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The Bride

We are both the bride of Christ, and a heir, a son with an inheritance.

As a girl, I get the bride part.  But it’s weird to think of myself as a son.  I’m sure that for guys it’s probably the same in reverse.  Then I learned something…God is bigger and His Kingdom greater.  And there are things that don’t translate into this world completely.  He explains His Kingdom Truths piece by piece in ways that make sense to us in our experiences in this world.  Jesus’s parables are examples of this.

Being a bride is not about being a girl.  It’s about the beauty and intimacy of the marriage itself.  The relationship.  We, in our humanness, often translate intimacy as sex and leave it there.  That’s probably why close to half of marriages end in divorce.

In a marriage relationship, sex is an important, necessary and beautiful part of intimacy.  It is the one time when you are connected to your spouse body, soul, and spirit.  That’s truly beautiful.  But if people aren’t opening themselves up and sharing the deep parts of themselves and really connecting they’re missing out on truly becoming one with their spouse.

As a single person who has never been married, I’m relying upon what God has taught me about marriage from His Word and from watching the marriages of those around me.  The good, the bad, and the truly terrifyingly ugly that inspire me to remain single.  I’ve seen it all.  And through it Jesus has shown me why intimacy with Him matters.

And I’ll be honest I suck at vulnerability.  I have pretty much loathed it most of my life. It’s a battle that fear has typically won against me.  I am not a fan of revealing my heart to people.  I was very sensitive as a kid, and I was told to toughen up and suck it up.  But in sucking it up and rolling on, I just walled up the fragile parts of myself and never allowed anyone to get anywhere near my heart of hearts.  Not even Jesus.

Just hearing the word vulnerable or intimacy caused me to shut down.  But I had a break down of sorts, and as a last resort I opened up the outer layers of myself to Jesus, most of which were areas of brokenness.  When I did, I quickly learned that He is kind.  He is gentle.  And that He truly loves me.  As He healed the outer layers, I opened up more and more to Him. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now.  My relationship with Jesus is personal and I keep that part of my life in my heart of hearts.  It’s not something I share easily with people.

So even though I love Jesus completely, I struggle talking about Him and how good He is simply because it opens up my most vulnerable place.  Jesus saved my life in every way.  He is my everything.  But when you tell people this kind of thing…they roll their eyes or say, “Oh amen.”  And it feels cheapened. Then I get angry.  So I just don’t tell people about Jesus.

Believe me, I am aware that this is the opposite of the great commission and goes against everything I should be doing as a believer.  But I choose to just live my life out of that relationship and the love that He’s given me.  I treat people better than I ever have.  I have a greater capacity to love people, even the people I vehemently dislike.  I am more peaceful.  I have a greater joy.  My countenance has lightened.  My perspective skews towards seeing people as Jesus sees me.

I tried to love people before…and I’ll be honest…I wasn’t very good at it.  I still have days where it’s hard to be kind and patient. But I find that I’m not as judgmental or critical of myself or others as I have been.  It happened gradually, just by being with Jesus.  I didn’t try to change.  I didn’t do a self-help book or force myself to be kind.  It was a side effect 0f intimacy with Jesus.

The more time I spend with Him, and in His Word, the kinder I become.  The more I want to put my arms around the world and just hug them until they understand their worth and value.  I cry a lot.  I am super sensitive, even more so than I was as a child.  Yet, I feel safe.  I feel protected and guarded.  I’m not afraid of being me anymore.  The Jill that God designed is sensitive.  She was designed that way because she is an intercessor.  And she needs to be passionate about seeing healing in the brokenness around her.  I was created on purpose for a purpose.  Praying continually for people, even people I’ll never meet, is a part of that.  This understanding came from intimacy with Jesus.  By being His bride.

Intimacy is defined as close familiarity, closeness and also private and personal, confidential.  It is characterized by an atmosphere conducive to privacy and comfort.  And it relates to and is indicative of one’s deepest nature.

It’s that picture of a bride and groom coming together in marriage.  The hope in it.  The joy in it.  The openness.  The joining together.  The partnership.

One of the things that helped me to understand what it looked like to be the bride of Christ was reading Song of Songs in the Passion Translation.  I highly recommend it, because in this version you can truly see the divine romance between yourself and Jesus.  The way He loves us is just so thick and deep and genuine.  Reading Song of Songs the first time took me about a month because I could only go a verse or 2 at a time.  It completely wrecked me (in a good way).

One of the first interchanges between the Shulamite (me) and the Shepherd-King (Jesus) is Chapter 1, Verse 5:

The Shulamite:  “I know I am so unworthy–so in need.”

The Shepherd-King:  “Yet you are so lovely!”

The Shulamite:  “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.”

The Shepherd-King:  “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.”

This verse cut me.  I physically felt it like a scalpel cutting away my negative image of myself and replace it with, “I am lovely.” For months every time I’d have a “I’m so fat” or a “I am ugly” thought, I’d hear Jesus say, “You are so lovely.”

I will never be the same again.  Ever.  I can’t go back to before or undo what His love has done to me.

Point to ponder while you wander…This is what being the Bride of Christ looks like in my life.  What does it look like in your life?  I’d love to hear what Jesus has shown you about being the Bride.  Feel free to comment or to message me privately.  Same goes if you need prayer.

 

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Seasons

One of my favorite verses on seasons is this one: “The season has changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth and left it bright with blossoming flowers.” Song of Songs 2:11-12 TPT

It is full of hope that the long believed for promises of God will come to pass soon. I have some of those promises. I know it’s the season for some of them to come to pass with all that I am. But I can’t see them, YET.

So I was thinking about this verse because today is April 10th, and this is what it looks like in my yard right now…

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Seasons. Sigh. Just when you think winter has passed and you have moved forward into spring…it snows. For days. And the wind blows. And the temperature stays at a frosty 29 degrees….rather than the 60 degrees it should be in the beginning of April.

What’s my point? Well it’s certainly not to complain about the weather!

When we get close to a promise being fulfilled or achieving a goal, that’s sometimes the hardest time of the waiting period. Many people give up right before their breakthroughs simply because it snows in April.

When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.” Proverbs 13:12 TPT

Point to ponder while you wander…”The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

The very snow causing you to want to quit, may very well be the snow sent to water the seed. In other words, that irritating circumstance, sad event, trouble, job loss, etc, may be the very thing that positions you for promotions, increase and promises fulfilled.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:5-6 NLY

Time to Bloom

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Hang in there little bud…it may not yet be your time to bloom, but trust me your day IS coming!

The season has now changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth, and left it bright with blossoming flowers…” Song of Songs TPT

You Move His Heart

You are loved!!!!

“I call you My dove. My cherishing love is upon you. You will never be able to say, “I am unloved,” for My love is set upon you. My Son was wounded so that you will be Mine. Though others ignore and resist you, you have moved My heart.” -Abba

Taken from The Passion Translation’s I Hear His Whisper Devotional by Brian Simmons and is based on Song of Songs.

Vintage Beauty

I was waiting in line the other day, when I noticed the woman being waited on was vintage. Late 1920’s or early 1930’s vintage. After she finished, she gathered her things, and moved to the table directly across from me to reorganize her bag.

When I saw her face I though, “Wow, I bet she was stunning when she was young.”

And I heard the Lord say, “Look again.”

So I did.

I saw that while she was thin, she wasn’t frail. I saw her face, wrinkled and crinkled with smile and laugh lines. I saw her well-loved tan sweater over a lovely, feminine button up shirt. I started to see she was one who lived her life intentionally, she wasn’t just floating through.

I was admiring her wide-brimmed straw gardening hat when she looked up.

I saw light and wisdom radiating from her eyes. I instantly wanted to have tea with her, and listen to her story.

I smiled at her. She smiled back.

I realized in that moment she wasn’t only a beauty then, she IS a stunning beauty now.

This got me thinking….Outside of the true narcissistic few, most of us dismiss our own beauty. We see our flaws, and areas of our body we want to shrink, grow, or change. But we don’t see our own beauty.

I know I don’t. I see the beauty in sunsets and nature but not in myself.

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Truth is not all of us will be super models or grace the covers of magazines, but all of us are beautiful. That’s how God made us and how Jesus sees us.

This is from Song of Songs chapter 1 in the Passion Translation:

The Shulamite Woman: “In this twilight darkness, I know I am so unworthy–so in need.

The Shepherd King: “Yet you are so lovely.

The Shulamite Woman: “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.

The Shepherd King: “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.

Jesus is our Shepherd King and He calls us lovely.

In Genesis 16 Hagar was a runaway maid, pregnant by her boss’s husband. She was in the desert, alone. Desperate.

She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, You’re the God who sees me! Yes! He saw me and I saw Him!” Genesis 16:13 MSG

The one who spoke to her was no mere angel, it was Jesus, Himself. And He saw her.

Something to ponder while you wander…Just like He told me to look again at the vintage beauty, take another look at yourself. See you how Jesus sees you. Because Jesus sees you clearly, and He calls you lovely.

PS Give a fellow human a genuine compliment today. They need to be reminded of their beauty too. ❤