My thoughts are a mangled mess it seems. I found a picture that could describe them!!
Yep - this picture does it!! For a while I thought perhaps it would be helpful to write down my thoughts. So the light went on and I wrote about six things down. Clicked off the light. Then I wrote something by feeling for the pen and paper. Then I wanted to pray - but when my thoughts are so overwhelming, I need to pray out loud, but Alvin was sleeping ... so I tried to pray from my heart in silence. I lifted the names of my friends and family before the LORD and thanked him that HE knows my heart, he knows the unspoken, and HE also knows what I have spoken aloud to Him in prayer before.
So up I came, trying not to turn on too many lights. Just because I am awake doesn't mean I should wake my sleeping man up. And here I sit. Wide awake. Yep ... 2 am.
But as I laid in bed tonight for that hour, there was something that I was thinking about. I have had several conversations lately about "religion" versus "relationship". I hear people say "I'm not a good christian" or "I try to be a good christian". I have known people who have tried to adhere to the 10 commandments. People who have thought that they didn't want to become a believer of Jesus because it would mean living a life of rules and no fun. People who have struggled because they just can't "measure up" to what they feel God wants them to be. I think the biggest problem with all the above is that my friends have seen Christianity as RELIGION/RULES/RITUAL and have not lived in the full grace that Jesus gave by going to the cross for our sin.
But my thoughts lately have been on RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. On walking a life WITH Him. On walking a life with Jesus as my FIRST love. And as I laid there trying to fall asleep, and feeling the breathing of my sweet man beside me, my question was this: How do we fall in love more and more with Jesus. And I began to think back to falling in love with Alvin. How did that happen.
Well ~ first I heard about him. My best friend talked about him and others, and I was intrigued.
Then I met him. Then we began to spend time and build a friendship. Then we began to talk more. To spend more time. To laugh together. To talk about our day(s). To realize that love was there, and to nurture that love by spending more time together. I knew the sound of Alvin's voice. The sound of his laugh. And then we got engaged and began to plan life together. And then we got married which then took us into the intimacy that we looked forward to and longed for. And intimacy grew.
And now 39 years of marriage later, we know one another. We can finish sentences for one another. We don't even have to finish them and we know what the other is thinking. We dont' always have to be talking. We can just spend time in one another's presence.
My prayer is always that I would fall more in love with the LORD with each day. And I realize it is an even better relationship than a marriage with Alvin. But falling in love with Jesus has the same components. Spending time together. Recognizing His voice. Knowing that Jesus knows my thoughts before I speak them or even if I never speak them. Falling in love with Jesus is about spending more time with him and doing that out of love for Him, not out of obligation. It is about looking forward to my QT with him. It is about planning time to just be in His presence. It is about laughing when I see something that He has put there for me to experience! It is about laughing at some of my own quirks fully knowing that He created me to be the woman I am. My relationship with Jesus is about falling more and more in love with Him, about getting to know Him more through Scripture. It is about actually feeling that He IS first in my life. For many years, I believe He was IN my life, but not FIRST. Falling more in love with Jesus is about HIM consuming my thoughts, so that spending time with HIM, experiencing His presence is as common as breathing! Its about talking with Him, and looking ahead with Him. It's about growing in intimacy with my LORD. Now, I know some people think that is a weird way to put your relationship with Jesus. Because why? I think it is because people always associate intimacy with sex.
I would agree and I am thankful that our God made us that way - fearfully and wonderfully made. He also knows that we crave intimacy because real intimacy (not the act of sex) makes us feel that someone really took the time to see into us. And that made us feel alive because our hearts and our souls have connected. And the greatest lover of our being - our heart and soul is the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
So after all this rambling at 2 am in the morning, I am thankful for these thoughts on my relationship with Jesus. On falling in love more with HIM. About an intimate relationship with the greatest lover of my soul. I honestly can say, without a shadow of a doubt. I love Jesus Christ first. And then my husband, my kids, my grandkids, and family and friends. And as I know my human relationships take nurturing, time, and grow daily ... I am also very aware that my relationship with Jesus also grows daily.
The bottom line of this I believe is: We go through hard hard times. If you havent't - you will. Guaranteed. We walk through times of pressure, intense heat, intense refining, times where we may feel that we are drowning ... but we don't drown. Times where we feel the heat of the flames, but don't burn. Times where we feel like the rushing water is going to sweep us away, but we don't get swept away. We walk through those times. And that is when we realize RELIGION isn't what counts at all ... all the rules, all the ritual, all the pomp and circumstance does nothing. NOT A THING. B Our life with Jesus has to be about RELATIONSHIP. Allowing Him full access into our life, our soul and knowing that He sees us and loves us, that He shed his blood on the cross for us, and we can love Him. We will walk through the hard times. We will pray like crazy (or not). He will answer the way that is best for us. (even though we prayed He would answer differently. (God why didn't you heal him? God why didnt you take her depression away? God why did my grandson die? God didn't you know she wants a husband? God ???? ) Regardless of what we say/pray/walk through if we are walking in relationship with HIM - THAT is what it is all about. He longs for us to KNOW Him better. Give our lives to Him. KNOW Him. LOVE Him. Fall MORE in love with Him. Serve Him and become more like Him.
So, this is my prayer: Jesus, lover of my soul. May I fall in love with you more and more with each passing day. You know me so intimately and oh I love you. You have created me to become more like you. I may not get everything or even a portion of what I pray and beg you for but I know that walking with you Jesus is what counts. You've got me. You know me. You call me by name.
I am your beloved. And that is all that counts! Oh how I love you and I KNOW that you love me even more. May your fragrance come from and out of me Jesus. Amen