Dear Younger me, Romance is…..

Dear Younger me,

I used to think romance was star gazing, hand holding, late night talks, and being called beautiful. All those things are romantic, but empty without the true romance.

Romance is showing interest in who a person is and what they care about.

Romance is protecting each other’s purity and reputation at all cost.

Romance is being intentional in your action and words.

Romance is taking things slow, taking your time, and patiently getting to know one another.

Romance is seeking God’s guidance above all else and treating each other as children of God.

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Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

John 20:15-16

Reading this passage today, the Holy Spirit made me aware of a new practical truth.

Mary is in despair, distraught, maybe even inconsolable,  upon seeing the tomb of Jesus “empty”. From the passage, it is unclear whether she has heard from the other followers of Jesus about His resurrection. We do know, however, that she saw angels sitting in Jesus’ empty tomb and they spoke to her.

It is strange to me that she did not question who they were or notice anything unusual about them.  Because of this, it is clear Mary is in a state of shock. She is unaware of what is happening because she is in deep mourning.

We do the same quite often. We face situations we decide are hopeless. We think we know the outcome of everything. We allow our thoughts to control us, telling us lies about our self, God, others, or a situation. Like Mary, we may not even notice God’s messengers or His blessings.

However, Mary’s story doesn’t stop at the angels. She runs into Jesus Himself. She is still so distressed, she doesn’t recognize Him, even when He talks to her.

Sometimes we don’t recognize Him either. God’s word can tell us His promises are true, He is faithful, SO many truths, yet we do not recognize His voice because we are only listening to our own, which is tainted with the lies of the enemy.

Jesus doesn’t scold Mary for not seeing Him or seeing the angels. And perhaps there was a veil, preventing Mary from seeing until God willed it. Whatever it is, Jesus’ next word is amazing.

“Mary”, He says, and that is it! She sees Him, knows Him, celebrates. Hopelessness has turned into hope.

Insert your name where Jesus said Mary, because when you are in despair, not listening, our LORD is SO intimate with us. He simply says our name and we begin to change.

Think of times when you were rambling on about something or you were distracted. Maybe you were in class or with friends and someone simply says your name. This one word snaps you back to reality and reminds you of what is happening.

When Jesus says our name, it does even more. He is reminding us who He  is, He is in charge, He knows the outcome, He knows us! He is giving us back the reality that the Kingdom of heaven is real and He is always with us so there is no need to despair.

Whatever you are feeling or thinking today, I encourage you to read this passage and imagine yourself in Mary’s shoes, but with whatever you are dealing with. Then, let Jesus say your name and listen to Him as He speaks truth into your life.

He Shields you with His Favor

Psalm 5:12

You surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a shield, I think of power, strength, war, and courage.

So I love that instead, it is God’s favor that is like a shield, not his power or wrath. To me, that communicates that His favor, approval, love, is more protective than anything physical or any of my own emotions.

Whether I am feeling loved or unloved in this world,  it doesn’t change the fact that God favors me and His favor protects me.

Rest in His favor and let it shield you from the hurts of this world.

Dear younger me, the Real Man

Dear Younger Me,

A real man doesn’t have to be physical with you to make you feel loved. A real man respects you, honors you so much that he uses other ways to show he loves you before any physical touch happens.

He will show you by listening to you, caring about your life, your needs. He will show you by seeking your well being before his own.

But I will say, a real man will give you a thrill with a simple kiss on the cheek or hold of your hand. He doesn’t need to do anything more. If his intention is to show you love, he can do that without going further.

Set apart, His Faithful Servant

Psalm 4:2-3

 

How long will you people turn my glory into shame? Know the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself.

Two things come to my mind when I read this.

When I serve, sometimes people don’t outwardly care that I’m serving or oftentimes, I do things that others never do or even realize need to be done.

So, when David asks, “How long will your people turn my glory into shame?” It reminds me that sometimes the things we are doing for God’s glory, the good things, can be received in a tough way. They can be ignored, made fun of, even opposed.

Yet, I have been “set apart for himself.” I am for Him alone. I do these things for Him, not others. So shame or not, I do not do it for them.