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

postcards

I wrote this post after a couple hard days during my time in Honduras, talking with girl after girl after girl who has been battered and bruised by an unforgiving world. Today I am realizing that I will always collect these “postcards.”

… the stories are piling up like postcards from similar destinations: despair, loneliness, anger, betrayal, pain, and sometimes hope. Those are the ones I like best – the hope ones. The others are ones that make my heart hurt. Those destinations are hard to explain, but they seem to keep arriving at my doorstep.

Last night a few more postcards arrived at my doorstep, all busted up and barely legible from the journey. The stories seemed tucked under the furrow of the girls’ brow or their dimpled giggles, but soon it all came out. These girls, too young to experience what their stories exposed, too beautiful to be found in such a mess.

We talked and questioned and fumed a bit. I strained to make my face say what my heart felt – pain. I didn’t want to say, “It’s okay,” because too many people say that.

What I did say, at the end of both conversations was this, “I don’t know what kind of messes you’ve got… I don’t want to pretend I know you at all. What I do know is that there is abundance that can overwhelm the pain. There is a way to make sad eyes smile.”

It was probably too much, but I said it anyway. I can only keep receiving these postcards if  I drop off mail of much lighter weight. I wanted what they received from me to be Christ – a FULL, abundant, joyful image of freedom and grace.

This song by Zerbin is the motion of this desire. We are not stuck in this ground, this skin. We are bound for a land free from messes and weights and sin. The headlights of this glory-bound train will one day meet a sunrise that will make earth mornings seem quaint.

This is the message I want to leave when I gather the stories from all these girls. This is the only JOY that can walk through pain and survive.