Single Girl Valentine’s Week Confession

Happy Valentine’s Week. Some of you may have read this vulnerable blog post from last Valentine’s Day. Please enjoy this encore presentation:

It’s tough being single on Valentine’s Day. As soon as Christmas is over, the stores are full of red hearts, love balloons, and Valentine’s Day merchandise. Hallmark Channel even plays non-stop Love movies! Yes, I sometimes get sucked into watching each one. Yes, I am a hopeful romantic.

Last Valentine’s Day was different. It was a cold night. I built a cozy fire. I was excited. I was ready. Sitting by the warm fire, it was time to write my Love Letter.  Opening my journal, the following is the Love Letter penned on those pages:

Dearest Lover of My Soul,

Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for being my First Love, today and always.

Thank you, Lord,  for pointing out and healing the sin of idolatry I suffered for my future husband for years without even realizing it. I had elevated the idea of a future husband much higher than I had elevated You as my Lord and Savior. My heart is changed. Please forgive me. 

Holy Spirit, I want to be content in my singleness. Help me.  I am Yours. You are mine.  I am at peace.

My Rock and My Redeemer, Gentle Healer, it is an honor to convey a portion of my immense love for You. No journal, no library can record all my love, dear Jesus.  Thank you for loving me. Every breath is for You, precious Lord.

How may I serve You more? On this Valentine’s Day, I recommit my life to You. It is You and You alone who I need. (Not the only man I want and desire, I admit).  Right now, make me more of a vessel for You and Your Gospel. I want to be your humble ambassador, Your spokesman who only utters worthy, not worthless words. (Jeremiah 15:19). May it be so. 

 “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”  (1 Samuel 3:10)

I Love You With My Whole Heart,                                                                                                                                                              Danya, Your Daughter of  the King

Friend, I learned that God is the only one to fill our “soul holes.” 

Since the Bible is God’s Love Letter to me, I had finally written my Love Letter to Jesus. That night transformed Valentine’s Day for me. Contentment came.

I’m looking so forward to Valentine’s Day in a few short days. Bring it.

PS. Stay tuned next week for an encouraging message from Guest Blogger Teresa Tarrant on how to heal a broken marriage.

Reflect:

–Are you content in your circumstances? Please comment.

–How can you express your love for God more?

Renew:

“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” –Psalm 63: 3-4 NIV

“‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'” –John 15:12-13 NIV

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. ” –Philippians 4:12 NIV

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12 NIV.

Recharge:

–Write your Love Letter to Jesus today.

–The Bible is God’s Love Letter to us. Please read it daily.

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Different Season, Different Fire

This glorious pre-summer weather invigorates me. Invigorates me so much so that I felt the urge to clean out my fireplace recently. It’s the annual spring rite of passage. Many life lessons are learned in this tradition…

I love my fireplace. I love even more the warmth and beauty of a wood-burning fire roaring and flickering in that fireplace. After a long, cold winter of cozy fires, all that is left are the ashes, ash-covered iron grate, and the sooty, tiled walls inside the fireplace.

Winter is over. These ashes remind me of my own life’s ashes I have endured this winter…ashes I still struggle to write about…surviving a serious six-car accident, hit by a drunk driver. My heart overflows with humble gratitude that God spared my life miraculously. With ongoing physical therapy, court hearings, and insurance woes, it’s time to clean out my heart’s ashes. It’s a different season, time for a different fire.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its time.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 NIV

I prepare myself for the mess. Placing gloves on my hands, I gather a few plastic bags and double them. Carefully I use the metal ash shovel and begin scooping the gray, dusty ashes, dumping them in my bag. Gross.

Next comes the heavy iron grate. It fits awkwardly into a plastic bag, and I walk it clumsily outside to the backyard shed, closed away until next autumn. It had done its job well.

Scoop by scoop all the ashes are removed from the fireplace.  The blackened, sooty tiled walls and floor of the fireplace remain. With my cleaning spray and cloths, little by little the true color of the tiled walls and floor peak through. The fireplace is clean again and ready.

Years ago I bought a mirror and had it cut the dimensions of my fireplace back wall. Retrieving the mirror from the hallway closet, I clean it off, and gingerly place it in the back of the fireplace. It fit perfectly, reflecting the light pouring through the windows across the living room.

My favorite part comes next. Inside the fireplace I insert my old, multi-tiered wrought iron candle holder. I place the fresh, white pillar candles on each pedestal and light each one. Setting the torchiere down, I get off my knees and sit back a few feet. The mini flames reflect in the mirror, dancing. Glorious. Breathtaking. It’s truly a different season, different fire.  

Is that not what we are called to do, to shine God’s Light, to be His reflection?

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that Light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the Light; he came only as a witness to the Light. The true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”  –-John 1:4-9 NIV

Are you still sitting in the ashes of the winter’s fires like I had been? Let’s clean out our ashes, friend, and use them for our good and His glory.  It’s a different season; time for a different fire from the same Source.

May your soul be reinvigorated to reflect the Light of our Lord. Shine, my friend, Shine!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives Light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

Reflect:

–What winter ashes might you have in your life that need cleaning out? Please comment.

–How do you or will you shine and reflect God’s Light?

Renew:

–“The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” –1 Samuel 2: 7-8a NIV

–“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” –1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV

–“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” –Galatians 2:20 NIV

Recharge:

–What will you do this week to “let your light shine?”

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Let’s Get Out of the Huddle, Post #50

Ahhhh…’tis the season.  Autumn. Cooler weather (albeit rainy). We are in the full throws of pumpkin spice, harvest décor and football games on every channel and in every stadium.  Even from my front yard on Friday nights I can hear the high school band playing and football fans cheering at nearby West Ashley High School.

Imagine paying for college or professional football tickets. You’re in the stands, greasy food in your hands. You’re adorned in your favorite teams regalia, the fans are cheering, momentum is building….Your favorite team runs onto the field and gathers in a huddle. The huddle lasts for 10 minutes, then 20, then 40, then one hour! Then they walk off the field. What would you do? How would you respond?

Pastor Harvey Carey is the pastor of  a thriving, mission-minded church in Detroit, MI. Located in one of the poorest zip codes in America, Pastor Harvey Carey’s church was identified as one of the top churches in growing people spiritually. Pastor Harvey is the one who gave the aforementioned analogy about the long huddle at a football game.

Isn’t that what we do on Sunday mornings as Christians—huddle for one hour and go off the “field”? How do you think God reacts when He sees us all “huddled up”?

Pastor Harvey’s passionate sermon was quite convicting. He said many of us “huddle” from one Sunday to the next. We often don’t actually “play the game” of our faith, loving our neighbor as ourselves, fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and serving the “least of these” in Matthew 25. He said we go to all these seminars, retreats, and conferences year after year, collecting binders of information on our shelves, which only collect dust. When are we to play the game?

After really feeling convicted about his sermon, I thought of the uplifting seminars and retreats and conferences I’ve attended. Have I been in a “huddle”? Maybe I’m wrong, but I liken them to Spring Training or Boot Camp to condition my/our spiritual muscles for the “game of ministry.” Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, you are conditioned, you are prayed up, you have done your calisthenics. Let’s get out of the huddle now and play this Game of Life. Go serve! Go minister!

Reflect:

–In what ways are you still in your comfortable huddle? Please comment.

–How will you execute your plans from the huddle and play the game of Life?

Renew:

–“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” –Matthew 25: 40 NIV84

–Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…’” –Matthew 28:19 NIV84

–“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” –1 Corinthians 9:25 NIV84

Recharge:

–Name three “Fields” you will play on this month.

–What is one way your family can help “the least of these’ or your neighbor?

Resource:

 www.citadeloffaith.org

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