Written by Ashlie, Contributing Writer
We all crave, want it, and need it – unconditional, unabashed and crazy love.
But, let’s be honest. Despite our best efforts, many times we come up dry. Even the most doting husband or most romantic Valentine’s date can’t fill us in a way that lasts. Life rolls in, bills pile up, trials ensue, and it becomes difficult to uncover the glorious in the mundane.
There have been times in my marriage when I have been up to my eyeballs in scripture, marriage books, and prayer trying to bring the spark back into our relationship. During one of those times, I felt the Lord gently whisper to me,
“If you would put even half of that energy into your love journey with me, you’ll have so much love you won’t know what to do with it!”
Since then, He’s slowly been transforming my perspective into a sweet love relationship with my Savior. He began to show me that the other relationships in my life, including with my sweet hubby, could only thrive if He and I are thriving. Because He is love Himself, and without Him, I have no love to give - I’m dried up and empty.
The past year has been a journey of truly allowing Him to not only be my Savior, but the One true Love of my life. Viewing my relationship with Him as a love story has changed my world. He is the author of romance, He rescues, sweeps me off of my feet, and there is always an exciting adventure!
I’m still in process, and His grace overwhelms me day by day as I stumble. But here are a few things I’m learning that help to keep that love ignited:
Read Your Love Letters
Have you ever thought of the Bible as a love letter straight to you? Sometimes it’s easy to read the Word as a message to the masses. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, God means for it to speak straight into my heart and yours in a personal way.
He could have left us in this life without anything to go by, but we are given an entire book of His very words. There have been many times I’ve complained about hearing nothing when I pray, when in fact, He’s given me pages and pages of His Words for me. Reading it with the same care and treasure that I would a love note from my husband puts things in a whole new light.
Write a Love Letter Back
Have you ever considered pouring out your heart to Him in writing? I’ve often told my husband that I love the notes he has written me because I know it took extra thought, and they are something I can go back to in reflection. We are made in God’s image, and He has emotions and feelings, too. He loves to hear from us!
Go On Regular Dates
I firmly believe that God’s grace and love towards us is so vast and wide that there isn’t a perfect “formula” for a quiet time. Yes, we should all read our Bibles and spend time in prayer, but that might look different for you than it does for me. But there’s one thing that is sure – He wants to spend time with us.
I like to view it as my own personal date with Jesus. What time of day are you at your best? What helps you to relax and connect? Perhaps it’s on a run with an iPod full of worship music, sitting quietly on your deck with a cup of coffee during the sunrise, on a drive to work, or while you’re doing dishes. Whatever it is – do it regularly. Pencil it into your daily routine – set the date, be there, and enjoy it.
Share Your Heart
I’m a very visual person, so one thing that has helped me tremendously in sharing my heart with Jesus is just to picture Him sitting in my living room on the couch across from me. We serve a God that is so holy and magnificent, and yet so up close and personal. He wants to hear our cries, our desires, our praises, and the deepest groanings of our hearts. Tell Him.
Be a Good Listener
Having a healthy love relationship means just that – a relationship. It’s difficult to keep things close when there’s only one-sided communication. Just as it wouldn’t last very far with my hubby and I, it’s hard to keep things fresh with God if I’m the only one talking.
Take time to sit, listen, and just bask in His presence. If you struggle with mind wandering (tell me I’m not the only one!), turn on your favorite worship music or go into a room with few distractions.
Trust and Don’t be Afraid – Come as You Are
Though we may not think of it in this way, many times we shy away from the throne room of grace because of fear. Fear of failure, fear that we aren’t good enough, fear of “doing it wrong”, or fear that we won’t hear or discern what the Lord is saying.
But when we meet with Love Himself, fear has no place and is totally irradicated. Can we embrace that? Can we trust that we don’t have to have things figured out or perfectly in place, but that we can just come as we are?
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us. ” – I John 4:18-19
I pray that if you’re feeling dry, you’ll step into the first date of a beautiful love journey with Him today. He always fills, and He never disappoints!
What do you do to keep your relationships with the Lord strong and fresh?
Photo Credit: Love Never Fails
Ashlie’s heart is to encourage fellow sojourners in the midst of her own struggles. Seeing others discover His vast love and grace makes her do a happy dance! She endeavors to seek God’s truth in the journey while finding His grace in the mess, knowing that at the end of the day, it really is all about Him.
She loves winding gravel roads, muddy romps, and country life, yet Starbucks, skinny jeans, and pedicures hold a special place in her heart, too. This creates a bit of a conundrum that she is still trying to figure out. Lovely word pictures, insane amounts of coffee, silly times with her family, and chocolate make her world go ’round.