I am so excited because today is the day I start my new devotional! I began reading Jane Syswerda's book: The Women's Devotional Guide to the Bible: A One-Year Plan for Studying, Praying, and Responding to God's Word. Today I read the first three chapters in Genesis.
I cant help but realize what a loving God we serve. In His awesome splendor created this beautiful bountiful Earth and gave us the animals and plants and the land and sea and sky. He took such care and put so much love into making this beautiful world for us to live in. The Bible says repeatedly that God "planted" such and such for us. I don't know any gardeners but I do know that if I'm trying to grow and cultivate anything, that it takes a great deal of patience and love. What great care He must have put into making us and making this planet. It's just so cool and awesome to fathom how much He loves us. Even in our sin He was merciful and just. When Adam and Eve at from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, woman was punished with pain in childbirth and with being servant to her husband while man was punished with a life of scratching the ground for resources (which had been created to be abundantly fruitful). Additionally, man would die and return to the dust from which we were formed. But, graciously, God provided a way for us. He never said we would be unable to eat of the earth nor would we be without. He also never said we wouldn't walk with Him. (p.s. It is so awesome that God was just hanging out with Adam and Eve in the Garden.. walking and talking.. so close and intimate! Ahh I love it.) God is so amazing that even when we sin, He is loving and merciful when we are anything but deserving or worthy. He truly wants to be one with us. Not just be a part of our lives but be the reason why and be the cry of our hearts. He understands our desires and our needs and wants to provide for us and nurture us.
Another thing that really called to my heart about Genesis is the relationship between man and woman. God gave man a companion and a friend to share his life with. God could have just as easily created woman from the ground but instead woman was taken of man's flesh and was created to be man's helper. In this way, God was showing us that man and woman were designed to be together and through marriage, to become one. It's wonderful to know that God is preparing a husband for me and before I was even a thought in anyone's mind, that God had already laid out a plan for my life. To think that He has formed and cultivated an entire person just for me is astounding. What an incredible gift! to be blessed with someone. I like to think of it as God showing up on my birthday and being like "Hey Claire, so I got you a little something. I've been working on him for quite a while but I think you'll find him to be everything you've ever dreamed of..." And poof! there he is.. my future husband, my best friend, the man of my dreams.. tied up in a big red bow all for me!
Let me just take a sec to say WOW! And gush over this thought and over the wonder of our God!
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On a similar note, this whole giving my current relationship to God is pretty scary. I feel like I dont know what to do but conversely wonder if I should be doing anything. How do you balance this idea of direction in a relationship while acknowledging that you have no control over its course? I mean certainly a godly couple has some idea of where God is taking them? But how do you know that its God and not you? I guess all I can do is pray that He will make it very clear and direct whatever direction He has planned for us. We are going to be starting a devotional together soon too. I'm just waiting on the books to come in. I also think we will be reading Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. Those books came in the mail today. I'm looking forward to seeing how God uses these resources to point the way and to help us lead better lives and have a stronger relationship, if He wills it. It's all so exciting and anxious, I want to be in this whirlwind of feeling God's power over our relationship and I cant wait to get there. I know its going to take a lot of time and prayer but I really feel that He knows what Hes doing here.
Lastly, I wanted to say that I was really blessed this past week in that I met a whole bunch of new people and friends in Christ. Who would have thought that Zombies would lead me to a new spiritual family?? :) It was really nice to feel like a part of a fellowship again. When you've been gone from church for a while or have been going to a megachurch, that feeling of belonging is really missed. But these guys just really opened their hearts (and homes) and embraced Aaron and myself this past week. We went to their church and although it put me a little out of my comfort zone and the style of the service was foreign to me, I really felt good about being there. I am looking forward to developing closer relationships with this group and am very excited to see what God's going to do with it!
So, if you're reading this, please keep me in your prayers. Please pray for guidance as I begin these devotionals and dive back into Gods word. Pray for this new group of friends that God has led me to this week, that I may find a place that I can really call home. And also for God to bless this journey that Aaron and I are on. We have a lot of mixed feelings and emotions about it all and really want God to point the way in our relationship and in our individual lives. Additionally, please pray for Aaron's mom who is struggling with very rare health issues and is spending a lot of time in bed and at the doctors.
Finally, I hope God is continuing to show you all that you have been blessed with and that somehow something in this message about how He is working in my life can speak to yours.
The books I'm reading: