Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

As we are approaching Valentine's Day, I cannot deter my thoughts from the topic of love as I think about what I'm thankful for. First of all, I am so thankful that "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and that we are able to love "because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Yes, because He is love, we cannot truly nor fully love apart from Him. So whether you have a "valentine" on this holiday or not, you can be thankful for the overwhelming, unfathomable love of God, and the fact that He imparts to us the gift of grace to love others. Yet, the way He loves us is "categorically different" than the way that we can humanly demonstrate and understand love. And for this, we can be thankful!

Next, I must humbly say that I do have a most special "Valentine" to be thankful for and to celebrate. I am specifically grateful for the way that my husband loves me - so selflessly, so unconditionally - and seeks to dwell with me "in an understanding way" (1 Peter 3:7). Yes, I must make mention today that I am so thankful for David, whom I count it a privilege to be able to love as his wife.

I am also incredibly thankful for the examples of love and of godly marriages that are present in my family. By God's kindness, our family is full of them. But for the sake of time and space, I thought I'd just mention my own immediate family. In addition, I will mention books regarding marriage that each of these couples recommend.

I will begin with my mom and dad. (I love this picture of them taken when they were engaged.) All my life my parents have exemplified what a Christ-centered marriage looks like. They are a beautiful Ephesians 5 example of the way a husband should love and serve his wife and the way a wife should respect and adore her husband. They have counseled countless couples throughout their years of marriage and ministry together, as well as lead numerous marriage retreats, etc. A book that is at the top of their list of recommendations is entitled Love & Respect. They would tell you that, even if you don't read this book, the Scriptural "love and respect" principal of Ephesians 5 is key if you desire a happy, fulfilling, Christ-exalting marriage. I am so gratefully excited that this May they will be celebrating 30 years of marriage!

(Click here to order the book Love & Respect. Click here to purchase the book on cd.)

Also in May, my older brother, K.J., and his precious wife, Lynn, will be celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary. I have learned so much through observing their lives as individuals, as well as husband and wife. Both K.J. and Lynn are avid readers. Lynn recently said that John Piper's book This Momentary Marriage is the best that she has ever read on the topic. So, I interpret that to mean this book is as a "must read."

(Click here to order Piper's book. The audiobook is available here.)

Kameron, my younger brother, is patiently awaiting May 22nd, the day he will marry his sweet bride-to-be, Olivia. It has been so encouraging to see the way that they are seeking to honor the Lord in each step of their engagement as they prepare for life together as husband and wife. In further preparation for their wedding day, Kameron and Olivia are together reading When Sinners Say "I Do". They highly recommend it, and by the title, it sounds like a great one.

(Click here to order this book. Click here to listen to an audio sermon by the author.)

I had to include this favorite picture from the day Kameron proposed to Olivia. Precious.

And for those patiently waiting on God's perfect plan regarding their "love life", though I have not read it, I hear great reviews about Elisabeth Elliot's book Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control.

(Click here to preview and/or order Elisabeth Elliot's book.)

May God give us grace to be faithful, to honor Him, and to love Him above all, no matter where we are in this pilgrimage on earth. And may He help us - with veiled faces now - to see more clearly the reality of His love for us, until we see Him face to face. Only then will we begin to comprehend and understand fully.

I wanted to share two verses that have stuck out to me today regarding God's love. For more Scripture on the love of God, click here.*

"And I said, 'O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments'" (Nehemiah 1:5)

"How precious is your lovingkindess, O God..." (Psalm 36:7a)

In closing, here is one of my favorite verses from one of my favorite hymns regarding the love of God:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

(The Love of God : F.M. Lehman)

Let's give thanks today for such inexhaustible love!


Melanie Campbell said...

Katie, God has truly blessed your family with so many beautiful examples of what a Christ-centered marriage/life is all about! I know that I have been so encouraged & inspired by how you & David are as a couple. As someone who is single & waiting for the one God has for them, it is so great to see a married couple who are daily walking with the Lord, and striving to live as He has called you to, as a wife, mother, woman, & most importantly, His child. I am VERY thankful that I get to see such a beautiful picture of Christ's love through your marriage! :) LOVE!

teresa pugh said...

Kate thanks for letting me see all my children at the same time and reminding me of a long ago time when I fell head over heels in love with your dad...and I am still falling more everyday! May all my children know the sweetness of love for as many years as God has granted your dad and I.

David and Katie Kizziah said...

We are indeed blessed.