Friday, September 17, 2010

Appreciation: Venti, No Whip, Extra Caramel

Driving home after church the other night, I turned to James (my hubby), and reviewed a wonderful conversation I had with the oh-so-lovely Jennifer the Valentine-Barton. She and I have this on-going “conversation” through the random delivery of caramel fraps. We often don’t have time for the huge convos, but we do have time for the yummy reminders of love. I’ll drop them at the animal clinic for her, and she has brought them to me in some of my greatest hours of need. Anyway, she handed me a Starbucks gift card this night and she laughed through shining tears, “Elizabeth, when I think of you, I always think you are the kind of person that should have everything in the world. If I could give it to you, I would, but I’ll start with what I can afford.”

“It’s true, you know,” James interjected, without hesitation, “You do deserve everything.” The sincerity of their words really hit me… I am loved. I think I forget this sometimes. When I am at my lowest, dragging my feet, in pity parties and frustrations, it’s hard to lift your head to look in the eyes of the people that love you and hear what they are saying. Like the prodigal son, sometimes it’s easier to sit in the pig pen than to look in the loving eyes of the Father.
Today, five years ago, I was preparing to walk down the aisle and marry my best friend. He has loved me through thick and thin. He requires nothing of me, except that I am obedient to the voice of God. He calls me out in his special way when I need it. I listen, (try to, anyway). For years, we have heard the words, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her.” This… this is his credo. He embodies the heart of Jesus for me. He appreciates me and tells me so, often. I am undeserving of such devotion, mercy and grace.

One of the greatest delights in our marriage has been that when God speaks, we really try to do what He says. We have found so much joy in obeying together. When He says, give, we give. When He says encourage, we go together and try to get underneath someone that needs a little love.

I woke up this morning with these thoughts on my heart. Writing about me deserving everything and such sometimes makes me feel… squishy. I want to argue with it. “Well, if only you knew what I was thinking five seconds ago, you wouldn’t say that!” I knew when James and Jen shared this particular thing with me, I needed to slow down and listen to what was really being said. When someone shows you love and appreciation, do you dismiss it? Either dismantling their rationale or spend too much time thinking, “If you knew what I am really like, you wouldn’t say such things.” This world works overtime to remind us not to think too highly of ourselves. The words of my friend and the love of my husband have challenged me to stop and take a big drink of appreciation when it is offered. It will keep you hydrated on a dry and dusty day.

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