this is the first day

“This is the first day.”

Sure, Sunday was the beginning of a new week and the beginning of the Easter season and the beginning of Spring. But it was not just that, not at all just that.

“This is the first day,” our pastor said at least five times in his sermon Sunday.

He said it like he was announcing a baby’s first breath or a rocket’s first flight, like there was a definite and precise time of origin and there was not anything like day before that day. Like, perhaps, when the first dawn broke the first day as God breathed life out of nothing.

When Christ rose from the dead, everything changed… forever. Everything, forever changed. History and future and eternity and the way the sunlight presently stretches across my morning routine. Sunday would have been the first day of a new work week for the Jewish people, but all work was different on this new “first” day, in light of the resurrection.

We are living in the light of an empty tomb – on the sky side of a conquered grave.

That is why we spread the feast table in Prospect Park on Sunday and gathered friends and broke bread and said grace and joyfully remembered together our redemption. We are on the sky side of a conquered grave with Jesus.

As if that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate on Sunday, Patrick decided it would be another first. He thought that Easter was the most appropriate time to make this special invitation because of the way every feast and marriage and celebration is wrapped up inside the immeasurable blessing of salvation.

At the end of a long day of celebrating, Patrick asked me to be his bride and it is making me the happiest little Midwestern Brooklyn girl you have ever seen.

It took a while for the shock to wear off (when I say I had no idea it was coming, I mean like you would be surprised if those big check people showed up at your door). Of course, I was hoping it would happen in the future, but I was not expecting it Sunday when we could share the joy with my brother and sister-in-law who were visiting… which is probably why our excitement turned into silly dancing in my living room.

And now, this.
I am engaged! I have a fiance! I am going to marry my best friend!

The sweet beauty of Easter just claimed a whole new piece of my heart. It’s like knowing the best secret that I can tell everyone and like my rib cage is warm like the best whiskey. It’s… sorry, words won’t do at all here. Words just won’t do to explain how wonderful it feels to step into love like this.

I’ll spare you my mushy babble for now. I will just say that it seemed the best way to start this part of the journey – remembering the Bridegroom we anticipate together and the marriage feast He has prepared.

For now, we will enjoy “every good gift” the Lord pours out and we will enjoy it with all the zany delight those gifts deserve.


hey love, why you gotta be so hard?

Sooner or later, twitterpated wears off.

Maybe some dating couples sneak into marital bliss before this happens, but I’ve heard few of those true tales. I’m still asking around. But when the twitterpated wears off, by some miracle, I’m supposed to remain satisfied in my first love while trying to love someone else well. Truly, this love dance must involve miracles.

Because all of a sudden, it’s not just about moving across the country to see Patrick more than once every couple months. All of a sudden, it’s about weekly routines and juggling independence and fighting demons well hidden in my singleness. Turns out, I’m not as flexible or as humble or as generous as I had made myself believe.

Turns out, being supremely content and fulfilled in the Lord is not a milestone you run past toward a far off finish.

Of course, I knew those things when I was flying solo. I knew where joy came from and that it never runs out and that I need new doses every day, all day. But somehow in the mix of a cross country move and getting to know an amazing man, I forgot.

I forgot that God has called me beloved and I am His. I forgot that His promises are trustworthy, but His trustworthiness only feels abundant if I believe it. I forgot there are pleasures forevermore in His presence. I forgot that depending on anything or anyone else for life and breath is foolishness.

I’m living through that lesson – the lesson that love is hard. Unattached, involved, or committed forever – love is hard. The vantage point does not matter, because the object of our highest affections is most important. If I really believe that His love is best, my heart is full before I go on a date with Patrick and before I miss him when he is away. My heart is full because I am called beloved by someone who has the power to grant true contentment – the kind you can sigh into on a snow day in your favorite flannel shirt.

Being satisfied in Jesus is a miracle, but it is not an event.

It is not a part of my chronological love story, the part where I say, “…and then I just felt so content to be single…” God’s provision is too good and His love is too precious to be a tick mark on a timeline. I’m learning a lot, about being vulnerable and honest and bold as I let someone else see my messes. But what I’m learning most is that I will only love well if I love Christ first.

When I want to be selfish or sassy or secretive, the answer is not to love Patrick better but instead to love Christ first. When I feel insecure or scared or anxious, the answer is not to expect Patrick to hold me up but instead to believe God already has and promises to remain steadfast. I’m learning I am just not strong enough to reform myself. It never works out in the end.

The crazy thing about this whole humility lesson is that it frees me to really enjoy the gifts in front of my face – like his laughter and our spontaneous adventures and the way he says, “Hey” when he opens his apartment door. 

Being satisfied in Jesus is a miracle and I hope my heart is always ready to receive it – unattached, involved, or committed forever.

So I kind of get it, I guess. Love has to be hard because we would miss out if it was easy. We would not see how brilliant or sovereign the Lord is when He orchestrates the miracles that make love happen. If love was easy, my heart would forget completely how much I need a perfect Savior.

the Light by which I see anything lovely

This Saturday is perfect, down to the perfect timing of a perfect rain after a perfect rollerblade in the park. Too perfect?

As we walked around the Farmer’s Market this morning, my friend (and aunt) mentioned that she and her husband had noticed the rose-colored glasses I’ve been wearing on this blog lately. Apparently, my rosy shades make every post sound too perfect. Can e-v-er-y-thing make a smile stretch across my face?

She said something like, “I mean, you are always joyful… but this sounds different. We can tell.”

My aunt and uncle are two of my most favorite people in the world. Their hammock chairs on the back porch have hosted some of my favorite conversations. They are also numbered in the very small army of people who suffer through this blog regularly. So, when they say they can tell my tone has changed, I listen.

As it turns out, twitterpated is a real thing. You know, from Bambi? I’m not sure it happened to me quite like this, but it might be why everything looks so rosy. Maybe.

But, can I get personal? I don’t do this often… or ever, I guess. I try to keep things at a healthy, ambiguous distance when it comes to life’s precious details. I probably overshare about spiritual inspiration and my embarrassing escapades, but I tread more carefully when it comes to love.

Oh, I can write about singleness all day. It’s been my life for – well, for most of 28 years and it is a beautiful place to be. Truly. And I am not just saying that to encourage my lady friends who get sick at the twitterpated spring season. I believe singleness is beautiful for the same reasons I believe being in love is beautiful. All beauty springs from the same well, which is maybe why it’s hard to get specific.

all beauty springs from the same well

There is a story to tell, though. It’s actually still being written, but I guess I’m wearing rose-colored glasses in this chapter and maybe you’ll want to look through them, too…

When a certain young man from out of town showed up on my doorstep, I forgot I had known him for 16 years. I forgot that he knew my heart so well. I forgot how our laughter made so much sense together.

After a week wrapped in prayer and blessing, he said a lot of things, but this one thing was what really melted my heart. He said, “Care, I know that you will always love the Lord more than you love me. And that’s what I love most about you.”

Maybe that doesn’t sound romantic, but it reached a place in my heart Hallmark will never find. Yesterday, I said that same thing about him, but to my boss as I explained why I would be moving to New York City soon (she assumed it was because he was so good looking).

Yes, love is a many splendored thing. It can make bad days and good days feel like heaven days. But, there is an anchor for my soul and it is not this many splendored thing called love. It is not this love that is chasing away my fear of the future and anxiety over unknowns. It is not this love that wakes the sun and illumines the moon.

This love that melts my insides is merely a reflection. A very wonderful reflection that does sometimes make me feel light as a feather, but is still a reflection of the greatest Love that is every bit of the security and joy and abundant life I seek. It is more than weak-in-the-knees and more than twitterpated seasons. This greatest Love teaches me how to love by way of brokenness and sacrifice. Jesus was broken, battered, and bleeding so that I might feel His greatest Love that brings me to repentance and restoration. Forever a sure and steadfast anchor of my soul.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19, ESV

I wish I could say I will always love the Lord more than I love Patrick. I wish I could say I’m not swayed by being weak in the knees. I wish I could know that I will never get swept away with my own ideas and expectations of this many splendored thing. I hope all these things will be true of me and true of our love.

But, then I remember how an anchor works. I remember that God is a promise keeper and my hope is secure in His promise to make me holy. He is my sure and steadfast anchor when my soul is silly in love and when my soul is drowning in heartache.

His love is the Light by which I see anything lovely.

And yes, this twitterpated season is very lovely. I smile more and giggle often and I do all the things I thought I was too rational and down-to-earth to do. But, all beauty springs from the same well, whether you’ve gone to fetch water for one or two. And I know that this beauty is about discovering another way the Lord is good to us.

Love is what has brought us here
with the courage to come near
chase away our pride and our fears
with the Light to carry on

seeking the greatest treasure

You know the kind of wave that arches around and swallows from all sides? My heart just got swallowed up by love on all sides like that kind of wave.

It’s been an interesting week, to say the least, but to end by being swallowed up on all sides by love is not such a bad thing. The flood feels like a thousand drops of sunshine, so “not such a bad thing” would be an understatement.

Amidst many layered other things this week, I read this article from Desiring God, “Single, Satisfied, and Sent: Mission for the Not-Yet Married.” It felt a little bit like Marshall Segall read my journal and listened in to my conversations over the past several years, but now I know I don’t need to publish the post that’s been sitting in my drafts for over a year “single, satisfied, and unselfish.” He said it better than I would have, I’m sure, and it helped bring some things in to focus as I sought the Lord.

I’ve really made an intentional effort not to fixate on situational things I cannot change. Maybe it’s the counselor in me that sees the futility in getting anxious about things outside my control. I am so incredibly grateful for God’s grace that placed godly men in my life to sharpen, challenge, and encourage me as I pursue Christ. My experience (which is not every girl’s) living inside these blessings has impacted the way I see relationships. I want to share just a snapshot of that experience.

so, I’m not a relationship book junkie

For whatever reason (and maybe the reason above), I’m not a relationship book junkie. Do you know the type? The girl who buys every dating book on the Christian market, inserts her own experience into the pages, and then adopts a new “method” to coping with her relational status. There was the phase where she kissed dating goodbye, and then the phase where she was only courting, and then the phase where she wasn’t interested in men because she was trying to be “content” with God. She kind of dated the dating books – if she had problems or frustrations, she could always find an author that justified her feelings and gave her 5 tips to get back “on track.”

NOTE TO THE READER: If you are the girl described above, I would encourage you to go read a different blog post – maybe one on antiques or the sovereignty of God or… knitting. Choose anything but the topic of relationships because I don’t want to be this month’s solution. Your best reading material is Scripture. Maybe try that first.

I hope you don’t think I’m the Debbie Downer when relationships are the topic of conversation. I love talking about the way God has designed us to reflect his trinitarian nature. I love understanding how our interaction with one another says so much about who God is. I love grappling with God’s introduction of marriage in the garden and the way he wove it through Scripture and presents Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church.

But I’m not trying to talk or understand or grapple as a means to solving my struggle with my relationship status. In reading, “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller, I was not hoping that it would be another 2 points for the good team – hopefully tipping the scales and giving me the holy advantage I need to find the right man. I read Keller’s book (which I highly recommend) because I wanted to know God’s design better, deeper.

It’s a good design – from any angle. It’s such a beautiful and good design that points ultimately to the good Designer, who holds all our hope and joy and future secure. I can love marriage and it’s place in my life without being obsessive about it playing out in my life. I love marriage because I love God – and He loves marriage!

He created marriage to display His glory and it does in so many beautiful ways.

What frustrates me about the books and books and books from women who are trying to help other women figure out life outside of marriage is this: they speak in pre-marriage/post-marriage language.

I read an article recently from a married woman who was so disappointed that she waited to have sex until she was married – it wasn’t what she hoped and looking back, she wished she hadn’t waited. I have read countless articles on the topic of sex and waiting vs. not waiting from women on all sides of the argument. And then there are the blogs about contentedness – what to do with the desire for a husband and family. I recently read about a woman who felt like her gifts couldn’t be used fully pre-marriage. And of course there are more – on every topic from career to money to children – the internet is heavy with posts from women who have something to say about singleness.

I usually don’t write about singleness because I loathe (a little bit) the attention it gets in Christian circles. I get it – we struggle as singles. It should be talked about and grappled with and our conclusions should be tested against Scripture and refined by seeking the Lord in prayer. I do get it and maybe that’s why I am writing today.

I am 28 and single. I have no idea what the future holds – really, literally, no idea (message me if you want to hear some stories that have caused me to let go of any ideas I did have). You may not believe me, but I am not anxious. I am not restless. I am not sad. 

My God is sovereign and able to make grace abound in Christ so that I am capable to do every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). I am not “working at being content” so that I hit the contentment quotient and God would grant me a knight in shining armor. I am content because God is faithful to keep His promises.

I love my Lord and He loves me.
He loves me and has chosen to be betrothed to me.

“I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.” (Hosea 2:19-20)

This is my Lord who loves me and has given me grace to love Him back. He will betroth me to Himself in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. This is my Lord, who chose me while I was still a sinner to be His bride! He is faithful when I doubt and fail and He is faithful when I choose righteousness by His grace. He is faithful as no other bridegroom will ever be. His sanctifying work in me is a promise that will not be broken and this is security no earthly marriage can guarantee.

Oh, I love my Jesus.

And this sounds like a soapbox. I guess it probably is. I am just another voice in the noise about relationships. But, my hope is that in sharing my experience someone might know that you can give up the formulas. You don’t have to get better at knowing God or better at being a servant or better at communication so that God will find you suitable as someone’s helpmate.

Seek to know and love God because you want to know and love God.

The reward is so great. When you taste and see the Lord is good, your desire for other things is always with the lingering taste of Christ on your tongue.

He is your first and best and enduring reward. Seek Him because He is the best thing to seek. He is the only One who can cause a wave of love to arch over your life and engulf you in joy. Only He can do that.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy, ladies
and seek the greatest treasure because then you will be satisfied