Running with my best friend

by Heather Spring {Gilion}

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It’s been a cold winter, but today… TODAY… was a balmy 49 degrees! The sun showed it’s face from time to time, and even though there are still traces of snow, I laced up my shoes for a good old, Valentine’s Day run!

I ran.

I worshiped.

I talked to God.

He talked to me.

I told Him that I loved Him… so very desperately loved Him.

I was running with my best friend. The lover of my soul. The One that knit me together in my mother’s womb. The One that knew my name before my parents chose to write it on my birth certificate. The One who knows my thoughts and still loves me. The One who cares enough to correct and discipline my sometimes know-it-all, rebellious heart. The One that will never leave me. The voice I know intimately, yet the face I’ve yet to see.

Today, I’m thankful for a date on the calendar that love rises to the forefront. Where “I love you” leaves our lips and acts of love come in the form of sweet treats and paper hearts. I’m thankful that God is love and because of this, I know how to love… to really love. Could I have a good marriage outside of the love of Christ? I probably could. Would it be as deep and satisfying? Nope. It’s because my God first loved me that I understand a smidgin of what it means to love others. Would I love my children outside of grasping and beholding the gospel? I would, but it wouldn’t be nearly as deep as it is to love with God loving through me.

So… just wanted to take a moment and say, “Happy Valentine’s Day. You are loved…unconditionally. You are treasured. You have not been forgotten. You are in His thoughts today.” If you knew how much He loves you and how much He wants to say to you, you’d go for a walk with Him too. I think you should. I think I might get off of here so I can talk to Him again.

Why not steal a few moments away with your first love? Close your eyes and set your mind and heart on things above. Let Him capture your heart once again. May we remember today and everyday that, “We love because He first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

I do. I still do.

by Heather Spring {Gilion}

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Nine years ago I put on a white dress.
I was teary. You were too.
Joyfully we said, “I do.”
I still do. Tomorrow I will too. And the next day, and the next, and the one after that.

There are still days that I get overwhelmed that God wrote you into my story. Man, He’s a good writer.

You are my Boaz. My love. My best friend. A companion for the unknown road. You were “that guy from church” that mowed this widow’s yard. And then you became my guy… the one chosen to awake this Sleeping Beauty (as you like to say). Dallas, thank you for waiting for me, pursuing me, and giving me time to see what God was doing. I was a bit slow… but you didn’t mind. You learned more about patience—you’re welcome.

As I reflect on the last nine years, I am humbled. We’ve shared dreams and pursued those dreams. We’ve laughed and wept together. Words of courage, challenge, confession, and admiration have left our lips. We had a baby boy…

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…and then another!

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Our two little blessings!

We’ve moved houses. We’ve disagreed and then agreed… to disagree. You talked me into liking coffee and I grew out your hair. You smell like campfires and I smell like tanning cream. Remember that time I got mad at you because coffee is hot? Remember when you caught our neighbor’s fence on fire? Remember when I bought $200 worth of frozen meat from a drive-by salesman that we didn’t eat because it was inedible? Remember this morning when we opened our eyes and didn’t say anything but we just smiled? Yep, I do. I still do.

As great as you are, thank you for not being enough. Thank you for the times when you’ve unintentionally broken my heart. Thank you for being flawed. Thank you for being a work in progress. Because, Dallas, it’s in these moments that I’m reminded that you make a crummy God. Don’t get me wrong, you are my Mr. Wonderful, but it’s in your imperfections that I’m reminded to release my grip on you and come to grips with the reality that you do not, or will ever, complete me. You may not complete or be able to fix me, but as we allow God to do the completing and fixing and molding and shaping, we walk hand in hand, finding our security in His grip.

“We love because he first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

It’s been just shy of a decade that I walked down the aisle with glassy eyes and a pounding heart and vowed to be your wife. I see ever so clearly God’s grace and extravagant love for me through your eyes. More than ever, I do. I still do.

So here’s to the next chapter. What will lie before us? Where will we go from here?

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All I know is that there is still much to learn from one another. There are things in our marriage that need work, areas that need grace to abound, places that need attention… and your new motto is running through my head, “I can’t just speak things into existence, I’ve got to lead in the change.” I will gladly follow and pursue more for our marriage and our family.

When we were holding hands last night, I noticed our hands have aged! And you of all people know that I religiously apply my anti-aging products morning and night, but last night, I loved our aging hands. Absolutely LOVED them. Growing old with you is priceless! So… happy anniversary, my love! May our hands get old and our laugh lines grow deep. May our knees know wear and our vocal cords tire as we talk to God on behalf of one another. May our car’s odometer wrack up more miles and our tires lose their tread. May we lace up our tennis shoes, or strap on our snow boots, or sit on the beach as the water steals the shore. May we serve friends and strangers. May we model a covenant marriage to our boys. May we dream, flirt, steal kisses, and hug long. May our cheeks hurt from smiling all the days of our lives and may our hearts never lose the awe of God’s glorious Story.

May we continue to choose to love. My promise remains—I do. I still do.

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{Heather Gilion coauthored the book, Dancing On My Ashes. To learn more about her God-story go here. The E-Book is on sale through November!}