Packed and Prepared

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and I’m super excited. I have been preparing for it since last Valentine’s Day. Or, so I thought.

As I sat down to write, God so sweetly whispered to me, in the depths of my soul…No, my dear, I am the one who has been preparing you!

All the days ordained for you were written in my book of life before even one of them came to be.          Psalm 139:16

Let’s go back to Spring of 2016. Both the Women’s and Men’s Ministry at my church embarked on studying Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage. It should be a requirement for every couple contemplating marriage. And for every married couple.  Even if you’re not married, it’s just good stuff for all relationships.

My husband, Austin, and I live in Austin, TX, but for the past few years his job has sent him to Houston most Monday-Fridays. However, during this Bible study he drove back to Austin every Wednesday night to attend the men’s study (a 2 ½ hour drive). Then he would come home (another 30-minute drive) for a special Date Night. (Then drive back to Houston early Thursday morning.)

What made it such a special Date Night? Every Wednesday morning at the Sacred Marriage Bible study all women received a homework assignment. The men had the same assignment from their Wednesday night class. Austin came home so we could do our homework together.

Nothing like having Date Night, orchestrated by God. Led by God.

I don’t have the words to explain how incredibly important this study was in strengthening what I thought was already a darn good marriage!

Let me fast forward to February 14, 2017. I subscribe to Proverbs 31 Ministries on-line Daily Devotions. Gary Thomas was the guest contributor for the day. His post is below:

https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2017/02/14/making-my-wife-cry-on-christmas

In case you didn’t take the time to read it, for Christmas of 2016 Gary Thomas gave his wife a journal as a gift, and as he explained in his devotion: The first page said, “Lisa’s Lovely Ways,” and I explained that throughout the past year, I’d written down something every day Lisa did which I was thankful for, or something about who she is that I admire.

Here it was Valentine’s Day 2017. The day of LOVE. I was totally smitten with the idea and wanted to do the same for my husband!

And I did! Started that very day with my journal.

Here it is. Almost one year later. Time to present this gift of love to my husband.

There is more to the story though…

God wasn’t only preparing me for a journey to honor my husband, He was preparing me for a journey with Him. A get-better-acquainted journey. Giving me the want to, the desire, to press into Him with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind.

One month earlier, January of 2017, I was ready. Ready to begin what God had been preparing my heart for all of my life.

Read the entire Bible in a year.

Not to simply check it off a to-do list. To read the Bible in an attempt to know God more intimately. To understand how wide, how deep, His love is for each and every one of us.

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On January 1, 2017, I started my year-long walk with God. Immersed in His word every day.

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February 14th, 2017, I began journaling. But where do I journal?

The pages of my Grace for the Moment Daily Bible! There was a perfect little boxed area at the beginning of each day to record the thoughts about my husband.

The entries weren’t just words of affirmation about my husband. Many included fun things we did together, challenges we overcame, along with struggles we still share.

How do I know God has been preparing me for this my whole life? Only God’s mercy and grace could have softened this heart! The Lord prepared my heart to receive His love. To love Him more than I loved myself… so I could love my husband as God intended.

Oh, the sanctification process. His perfect timing.

As I pondered my words for today, February 12, I was in awe of the Lord’s perfection. If you note the words to the devotion written in the photo below by Max Lucado (he wrote a daily devo for each day), he wrote of packing for a journey.

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We are actually packing our bags for vacation today!  However, God has already packed me on purpose, for a purpose. Already written a journal about my entire life. Your’s too! He will make certain we are packed and prepared with all we need to get through every single day of those journal entries.

I have developed a deeper love for my husband this past year. Grown to respect him more for his countless fine qualities. Grown to be more accepting of his little quirks with a softer heart. And certainly more appreciative for him being so patient with me.

More thankful than a year ago for this man God placed in my life. God knew that keeping the journal would accomplish all that. My husband is worthy and so deserving of me making more room for him in my heart.

And most importantly, God is worthy of being number One. I spent a year immersed in my Father’s word. Immersed in His love. Learning more about His character. Gaining a reverent fear, love and respect for His might and power.

And overflowing with thankfulness for His love.

Here’s to the month of love…and an eternity spent with the Creator of it all.

 

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