Happy Engagement, Happy New Year!

IMG_0433

Today I write to you with some very exciting news!  My brother, Brad, proposed to his girlfriend (now fiance) Jessica 🙂  We are so excited for them and for the blessing to be part of their very special day!

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so after a quick background story, we can let the pictures speak for themselves…

For many many weeks, Brad has been brainstorming with us about different ideas for proposals.  Yesterday while driving from our grandmother’s house in Mississippi to Jacksonville, FL, Brad announced his plan: to propose to Jess after watching the sunrise on the beach.  We brainstormed and worked out all of the details… Brad would surprise Jess by waking her up early and taking her to the beach.  The coffee would already be waiting for her in the car…

Mom, Mrs. Catherine and I were the “reconnaissance team,” and our day began early with a quick run to Starbucks.

Starbucks-proposal

Then we were off to the beach!  While Mrs. Catherine and Mom waited in the car (With the car off of course!  We had to be sneaky), I hid behind a palm tree to start my stealthy mission of snapping pictures of the proposal without being seen. 😉  The picture below is of Brad and Jess walking from the car and towards the boardwalk to go down to the beach…
IMG_0266

IMG_0268 - Version 2

IMG_0274

I was right behind them the whole time, and–praise the Good Lord–they never saw me!

IMG_0297

IMG_0308

IMG_0326

IMG_0321

When the coast was clear, Mom and Mrs. Catherine even came out to hide out too!

IMG_0360

While laying spread out within the thick of the sea oats, I prayed that God would send some birds to have for some pictures.  Guess what happened shortly after…

IMG_0389

God provided!

IMG_0391

IMG_0390

And now….

The big question!

IMG_0405

She said “Yes!”

 

IMG_0410 - Version 3

IMG_0411

IMG_0422

IMG_0434 - Version 2

IMG_0432

IMG_0435

IMG_0459

IMG_0461

IMG_0462 - Version 2

 

“I will betroth you to me forever.

I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.

I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.

And you shall know the Lord.”

Hosea 2:19-20

Even while here tonight and think back on the wonderful morning that we had, I praise God for it all: the weather, the sunrise, the birds, the peace that He gave to Brad, the “yes” that came from Jess’s lips, the tears, the smiles, the laughter…  Most of though, there is one thing that I am most thankful for, and that is the reminder of God’s patient and perfect love.

Over the past few years, it has been my joy and privilege to watch the way that God has molded and shaped both Brad and Jess.  From friends to fiances, they have grown together in love and care for one another in a relationship that will only grow even deeper as they further pursue marriage.  With this, I pray that the truth of God’s love for them as His very own bride will grow even deeper.  May it be God’s glory alone that is continually revealed as they proceed step-by-step in this exciting, new step closer together in this journey of life!

To Brad and Jess, I love you both so very much and am sooo excited!!! Y’all are precious 🙂

***

Happy engagement and Happy New Year!

IMG_0458

IMG_0471

“I Breathe You In, God” – Bryan & Katie Torwalt

In midst of our busy lives, may we always remember to stop, rest in the Lord, and breathe in His presence.  May we feel the rise and fall of our chests… feel the breath that He provides.  It’s His breath that he gave to bring forth life, and it’s His breath that remains inside.

I hope that you will take the time to rest for just a moment, listen to this song, and be blessed through the reminder of God’s goodness and love in an involuntary action so taken for granted yet so necessarily–our very breathing.

The presence of the Living God
Satisfies the depths of my heart
And all of me I changed when you came
And I’m made free by Your glory and grace

I breathe You in,God
‘Cause You are there all around me

I breathe You in,God
‘Cause You are there all around me

The brightness of Your love’s pure light
Pierces through the darkest of nights
And everything is possible now
For God is here
And God is good

I breathe You in,God
‘Cause You are there all around me

I breathe You in,God
‘Cause You are there all around me

And You are good, God
For You are good to me

For You are good, God

For You are good to me

And when I don’t understand
I will choose You

When I don’t understand
I will choose You, God

When I don’t understand
I will choose to love You, God

When I don’t understand
I will choose You

When I don’t understand
I will choose You, God

When I don’t understand
I get to choose to love You, God

 When I don’t understand
I will choose You

When I don’t understand
I will choose You, God

When I don’t understand
I get to choose to love You, God

For You are good, God
For You are good to me

 For You are good, God
For You are good to me

Its my honor

It’s my privilege
To worship You
To worship

For You are good, God
For You are good to me

For You are good, God
For You are good to me

Psalm 73:23-26

flower and hands statue

“I am continually with you;

you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:23-26

In the Security of His Love

Hello!  It’s sooooo good to be back and writing again 🙂  I’ve missed y’all so much!  Thanks for still checking in here and there during my absence, and I look forward to writing again more…

Over the past many weeks that I have been away, the Lord has been gracious.   The past few weeks, even months, were a time in which I temporarily gave up writing and the blog in order to better pursue my graduate studies and other relationships.  It has been hard, but this just is an affirmation of the truth that obedience to what God calls us to do is not always easy.  Sometimes we may not see a tangible result of our action or “reap what we sow.”  Sometimes, we may even wonder if we are actually hearing the words of God or something/someone else trying to distract us from Him.  Every time though, obedience to God requires sacrifice…

In those moments of realizing what God desires for us to do, there can be tension, right?  After all, what about our desires?  What about the plans that we have made?  But as the RUF minister at Mississippi State asked in his sermon the other night—“When was the last time that God’s love brought you more security than the plan you have made, the relationship you’re in, a title you’ve earned, your outward appearance, etc.?”

For the type-A personality like me—organized, driven, and purposeful even to a fault—that question opened my eyes, heart, AND mind to a reality that I had pushed away.  Maybe I had felt it here and there, but I pushed it away not wanting to pay the price of obedience and admit that the plan that I had made for my life was fallible and based on limited, human understanding.  But the Lord had other plans.  He wanted to bring me back into the safety that is ONLY found in the overwhelming presence of His love, and I’m so grateful that He did.

Sometimes following the will of God can cause temporary pain, but remember that He disciplines His children as a father would—with love and with purposes for their good.  Always though, living in obedience to God brings more security, peace, and joy than we could ever experience elsewhere.  After all, when resting in the warm embrace of His presence, what do we have to fear and what could we possibly lose?

So now, I ask you the very same question: When was the last time that God’s love made you feel more secure than anything else in your life?  What act of sacrifice and obedience would it take to draw closer to Him and to the security of His love?