Love Letters

There are few things I like more than receiving hand-written letters. And love letters? Oh, those have had my heart since I received my first one at 14. I’ll never forget the way I felt as my tall, dark, and handsome crush slipped a note to me in my Biology class. Reading those words that he adored me. That I was beautiful. That he couldn’t wait to spend time with me again. I was smitten. Not much has changed in the last 18 years. I’m still a sucker for romance. Of course that’s a little more complicated when you find yourself divorced on Valentine’s Day.

In God’s providence, I became a Christian on February 13th. Not long after that first love, and subsequent heartbreak, I committed my life to Christ at my church’s winter camp. I always try to take time and reflect on that life-changing decision when the anniversary approaches. And this year I’ve found myself particularly thankful for the timing of this reminder of God’s intervention in my life.

For the past month I’ve been trying to plunge myself into the depths of Jesus’ love for me. It’s made me realize how much of the Bible is just one gorgeous love letter from the Creator of the Universe to me. I read a devotional lately that summed up His love in this way: “God in giving Christ to die for us, declared that our salvation was more dear to him than the life of his only Son.” I know that God loves his Son, an extension of Himself, perfectly and completely. And yet he sacrificed that life so he could be with me. John 3:16 — God loved Monica in this way, by giving the life of his only Son. That’s just staggering.

Last Valentine’s Day I was barely existing and was in immense pain. I spent most of it bawling with my sister and losing all hope that my marriage would ever thrive again. It was during that time that a phrase kept coming to the forefront of my Bible reading. Unfailing Love. Then I started hearing it in sermons. Unfailing Love. Finding it in song lyrics. Unfailing Love. Coming across it in books and devotionals that I was reading. Unfailing Love. Again and again the phrase “God’s unfailing love” washed over me. It came into my hurting world– the one in which the one love that was supposed to last failed. But not God’s love. His is unfailing.

This Valentine’s Day feels different. I have amazing friends who’ve checked in with me and made sure I was going to be okay. There is even a spark of a new love that brings a lot of hope and excitement. There are my kids who get so excited to give me their heart-shaped Valentines. But more than that? More than any human love? There is Jesus’ love. Just as unfailing today as it was in my pain. Just as faithful as it was 18 years ago on the day he saved me. Ever and only Jesus, writing me love letters and making me whole.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Y’all. Things have been pretty darn serious on this here old blog. I love writing and processing my pain, and this has been such a safe and wonderful place to do that. But there is so much to be grateful for. So many things to rejoice over. And so many little blessing on any given day. Thus, I’m going to spend today rejoicing and celebrating some of my favorite things that are bringing joy to my heart these days.

:: Two Door Cinema Club :: I just discovered this band and it’s on stun most days when I’m at home. It’s perfect when I’m cleaning, editing, or having a dance party with my little ones. Sun is my favorite at the moment. That bass line though!

:: Blessings for the Morning :: My mom gave this to me (I think!) last summer and it’s sat on my shelf beneath a pile of books on grief and divorce. A week or so ago I cracked it open and I have a hard time putting it down. It’s not Scripture, but it is heavily based on the promises of Scripture. And it just helps focus my day on Jesus’ immense love for me and reminds me that my day is organized by his command.

:: Asian Cashew Chopped Salad :: Yes. This salad. It is from Costco and it is so perfect. Add a little grilled chicken and it fills me up for a healthy and easy lunch. Bonus? My kids beg me to have some, so they are getting a handful of veggies in too!

:: Karate :: Well, this one isn’t for me, but it’s still on my favorite list. My boys started karate this past month and it has been uh-mazing! They are learning all about discipline, focus, and respect. Plus I turn in an at-home-behavior report card to the sensei each week. It’s been a really helpful to have some back-up in the parenting department!

:: Energy Chews :: I mean, you all know that I love all the Shaklee products. Seriously, there’s only one that I’m not completely obsessed with and I’ve tried a ton of them. But these chews, holy smokes! They are a game changer. I don’t always get the best sleep and I’ve been trying to workout three days a week. Adding this to my pre-workout routine has made a REALLY significant difference. Plus it makes mama less cranky and just a happier person to be around. Win!

:: Canon Eos Elan II :: I’ve been kicking it old school and busted out my film camera from highschool. It was extremely high-tech at the time, top of the line. I’ve been keeping it in my car and stashing it in my purse, looking for the perfect opportunities. I love film shooting. It forces you to think through your shots instead of just snapping a picture of literally everything in your life.

:: Lularoe leggings :: I realize I’m pretty much every single lady my age on this one, but seriously, I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. I live in them all day and they make me so happy. They are cute. They are soft. They are comfortable. They are flattering. All the smiley faces for Lularoe!

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A Psalm

I don’t often write poetry, at least not since my high school days when I fancied myself something of a poet laureate. But a friend of mine recently encouraged me to write a psalm. I always do my homework assignments, so I couldn’t exactly say no. Bear with my attempt.

The center of his will, the apple of his eye
That is where my Lord has placed me
No circumstance can thwart his perfect plan
No consequence betray his unfailing love

The mighty winds may crash and howl
They are no match for the sound of His Name
The waves may loom and threaten nigh
They can only desist at his command

Each thorn has been placed with perfect care
To permit the blossom to flourish
Each pain and trial designed for me
For my good and for your glory

My soul has longed for lesser things
For ease, for comfort, for plenty
Yet you satisfy with your very presence
With joy, with grace, with freedom

I thank you, Lord, for the works you’ve done
How you’ve toiled over me with patience
I thank you, Jesus, for what you’ve overcome
For the endurance that you’ve promised

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