"Lord, soften my heart." That's the prayer that I always whisper on February 14th. And I repeat it often throughout the day, because I hate that day. Honestly, I do. It's the one day I hate. I hate it because the enemy uses that day greatly against me.
Yesterday I woke up eager to spend the day at church. I had some small Valentines for my two-year olds, I was excited for worship, excited to see friends, eager to hear the message. And then I got on Facebook. Mistake number one. Flowers here, couple picture there, engagement countdown, cute kids in reds and pinks. Then I went to Instagram. Mistake number two. Same thing. Twitter came third and so did mistake number three. Same thing, just 140 or less characters. Immediately I just wanted to throw my phone and slip down under the covers again. "I hate this day," I muttered to myself. My heart starting to harden.
I made it to church, red lipstick and red necklace completing my outfit for the day. Because maybe that would help mask the hardness that was growing in my heart. I was the opposite of the Grinch, instead of my heart growing three sizes, it shrunk that many and more, growing harder with each shrink. Rowdy kids in Sunday school, sticker massacre on the floor, and little tantrums all began adding on to my growing frustration. "I hate this day," I said to myself. My heart growing harder. After making it through Sunday school, I walked against the crowd into service. I found my roommate and flung myself down, flustered and relieved to be done with kids for the day. Maybe I could finally start to enjoy the day. But it was too late.
The mutterings of hating the day, the whispers screamed by the enemy, the hardening of my heart. It had all worked. The foothold of the devil was great and he was about to ring the victory bell. I sang songs through gritted teeth, clasped my hands tightly together essentially in fists. My heart wasn't just hard, now I was angry. Angry that this day that I hated had to fall on the Sabbath. Angry that I was alone. Angry that I was allowing myself to believe the lies of the devil. Angry that instead of surrendering my thoughts and my sin to the Lord, I was choosing to hold on to it. I was just angry. I wanted to fight. I wanted to leave. I hated this day and just wanted to be back in my bed.
And then Pastor got up and said he was there to speak the Gospel. Because it was something we needed to hear. It was something I needed to hear. And in my anger, I didn't walk out. I sat down and said to myself, "Lord, soften my heart."
I sat and I fought through my feelings. I fought back against anger. I fought back tears. I fought back resentment.
I sat and I listened. I listened to love being spoken. I listened to reminders that I was choosing to ignore. I listened to truth.
I whispered, "Lord, soften my heart." And he answered back with love.
I was reminded of a love so great, so beautiful, so strong. That a man, perfect in every way, was given to me by my Heavenly Father to die for me. I was reminded of a love so great, so beautiful, so strong. That death and a grave, couldn't stop that love. I was reminded of a love that I was made for. I was reminded of a love that sets me free from every sin. I was reminded of a love that restores everything and brings back everything that was lost.
I was reminded of a love that fulfills every longing of my heart and gives me a hope and a future wrapped in eternity.
A future that is real, that is personal, that is certain. A future that is unimaginably wonderful.
My song of anger began to change. "Lord, soften my heart." Erase the lies of the enemy. Let those whispers be drowned out with cries of rejoicing! Lord, I pray that I won't hate the day. May I sing with open hands to you and with a smile on my face. Lord, soften my heart. Let this love that is great, beautiful, and strong always be real to me. May I always listen to the songs of love being sung over me and not the whispers and mutterings of hating the day.
Let the hardness on my heart fall away and let love fill those places.
"Lord, soften my heart."
I pray that you didn't spend yesterday in anger. But, if you did, may you whisper the prayer of "Lord, soften my heart." I pray that the love so great, so beautiful, so strong that even death and a grave couldn't contain, will replace the hard places in your heart. I pray that the whispers of the enemy be replaced with cries of rejoicing. I pray that we love the day.
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Oh, friends. I'm so sorry if you have been coming by here expecting a new post and have been disappointed. There have been some life changes happening and I have been getting settled into a new routine. There is so much that I need to spill about. Like goals for January and my new goals for February. I want to talk about my word of the year, "fear" and two apps that I'm loving for spiritual growth (ScriptureTyper and Echo). I want to tell you about this great shop that has handmade gifts. And I want to tell you about the TWO book launch teams I am on. I want to tell you all about my NEW job that the Lord has placed me in. Literally, you guys. It's all Him. Every detail. There is so much, but I haven't quite found the best rhythm yet, so here we are. I hope all of these posts come soon, so you'll have more to go by than just a jumbled, confusing mess like the rambling paragraph above. They will come, all in time. So, as we wait for those posts, I'll leave you with something fun!
One of the 27 things I wanted to do this year was read 12 books. Last year I set a goal to read 24 books. While this may seem light to some, it was lofty to me. And I got nowhere near completing that goal. So, I backed it down this year and I am aiming to read one book a month for 12 total. How do you like that simple math? ;) Well, then Victoria told me about this fun reading challenge created by Anne. It has twelve fun and unique categories making it the perfect challenge for me in meeting my goal. Although my goal is 12, if I read more, great! I've finally chosen my twelve books and here they are!
2016 Reading Challenge
A book published this year | I already know that I'll be reading TWO books in this category. I'm on TWO book launch teams this year and I cannot wait for these books to come out and actually hold. I also can't wait to share more about them with you guys. The first is Even if Not by Kaitlyn Bouchillon and the second Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs.
A book you can finish in a day | Shopgirl by Steve Martin
A book you've been meaning to read | And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller (who also happens to be my roommate) | The time mom met Hitler, Frost came to dinner, and I heard the greatest Story ever told by Dikkon Eberhart
A book you should have read in school | My Side of the Mountain by Craighead George
A book chosen for you by a friend (again my roommate) | The Princess Bride by William Goldman
A book that was banned at some point | I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
A book published before you were born | 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (Originally a memoir published in 1853)
A book you've previously abandoned | Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
A book you own by have never read | Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
A book that intimidates you | Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
A book that you've already read at least once | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Do you have a reading goal for this year? Have you read any books that I've chosen above? What book choice surprised you the most?
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