Search

A Blessed Romance

A Dance Through Life With The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Tag

words

The Day I Met Robert

I was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot…and there he stood.

There, next to the highway, brandishing a small white sign that offered a beautiful reflection of the setting sun off of it due to its protective shipping tape coating, he waited.  His bicycle was hand painted, a camouflage pattern, in which I could only guess was his personal handiwork.  The bicycle pulled a trailer, which more favored a Conestoga wagon than typical bike trailer with its duct tape covering, and was painted the same signature camo pattern as the bike.

I did not take the time to read the sign.  I only guessed that he was asking for money.  I did happen to see it referenced a scripture.  He looked as if he might be down on his luck, considering the bike and the trailer, and I hurriedly pulled to the side of the parking lot to approach him.  I knew my tactic.  I would offer him money and ask if I could pray with him.

I reached in my wallet and pulled out a $20, and, if I may be excruciatingly honest, patted myself on the back a little for being willing to give the man my last bit of money before pay day came again.  Carrying myself high, bathed in self-righteousness, I approached him.  His head was adorned with a camouflage ball cap, almost covering strikingly blue eyes.  His short beard was snow white, excepting the yellow tobacco stain circling his mouth.  Around his neck was a delicate silver chain which held a cross embellishing a Celtic pattern.  Beneath the chain was a camouflage sweat shirt, then green shorts, followed by lace up work boots.

I approached him, smiling, and said, “Sir, can I pray for you?” as I handed him the money.  He held out his hand, took the money, followed with an obligatory, “Thank you”, then looked at me.  After a pause he said,

“Yes, you can pray for me, but have you ever thought that prayer might not be what I really need?  Have you thought that maybe to show me love I might just need some of your time, just to talk to you?

He offered my money back to me, thinking he had offended me.  I told him to keep it.  It hit me, right there, like a ton of bricks, a 2×4 upside my head.  I had totally missed the point of our meeting.  What was I doing?  What had I been thinking?  I was so engrossed in myself, and thinking that of course any homeless man would only want money that I had completely missed why the Holy Spirit prompted me to stop.  I apologized and asked if I could have some of his time to talk with him.  He smiled and a conversation ensued that I hope I never forget.

We talked about the Bible.  He was a true student of God’s Word.  He must have quoted 5 scriptures in our first dialogue, one of which was 2 Timothy 3:16:  “All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”  Yeah, that one was meant for me.   🙂

When a car pulled over to give him some money I looked at what his sign said:

Proverbs 15:16- Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.

This man was not looking for a hand out.  He was bringing the Gospel!

He reminded me of Philippians 4:11-13:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  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, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I stood in true awe of the man standing in front of me, a man I would normally pity.  He was so happy.  He had healing, real healing from whatever his past was.  As a matter of fact we never talked about his past.  I asked him how he came to know the Lord and his response was,

“The past is in the past.  I was in a bad place, a place I don’t like to go back there.  I’m just so glad he found me.”

He said he wanted me to listen to a song.  He tried to pull it up on his MP3 player, but did not know how, saying he normally just lets is shuffle, so I pulled it up on my phone.  I had the privilege to worship our Most High on the side of the highway with this precious man.  His hands were raised, ever so slightly, his eyes closed, and the reverence and love on his face, oh!  The picture in my head is irreplaceable.  No words can adequately describe it.  His sweet, sweet expression revealed a love for his Savior that so many merely wish to obtain.  So many go to church for years and absolutely miss the love that God has to offer, the same love that had shown through on this man’s face.  They are too wrapped up in the “riches” of the world that they miss what “The Church” is all about.

The side of the road was his mission field.  Anyone who spoke to him was someone with whom to share The Way.  He was bold, but at the same time gentle.  I thought there would be no way he would want to be in his situation.  He felt he had the better situation between the two of us, with the freedom to go from town to town, showing the Good News to people with his sign, and “preaching” to those who actually spoke to him, which, sadly, was so few.

For over two beautiful hours I had the honor of talking with Robert!  I have seen him since and was not able to stop, but I fully intend on doing so again should I see him.  I am so, so thankful he would be my friend, and that he would forgive me for a rocky start.

We often think the best advocates for The Gospel are behind pulpits or among stained glass, but I would have you stop to consider, with his few possessions and one little sign, this man has planted more seeds than the majority of us Christians.

Robert didn’t want what I had.  He wanted to give me so much more.

My challenge to you today:  reach out to someone you normally wouldn’t, the homeless, a neighbor  you do not know, someone who normally wouldn’t cross your mind, and look for the ways God is offering to bless you and that person by reaching out to them!

Hebrews 13:2- Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Disclaimer:  If you DO decide to have a conversation with a homeless man and go MIA for two hours (aka, you do not answer your phone) let your husband know because he will be really upset with you and worried about you if you do not.  😉

First Day

My precious son, My sweet, tender, innocent son,

Tomorrow you assume the title you have so longed for, “First Grader”.

I know you are so excited.

I have waited with you, held your hand through the anticipation.  We have talked through the nerves.  We have met your amazing new teacher.   You lunch is ready to pack, your clothes are waiting for you, you dad will cook you breakfast in the morning.

Tomorrow, as I will watch you walk or even run excitedly away from me yet again this year toward your newest adventure I will be reminded once again:

You are not mine.

I am merely a steward of you and your brother.  God has entrusted your father and me to rear you.  For some glorious reason, which we are ever so thankful, God gave you to us for this short time to bring up in His name, to raise to know His truth, to teach you the ways of a cruel Earth, and to find hope in the midst of this ever changing world in the One Steadfast Everlasting Father.

My son, who realized your need for Jesus and asked for salvation not long ago, at the tender age of six, we have you for a short time.  Our Savior has you forever, firmly in His grasp.  Nothing can take that away from you.

Our biggest prayer for you has been answered, that one day you will know your need for the One True God and you will act on the call He places on your life to accept him into your heart.  What a beautiful event that was for your father and I to witness!

Now my prayer for you, precious son, is that you set yourself apart.  My prayer is that you consistently find hope in the Everlasting God.  My hope is that you act in a manner which makes others say,

“This kid has something different.  I want to know more about what he has.”

When you walk through those halls I hope you remind yourself, son, you are God’s child.  I pray you conduct yourself in a manner worthy of that title.

I pray you draw nearer and nearer to your Jesus.  I pray you fall so deeply in love with Him that His is the first face you seek out each morning, the first counselor you pursue when you are in need of advice, the first you ask to hold you when there is trouble, the first you cry out to, the first you rejoice with, the Only which you exalt and make Lord of your life.

I pray you listen to the small voice of the Holy Spirit He has instilled in you the day you asked Him to be the Lord of your life.  I pray you are faithful with little, so that you one day will have the opportunity to be and will successfully be faithful with much.

I pray you have the heart of a lion.

I am praying for your courage, for your empathy, for your compassion toward others.  I hope when you see those left out you make a concerted effort to include them.  I pray you forgive where forgiveness is needed and ask forgiveness where it is needed.

I pray you treat all that you encounter, especially those who may look different, act different, and smell different with the same love The Father has for you.  He is especially fond of you, son, and He is especially fond of every single person on this planet, no matter how they look, what they say, or even how they treat others.  He loves them all son, just the way He loves you.   My prayer is that your heart stays soft and you do what one of your favorite songs says:  “Love like you’re not scared, give when it’s not fair, live life for another, take time for a brother, (your favorite part) FIGHT FOR THE WEAK ONES, speak out for freedom.”  I hope you do this not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but out of the desire to love others the way your Father in Heaven loves them, whole-heartedly with reckless abandon.

Son, I want you to hold your head high, no matter the circumstances.  If someone treats you badly, forgive them.  Understand there is normally a reason, something lacking in their lives, that makes their heart hard toward others, stand your ground, but also extend grace the way God has extended grace to you.

My hope is that one day you do not have time to consider what others are thinking or saying about you because you are too busy seeking out opportunities to glorify the Lord.

Son, I love it when you introduce yourself to people at the grocery store, even when they do not respond to you.  I love how you compliment others.  Do not ever let go of that compassion and deep consideration for others.

Son, I want you to have an easy life, but know that “easy” never achieves growth, so I do not pray for that.  I pray, instead, your character is built on a foundation of Christ the solid rock, molded and made beautiful by the Refiner’s fire.

I know one day you will leave our home and come back only for short visits.  If you are called to marry you will have a family of your own.  We wait in eager anticipation for this, son.  You will be amazing at whatever you do.  But now, I bask in the kisses you place on my cheek.  I relish the hugs.  I soak in the conversations.  I love it that you still want to hold my hand.  I am so thankful for every second you will be under my care and will lavish in all the time we will have with you as you grow.

As we prepare you the best we can, know we will mess up.  Sometimes we will fall terribly short.  I hope in those times you can look The One who never forsakes or lacks.  Also, there will come a point where you have to choose.  You have to exercise your free will.  I pray you make wise choices when those times come.

In the midst of it all, son, I pray He blesses your sock off.

I love you very much, more than words this side of Heaven can express,

~Mom

He’s got this.   🙂

firstgrade2

#prayerchangesthings

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let me lead you back to my past for a short time.  I promise I will be short this morning.

My prayer life was lacking.  It was full of half-hearted attempts to petition Our Savior in which normally I:

  1. Fell Asleep
  2. Got distracted
  3. Got bored
  4. Forgot to finish
  5. Gave up
  6. All of the above

Imagine if you will a scorched land, where the only moisture left is your own perspiration.  This would be my prayer life….lacking….severely.  I did not take into consideration how privileged we are to have a God who wants to speak to us directly.  He wants to hear what we say!  He wants to hear even the smallest things, from praise to fear.  He wants to hear it.  He listens. What an amazing opportunity we have to reverently hit our knees before a God who can answer any problems we ask Him about!  That’s true power, Friends!

Insert the Holy Spirit and, long story short, my prayer life went from desert land to a beautiful oasis in the middle of the Sahara where the waters of grace, mercy, and love quenched my parched soul and poured blessings into my lap, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.  (Luke 6:38)

In honesty, however, this did not happen until I really started to consider others in my prayer life.  Yes, I saw my own prayers answered, and yes, that was a blessing, but the best blessings, the ones that provided unspeakable joy and supplied supernatural elation, did not start until I began to petition the Throne of Grace for the needs of others: people who do not like me, strangers, friends, anyone.  I prayed for them, not just in name, I confidently and boldly approached my Savior about their needs, them.  I asked my God to bless them.  I started listening to that small voice probing me to even seek out people on the street, asking them if I could pray for them, or just offer an encouraging word.  It has transformed me.  It is one more thing He has used to draw me nearer to Him, probably one of the most powerful things at this point.

Jesus calls us to live outwardly.  He wants, he commands us to serve others!  I have a challenge for you today.  I want you to seek out someone who needs your prayer.  Don’t just quietly go into your prayer closet and submit a prayer for them.  Approach that person, take them to the side, take their hand, and confidently storm the Gates of Heaven straight to your Savior totally on their behalf, and use your whole heart to do so.  You don’t have to know their needs.  The Holy Spirit will intercede with you and will deliver help.  (Romans 8:26) Ask Him for the words, He will provide.

This could even be a private message to an individual on Facebook who has asked for prayers.  Don’t give them the canned Christian answer, “I will pray for you.”  How does that person know you actually prayed for them?  Do it, right then.  Send them a private message and follow through on that commandment to love others!

Be sure to act out your challenge with humility.   (Matthew 6:5)

Sit back and watch for, even the small, things that happen after.

#prayerchangesthings

Prayer changes YOU.

We are so excited to see how God shows up in your walk today!  Share your stories with us!  Let us pray for you!  Heritagedesigns@live.com

With all my love as your sister, grafted into The Family as part of the Bride of Christ,

~Trista

You don’t have to hold a wealth of knowledge of the Bible, even young children can intercede on behalf of others.

The Plight of an Enemy in Marriage

Our enemy is real and bold.  Our enemy has the utmost intention to cause you harm and to do evil in your marriage.  This enemy is waiting, calculating the next move in which to sabotage a beautiful and holy thing.

The enemy emits a clear and present danger.  The enemy is a scary being who wants nothing more than your marriage to dissolve before The One who brought you together.  The enemy is all of these things, and many more.

But friend, your enemy is not the person with whom you share your marriage bed with.  The one you come together with at the end of a busy and sometimes treacherous day is your partner, your team mate.  Your spouse is the one you are to share a connection down to your very soul with.  (Mark 10:8)  How hard of a concept this can be!  When I first heard this it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I treated my husband like the enemy.  I do still slip up and forget.

I all too often let my arrogance get in the way.  I tell myself I am better than he is.  I all too often conform to a culture that tells us women are the superior authority.  I tell myself, “If he really loved me he would….without having to be asked” or “If he loved me he would know…….”  How preposterous that I would assume my husband would know something in my brain I likely have never told him!  I’ve often treated my marriage like a competition.  Dr. Kevin Leman says, “If someone is winning your marriage, you both are losing.”  He is right.  These times, friends, are nothing more than the enemy using me to place a hard-driven wedge in the middle of God’s sacred work, our marriage.

I often forget that this man, this perfect provision God has sent for me, is on my team!  He wants the same thing I want, for our marriage to be great!  So many things cause me to forget this: fatigue, stress, children, so many of life’s obstacles, but at the end of the day I have to make a choice to receive my spouse as God’s perfect provision for me.  When I easily anger I have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember this man is on my team. 

The real enemy is trying to compromise the foundation of our marriage from the inside so the he can crumble it with outside attacks. That’s what he wants.  He wants every “good Christian marriage” broken into tiny pieces on the floor at his feet, on display for all the word to behold, to gawk at, to point fingers, and to seemingly confirm a growing belief there is no sanctity in marriage, especially that of a “Christian” marriage.  This is his life’s work, and he’s very good at it.

Here’s how I got started in my process of considering my spouse on my team (this is a repetitive process, and I mess it up daily, so please do not think I have it down):

Repent!  Our Sweet Savior is just waiting on us to ask forgiveness.  He’s ready, willing, and able to forgive and separate us from our sin.  I ask for my spouse’s forgiveness as well.  In the progression I make sure to forgive myself, which is often not easy.

Ask God for clarity– I ask for a clear thought process so I may realize the times when I isolate my spouse, by treating him like the enemy, so forgiveness can be sought or the thought process can be stopped before the event happens.

Put on the whole armor of God– (Ephesians 6:10-18).  As a Christian we are given a specific set of armor that prepares us for the war we wage against principalities of darkness.  Read Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10, soak it in, and apply it.  I ask God to not lead me into temptation and, when temptation strikes, I try my best to use the blessed armor to help stand strong against the devil.

Treat him like we both are on the same team– even though he may not act that way.  The best way to change behavior is for you to change yours first.

Respond in love– in all things we are called to love, everyone, under every circumstance.  This is not withheld just because we happen to reside with someone.  Is this hard?  You bet.  It seems we hurt most deeply the ones we love the most.

We love you, sweet brother/sister, and are happy to pray with and for you.  heritagedesigns@live.com

~Trista

Here I Am, Send Me

I love words.  Always have.  Always will.  In my opinion there is nothing more important than a word in the proper place at the right time.  Words encourage.  Words breathe life where there once was lifelessness.  Words instill peace and hope in a valley filled with despair.  Words heal.  Words are a powerful means of changing that which was broken into newness.  Sure, words also have the ability to break down, destroy, and condemn, and I have been guilty of all of those, many times, but that’s not what I am here to talk about today.

My love affair with words started in high school.  I hated writing.  Hate is a strong word.  I was your normal teenager who had a lazy streak, who was always a pretty decent writer, but never put it to much good use.  Two teachers helped me overcome my distinct disdain for the written word.  One, my Freshman English teacher, who was also one incredible coach, had me writing about everything from country songs to Shakespeare.  I loved her, and secretly appreciated what she was “making” us do.  The second, my English, English Lit, Spanish (oddly enough), and Journalism teacher, he probably taught a few other classes I was in but have forgotten about (it was a small school, teachers wore a lot of hats).  This guy MADE me participate in UIL writing.  He MADE me, and not something easy like Headline Writing, NO, news writing, editorial writing, and whatever else he felt like signing me up for, or so it felt at the time.  Honestly, our relationship evolved into more of a mentorship over the years.  He was an unwavering source of support during a time of my life I am confident I would not have survived had it not been for God’s Grace supplying that mentorship.  He was a reintroduction to the goodness of our Savior, and an introduction to the Holy Spirit. He will likely never know just how grateful I am for him and his sweet wife, so much so that when Caleb proposed to me there was no one on Earth I wanted more to marry us.  My inability to express my gratitude, my friends, is an opportunity when Earthly words simply fall short of emotion.

So, as that sweet teacher wrote on one of my more “wordy” papers in large red letters (had to get that word count in):

“Get to the point”.

Those opportunities to write began to divulge a small talent.  I received a journalism scholarship in college.  I didn’t take it.  Why:  again, teenager, lazy streak.  I eventually started a business helping others display words that “speak” to both them and to me and, due to nothing less than the Grace of God, it turned into a full-time gig.  I wrote my grandfather’s obituary and the funeral director offered me a job.  Here and there I have been asked to write various letters, articles, etc.  Mine and Caleb’s heart happens to be in marriage ministry.  Have you ever felt a calling, responded with “YES” then ran away from it 100 miles per hour?  Think Parable of the Two Sons, we were the latter son.  But that’s a different story for another time.  While serving in the “marriage ministry” capacity I met a precious new friend.  She asked me what I had planned to do with my passions.  Ouch!  God used her to gently call me out, to start a search for my niche.  I rarely used my “gift” and even more rarely used it to the Glory of the Lord.  I am not claiming to be a great writer who holds the secrets to the most Holy mysteries in the universe.  What I am actually doing, in this very draft, is a proclamation, begging my God to use me, take me, mold me, and make me into what He would have myself and these messages to be.  I am asking for Him to get me out of the way and show up, show out, and use this effort as He sees fit.  If one person, just ONE, receives refuge in the Holy Spirit though this effort, then it is all worth it.

This blog was originally intended as a marriage ministry.  I cannot tell you that this is primarily our purpose at this point.  The name “A Blessed Romance” is misleading.  It has nothing to do with the husband/wife relationship.  It has EVERYTHING to do with how God pursues us and how He wants to be seen in YOUR eyes!  My husband loves to dance, so I naturally think of dancing as a method of pure, innocent romance.  God wants to dance with you.  Imagine a Father/Daughter dance at a wedding and multiply it by infinity.  He wants to be in a love affair with you (again, another post), a pure, open, honest, tender relationship in which He is primarily what your thoughts turn to at any given point during the day.  He wants that, He really does!  We want that for you as well.  We want you to walk, day by day, in the rest of the Holy Spirit.  We hope this effort will help direct you to that!

I would like you to walk through life with me.  Here I will be putting my walk with the Lord on display for the entire world to see.  That’s unnerving.  🙂  It’s not a place where you will hear preaching (unless it’s a guest writer).  You will hear my prayers, God’s response, struggles, triumph, and whatever else He sees fit.  This is my testimony, on screen.  It is a place you will see me mess up, often.  It is a place in which I will be held accountable.  It will be a place I ask God will use to mold me.

We are here for encouragement.  We are here to help you seek answers to questions.  We don’t know all there is to know by any means, but we can help you pray through for answers and seek Biblical wisdom.

We are here to pray for you and would love nothing more than the honor of boldly approaching the Throne of Grace on your behalf!  (use the email address)  Please know your situations will be held completely confidential and will be treated with the utmost respect.

We love you already and are so excited to begin our journey together!  Come and join us!

Trista

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑