I’ve been married for 36 years

Crazy, right?

We were only 20 when we walked down the aisle. I was skinny like ET. He was handsome with a head full of curly brown hair.

We said our I do’s and headed for a romantic honeymoon in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Yep, we were young. We had no money. There was no vacation in Hawaii or an all-inclusive getaway.

Hot Springs, Arkansas. Wax museum. Holiday Inn.

But we were in love.

I remember the first morning I woke up and our life started together.

It’s easy to fall out of love. It’s easy to let kids and stress and bills and things like mowing the lawn rob you of that first love.

It’s easy to let years slip by and get so familiar that your first love is a far away memory.

The other day Richard walked in. He held a bouquet of wild poppies and daisies he picked on the side of the road.

It’s something he used to do when we were first married when we didn’t have money for flowers.

I fell in love with him for the first time, all over again.

Isn’t it funny how something so simple can be so powerful?

Just as we struggle with letting our 1st-time love wane in our personal lives, the same thing can take place in our relationship with Jesus.

We encounter Him and our life is forever changed. As time passes faith becomes complex or that 1st-time love seems like a distant memory.

In the past several months I’ve been pursuing Jesus for the 1st time, all over again.

It started as I walked with Jesus in the book of Luke. I felt the Lord drawing me away from the familiar, and back to that first encounter.

I begin to bring him a simple bouquet daily, just like I did in the beginning, asking one simple question:

How can I bring you joy today?

As time passed, I was surprised by the response I felt.

It wasn’t my spiritual to-do list that triggered a sense of joy, but the smallest of things.

One day I sent a message to a struggling friend: I’m praying with you. I love you.

Suddenly I sensed God whispering.

That brought me joy.

Another day I rocked two-year-old Josiah. We were singing. I felt God’s deep pleasure.

Maybe He saw something deeper in this. Maybe this simple moment was way more important spiritually than I could see. For whatever reason, spending one-on-one time with this little guy brought joy to the Lord.

Another day I sat around the table with four friends and we studied His Word.

Joy. Joy. Joy.

While I know that God cheers me on when I speak to a large crowd, it brought Him pleasure as I sat with the smallest of crowds and learned about Him.

I think we’ll be surprised one day when we look back at our lives through His eyes.

He’ll show us bouquets of joy sprinkled here and there.

My prayer is that they won’t surprise me. That I won’t have missed the opportunity to feel His pleasure. That I’ll ask the question every day, long before asking Him to do one thing for me.

Will you join me in falling in love with him for the 1st time, all over again?

Let’s ask the question together:

Lord, how can I bring you joy today?


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