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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in The Bride of Christ (2)


love song

Today I did something sneaky. I bought Joshua the Hunger Games book 1. It sits on his bed now waiting to captivate him. He’s been asking me for weeks now if he could read it. I need to read it first, I always said. This morning he wistfully told me that he had wanted to read it before his cousin Dan’s birthday. Dan’s plan is to go see the movie for his birthday. Newsflash. Today is Dan’s birthday. 

He’ll get this gift when he gets home. I won’t be here but later he’ll hug me big and say he loves me. He will forgive me for not getting it sooner. We’ll read it together and talk through all the characters and plot twists and turns.

I wait in anticipation for Joshua to get this gift. I’m probably more excited than he will be.

Today I’ve been hearing God’s love song to me. I’ve been noticing all the ways he spells  out his love in the magenta blooms falling like so much snow in my neighborhood. The scent of wisteria wafts in through the windows and reminds me that winter’s reign is done for now.

Tonight we will gather with seven other couples as we did fifteen years ago around this time. We dreamed together back then of a church. We desired to go deep in our faith and plant and give our lives together. As it happens with a mustard seed, God took our tiny dividend and blew it up. Fellowship Bible Church exceeds any of our dreams. 

As I prepared the sacred dip (recipe below), I raised one hand in worship. Who but You, God? Who but you? I thought of myself at 30 years old. I still worked hard at my faith. I hadn’t learned yet about resting. About how Jesus sat down when He got to Heaven and it was ok if I did too.

When I think of all the places we’ve been, I stand slack-jawed at the grace of God. Through victorious and joy-filled days and through the pits of hellish nightmares, God has walked with us. He’s never left us. All along, He’s doled out gifts.

He waits for me to find these gifts. Gifts He’s been anticipating me opening. And I hear the song of His love for me.


His Bride

At the end of 2009, I wrote in my journal: 

Dear Jesus, Thank you for meeting me today. For reminding me why I live and for whom I live. Holy Fire, consume what is of me. I want more of You and less of me, Jesus. I am afraid of being seduced or lulled to sleep by the baubles and empty promises of pleasure in this world. Your Word has goaded me today to focus on what is important - the ONE THING. My one goal or resolution in 2010 is to fear God. 

Well, I may as well have prayed for patience. My Gracious God seized this opportunity and 2010 taught me what all I FEARED. God was not at the top of the list. Grace, my teacher, gently and sometimes firmly directed my eyes to see all the ways I live in fear. Fear of my reputation. Fear of men. Fear of failure. Fear of losing control. Fear of being exposed as dumb, weak, or sick. I could go on.

Like my spiritual director pointed out: my desire was a good one. I do want to fear God. And the beginning of that certainly is to know what I really fear. And then to repent. 

Also in that journal from 2009, I had copied and pasted a page from Dan Allender’s book, Cry of the Soul. I wish I could plunk it down in front of you right now. Here is a highlight:

Too often, we let the fear of the world drive us into ourselves, where we find no strength. Instead, we should let it drive us to the fear of God. The fear of God does not drive us away from God, but rather to God. It is only as the fear of God overcomes our fear of the world that we can truly and productively cope with our fears in the world. 

Fear is a flight away from harm. It is the product of helplessness, weakness brought about by a feeling of inadequacy and lack of control. If we demand control and success, we will be destroyed, because in a sinful world our weaknesses will continually be exposed. But if we submit to God instead of demanding control, and serve God instead of insisting on success then we will be changed and our fears will dissipate. God’s sovereignty is the ultimate issue as we face this choice.

So it comes down to trust. Will I trust God with my life, my self, my children? Will I trust that He has a plan and it is good? Will I trust Him with the future of this earth? Will I trust Him?

So what does it look like to trust, to fear God? 

Allender writes, It means to be anxious and eager to greet Him. It means to build our lives around the call of being His bride, to anticipate the pleasure of love and the aroma of passion. To fear God is to be consumed with His presence. 

This phrase captures my heart: to build my life around the call of being His bride. As I have let other fears in, my days have become disoriented. But the call of being His bride  arranges my desires, my priorities, my days. This identity as His bride orients me.

I pray that in 2011, this call will re-orient me to live with eternity in mind. All things will come under the influence of this call. My days will begin by eagerly greeting Him. As circumstances crumble, I will let Him in on it and ask for His help. I will not blame Him when life goes south but seek Him in that darkness. When it is time to celebrate, I will call Him first. 

I desire for this identity - my identity as His bride - to be my core and all other facets of who I am to be arranged around that.

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5