“That is an enormous relief.”

cslewisFrom A Year With C.S. Lewis:

Well, how exactly do I love myself?

Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently ‘Love your neighbor’ does not mean ‘feel fond of him’ or ‘find him attractive.’ I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do.
–from Mere Christianity.

just another reason i love my husband…

He prays about everything and encourages me to do the same. It’s something he learned from his mother (I really wish I could have met her!). From a text exchange today:

…There’s a lot in our lives (and there always will be as long as we’re on this earth), but I know that prayer is the answer to it all and want us to always be praying for each other and all else.

I just realized that I posted about Paul last Wednesday. This may be a regular thing — Why I Love My Husband Wednesday. ūüôā

just one of the reasons…

…that I love my husband:

He always reminds me that we’re on the journey NOW. We’re not waiting for our lives to settle down. THIS is our life, and we’re together, and we’re grateful. As he recently wrote to me in an email:

I’m not waiting for a time that you and I arrive at the ultimate peace and love in our lives, I’m enjoying it each day.

God knew just what I needed in a husband. I’m glad to¬†travel up and down life’s hills and valleys with him holding my hand.

Grateful,

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“…something that just happens to one, like measles.”

cslewisFrom A Year With C.S. Lewis:

People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change–not realizing that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there…

Another notion we get from novels and plays is that ‘falling in love’ is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measles. And because they believe this, some married people throw up the sponge and give in when they find themselves attracted by a new acquaintance. But I am inclined to think that these irresistible passions are much rarer in real life than in books, at any rate when one is grown up. When we meet someone beautiful and clever and sympathetic, of course we ought, in one sense, to admire and love these good qualities. But is it not very largely in our own choice whether this love shall, or shall not, turn into what we call ‘being in love’? No doubt, if our minds are full of novels and plays and sentimental songs, and our bodies full of alcohol, we shall turn any love we feel into that kind of love: just as if you have a rut in your path all the rainwater will run into that rut, and if you wear blue spectacles everything you see will turn blue. But that will be our own fault.
–from Mere Christianity.

God’s faithfulness

[A repost from August 2014]

On January 1, 2012, I began to read through the Bible using the 3650 plan. I had no idea on that first day of that year just how full of suffering 2012 would be. (Isn’t God good not to overwhelm us with future knowledge?) I used a brand new ESV Bible, and I marked it up, sometimes jotting a date beside a Psalm. Oh, what a treasure that Bible is to me! Immersing myself in Scripture was truly a means of grace that terrible year, and now I have such reminders of God’s faithfulness jotted in margins. It’s almost like a journal.

This particular Bible is fairly compact, so while I’m using a different one in my daily reading, I take this one to church. Last Sunday as I was flipping to the Psalm we were reading, I passed Psalm 57 and saw the note:

psalm57

Psalm 57 was the one I “happened” to read on that dark day as I worked my way through the 3650 plan. And how appropriate it was! Just look at God’s encouragement to me on that saddest of days:

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.

I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts–
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves.

My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!

Awake my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.

For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

Oh, how good God is to us with His Word! This Psalm was true for David in the cave as he fled from Saul thousands of years ago, and it was true for a brokenhearted, grieving, and weak woman in southwest Georgia on a hot summer day in 2012. And it’s been true for countless believers in between and since.

I knew, even in the depths, that God was with me and for me, and I had to take every step in faith because I just couldn’t see how He would work out His plan for me. And, of course, I have no idea what’s coming, what other valleys He will lead me through.

That year I marked every reference to God’s steadfastness and faithfulness I came across because I clung to that aspect of His character. And He proved Himself over and over. He still does, even as He reminds me in this joyful season of life that He has been with me all the way — comforting me, strengthening me, and preparing me to meet Paul. It is good to look back and see how God fulfills His purpose for me.

I begin this Sunday full of joy and gratitude at how good my God has been to me. He was good to me in that valley, and He is good to me today. He is good all the time.

With a joyful heart,

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“It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run…”

cslewisFrom A Year With C.S. Lewis:

If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense–love as distinct from ‘being in love’–is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.
–from Mere Christianity.

new year’s eve

I’m not sure how it’s possible for 2014 to be drawing to a close already, but I suppose my amazement at how quickly time is passing is a sure sign that I’m getting older. It seems like just a couple of months ago, I reviewed 2013 and wondered what 2014 would have in store.

Truly, with the exception of 2012 and its sorrowful surprises, 2014 has shocked the heck out of me more than any other. This time last year, I would never have predicted¬†that I’d be ending 2014 with a wonderful husband. Our family has grown this year as we added a daughter-in-law, but as 2014 began, that was already on the calendar. A new husband and two stepsons were nowhere on my radar.

Apparently, not all surprises are bad ones!

I end 2014 and begin 2015 full of gratitude.

God has surely lavished grace and mercy on¬†me as he brought me a godly, wonderful, patient, kind, tender, and strong husband when I wasn’t even looking. And even though my first marriage ended painfully, God graciously preserved my esteem of the gift of marriage and He is using it as a means of my sanctification. In just a few short months, He has taught me much about selflessness as Paul and I adjust to life together. Marriage is a gift, and marriage to Paul is a particularly¬†precious gift.

As I read my thoughts on 2013 and goals for 2014, I see that I did succeed at slowing down my book-buying habit, but I also read far fewer pages in 2014 — mostly because a new hobby nudged the books out of the way. As you regular readers know, knitting is my new obsession, and I look forward to improving in 2015. But I’m also going to work to get back to the books and return¬†to the 3650 Bible-reading plan. My second 365 photo project has come to an end, and although I won’t do a photo a day in 2015, I have some plans for photography that I’ll share soon. Perhaps I’ll get back into a more regular blogging rhythm, too.

So farewell, 2014. And welcome, 2015.

Happy New Year’s, y’all!

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