Thursday, March 24, 2011

{OUR} Own.Private.Idaho

One of the things that I've always dreamed of having, but never-ever put at the top of my priority list, was to have a bedroom with my husband that we could call {OUR} Own.Private.Idaho. I've admired the way that my SisNBff guards the sanctity of her and her husband's bedroom with a ferocious territorialism. That is their place that belongs to "just them", and they share it with no one.

Our bedroom has always felt like more of a second family room than a place just for Anthony and I, and it's always been the one room that I've neglected to put money into because everything else was always more important. Well, not any longer.

While Mr. Budget is not allowing me to go all-kinds-of-crazy and spend moolah on every little touch my heart could imagine [and trust me, it can imagine a lot!], he is making room for the one thing that will make the biggest statement [until those other little touches can be justified]. ;) Soon, Mr. Budget ... soon?!?!

I purchased today a bedding set that will transform our make shift look into something that breathes life and comfort and peace into {OUR} room. Here's a pic:
Nature has always been both a place of peace and inspiration for me, as well as invigoration and exhalation. The second I saw this set I just 'knew' this was for our bedroom. This would be our daily, visual reminder of the sanctuary God desires: {OUR} Own.Private.Idaho. 

My only prayer was that Anthony would like it, too. And when his response came back just as excited as mine - okay, maybe not as excited, but right up there! - there was something that stirred in my spirit ... a sense of a new coming-togetherness being built. {smiling}

Will a bedroom set transform a marriage? No. When the world is falling apart with every passing day, will buying new bedding somehow change the world? No. Well, not anyone's who won't be sleeping in {OUR} bedroom. ;) But considering what the bedroom and bed of a married couple represent--intimacy, vulnerability, privacy, and refuge--I'm excited that we're choosing to invest a small piece of God's provision into {OUR} future; into reclaiming what belongs to {US} and moving forward into creating {OUR} haven.

I would dare say that I think God has wanted us to step up and claim {OUR} piece of privacy for a long time. He created sanctity. We're just following in his footsteps. And I believe that honors him and {OUR} marriage in every way.

"This is what the LORD says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves. "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over the old history. Be alert, be present! I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert and rivers in the badlands."" Isaiah 43:16-21
[a portion of our 2011 Promise]

*Inspiration to finally move forward with this idea, even though it was first birthed on March 4, belongs to an article posted on Destiny In Bloom by Laura Burciaga. This article made me realize, through the whisper of HolySpirit, that in making all things new, this is one area that should not be neglected.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Revelationary Change

"Today we started dreaming again. God has such big dreams for us, but we can't see them with our heads buried in 'today'. Looking up and out!"

That was my tweet from late last night, after a time of pre-prayer conversation followed by a time of prayer with my Groom.

Since we committed two nights ago to bring 'together prayer' back to our daily life-the one thing we know can make the most impact and bring about the change and growth we can't even imagine to ask for-HolySpirit (I'm borrowing the no-space spelling from You, friend) has shown up. Like I thought he wouldn't?

Monday night he lightened our hearts with laughter. Last night he inspired us with revelation.

I asked Anthony if we could talk about what we wanted to pray for first, that way we were moving into our time together with unified minds and hearts instead of just going through our individual check lists from the day. My spirit was stirring with a desire to not fall into the mundane pit of talking to God about today's needs, but step out into what lies beyond ... dreams, hopes, aspirations.

It's not that I want to ignore what sits in front of us, but the thought "God knows your needs" was swirling in me. HolySpirit was speaking into bigger; for us not to get so trapped in our concerns that we neglect reaching up into God's dreams for us and our future.

In the midst of this, I said to Anthony, "Think of it as Visionary Prayer" and it was like [someone] turned a light bulb on in his heart. HolySpirit spoke right into his sweet spot. Anthony is created as a big picture thinker. The idea creator. The Visionary. How cool of HolySpirit to speak those words to him and open up a world of prayer that hadn't crossed his mind before.

Anthony even said to me, "Why have I not thought of that?"; not in a "I can't believe YOU had that thought instead of me" way [because in reality it wasn't my thought], but in a sincere boggling-of-his-mind-kind-of-way because the thought was so logical that it seemed so obvious. Like ... DUH!

Anthony casts vision all day at work. It's one of his God-given gifts. But HolySpirit woke him up last night to the place he's never considered using that gift ... his home.

Having a front row seat to a revelatory moment is sweet. I saw the light bulb go off. I watched something happen in his heart. I was there to experience another layer of heaven open up and become visible to Anthony. Inspiration and Motivation and Revelation all birthed out of one sentence from Holy Spirit:

"Think of it as Visionary Prayer."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Last night, for the first time in too long a time, we cuddled up and set out to pray together. Yes, there is a [whole] lesson in the fact that prayer between us as a couple - not as individuals - has been lacking in our relationship, and I get that ... trust me. But it's what came before our prayers that compelled me to write this note: Laughter.

I can't remember the last time that laughter caught us by surprise and took over, leaving tears, belly aches and gasps for air. Although I was not laughing about the same thing that overcame my groom, the laughter that came from watching him laugh was just as funny as was the very subject from which his laughter originated.

Those few minutes were some of the lightest between us, and held some natural, God-given medicine in its grip. For those few, spontaneous minutes last night, I am really thankful.

Another step forward...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Radical Obedience

An Awesome Habitation Moment From Last Night...

As we're crossing the auditorium on our way out to go home, Anthony sees Zach Neese saying good-bye to someone he was speaking with. We walk up and when Zach sees Anthony, he gets this big smile and says, "Anthony", and gives him a hug. I later learned, through conversation with Anthony, that when Zach said his name it was overwhelming to him. He told me that Zach said it like he was expecting him. It made him immediately feel welcomed. I don't think I've ever heard someone describe something like that before; yet I can understand the heart of it. And I wondered if I've ever made someone's heart leep with an expected welcomeness like that even when they knew I wasn't expecting them. Not wondered in a selfish way, either. Zach oozes a genuineness and sincerity that is so thick you can almost reach out and touch it. His demeanor makes me wonder if that's what it would be like to meet Jesus. Seriously. That's what that moment reminded me of. He says your name and it's like receiving a hug without arms.

Anyway. That's not what I was intending to write about. But I guess it was important enough for God to put it at the front of my brain. Maybe to remind me what true humility and meekness of character looks like in today's world???

So we're talking with Zach and he shares a story that made my spirit leap. Just a couple weeks ago, Pastor Robert's assistant somehow contracted E-Coli and fell critically ill; ending up in the ICU. Although she was prayed for, had hands laid on her, was anointed with oil and lifted up by thousands at Gateway, she ultimately went home to be with Jesus just a week after getting sick. It was a shocking and unexpected death to all who knew her.

Last weekend during worship, Zach spoke of his struggle to understand why God heals some and not others. And ultimately admitted that understanding the answer this side of heaven was probably not gonna happen.

Somehow our conversation was steered toward this issue and he says, rather nonchalantly but with plenty of purpose, "Yeah. It was hard especially since me and a couple guys even prayed over her casket for her to rise from the dead." WHAT??? Who does this in America? Well, apparently Zack and some friends of his do! I wanted to shout "AMEN!" but tried to calm my leaping spirit so I could pay attention to the rest of his story.

He then goes on to share that he knew that God had told him to pray over her casket. He just knew. He didn't doubt God's request at all. And he was fully expecting her to sit up and crawl out of the casket. When the miracle didn't happen, Zach didn't ask God "if he had really heard him", which most people would tend to wonder, even if only for a few minutes. He asked him why she didn't come back to life.

Zach shared that he knew in his spirit that God had been 'reasoning' with Judy, in that moment, about whether or not she wanted to come back. It turns out she didn't. God was fully willing to breath life back into her lifeless body. But instead he allowed her to stay in heaven because it was what she wanted. And Zach shared this knowing that she made it because not only was she in the place that she always longed to be (as we all should) but she could see her family that was left here and knew that they were going to be okay, so (as he says) why wouldn't she choose to stay with Jesus? [like ... duh]

I asked Zach (kind of knowing the answer) why he thought God would ask him to pray for Judy to be raised from the dead if he didn't intend to bring her back? His words? "To see if I would obey. To see if I would be willing to radically obey even if it made me look foolish to other people."

Radical Obedience just took on a whole other meaning for me thanks to Zach.

Learning Repentance

Last night was the second Habitation Service of 2011. It was hard getting there--not physically but emotionally and spiritually. Although we arrived in the Gateway parking lot at 4:30pm, we didn't make it into the building until 5:30pm. (Thankfully, we were way early to begin with.) There was a lot of heavy and hard conversation taking place. Hearts butting heads again...

It's really hard when two hearts are in different locations.
When one heart is struggling to understand.
And the other heart is dying for life.

We almost gave up and turned towards home without ever stepping out of the car. Almost.

Inside the worship was necessary. For me, my usual outward expressiveness was definitely subdued; not because I was withdrawing from God but instead drawing into him. I wasn't worshiping begrudgingly. I was beseeching the heart of God quietly.

Near the end of the message, the issue of repentance was discussed, with Steve Dulin excitedly sharing, with a big smile on his face, how much he loves to repent. Seriously. It's what he said. And he followed that up with the thought that repentance is one of God's gifts to us. Jesus is holding out a gift-wrapped present and all we have to do is receive it and unwrap it. Repentance gives us the opportunity to surrender our wills to him and to make the choice to change our minds. (the literal definition of repent)

Holy Spirit caught my attention with this thought: You don't love to repent.

No harshness involved. No condemnation. Just another layer of my onion-like soul being revealed. And he's right. I think the word has always frightened me. Until last night. It's always sounded harsh and judgmental and scary to me. Probably because it's used that way, by humans, more often than not. REPENT OR DIE! Can you just hear the anger and raised voice? Can you feel the flames of hell licking at your toes? It's like a (6-letter) FourLetterWord. I shrink back when I hear it. Until last night.

But I learned something new last night. Although I do firmly believe that without repentance we are leading ourselves on a journey to death, Holy Spirit showed me the compassionate, and really simple side, of repentance ... just change your mind. Can you heart it? No screaming required. No judging finger pointed in my face.

It's like Jesus is sitting in a high-backed chair across from me at Roots Coffeehouse telling me something that's so obvious he doesn't have to make a big deal about it. "Just change your mind", he says, and then takes a sip of his coffee as he waits for his words to settle on my heart.

It was like years of misunderstanding and fear were erased. Holy Spirit showed me that I know how to come before God and ask in His Name. That I know how to worship with everything inside of me. That I know how to speak to him of my sins and even ask forgiveness.

But one thing's been missing: a heart like David. A heart that deeply understood his place of rescue from sin. David sinned greatly. But David always repented. He didn't go back and repeat his sins. He took them straight to his God and with a sorrowful heart, laid himself bare.

So last night, when the altar was opened up, I followed my husband to the front of the stage steps. I reached out for his hand. Together, we knelt before Jesus. Individually, we laid our hearts bare before him.

An obstacle was moved last night. Today, I'm one step closer.

Lent Day 11: Out of Breath

The wind ran out of breath; the sea turned to glass. Mark 4:39(b)

I was reading this day out of The Message, and although this translation is only 'thought-for-thought', there was something poetically enticing about wording this well-known passage like this ... "the wind ran out of breath".

Jesus calming the storm is such a familiar story that I think (tongue in cheek) even Holy Spirit would have a hard time making it new and fresh. But alas, I am once again proven why he's Holy Spirit and I'm ... me.

"The wind ran out of breath; the sea turned to glass."

Two forces of nature brought under immediate control at the utterance of its Master and Creator. Oh, that my heart and soul would one day be so submissive. That is my desire and prayer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lent Day 10: Family Redefined

Then Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, "Your mother and brothers are outside asking for you." Jesus replied, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?" Then he looked around him and said, "Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3:31-35

The entirety of Mark 3 was my reading for Day 10, yet as Holy Spirit is making a habit of doing, there is one lesson he is highlighting for me. I like the fact that Holy Spirit knows me so well that he keeps it simple. :)

The Message puts verse 35 like this: "Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God's will is my mother and brother."

Family is an interesting word and my definition of it seems to be challenged lately, along with everything else I believe. Family is not free from the pruning work of Jesus. It's not that I disregard blood, but my spirit is beginning to understand a bigger truth:

Blood does not define family, not according to Jesus; truth and obedience do. And truth will connect hearts much more than blood. Blood is used to define lineage, but truth is used to define lineage, too ... in a much greater way.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lent Day 9: Hunger and Suffering

"It's better to suffer for good, if that's what God wants..." The Message
"For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good..." NIV
"For it is better to suffer unjustly for doing right, should that be God's will..." Amplified
[1 Peter 3:17]

Compared to Day 8's reading, Day 9 was much more extensive in length; yet the similarity of what caught my spirit between both days is uncanny.

Day 8 pricked my heart with the knowledge that God allows hunger.
Day 9 highlights suffering for good, if that's what God wills.

I don't believe that Holy Spirit is trying to convince me that God is not good by speaking to me about hunger and suffering at the hand of God. On the contrary, I believe He is compelling me to rest in what would be defined by the world as unnecessary ... or, by the church, the work of the enemy.

When suffering or hunger arrives at my doorstep, I've been told too often that it's the work of the devil, trying to kill, steal and destroy, because a good God wouldn't allow suffering or hunger. Really? The Word shows me differently, though. I'm not placing all suffering or hunger in the hands of God, but I can place some of it.

If I'm allowed to go hungry [for a time] so that I AM can humble me by teaching me HIS provision, when all other resources I would seek out have failed, then God is good.

If I'm allowed to suffer [for a time] for HIS glory, for the work HE will accomplish through [it], then God is good.

In hunger and suffering, the Word has shown me God "will let me" and God "can will it". It's a sobering thought. But not a defeating one.

Lent Day 8: Allowing Hunger

"Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry... " Deuteronomy 8:3(a)

There's something in me that just stopped when I read this. I don't know if it was my spirit or soul or heart or mind. Maybe all of the above.

There's something in me that wanted to cry out "NO! That's not right. That's not Who God is." Was it my soul fighting to understand allowed hunger?

There's something in me that resonated, too, because of the words that followed: "He did it to teach you."

There's something in me that is quickly filtering through so many circumstances in my life and wondering if I've chosen to store them, incorrectly, in a file other than 'He Let You Go Hungry Because'?

There's something in me that is stirring; stirring to understand the wisdom and growth and maturity and character that is developed when I'm "allowed to go hungry in order to be taught".

I'm hungry right now for change.
I'm hungry right now for connection that's been lost.
I'm hungry right now to be on the other side of this journey.
I'm hungry to feel again.
To love again.

And then HE catches me in my tracks. Love [again]?
"Be careful how you think.", He whispers. "Desire to love anew, not again."

So, I'm hungry to Love Anew.
But first I must be taught.

Lent Day 7: To Be Continued...

Day 7: Tuesday.

This day was full for me from waking up to bed time; full with people, conversation, revelation and times for my heart just to breathe without pressure. I did not get to the Lent reading on [this] day, but came back to it yesterday. After some heart exposing conversation over salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden on Tuesday, this Psalm [51] took on a whole new light for me. I heard God speaking to me in it. I heard him repeat instruction. I heard him reminding me of what I need to accomplish to move forward.

Because of this, I cannot write about Lent Day 7's reading until I've done my part.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love Revelation #2

On February 11, I blogged about the Love Revelation that came from a conversation with my SisNBff that day. Today, I believe God revealed another part to that revelation.

While the words "No. I don't love you." may sound like the cruelest thing you can say to someone; or hear come out of your own mouth; or be the words that divulge the deepest secret of your soul you wish no one would uncover, God pricked my brain with a thought about this:

"Acknowledging the real condition of your heart is simply the first step to no longer living in your false understanding of love. Now I can teach you what LOVE IS so you can fully understand what [love is not]."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lent Day 6: Compassionate Covering

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

As I've been reading through scripture today, I asked God to allow me to see each passage with fresh eyes; to bring newness out of something I've read previously. God is so faithful to keep the promise: Ask anything in My name... I asked for new and He delivered.

I know I've both read through and also heard numerous messages on creation and the fall of man from Genesis 3, but I don't ever remember reading about "God making garments for Adam and Eve and clothing them". As I've come to learn about myself, I probably skipped over that sentence and dismissed it as some insignificant part of the story. I'm being schooled by God that NO sentence in His Word is ever insignificant or just added as story filler.

When I read 3:21 this time, I stopped ... and read it again and again. It captured my attention. I don't know if the thought that ran through my head is accurate, theologically speaking, but I couldn't help but be struck by this question: Did God make the garments for Adam and Eve, after speaking forth the curses caused by their rebellion, out of complete compassion for them, knowing that they now understood shame and nakedness and required covering? Did His justice require judgment but His compassion give way to covering?

I saw a piece of God's heart in this passage that put parenting on another level: I AM had to punish rebellion, especially after giving a very specific instruction about not eating from that tree, but he didn't leave them walking away, heads hung low, from his rebuke. He followed up his discipline, as harsh as it was, with a gift of ultimate grace ... he compassionately covered them.

Disclaimer: Although Lent is a period of 40 days, technically it covers 46 days, but Sundays are excluded because they are considered mini-celebrations leading up to Easter. So even though I should be technically writing about Lent Day 5, my reading program stays in line with the countdown to Easter, so it's Lent Day 6.

Lent Day 4: If I Can Just Get To Jesus

When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief (faith), Jesus said, "Son, your sins are forgiven." ... He got up, took his mat and walked away. Mark 2:4-5, 12

To read that Jesus can be impressed by someone's faith is staggering to me. I can't imagine that I've ever impressed him with mine, yet I can't help but wonder if I ever have.

But, it was often with this kind of faith (the kind that impressed Jesus), that individuals were healed on the spot; whether through the touching of the hem of his garment, asking Jesus just to say the word and it would be done, or finding a way to Jesus by digging out a whole in a roof, the faith to know that "if they could just get to Jesus, it would be done" was all that was needed.

My self-reliance is making me question if I've ever really understood the difference between "praying and asking" and the desperation of believing "If I could just get to Jesus"?

Lent Day 3: Compelled

The Spirit then compelled Jesus... Mark 1:13

There was much more scripture in Day 3's reading, some of which I even wrote down, but when I went back and read what I had coped and pasted here, this specific part of scripture--and only this part--is what I felt 'compelled' to keep.

Compel: to force or drive, especially to a course of action.

Holy Spirit compelled (or drove) JESUS.

I've heard this passage of scripture before but never paid attention to the verb of this part of the sentence. I've always thought of Holy Spirit as a guide for Jesus, and people in general, but that is such a passive word when compared to compel. And I believe today God has opened up the heavens and allowed my heart, mind, soul and spirit to be rocked, and ultimately changed, by a verb.

To guide is to assist or help.
To compel is to drive with force.
Guide feels like I'm being asked "will you let me help you?" and implies that I'm still somewaht in charge of the situation.
Compel steps in with active but tender authority and says "you must let me drive!" and leaves no doubt as to Who is steering and who's in the passenger seat.

Jesus--the Son of God, Emmanuel, Savior, Bread of Life, Living Word, Redeemer--was driven by Holy Spirit.

Today, God asked me, "Who's driving ... really?"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent Days 1 and 2: Heart Freedom

Yesterday was the beginning of Lent, and while I wasn't brought up following Lent, over the past years I've grown to appreciate the importance of what it stands for: setting aside 40 days to prepare our hearts for Easter through repentance, reflection and prayer.

This year, while I'm not fasting anything in particular, I've decided to follow a reading plan through YouVersion from The Mosaic Bible and really purpose to seek Easter anew, in a way I never have before.

On my blog, I'm simply going to record the particular verses from my reading on each day that stand out to me. At the end of Lent, I want to be able to look back and see, only through God's Word, what was speaking to my heart.

Day 1:

That is why the Lords says, "Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning. Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead." [Joel 2:12-13]

Day 2:

let all who are helpless take heart...
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened.
[Psalm 34:2,4-6]

Come Uncover

Two nights ago I tweeted this: "Wrestling with this thought as I go to sleep: Does true transparency mean you should or should not censor your thoughts for the sake of others?"

Due to the 140 character limit of Twitter, I could not fully unpack that thought. I wasn't thinking in terms of conversation with someone, where I'm questioning my options to offend or hurt in the name of transparency and honesty. My thought was really focused on [here], my blog.

How honest can I really be considering it's a public blog? Since I'm not forcing people to read my words, am I given the room to reveal the deepest parts of my soul ... really?

It's not that even [here] would I reveal another's life with the intent to offend or hurt. What I'm questioning is the room to reveal {me}, even though most parts of me are attached to someone else, or involve another in some manner or fashion.

I'm tired of being half-truthful for the sake of not looking like a total mess to others. That's as simple a description of what's going on inside of me that I can give. And it's been brewing for months now.

A few weeks ago I saw this tweet by Preston Morrison, a pastor at Gateway: "The part of your story that will help people most is the part you least want to tell."

I can't tell you how much that resonated with me. So much so, that I re-tweeted it so I'd always have it my Twitter records; and I also put it in my 2011 Gold.

After having a conversation with my SisNBff about transparency in the afternoon, I plugged in my earbuds last night and jumped onto Gateway's site to browse through the Freedom Ministry audio classes available. I really don't know what I was looking for, I just had the strong impression to be there. So I picked a class, which I'll write about it a different blog, and began listening.

About half-way in, God answered my question about transparency with this quote:

"Come uncover. When you have stuff in your soul that you think other people won't approve of, you begin the downward spiral of hiding. You can't be hidden and survive."

Those are some powerful words. I've noticed a pattern on my blog when life gets tougher than I want people to know. I hide. Literally. I don't write. There a gaps of days, weeks or even months when very little is put in black and white. And it's because I've never been comfortable being uncovered in the most vulnerable and upside down times of my life.

But it's time to Come Uncover.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


{today} is gloomy.
Perfect weather considering the way I feel.

Itchy eyes. Morning congestion. Scratchy throat.
It's not a cold.
It would have been in California.
Since moving to Texas, I now call them allergy symptoms.
Crazy that it took me a couple years, but I now understand spring and autumn allergies ... personally.

{today} is gloomy. 
Perfect weather considering the way I feel.

I have every painful and annoying symptom of starting my period.
And they've all come on like gangbusters.
Go big or go home, right?
It's going to be a Naproxen and heating pad kind of day.

{today} is gloomy. 
Perfect weather considering the way I feel.

But then I opened the blinds of the window just beyond my bedroom desk.
And I looked outside.
What wasn't there yesterday is here today ... this morning.
The first signs of spring on the trees that separate us from NRH20.
I've been wondering when 'our trees' - the ones framed inside my windows - were going to join in.
When I would see some cotton balls that magically turn into leaves?

{today} GOD
Reminded me of His promise of newness through the window I look out everyday.
Reminded me of His ability to change or create overnight.
Reminded me that what appeared dead yesterday was simply waiting for His touch the next morning.

I needed this {today}.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bachelor LOVE

I know, I know. Reality TV  shows - specifically those centered on love - are "of the devil" and should not be watched by anyone who dares to call him or herself a God-fearing Christian. Whew! There ... I said it. Now the rest of you (whoever 'you' are) don't have to judge me for what I'm about to write.

**Disclaimer: If you believe that, then this blog is not for you.**

With that out of the way, let me say this: I am LOVE(ing) this season of The Bachelor! It is unlike any season I have ever watched, and I've watched most of them - including The Bachelorette - from the show's inception. There were a couple seasons where I just didn't care for the Bachelor and had no interest in following his particular journey. But this season? It truly is different, and it's because I'm watching a redemption story:

[man] goes on show four years ago.
[man] chooses no one at the end.
[man] gets intensely skewered by the public for breaking two hearts.
[man] retreats from public eye to learn from his situation.
[man] re-emerges after four years of intense counseling as {MAN2.0}.
[man] gets another shot at love from the very place he failed at years ago.
[man] displays an open heart and a more-than-honest approach at real communication this time around.
[man] falls in love. [she] falls in love too.
[man] is engaged to [her].
[man] may very well have found his Ever After and be living out [his] Redemption Love Story.

Remember my disclaimer? If you're still reading against your better judgment, then don't get up in arms with me using the 'redemption' word because it's not centered around Jesus.

I know that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our lives, and His is the ultimate redemption story, and we are the recipients of the greatest gift of all time. But! I think we miss out, as a society, when we don't allow the plethora of love stories out there to stir our hearts to something bigger and better - and even more pure - than what we're watching or hearing about in the first place. [Boy ... please excuse the fact that that sentence was 46 words in length.]

In former seasons, especially the past few, the trend was all about showing the physicality between the Bachelor and the ladies. Who had chemistry? Who had that spark? Who would be kissed first? Etcetera, etcetera ... BORING! Can we move on, PLEASE?!?!

This season, the producers have finally gotten it right! They are allowing the viewers to witness the unfolding of a LOVE story, not a hook-up story. And honestly, with a mostly female demographic, I say "It's about time!" Mr. Male Producers.

Women don't care about the hook-up. They care about falling in love. Women don't want to see one womanizer after another choosing the hottest girl at the end, only to watch them break-up mere months later because hot does not a relationship make.

Ultimately, when all is said and done, we're watching The Bachelor because we want to see a love story play out before our eyes; only we get to watch it unfold over the course of several months on TV instead of during a two-hour theater matinee. We want the happy-ending: the proposal, the debut of the ring, her "YES!" and Forever After. We want to cheer them on and celebrate the joining of two hearts. After all, this is about love and love kidnaps hearts like nothing else in this world. And love changes people like nothing else can.

So, there it is. A blog without a deep, moral point at the end. This is simply my way of allowing love - a story of that connection between a man and woman - stir my heart for something bigger and better than what I'm watching.