Summer nights still hold their wonder for me after that summer following my first “yes” to Him. The light off our back-porch filled in the gaps of the moon’s light as I spent night after night on the back-yard swing poring over the pages of my Bible. Curfew wasn’t the end of those teenage nights, it was the beginning.
His Word was alive, both in me and to me.
Every night was new. This was my version of summer love.
Not too long after, I made a type-A decision to start highlighting every verse I read from His Word (ahem …yes, every single verse) in hopes that I might one day have that Bible all painted. A shift was beginning to happen in my heart as those pages were filled with fluorescence. I was moving away from the freshness that comes from a conversation with One I was fascinated to know towards a colloquial routine, just as standard to me as brushing my teeth each day.
Somewhere in there He became a box to check.
Years later, and five days after the wedding rice had been swept from the floor, I felt the emptiness.
My body had grown accustomed to running long distances in expectation of an annual rest. And, this year, that rest came in the form of a ten-day honeymoon after an unusually intense sprint through our five-month engagement.
Early in the week, I laid by the pool with my Bible cracked open and my eyelids drooping shut. Sleep was a more tangible rest to me than the pages in my lap might offer.
This book — the proclamation of life it held and the God-Man it described — read like history to me. And way back when, when history was a requirement, I was too preoccupied with boys and Friday night football games and sassy clothes to take much of a liking to history.
These Words of life fell baked in the sun on my dehydrated heart. Though I’d been living parched for months (maybe even years), the noise of life had crowded out what was hollow in my heart.
Activity serves as a wonderful mask.
And this particular honeymoon day wasn’t new. A year before, I had sat in the kitchen nook of the apartment I shared with a friend, with my Bible and prayer list spread out in front of me, eyes glazed. The names on that list held stories in which I was invested and represented people that I loved, yet something felt stone-cold within me as I recited their names in my head as prayers and thought what really is prayer anyways? They rolled through my mind like ticker-tape. Check. Next name, check.
I watched the clock.
My unspoken rule was that this set-aside time, my “quiet time” as I called it, should be at least thirty minutes, but thankfully no more than an hour. It was a rare day when I wasn’t counting down the time. Life felt too full and my mind like the floor of the New York stock exchange. How do you press pause on this level of activity? I thought.
Most days this was my dry obligation.
He was there and I was here and, though I spent my days telling others about Him, my repertoire was mostly full of memories. He’d intersected my life profoundly when I was fifteen, in a forever life-altering way, but how long could I live off of those fumes?
Memory was my best access to Him.
So how does one fall in love when when the book is dusty or the God-Man inside of it has become a historical figure or — in my case — those Words are lost in the resplendence of the color which represents one lofty goal, slightly askew from center? (If I read all the verses, but know not their Author, I have not known love.)
Enter adoration. It’s finding a pulse behind that Word and then saying that Word back to Him, in my own dialect. Adoration is admitting the blind-fold we’ve had over our understanding of Him and asking Him to wrap His fingers around our dull hearts and to slowly … revive.
There are 1440 minutes in a day. How many of those minutes have I spent replaying old thoughts, reliving conversations, fretting over what was never mine to hold and then, at the end of it all, wondering where He was?
When I adore, He slips off the blindfold. His Word, not my fickle experience, becomes the start and ending points.
And when I look at that God-Man, with my blood on His brow and undeserving compassion in His countenance towards me, I begin to fall in love.
The minute walk across the threshold of my bedroom downstairs to the rowdy bunch below is pregnant. I can fill my mind and speech with beauty, in just that one minute. The wait at the doctor’s office, the drive to the gym, the cumulative hours spent in a year cutting onions and folding laundry and cleaning toilet bowls — they are all fodder for adoration. They say, just as He says: come, as you are, and I will show you who I really am.
To really fall in love, we need to know who He really is.
And His Word is the best informant.
I moved from stirring ground chuck to cutting cucumbers for salad, tonight, saying “You are my shepherd, God. Shepherd me.” Those Words, on my tongue, under my breath, invite love to grow across more than just my morning solitude or my bedtime prayers.
My mundanity is His, to call forth awe.
And it starts with just one minute. One minute can witness even the god-awful turn to God-filled awe.
Tiny phrases, says a friend. Tiny prayers, a favorite author.
The best of Love’s beginnings are tiny.
Is this your month to fall in love?
Below, Mandie Joy has taken the chicken-scratch from my moleskine journal and painted it pink. Here is a great place to start adoring. I slide this sheet in a plastic sleeve, mark it all up with my own writing, and tote it around to inform my tiny phrases and my tiny prayers. And at night, my husband and the littles join me.
For more on adoration: