Summer was marked for me when I was fifteen. When my curfew got extended and my alarm clock collected dust, I made a spot for myself on the old wooden swing in our backyard. On the nights when the moon hid, the spotlight off our back porch illuminated my bedtime reading.
Out with friends and back home before too late, His Word was my nightcap.
It was summer love.
I can still feel, now, how my heart quickened when I opened those fresh pages. Those Words were for me, for just that moment. He was as thick as the anticipatory night air always is in June.
He was love.
He waited for me to come meet with Him in that time just like I waited for Him. Before I learned the vernacular, I talked to God. Many times without words. Only the stars witnessed our silent communion as He peeled back the sky for me. His Word was alive, a garment around this God-Man.
And I couldn’t get enough.
But the pace of life and the world’s demands on a heart began to allure my eyes elsewhere. I assumed, subconsciously, that companionable love was intended to eventually overtake the giddy-heart-racing kind of encounter I had with Him that summer before I got my driver’s license.
So it did.
But that wasn’t the last time the stars saw this little girl, giddy.
Just shy of twenty years later, states away, but under that same thick-with-the-promise-of-summer-love June sky we scooted our five dollar foldable chairs out from the garage and onto the porch. The two mature trees in our front yard hid us from suburbia.
It was just us, Him, and the stars that night.
We paced and talked and prayed, considering the most seemingly foolish decision of our lives. And we laughed at where our crazy lives had taken us, to middle America with half our family asleep under our roof and the other half playing the day away in African dirt on the other side of the world.
The adventure of it all came back to me those nights before we got on a plane to Uganda. I remembered. I signed up for a love that would stretch and prod and pull at the very core of me. I wanted to be changed and challenged by a God whose love would expand inside of me as I grew in years.
I wanted vibrant love, no matter the outward expression.
The summer I was fifteen it was me and the Man, wrapped in His Word. The summer in my early thirties it was me, my husband and the God-Man calling me to take the biggest plunge of my life.
Falling in love with Him has many doorways. He’s creative to reach our hearts.
But several of the summers sandwiched in between those two mile-markers were hard and dry and lonely. For more than a handful of them, I had forgotten that His love was alive and actively-at-work pursuing me. I had forgotten how “other” this love of His was.
We didn’t start with a rush only to fizzle out and settle in to being merely partners, companions, sealed by a handshake. But something in the back of my mind led me to believe that complacency was normal and that God had only enough material to keep me enraptured for a few years, not a lifetime.
I told the story of that first summer for many years thereafter.
Until He gave me a new story to tell.
Our God is actively pursuing the parts of me that I think no one sees (sigh. Love at its finest?). His love, at times, could be called violent against my world’s inertia that feels so prone to everyday complacency (read: boredom) in Him. No part of Him is boring — in fact, quite the opposite. He is seeking to enliven my boring heart.
Might this be the summer you fall in love? Again?
It is for me.
The calendar turns June and my heart is practicing the habit of expectancy. Bare feet and tan lines, outdoor ice cream parlors and sprinklers are only a shadow of what He has in store for me this summer.
This is the summer He’s ordained to meet with me. And the summer He’s ordained for me to fall, further, in crazy love with Him.
Here are just a few ways to lean in to that expectancy:
- Close the blinds and turn up the music. Worship. (This one has been recently cranked in our house.)
- Put in your earbuds and break the morning with an extra-long walk through the woods. (I’ve resurrected this one for summer nature walks. So good.)
- If you’re in the throws of something thick, read His stories of beauty emerging from pain, written on people. Read good and beautiful writing of those who are seeking and finding Him, anew.
- Talk to Him. Often. “Tiny prayers” is the phrase we use around here. My day is won back from the grasp of worst-case-scenario thinking in minutes, not hours. All throughout my day I am seeking to see Him as He really is, infused into it. I pray this (below) for my heart — up the stairs and over laundry, one letter at a time. (Some days I pray this tailored version for my children, too.) Sometimes I make it through every letter in a whole day and in others I’m stuck-steady on just one for days:
- And for those under your roof needing restoration (including yourself) is one of my favorites. A little direction for praying restoration, through His Word, day-by-day for those broken hearts. Slide it into a plastic sleeve and pin it up on your bathroom mirror or carry it with you in your car:
- Finally, adore Him. Perspective is won by looking up, at Him. And our lives are won in the minutes, not the hours. Three minutes more today, given to saying His Word back to Him in your own words, means days won back over the course of a year. It’s not too late to jump in with us for June, below. Thanks to some more-savvy-than-me friends, we even have an adoration square for each day on Instagram. Adoration is awakening love in me. I can’t help but invite you to join me. (New to the concept of adoration? Add this quick read to your summer reading list.)
And (a little bit of a gasp here), I am a newbie on twitter (amazing for a girl who can barely shut down her computer on her own!). You can find me here: https://twitter.com/SaraHagerty. Be gracious with this slow adapter ;).