April 16, 2013

His Banner Over Me is Love

A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, our son had a soccer game just outside of Washington, DC.  It was the perfect day for a game... cool, breezy temps and plenty of bright, warm sunshine.

When the game was over, we met my brother-in-law, his girlfriend and our nephews for dinner in the District.  After a fun evening of catching up and enjoying great food and time together, we began to make our way back home.

photo credit: trolleytours.com

As we navigated through the city streets taking in beautiful nighttime views of The White House, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial and other must-see sights, we came upon a building with an enormous banner hanging on it and written on the banner in big, bold, black letters were these words...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope." 
 ~Jeremiah 29:11

I could hardly believe my eyes.  As we came to a stop at the light beside the building, I looked out my window and up at the banner and tried to wrap my mind around it.  It was so out of place in the middle of a city that doesn't necessarily fear and honor God, yet it was exactly in the right place... right where we would see it as we drove past.  I love how God shows up in the most unexpected places and makes his presence and love for us known.

God etched this verse on my heart many years ago and its words have been a continual guide to me as I've walked with him.  They are words of promise and hope... words that call me to rest in the midst of chaos and to continue to trust when our path feels shaky and uncertain.  They speak of life and goodness, prosperity and safety, and they remind me that I don't have to write my own story and make and secure our plans for the future.  That's entirely up to God.  He is in control and he knows the plans he has for me.

I'm really not quite sure what he's up to these days... what plans he's crafting and how our path will continue to unfold.  But I do know his words to me are true and I know he can be trusted.  I sense his favor, his smile on our lives, and sometimes I even sense a slight, sneaky grin that seems to say, "Just wait and see what I have in store for you!"

His banner over me is love...

Literally.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you and show you great and mighty things you have not known.  You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart."
~Jeremiah 29:11-13

"He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love."
~Song of Solomon 2:4


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April 12, 2013

Grateful: A List

I'm starting a new series on my blog inspired by Carina at Lovely Little Whimsy.  From time to time, I'll be posting a list of some of the many things I'm grateful for since there are always an infinite amount of them each and every day... from the simple to the extraordinary.  I want to capture those things, savor them, and remember them as the days go by.  Our hearts are always lifted when we recognize and name our blessings.  It's a great exercise of faith and so good and rich for the soul.  

Today, I'm grateful for...

...the peaceful, soothing, spring rain that's falling outside my window as I catch up on my reading, work on a few posts, spend some time with Jesus, listen to classical music and breathe in the warm-vanilla-sugar candle that's burning in my kitchen.  Ambiance is everything.

...my husband who prayed over me at 4 am before he left for work, gave me sweet kisses, and rubbed the foot I could no longer feel since it had fallen asleep.  I think I'll keep him forever.

...the Cherry Blossom tree that has bloomed each spring throughout the six-plus years that we've lived here.  It's delicate, moonlight-white petals have been a lovely gift to my heart all these years.  I will miss that pretty little tree when we move.


...the cute and funny and sweet texts that I keep getting from my sixteen-year-old girl who is away for three days on a school choir trip.  I'm grateful she loves her momma so much to even send her texts and the fact that they're adoringly precious is pure bonus.  Oh how I love that girl!  She's my bestie.

...the brand-new, front-loading, energy-efficient washer and dryer that will soon grace the laundry room of our new home.  I'm tired of getting by with the never-dependable, hardly-efficient models in our rental home.  I heart beautiful appliances and I especially heart that I'll soon have a laundry room and not just a laundry closet!

...a fun evening ahead that includes dinner at an Italian restaurant in the city and tickets to a Washington Nationals baseball game with my man and a couple I've never met but look forward to meeting (he's a business associate of my husband's).  I wonder what I will wear...

...the pumpkin-banana-anything muffins that I'm planning to make as soon as I finish this post that will make my house smell fabulous and keep me and my family healthy.  Not to mention, I'm also grateful for the cookbook that's soon to arrive at my front door, written by Shauna Niequist, who shared the recipe.

...my thirteen-year-old boy who woke me in the middle of the night because his allergies were bad and he couldn't quit sneezing.  After I groggily gave him some medicine, tucked him back in bed, and put a cold washcloth over his puffy, itchy eyes, he sweetly said, "Thank you, Momma, for taking such good care of me."  Be. Still. My. Heart.

...the comforting peace that's finding its way to my heart over our move, how Jesus is answering my prayers and giving me a love for this place and hope for the days ahead.  I'm growing a bit more excited each day to see all that he has in store and I think I might just love it.


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April 11, 2013

Swimming Along

I went for a walk near our new home this morning.  The sun was shining bright, the birds were singing happily, and the cherry blossoms were in full, beautiful bloom.  It will be a warm day here in Northern Virginia since spring is already quickly giving way to summer.  I do love this time of the year... the hope and life it brings after the dead of winter has passed.

As I strolled the path around the pond near our new house, I spotted these little sweeties floating along peacefully and diving down under the water, every so often, to look for food.  I stopped and watched them and wondered at their rest, how they simply and quietly swim along with no worries or cares.


I thought about how I want to live life like that... to navigate and swim its waters with ease, quietly at rest, without a care in the world.  I know God wants me to live like that too.  He wants me to lean back in his arms, relax and let go, and let his current carry me.  He wants me to trust him with my heart and all that I hold dear.

I've been asking Jesus to give me a love for this place... for this new home and season.  Though we're moving just a few minutes away and most of our life will remain the same, we're desperately longing for more... more freedom, more life, greater hope, and a renewed sense of purpose for our future.  I want to see what God sees, love what he loves, and want what he wants for us.  I want to see him in this place like I never have before, on every corner and around every bend.  I want to trust in the story he's writing and believe that our journey continues.  There are chapters upon chapters that he has yet to write, yet to create, with our lives, and though it sometimes feels that this season is the end, I know in my heart it's really only the beginning.

May I swim it well.

 


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April 2, 2013

I Need Him More

Like a gentle, steady spring rain, the tears flowed freely for me on Easter.  They trickled down my face as we drove to church quietly listening to worship music.  They filled my eyes as we stood in praise and worship during the service.  And even on the way home, as we talked about our desires, our future, and all God has done and is doing in our lives, the tears came easily.

My heart is so tender right now and it seems to brim over with every emotion... hope and joy, disappointment and grief, love and desire, to name a few.

Our days continue to be interesting and surreal, marked by faith, yet sometimes painful and difficult.  We truly are living one step and day at a time, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.  I'm so aware that he's near... his perfect love and care, his kindness and gentleness... they cover my days and cover me. 

I woke this morning to the song "I Need You More" playing through my heart and mind and I realized I'd been listening to its beautiful lyrics all through the night.  I love this scripture that speaks of God delighting in us, quieting us with his love, and rejoicing over us with singing...

"The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with is love.  He will rejoice over you with singing." 
~Zephaniah 3:17

I heard his sweet voice singing gently over me in my rest last night, reminding me that I need him more than I need anything.  I need him more than words can express, more than I did yesterday, and more than I've ever needed him before.  I need him more than I need wisdom and understanding and more than I need the next step in our journey.  I need him more than I need to know what tomorrow will bring and more than I need my prayers answered and my dreams to come true.

I need him more and the beautiful, hope-filled truth is that he's more than enough.


photo credit: tree hugger.com

I need You more 
More than yesterday
I need You Lord 
More than words can say 
I need You more 
Than ever before 
I need You Lord 
I need You Lord 

More than the air I breathe 
More than the song I sing 
More than the next heartbeat 
More than anything 
And Lord as time goes by 
I'll be by Your side 
Cause I never want to go back 
To my old life 

Right here in Your presence 
Is where I belong 
This old broken heart 
Has finally found a home 
And I'll never be alone


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