Every Time I Call Your Name – Jared Anderson

Every burden that I bear

Every worry that I wear

You are always there for me

When the mountain seems so high

And the road I cannot travel

You are always there for me

So why should I be afraid

Every time I call your name

You come

It’s like a rushing wind pulling me in

Pulling me closer everyday

I’m loving you more

I’m reaching toward you

Every time I call your name

Every morning when I wake

Every season that I face

You are always there for me

When the future is unclear

When my fear is overwhelming

You are always there for me

God, my fear is overwhelming. Thank you for your peace and faithfulness.

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You have ravished my heart.

 I think it is so important to remember the details of our relationship. Derek always says that when someone someday writes a book about him he would like it to be an accurate account. I agree. With so many broken relationships in the world it is easy to forget what a good one should look like. I’m in no way saying we know it all or that we are the greatest living example of a healthy relationship. I am saying that we are two people who are crazy about each other, who love God with all our hearts and desire His will for our lives, and who want to be a solid example of love and faithfulness. Our effort is full fledged and hopeful that others will see proof of Jesus in our lives and in our relationship. So, I will continue on with a few details…

“You have ravished my heart.” That is exactly what he said before he got down on his knee with a ring in his hand. I am amazed by the timing of it all. It seems like yesterday that Derek came over to my house to watch movies. It was December, just about five months ago, that I thought I was just “catching up” with an old friend. The chemistry far outweighed the “just friends.” We were kissing before the night was over. I remember the nervous feeling I got when the boy I used to have a huge crush on (3 years ago before I left for college) went in for the kiss. I always wanted him to, but it just never happened before. Anyway, since that exciting first kiss we have fallen deeply in love. I’ve always been a little cynical about what it means to truly be and feel “in love.” I know now exactly what it is like. I must say, my expectations have been far exceeded by Derek.

I recently wrote about him coming to Tulsa to see me. It was then that we said, “I love you” for the first time. We had eaten dinner at the Los Cabos on Riverwalk and then took a walk across the Jenks bridge. It was so perfect and romantic. The serious, intense look on his face and the matter-of-fact presentation of his heart into three words caught me so off guard. I was glad he told me because it was getting hard for me to hold in. I wanted to say it a week earlier. I am glad he waited until he was sure and that he said it first. Moving on…the next day we were driving back from a movie. On the way past the mall Derek said, “I would like for you to pick out a ring, if that’s okay.” I, agian, was SO caught off guard. I was still glowing from the intense night before and could not believe that, A. Someone loves me so much, and B. wants to marry me-not just talk about it or think about it-but really follow through with it. We looked at rings, found the perfect one, and two days later he was flying back to Colorado.It was another month before I saw Derek again.

During our time away we talked on the phone for hours at a time. One night, Derek called me from Boise, Idaho and was really freaking out about everything. His dad lost his job, his parents were trying to get ready to put the house on the market, Derek and his sister were trying to find a new place to live-everything was unstable. All of this instability in Derek’s life seemed to carry over into our relationship– at least for Derek. He had a hard time separating me from all the other crazy things going on. It was a very difficult, but very necessary conversation. We went through each part of his life and pieced it out to find out what the real issues were. He told me he thought he wasn’t good enough or ready for our relationship. I refused to let that stand. In my heart of hearts I knew he was the one for me and I told him I would stand by him through anything. I made it clear that he was who I wanted and who I have waited for. We decided to lay off the future talk, no wedding plans or conversations about getting married. We had originally talked about getting married this summer, but felt like we should let it wait until the chaos subsided. The conversation was monumental for us. It showed us how to trust what we hear the Lord is telling us and to trust each other’s faithfulness.

A few weeks later I came home for spring break. I got back on a Sunday and Derek had to fly out Monday for work. He came back on Thursday and told me to dress cute for a dinner date. He said we were going to go by his office to meet his co-workers, then to dinner, and that we could go hiking at Garden of the Gods later. Derek is always doing sweet things for me, so I really thought nothing of it. He showed up at my door with a dozen red roses, looking so handsome (as always). We met his co-workers, had an amazing lunch at PF Changs, then drove to CO Springs to go hiking. We arrived at Garden of the Gods close to sunset. We stayed on the paved path for a while and then went off on a side trail. We would hike for several yards, stop and kiss, talk a little, then start hiking again. We came to a clearing, the sun was setting beautifully over Pikes Peak. It felt like God painted the sky just for us that night. Derek took my hands and held them tight. He told me that he loved me so much and that he had really enjoyed the time that we had to spend together. He went on for a minute pouring his heart out to me. He said he felt like his heart was very full with me. Now, like I said, he tells me all the time how he feels and is romantic with dates. I really had no clue what was coming next. Derek pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and said, “I would like to read you something.” The paper was filled the the words of Solomon- it said…

How fair is your love

My sister my spouse

How much better than wine is your love 

And the scent of your perfumes than all the spices

 

Your lips, O my wife

Drip as the honeycomb

Honey and milk, and peanut butter (Although not quoted in the the Bible itself…peanut butter)

Are under your tongue

 

You are all fair my love

Come with me from Lebanon

Open for me, my sister, my love

My dove, my perfect one

There is no spot in you

 

You have ravished my heart

My sister, my spouse

You have ravished my heart

With one look of your eyes

 

He then said, “I have something for you.” He got down on his knee and said, “Amber Brown, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?” I said YES!!!! We held each other on the mountain and then prayed and worshiped together at the World Prayer Center in CO Springs. We called our families and they we so thrilled. The next day we left for the cabin Derek had rented in Estes Park for us. I have never felt more cherished, loved, and worth it (expensive weekend). We chilled by the fire, sat in our own private hot tub on the deck, and drank some amazing wine. It wasn’t until this night that our engagement truly hit me. I cried in Derek’s arms and told him that I have never in my life felt loved by a man so much. I had to do nothing to earn his love- it was just there for me to soak up. I feel so blessed to have Derek in my life. My heart is his to keep forever.

We got engaged April 2, 2009, and we’ll be getting married July 25, 2009. The wedding plans are coming along and our love is growing deeper each day. I cannot wait to take the name of my Love and am thrilled to spend the rest of my life with him. 

Derek, “no one’s gonna love you more than I do…”

More to come…

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Love Never Fails.

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I have to believe.

The past few days I have recognized how easy it is to let discouragement overtake us. I am amazed that a whisper of discouragement can overcome peace. It happens so quickly, and takes a huge amount of time and effort to dispel. Not only does discouragement cause us to doubt ourselves and the Lord, it births fear in our hearts and minds. Fear drives out our trust in what God has told us, and makes us question what He has given us. Sigh.

I have come to realize that having faith in my ability to hear the Lord, and to distinguish His voice from foreign ones gives me the power to combat discouragement when it first arises. I have to believe that God has good intentions for me, and that He cares about my heart and my emotions. He created them, and He lives within them. He is a good God. He blesses us and wants to fulfill the desires of our hearts. This is all easy to say, but difficult to believe when discouragement sucks the life out of us.

Life is a roller coaster. If we knew ahead of time all the ups and downs, there would no need for us to trust in or fear the Lord. So, I am taking this opportunity to trust in Him, even when I don’t know the outcome. I am trusting that my heart is safe where it has landed, and held with care and compassion.

This song has been in my head all day. It reminds me that God is faithful, and that He helps me, even in my unbelief.

I Have to Believe – Rita Springer

I have to believe

That He sees my darkness

I have to believe

He knows my pain

I have to lift up

My hands to worship

Worship His name

 

I have to declare

That He is my refuge

I have to deny

That I am alone

I have to lift up

My eyes to the mountain

It’s where my help comes from

 

Oh yeah, He said that He’s forever faithful

He said that He’s forever true

He said that He can move mountains

If He can move mountains

He can move my mountain

He can move your mountain, too

 

Oh, I have to stand tall

When the wind blows me over

I have to stand strong

When I’m weak and afraid

I have to grab hold

A hold of the garment

The garments of praise

 

I know, I know, I know

Cause He said that He’s forever faithful

He said that He’s forever true

He said that He can move mountains

If He can move mountains

He can move my mountain

He can move your mountain, too

 

I have to sing praise

When the hour is midnight

He unlocks these chains

That bind up my soul

My sin and my shame

He has forgiven and made me whole

 

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Cause He said that He’s forever faithful

He said that He’s forever true

He said that He can move mountains

If He can move mountains

He can move my mountain

He can move your mountain, too

 

I have to believe

I have to believe

He’s got everything under control

I have to believe

Lord, I believe

Help my unbelief

I have to believe in You

I have to believe

“You, LORD, are good to all, and Your tender mercies are all over Your works.” -Psalm 145:9

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Hear me.

I know God hears me. At least in my mind I believe He does. There have been few times in my life where I have talked to Him and felt like He heard me and let me know it quickly. Today was one of those days. I am going to tell you all about it, but first, a little history.

The past month has been quite insane for me. I got mono and left school for almost two weeks. Being home sick was absolutely no fun, but spending some time with the boyfriend that I hadn’t seen in six weeks was an unexpected plus to the situation. Derek, the boyfriend, and I spent our first Valentines Day together. I had so much fun just being around him…finally! It would take me hours to write the calculated story we have accumulated since we first met. I like that about us. Anyway, it was during that weekend home that I realized my feelings for him were far deeper than I had expected them to be so quickly. We discussed our relationship and intentions to move forward (that is all I am going to say about that…for now). When I was well enough to return to school I came back to a mountain of make-up work. Surprisingly, it didn’t take very long to get done. Moving on…Ha! The highlight of my semester so far…get ready. Derek came out to visit me, and the whirlwind began. We said, “I love you” and made some future plans. I have been spinning ever since he left. I am really in love with him! There is so much more to the story, but it isn’t the absolute focus of this blog, so…for all interested…I will be writing a thorough account in the very near future. Back to today…

Today was one of those days where, at the end of it you think to yourself, “that was THE longest day EVER!” Ugh..I woke up at nine, went to a meeting, turned in a project…seems pretty ok. Then, the pressure came. Pressure on one side to know minute details about the future, pressure on another side to hold off on the planning, and finally, pressure to question my ability to make an “objective” decision regarding my future. Have you ever seen a cartoon character put their head in a vice (turn the handle and it squeezes their brain)? Anyone? Well, if you have, it felt a lot like that. I have a pretty good track record in the decision-making area, and I am very level-headed. I guess I just need to stop letting other people try to tell me what to do. I am fully capable. My tendency to be a people pleaser generally results in this type of day. I need to quit caring so much what people think. So, to cope with all this madness I decided to talk to the Lord.

I spent a lot of time with Him today. I prayed a lot and sang at the top of my lungs so He could really hear me. Haha. I have no doubt that He did. He reminded me of the condition of my heart now versus the broken mess it was when I left home three years ago. Just reading through my old blogs gives some insight into all the heartache I have felt. I have asked God for years to make me whole. I really believe He has pieced me back together better than I was before I broke. Again, He reminded me of all He has done in my life. He told me that He heard every plea and cry of my heart. Every request  He accounted for. Every tear He collected. The verses of encouragement He has given over the past few years came alive today. It is exciting to grow in Him. Humbling too. There is amazing peace in knowing that He cares, even about the little things in life, and there is comfort when He answers prayers. Today, He heard me cry out. He encouraged me yet again and reminded me that I am making good choices. I am in the right place at the right time. He is still here, walking with me every step. I love that I can just sit with Him in my car on a regular basis. So good.

I am finding out that life is speeding by at an incredible rate. The crazy thing is, I feel very steady and unmoved by it. I am taking this life one day at a time, not worrying about every detail. For once in my life I am not worrying. I am totally satisfied with the Lord, and with Derek, and with school. The thankfulness I feel towards God for creating me and equipping me to live my life well is overwhelming. It makes days like today worth the struggle.

With that said, today is a new day. I get to start over and I am sure that no matter what…He will hear me.

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Unsettled.

I am completely unsettled in my heart right now. I’ll tell you why…

At the beginning of the summer I decided not to date for a while. In my mind, it was more of a summer decision that served the purpose of rearranging some attitudes I had about relationships. I believe I covered some of those attitudes in a previous blog. Anyway, since the beginning of summer I have heard three sermon series by three different churches about love and marriage. I have read through Song of Songs three separate times. I have watched seven people I know get married, three people get engaged, one person get unengaged (still dating the guy), and two people break off serious relationships. I am officially confused with love! So confused that I am sick of hearing about it. My confusion, I think, arises from the experience of being crazy in love to the point of thinking it was going to end up in marriage, breaking up, being dragged along for a few years, finally being happy with who I am again, dating some, breaking up again, and realizing that right now I am more lonely than I have ever been. I am smack in the middle of the third marriage series and I resent the topic. I wonder, how can the thing I want most right now be the thing I hate most right now? My cynicism overtakes most of the faith I have in love. I feel like time has only revealed that some relationships make it and some don’t. I’m watching and waiting for someone to either get married or be heart broken. I’ve heard the first of the two makes all the crap worth it, but what about the others? What about the ones who don’t feel like they deserved to have their hearts broken? I do not claim to be innocent of hurting people in the past. In fact, I hate that I have. I know that heartache was the result, but know it would have been worse had the relationships gone on. The point is, I am frustrated to the core over this love issue. 

As emotional as I am when it comes to this, I am aware of how every relationship decision has changed things for me. For example, had I stayed with my high school sweetheart, I would have quit nursing school (neither one of us had any money) and would probably have ended up in a frustrating marriage. Had I stayed with relationship number two, I would have never gone to Oklahoma for school and met some of the greatest people in the world, or figured out who I was. In some way or another, with every relationship I have attempted, I have felt held back or unsettled. I feel like somewhere along the road I locked my heart up and have not let anyone in since. I have more recently thought that when I meet the man I am supposed to be in love with, genuinely in love with, I will not hold back any part of my heart. The waiting for this guy is driving me crazy! Not just for the sake of being in a relationship, or getting married, but because it has been years since that part of my heart was truly happy. I have heard it all…”You aren’t trusting God with this”, “You are too worried about this”, “Oh, it will happen for you someday.” I am sick of it! All of it. My relationship with God is better than ever. I am about to graduate nursing school, I have a great career ahead of me! I trust God or I wouldn’t have let go of every plan I made to get to where I am now! I know he has great plans for me because he has told me so. My frustration is in this time where love seems unreliable, temporary, or all about a wedding ceremony! 

Like I said, I am so unsettled with this. I am sure it is obvious. I guess the point of this blog is to get these words and thoughts out of my head. Maybe then I will have some peace.

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the longest chapter.

I am ready for this chapter to end. In two weeks I will start my sixth year of college. Yes. Six years of feeling in “transition”. Six beautiful years of change and growth and pain-staking challenges. I am getting tired of feeling unsettled and in between. I am restless because I am ready to move on-move from transition to steady-from ambiguous to specific. I am ready to know the things I want to know and have what I have been working toward for so long. This is the longest chapter.

I feel like I keep hitting walls. How do I bust through them? Is all the crud I have experienced in vain? I think deep down I know it isn’t. Right now though, I just want to know what is going to make it worth it all. Ahh! I am so frustrated! I hate this feeling of, “Well, maybe I’ll just go to bed and tomorrow when I wake up a lightning bolt of revelation from God will strike me and convince me this is all for a reason.” I am generally a very happy person. I don’t want to think these negative things.

People tell me all the time I am really hard on myself. I guess I just want God to notice that I care about what He wants for me, and have tried my very best to be obedient to Him. Especially, this summer. How is it that I get so lonely? Even in crowds. There can be a room full of people and I feel alone. I am trying not to get cynical, especially in the area of relationships. I am trying to believe in them, but that part of life just isn’t in the cards for me right now. I am anxious, but not for reasons I used to be. Not just to date, but to have a solid person, someone genuinely interested in who I am and where I am going to walk through normal life with me. Someone who cares about me, and who I care about and desire to give my heart to without holding back. Call it lovesick. Call it whatever. 

Anyway, back to the point. I am ready to turn the page.

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