Do not fear…

ImageDo not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God. (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)

I love those verses. They’ve become more than just words to me. It’s a promise. God always keeps His promises.

I had a wonderful time camping this weekend. Lots of food, fun, kids, dirt, guitars, games, and yes sadly some rain. I feel sorry for those who had leaky tents on Saturday night.

I was really excited about camping. It felt like a closing chapter in my life, and I didn’t want to miss out on the last few moments. One last independent adventure before October, and a new chapter starts.

It was special to have “girl time,” because I feel as if I’ve really missed out the last few teen years. The classroom I was in wasn’t “fun.” It was much deeper and more serious, and it feels like I forgot how to have fun with girlfriends especially. Of course there was beauty and joy in that healing classroom, but it wasn’t silly, teen years by a long shot.

It makes me sad in a way because I know I can’t go back to being an independent, party animal teen (not that I ever was one) But on the other hand, I choose to not go back.

There are things I will miss. But though I feel sad in a small way, I am happy in a much bigger way! Life didn’t turn out like “I” planned, but thank Jesus it didn’t, because He knew what I needed/truly wanted better than I could have myself. His way became my way along my journey, and I am deeply grateful, because I am basking in the blessings. 🙂

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I always want to have girlfriends. Old and many new. Those connections we make along the way keep us real and enjoying life. I always want to be a happy, safe place for those connections to crash at.

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But I adore the man God gave me, and choosing to spend the rest of my life with him is the best decision I made for my life.

Yes, it’s a little bittersweet closing a chapter a little sooner than normal, but it doesn’t seem right any other way, and I run into the next chapter with the delight of a little child. 🙂

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This weekend one of my friends asked me, “Aren’t you scared to get married?” A million pictures flashed through my mind in a few seconds.

I am so young. Yes, most girls my age wouldn’t be ready. There’s so much single life to live.

But…in those few seconds, I realized I don’t think I was made for independence as I first pledged when I became a teenager. 

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Yes, I loved girl parties and fun and all things single, but I feel like life has matured me so much I hardly know how to be that “girl” anyways.

I smiled. I am so done being independent, and I haven’t even reached twenty years yet. Funny as it sounds, I feel like I have gone through enough in my short life to put me at least near thirty or forty. 🙂

I don’t complain when I say that. I don’t even regret pain. No, I don’t want to ever relive it again, but if all the pain brought me to where I am now, spiritually, and also to the chapter of this amazing man I may have otherwise not met, I would go through it all again.

I can be thankful for all life has taught me and shown me about the world and the people in it. It’s prepared me for my future. If I can start young, learning and entering into the calling God has for me, than I will embrace the things I have learned, never looking back, but straining for the future.

No, I wasn’t made for independence.

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 I am made for relationship.

Yes, I have a wild, untamed heart. I have spark, and if injustice angers me, any obstacle that stands to offend will wither under my roar.

But deep down, my heart is soft, and I am ready. Ready to be bound to someone at the heart chords. Ready to be led by a good man. A strong man…

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(He was smelling my hair 🙂 )

A man that loves God and loves me.  I have found the one who my soul loves.

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But before God gave me my Caleb, He found me with His love and tied our hearts together, never to be broken.

I’m done with being “free” on my own. I don’t trust my intellect and good intentions.  I’m tired of directing my own life.

Soaring with Jesus with Him directing my wings is a pleasure I never had when I was stubborn and sure of my own way. Now, I gladly fling myself under that wing of protection. I’m not beaten or broken under that wing. My will is alive, and my spirit is more free than it was when I was my own master.

This is not tyranny. I have found the One who my soul loves.

I am free. I am ready. So I smiled in the darkness of the tent under the stars with the gushing river water nearby, “No, I am not scared.”

Marriage is a big word that sounds deeply frightening. But when you are in love with a man, it only seems natural.

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As Hilda reminded me this weekend, marriage is serious.

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It is commitment. But it is joyful and liberating..

If someone asks me if I’m ready to be a wife, I’ll probably answer, “Not in the area of being the perfect housewife under everyone else’s standards, but that’s not what makes a marriage to me. I don’t want a perfect house but hearts that are not in love with each other.

So no, I’m not ready in every way people may wonder, but I am ready to commit my energy to making a life with this man, and I think that’s what counts. Other stuff is temporary and won’t last forever.”

Yes, I plan to make food for my husband and wash his clothes, (I love laundry) but we are a team, and I hope the legacy of our love speaks louder than the time that I had a spotless house and impressed all our friends. Hopefully, God reprimands me if I ever fall into the trap of pleasing man instead of Him.

Anyways, back to the verses at the beginning of the blog.

Yesterday afternoon I came down with a pretty bad migraine. The kind that starts with a dull ache and soon switches to throbbing behind the eyes. I started feeling nauseated towards evening, and on the way back home through the mountains, I got really car sick. I didn’t puke, but I came close.

After I was back home, I tried unpacking some, and I also ate a little. (Which I regretted) It was lovely to reconnect with my darling on the phone after surviving a weekend without hearing from him once. (Pat on the back.) I was almost too sick to talk though, so we hung up and I tried to sleep.

I tossed and lay there writhing in pain, silently begging Jesus to take the nausea and pounding headache away. Soon before I slept, I lay there and cried and cried. I felt so alone and forsaken by God. So many little things that went wrong and were hurting me… Too many emotions… I felt as if Satan was enjoying my torment and laughing, and I cried all the harder as if my heart would break.

My darling sent me a sweet prayer on facebook, which I didn’t see till morning, but I know God answered. I don’t remember when I stopped crying, but I found nothing out until 9:00 this morning. I had slept soundly all through the night, and when I woke up my headache was gone.

I still feel a little weak and “out of it.”  I am worn out from camping and some personal things God has been leading me through that hurt. But it’s a cold, rainy day, so I have an excuse to curl up in my blanket and enjoy it.

It’s a good day to finish reading Call of the Wild for a school assignment, (even though I greatly dislike the book) and maybe also watch a movie while drinking hot chocolate.

Karen made a yummy lunch that filled my stomach, and I am all unpacked. My hair is piled on my head because it took too much energy to comb out the tangles this morning, but I am thankful for health and “little” blessings.

(me today. :))

All this reminded me of the promise in Isaiah which is why I’m sharing it here. Satan’s power is limited. He’s on a short chain, and soon God’s vengeance on that fallen angel will end all suffering.

Yes, we go through fire and pain, but God promised that we will not be burned. Life hurts, and sometimes it is confusing, but He promised to make all things new. Waters make us wet and cold, but we will not drown. Every obstacle and hurdle Satan means for evil God turns to good. It’s the power of Jesus. I am thankful.

If it weren’t for that miracle power, I would be dead. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me a new morning. Thank you for sustaining me. Thank you for purpose and joy. You make life worth living. You make my life beautiful.

P.S. Over the course of this day as I was working on this post, I got a delivery of flowers from my favorite person.

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He couldn’t have known, but just yesterday I secretly hoped for flowers, and today they mean the world to me in so many precious ways. I love you, darling.

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P.P.S. Hopefully, I’ll get the 500 camping photos compiled in a post soon.

Peace.

© Brenda Bender

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