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10.08.2013

like a bridegroom and a bride.

a week ago today was our second anniversary, which i realize sounds like child's play compared to forever, but to us, two years is a big deal and definitely worth celebrating. our tradition (if you can call it that... we've only done it twice now) is to split fajitas at our favorite mexican place since that's what we did on our first date. last year, we followed that up with year-old wedding cake, but this year we indulged on my favorite dessert in town -- chocolate cobbler at blu. so delish. then, the best part of the night is watching our wedding video and crying our (my) little eyes out. i love reliving everything about that day. (side note: if you haven't gotten married yet, let me very strongly recommend that when you do, you invest in a stellar videographer. i'm so glad we did. thanks, whenitclicks!)

needless to say, i was extra sentimental last week about all things love, wedding, and marriage. i think i even said to chris at one point, "my goal in life is to figure out how i can wear my veil again." totally normal, right?

so, one morning i decided to look up all the different times in scripture where wedding imagery is used. having just seen our video and looked through our photos, these verses completely came alive for me. i would love to share a couple with you. they're just so good, y'all.

"I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels."
-- Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)

isaiah says that our righteous acts are like filthy rags (isaiah 64:6), but God clothes us in his righteousness, which is far more beautiful than wedding clothes and jewels. and the best part is that unlike that beautiful veil that i only got to wear one time and desperately want to wear again, when we are in Christ, we will always be clothed with his salvation and adorned with his righteousness. when God looks at us, he doesn't see our filthy rags -- he sees Christ's stunning righteousness.

okay one more:

"...and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
-- Isaiah 62:5 (ESV)

it's the best part of every wedding -- watching the groom's face when he first lays eyes on his bride. when you imagine what God's face looks like when he looks at you, do you imagine a look of frustration? annoyance? disappointment? indifference? according to isaiah, if we imagine God's face to look like anything other than a groom's looking at his bride, we are wrong... just flat out believing a lie.


he is not frustrated or annoyed with you. he is not disappointed in you, and he's certainly not indifferent toward you. when he looks at you, he can barely hold it together. he cherishes you. he sees you as beautiful and radiant -- clothed in salvation and adorned with Christ's righteousness. 

we have to quit believing the lies so easily. we have to quit trying to dress ourselves in filthy rags.
let him clothe you with his radiant righteousness. 
let your heart believe he is captivated by your beauty.
know that because of Christ, God is so pleased with you and so proud of you.
when he looks at you, it is a look of sheer joy and utter amazement. 

9.28.2013

psalm 94:17-19.

If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, "My foot slips," your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

sometimes when i'm having a hard time believing God in my present tense, i have to remember who he's been in my past tense. i like to think that's what the psalmist is doing here -- verses 17 and 18 are in past tense, and verse 19 is in present tense. so, the way we would finish that past tense sentence ("If the Lord had not been my help, ______________.") should add at least a tiny bit of strength to our present tense faith, right?


also, i'm thankful that "when the cares of my heart are many," the one who paul refers to as "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort" cheers, delights, and comforts my soul. what grace that though he commands us not to worry, he provides loving-kindness when we do. though he commands us throughout scripture not to be afraid, he provides comfort when we are. whatever our cares, worries, fears, anxieties are, we can look to the Lord's steadfast love (how good is the word "steadfast"?!) to hold us up when our feet are slipping.


i'm pretty terrible at remembering these things and pretty great at letting fear run the day. but that's not how we were made to live. we have the Spirit of power inside of us -- the same one that raised Jesus from the dead -- so at the very least i think that Spirit can help us to remember who our God is and how he's been faithful in our past tense, then strengthen us in our present tense to punch fear (anxiety, worry, discouragement, whatever) in the face.

9.19.2013

thankful thursday.

a few things i've been thankful for this week...

1. football season.
college football is back, y'all, and the bristers are SO happy about it. currently, the auburn tigers are 3-0, the texas tech red raiders are 3-0, and the baylor bears are 2-0, so we're sitting pretty. i guess i should note that the oklahoma sooners are 3-0 as well, so our friends here are happy, too. below is a pic of us trying to be contextual or something. two things about this shot should concern you: i'm wearing crimson ("stripe the stadium" made me do it) and chris is wearing a visor. bless it.

{great seats at the ou/west virginia game -- thanks, houghtalings!}
2. texas trip.
when some of our norman friends moved to spring, texas (you might remember them from this post), we promised them we'd visit before the end of baseball season so chris could catch an astros game. we really miss them around here. we loved getting to see their new world, hear about kristian's new job with love146, play with their sweet little boys, laugh a whole lot (kristian + chris = a hilarious combo), and, of course, eat plenty of ice cream (it's what they do).
{how did we not get a picture with kristian and katy?}

on saturday, we drove from spring to longview for my cousin's wedding, so clearly we had to make a stop in lufkin to see two of our favorites. it was quick, but we'll take any time we can get with katelyn and walker. so thankful for them.


3. wicked.
my favorite musical is in oklahoma city right now, and i got to see it with a few girls on tuesday night! i've been singing and dancing around ever since. "so if you cannot find me, look to the western sky..."


4. pie.
my mom and brother have been raving about this pie place in the bishop arts district in dallas, so when i found myself down there for work this week, i knew i had to try it. i may or may not have gotten two slices -- one for dessert last night, and one for breakfast this morning. it was hands down the best pie i've ever had -- and it came in super cute packaging, too!

{my breakfast slice: "drop dead gourdgeous"}
5. sunrise.
when i opened my hotel room curtains this morning, this is what i saw:

{if you zoom in, you can see the state fair ferris wheel!}
are you kidding me?! sunrises are the most incredible. every time i see one i wonder why i don't wake up every morning to see it. donald miller tweeted one time that if the sunrise happened once a year, the whole world would wake up to watch it. i agree. it's so unbelievable that this stunning beauty happens every single day and we act like it's no big deal... and yet, God keeps making them happen. such a picture of his beauty and grace, and his new mercies -- every single morning!

what have you been thankful for this week?

9.12.2013

thankful thursday: vacation edition.

a week ago today we got back from spending a full week in colorado -- half of it with my family for a friend's wedding in winter park, and half of it just us in denver. it was a very much needed, very much enjoyed getaway. i've been looking at pictures all week trying to pretend like i'm still there. funny how life doesn't really let you ease back in from time away; it forces you to jump back in full force. it's been a crazy week back, so with this post i'm remembering how incredibly grateful i was for our time in colorado. the 5 things i was most thankful for on our colorado vacay...

1. time with my family.
thankful for four days in a row with my favorite people in the whole world. i just can't get enough of them.


 2. the great outdoors. 
i think the only person on this trip who enjoyed being outside more than me was whit. being outside with a two-year-old boy is the BEST. who knew finding the perfect stick could be such a blast?! sticks, dandelions, rocks, flowers -- his hands were never without at least one of these things. thankful for time outdoors with this little explorer.

3. our hotel pool.
thankful for some down time -- and thankful to learn how to say "no" to seemingly fun things, like going out, and "yes" to seemingly boring things that are actually better for you, like laying low by the pool... because... rooftop pool in downtown denver. what?!


4. breakfast.
we've decided our "thing" when we travel is going to be finding the best breakfast spots in town. i think we nailed it in denver. we found so many good places, but the denver biscuit company was our favorite by far. thankful to taste the best cinnamon roll of my life.


5. time with chris in the mountains.
thankful for so many days away with the one i love in a place i love. i hope i never get over the beauty and just sheer awesomeness of mountains. they leave me speechless and practically force my heart to worship. i so enjoyed us experiencing that alongside each other.

gosh, it was such a great trip. so thankful! can we go back already?!

8.06.2013

expecting, looking, and longing.


"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!"
-- Isaiah 30.18, Amplified Bible

i love that the amplified version translates "waits" as "expecting, looking, and longing." waiting can have such a negative connotation. when i read that he's waiting to be gracious to me, it's as if he's tapping his toe, annoyed at my continual failures, just impatiently holding out his grace until i get my life together. but expecting, looking, and longing? that paints an entirely different picture -- one of inexplicable mercy and loving-kindness -- a picture much more in line with the character of God we know to be true from scripture.

i do that way too often. i create a picture of God in my head that just isn't true. i imagine God reacting to things as i would -- impatient, inconsistent, annoyed, indifferent. well no wonder i don't want to spend time with that god. no wonder i have a hard time trusting that god. i think this is why A.W. Tozer wrote, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

so, what if i truly believed -- not just in my head, but deep down in the core of who i am -- that the God i worship is expecting, looking, and longing to be gracious to me, to have mercy on me, to show me loving-kindness?

i think only when i understand that will i be able to spend my life expecting, looking, and longing for Him. because why wouldn't you long for that God? why wouldn't you look to a God who Himself -- His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, His matchless, unbroken companionship -- is better than anything this world has to offer?

i want to live like that. i want to believe it in the depths of my soul and let it transform my life.

these are my thoughts this morning. i have no doubt i'll forget these things by tomorrow morning -- or even this afternoon -- and have to remind myself all over again. thankful for grace.

"My only wish and desire, the one thing I humbly crave to have is the grace to love God, to love Him alone. Beyond that I ask for nothing more." -- St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)