A Taste of Romance

Petals, stems, leaves, flowers, vases, water, scissors.

Arranging flowers.

There is something about flowers that can unlock the conversation of romance.

The conversation usually runs along the lines of things like…

What kind of flowers do you like? What flowers are romantic to you? What kind of wedding bouquet do you want?

I was cutting flowers with another single young lady and we talked about the lack of romance in our lives, the joys of singleness, and the delight of arranging flowers for others. As the years have gone by, I realize that my definition of romance has changed…though I am not even sure I was prepared for what came out of my mouth, but yet there is the deep sweet undertone of longing that I cannot deny.

Romance, as I’ve grown older, has never been the sappy gushy wishy-washy of a romance novel, it’s not Paris in spring, chocolates, outings with ambiance or a thousand other things…

That is not romance.

Restaurants with ambiance, boxes of chocolates for me to eat, and dozens of roses—is not the life or love I want.

Romance, is suffering.

To step forward and to sip from the same cup as the one we love, their joys their sorrows, their burdens their ups their downs the twirling whirlwind dance of life.

This—is romance.

Those words awakened me in a way that I cannot explain.

It whispered of the visions of romance that I have glimpsed of in the film: Free Burma Rangers, and the tantalizing ever so relatable stories of Brother Andrew in God’s Smuggler.

Suffering, is romance…

The answer of the armor bearer…to Jonathan…

Later that week, martyrs deaths were brought up on a screen.

As I looked at stoning, beheadings, clubbing’s, boiling oil—I wondered: Am I ready?

Do I quaver to step forward?

My heart cried Lord please make me ready. Make me fit, bring glory to Your kingdom…these deaths…I’ve read portions of the Foxes Book of Martyrs, in riveted awe, wonder and horror…but am I ready to walk in those shoes?

Then He brought back the words I said to the young lady.

Romance, is suffering.

Looking up afresh on that list, I realized it was the most romantic thing in the world. Those were beloved, they knew the love of Christ…

Lord may I love you so much, that any of those would be romance to my soul.

This cup I take, this unleavened bread I hold, it is a token of His covenant. Communion not a mere symbol of Christianity—but so much more. Through the word, I have a record of my Christ. With the Bible He spells out with His words and life, His promises of provision, the life that He will lead, the inheritance of the Father—it is all spelled out in the promises of Old Covenant, and they are all fulfilled in the New, and given me the wedding gift of His Holy Spirit to prepare my heart.

He has called me to Him, to be His bride.

There is no detail spared, no hidden lines.

In boldness and love, He calls so tenderly:

Arise my love, my fair one, take up your cross and follow me.

To be one with Him, is to drink of that cup.

To follow in His divine footsteps, it to partake of that life.

The sufferings and sorrows, the rejoicing and His hope.

He has taken the wrath of God, He has drunk from the divine cup.

The cup now stands on the table for me to drink, to share, to pledge, to partake of what He promises—His life, His sufferings—and should the occasion require it—to partake of His death.

So here I am, I will take, drink all of it.

Here I am…spend me.

Plugged in

image provided by pixabay

Starting the car, I grabbed the charger for my phone…

Then, I laughed at myself.

Minutes before it had been plugged in and charging…it was fully charged. I doubted that it had “uncharged” in the few minutes that it had taken me to walk downstairs, fill my water bottle, and walked to the car. Yet, here I was grabbing for something I didn’t need.

My reflex was to grab for the cord had become natural in my drive days before as the map app on my phone drained my battery like a fox holding a banquet in a hen house. Running to the small coffee shop that I knew the directions to certainly had no need of a map app or my phone being plugged in.

Then it struck me…

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. ~John 15:5

My heart needs to be turned towards Christ, the same way my hands were trained to plug in my un-eternal cell phone. I want to be hungry for Christ in that same way, to never be unattached from Christ, my life instict to be attached to Him, to cling to Him, to turn to Him, to look to Him as my life, my energy, my source, my joy, my love–my everything.

I wondered for a moment, how easily do I get my “charge” from Bible reading, fellowship, prayer, the slip onto battery saving mode and try to get on in my day without staying attached to Christ…who IS MY LIFE. There is no life outside of Christ…none whatsoever.

What are you plugged into? Where do you find life? How do you stay charged thoughout the day? Is Christ your life?

Pearls, Idols, and Jesus ~ Journal Jots

Apparently, I am into pulling out journal jots and making them entries. This one is not two years old, but it comes from late June this year…but it is still fresh and heavy on my heart a frequent meditation, I am a little hesitant to share because I know I do not live this yet but I crave it, I desire it…and I’ll stop explaining and just let you read it…

image courtesy of pixabay

A horseshoe-shaped driveway, poised lion statues, two-story brick house lengthy windows, cars…more than I imagined anyone needed to own lining a side driveaway.

I pulled up at the home of my employer and gawked double-checking the address. I was in the right place. Stepping out of the car and walking up the flower-laden steps to the double front doors. I knocked. The door was answered by the mother of my employer, she asked what I was there for and I answered. “To clean the ice machine.”

I’ll be honest that is not an answer I ever expected to give anyone answering the door, but there I was ready to clean a tiny ice cube making machine. She ushered me into the house. Vaulted ceilings, sweeping half-spiral staircase, lush rugs that were the kind I imagined in princess stories, elegant dining table, and chairs, sparkling chandeliers. At last, we reached my destination, the laundry room.

If you cut my room in half the widthwise, then put it end on end…the laundry room was the size of my bedroom. Wall, length closet space, two washers and dryers, dog beds, and other things including the countertop ice machine. (This is one of those luxury items I didn’t know was a thing! For years I was our icemaker then we updated to a fancy fridge that made it for us…) I spent 20 minutes cleaning the little machine and it was all set and ready to go making fresh ice for my then boss.

I let myself out of the house.

Tears started to gather in my eyes.

Jesus, why did I ever think any of this was important?

Years ago, I might have said a house like that was my dream, but time has changed that, and as I sat in my car wiping tears from my eyes, the realization hit me that I would rather have Jesus and live in a cardboard box than sell myself out for the riches of this world and have a house like that. (I am not promoting homelessness btw, houses are good, just in perspective but if you have to make a choice, go for the cardboard box.) I listened to them anxious and angry at work about this and that person losing them money, I watched them throw fits about people not listening to them, and allowing their wealth to vindicate their attitude towards others.

I slipped the car into gear and started to drive away…

A story from many years before started to drift through my mind…

A little girl for her birthday had been given money to spend on herself. She went to the dollar store and chose a faux pearl dress-up necklace. She loved the necklace, she loved it so much she wore it everywhere she went, swimming, dance lessons, church, the playground, the sandbox, on a picnic, day or night she could not bear to be separated from her new treasured pearl necklace. Now, you can easily imagine the condition of this dollar store necklace after a few weeks. The faux pearl veneer had mostly chipped off and some pearls had become entirely bald of their shimmer revealing their true bland plastic selves. But still, she cherished it. One evening her father came in to bid her goodnight and asked her a question.

“Will you give me your pearl necklace?”

“No!” was her reply.

“Okay, I love you, goodnight.” Kissing her on the forehead he left, a touch of sadness in his demeanor.

This troubled his daughter. Why would Daddy want my necklace? Why did that make him sad? Daddy is a boy, what would he do with my pearl necklace?

The senario repeated itself the next evening.

“Will you give me your pearl necklace?”


“I love you, goodnight.” Kissing her on the forehead he left with that same touch of sadness.

Now, I don’t remember if it was three days or a week, but at last, the little girl decided if Daddy wanted her pearl necklace–he should have it.

He came in to say goodnight.

She looked at him anxiously, would he ask the same question? Would he have her give up her treasured faux pearl necklace? What could he possibly do with it?

“Will you give me your pearl necklace?”

Sorrowfully, she took it off. “Daddy, if you want my pearl necklace. You can have it.” she placed it in his open hand. A smile spread across his face. He sat down beside her on the bed, tucking the faux pearl necklace into his pocket.

“Thank you, dear daughter, I have something I’ve wanted to give you, but I couldn’t until you gave me these.” he pulled out from his other pocket a velvet box. In it. A string of real pearls.

The story struck afresh cord in my heart. How many times have I clung to things that seem important, how much have I clung to idols in my heart, cherishing them above all else, above the treasure that God is? The best thing I can do is exchange the idols in my heart for more of Jesus. Replacing the treasures of this world stored up in my heart with Jesus. I started realizing even aspects of my future I’ve clung to…is idolatry in my heart.

Marriage, children, job, secure and certain future…how I’ve pictured my life.

I laughed with tears in my eyes, joy and sorrow, that sweet mixed cup. My life, is not my own, how did I think I could ever plan on living it? I’ve had my road map turned all upside down. My life is found in Jesus, my life should be full of Jesus, all I should want in life is Jesus. This world has nothing to offer me–it cannot give me Jesus.