It’s our Anniversary

So I was recently with a friend, and she was sharing her wedding scrapbook.  It was the best, because I didn’t know them back then, and I’d never seen their “baby” wedding pictures or heard the stories.  I was so grateful she dug them out and told her story.  It was so much fun.

So, as we are now celebrating our 7th year of marriage, and some of you didn’t know us back then, I thought I’d do a post with photos.  Because I can, it’s fun, and reminiscing makes me happy.  Our wedding was beautiful and it was before Pinterest and we still rocked it.

Davin and I met in January of 2007 and were married in September of 2007.  I remember at one point, I had this feeling that he was my husband before we even started dating.  It made no sense, because I wasn’t even trying to date him.  I just have this vivid memory of being in his house for a Super Bowl party, and looking over at him thinking, hey that’s my husband, and this is my house.  I can’t explain it, I just had this feeling.  I thought it was a pretty crazy-random thought and dismissed it as one of those things where I figured I’d just see what happened in our lives to decide if it was true or not.

90 % sure this was from the Super Bowl party

The weekend before he told me he liked me, I was in my classroom on a Friday afternoon briefly prepping for the week ahead.  I had this strong feeling that I should make sub plans for the following week.  It’s something I’d never do, unless I knew I was going to be absent.  I’m more of a teach off the cuff kind of teacher anyway, so I didn’t typically super detail out my lesson plans, I’d just prep, overview and go with it.  But it was such a strong feeling, that I completely wrote out the next weeks lessons as though someone else was going to do it for me.  I actually wondered if I was going to be in the hospital or something.

Thank goodness, because the following night, Davin told me he liked me.  We went on our first date the next day and he kissed me that night.  I was a complete basket case the whole next week, and I was so grateful for my “sub plans” to help me actually teach.

God knew what was up, the Holy Spirit totally helped me out and I didn’t even know what was going on!

After dating two weeks, we both knew we were in it for reals.  It was like I had known him my whole life.  I can’t think of any other experience that has been like that, it’s like time couldn’t hold back the truth, that we’d already spent our lives together, even though we were just starting out.

Sounds crazy, I know.

We dated four months before we got engaged, and were married three months later.

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Tainted Love concert
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Tahoe weekend with my parents. Separate beds of course! I will confess, I contemplated sneaking into his room to snuggle him and thought, “it’s not worth it! It’s not worth it, you’ll be married soon enough!” Waiting was SOOOOOO hard.
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Napa with his family
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One of our professional engagement photos.
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Santa Cruz engagement photos taken by my dad.

Then we did it!  The sky was cloudy and it rained earlier in the day.  It was my kind of perfect day.

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Handsome dude.
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Davin’s sister, Keeli with grandpa Irvin.  Keeli is one of the most generous and giving people I know, it makes sense that she’s a nurse, her husband Jake is pretty rad too.  They make a great pair.
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Davin said he knew I’d still be hot when I was older because my mom was so beautiful.  Thanks mom!
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GG, and the cousins! Taylor and Tanner.
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My gramma Jo is the reason I’ve always wanted to be a good cook and have a large family. My grandpa is one of the reasons I knew I could go to college. When I was in elementary school, he’d have academic conversations with me over coffee. I ended up living with them while attending Cal, full circle people, full circle.  Love you gramps, see you in awhile.
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My gramma D has always been a portrait of regal grace and beauty. My grandpa Jack knew how to enjoy life. I try to apply all this in my own life in different ways. Plus, my grandpa always smelled good, I even stole one of his t-shirts and still wear it. I miss you gramps, see you in heaven.
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My in-law’s have the biggest hearts. They LOVE their family. It’s something I’ve always admired about Davin. Thanks mom and dad for letting me marry your son even though you’d only met me twice!!!  My father-in-law really, really loves his girls (Pam and Keeli), I knew Davin would be a loving, generous and kind husband after I’d gotten to know his dad;-)  Thanks Ivan!
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Of course I love this picture. My brother did the opening prayer.
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I will say, some days I wake up and don’t feel all that beautiful. In this moment, I felt perfectly beautiful.

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My dad performed the ceremony.  He’s a minister, so it was legit;-)

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I still adore each one of these girls. I feel pretty blessed that they are all still in my life. (sorry Keeli that you’re out of the shot, I would crop you in but my photoshop skills are seriously lacking).
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Often, when geese fly over our house, I remember how they flew over our ceremony at the perfect time. I felt like it was just another way God was showing us, “Hey, I love you guys!  It’s going to be a good marriage.”

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Probably my favorite shot of our wedding. I love that my dad is in it. He’s been pretty instrumental in Davin and I’s walk together. Being a minister, he’s got some really good advice;-) I have Davin’s ring on my right hand, because during our ceremony we exchanged promise rings. I’m so glad we kept that promise, one of the best gifts ever.

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Moving on to the reception inside.

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My brother is still one of my favorite people. To say that I trust him or love him is an understatement. He was my best friend growing up. We used to sing/yell at the top of our lungs when my parents were out of the house and we could harmonize with the vacuum. We used to listen to Michael Bolten when we fell asleep (my parents cassette tape collection was limited;-). We would knock on the wall four times to say, “I love you” when it was past bedtime and we were not suppos-to talk. When he didn’t finish eating his brussels sprouts and my mom set the timer, I’d run the garbage disposal while doing the dishes just to give him a few extra minutes. I took him and his friends to concerts and skate parks and loved being the big sister. We played worship music together and served in our church. Now he’s a husband, father and my neighbor. And, nobody ever messes with him, because he fully lives up to his nickname, Bear;-)
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I used to hide army men all over my friends rooms when they were gone. They repaid the favor;-)
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Davin looks so young in this one.
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This one is because I wanted to show off my beautiful dress. I still put it on and walk/dance around the house every year on my birthday, because why not?
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We were like, “we get to spend the night together tonight!!! FINALLY!”
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My brother and his friends fully enacted the Thriller dance including a fight. It was fantastic.
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Gettin’ down!
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This was his theme to life. Just enjoying it.
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They were like Davin’s little brothers growing up.

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So here’s what I’ve learned so far.

We go into marriage, thinking it will be like this, and it is.

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But other times it’s like this

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“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham

Our marriage isn’t perfect, because there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  It’s just a marriage that is full of love and forgiveness, because we’ve put Christ at the center of it.  And he’s been the one to hold us together.

I’d say 97% of our days have been really fun, and 3% have been kinda crappy.  And those aren’t too bad of stats.

Davin, if I get to live out my days with you by my side, I will be one blessed girl.

God’s in your box

A while back, I started to read C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem with Pain.  But at the time, I wasn’t IN much pain, so I lost interest and moved on.  The other day I was wishing I had read it.

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This last week, I was in a great deal of pain.  I had a four-day migraine.  It came and went, and was super bad at the beginning.  Like puke-in-the-sink my-head-might-explode bad.

All I could think of at first was, “whhhhy?”

“Why God, would you allow this to happen?  I thought I was healed?  I really was!  I’m so disappointed!”

Also, I just told like the whole internet that you healed me, soooo, that’s pretty awkward.  What am I suppos-to say?

Not like God is ruled by what goes onto the internet, that’s for sure, but I felt kinda crappy about the fact that I just finally announced my big healing news and was super stoked, and then I came back from a church retreat and I got a few headaches that week, and then one very enormous migraine the following week.

As my toddler would say, “supa lame.”

Here is what I do know, and why I am actually sharing this.  Because my life trails are not all that important in your world, however, some of the stuff I learn during them has been life changing for me, so I want to share.

On Tuesday, after I got over my pity party, I took some ibuprofen and thanked Jesus that he helped people invent medicine to make me feel slightly better when I’m sick. I then ate, and took a nap and threw away any guilt I was feeling that I wasn’t healed, or didn’t trust God enough to heal me and not take medicine.  I was able to go out to dinner that night with some friends, and felt mostly fine.

I woke up the next morning, at like 3:30 am, feeling nauseous and back in pain.

After praying for awhile for other stuff, I finally got the nerve to ask God what was up.  And although he didn’t answer me why I had to go through the pain I was going through, he did tell me the following.  It has changed how I see Jesus completely.

He showed it to me in a word picture, as he almost always does when he speaks to me outside of the bible or a sermon or whatever.

Here is the word picture followed by what I felt like was insight he gave me:

I am in like basically the visual of outer space, it’s black.  There is a clear very large box.  I am inside this box and it is able to seal completely, so nothing can get into it unless it is opened.  I can’t open it.  In the box, along with myself is what I call sunlight dust particles, the dust you see in the air when the sunlight hits it right.  In this word picture, they are pain particles.  Small particles, that God the Father allowed into my box, and is allowing me to feel.  He is outside of my box.  He said that he knows every single one, he knows the number, the size the weight of them all.  He didn’t let one more speck into my box than necessary.  He said he knows my pain better than I do, he can see it from top from bottom, from inside and out, every angle.  In moments where I forget my pain, he still is aware of it.  So I’m like, okay, but why?  I hate this box.

Then, I see Jesus in my box.

He feels everything I feel.  He feels the same exact pain I feel.  We feel it together. He allows himself to feel the same pain, every ounce, every nanosecond of it, so that he is always acutely aware of what I am feeling.  Even if I forget for a moment, he is always aware of it.

I have never thought of this before.  I always thought when the bible says, “he was a man of many sorrows, he was a man of great pain” it was just talking about his physical life on earth, which was indeed full of pain and sorrow.  I always thought he could relate to our pain, like, “yeah, there was this one time that one of my best friends totally betrayed me to death in front of all my bros, it was super lame, I got arrested and beat up so I TOTALLY know how you feel when you say that you can’t believe so-and-so tweeted blah, blah, blah about you and now everyone’s hatin’, I get it.”  And sometimes I’d think, How DO you know what those little kids being trafficked actually feel like, you were never actually trafficked as a kid.

Whelp.

What this word picture was showing me, was that no, Jesus actually allows himself to feel my very exact pain.  Now whether he really does or not, I do not know, this was a word picture to teach me something about how God works and who his son is.  However, I am inclined to believe that this is an actual truth.

If my littlest one had to experience something painful to make her well, and it was in my ability to feel it to, I would.  I would want to know exactly what it felt like, so I would know how to help her, how to console her, and give her the understanding that she was not alone, that truly, we were going through it together.  Any loving parent would do this if they could.

When Jesus says he walks with us through our trails, I don’t think he is just walking alongside us in ease, although he is God, it seems more like he allows himself to experience the very thing we experience, however painful, however sad, however deep and cutting to our soul.

In this word picture, he and I were head to head, and all I could do was put my head next to his.  At least we were together in this pain, I was not alone.  It seemed the more I focused on him, the less painful it became, he was almost a distraction from the pain, and then just like that the box was gone, and we were out of it together.

Here is what I have learned so far, and it’s really early, but it’s what he is showing me.

Jesus knows my pain, because he goes through my pain alongside me, with me. He’s not drinking a slurpee while I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, just holding my hand.  No, he’s walking alongside me, knowing my great suffering, we are suffering together.  He is choosing to put aside any luxuries he is given and rights as God and walks alongside me through everything.

When I pray, and I ask for God the Father to take away the pain, he sees his own son, Jesus bearing that pain as well, and his heart is moved to action.

Also, when I looked back at that box, I could see that there were times I’d sit in the corner of it and scream.  Totally unaware of Jesus’ presence.  I bang the box with my fists hard.  I cry and fight and yell at God, believing all the while that he is outside of my box feeling nothing.

Whether we want to recognize him or not, Jesus is still in our box.  He’s always been in our box, it’s just that so many of us fail to look up and see him there.  We are too busy looking at God the Father outside of our box and getting angry and feeling betrayed, doubting his goodness.  But he didn’t have to send his son.

It also seems Jesus the only way out of that box.

If God allows suffering to bring us closer to Jesus, than this would be true.  As we draw near to him, the one who knows our great pain, we can find ourselves rescued and delivered.  And, although he may not ever take away all the pain here on earth, we can find rest in the son, because scripture says it is so.

So, I was in pain for four days.  But I walked out of it seeing that Jesus is always with me.  That is a gift I could never have hoped to have been given.  I don’t know that I will ever walk through pain the same.

It’s one thing for someone to say, I can relate to your pain.  At least that’s nice, and empathetic.

It’s another thing entirely for them to take it on themselves and walk through it alongside you, when they don’t owe you a thing.

He’s in your box y’all.

 

a made for tv movie

I LOVE horribly cheesy made for tv movies.  Especially Christmas ones.  I like the mix of predictability, mediocre acting  and always ending on a happy note.  I also love that they can’t include gratuitous shots of people not wearing enough clothes, there is nothing I despise more than movies where people are acting like they are getting physical.  So tacky, so gross, so not the real thing – barf.

Back to point.  The other day I convinced my husband to watch a made for tv Christmas movie with me. I had delicious snacks, so he was lured in.  I’m pretty sure the soundtrack was the same gals that always did the Gilmore Girls, so it was on par with my standards in many, many ways.

In the movie, the main gal hits her head, and gets an amnesia dream where her life is totally different (absolute predictability) from her mean/selfish/ambition driven life and she in the end realizes that she wants to change who she is and have the dream life where she is nice/selfless/semi-philanthropist.  All ends well.

During the made for tv movie, there is a point where her long lost love is telling her all the things he did after they broke up and she moved away.  He saved the grocery list she wrote on the chalkboard in his house, he kept some old mayo in his fridge from when they were together, he even bagged her pillow to always have her scent.  SO kinda creepy, but hearing all the ways he treasured even a memory of her made her realize that she was truly loved by him. All that time she thought he’d moved on and he hadn’t.  Game changer.

Later on he lists the things he loved about their life together and why he wanted her back; how he wanted to be there when she went to sleep, and watch her wake up each morning, to be the one who was there when she needed him, to catch her fall when they ice skated because she was always so clumsy and he knew her better than she knew herself… there was a laundry list of things he stated which included lots of qualities girls hope for in a man, all the little things that say, “I ADORE YOU”.

This made for tv movie summary totally has a worthy point;-)

It was during this movie that it hit me.  When the dude was listing off all his awesome qualities and ways of affirming his love for the main gal, I thought, “Whoa! That’s totally what Jesus does!  He IS that dude that all girls dream about!”  Not in the creepers save your pillow kind of way, but in the, “there for you when you need him, and never lets you down” kind of way.

Now, I love my husband, he does do a lot of the little things that are blockbuster movie worthy.

When he has to get up early for work, he makes a stack of pillows to hide the bathroom light from my face so I can keep sleeping while he gets ready.

He fixes my fuel filter when it smells like diesel in my car before I can notice there was a problem in the first place.

He watches silly movies with me like Pacific Rim and lets me “ELBOW ROCKET” him and doesn’t get me back.

He brings me cold water from the fridge before I go to sleep.

He is totally the guy I was meant to marry in a million-trillion ways.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s super dreamy handsome either.

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a match made in heaven.

But he’s not perfect.

And neither am I.

But I still want perfect.

Sometimes he just doesn’t get me.  Sometimes he’s gone for work and really can’t be there when I need someone.  Sometimes I still feel alone in something even though I’m married and have three beautiful children and an amazing family and friends.

Guess who stands in when other people can’t?

Jesus does.

Other people were never meant to fill all of the voids in my heart.  They were meant to fill some of them, but even in those people meeting my needs, Jesus is behind it.

He is the one who gave me my husband to stand in as a physical representation of how much God loves me.  And when my kids come up to me and say the sweetest most angelic, heavenly things at just the right moment, I have to chalk that up to Jesus sending me a sweet one saying, “Hey, I love you.”  Because normally they do things like this…

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father-son resemblance?

Jesus is behind so much, and we don’t even see it.

Jesus has been there for me in so many moments when no one else could be.

We all long for someone to love us, adore us and to think that we’re special.  And someone does.

When I stood in my littlest one’s room tonight and held her and sang while she rested her head on my shoulder, I was overwhelmed with how much I loved and just absolutely adored her, but my next thought was, Jesus adores me even more.  That is astounding.

He adores you even more.

He adores each one of us even more.

He’s the one who’s going to come dashing in and rescue you from danger, to hold the elevator for you in the building, to wipe the tear from your eye, to kiss your owies, to snuggle you to sleep and to sit with you and watch a made for tv movie with you and not eat all your snacks.

He’s there all the time.

And he’s perfect.

Sometimes he’s demonstrating his love through other people and their actions.  And sometimes it’s just you and him and he covers you in peace as you pray and ask for what to do next.

He’s the made for tv dreamboat we’ve always wanted, only better!

So, if you find yourself lonely in something this season, maybe it’s that someone isn’t understanding you, or getting it, or saying just the right thing at just the right moment… tell Jesus right then, and let him step in and be the one that meets all those hopes and dreams in being loved perfectly.

And, have grace on those who aren’t perfect, because they are just giving Jesus a chance to step in and fill that role.

Thanks for reading!

Life in all its fullness

I’m kinda on this kick where I’m REALLY into de-stressing my life.  De-cluttering my life, De-overcommitment-ing my life (not a real word).  Basically taking some serious time to look at all the small and great details of my life, and pray over them, asking God, “Do I really need this in my life?  Is THIS what you want me doing right now?” Sometimes God calls us to do stuff.  Good stuff, fun stuff, God stuff – whatever.

But then sometimes we find ourselves doing too much stuff.

I know I’m doing too much stuff when I stop really listening to his voice.  If I am running around all day, from one thing to the next, trying to be somewhere on time, letting someone down by being late, feeling as if there aren’t enough hours in my day to get stuff accomplished, I know I’ve stopped listening and I’m no longer hearing God’s voice super clearly.  I think I know how to run my own life even though it’s riddled with stress.

God is not at the center of stress.  He is at the center of peace.  God is a God of peace and he doesn’t abide in stress.  He just doesn’t live there.  So if I’m choosing to live there – I’m choosing NOT to live or abide with him.  It’s not like he ever leaves me, but when I walk away from him towards stress and overcommitment land, I can’t hear his voice so good when he speaks to me, because I’m not close to him.  Recently, I’ve felt him leading me back to him, back to peace.

Yesterday I was running late.  I was trying to get the kids ready for preschool, I slept in (my favorite treat to myself) and one thing led to the next where I found myself trying to rush out the door.  I had the whole car packed with all three kids (a task in itself), my keys, purse and water, and then I realized I hadn’t made a latte.  I know, first world problem, but I had the almond milk in the fridge and I figured since I was already late, I may as well enjoy my late drive to preschool with a latte in hand – I’m trying to relax more even in the stressful moments and not worry about the little details, like being on time;-)  I had already opened the garage door to head out when I made the split decision to go back inside.

Now, normal Rebekah would have left the garage door open with my kids, keys and purse in the car because normal Rebekah believes she lives in a pretty friendly neighborhood.  BUT, I heard a different voice.  The still, small, very, very, quite voice in the back of my head said, “shut the garage door.”  That’s it.  I have learned to listen to this still, small, very, very, quiet voice.

I shut the garage door.

I left the kids to sing and entertain themselves in relative safety while I ran inside to make a quick latte.

Within 30 seconds, my husband says from upstairs, “there’s someone coming to the door, let me answer it” in a serious voice.  I THOUGHT he said, “there’s a burglar coming to the door let me answer it.” I REALLY heard burglar.  So I stayed where I was and listened intently slash told Jesus I was concerned.  The guy sounded sketchy and was asking if so-and-so were home, and pretended he was sorta a contractor or something.  When my husband asked him the address he was looking for, he couldn’t even answer the question.  He had been standing across our street, staring at our house “talking” on a cel phone while his bud was skateboarding up and down our neighborhood streets.  They had a bunch of random stuff in the back of their truck, a kids bike, a table saw – an array of looked to be stolen goods.  I know it’s like, innocent until proven guilty, but I felt like the guy coming to our door was not up to any good.

It was at this moment that I said to the Lord, “Thank you Jesus for making the suggestion to close the garage door.”  My three babies were all strapped into their car seats in an unlocked car with my keys and purse on the passenger seat.  And yet they were perfectly safe because God recommended I do something as simple as close the garage door.  I was so glad I was listening.

Sometimes the enemy plans stuff to harm us, and sometimes God says, “nope.”

I believe this is because we pray and ask him.  We seek him for his will, ask him for his provision and protection.

There have been times where the enemy had plans to harm me, and God said, “nope” and I didn’t listen.  I was too busy.  I thought I knew how to run my life.  I wasn’t as interested in God’s suggestions.  I look back in regret that I didn’t listen to his voice.

It’s not that I wouldn’t hear him, I would only half listen.

I used to run at night.  My parents always told me not to run at night.  But being 17 and in high school, I did it anyway.  One night in particular, I could hear a voice almost YELLING, “do not go running tonight , especially in that tiny little tank top.” I remember it was only around 6:30 pm but it was dark and there was a light drizzle.  I said, “fine, fine, I’ll go put on a long sleeve shirt.” But as I continued to run, although more clothed, the voice persisted, “do not go running tonight, go home.”  It kept insisting, I couldn’t shake it.  I finally said, “Hey voice, I KNOW what I’m doing in my life, I KNOW I live in a safe place, nothing bad will ever happen to me! Relax! I’ve got this.”

So I went running that night with intention.

And I was attacked.

It was on a normally busy street, but I was completely alone, in the dark between streetlights.  A man came up behind me.  I only heard three footsteps before he grabbed me by the waist tight with both arms.  At first I thought it was a friend joking.  I can’t explain the fear and absolute clear understanding that I COULD NOT help myself when I realized it was not a friend and that there was not a soul around to help me.

I remember looking up to the night sky and realizing only God could help me.  He was the only one who saw.

I screamed to him twice, with everything inside of me.  I screamed for him to help me.

And He did.

He saved me that night.

He rescued me.

The man let go and looked like he was hit in the face with a bat.  He stumbled around confused, with his face towards the ground.  I didn’t wait to see if he was alright, with adrenaline pulsing through my veins I sprinted all the way home to my front door where I collapsed in the foyer of my house.  I still say an angel hit him in the face with a 2×4, but that’s just my own idea;-)

It took me months to feel okay by myself even in the safety of my own house.  I don’t believe God wanted me to have that terrifying experience or even have to walk through the aftermath of it.  I believe he was trying to keep me from that danger all together.  But I didn’t listen.  I thought I knew better, I was literally running my own life.

And even though I didn’t listen completely to his voice, he still protected me.  That my friends is God’s true grace.

Despite the bad press God gets in this world, He actually wants good for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  So God is speaking this to a repentant Israel in this passage, but it applies to us as well.

It’s the enemy who wants to opposite.  In John 10:10, Jesus tells us, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”  Jesus actually desires for us to have life, and have it to the full.  In fact that is precisely the reason he went to the cross, on his own will.  How incredible.

When I think about this, I juxtapose it against my own idea of what I think God wants for me: working for him, being perfect, getting it all right, earning his love and grace.

It doesn’t line up.  I am STILL, after being a Christ follower for almost 30 years trying to get it into my head who God really is, and what he REALLY wants for me and from me.

I don’t think God wants us experiencing even a tenth or a millionth of the pain and frustration we experience, it’s just that I don’t think we are really listening to his guidance on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s his voice telling us to forgive someone, to really forgive and hand the pain and hurt over to him. Other times it’s his voice reminding us to slow down and jut trust him, or to not be completely selfish and give some of what we have to others in need.

He speaks all kinds of stuff- and what he says to me, might not be the same message he’s giving you.

This is why he calls us to a personal relationship with him.  Not an “I go to church on Sunday and hear what the preacher says” kind of thing.  Don’t get me wrong, God speaks through the preacher, but God has more detailed, more intimate stuff to share with you.  Most of it probably revolves around how much he loves you and wants good stuff for you life.  Some of it might be conviction to give up something you’re holding onto that’s not good for you.

I don’t know exactly what he wants to speak to you – but if you listen, I can promise with my own life learned experience, that you will have more of what Jesus said he wants for you, to have “life in all its fullness.”

Who doesn’t want that?  Isn’t that what we’re all striving after anyway?

As always, thanks so much for reading.