that load of laundry.

What kind of wife are you?!?

You are an aspiring Proverbs 31 woman. That’s what kind of wife you are. Your husband trusts you. You try your best to do him good, and not harm. You provide food for your household, even if it’s mac n’ cheese or a frozen pizza! You make sure your husband has ironed clothes each and every morning, even if he has two different socks on. You work with willing hands at the office and at home. You are a modern-day resourceful woman, you “super-couponer”! You care for the needy and open your unpainted, less-than-perfect home to your family and friends. You are learning to be wise and kind more and more each day. You fear the LORD!

No, you’re not perfect. Not even close. But a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Be praised, my daughter, be praised. Just make sure you do the dishes;)

There’s no place like home

Tonight, I left my childhood home with feelings of guilt, anger, and most of all, sadness.

I spent nearly 20 years of my life in that home.  I have many precious memories within those walls.  But today, it just felt like an empty vessel.
I remember Christmas morning, when mom would curl up on the chair with her coffee mug while my sisters and I cuddled with dad as we listened to the Christmas story.
That won’t be happening this year.
I remember waking up in the morning to find mom and dad hugging in the kitchen.  I would squeeze in between them and make a “Chelsea sandwich” before Dad headed off to work.  
Now I’m sandwiched between them in a different way.
I remember the looks they used to give each other, the laughs, the kisses, the terms of endearment.  They are oh-so-vivid in my memory, but apparently, not in theirs.  
My heart aches for them right now.  And more than anything, I desire for God to bring them back together. Tonight, I kneel before the God whose love and desire for restoration far surpasses mine, and I pray this prayer for my parents… 
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


Awaiting my bridegroom’s return…

Last night, my husband, Dan, was supposed to have his weekly accountability group meeting. Don’t get me wrong, I am elated that my husband is involved with such a great group of guys on a weekly basis, but on this particular night, I just wanted him home. I whined, I flirted, I tried everything to get him to stay, but when 6:45 rolled around, out the door he went.

Little did I know that at 7:00, the front door would open again. Accountability group had been cancelled and there was Dan with Ben and Jerry’s in hand, ready to spend an evening with his bride. It was such a pleasant surprise, and I was so excited to have him home!

As I was reflecting on last night’s event, I thought to myself…wouldn’t it be great if I longed for Christ to return just as I longed for Dan to return last night? I think all too often I get so wrapped up in this present world that I forget about my future life with my true bridegroom, Jesus. For my he will return to spend not just an evening, but an ETERNITY, with his bride, the Church. How exciting is that?

In the last book of the Bible, John shows us how we are to long for our Savior’s return. Read the Word of the Lord:

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!


Today, let our prayer be just that. “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”