Falling in Love

“Cause all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
And love has set me free”

This line is from a popular song, sung by Jason Gray, called “More Like Falling in Love”.  On the way to drop my oldest off at preschool this morning, we had a little praise & worship session in the car. We played some of their favorite songs, and as I watched them sing at the top of their lungs and raise their hands in worship, the words “falling in love with Jesus” kept washing over my mind. I knew I’d heard a song with that line plenty of times, but didn’t know the exact title- only some lines. So, I looked it up…and man, did God use that to change my morning.

I listened to that song the entire way home. And it was like a revelation to me. Y’all. Our relationship…our Christian walk…it truly does have to be more like falling in love, than just church & prayers & hope.

If you’re currently married, or have been in a truly loving relationship…or even if you know the ideology of one…think about that for a minute. My husband. I love him with a fierce love. Sure, there are plenty of times that I don’t like his decisions, or things he says, or ways he acts. Sure, there are moments that I feel let down by him, or days that I’m disappointed. But, at the end of each and every day, I love him. With a deep love. Marital love is a love that says “You know what? We won’t always necessarily agree. But we agree to love each other.” At the end of the day, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I love him in all his faults, in all his great days and bad ones.

And that is how Jesus wants our relationship with Him to look and feel. Like being in love. Aren’t we the bride of Christ, after all?

Sure, it’s easy to pray because you know you should. It’s easy to tithe, because you know it’s right. It’s easy to read your Bible, go to church, and even talk about God…because you know that’s what He wants us to do. We talk the talk, and walk the walk. But, do you do it out of obligation? Do you do it out of habit? Or because you are in love with Him?

“It’s gotta be more like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance”

Believe in Him. But, don’t just believe in Him!!

I mean, when you’re newly and deeply in love with someone, you can’t stop talking about them. Can’t stop thinking about them. You want to be with them. You crave their conversation, their touch, their relationship with you.

“More like losing my heart“– Do you know that feeling? Like your heart is walking around outside your body? Your spouse, or significant other. Your kids. If anything happened to them, how your world would crumble. What tragedy your life would feel like, if you lost them. Pieces of your heart, walking around outside your body. That’s love. And that’s how He loves us.

Religion has tried to make God about allegiance. Relationship makes God about your heart.

“I need more than a truth to believe
I need a Truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet”

Religion has made it about the rules and words and obligations. Jesus- He never wanted it to be about that. He wants it to be about love. He wants us to be as in love with Him, as He is with us. Jesus was real. He IS real.

God loves us, y’all. He gave up his only Son for us. He forgives us for every single, solitary wrongdoing, every single feeling, every single doubt. He provides for us, takes care of us, watches out for us. Really, really, really and truly loves us.

Think about when you look in your kids’ eyes- the pure, unadulterated love that you have for them. Nothing they could ever do, could make you love them less. That is how deeply He loves us. He’s in love with us, y’all! Get excited about that!!!

Can we think of Him like a spouse? Like someone that we don’t want to let down, because we love Him so much. Like someone that we would go to the ends of the earth for, because we love Him so much. That’s how He thinks of us, after all.

I can’t explain my love for my husband. I mean, I can tell you qualities that I love about him. I can tell you things he has done that make me happy, or proud, or even make me like him a little more. But, I can’t really put into words the depth or width of my love for him. Because it just is. I love him, even when I don’t necessarily like him. It’s years and years of togetherness. Years and years of commitment. Love. Just because love. Even if you don’t have that kind of love with a husband– let JESUS love you like that!

And that is how Jesus wants our love relationship to be with Him. Unexplainable love. Happy love. Giddy love. Unconditional love. Love that, even when you don’t necessarily like the season He has you in, you still love Him for who He is.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I truly hope I’m not rambling with this post, y’all. But I got so excited thinking about this, that I just needed to share it with you. It gave me a whole new perspective on relationship.

If you’re struggling. If you’re feeling like your prayers are hitting the ceiling. If you feel disconnected- try thinking about Him in a different light today.

It’s been a lot of years since I’ve dated. I haven’t had to let myself fall in love with anyone in a very long time. But, I can vaguely remember back to the walls you build. No one wants their heart broken. We all tend to go into relationships guarded- self preserving. We want to fall in love, in theory. But, there’s a certain amount of letting go that has to take place.

There’s nothing you can ever, ever do to stop Him from loving you. Accept that. Tell yourself that. Know it. Isn’t it a great feeling, knowing someone loves you for you?

Allow yourself to fall in love with Him. And watch your world change.

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A Word for the New Year

In the past week, I’ve had two friends pose an idea via social media. At the end of your year, prayerfully choose a single word that you hope will define your next year. Then, use this word as a declaration over your life in that year. Pray on it, study it, speak it over your life. One friend did this for herself personally, the other chose a word as a family. The minute I heard this idea, I knew we needed this for our 2017.

I’ve seen so many good “words” that sweet friends will be claiming this year. Renewal. Fulfillment. Acceptance. Discipline. Transformation. I’ll provide a link at the end of this post to a dear friends’ blog, where she also discusses her word for 2017.

I read the first friends’ post on New Years Eve. I hadn’t even posed the idea to my husband yet, when a word came to my mind during our New Years Eve church service. I knew this word was for me. And, when I later voiced the idea to my husband that we do this as a family, he agreed that this was the perfect word for our 2017.

growth

GROWTH.

I, as a person, and we, as a family, want…and need…to grow in so many ways in this coming year. First and foremost, spiritually. There is obviously always room for growth in our walk with the Lord. That’s a given. But, individually and as a couple, our household has become what feels a little stagnant. We faced some hard things in 2016- big, faith challenging things. Things that rocked us a little. Some of our spiritual mentors became less present in our lives. Our faith wavered a little. Gods’ promises didn’t pan out the way we thought they would. Our faith was on trial, and I, for one, could feel it. We pray to grow closer to God than ever before in the coming year. We pray to be more intentional in our time spent with the Lord. We pray for clearer understanding of His Word and His purposes for us. We pray for our salt to regain its’ flavor this year. We need spiritual growth.

Personally, I have a longing for growth in my purpose and His annointings on my life. I want to be certain, without a doubt, that I’m walking in the calling He has for me. This has been on my heart for some time now. But, with all the roles I’m called to fill in this season of my life, it’s challenging to grow in some areas- this area in particular. I need to be more intentional in doing– putting into practice- what God has told me to do. Write. See…….I’m so hesitant to share this. But, maybe if I share it here, I’ll have more accountability. Only a small handful of really close friends know what God really told me to do a couple years ago. A couple YEARS, I’ve been putting Him off, y’all! And these ladies are good at reminding me. But, I haven’t held up my end & been intentional in doing it. I need to grow here!There are two things in my life that I have been 110%, absolutely certain that God spoke directly to me & told me to do. One was to not take the medicine that would, in turn, bring a successful pregnancy to fruition. Thank you, Lord! The second- He told me to write a book. I need intentionality, growth within myself and my calling, to do this. I mean, I don’t know the first thing about writing- much less writing a book! Oh man, do I need growth in wisdom, knowledge…so many things!  2017 is the year.

Our family is praying for financial growth this year. We ended this past year with a desire and driving effort to pay down debt, be more intentional and guarded in our spending, and be better stewards of what the Lord has given us. We are praying for growth not necessarily just in finances (although that would surely be nice!), but in our wisdom of stewardship over them.

As a family, we would like to see growth in relationships. Those within our household, as well as outside of it. We would like to see growth in our careers, and certainty that we’re walking in His purpose in them. We pray for growth in our church, its membership and leadership. We pray for spiritual growth within our city. I pray for growth in compassion within myself.

Lastly, we pray that the Lord would allow us to see physical growth in our family in 2017. Yes, physical…as in, a baby. We are prayerful, we have faith, we have expectation, and we will be claiming this in 2017. We understand that His plans are perfect, but this is our hope.

These are some of the ways we hope to see GROWTH in the coming year. I’m certain that God will go above & beyond our expectations. I’m sure that He will show us growth in ways that we can’t even think of or expect right now. I’m excited to see how He will use this word in our life this year!!

When I look up the word Growth, the synonyms are “development” and “maturation” and “blooming”. And that! That is absolutely perfect for what I hope for myself and my family this year.

And now, I challenge you. Whether you choose to do this individually or as a family, pray that the Lord will show you a word for you this year. Let it be your motto this year. Pray that God will bring it to your mind often. Pray that He will bring it to fruition in your life. Study it. Meditate on it. Find verses about it. Seek it. And let God do the rest.

Here are some verses & promises from His Word about growth that I’ve found recently.

“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house, that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” – 2 Chronicles 7:16

“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”- 2 Corinthians 9:10

“but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head- Christ” -Ephesians 4:15

“that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” -Colossians 1:10

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” -2 Peter 3:18

If you’d like to read about my friends’ word, and how she will be seeking Renewal this year, check out her blog at Momma Needs A Minute {Renewal Post}.

Have a blessed 2017, friends!!