Divine Romance

"The fullness of
your grace is here with me
the richness of
your beauty's all I see
The brightness of
your glory has arrived
In your presence God
I'm completely satisfied

For you
I sing
I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart, and my hands
to show my love
to show my love

A deep, deep flood
An ocean flows from you
a deep, deep love
yeah it's filling up the room
your innocent blood
has washed my guilty life
in your presence God
I'm completely satisfied."

-Phil Wickham

I am overwhelmed by the beautiful love story the Lord has crafted and allowed me to be apart of. I never dreamed it could be this good. For those of you who haven't yet heard the news, Tim and I are getting married! He flew into Bolivia to surprise me for my birthday this past week. It was unreal, and definitely the most unexpected and wonderful gift I could have received. I think I'm still in disbelief that I am engaged, total shock that this man chased after me so relentlessly, and still stunned by the fact that this tangible pursuit is greater than I ever dreamed it would be.

On Tuesday morning, Jason, our director at HIS, told me he had something he needed to show me in his office during recess. He put in this DVD I knew had to be from Tim, and I began to watch as he sang happy birthday and told me how bummed he was that he couldnt' be there with me to celebrate. He then shared some verses that have been our prayers for each other over the course of our relationship, and specifically how the Lord has so beautifully drawn our hearts together to the point that we know we're ready to start our lives together over the course of the past 5 months. The last segment of the video closed with him saying, "I need you to do one last thing for me, I need you to turn around..." And you can only guess who was standing in the doorway...I screamed and apparently shouted repeatedly through an outburst of tears, "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING HERE????" It wasn't until after he had proposed and put a ring on my finger that I pieced together the "why" of his trip:)

But honestly the best part of the week with Tim took place on Friday morning. I had the opportunity to speak at our high school chapel. I opened by holding up a huge stack of letters my fiance' (it's so great to finally get to use that word!) has sent me over the course of my past 5 months here. While this tangible pursuit has been far more unreal and beautiful than I ever dreamed for myself as a little girl, I shared that Tim would be the first to admit that this will always pale in comparison to the intimate love we know in the Lord.

I then presented to them a painting of the ocean, and how it brought me back to times when I would ask my dad as a little girl, "Daddy, how much do you love me?" Thinking he would respond with, "From here to that island so far away," or some other measurable and overwhelming distance, he would instead always reply, "Oh Whitney, more than you'll ever know..." I desired something tangible, a containable amount to wrap my mind around, a description that would allow me to know the breadth and depth of his love.

I shared a verse that has been my battle cry throughout my time away here, verse 8 of Psalm 143, in which David says, "Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust..." Why? I have asked over and over again, Does David plead with the Lord specifically to know and hear from Him in the morning? Why is his desire to, "Let me hear," as opposed to, "Speak to me"? I began to understand just where David was coming from this semester, that I have a great and horrifying tendency to forget and allow my heart to be lured away from my first love. It's as if David knows that the Lord is present and all around him, yet he desires and needs the Lord to overcome his deafness and inability to hear the whispers He is in fact speaking to him each and every morning.

I then began to "ruin" my painting, splashing dull colors over the once vibrant and powerful picture, illustrating how in so many ways I mute the extent of what He longs to offer me, when He says, "I came that you might have life, and have it to the fullest." I push away, withdraw, separate myself, construct my own pride, refuse to lean on Him, build walls around my heart, ultimately blinding myself to this picture of limitless love, to the reality of His daily pursuit of my heart.

Tim then played several worship songs, including "Divine Romance" above, as I "redeemed" the original, turning the messy lines and splattered paint into His outstretching hand, reaching down to little broken me in the bottom right-hand corner. Tim shared with me later that as he looked out over the crowd, he saw tears being wiped away and almost visibly the walls being torn down.

What an unreal blessing, to testify alongside the man I love that what we have together is only a reflection, that the best it gets is the picture before them, the truth found in the words of the song. It was an inexpressible joy to once again lead and worship next to him, just as we grew to love at camp, and know that we are beginning a lifetime of loving the Lord together. What a great reminder that this is not about us, but that we are caught up in something so much greater than ourselves.

I could barely finish through humbled tears, but closed with several verses I have come back to over and over again most recently, "For I am convinced, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

So, thank you dear friends, for sharing in our unspeakable joy- I cannot wait to return in a few short weeks and celebrate with you in person! May you richly experience a pursuit that is beyond human description, limitless and undeserved, and would you seize opportunities to proclaim of this love to those who are not seeing the beautiful picture or hearing His whispers each morning.