Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Connecting Dreams and Reality

In 2009 I started keeping a journal of letters to my future husband. I didn't write in it often, but it was when I found myself thinking of him and wanting to tell him what was on my heart. My entries often contained how much I looked forward to meeting him, how much I loved him, and how often I prayed for him. And, as I continued to write to him, I found myself only continuing to grow more in love with my husband to be. 

Now, three years later, It is still amazing to me to think that the man whom I have been thinking about, praying for, preparing myself for, and loving actually exists. And that in ten days, he is going to be my husband. It's almost surreal to think that this arbitrary man to whom I've been writing is real. 

He has a name, an incredibly handsome face, a laugh that makes my smile, a personality that makes my  heart melt, and a love for me that often brings me to tears of joy. 

It is because this man is real and that I am marrying him in less than two weeks I'm that I shared my journal with him two nights ago. 

At first I stumbled over explaining what the journal was and was really hesitant about being so open. After all, I had written these letters having no idea who they would be read to. It didn't take me long to begin pouring out my heart to Ray. I realized as I was reading  just how perfect God's plan is because everything I had said fit Ray perfectly. It was as though I was looking at the finished puzzle of prayers I had been praying. 

It was incredible to say the least. To be reading to the man to whom I've so long written, that I've deeply desired to meet, and the man I have been so in love with for so long. 

There were pages of promises, sincere apologies for giving my heart away prior to him, and a display of the peace that I felt when I gave my heart and its future over to Jesus. 

There were also tears of joy, answered prayers, happiness, hope, forgiveness, peace, and of love. So many tears of love. 

It was honestly one of the most memorable moments I've shared with Ray. And it makes me that much more excited to vow those promises of love to him in front of our friends, family, and God in just a few short days. 

Praise God for His love and mercy to place the man of my prayers in my life and making my him better than I could have ever dreamed. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Galatians 5 Husband

There are so many things going on in my life right now that it is almost impossible to wrap my mind around everything. But in the midst of this storm that has suddenly turned into a tornado, I am choosing to focus on the positive. (More like forcing myself to do so.)

Ray. And the tremendous blessing he is in my life. I am so amazed that God has blessed me with him.

When we first started dating, I set down the ground rule that he was in charge of being the spiritual leader in our relationship. I knew Biblically what that should consist of, but I had no idea of what it was  going to look like. Which is why I am constantly awestruck at God's work in my soon-to-be husband.

Ray's church was going through a series on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It was a taught as sort of a self-check to see if there is evidence of God's work in you.

Ray is a man of all of these characteristics and more.

For those of you who don't know, we made the decision to have his youngest brother Lelan move down with us to attend Carbondale high school (Go Terriers!). And for some unknown reason, we have received tremendous, tremendous amounts of grief over it. But that's another story.

Positive. Stay positive.

What I have learned from the short time we have had Lelan with us is not only the how much of a Godly man my fiancé is, but also what a leader he is. I have been so blessed to watch him talk with Lelan, read the Bible with him, encourage him, support him, and guide him. Speaking from his 85 + years of wisdom (or so he thinks he has), Ray paints for Lelan a picture that is bigger than the south side of Chicago. And for me, I am blessed with a small snapshot of our life to come.

Ray is someone who continues to surprise me as more of his heart is revealed. His love for others, the joy he finds in all situations, the peace he clings to in the midst of trials, the abundance of patience he daily (more like hourly) shows to me, the kindness he exhibits to all those with whom he comes into contact, the goodness of his heart, his faithfulness not only to our family but to Christ as well, the gentleness he shows as he cares for me in my moments of true brokenness, and the self-control he has when situations do not go as planned.

Ray truly is a Galatians 5:22 man.

And in three weeks from today, he is going to be my husband.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! (As Michael likes to say...) What a mighty and awesome God we serve who provides us the blessing of a rainbow as a promise that the storm will someday pass.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews13:8