After I finally realized my misery has been my own doing, not God's, and I was determined to make time with Him my top priority, we reunited for our first date in months the last day of 2014. No better way to start a new year than to have good closure on the previous year.
To be honest, previous Jesus dates I struggled what to actually do to spend time with Him. I copied ideas from a friend, like reading my Bible at Starbucks, talked to Him in my journal, I did things I enjoy that I have no one else to enjoy with (like sushi), because if I enjoy them Jesus created me to enjoy them, and so He must enjoy them too ;) I knew what we did wasn't as important as intentionally trying to spend time with Him yet it still felt a little awkward.
I started planning out this date a week earlier, Christmas Eve, and I wondered what I would do this time. I had plans to borrow a devotional on prayer from a friend but didn't have it yet. I thought of buying one because I really didn't want to wait a day longer to start intentional re-connecting, and devotionals make it a lot easier for me than just opening the Bible. But I dismissed the idea of buying one because I really should start learning to restrict my spending, not knowing what 2015 employment would look like yet.
Yet, the day before our date I just couldn't get rid of the thought I should buy my own, and I had unexpected Christmas money, so I thought I'd at least pop in to the new Hull's that opened a few weeks ago and see what I could find. Often when I browsed I had trouble finding just the right devo I was looking for, so doubted I would even find anything. I doubted it even more when I walked in, they had 3 tiny little sections filled, the rest was empty and/or still under construction. I went to the one shelf of devos with about 20 choices, more than half of which were for families/couples. Yet, on the top shelf, with a very pretty cover, was a devo with large print HOPE, written by Beth Moore, an author I had been hoping to read something by soon. I flipped it open and the raw edged paper (I love raw edged paper) was filled with guidance towards a closer relationship with God and how to pray that out.....exactly what I was hoping to get from devotional time. I knew it was there just for me. So I bought it.
So, date day arrived, I dropped Sean off at work then parked near the 2 places I intended to spend time with God that morning. First was Starbucks, redeeming a free reward drink and snuggling up in a big arm chair, opening the devo and my journal to spend at least an hour talking to God. I opened the devo and on the first page was a personal poem by Beth that made me instantly cry and realized how intentional God really was in getting this devo in my hands. It of course was about hope, but the imagery she chose was imagery God had been pursuing me with since at least June, stars/diamonds. Her take on them was light in darkness, which has been my own theme for the month of December. And even mentioning 'a painted dawn for you', again a direct hit at what God spoke over me in 2013. Wow. Our date had barely started and He was giving me gifts. Then I opened it to Day One and it spoke to exactly the struggle I had been having all year, the reason I was letting my trust slip, but it spoke it in terms that I completely relate to, the metaphor of an artist. Especially with how much time I've been able to spend on art since being laid off! Again, I was completely blown away by God's pursuit of me through this devotional. Especially with how much I had rejected His voice in my life throughout the last year, and especially last few months. I was so humbled and grateful.
My next stop planned was a piece of art right across the street. I follow the local artist @kalbarteski on instagram and ever since I saw her posts of creating this work of art on some windows on Graham Ave I have wanted to visit them. Her work is lovely in print but it was more the message than the medium that enthralled me. It is a message of self love and love of body image, the same message that God has been trying to work out in me, so I thought what a great place to go next. I wasn't disappointed, it was even more beautiful than I imagined and saw from instagram pics! I love when art not only gives beauty but reflects & accepts it as well!
Other than that, I only had one stop left on our date, sushi for lunch. But first I had an errand to attend to. I had not premeditated this as part of the date, but considering our theme for our date and been creativity, it soon became apparent that God likely did premeditate this errand. My next stop was to browse art supplies, with that unexpected Christmas money. I anticipated being able to buy something to further pursue sketching or watercolour painting, but not both. The store I was going to go to used to be right across the street from the street art, but it was no longer there, so I Googled on my phone another art shop downtown and sure enough found one at the place I've considered attending a painting workshop! And, they had very reasonable prices AND of course a boxing week sale! I had fun browsing and imagining all the things I could create, and I walked away with an arm load full of supplies, which will be a great start to my attempts to dabble in both mediums again! Another unexpected gift from Jesus and the best date ever!
Then, on to sushi :) I decided not to grab the cheap trays found at most grocery stores these days, with only 3 choices and a little dry even after only 4 hours sitting in their refrigerators. I went to one of the places I ordered from for my former employer and with their lunch special ended up paying only $2 more than I would have at a store. It was fresh and so very delicious. I literally spent every mouthful thanking Jesus for creating a culture that created sushi.
After that, it was time to start getting ready for the New Year's Eve date planned with hubby, but Jesus wasn't quite done with me yet :) A few hours later as Sean and I drove to get dinner the sky painted with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. What a perfect gift to end the most perfect date. What a perfect end to our separation and to the year 2014. Thank you Jesus!