When You See Jesus as a Necessity

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*pictured is us on Easter Sunday 2019

As most of you know, Isaac and I moved to the boondocks of Oklahoma earlier this year to help run a wildlife ranch. We were going from working completely opposite work schedules to working completely together 24/7. It was a fantastic marriage move.

We were under the impression though when we started that it was the end of the client season and we wouldn’t have many more customers coming until fall (so Sundays off wouldn’t be a problem)…. but customers just kept coming. I know thats a weird thing to be bothered by because that meant more money for everyone, but DANG I needed community. Isaac and I had talked constantly since we’d been there about how to be particularly intentional about our worship every day and make sure that our boss knew that us going to church was a priority whenever possible.

I’m big on setting a list of priorities for everything so that the few moments of unfilled downtime we have we can use efficiently. I noticed that that word really got lodged in my head though. Priority.

Church is a priority. Church is a priority. Church is a priority.

When everything in life was dandy, our lack of church going didn’t seem that severe. I knew we were doing the best we could in the situation we were in and that God was teaching us a new lesson. When we would argue though or things wouldn’t go as planned, thats when I noticed how desperate we were for closeness with our Savior. It was all over our faces.

That time for us had been extremely eye opening. I had never understood people who didn’t go to church regularly before. Did they love Jesus or not? When you give the devil that wedge to get in though there are SO MANY excuses he can give you. Work, time, sleep, “not finding the right church” or disagreeing with decisions people in the church were making. I had heard so many of these over the years, but never understood why.

At that point we had been to SO MANY different churches in different states and cities of different sizes and worship styles. You know what I  learned though? You can only be so critical when your heart is just set on worship. I cannot even tell you what the people in any of the Oklahoma churches we visited were wearing because each time we were actually able to go to one I was so RELIEVED. Relieved to finally be in the fellowship of other believers.  Relieved to sit down and just worship Christ. As hard of a time as we were having figuring out what putting Christ first looked like in our lives in that moment, our hearts just craved worship.

Church was a priority for us no doubt. Everyone knew it too. The thing about priorities though is that I’ve noticed how often we give other people in our life the power to change them. Is it still a priority if my boss needs me to work? Is it still a priority if my friend points out how little sleep I’ve gotten this week and how grouchy I’ve been getting from it? Is it still a priority if my husband is unable to go and I don’t know another soul there?

If I classify going to church and worshiping my heavenly Father as the same level of priority as all of those other things though, what is that saying? Respect for our boss is important. Self care is important. But where do we draw the line and say “This will NOT interfere with my time of worship and my fellowship with other believers”?

Lying in my bed one rare morning off I agonized over why I could not succeed at making church a priority with our crazy and ever changing schedule. In one compassionate moment God made it so clear though. I had been obsessing over my desire for Him and forgetting my raw, human-natured NEED for Him. Priorities are something we put on a checklist and often things we just expect ourselves to be able to get done within our own capabilities. Flooded by work, exhaustion, moving, appointments, and responsibilities though, my earthly strength was finally proven to be not enough. Christ was a necessity. Not just a necessity though, our BIGGEST necessity. We would never be able to make the decisions we needed to make in our life without recognizing that fact.

Sure, some Sundays we’re sick. Some weeks we feel defeated. Sometimes the Devil gives us every excuse in the world to not stop and pray about it. I hold tight to verses like these though…

Matthew 16:24-27 - Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would   come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and   follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoeverloses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit aman if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done.

He wants our whole hearts, our whole budget, and our whole schedule because He alone fills our whole need.

 

Impractical or Biblical? Painful or Purposeful?

img_5799Have you ever prayed for struggles in your life before? Like actually prayed that you might have them? If so, what did you mean by that? Sometimes we see others throughout our life that have been through the ringer in life and have come out oozing strength in Christ. Its easy to envy that. Have you ever prayed for pain though? Not like a bee sting pain, but actual heart wrenching, on your knees, giving it all up pain.

Pain is something we typically try to avoid. From the time we’re little our parents wrap us in bubble wrap and take every precaution to keep us from actually finding out what pain really is. But what is so wrong with pain?

Pain, struggles, hardships, bad times or seasons in your life are all talked about in a negative connotation. They’re bad things. But what if we need the pain to see the beauty of the comfort? When we think of Christ’s death on the cross, does it just make us sad or do we actually think about the purpose of the pain?

Lets face it, our nation is obsessed with comfort. Our user friendly, double stuffed, drive through, get rich quick nation doesn’t like the idea of hurting. There is a certain way of life that has for some reason been labeled in our generation as “comfortable” and therefore good. In the same way, there is a certain life path that has been labeled “practical” in our generation and also, therefore good. I don’t like that very much.

Speaking personally, practical hasn’t really been a big part of my life just yet. Practically, I wouldn’t have spent every dime I made in my bajillion jobs over the years on horses. Practically, I would still be in college. Practically, Isaac and I would not have gotten married at 20 and 21. Practically, by the world’s terms we would have lived more of our “young life” before we dove into full time jobs and lifelong commitment. Practically, we would have had our feet on the ground more before we up and moved across the country…. haha. All I can say is, praise the Lord it was His shot to call and not ours, because thats what He chose to build this crazy wonderful life off of.

I’m not saying practical decisions are wrong at all. I’m just saying that sometimes life for Christ is very much not practical. When He calls you to move, just be ready to move, no “ifs” or “butts” about it. Thats something He’s definitely taught us the hard way, but that was our story of the good kind of pain that we will forever be grateful for.

What I’ve learned about Jesus and “practical” is that He will either make the 5 loaves of bread and two fish work or He will humble you. Using the word “humble” is my gentle way of implying that that’s where the pain would come in. Learning and growing and letting our hearts be teachable HURTS. But, like I said, thats the good pain!

They say you’re not a good horseback rider until you’ve fallen off at least 20 times. Maybe God has a similar approach. Nobody asks to fall off a horse, but theres pride in knowing that you’re challenging yourself and becoming a better rider every time. God loves us enough to make sure that we don’t wallow in ruts of comfort. He challenges us in the best ways, and teaches us to love the ride more with every fall.

Don’t let your fear of pain or your fear of being impractical keep you from putting yourself in a position where you’re ready for the five loaves of bread and two fish God is ready to make out of your situation. He wants your crazy, impractical faith to bring purpose out of the pain.

I have learned that I am always looking for the next season of life. I am always waiting for God to use me for something bigger and better. The truth is though, He already is. My waiting, my praying, my learning, it’s all Him moving. Our God does not move at all without purpose. Let Him teach you when you’re still and see it as beautiful. Let Him teach you when you’re running, or even falling, and see it as Him giving you a new opportunity for growth. If He blesses you enough to let you experience pain, He will bless you enough to teach you wisdom through it. That’s what pain really is when you’re experiencing it with Christ – a blessing.

Maybe you should ask someone their story. Ask them about the steps they took in faith. Ask them about the hard parts and the pain and Gods crazy cool purpose for it all. Grab a bag of popcorn while you’re at it because I guarantee its gonna be a good story if God wrote it.

Learning Alone.

DSC_0039Isaac and I started dating fresh out of high school. With the exception of maybe one or two weeks per year when one of us would be out-of-town for fishing or horses, we have basically been inseparable. It’s been easy to cherish our relationship through the good, bad, and the ugly because God had always made one thing about it very clear – we could serve Him better together. If God decided to bless and provide for us in something absurd that He had laid on our hearts, we learned. If God took comfort or stability away from us, we learned. With Isaac it has always seemed like anything in the world could go wrong and it would all be okay because God put us together to face that, and that’s how we’ve always taken on life.

I was talking to my best friend about this the other day and realized that God really doesn’t put two people together to make life easier. That’s not the point. I strongly believe that our God sees two completely imperfect people whom He has created and says, “if I put these two people together with all of their flaws, personality differences, quirks, crazy habits and passions, I could move some big mountains with that.” That’s how we need to treat relationships – a big combination of everything about each other that’s not supposed to work, working for the purpose of Christ. We have no right to be happy, for life to go smoothly,  or for our comfort to stay in tact, but, we are privileged that our God wants to move mountains with us and bless us so sweetly. It’s always going to be worth all of the struggle.

This past week, Isaac left for a week-long fishing trip in Canada. No cell service, no communication, and it was pretty much as miserable for me as it sounds. HOWEVER… it wasn’t until the end of the week when he was making his 15 hr drive home that I finally got to talk to him and realized… I’d learned. To be honest this was the first time in our relationship were we had been so close to God and so ex-communicated from each other.  The devil really did try to eat me up that week. I had constant headaches that prevented me from attending the majority of my Bible studies, a bag of peas exploded on my head (that’s actually a long story, haha), I felt completely terrible and had no motivation whatsoever… which is exceedingly rare for me. All the devil sneaking in when he knew I would be most vulnerable and when he didn’t have anyone else to stop him. As bad as it seemed at the time though, I am actually starting to appreciate that week.

Relationships can sometimes become a crutch for us. We learn to lean on the other person because it seems to be our most accessible and convenient source for immediate comfort. I was so used to running to Isaac first and then us running to God together. God, in all of His sovereignty and grace, knew how bad I needed this week. Don’t you love it when our human hearts get so dang stubborn that God literally has to bring us to our knees for us to look up? He is so faithful. I felt helpless, but the one question that kept coming back to my mind was – Why did I never feel like this before? What was the secret that gave me so much strength when I had been alone before? When I lived in Oklahoma alone… when I lived in Hatteras alone… when I lived in Blackstone alone… what is so different now?

Something I have been very adamant about in our relationship and before we were dating was that I was not going to let my relationship status determine my worth. In any stage of our relationship, my identity would always need to be child of God first and foremost. That is a major theme with girls because the ugly truth is we all struggle with our identity and we all struggle with self-worth. In my newly married life, I had forgotten the principles I had to hold fast to when I was single. Missing my husband is not a bad thing. Wanting to be with him, fellowship with him, and learn with him are not bad things. Believing the lie that I cannot still grow alone though is a very bad thing. The lessons Christ teaches us throughout our life are not to make us stronger in the moment and then be forgotten later on. The lessons He teaches us are to build on each other. All the pit stops, rest stops, hazard signs, wrong turns, flat tires, etc. on the road map He has slowly showed us how to build our life on were all for a long-term reason.

I realized this week that the things He teaches us alone vs with our spouse are very much not the same. My husband is my partner, but our relationship is also our greatest mission field. Approaching alone time with Father equals asking for our hearts to be refined. Single, dating, married, we all need that. As God is often described as a potter molding His clay, we must remember not to leave the kiln and become hardened. Isaac and I can be molded together in our time with the Lord in many ways, but one thing I desire greatly for my relationship with Isaac is that I always want my heart to be beautiful to him. That actually REQUIRES me spending time alone with the potter, letting him refine me, smooth out the rough edges and work on my rusty, tangled heart. Then I can go back to my husband with a heart prepared to serve him and love him like Christ created me to. I’m learning guys…

The other lie that I believed in my week of solitude was that if I was not accomplishing a million things in all of my free time with Isaac gone, then I was wasting my time. I beat myself up about it a lot. Isaac has always been that mediator for me that keeps me from letting my mind overdo it 24/7. I am terrible about convincing myself it’s okay to rest. Sometimes though, God needs us to just NOT do, NOT be, NOT move or think. Sometimes He needs us to NOT get so caught up in ourselves and the schedules that we have determined are for some reason so important to consume our lives with. Do you know how many times in the Bible God commands us to just BE STILL? It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to make less money than you think you should, do less cool things than your friends are doing that week, not have your house completely spotless, not finish the library book you’ve renewed three times, etc. When it all comes down to it, Christ cannot teach us to the fullness He desires to if sitting down to learn is not our priority. I missed that point. I let the devil win a few times this week. No more believing those lies though. I am a child of God. Sometimes just telling myself that is all I need to do. I am full and complete regardless of who I am with, where I am, everything I accomplish or don’t accomplish.

Forever striving to saturate my life with His word and His character. Forever striving to clear my crazy head and fill it with the things of Christ.

PC – Lauren Jene Photography

Passion in Perspective.

IMG_6864I’m passionate about Jesus. I’m passionate about my husband. I’m passionate about my loved ones. I’m passionate about horses. Then what?

Passionate is a word that I’ve used my whole life mainly to describe the drive and desire I have to build a life based off of the things God instilled in my heart to love. Like the word love, however, the word passionate has seemed to become more watered down over time… or is it just misunderstood? When we think of things we’re passionate about our minds tend to jump to big things or ideas in general. I say I’m passionate about horses, but I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about mucking stalls. I got to thinking (and God got to teaching me) maybe the drive that we need to LIVE with passion is found in the small things. Maybe passion is found in perspective. I find it easier to put it in to perspective when it’s regarding my relationship with Isaac, especially now being his wife. I’m so passionate about pursuing his heart, but I also understand that to live that dream includes being gracious in the arguments, being each others support in the hard times, and being patient when I don’t understand. Being passionate about serving him in those small ways will ultimately teach me how to love him with a much deeper passion. I think thats how God intended for us to learn passion – in the little things. Jesus didn’t just shoot the breeze with sinners, He was passionate about their hearts. He walked across water, walked with them through fire, moved their mountains, gave them sight, and healed their hurting hearts. Christ loves us with small things in overwhelming ways… literally personifying passion. What small things do you ignore that could be your chance to reveal to others where your passion lies?

Another area that brings up the question of passion almost constantly is the workplace. There weren’t IT departments or corporate ladders to climb in Jesus’ time. So, how do we know how to be passionate when the majority of jobs today don’t relate at all to peoples passions? In a way, it seems like its setting us up for failure. In another way though, it’s actually a crazy cool blessing. I’ve been blessed to have a variety of jobs (many of them at the same time) in my few years and I have worked with many passion-lacking people. It’s the worst. It makes for a lot of people doing a lot of the same thing and not caring a whole lot about it. I love the workforce and I love helping people find jobs they love. Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter. If you want to go work at a gas station you could be the best dang gas station cashier there ever was if you knew where your passion was rooted. Plain and simple… it needs to be Jesus.

Isaac and I both have had years in our lives where we were getting up way earlier than we wanted to and going to spend way too much of our life at a job that we didn’t particularly like. We have never done anything perfectly and we fail a lot, but we got out of bed and went because the job itself was never what was driving us. Any follower of christ gets out of bed for one reason – their purpose, calling, meaning, and deepest passion – to live a life of honor, praise, and full abandon to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thats the goal. A lot of my nonbeliever friends think that’s cheesy and ridiculous. Can somebody tell me though how you get out of bed not knowing what in the world you’re supposed to be doing in this life? How do you not know even more that your savior and creator is looking directly down at you when your feet hit the floor each morning, holding on to the purpose He PREDESTINED for you and waiting for you to look up. Do you see how passionate He is about you? If you are truly passionate about Christ He will make you passionate about His work. One of the happiest ladies I’ve ever met was the manager of a McDonalds and she praised Jesus all the way.

The more faith God requires you to have in Him working out situations that seem impossible, the more you grow. That means theres the possibility for SO MUCH GROWTH!!! Our God is a creative God. You might not see how you can be passionate about where you are or what you’re doing, but I dare you to pursue Christ in it and watch Him blow your mind with passion and purpose. If Christ calls you somewhere you don’t particularly want to go, the only goal you need to be worrying about is making your passion for Him greater in that situation. It’s not distraction, It’s heavenly focus.

Bottom line – stop thinking that your circumstances don’t allow for you to be passionate. The creator of the universe pursues your heart specifically every single stinking day regardless of your mood with all of the passion there is. Let Him teach you to be passionate the real way.

****

P.S. My insanely talented friend made these gorgeous bookmarks with my favorite verse on them. This verse reminds me that God WANTS to use us mightily and He WILL if we seek Him first. My Bible is a special treasure to me and I love filling it with special things that inspire me to live for Christ.

***If anyone is interested in ordering one for themselves or for a gift to lift someone else up just let me know or visit Desiree’s site at http://www.thunderbirdandco.com !

Newlyweds Church Hunting

Riley+Isaac'sWeddingCeremony49We’re married!!!! And back to reality after the best month of our lives. We’re in Oklahoma. We’re in a new apartment. We’re continuing to learn each other and learn how to keep enough food in the fridge to feed our hungry hungry hippo selves… and, we’re looking for a church.

The first weekend we were in Oklahoma together, we had the privilege of starting our search for a local church family. We had both been a part of several churches before. These churches weren’t just churches to us though. They were our family, our support system, our accountability, our encouragement and a heavy source of our motivation to live life sold out for Christ. The churches we were a part of played such a heavy roll in our relationship. I really can’t imagine how we would even have turned out now without those church families pouring into us and our relationship so sweetly for so long.

Because of Gods perfect sovereignty, I started going to our last home church right before I met Isaac. I started in a youth group that was heavily mission minded. God started to instill that focus in me and teach me how to stand alone in Him before Isaac was even in the picture. Looking back now that was so crucial. I see so many people putting their identities in their significant others and then crashing and burning when they realize that they alone can’t satisfy their heart. God gave me a foundation while He was making Isaac into the man He wanted him to be. We wouldn’t be here without that foundation.

Fast forward about 7 years and we can finally look back and see all of the ways the Lord guided us and taught us through our friendship and relationship so intentionally to lead us to His perfect timing. It was at our church in Virginia that God clearly showed us that regardless of what happened we could praise Him better together. It was at our church in Hatteras that He showed us that  He wanted us to be different and do the hard things for His glory.

Here in Oklahoma, they have Mega Churches. Churches that have just absolutely exploded with growth. We visited one this past Sunday and it raised a lot of questions in my mind. At our church in Hatteras, our pastor was more publicly unashamed of the true and full gospel of Christ than anyone I’ve ever met. He preached truth. He said the hard things no one wanted to hear or think about. He called you out and he directed you to the raw beauty of our Savior. Entering that mega church, we knew we were going to have a hard time finding that again.

The service was good. It was on Jonah and his efforts to run from God despite his heart being so strongly convicted by Him. My mind wandered though. I caught myself nit-picking things the pastor would say or ways the congregation would react. I realized something. Has it become culturally normal for people to feel it is their duty, whether they are a part of the church or not, to judge churches? Over the years we’ve seen countless people leave our churches because the music changed, someone offended them, they didn’t feel like they were being included enough, etc. I understand it can be hard to find the right church, but do we expect the church to cater to our every need?

When Isaac and I first started our move out here, we prayed that God would not let us be comfortable. We knew this was a new place with so many new opportunities and the last thing we wanted to do was fall into a rut or mundane routine. Regardless of our lack of sleep or lack of money, we wanted to serve Him desperately.

Do we pray like that for a church though? We expect for a church to be homey and comfortable and some sort of safe place for us. Why? Have you seen our culture?  Have you looked at the world that each and every one of us is surrounded by every day? We need to be called out! Somebody push us! Somebody show us how to love people like Jesus did with all the pain and discomfort and overwhelming fulfillment that comes with it.

I realized in the midst of however many hundreds of people that were in that mega church that we needed to stop waiting for a church to cross their t’s and dot their i’s and say everything we’d always wanted to hear. We are the body. We are the church. Why don’t we go out and live like it? If we pursue Christ first He will take us to a church that praises His name. Not a perfect church, but the church He desires us to learn and grow and serve with regardless how messy.  We can’t be waiting for a church to cater to our needs while we ignore the needs of others around us and the call that God has already placed on our lives wherever we are.

After realizing all of this, I am so excited for our church hunt now. Knowing that its not about what the church can do for us, but what we can do for the church in furthering Christ is an exciting and humbling thing.

Bottom line – our church does not determine whether or not we are serving Christ, but it is key to the fellowship and accountability of the body of Christ. If you’re not a part of a church, why? Who offended you? Because, from a relationship aspect at least, we wouldn’t know how to love and serve each other without being surrounded by so many different hands and feet of Christ to help us learn how.

We need to know how much we need the church in us and around us. Realize how much God wants to use you, how highly he thinks of you, how many blessings He has stored up for you, how uniquely He created you for His purpose, and how many of His children He wants to surround you with to remind you of that. You, as the church, push each other. Lovingly offend each other. If you’re going to run with Christ take someone else’s hand and let them know what it feels like to run too.

Be the church.

Pre-Wedding Cultivating

cul·ti·vate

ˈkəltəˌvāt/

verb

1. prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening

2. try to acquire or develop

apply oneself to improving or developing

________________________________

Coming back to Virginia from Oklahoma for the wedding I have been absolutely elated. One month of not being with Isaac was HARD, so just standing next to him was good enough for me. We drove and ate ice cream and laughed our heads off. After only a couple of days, I thought we were completely back to normal.

I realized after a couple of days though that there were times when we were both getting a little confused with each other. Before I had left, we had found a system of purposeful interaction with each other. We knew when to stop and talk, when to pray, when to run and when to wait for God… most of the time. The grace of God sustained a lot of that in order to keep our relationship strong a thousand miles apart these last few months, but it still looked different now coming back home.

I started thinking about this new dilemma we were facing and had some pretty weighty realizations…

  • What hard questions have we asked each other lately?
  • How have we encouraged each other on a deeper level?
  • How have we praised God for His work in us and the way He has grown us here recently?
  • How were we cultivating our relationship in the midsts of all of this?
  • How have we been intentional about each other’s growth in Christ?
  • Were we still prioritizing the focus of our relationship with God above all wedding craziness?

It’s SO easy to get caught up in wedding excitement, but regardless of what phase in life you’re in, it’s not bad to have conversations that make you a little upset. We’re human. We get offended easily. Our jobs though are not to make each other happy all the time. God created us for this relationship as helpmates to support each other in Him and His work. If we were just happy go lucky 24/7 we would never grow and never change. The wedding is so close and consumes so much of our minds, but shouldn’t the majority of our preparation for it be the cultivating our relationship part?

At the beginning of our relationship God taught us to pray for hard things. He was always faithful to give them to us and just as faithful to carry us through them. We knew He wanted to make us stronger. I’ve found that the further you get into a relationship the harder it is to pray for that. We get comfortable. We fear the stability being shaken. Really though, I think it’s even more important down the road. We don’t need to be comfortable if we stand secure in Christ! We should always be desiring for Him to flip our world upside down just to teach us more about Himself. I want that.

Relationships aren’t meant to be easy and neither is life for Christ, but God uses them both to bring so much blessing and so much purpose. You have to be intentional about seeking that though. The devil can and will use your comfort against you. Us being intentional in our relationship doesn’t mean noticing each other’s every quirk and feature though. Rather it means us being careful to notice when the purpose that we share shifts in our heads or we prioritize falsely, and then us taking the Christ covered action steps to fix it.

I know I might be making this all sounds incredible light, but there is so much grace involved in this process. You can imagine that pointing out flaws in our relationship or things that don’t settle with us can be a touchy subject. We so strive to douse these conversations in an attitude of grace and so much prayer… we don’t always achieve that… but thankfully God has WAY more grace than we ever could. He holds up the grace part when we’re both down for the count.

I love our little relationship of holding Gods hand together while we fall time and time again and practice getting back up stronger. I just want you all to realize though that we are not as “put together” as we might seem (or not seem). We have grown to so love the process though of watching the God who put us together make us more like Him despite all of our flaws and failures.

It’s all beautiful if it’s all Him.

Lots of falling.

Lots of failing.

Forever striving to cultivate with grace 🌻

Long Distance… it’s all good!

Neither of us were very keen on the idea of not being together for almost 3 months. Especially not 1,000 miles apart. Since we started dating, we’ve seen each other just about every day… and we very much preferred it that way. The days that we didn’t see each other usually were pretty terrible. (That sounds so awful to say!!) Looking back now, learning how to live here without Isaac was so important. I didn’t want to, but God knew that I was working on my identity being solely in Him as my creator, and He graciously helped me with that.

Being here alone, I’ve learned how to not just be thinking about Isaac, but consider him in everything I’m doing. The way I budget my time, the way I maintain my health, etc. because I know he’ll be here soon! And I know when he gets here he’ll pay attention to the habits I’ve made. I want to make him proud.

How beautiful is it that God desires the same for us in the way we should be considering Him? He’s coming SOON. He cares for us, our hearts, our well beings and our lives for Him SO MUCH. I want to live my life with that same desire – to make Him proud.

I love how God uses our earthly relationships to teach us so much more about the vast love he has for us. Thinking about it now after being in Oklahoma for a few months, I see my relationship with God so much differently. I see everyone’s relationships with God so much differently. In a way, we have a long distance relationship with Christ. We can’t see Him or hear His voice in the way that our earthy bodies desire to. Because we know His character to be so vivid and true however, we have access to experiencing it all throughout life in the various ways He chooses to touch our lives, hold our hands, and speak His words into us. Blessings.

Like all long distance relationships though, they look differently for everyone. Because God has given us all unique gifts and personalities, our relationships with Him look different. Isaac and I have to be disciplined in setting aside time in our day to have intentional conversations with each other while we’re apart just like we each have to be intentional in making time in our day to listen and learn from Christ. Otherwise, we both get REAL GRUMPY. That’s easy for some people though. Some have to be more disciplined in their prayer life than they do in their study. It’s ALL so important, but isn’t it cool how God doesn’t make all people and situations the same? It’s the learning and the seeking process that He loves. He loves watching us find Him and then realize that He has been there all along.

Praise God He’s so downright ACCESSIBLE! Otherwise I would have completely fallen apart these past few months.

I’m realizing now – the long distance thing was really no big deal at all. God didn’t give us each other to hoard and he didn’t give us each other as a crutch as if He was not enough to hold us up. Accountability, encouragement and reminding each other of GODS goodness and purpose for love is what our relationship is for. Helpmates. When I am with Isaac I feel like I can do anything and everything God calls me to. Without him beside me every second though, I am still just as much called and just as much valuable.

I’m over my pity party and feel prepared now. I am confident that Christ purposefully wanted to teach us this prior to marriage to strengthen our focus and be more aware of the true value our relationship has.

It doesn’t matter where either of us are. What God has given us in our relationship is bigger than distance solely because He is bigger and so much greater.

Next step – togetherness!!!