Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A date, abiding, and wedding thoughts

Kristian and I had a really fun date night at home recently. It was my turn to plan so I set up a little "cafe" with a window view- haha.
As you can see, the table is barely squeezed in beside our bed right up next to the window. I so enjoyed just sitting there eating and talking and watching all the people go by for a couple hours with my Love.
(You'll notice that actually really only one person gets a window view)I'm finding it increasingly fun to get creative in this small space. It's not bothersome like it felt before. It's all about perspective.
I'm often struck now by the absolute luxury of these 500 sq. ft in Spanish Harlem.
It's way beyond what we need. It's way beyond what most have.
I'm so very thankful.
I remember praying during the apartment search that brought us here a few years ago that God would just give us some amazing place- some gem of a find that was gorgeous and in the perfect neighborhood and, of course, ridiculously cheap or free. I prayed for this quite a bit and then felt that our move to east Harlem was God being silent somehow and us just having to take the cheapest place we could find.
Now I completely see that His hand was in this all the way.

"Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through his refusal, which are always his mercies."- E. Elliot

I've finally had time to go back and look over all the notes and thoughts I was writing down during the days surrounding Easter.
Thought I'd share a few. I don't really have time to blend it all into something nice sounding, so random thoughts will have to do for now...
(also, for those who are waiting for details on Kristian's trip- they're coming!)

On Thursday before Easter everyone from church met in homes to take communion together. Grapes, instead of it's juice, signified Christ's body being crushed for us... all thoughts on what was to happen the next day- Good Friday.

During the Lenten season this quote really resonated with me:
“Once my heart responds to God's love, I quickly become discouraged by my own sinfulness. In moments of emotion, I promise myself that I will certainly fly straight to heaven - but all too soon, I return to the ordinary difficulties of life. I am disappointed to find that I am just as selfish and irritated, just as full of pride and impatience as ever. My progress toward heaven goes in fits and spurts...

But these fluctuations in the spiritual are normal. I cannot make myself holy, any more than I could give myself eternal life. Both those things are Christ's job - and as I give myself to Christ moment by moment, day after day, His redeeming power continues to work in my life, making me whole." E. Prentiss

I felt at one moment that I might burst with love and adoration for Christ, and at another my heart would be so inclined to sin.

Lord, may my full allegiance be to you, and may I not waver & be tossed and turned by the temptations of this world! “For here we have no everlasting city, but we seek the city that is to come!” (Heb 13:14)

The importance of abiding has been made increasingly clear the past couple months. For me, even a half day without time in the Word and prayer makes me… well, me. When I see who I would be without the beauty of Christ in my life, it’s depressing. When I’m not leaning into Him for my every thought about myself, and word towards my husband, and action towards my co-workers, I’m so repulsive.

I hate the glimpses I see of who I am without Him.

“Abide in me, and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, NEITHER CAN YOU, UNLESS YOU ABIDE IN ME. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:4,5)

During communion I thanked God for actually wanting me as his pure and spotless bride! Father, help me to eliminate everything in my life that diverts my attention from you!

While thinking of who I am when I lead a life focusing on other things besides Christ, I had an image come to mind of a bride walking down the aisle toward her groom. Everyone knows that what makes those moments beautiful at a wedding is when the bride and groom are just overwhelmed with love and can’t take their eyes off of each other.

It would be pretty anticlimactic if the bride made her grand entrance through the double doors and then just started chatting with people all the way down to the front of the church.

What if she just glanced over at the groom once or twice with disinterest just to make sure he'd shown up, paying more attention to the guests and commenting on their nice outfits and the weather and what they’d be eating at the reception? No- that would be utterly bizarre!

We would feel heartbroken for the poor groom, especially if he stood there with tears of joy in his eyes beholding the beauty of his soon-to-be wife and was completely enthralled by her. (Although we need not pity God. His love for us is not dependent on what we do for Him).

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Jesus- Thank you for giving us your body and your blood through Communion until we meet you face to face.

Thoughts to come on Good Friday and Easter...