The Woven Scarlet Thread of Romance

 It is always about this time of the year that everyone around me is posting love poems, pictures, and romantic things. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I’m actually quite the romantic myself and do the same. My husband and I were joking a few weeks ago about the Superbowl and whether it would ever fall on Valentine’s Day. “If so,” my husband stated, “more breakfast and brunch reservations would be scheduled far in advanced by nervous husbands resulting in empty restaurants at dinner time than any Valentine’s day in history.”

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This discussion made me think of my February blog posting and I decided to think out of the box a little bit. What is February really like for me? I know February’s are filled with a lot of romantic hopes which can sometimes fling me (along with every other woman in this country) on an emotional roller coaster, but what else seems to go on as a pattern in my life?

I dug out my journals for the past ten years and began looking for patterns.  It seems that February is a month of three recurring themes for me: Discernment, Refreshment, and Encouragement. For me, February seems to set the stage for my entire year. By February, the only thing that feels loved on me is the hot chocolate that sticks so insistently to my form. I’m an introverted creature and it seems February is when I meditate and review my life in order to make changes. This article will take a look at the three themes I have come across in my February journals and I also have included a few excerpts from these journals for you, dear reader, to glimpse a bit into my soul.

 Old Journal February Excerpt, Words I felt the Holy Spirit Speak to me:
“You have been through what so few have experienced yet are willing to praise me. The pain you have endured and continue to endure has given us a bond that would not otherwise exist. Your suffering has made you so special, so rare! You are so dear to my heart, do not be afraid anymore. You are not alone. You will not be lonely in your suffering. You will never seek me and not find me. There will be none of that in your life, for I know what it is to suffer. You will see me and you will know me. This is the GREAT ROMANCE.”

Discernment:

The number 2 in the bible typically signifies division and separation, right and wrong, good and evil. While I can’t say that it ties in with February being the second month of the year, I can say that according to the past ten years of my journal I do seem to divide and discern my habits and life path during the month of February. The down-time of winter months cause me to take a look at some of the things in life that I may or may not be happy with.

 Old Journal February Excerpt:
“Lord, there was a baby dedication today and there is no way to express the pain it made me feel in my heart. You gave me a desire for children yet with it no means of fulfilling that desire. What is this Lord? What are you doing that my heart cannot comprehend? As I read in Joshua this week I commit to you Lord, may my heart be humble. I need you and this is not something I can do on my own. Holy Spirit, guide me through this forest! Lord, bring to my mind any shame-based thinking or systems in my life. You have a better language for my heart…teach me!”

There have been times that evaluation in my life has influenced me to pull back and move away from certain relationships or bad habits. Other years I have been forced to look at my hopes that were set on something like childbirth and then allow the Lord to nudge me into an attitude adjustment.

 Old Journal February Excerpt:
“Lord, you know my heart. I am struggling with some things but I am hanging on to your word. I need the breakthrough that your word promises in that area of my life!”

 Getting a handle on what needs to change in my life and coming up with a plan for that always gives me freedom and clarity in my mind. God is always gracious to provide that kind of peace to me and allows me in my own human and limited perspective to plan out the changes that need to be made to keep me on the path He intends for me. Sure, things February 2014 002 (2)don’t always go as I “plan” them to go but I do enjoy the process of praying through these things.  Dividing and weeding out the unnecessary things in life isn’t an easy thing and isn’t always very fun. Sometimes I am almost ashamed of myself when I look over things and realize just how far I’ve strayed from the “good path” in certain areas of my life. For me, that is what February seems to be about. Being vulnerable and looking at all of those patterns and habits while being humble enough to accept the truth and make changes.

 Old Journal February Excerpt:
“Lord, I crave your glory. I crave your presence in and on me always. I beg for your glory to be so strong upon me always. I seek your face and your hands, Lord! The past few months you have drawn so close and it is overwhelming the work you are doing in my life. I am not afraid of others or what they think but lately I have doubted this season that is my life right now. Others see my life as a leisurely playground. I feel the work I have been doing with you is where you have me and for a purpose. Yet, there are no marks, no certificates, no paychecks for my work with you. Help me Lord, what do you see? Is it ok to sit at your feet as Mary?”

 

Refreshment:

Refreshment in February?! Yes, sometimes I have to dig deep for it but it is there! Growing up we often took trips to warmer climates in February and it was always such a great time of feeling refreshed with sun and sand surrounding us. Knowing that we were to come home and finish out the bitter cold of the north, we treasured the weeks away March 2014 200 piknikand hoarded every bit of Vitamin D we could manage short of causing skin cancer. As an adult we don’t often manage to get away in February but we did a few years ago. As I sat in the sunshine I was so blessed. I watched the seagulls land on the railing of the ship in front of where I sat munching away on chocolates and fruit, listening to the gentle waves lapping several stories down onto the side of the ship. It was refreshing. It was a break needed from the monotonous repetition of my job; it was a break my husband needed from driving tractor and trailer in the snow. It was romantic and without doubt a gift from God.

 Old Journal February Excerpt:
“Enjoying the effects of Romans 8 and Hebrews 10. No condemnation for those in Christ! Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!”

Of course we don’t always end up a thousand miles from home for refreshment and during those years I have found refreshment more locally. Longwood Gardens has become a respite of welcome relief for me. The warmth in the conservatory that assaults every one of my senses with tropical air and flowery scents (so foreign in the winter time) immediately lifts my heart and mind. My creativity level soars when I am in the nature of the conservatory and prayers of thanksgiving flow naturally as they exit my heart in whispers that travel on the planes of aromas.

 Old Journal February Excerpt:
“As I write today I sit at the table watching Rick do some of the ceiling trim painting that I couldn’t reach. Thank you for this amazing man that I call my husband! His love and support as we create a life together reflects your love for me. As our marriage grows so does my understanding of what your love may mean for me.”

This year I have not yet been to Longwood but I have been going to the YMCA gym to continue my journey towards utmost health. Entering the warm building and putting on my swimsuit each day knowing that I will be in the water and free to move in ways I have not experienced as an amputee since before losing my leg brings refreshment. The sunshine filters each day through the floor-to-ceiling windows and as I swim I feel the rays of bliss on my bare skin. Ah, refreshment. What is it about these little moments that bring us to a place of worship?

These times of refreshment are to me kisses from heaven. They are God’s way of reaching down and bonding with me right where I am at. I often spend these times alone because that is when I connect with God and find myself recharged and ready to do His work in the world around me.  It may be the two if us but feeling so loved really does warm every part of me inside!

 

Encouragement

Perhaps it is the refreshment that clears my mind and allows me to empty myself completely to hear from God.  I take notes in my journals of things that I feel He is speaking to me and then will cling to them all year long as if they are small and rare gemstones the ocean coughed up on the shore for me. Words from the Lord are always encouraging. The encouragement from Him points me back to the Word because it motivates me to find the scriptures that I am hearing. The circle is always complete when what I feel and hear the Lord saying is confirmed in scripture.

After my time of dividing and deciding what path I should be on for the year and where my time and identity settles I rest in refreshment, as mentioned. Soon after, often I start to feel the pinch of stress as the transition begins around me in relationships and time constraints. Sacrifice, which is inevitable when we change gears, is not something I cheerfully comply with during this time. The combination of these things typically leaves me frustrated and upset for a few days while I wonder if I have missed God altogether and gone rogue.

But what kind of God would He be if He left me like that? Disoriented and discombobulated, my Lord always finds me right where I am and encourages me. He is not only the stern of the ship (discernment) or the wind in my sails (refreshment) but he is also the horizon I sail towards (encouragement). February 2014 020According to my journals, each year He sends a friend to me during this time. It isn’t always the same person, they often don’t realize they are part of this, and last year it wasn’t a person at all but a bible study I was a part of! Yet in the focus of conversation or study the Lord appears in the stillness and I can almost feel His hands taking my liquid thoughts and fears and giving them mold and structure so that I become confident in what I need to do going forward. Only the Lord’s hands can take our liquid insecurities and solidify them into freeing, truthful foundations that become true peace, and He always does that for me regardless of the time of year.

 Old Journal February Excerpt, Words I felt the Holy Spirit Speak to me:
“My child, I love you and will always care and provide for you. You have been faithful with a little, so now let us grow that into much for the good and blessing of those around you. The doors which I have shut and am shutting allow to remain so. There are better things waiting for you after a short period.   Keep your focus on prayer and on replacing the weak scaffolding in your own mind with my foundation. I am giving you courage. Giving you courage to face reality, courage to dream dreams, courage for exalting me wherever you may go. A holy courage is needed, such that is pure and refined by love. Tread carefully, be mindful, take heed of the treasure being bestowed freely upon you. These too are an investment because love always multiplies. Shine, Smile, Praise, my child!”

 

Wrapping up February

 As I finish looking over the patterns I see in February in my own life I see a single scarlet thread that seems to be woven in and out of the pattern. While I started off in the article stating that February is not a romance month for me I now am forced to look at this thread and wonder. The searching and seeking for God, His answer to my heart and guidance, the sweeping me off my “foot” in a time of refreshment followed by encouragement all points to the Great Romance. So while I have not before looked at February as a month of earth shattering romance in my own life I’m now forced to see that scarlet thread woven so deeply and yet plainly in sight. I mentioned in a previous article “maybe romance is simply not being alone” and one thing that God has made very clear to me is that I am never alone. He is always with me and He is the lover of my soul.  He provides what I cannot even ask for and each year woos my heart again and again.

February is a wonderful, transitional, and delicate month for me. Reflecting on things is impertinent to happiness and true joy.  This makes me wonder what pattern you may find in the great romance of your life this month…

 

 

 

 

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