Monday, May 9, 2016

Always a Bride, Even After Divorce

Awe! Weddings! An accumulation of months of preparation. The selection of rings, the Bride’s dress, tuxes, flowers, bouquets, choosing the cake, and the guest list. Along with wedding ceremonial songs, the reception, and music for the first dance.




And finally the big day arrives. Two nervous people standing at an altar, before God, the Pastor or Priest, and their guest. The Groom and Bride are ready to express their sacred vows and proclaim their lifetime of commitment to love and cherish one another, in good times and bad, till death do they part.

What’s more lovely then a Bride strolling down the aisle to join herself to her groom? The man who chose her and she desired him to be a family, a home . . . because they completed each other.

The road ahead is mysterious. The journey of the marital union will take them to places unknown, uncharted for them, and possibly unwelcomed.


My Wedding Day

I will never forget my wedding day. The feeling of that special moment as my father walked me down the aisle, tearful.



Giving me away to a man he trusted to care for his daughter, to love her as he did, but more. My eyes gazed into the man I love. Willing to give my heart, soul, body, and secrets too—for the rest of my life. I was nervous but joyful to unite my heart with his, to become Mrs. Ramirez. I was a Bride, glowing with the anticipation of what lay ahead.


And I’ll never forget another day, when I received the notification from the court, dissolving those sacred vows. Thirty-six years of marriage, reduced to one piece of paper, declaring our vows were no longer binding by law.

That joyous wedding occasion and hope for longevity in our marriage, became a source of unspeakable pain. Trust, commitment, love, and hope unraveled to nothing. Replaced with rejection and abandonment. Our wedding rings, the meaningful exchange and representation of eternal love, now boxed away. Rings that made the statement, I’m devoted to another. I am taken.

It’s like that old song, “This diamond ring doesn’t shine like it did before. This diamond ring doesn’t mean what it did before,” (Gary Lewis and The Playboys).




Yet, when I think of this ripping apart—this loss, I’m reminded by God, that I wasn’t solely one man’s bride. As the hunting memory of love lost, and the I-can’t-get-him-off-my-mind . . . God gave me a vision. A vision to reflect on, every time my ex-husband and the sorrow invaded my soul.

A Vision From God

At Church, as we finished worship, I basked in the moment, but thoughts of my ex-husband soon occupied my thoughts, saddening my heart. With eyes closed, I prayed. God, he's an idol in my heart and his taking the place of you. Help!

Then God gave me the most wondrous picture. Care if I share?
The aisle runner was gold, sprinkled with pink rose petals. The runner led to an arch, filled with draping fragrant flowers of vibrant colors of all kinds. My gown was spun silk with overlaid lace. Diamond buttons, sparkled as they lined down the back of the dress, fixed with loops. The bottom of the dress had three tiers of lace. The shimmering veil ran past the length of the dress, cascading onto the floor. The veil was held by a silk ocean blue band, which sat delicately on the back of my head, with white roses running across its length. Also petite roses adorned the ends of the veil.

His Bride
Diane Ramirez


At the arch is the Son, the Groom, who chose me to be his Bride. The light was gloriously bright, and my hand outstretched to the light of Christ.

In this moment God reminded me, he is my Husband. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is a husband who will not run or walk away, when life is a twisted mess. He will never give up. He will not grow tired of life and fellowship with me, for he is the essence of life. He will not "fall out of love" with me. As he reminds me, he understands with patients—my worries, my struggles, and my flaws. He is trustworthy. He is committed to me in this life and in the next. Death will not part us.
He will cherish, care, and provide for me. He will comfort me, calm my storms, and heal my sorrows. He will look at me with delight, and remind me I am beautiful in him. His love is unconditional. There is nothing I have to do to win or keep his love. He accepts me for who I am, as I am made in his glorious image.


And there is a fountain. With the bluest of pure water, springing up and flowing over. He reminds me, he is the fountain of life. A cistern that never runs dry. It is he who will replenish my thirst when I am lonely, and fill my soul to the brim with his love. His living water flows for me, his Bride.

He will do this for you, too.




Rekindled Identity, The Bride of Christ

I love when the Lord gives visions. Pictures to help us cope, to move on, and to take hold of a new identity. To not forget, who we are, his Bride and he our Groom, through the blessed gift of Salvation.
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels,” Isaiah 61:10, NASB.
We know the Bride is the Church of Christ, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.” Revelations 21:9, NASB.

Yet, I believe those who belong to him—he wants us to know, we are collectively and individually, his bride. He desires all those suffering from the pain of divorce—those who have been abandoned and rejected by a spouseas well anyone who has experienced deep loss, to know we are never alone in our sorrow.

“You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Psalms 56:8, NASB.
All our tears are kept in a bottle, written in his book. He knows. He will wipe our tears with his gentle hand. And because he is God our Father, who comforts all who mourn, we can take comfort in this, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake,” Psalms 23:3, NASB.

No matter our sorrow, we can rejoice in Psalms 23:6.  I encourage you to do what I did, insert your name and read it out loud, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me [Diane] all the day[s] of my [her] life, And I [Diane] will dwell in the house of the LORD forever,” Psalms 23:6, NASB (brackets mine).

Allowing this scripture to take root in our spirit, will indeed give hope in which we will “ . . . dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Where there will be no more tears.

"To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified," Isaiah 61:3

Not the End


Divorce, or any loss that grieves our heart, is not the end of us, nor defines us, as we are the Lord’s Bride and he our Groom, "The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with the shouts of joy," Zephaniah 3:17, NASB.

With some ancient versions of this verse, "He will be quiet in His love" is translated "He will renew you in His love." He is our VICTORIOUS WARRIOR; therefore we are more than conquers over our pain.

Imagine our Husband, God, Creator of all . . . who rejoices, exults, and shouts with joy over us, and renews our heart with His love. That is Agape love in its purest form. And we have this in and through our Lord, Jesus Christ! Can I get an Amen?




If this piece ministered to you, please share your thoughts with me. My heart is overjoyed, knowing that the words the Lord places on my heart, makes a difference. Please share, if you know someone who is in need of encouragement. Thank you so much. Diane





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Play Date With Jesus, Having a Child Like Faith

"For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light," Psalms 36:9.



© Diane D. Ramirez


I love this picture of my grandson, (who is ten now) he's taking such delight in the simple pleasures of life. Water pouring over him like a fountain. The joy of the water splashing on his face. The pleasure of being drenched. The pure joy expression and excitement, as he takes in this moment, is priceless.

There's several spiritual lessons, we can learn as adults from this picture.

1. Experiencing life from a child's viewpoint

2. Enjoying the moment, being in the now

3. Exhilarated pleasure from Abba's world

 Experiencing Life From a Child's Viewpoint

 

Children see life through the lens of purity and curiosity. Their world is to be explored, and are, with bright eyes. Children touch, and are fascinated with how things work. Why is a question they ask often. Why is the sky blue or why is the giraffe's neck so long?

Life, for them, is to be pondered. Within their soul is an innate inquisitiveness to learn, experience, and take hold of their surroundings.

I believe this is one of the very reasons, parents and grandparents adore their offspring, as they too can re-experience life through the point-of-view of the child. Everything is new again. And that is a wonderful feeling.

© Diane D. Ramirez


Jesus's disciples, when parents brought their children for him to bless, felt it was an intrusion . . . but Jesus did not.

He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:16, 17 (NIV).

Jesus has an important message for us: Children possess the Kingdom of God. What a powerful and profound statement Jesus made about children—and we are to be like them in simple faith, accepting, receiving, experiencing God's world, both in the natural and supernatural.

The kingdom of God, as outlined in the Strong's concordance is basileia, and means:

1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule.

The third definition is: of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah's kingdom.

How do we hold on to that child like faith, yet be mature Christians?  The goal, I submit, is to rekindle wonderment into our moments, being present in our now. Realizing that within the child's spirit resides the Kingdom of God.

When we face our adult life—the struggles, conflicts, worry, fear, uncertainty, and pain, we need to close our eyes and find our inner child like faith, which perceives Jesus as our ever present, protecting, interceding, and loving Father. The Abba Father, who will embrace us as we run into his arms like a child.

Enjoying The Moment, Being in The Now 


Living life distracts us from the simplicity of our moments. As a parent, how many of us have said to our children, "Not now, I'm busy?" But now is all we have. What if God told us, not now. I'm busy? It would fill us with rejection and crush us. The moment, the now, is extremely important. Why? Because that is all we have and are certain of.

There is so much, which can steal our “play-time." We need to make a play-date with Jesus. By this I mean, experiencing the present of our now . . . good or bad, inviting Jesus into that space.


© Diane D. Ramirez

As within that time, we can learn, we don't rush and try to push aside what is happening, what we're feeling or not. We need to contemplate, what this "now" is telling us or expecting of us.

I'm learning that gratitude in the now, helps lessen sorrow, worry, and fills any emptiness when I allow my thoughts to linger in the past, which only robs me of the present and overwhelms me with sadness.

Retraining our thought patterns, to stop the rewind button of the past, is essential to staying and appreciating our now. To do this we can be aware of:

  1.     Sounds
    1.         Hearing laughter
    2.         Listening to every note of the music and the different instruments
    3.         Hearing the birds singing, the ocean waves, the cars passing by
  2.     Sight
    1.         People's faces, are they happy, sad
    2.         Your surroundings (ignore the unfolded clothes and dirty dishes)
    3.          Admire that rose before you walk into that building
  3.     Touch
    1.          The feel of food as you prepare it
    2.         The feel of your clothes as you put them on
    3.         The the breeze as it brushes against your face
  4.     Smell
    1.         The neighbor’s BBQ
    2.         The freshly laundered clothes
    3.         Your soap as you shower
  5.      Taste
    1.         Enjoy that double fudge ice cream cone
    2.         Savor the taste of the medium rare rib eye (or well done)
    3.         Fill the cool liquid pass over your taste buds 

All these senses can keep us in our moment when we are tempted to fly back into the past, or leap ahead of what ifs in the future. Gratefulness in the now, allows us to be present.

 

Exhilarated Pleasure From Abba's World


© Diane D. Ramirez
Here's another awesome picture, of one of my grand kids, who is eight now. She's swinging for the first time. She is exhilarated by the feel. The expression on her face, is one, I believe, God would love to see on us, as we become abundantly satisfied in him, with a child’s faith.

The NASB says, "They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And you give them to drink of the river of Your delights," Psalm. 36: 8.

Abundance in the KJV strong concordance means "fatness." This is the fatness, I wouldn't mind having! Wouldn't have to worry about losing those extra pounds.


Abundance also means: a. Plentiful; in great quantity; fully sufficient; as an abundant supply. In scripture, abounding; having in great quantity; overflowing with.

Also, KJV and the HNV use the word "make" instead of "give." I like how it reads in the KJV, "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of your house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures."

Imagine what it would be like if we actually experienced God's river of delights or pleasures, daily. The word picture I get, is a dog when he's scratched on his tummy. His leg moves uncontrollably. He's delighted, satisfied, and exhilarated with pleasure, as his master loves on him.

Would you mind if God made you drink from his river of delights? Or another word we could use is "cause" you to drink. I know, I wouldn't. I think it would be absolutely exhilarating to understand, feel, know, accept, relish in God's abundance and drink of his pleasures. Think about it!

© Diane D. Ramirez


The verse before this is: "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings," Psalm. 36:7 (NASB).

What does a child do when they are afraid? They run to their parent for safety. It's when we take refuge under the shadow of his wings, where our Father’s lovingkindness greets us. Then we’re to drink our fill in the house of the LORD. And to experience his river of delights.

We too, should practice running under our Father's wings, hiding under his shadow, when life or the enemy tries to rob us of being exhilarated from the simple pleasures of life and growing in grace. It's so easy as adults to fret, become dissatisfied, and frustrated.

The dictionary defines a feeling of exhilaration as: elation, euphoria, exultation, exaltation, joy, happiness, delight, joyousness, jubilation, rapture, ecstasy, bliss.

My prayer is, we can learn to experience, enjoy, and be exhilarated—like a child, as we embrace the fatness of Abba’s house and drink from the pleasures of his river, in our daily moments. And when those moments are rough, we will run to our daddy, like a frighten child, for our refuge and peace.











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Be well my friend!