“…and with perseverance bear fruit…”

handbooktoprayerA prayer of renewal from Handbook to Prayer: Praying Scripture Back to God by Kenneth Boa:

May I not be like those rocky places on whom seed was thrown, who hear the word and at once receive it with joy, but since they have no root, last only a short time; when affliction or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. And may I not be like those among the thorns on whom seed was sown, who hear the word, but the worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and pleasures, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it immature and unfruitful. Instead, may I be like the good soil on whom seed was sown, who with a noble and good heart hear the word, understand and accept it, and with perseverance bear fruit, yielding thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was sown. (Matthew 13:20-23; Mark 4:16-20; Luke 8:13-15)

i’d like you to meet someone

I announced last month that I’m engaged, and it caught many by surprise because I’ve been very quiet about this relationship. Well, despite my tendency to blog & share photos and such, I’m a quiet person. And dating at my age is just completely weird and awkward; the last thing I want to do is sound like a silly teenager.

But now that I’ll be married next month, I’d like you to meet my husband-to-be.

I’ve been on my own now for more than two years, and my life is full. God has graciously healed me, slowly and steadily and little by little, from the hurts acquired in a disintegrating marriage and unwanted divorce. My heavenly Father has loved me through His people, and He has protected me from bitterness. He has also filled my heart with gratitude; I had come to a place of contentment and had accepted that I would likely remain single.

God completely surprised me with this relationship.

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So here’s how it happened: A friend of my mom’s knows a friend of his, and they played matchmaker (It’s actually a CAbi story, but I’ll save that for another time.). It was my first (and last!!) blind date, and let me tell you, I was all kinds of nervous. I still don’t know what possessed me to accept. He was nice enough, but I didn’t enjoy that first date and drove away hoping he wouldn’t call me back. (Oh, and I discovered a big chunk of black pepper in my teeth when I got home. Lovely.) I didn’t need that turmoil in my life. Later that afternoon, he (clearly impressed by my ability to store seasonings in my teeth) emailed me that he’d like to see me again, and I agonized. And agonized. And agonized some more. Finally I decided to give it one more chance since I was so nervous on the first date.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed that second date, an Anne Day.*  Pretty soon, we were going out every weekend, emailing, texting, talking on the phone, and then seeing each other mid-week. It didn’t take us long to recognize the gift we’ve been given.

(Lest this post grow unbearably long — if it’s not already — I’m leaving out my initial freak-outs and anxiety and panic attacks over wondering if I could trust a man again. This post is about him, not me. )

pianoPaul has two sons who are just about the same ages as my children. He is a devoted dad who loves his children well, and that’s just one of the things I love about him. He’s kind and gentle and thoughtful. He loves Jesus and delights in the Gospel. Around others he’s mostly quiet and reserved, observing and looking for ways to serve. He’s content to be behind the scenes. He makes me laugh, and he makes me feel special. He cares about my children. He prays about everything. He spoils me with flowers, keeps my car spotless, and enjoys working around the house. He encourages me and is genuinely interested in my life and interests. He listens to me and hears me and remembers what I’ve said. He’s responsible with money and generous. He’s a lover of the light. He is a planner and thinker, and this allows me to relax in a way that I never really have before. He’s organized and makes lists on Excel spreadsheets. (Be still my beating heart.) Yet he is a romantic who writes poems and loves music. He has been patient with me as I’ve worked through my aforementioned trust issues. He’s steady and strong. He’s a good man. I trust him.

He loves me like Christ loves His church.

I am blessed.

(He’s going to be totally embarrassed that I’m sharing all of this, but honestly, he’s wonderful — a good gift from my Father.)

So, dear blog readers, meet Paul. I love him, and I can’t wait to be his wife in 17 days.

Grateful, grateful, grateful!

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*Sensing that I’d been knocked around a bit over the past couple of years, he offered me an Anne Day — a day to do whatever I wanted to do. I was still nervous and therefore hesitant to commit to an entire day, so I said lunch or coffee would be nice. (At this point, I wasn’t sure that he wasn’t an ax murderer or weirdo or stalker!) He told me that the day was for me, so if I only wanted to go for lunch, that was fine. And he wrote about that Anne Day: “It’s not something you should be surprised at being offered, it’s something you are deserving of and should be cared for with regularly.” So I enjoyed that lunch and when he asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I did, and that was really pleasant. Then he asked if I wanted to see a movie, and I thought “Why not?” That led to dinner, so it was an Anne Day after all. He’s given me a few more of those these past few months, and he tells me to get used to it. I think I can do that. :)

random thoughts

~ The cultural air we’ve been breathing for the past few generations has been heavy with “Question Authority, who are you to tell me ______,…” But as I recently read Job 38, I was reminded of our place in the universe. God answers Job out of the whirlwind: “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me…”  That’s a humbling chapter of Scripture that rightly puts us in our place.

~ As annoying and intrusive as modern technology can be, it’s also a wonderful gift. I’m so grateful for the ability to text with my children during the day or FaceTime with them when they want to show me something (a new kitten or an awe-inspiring view).

~ Two nasty headaches lately. They’ve been awful. But they’ve left me grateful for every day I don’t have a headache. We can take so much for granted, can’t we?

~ I’ve been uninspired in my photography of late, so I’m really looking forward to the class that my son is teaching next month. And I’m traveling soon, too, to a picturesque destination.

~ Oh, and my son has a 365 guide up on Amazon. Check it out.

~ I watched The Princess Bride for the first time this past weekend. I know, I know. But I’ve just been turned off by all the hype over that movie and the other time I tried to watch it, I fell asleep. I admit it was pretty good.

~ I’m getting married in 18 days. But who’s counting?

~ random thoughts, random photos:

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~ A peeve: drivers who sit there once the light turns green.

~ A positive: people can be really kind. This week I’ve seen some CAbi girls rally around a woman who lost everything in a fire. She’s getting a brand new wardrobe.

~ Another countdown: only 10 more days to the kickoff of AUBURN football!

And with that, Happy Wednesday!

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“Friendship must be about something…”

meaningofmarriageFrom C.S. Lewis, as quoted in Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage:

Friendship arises…when two or more..discover that they have in common some insight or interest….[A]s Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth?–or at least, Do you care about the same truth? The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend….That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any. The very condition of having friends is that we should want something else besides friends. Where the truthful answer to the question “Do you see the same truth?” would be “I don’t care about the truth–I only want [you to be my] friend,” no friendship can arise. Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.

monday miscellany

I’ve been busier than usual lately and not able to read as much, but a few things around the interwebs have caught my eye and made me think:

~ An encouraging quote from one of my favorite books.

~ “Is there anything he said in that campaign that wasn’t a lie?”

~ 12 more days. I CANNOT WAIT!! 

~ When “I tried that” is a problem.  “Because being married is like being a Christian. Only more so.”

~ I really hope they get this movie right. If you haven’t read the book yet, you really should.

~ 10 budget decorating tips

~ 10 tricks to appear smarter during meetings

~ 5 ways to keep email from ruining your life

~ penne with green beans & tomatoes

Happy Monday, y’all!

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