Friday, September 30, 2011

Love Letters I Will Read Over and Over

So, here's a little history of me.  My husband and I were good friends for four years of college before we became each other's significant other. heehee!  We spent many days in those four years getting to know each other during the times we hung out with mutual friends.  It was always a great time hanging out with my friends and Brodie.  Brodie has said many times that he would have rather called me girlfriend instead of friend even after the first week of knowing my name. But, I have a little different story. 

I'll cut that story super short. Throughout college, he asked me out on a date three different times (and very well done, too), but I turned him down each time. Even though I felt bad turning down my good friend, I just did not feel I was supposed to pursue a serious relationship with him. I didn't want to even go on one date with him if I didn't think it would lead anywhere. I'm weird as you have already discovered. I know it, he knows it.....everyone who has ever spent five minutes with me knows it.

Here's where it gets good....well, funny. About two weeks before we became "a couple" I remember telling him very sincerely that I didn't have the desire to date him so I requested he not try and ask me out again.  Then I continued to tell him that I cared for him so much as a friend that I didn't want us to go our separate ways after graduation. I told him I'd wish he and his future family would live down the street from my future family because I didn't want to live far away from one of my best friends. HA! 

Two weeks later, we were at my friends recording studio and I was recording some songs I wrote. Brodie (my husband) was in the living room talking to my recording friend's wife while waiting for me to finish up a song. I remember walking down the hall to come join in the conversation where they were and seeing Brodie (with his back turned to me talking to my friend's wife) and a VERY clear thought went through my mind. "Man, I love that guy." (Speaking of Brodie, of course.) The rest of my mind went, "WHAT!?"  "Did you just say you love Brodie!?  How can this be? When did this happen?" Suddenly I was smitten.  I mean, SMITTEN. I couldn't fight it any longer. I knew that Brodie was THE man that God had set for me to spend my life with. No doubt.  It scared me to have no doubt about such an important decision. CRAZINESS!

So when I joined the conversation I was trying to keep my face from showing the new feeling I held in my mind and heart for Brodie. I don't think it worked because as I started acting all nervous and skiddish around him, he then proceeded to think that something was up too and began acting nervous and cautious as well. A few minutes later, Brodie looked at the clock and saw it was a little after midnight. He said something like, "Hey, Happy Birthday to me!" I looked up and said, "What?!" "Oh, man, I'm sorry. I didn't think you're birthday was today. Happy Birthday."  He reminded me that his birthday had just begun at midnight. What would have been no big deal on any other night was suddenly HUGE that I forget his birthday.  I was panicked. I was saying stupid stuff like, "I'm sorry that I forgot. I'll make it up to you." He asked if I was going to our friend Tracy's birthday celebration the next night since he wasn't planning on doing any party for his birthday. I said I was going and I asked if he had intended to go even though the folks there weren't aware it was his birthday too. He said he hadn't any other plans. Thus that next night we went.....separately.

After the party was over, we walked together to our cars. And I told him I saw him as more than a friend (those were my exact words). He was absolutely floored, speechless for several minutes that I had changed my mind. After a bunch of awkward silence and questions from him like, "So, if I were to ask you out, you'd say yes?" we prayed together. We stood leaning up against my car and prayed to God for guidance. To date or not to date....that was the BIG question. After four years of friendship, we didn't want dating to ruin our friendship.  HAHA!    Several days later, we didn't feel any differently than the night of the party and decided it was "cool" to date. And so here we are, nine and a half years later still loving each other.....probably even deeper than that cold January night praying together next to my car.

From then on, it was a bunch of letter writing since I went back to Pennsylvania for another semester with National Student Exchange. Almost every single day that I was away that semester, Brodie would write me an e-mail. I would eagerly await each morning his letter/e-mail, hoping to hear "You've Got Mail" when my computer booted up.  When I had read the whole letter, I'd surely read it again sometime later that day and maybe even again before bed.  JUST BEING HONEST HERE!  I was truly loving the man God had given me. I longed to know as much about him as I could.  All the while this was happening each day, God was whispering to me that His love letters to me were in His Holy Word.  He was daily and tenderly telling me to read His Word and see how deep His love was for me and all the world.  It was craziness! I was blown away by the human love and devotion of Brodie (my boyfriend) and it just thrusted me into a deeper level of understanding of the infinite, unconditional, fierce and holy love of God.

In my last post I wrote, "God is telling us everyday of His deep and abiding love for us. We just need to be listening and looking for His messages. Closer to home.....I need to be listening.  And once we who are listening and seeking have heard, we should be changed forever for the better because we have heard from the Living God!"

God is totally pursuing me.....pursuing you. He is wanting you and me to see how much He richly loves us. His Word is a great place to start to hear Him tell us of His deep love, but He is also talking to us about His love for us in so many other places.  Are we looking around for it?  Are we listening to His sweet voice? It be in a gentle cool breeze on a hot summer day, or a warm and intense ray of sunshine on a cold snowy afternoon?  God's voice telling us he loves us could even be in the car horn that blares at us getting us to stop when we are distracted by something and don't see the stop sign.  His love for me can be heard in the sweet voice of my little boy asking, "Mommy. a hug? a hug?" as he toddles toward me with his little chubby arms stretched out.  God's love can be seen in the homeless man we see sitting on a bench in downtown West Chester as he looks up at us walking by and smiles and says hello.  So many ways we can read the Love of God each day. Do we read it? Do we want to? And if not, why not? Our Creator is longing to relate to us and walk through this life with us. Will we let Him? Will we become smitten by the deep and assuring love of our awesome and powerful God?

"You've Got Mail"...
Deuteronomy 7:9
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,"
Psalm 26:3
"For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness."
Psalm 40:10
"I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation."
Hosea 11:1-4
The LORD’s Love for Israel
"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them."
Lamentations 3:22-24
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

**I used to search for verses that speak about God's love for us and his people. There are pages and pages of verses that speak of His love.  The ones I gave here are just ones that stuck out to me and speak to me right now. I encourage you to take some time to see just how intently God wanted us to know about His love for us.  See how many hundreds of times the Bible speaks about God's steadfast love for His people.**

God is telling us everyday of His deep and abiding love for us. We just need to be listening and looking for His messages.