Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I was reading this Psalm this morning. It is, of course, one of the most well-known passages in the Bible, but it is one that I think we pass over very often simply because we have heard it so many times before.
But recently, our pastor gave a message and talked about this Psalm & it inspired me to take a look at it closer.
In it, I found what He does for me...
He is my shepherd - my leader.
~ He shows me the way and protects me.
He is my provider.
~ He gives me everything I need.
He gives me rest.
~ He gives me times of peaceful refreshing, if I will slow down & listen.
He restores my soul.
~ He is faithful to renew my body, my mind, and my emotions when I seek Him.
He guides me in righteousness.
~ He alone gives me the desire to love & serve Him and others.
He is with me - always.
~ He never leaves me, even when I am at my lowest low.
He is my protector.
~ His embrace helps to keep my fears away.
He guides me with his rod & staff.
~ He shows me the way, disciplines me, and sets boundaries for me.
He comforts me.
~ His soft words and forgiveness show me the love and acceptance that I long for.
He is my advocate.
~ He vindicates me when I follow after Him and love others.
He annoints me.
~ He has blessed me abundantly so that I may share those blessings with others.
He has imprinted goodness & love in my heart and life.
~ His gift of grace enables me to give grace to others.
He has prepared a dwelling place for me with Him for eternity.
~ His sacrifice has given me all that I need.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
After being together for 15 years, Matt & I know a LOT about one another!
We started out as naive teenagers and now, here we are in our mid-30's...still a bit naive perhaps, but still sharing our lives together. We have certainly grown & now have 2 children, of course. So much has changed...but, on the other hand, a lot has stayed the same.
I continue to love those things about Matt that drew me to him all those years ago - his personality, his heart, his looks. And, I love the man he has evolved into.
Recently, we shared 15 things that we love about one another. What Matt gave to me was the most precious thing he has ever given me.
Here is what we shared:
Me to Matt -
15 Things that I love about you, Matt Barkley
1. You are very smart. I really admire how intelligent you are. You have always had a strong desire to learn and to educate yourself. I have always loved that about you.
2. You are gorgeous! From the first moment I saw you at Penn State, I thought you were beautiful. I still do! You have the most beautiful blue eyes and the perfect nose!
3. You take very excellent care of your body & physical health & you have an awesome body to show for it. You have been this way for many years and I appreciate that you care about your health. I want you to continue to be healthy so that we have many, many more years together.
4. I love that you love to exercise & workout. As silly as that may sound, I am so glad that I am married to a person that enjoys being outside and physical activity. You have never been lazy.
5. You love God. I know that you really do. It is important to you to put your faith first and make God & church a priority for yourself and our family. I am watching you everyday evolve into the man/husband/father God has called you to be. I am so thankful for that!
6. You are an amazing drummer! God has given you the gift of music & I am proud of your talent and your desire to share that with others and in praise to God.
7. You are a man of integrity. You have always been this way. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are trustworthy. You also do what you say you will do. I never wonder if I can count on you. There is never a question.
8. You are a great provider for our family. From the day you started your career, I knew that you would go places! Very few people give their employers 100% -- you do this & more!
9. You are incredibly funny! Your sense of humor has always been one of my most favorite things about you. You can make me laugh even when I am grumpy! And, yes, I do love & appreciate your sarcasm!
10. I love the way you love me. You are “into me” and I can totally tell! You show me that you love me with your words and your actions.
11. You are an awesome dad. Not only because you provide for our kids financially, but because you provide for them emotionally and spiritually. You are one million times the dad you had. I also love how you love to spend time doing fun stuff with them! Those are the memories that they will remember forever!
12. You are respectful of me. You realize my needs and always you do your best meet them. You are understanding & love me even when I am not-so-nice, sad or quiet.
13. You are a great friend – to me & to others. I am always impressed that you keep friends for the length of time that you do. You still have relationships with people you’ve been friends with for decades. This is because you are thoughtful and caring.
14. You are a wonderful protector. You always make me feel safe – physically & emotionally.
15. You are, hands down, the most loyal person I have ever met. You have loved me & stood by me for 15 years. That takes a very strong, loyal person!
Matt to me:
15 Things I Love about You Christina Barkley
1. Your imprint on the lives of our kids. Every day I see things in Jonah and Ella that I know come from you. From a certain look, to things that they say, to their love for other people – I see you.
2. Your drive for results. Over the last several years I’ve watched you come alive, dream and chase those dreams with unwavering dedication and determination. When the going gets tough you find a way to not only keep going but to keep going with joy in your heart and a smile on your face. It inspires me.
3. Your dedication to our home. Laundry, groceries, dinner, cleaning, dogs, kids to school, paying bills, decorating, rearranging, ironing, landscaping, working, etc. - The stuff life is made of that gets little attention and few thanks. Consistently and without complaint you take care of our house and all that comes with it.
4. Confidence in yourself. I’ve seen you grow into a confident woman repairing damage done during your younger years. I know that confidence and your faith in God can see you through even the most difficult circumstances that life offers.
5. Faith in God. You’ve grown so much in your faith over the last several years. I admire you faith and it gives me strength when I am weak.
6. Kindness to others. I watch how you treat other people - imparting what you know to help them overcome their challenges and struggles in life – genuine concern for others. Love is kind.
7. Pure, natural beauty. A gorgeous woman when we met, a gorgeous woman now, and a gorgeous woman in the future – time seems to only improve what I think is impossible to make any better.
8. Your patience. You may not think of yourself as patient but I see your patience with other people, our kids, and most often with me. Love is patient.
9. Commitment. Till death do us part, through good times and bad, through sickness and in health – thoughtless, rehearsed words to the vast majority but to me they mean what they say. Your commitment to me and us makes me strong, confident, and secure even in the worst of circumstances.
10. Integrity. You do what you say and say what you do. I know where I stand and I know where you stand – we stand together.
11. Your willingness to let me be me. I am far from perfect but I expect perfection - you deserve more and I give you less. I am me – a changing person, a different man - a work in progress. With you I am better today than I was yesterday and I will be better tomorrow than I am today.
12. Your understanding. You understand our children, my family, and you understand other people. You understand me, how I work, why I am who I am, and why I am changing. You understand my perspective and make me want to better understand your perspective and the perspective of others.
13. Your strength. To do the right thing all of the time, to suffer for gain, to sacrifice self for others - you live strong.
14. You compassion and passion. You care about yourself, other people and are passionate about what you do.
15. Your love for God, our family, and me.
Honey - when you read this - please know that I love you more than words can say. Thank you for being you!