All The Single Ladies

I am a helpless

romantic

 

and I long for a special man

for every woman

 

a prince for every princess

who longs for a prince

 

But even more than this

 

I long for you, single women,

to know your groom Jesus first

 

I long for you to want Him

more than any man

 

I long for you to know Him

and love Him first

 

before you find your Mr. Wonderful

 

I long for you to be so grounded in Truth

and the Truth-Speaker, Jesus,

 

that no human man

could take His place

 

No groom will match

the One who chose you first

 

And no romance will compare

to the one you can have with Him

 

If you can only see it

and hear it

and feel it

 

If only you can KNOW it

 

That is what I long for

for you

 

What a gift our Groom is

to the whole body of Christ

 

He gave everything

for us

 

and He is unswervingly faithful

and true

 

This is love,

 

True Love

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

– 1 John 4:10 (VOICE)

 

I made you. I am now your husband. My name is the Lord Who Rules Over All. I am the Holy One of Israel. I have set you free. I am the God of the whole earth.

– Isaiah 54:5 (NIRV)

 

And then I’ll marry you for good—forever! I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You’ll know me, God, for who I really am.

– Hosea 2:19,20 (MSG)

 

Now is the time for joy and happiness.
        He deserves all the glory we can give Him.
    For the wedding feast has begun; the marriage of the Lamb to His bride has commenced,
        and His bride has prepared herself for this glorious day.

    She had been given the finest linens to wear,
        linens bright and pure,
        woven from the righteous deeds of the saints.

– Revelation 19:7,8 (VOICE)

 

You’ll get a brand-new name
    straight from the mouth of God.
You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,
    a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
    and your country will no more be called Ruined.
You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),
    and your land Beulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
    and your land will be like a wedding celebration.
For as a young man marries his virgin bride,
    so your Builder marries you,
And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
    so your God is happy with you.

– Isaiah 62:3-5 (MSG)

 

Cherished

It is hard to put into words

what I’m feeling today

 

for my boy,

who became a man,

 

the boy

who I spent minutes

and hours

and days

and weeks

and months

and years

 

nurturing

 

found a beautiful girl

and will marry her today

 

and he loves her

 

Such depth of love they have

and it enlarges my heart

 

 

And joy is right on the tip of my tongue

this day

while melancholy is not far behind

 

My thoughts are all over

 

This child I have poured into

will hold fast to the beautiful girl

 

He will be a husband,

and a good one too

 

And all those minutes

and hours

and days

and weeks

and months

and years

are cherished in my full heart

 

knowing they were worth it

 

and thanking God

for the love He has allowed me to share with this child

 

I gladly

with joy

and a few tears

hold my arms open

 

for both

when it used to be for one

 

for that is the way it is meant to be

and my mama heart knows it

 

and I will add it to my memories

fully cherished

 

– Susie Stewart

 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

– 3 John 1:4 (NIV)

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

– Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

 

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

– 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

 

5

 

HIM

The way you treat people –

It’s all about HIM

 

The wisdom you instill in your children –

It’s all about HIM

 

The honest effort you put into your job –

It’s all about HIM

 

The person you are with your spouse –

It’s all about HIM

 

The faithfulness you display in friendship –

It’s all about HIM

 

EVERYTHING –

all that you are

and all that matters in this life

 

must stem from your relationship

with Jesus

 

the most vital relationship you have

 

You are

and you do

and you exist

because of God

 

Any other effort

will fall short

 

It

has

got

to be

 

all about HIM

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.

– Colossians 1:9-14 (MSG)

 

The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for Him, as if He couldn’t take care of Himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make Him. Starting from scratch, He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find Him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; He’s near. We live and move in Him, can’t get away from Him! One of your poets said it well: “We’re the God-created.” Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

– Acts 17:26-29 (MSG)

 

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead…

– Philippians 3:10 (NLT)

 

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:20 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

Cling

 

To grasp ahold of another

with vows sacred

 

To cling to my love

through joys and trials

 

To not let go

 

Is the picture You use, Lord,

for Your bride with You

 

Intimacy real

and fierce

 

Holding value

remaining true

 

A grasp so tight

a treasure so rare

 

As firm as that grip is with him

my embrace with You more

 

I cling to You my groom, Jesus,

Forever

 

– Susie Stewart

 

I cling to You;
Your strong right hand holds me securely.

– Psalm 63:8 (NLT)

 

For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.

– Ephesians 54:5 (NLT)

 

Revere the Lord your God, serve Him, cling to Him, swear by His name alone!

– Deuteronomy 10:20 (CEB)

 

…cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.

– Joshua 23:8 (NLT)

 

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word.

– Ephesians 5:24-26 (VOICE)

 

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following Him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

– 2 Kings 18:5-7 (NIV)

 

Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. Nobody ever hates or neglects his own body; he feeds and looks after it. And that is what Christ does for His body, the Church. And we are all members of that body, we are His flesh and blood! ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’. The marriage relationship is doubtless a great mystery, but I am speaking of something deeper still—the marriage of Christ and his Church. In practice what I have said amounts to this: let every one of you who is a husband love his wife as he loves himself; let the wife reverence her husband.

– Ephesians 5:30-32 (PHILLIPS)

 

Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to Him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and His bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

– Revelation 19:7-9 (NLT)

 

Photo by Nicole Stewart

Romance

Admittedly

I’m a romantic

 

and when I heard the words to the song recently

 

about how

 

She is his life

and She is his whole world

 

it sounded so beautiful

and so

 

well,

romantic

 

but I thought about

how my stance has changed

since I was young,

a young romantic

 

Truth be told

when I met Mr. Wonderful

and started dating Mr. Wonderful

and married Mr. Wonderful

 

he was my whole world

 

I could barely think of much else

 

I loved God too

but I cared more about seeking Andy’s attention

than seeking my God

 

But of course

 

earthly affections do not completely satisfy

they don’t completely fill you

 

and when a person is your whole world

you can’t help but be disappointed

 

it’s inevitable

 

because that’s not how it’s meant to be

 

No one fills and satisfies

a soul’s longings

 

even for romance

 

like Jesus

 

He’s the heroic groom

for His bride,

His follower

 

And as I’ve gone through the ups and downs

of life

I am thankful to have gone through them

with Mr. Wonderful

 

and yes, I’m thankful for romance

in my marriage

 

but

 

my love for my Savior

my focus on His affections

my longing to do His will

to do what I do out of love for Him

has surpassed all other loves

 

I’ve come to realize

that He has been pursuing me

romancing me

loving me

all this time

even since the womb

 

And when I focus on Him

other relationships in life pale in comparison

 

but then all is as it should be

 

and I am free to love people

without expecting them to be God

 

 

– Susie Stewart

 

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…Then I gave you My divine promise to always be your Beloved, and I entered the sacred covenant of marriage with you. I wed you, and you became Mine.

– Ezekiel 16:8 (VOICE)

 

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you;

as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

– Isaiah 62:5 (NIV)

 

For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.

– Isaiah 54:5 (NLT)

 

I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.

– Hosea 2:20 (NLT)

 

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for His wedding
or a bride with her jewels.

– Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)

 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

– Revelation 21:1,2 (NLT)

 

“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.

– Jeremiah 2:2 (NLT)

 

The marriage covenant of a husband and wife is to be a beautiful representation of Christ and His beloved, the church.  The earthly relationship should never overshadow the Divine.

– Susie Stewart

 

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her…

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

– Ephesians 5:25,31,32 (NLT)

 

Photos taken by Bob Karraker

His Love

“I have trouble recognizing and absorbing God’s love for me,” my husband shared as we were eating leftovers together.

“Tell me more,” I said.

“Well, you know how the Bible tells us over and over about how much God loves us?  I don’t know.  I just have trouble applying that to myself.”

A good, honest assessment.

“Sweetie, think about how much you love your kids, and how they make you so proud, and you love to be with them, and how that video on Youtube about daughters growing up made you cry the other day?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, God sees you that way.  And He loves you even more than you love those kids.”

Pause…. He’s thinking…

I go on.

“And what if I responded mechanically and business-like to your love for me?  How would you like that?”

“I’d hate it.”

“Well, I don’t think we should be responding to God’s love like that either.”

Thinking some more….

“You need to let God love you and let it make you smile.  Really smile!  And respond to His love.”

 

I think things started to sink in for Mr. Logical.  And I so appreciate that he has always been a good listener.

He knows what love for others feels like.

He knows he doesn’t want to receive a mechanical or distant response from the people he loves.

And he also knows how good and encouraging it feels to be loved by people.

 

God put this love in our hearts.

 

We can’t see Him

but He loves us extravagantly

in so many ways

not the least of which was the ultimate sacrifice –

Life.

 

Soak in His love!

 

Notice Him loving you through people

notice Him loving you through nature

notice Him loving you through the Bible

notice Him loving you through “coincidences”

even notice Him loving you through difficulties

and discipline.

 

Notice Him

and love Him back.

 

There is nothing better in this life

than to know that God loves you and to love Him in return.

– Susie Stewart

 

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;

and,

Love your neighbor as yourself.

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

 

Love must be sincere..

– Romans 12:9 (NIV)

 

Photo taken by Nicole Stewart