I knew that love was a good teacher.
I never dreamed it could teach this.
One hundred ninety-nine days from now, I get to marry my bestest ever friend. That fact all by itself is enough to fill my cup of gratitude to an overflowing mess this morning.
As it turns out though, that gratitude has ended up all over the floor, because my cup was already full. . .
Not (probably) with what you’re thinking though. This isn’t a Thanksgiving tribute to my Sweet Honey.
If it is a tribute, it is a tribute to faithfulness.
But mostly, I’m leaving it here as a plea.
— — —
Love is a miracle. Just how much of a miracle, I am finding out more every day. My heart is full of a gift I never dreamed could be—a gift I’m now convinced should actually be as common as the blooming flower of love itself.
It is basically this: that somewhere, there actually exists a heart, close association with whom can make the pursuit of holiness nearly effortless.
And yes, I use that word deliberately. Because I’m convinced we give the “struggle” too much credit, too much of the time. Perhaps because we’ve just finished giving it too much fuel.
This, of all things, is what I’m most thankful for, this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for a hundred little choices Vanessa made in her teens, many of which laid the foundation for the longstanding friendship that would eventually lay the foundation for our love. I’m thankful that she learned to keep her heart. To lean on Jesus. To deny the pull of the world, the flesh, the devil. I’m thankful she learned to love honor, to put truth first. I’m thankful she learned selflessness. Security. Love. Loyalty. Kindness and Compassion.
All those things make her a marvelous person to be around. But that is the least of the reasons I give thanks for them. I give thanks mostly because those choices prepared her to fill a place we both believe she was created for—to become a catalyst of the deepest kind of joy, the deepest kind of strength, the deepest kind of honor in the man God would call to cherish and sacrifice for, and protect her always.
I rejoice in her choices, because from the start to the present in our relationship, every circumstance that has increased my love for her, has simultaneously increased my love for the Savior. And that, by a larger margin.
Oh, what power might be robbed from the enemies we face every day, if such could always be our testimony.
But, why isn’t it?
Well, maybe because we often squander our little opportunities to cultivate the rudiments of greatness today, and so, when tomorrow comes and we’re invited by God to take part in something more miraculous, we don’t have the raw ingredients.
Oh, don’t let that be you.
Lord, don’t let it be me.
Or sometimes we actually have improved opportunities, and are on an honest search, but we haven’t found the right person. Under such circumstances, deeply consecrated and highly aspiring as both might be, we might simply mutually lack the rudiments uniquely necessarily to foster greatness in the other.
No shame there. . . not one drop. This is why we investigate. But oh— and my little heart throbs harder here— don’t settle. So many beautiful people settle.
Don’t spend your life, and youth, or even young adulthood, trying to convince the world that this friendship, or this relationship, or even this engagement, is a good idea. That it will all work out. That you know them better, that you see, you hope, you believe even though nobody else can, and so if you quit believing nobody will believe, and how horrible would it be to leave some sincere soul alone. . . No.
Don’t come up with reasons why the observations of those who love you most are invalid.
Don’t come up with excuses for your own spiraling sensitivity.
Don’t ever let yourself be convinced that the stressful circle of endless explanations and justifications is actually no big deal, that you’re not wearied by it, that everything would just be fine if everybody saw through your eyes.
Don’t deceive yourself, try to convince yourself that you’re happy.
Let me tell you what happiness is.
Happiness, joy unspeakable and full of glory, is the product of an increasingly effortless pursuit of holiness. It is the product of the kind of communion, the kind of companionship that brings the best and only the best out of both parties, that opens the lines of communication, that increases the effectiveness of both Christian witnesses. That creates something undeniably and unbelievably powerful.
Happiness is a miracle.
If you haven’t found it yet, then go digging for greatness today, and wait quietly for tomorrow.
And never, never, never settle for less.