The Greatest Love Stories

By Sasha Katz

A few weeks ago, I was walking over the bridge looking at the reflection of the morning sky in the canal. In my heart, I thought about the moment God made the creative decision to put reflection on the face of the water. My thoughts about His motivations caused love to overflow in my heart. Creation is the expression of His love. I am water-logged with thoughts about the expressions of His love through creation.

For a long, long time, I have been in love with the romance and depth between Ruth and Boaz. I shut my eyes and think of what it was like for Boaz to wake up with Ruth on the surface below him. Where she was waiting for him to see her. To accept her marriage proposal. In the blue glow of midnight. I think about the months before as she walked Boaz’s fields collecting barley. Under his promise that she would be safe in his meadows. Their love story began in fields where Boaz first noticed Ruth. I have to think that the fields brought out the golden amber in her skin. I have to think that she glanced at him through the waving field that was the distance between them. I think about their love in light of blue of night and amber of day. We express our love in the midst of His creation.

Ten years ago I read Donald Miller‘s Searching for God Knows What. There is this mind blowing chapter that envisions Adam and Eve’s love story. He suggests that Adam was a sort of lonely naturalist naming and categorizing the planet’s animals for about 100 years before he met Eve. All that time, Adam did not find someone like him that he could connect with. When Adam finally sees Eve for the first time, Miller describes that Adam was seeing a person who was like him, only more beautiful, and smarter than him in the ways of relationships. He must have thought to himself that she was perfect, and after a few days of just talking and getting to know each other, they must have fallen deeply in love. This is all among God’s creation. They fell in love in the midst of His creation.

Driving one afternoon, I listened to Dr. Bob Barnes and his guest ponder woman as night and man as day. It’s a deep thought that just like the Spirit hovered over the waters and carved out darkness and light, He carved out of His image woman and man. Just as he named the light and darkness to complete the first day, He created Adam and Eve to make something really good together. Something complete. Out of His creativity and love.

Miller says that sometime after Adam and Eve fell deeply in love, he must have gone on a long walk with God and thanked him. When Boaz expresses his love to Ruth for the first time, he called her blessed of God. That’s a kind vertical and horizontal gratitude. When I look at the sky’s reflection in the water, I am humbled and inspired and amazed and entirely grateful for the expression of His love in creation.


Thank you to Tony Gill for Sunflowers at Arne.
I am also inspired by photographs of captured moments of pure love

Swallowed Up By The Great I Am

By JMathis

I am not someone you would characterize as a dog aficionado or an animal lover. You won’t ever find me working for PETA or volunteering at the local animal shelter. In fact, more often than not, I am pretty terrified of the average, household pet.

For some reason, though, Ilia managed to steal a bit of my heart when we first met nine years ago.

My husband traveled so much in the first five years of our marriage, that it was just me and Ilia most nights. She was my Scooby Doo and I was her Shaggy—both of us running wildly in fright over shadows caused by tree branches, the wind beating against the windows, and spiders scurrying into the darkness.

Partners in crime to the end. Get Smart-style.

She had these long, floppy ears, which were awkwardly saddled onto her scrawny frame. Yet, she carried a noble, kind gaze that just melted men of steel into puddles.

While she was never very bright, she sure knew how to get tangled up in my heartstrings.

She was a glimmering ray of light and love in my life, and this past winter, my beautiful Ilia succumbed to cancer and moved out of my grasp.

I try not to think too much about her these days. Life catches up and takes over the tick-tock of my daily timepiece. Mainly, it’s because I get a little too teary-eyed remembering how devoted she was to me.

I did think long and hard about her this morning, though. Donald Miller wrote a post this week that had the most heartwarming sentiment for dog owners: that when your dog passes on, she gets swallowed back up into God’s imagination.

I choked up at the beauty of that thought.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t even say that I understand the statement completely, as I have no idea what happens to dogs after they die.

Still, the concept that God created my dog, gave her breath, and allowed me to experience the joy of loving her, before bringing her back full circle into the creative expanse of His mind, is simply just overwhelming to me.

That He would reach far into the recesses of His imagination and give me the pleasure of knowing this wholly inadequate ‘type and shadow’ of friendship—through my dog—is just beyond my comprehension. How did He even conceive of the idea of giving me this earthly hint, this mere taste of the rich, vast fullness of His never-ending love and undying loyalty towards me?

Oh, what I would do to become swallowed back up into His imagination.

To become swallowed back up into eternal communion, fellowship and friendship with Him.

To become swallowed back up by The Great I Am, who died just for me and who calls me friend.

What a friend we indeed have in Jesus:

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.” Isaiah 25:8

The Scary What If’s About Making New Friendships

By JMathis

What if you opened your mind to the possibility of a new friend?

What if there was someone out there who made sure you always felt like you belonged?

What if you took a chance at being vulnerable in front of other women?

What if you tried being honest with others (and yourself) for a change?

What if there was a friend out there who would challenge you to be the real you?

What if there was a friend out there who would take you on a new set of adventures?

What if you made a friend who became closer than a sister?

What if you met a friend who always made you laugh? Who made you pee from laughter?

What if you stopped judging someone long enough to realize that she is just like you?

What if you didn’t have to be self-conscious about your body, your mind or your spirituality in front of other women?

What if you always felt like you were personally invited?

What if it didn’t have to be hard to meet new friends?

What if you didn’t have to be nervous or self-aware when sharing your story or your past?

What if it didn’t have to be a chore to smile or make small talk with women?

What if new friends could become part of your family?

What if there was a friend who never made you feel invisible or like a third wheel?

What if you could meet someone who really wanted to know all about you?

What if you didn’t have to play the one-upmanship game with women?

What if the pretty girl wasn’t a mean girl?

What if you didn’t always have to be perfect or right for someone to like you?

What if you didn’t have to feel the need to compare yourself to other women?

What if it was okay to be friendly without being accused of being perky or saccharine?

What if you don’t have to say a word, because she already knows how you feel?

What if you didn’t have to worry about every word you said in front of other women?

What if you didn’t have to prove to someone that you were some über-Christian?

What if the words “fake” and “phony” only applied to the “Prada” purses you and your new friend bought off of a street vendor?

What if you made a friend who genuinely prayed for you and with you?

What if you had a friend who made you want to seek more of Jesus?

What if you could cry in front of someone new without feeling like you are needy?

What if you had a friend who reached out to you, without you reaching out to her first?

What if hugs from a friend came naturally?

What if meeting other women didn’t have to be so intimidating?

What if you felt freedom in being able to trust a new friend?

What if making a new friend didn’t have to feel like being hazed by a sorority?

What if you could hit it off with someone just like you, or someone nothing like you?

What if you had someone with whom you could share your secrets? Your dreams?

What if you didn’t have to prove your friendships through Facebook pictures?

What if you walked into a women’s group and you immediately felt like you were home?

Haven’t you waited long enough? Isn’t it time to put yourself out there?

Take a chance on friendship…again.

Be the friend you always wanted for yourself.

Be the woman in the group who makes everyone feel welcome.

Be the change you want to see in this world (thanks, Mahatma Gandhi).

Matthew 7:12. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

What If…by Donald Miller @ Catalyst West 2010: