I cannot emphasize enough how badly I did NOT want to go on a first date with my husband.
So much so, that when I found out he was going to ask me out, I hid.
It was evening, it was dark and I was hiding in a van with tinted windows.
Even as I watched him walking toward the van, I did not open the door.
I would not roll down the window.
That didn’t stop him.
He walked right up to that van and knocked on that window.
Obviously I went on that date with him, since I am now referring to him as my husband 😂😂
On our first date I just sat there and listened to him talk. His dreams and goals. His convictions. His drive.
His walk with God.
Every part of me did not want to give in to my feelings or give up the “fun” I thought I was having at the time. I knew by the lifestyle Mike kept, he did not enjoy my kind of “fun”.
I was looking at a relationship with him all wrong.
Despite my inner conflict and desire to stick with the cool crowd (and not my husband’s crowd), he won me over that night because I sat and I listened.
God’s love never stops.
At this very moment God might be knocking on the door of your heart. You can feel the tug but you are hiding in the darkness of fear.
Fear of what you think you will have to give up.
You are missing all the joy, all the sweetness, all the peace and all the beauty a relationship with Jesus holds.
I don’t know why Mike chose to ask me out. I wasn’t “pastor wife” material. In fact, being a pastor’s wife was the furthest thing from my mind. At times I wonder why he loves me even now, but I do know he has made my life beautiful and sweet and I can’t imagine not having him by my side.
Just as I don’t know why God chose me and loves me. I don’t deserve it, yet He gave His life for me and~
He gave His life for you.
There’s no more beautiful way to fall in love with Jesus than to sit and listen. Open a bible. Listen to His words. Read them and discover the boundless love He has for you. In doing so, you will discover that his love is so unfathomable it will completely change your way of thinking.
A relationship with Jesus isn’t about everything you have to give up. It’s not about rules or church attendance. It’s not a prison sentence, it’s a freedom verdict. A relationship with Jesus is joy, peace, comfort, love, hope. It is hope. Hope in everything beautiful and sweet. Hope we can cling to. Hope that supports us when we are at our lowest.
So, I stood there in white and said “I do.”
As he carried me over the threshold, I could see the deep love in his eyes and I couldn’t wait to do life by his side.
Say “I do” to God. Give in to His absolutely matchless, transcendent love and give Him your life today. Ask Him to carry you through the threshold of life to all that His incredible love has in store for you. Let go of everything and allow Him to hold you as you hold onto Him and the hope He has for a life with Christ by your side.
FLEETING MINUTES THAT MAKE UP MOMENTS
“Oh honey, you’re going to miss this.
They grow up so fast.”
I had asked for prayer from the ladies at church. Her words did not bring comfort, they brought guilt. All I could do was just stare and nod. Sheer exhaustion made my brain so foggy that my mouth wouldn’t form the words I wanted to say.
I’m that mom now. Writing blogs.
Warning mamas about time fleeting by. Telling them to cherish every moment.
But I remember.
After countless months of no sleep, I had little strength left. She cried all night long. Every night.
I cried all night long.
I cried because I was horrible and selfish.
I cried because I felt like a failure as a mama.
A failure because I had no patience left.
I just wanted the crying to stop.
I just wanted to sleep.
If I’m honest with you mamas, I don’t miss that. I miss every one of those baby moments, but not that.
“You’re going to miss this”... that’s not the answer any poor, sweet, exhausted mama needs to hear when they’re in the middle of a particularly trying time with their little one.
They need compassion. They need understanding. They need someone to tell them it’s going to be okay. They need a shoulder to cry on. They need someone to give them a break, make them a meal, allow them a nap, encourage them in God’s promises and help them to remember that they are not alone. He is always with them and He understands. They are not a failure. They are human.
And then they need to know that God gives strength when they have no strength left. That He is always by their side, holding them as they hold their little one. He wants them to know that they can cry out to Him, just as their little one cries out to them. He wants them to understand that even when they think they have no compassion, His compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22
And in the morning, with tears rolling down her cheeks for the frustration she felt the night before, that mama will look into her baby’s smiling eyes and pure love will fill her heart to overflowing for her little one.
That moment is when she can find comfort in knowing that the love her heart holds for her little one doesn’t even come close to the love her heavenly Father has for her.
God is in that moment.
God is in every mama moment.
All the beautiful sweet baby moments and all the desperate, helpless, exhausted minutes.
He is always there.
He will never leave.
He will help you through.
He will give you strength.
He will give you compassion.
He will teach you to forgive yourself.
And one day, when your children have grown, when you realize how quickly time went by and how much you miss those baby years~
those desperate, exhausted minutes will be just that. Fleeting minutes compared to all the beautiful moments God allowed you with your child.
The desperate moments won’t define you mama, they will make you grateful.
Grateful because you will know that God was right there with you in every minute that made up the moments~
and that’s what made those moments
I sat in my car.
My son’s last soccer game,
and here I sat, alone in the parking lot.
Too weak to even walk across the field to the stands.
I would never see my little boy play soccer again.
Next year he would be away at college.
Next year might not come for me.
Why had I been so sick for so many months without answers?
The doctors couldn’t figure out the cause of my illness. Test after test.
Month after month I could not keep food down. I continually lost weight until my body started to fight against itself for survival. I could not walk from my bedroom to my bathroom. Our church members told my husband something needed to be done.
He was going to lose me.
So I sat in that car alone and watched my boy run, with tears streaming down my cheeks. I didn’t know that in a few short months my Doctor would discover I had Celiac disease. I thought this was my fault. I was letting my husband down, my children down and my church down.
And I believed it was my fault because I believed God was punishing me.
Not punishing me because He was mean.
I believed it was out of love.
Somehow I was convinced that the moment I had become a Christian, there were rules, everything I did had consequences~ and since I felt I never measured up, those consequences were always bad.
Consequences for not being a better parent, a better wife, a better Christian. Consequences for not praying enough, for not caring for others more, for not thinking about God more or being more thankful.
For not being good enough.
The weight of that will bury you.
I cried and told God I was sorry.
I knew I deserved His anger.
But I was so wrong.
Because that is not my God,
He is not an angry God, even when I can’t be good enough.
He doesn’t expect me to be.
He never expects me to be.
And that is freeing.
God sees all my imperfections, all my shortcomings and all my failures.
I don’t have to be perfect, because His only Son is perfection, and when God looks down at me that is what He sees.
And He loves me with a love that covers it all.
I am covered in His robe of righteousness.
Please don’t misunderstand my words here, the Bible is clear this doesn’t give us a license to willfully sin. Choosing to willfully sin when we know it’s wrong is never okay biblically, but neither is the misconception that God expects us to be perfect.
I had many conversations with my patient husband about this. Time and again he showed me verse after verse.
And then, one day...
In all my brokenness, I gave God the shovel and allowed Him to miraculously empty the heaviness that was burying me.
Through tears, I could see a glimmer of light.
Little by little.
One shovel full after another, until I heard Him tell me~
Charisse, my Son is your perfection.
If you could be good enough, I would not have sent Him to die on the cross.
My overwhelming love for you took care of all future punishment that day.
And I finally believed Him.
I might not ever have answers or know the reasons why we go through heartache and pain, but I know it isn’t because God wants to punish us and I can rest in knowing that He knows the “why”.
A relationship with God is not all about rules.
He does not seek to punish when we don’t measure up.
He understands that we are human.
He longs to take care of us and He loves us with a love that we could never, ever fully comprehend.
If my words could help just one heart to understand this, one heart to be freed from this weight~every heart ache I have ever been through would be worth it~
because my God is love.
That’s what I want you to grasp.
That is the answer I want you to know.
Won’t you hand Him your shovel today?
Galatians 3:11,13, 22,24-25
I Peter 5:10
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Isaiah 41:10, 61:10
Psalm 32:7, 73:23, 103:10 & 11
Romans 4:7, 12:10,12-16
John 3:17, 9:1-3
II Timothy 1:9