Paper Flowers

Yesterday I married My Ish. Ish is the Hebrew word for “man”. As long as I can remember I have been praying for my husband, at first referring to him simply as my husband. But over a decade ago, I started to lovingly refer to him as My Ish, the name that now comes up on my phone when he calls. I have several journals and many notes written in the margins of my Bibles over the years asking God to move in his life. I’ve prayed protection over him and blessings for his day. I’ve asked God to take him even deeper into His heart, many times wondering if there was a man on the other end of the name that had become so dear to me: My Ish. So when it came time to plan our wedding I decided instead of live flowers for my bouquet I wanted to make paper flowers out of my last Bible. The Bible that was first I started experimenting with creative journaling. The first Bible that I turned into a prayer journal also.

There was only one problem, I could not find this precious belonging anywhere. I knew I had put it somewhere to keep it safe and figured in packing I would easily find it. But as I started going through the hoarders corners of my closet, the Bible never showed up. But in His goodness, God reassured my heart and I didn’t let it stress me out. I figured I still have a few weeks until the wedding, and it would turn up in time and I could have a flower making party with my friends and knock out what we needed. I was excited to break out my collection of distress inks and oxides, take the tear stained pages, and mold them into something to hold as I walk towards my future. A future sure to be full of love and adventure. Then the world took a turn and eighteen days until our wedding turned into one and my mother would end up picking out the most perfect red roses for my bouquet. The morning of my wedding I woke up early to pack up another car load to move from a sweet room I’d been blessed to live in for almost five years. I opened a hat box that had been full of journaling supplies and instead of paper scraps and bobbles, there sat my Bible. My beautiful pale blue Bible that God had used to speak to me for the past few years. Its margins and blanks spaces were still somewhat empty, reminding me that God had been moving all the details of my life to bless the union between Chris and I in a way that I will never be able to fully comprehend until the day I see Him face to face in heaven. That old marked up Bible was crucial in a dark season where I doubted not only the love of God for me, but my ability to hear Him at all. There were seasons of spiraling into a darkness that I didn’t think possible. Mid life brought on more feelings than I knew to expect, and my old friend, my beautiful Bible was the main source of hammering out my trust with God. Sometimes with tightly clenched fists, and other times with sobs on the floor, the pages of that Bible became my most precious earthly belonging… until last September, when God started stirring in my heart to buy a new Bible. I fought the idea for a while thinking I was just looking for a shiny new toy. Bibles are expensive and I was in a job transition with no clue as to how I was going to pay rent and buy food. But nudge after nudge I felt The One Who Loves Me Most speaking to my heart it’s time for a new Bible and little did I know it was just another sweet gift leading me into this new season of life. The nudging started right after I attended my first meeting for my latest mission trip. At that meeting I had met a man who my gaze had a hard time not focusing on. My heart raced a little at the sight of him, but I was determined not to get distracted by a handsome face and a smile that made my heart skip a beat. But God knew because for the last forty-two years He’d been speaking to my heart about this man and molding and shaping me in a way that would compliment him and our life in ways I am barely beginning to comprehend. God knew I needed a new Bible that was free of the prayers of anguish, wondering if I had missed God all these years. He knew the next season would be full of experiencing answered prayers and seeing dreams fulfilled. And for that, a new Bible was required. A Bible full of fresh margins and blanks spaces to record new prayers. He also knew that my wedding wouldn’t take place on April 4th like I had planned and that the paper flowers wouldn’t be required to make my and my bridesmaid’s bouquets. He spared me hours of work on flowers and spared my old friend, my pale blue Bible, from being cut up. And in doing so, God gave me one more reminder that He holds all things in His hands. You see, I did very little to plan for my April 4th wedding beyond booking the church and picking out bridesmaid’s dresses. God in His goodness weaved thing after thing to prepare my heart to be married in the park next to my first home with my husband. From the outside looking it, it may seem like yesterday was a contingency plan that came about because of the pandemic of 2020, but My God had it planned from the very beginning and had created a day that was my perfect. So in this season of so much uncertainty; a season where fear is knocking at all our doorsteps trying to grip our hearts, I am going to fill my newsfeed sharing all the ways God has moved to make my wedding day my perfect. Today I reflect on how He hid the Bible so I wouldn’t spend time making flowers that would never have been used. And now I have another book to share with Chris the prayers I prayed over and for him the past few years. If you find yourself wondering where The One Who Put The Stars Into Place is in this season of history, know He is right next to you. He is weaving your story too and wants to speak deeply to your heart that He is so in love with you. That you are His favorite. My prayer this morning is that everyone who reads this has the eyes of your heart opened even more deeply to see the God you can trust even more clearly. I pray that you know today that you are passionately loved by The Creator Of The Universe and from the moment you wake up to the time you fall asleep, He is speaking to you. You only need to quiet your heart to hear Him say you are His favorite because He is a God with a heart so big everyone of His children is His favorite. From the moment you were conceived to your darkest times, He has been weaving and working and wants to use all things for your good. I’m praying today your heart is arrested, if only for a moment, by the sheer magnitude of the love of God. And I am praying this in the name of Jesus knowing that He not only hears this prayer, but moves heaven and earth on behalf of us, His children He loves so dearly. He is not distant. He is not cruel. His kindness goes beyond anything you can imagine. And even in times when it feels your heart may break from the pain, He wants to redeem even that. And I can say all this with full confidence because yesterday He answered a prayer He put on my heart from the time I was a child. He answered a prayer I often wondered I was crazy to pray.

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