Milton says that gratitude bestows reverence. What in the world, in all this world, he sees in me, that he would give me his one heart to nurture and protect for the rest of our days. I will never fully understand. My heart swells and my eyes fill beyond the brim as I am reminded that the power of love makes us recognize how brief we are. I believe this moment has been in the making since the foundation of the universe. Every breath, every touch is a gift of love, a lens through which I might gaze into the holiness and sovereignty of the Father. I've never craved anything as much as I crave for these moments to house millenniums. Perfect love casts out fear. It is the shalom light we carry into the darkness and void. To love is to image our Creator, making something new. To love is to become less, so that He might become great within us. Love, teach me to be patient and kind. Teach me not to be jealous. Teach me to not be rude or proud. Show me how to put my own will aside. Help me not to be irritable or resentful. Teach me to not be satisfied by injustice, but to be joyful when the truth wins. Remind me not to give up, but to have faith, and be hopeful through every season. And we know that the storms will come, but love brings order out of chaos. We are not our own.

And we love because He first loved us.

Of all the wild graces, that I might be chosen for love in spite of myself.

I know it could be different. I had to watch him love me so I could learn to love myself.

A season of hunger has led me to this place. It was a call to worship that I never fully knew how to answer, a craving for intimacy. The search for an altar. The altar really is what this is all about. This life, this breath, this overwhelming need that consumes my being. The answer, I'm finding, is to count it all joy. To answer His proposal yes, when the sun rises and when it descends. To say that it is well with my soul.

He surely has made everything beautiful in its own time. These days have only solidified that His ways are not mine. Grace is real. That is the truest thing I know. Equally true is the fact that I do not deserve it, and yet I encounter it all the time - even when I look the other way, which I often do.  One of the amazing things about true love is that it breaks me of my pride. When grace captures my attention, I am moved to a state of gratitude. And gratitude produces awe.

May I not look to the right or the left.

This is how we reach up.

I am thankful that hearts meet where words fail. There are no words to describe how I leap inside at the sound of his voice speaking my name, how my fingers feel when filled with his and I realize that I am known and loved in spite of myself; when we become frustrated with our falleness only to realize that we are still becoming together. The elation that comes from the thrum of his heart against my ear. To see the world with carefree eyes, knowing that as long as the other is in reach, there is safety. There is joy and laughter and peace and rest. The absence of fear or expectation. Gratitude produces awe.

I am his and he is mine. For better for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as I live.