Estimated reading time: 5 min. for each;-) (read below)
Today’s blog is going to look a little different than normal.
I promised I’d share what God showed me this week (which is a lot). But I also wanted to share something I wrote.
So I made a double-blog (oooh fancy).
The first part is a love letter I wrote to God a few days ago.
The second part is an explanation of why I started writing love letters to God (& why maybe you should, too;). This is the part with the story.
Don’t want to read the first part? I’m not offended. Don’t want to read the second? You have a life. Read whatever you need this morning. A reminder of God’s love and romance for you? Section 1. Encouragement that God is alive and awesome and moving and active? + a cool story?? Section 2. Take what you need this morning<3
So without further adieu…
Section 1 ~ A Love Letter to God, The First in My Heart:
God, tonight was hard.
I don’t think singleness is too hard when you’re around single people.
But when I’m around dating relationships so much, when you keep saying no to paths that don’t look to shabby to me, when people keep asking me why I’m still single (even though I’m like 18 but whatever), it’s hard.
I just want to be held. And God I know I’m held by you, and that is enough, but sometimes my feelings don’t line up with my belief. I know I’m not alone, but I feel alone. I know I only need your love to fulfill me, but I want something more.
And I hate myself for it. For feeling like your love isn’t enough, because it is. I don’t need a man for fulfillment or purpose or love. I find that I you. And to believe otherwise is idolatry.
But my heart aches for marriage. And it’s a fire I know you designed. You know how I’m wired. And you designed marriage to be good.
But in the waiting, it’s hard God. I’ve cried out to you almost every night this week. Because it’s hard. I need you.
But you love me. I need to let you love me, because you’re the first in my heart. I’m still your little girl. You want me to be married to you first. Before he comes. You.
My faith is built on a foundation more solid than feelings. So even though my heart is sad, God, and I feel cold and lonely sometimes, I know I am not. Because you are here with me, loving me, always.
I thought one guy was ‘the one.’ Then I thought another guy was ‘the one.’
But now I see ~ you are the one.
You were always the one all along. You are the pinnacle of my life, the greatest treasure, the greatest love. My husband will be my husband in your timing and design, but my husband is just a man! And I am just a woman! But you ~ you are God. How could I give anyone else the title of ‘the one’?
God, I’m choosing to wait for you instead of him. And if in my waiting for you, someone joins me, so be it and praise God. But if not, may my knees never leave the ground at your feet in pursuit of another. Because YOU are the one. You always were, and you always will be.
You taught me something incredible about marriage tonight. Because as I sat in my car crying, you reminded me, even though my fleshly desires were overwhelming and my sinfulness got to me and I believed all the enemy’s lies ~ despite all these things, you sang over me: I love you.
You love me even when I’m not a good daughter, follower, child, bride. When I’m weak and broken and foolish and ignorant and stupid and harsh and arrogant and fragile ~
You still love me. Faithfully, you romance me through the night. Faithfully, you romance me with warmth for cold, kisses for scars, dancing for mourning, and smiles for tears.
Daily you romance me with your redemption for my sin.
What greater love than this exists?
So in my fragility, I write to you my loving God a love letter to reaffirm the foundation I stand on. When tears well in my eyes, the ground beneath e does not shake. Because I know you still love me. You’re taking care of me. And you faithfully romance me daily. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, and even if I fail to notice.
You romance me in the way the light kisses my face int he morning and graces off my chestnut hair. You romance me in the sound of laughter and the wind rippling through my clothes, and the stars blinking so big down on me as if we both stand in awe of each other’s beauty. You romance me awake or asleep, aware or oblivious, when I’m faithful or unfaithful.
You love me.
So help me to love you back with the passionate romance you give. Help me to be a better wife, daughter, follower, friend. Help me to rest my emotions at your feet and trade them for your truth. Help me to understand what marriage to God means first.
I love you Jesus. I love you Holy Spirit. I love you Father. Goodnight, my love.
Section 2 ~ How God Spoke To Me Last Sunday:
Last Sunday, God really got my attention.
A friend invited me to a church sermon on Sunday night. Most Sunday nights, I’m busy, but because we had family pictures that day, I agreed to come right after.
Family pictures ended up going longer than I thought, so I was running pretty late. Plus the church was like half an hour away, so I wasn’t too thrilled about going (as much as I wanted to). I almost texted my friend to tell her I was bailing, but I stuck it out, drove 30 minutes into Denver, and found this tiny church in the middle of a packed neighborhood.
Boy, am I glad I went.
Inside, I caught the second half of the sermon, which was actually really good. Refreshing. And the worship was awesome. It ended within the hour and my friend told me she wanted me to meet someone. She didn’t say why.
She leads me into this room, and standing inside is this big, muscly, smiley, bald black guy. He looked like a huge teddy bear, and he acted like one, too. As I introduced myself he turned down my handshake for a hug. I decided I liked him right then and there. His name is Gerold.
Gerold gestured to a table and said, “come one, sit down and tell me about yourself!” *big smile*
“Oh boy,” I laughed, “well I’m a friend of Savannah’s and she invited me to church tonight. Thank you so much for having me.”
“Pleasure,” Gerold smiled.
He and Savannah got into a conversation about how Savannah changed her major while I listened. They talked about how, at different points in their lives, God nudged them to taking a leap into taking their dream and surrendering it to what He wanted, which turned out to be so much more fulfilling that what they were doing beforehand.
I felt conflicted while they talked. Because truthfully, I feel torn between the fantasy/fiction side of writing and talking about Jesus. Right now, my heart just wants to talk about Jesus. I want to go full-on Jesus mode and make my entire Instagram, media channels, Youtube, everything about Him. But I still need to sell books, I still need to make money, so I’m torn between following Jesus with my writing and focusing on fantasy stuff. Seems like a silly decision but it’s real.
I knew God was speaking to me through that conversation. And as I sat there, eyes wide that God was nudging me through Gerold and Savannah’s stories, Gerold suddenly stops talking.
And he looks at me.
And he starts laughing.
I’m a very awkward person. Awkwardness ensues.
“What are you laughing about?” I asked.
Gerold smiled. “You’re dealing with it, too, aren’t you?” he laughed.
“What do you mean?” I asked, even though I knew exactly what he meant.
“I mean, that entire conversation was for you,” he said. “God’s speaking to me right now. He wants to say a few things to you, Annabelle…”
Pause. If you’re skeptical when people say, “God told me to tell you…. blah blah blah” I’m right there with you. But this was different. This wasn’t prosperity gospel. This wasn’t nonspecific gibberish. This was God speaking. Gerold knew nothing about me. It was insane. This is what Gerold said, as God spoke to him:
“God wants you to stop minimizing your gifts. Stop putting them in a box. God knows how you’re wired, Annabelle. He knows how to use the gifts he gave you. So let him. The name C. S. Lewis comes to mind.”
“He’s my hero,” I whispered. “Those are some big shoes to fill.”
“Do you think you can fill them?” Gerold asked.
I struggle with imposter’s syndrome and feeling unqualified terribly. Gerold didn’t know that. My mind was already blown.
“I certainly can’t, but I know God can,” I said.
“And you believe God can, through you?”
“I mean, I believe he can…”
“Well, there’s your answer,” Gerold said. “But you’re not C. S. Lewis. You’re you. And there’s only one you God can use.”
When I tell you a lump starting forming in my throat, I’m serious.
“God wants you to know that the fiction and fantasy side of writing isn’t separate from the faith side. God’s a part of both. They’re all under the same umbrella.”
Poof. Months of feeling like a I had to decided between the two rendered pointless and resolved in the air.
“God wants you to be very intentional about how you speak to people, especially the opposite sex, Annabelle,” Gerold continued. “And He’s talking to me about distractions ~ distractions ~ if there’s anyone or anything in your life that keeps meandering you away from that thing God is calling you to focus on, growing his kingdom through you’re writing, stiff-arm that stuff away.” Gerold stuck out his arm for emphasis. “Get rid of it.”
As Gerold said this, I heard God clearly tell me to stop listening to a podcast I’d been listening to for work. It’s a great podcast, but I knew it was getting into my head that money was worth more a pursuit that God. I knew it wasn’t healthy. “Get rid of it,” God said. “Stop listening to it.” I stopped listening to it from that moment on.
After Gerold said these things, he paused and smiled. And I was already overwhelmed, but this got me:
“Annabelle,” Gerold chuckled a little bit, “He just wants you to know how much he loves you. You’re still his little girl. He still loves you. And you need to let him love you.”
I broke down. Hearing those words broke me.
“He wants to be married to you first, Annabelle,” Gerold said. “He wants to be wedded to your first. You need to let him love you.”
And this was when God gave me the idea of writing a love letter to Him every night, or at least most nights.
I realized I couldn’t successfully marry anyone if I didn’t honor my marriage to God first. If I didn’t notice all the ways God romances me, how would I notice my husband doing those things? If I didn’t thank God for all the ways He loves me daily, how would I stir gratitude in my heart for my husband on the hard days? If I didn’t understand how selflessly and faithfully God loves me even on my roughest days, how would I love my husband on his hard days?
A few days after Gerold spoke to me, I told my old theology teacher about the experience. And he said something quite wise about it (he tends to do that):
“Annabelle, I think that’s incredible that God spoke to you. And I don’t doubt it was God. But it’s important to understand: all the things God said to you aren’t just true to you. God loves everyone. God wants to use everyone’s gifts. God wants an authentic relationship with everyone. But sometimes he needs to remind a few of us because we beat ourselves up so much. We forget. And God needs to get our attention.”
God got my attention that night.
Every day, He says I love you to me. Every day, He romances me and gives me opportunities to use my gifts for his glory.
But He got my attention a lot quicker that night. And it reminded me: God is alive and moving and working and here. Right here. Loving you just as much as He loves me ~ more than we could imagine. Romancing us. Speaking to us.
If only we listen & watch.