Monday, January 26, 2015

The Little Things May Just be the Big Things


A small prayer — scrawled in one messy paragraph of sincere words — ended with:
“Please, Lord, set me free.”
Specific areas in my life didn't feel free, and I had some big ideas about what that was supposed to look like.
Over the last twelve months, what has actually unfolded has been quite different than I expected.
- - - - - - - - - ♥ - - - - - - - - -
Last year I had the honor of joining the beautiful team of women who write at Deeper Waters. I adore the heart of this ministry and I'm so grateful to Denise Hughes the dreamer behind it all, for seeing my heart. 


We are currently going through, The Christian’s Secret to Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. This book has had a profound impact on my heart, but you don't have to be reading the book to appreciate the insight.  Today I'm sharing some some words at Deeper Waters and hope you will join me.

While you are there, I hope you will take time to visit some of the things offered at Deeper Waters. You can find encouragement in the areas of faith, friendship, marriage, motherhood and creativity. Plus there is a free Bible reading plan that I am personally following this year. 


                                                                        - ♥ -

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Promise of Love



He bent down on one knee and asked me to promise my heart to him.

It was the part about keeping the promise for the rest of our lives, that scared me.

My heart had built up walls and in the process had become hard. My soul had conditions on how much I would or even could love. 

Have you been there too? When you think there is no way someone could love you like you need and that life has taken too big of a toll on your heart? 

Me too.

But this man of mine, took a chance on me. 
He drew me close, slipped one arm around my waist and with the other laced his fingers into mine as we danced to some ridiculous song. I wasn’t listening to the words of the music, I could only feel the beat of my heart waking up from its shattered slumber.

And before I knew what was happening, love was wreaking my life in the very best kind of way.

Jim made a promise to love me and I had a choice if I would open up my heart to let myself be loved. 

That is the hard part for us all, isn't it? This being brave and seen and known and to allow love to change us. Because all of us have been hurt in some way by loss and broken dreams.

He slipped the band of sapphires and diamonds on my finger and held my heart close. We made a vow to walk together through life, until there was no more life in us. 

He has shown me what love looks like, one selfless act at a time and his promises kept, have rewritten my heart. 

Love cuts through iron shackles that keep us from really living.

This promise he made? It isn’t love that is based on feelings.

Love, like we have lived, is not a contract that has conditions.

Because real love cannot be limited, fueled or filtered by mere emotions. 

Love doesn't have contingencies, like, “I’m too tired, too stressed, too upset.” 

Or, “When you do this, maybe than I’ll do that.” 

And these? “I will respond in love if you say the things I want to hear, or look thin and beautiful and things go okay – yes, then I’ll love you.” 

That is more of an arrangement, with limits and what I know from being married to this man, is that love isn’t like that at all.

Jim has shown me how to live a covenant kind of love. 

A love that promises to stay. 

Even though the valleys of life can be low and the climb to the summit is steep. And some seasons of life can hurt so deep there are not words, but the silence is pierced by the staying.

Feelings can be liars, driven and sifted through the screen of our past pain, our selfishness and the lies we have believed.

I can tell you with a certain degree of authority, that expectations and conditions  – make bad lovers.

This promise that we made, this covenant love, it is based on facts. 

And the fact is, love is a commitment. 

How do you even do that, when all around there are good people who don’t keep their promises? Folks who say they don't feel the love anymore and just move on? People who just walk out of your life because it was easier to go than to stay? 

Well, the only real answer is found in Jesus.

And marriage is a living picture of Christs love for us. 

Jesus has given us a covenant of grace. His love cuts through all that binds us. This love that had no conditions when He gave up everything to walk to the cross to settle all the issues of  this world, once and for all. 

He loved us so much He died for us.

And this?

Jesus whispers – Let me love you.

Let Me love you.

Let Me love you.

Let Me love you.

Let Me love you.

Jesus longs to take every broken place, every bruised heart and make it into a testimony of His unconditional love.

Just a few months before we walked down the aisle, Jim and I took a leap of faith and trusted in this Jesus and His covenant love. 

We believed that His love doesn’t waiver with our lack or abundance. 

We believed that His love in not founded in our performance and good deeds. 

No striving. 

No working to maintain or attain.

The love of Jesus is a gift. 

His gift is free, but like any gift, you have the choice if you will receive it.

When Jim and I believed on Jesus Christ, we became covenant people who are kept by the Promise. 

We bound our hearts to Jesus and then each other. 

Through storms and valleys, sickness and health, our love story has been rewritten in the red ink of God's love.

By stepping into God's renewing and transforming love, we began to love differently. We began to find out what real love looks like.

We all, in some way, long to have a love story written from our hearts, but more than that, Jesus wants to come in and write His love story on our hearts.

Jim and I will be celebrating our anniversary in a few days. One of the sweet parts of our story is when Jim whispered to me, “I promise to always love you, ” and I opened my heart to love again.  

And friends, Jesus whispers to all of us – Let me love you.

His is the only love that can heal every place in our souls and He is the One who is the eternal Promise-keeper. 


For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all, "yes" in Christ.




 
© Rhonda Quaney