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Monday, November 19, 2012

Hopeless Romance?

I have been accused of being... shall we say, a bit dramatic.
When I love something, I love it and want everyone else to love it too.  When I see something beautiful, I want all to see it and enjoy it with me.  When I experience something amazing, I want the whole world to share in my joy.

A lot of people don't see things the same way I do.

Something that I love, that I have found to be beautiful, doesn't always excite the person I am trying to desperately to share with.

I am a hopeless romantic.

I remember the last autumn that we spent living up north, we had a huge maple tree in our back yard.  This tree was massive, the trunk probably had a circumference of 9 feet.  In the fall, the leaves would turn all shades of yellow, orange, and red-- a canopy over the entirety of our picket-fenced backyard.  I remember, I believe I was 10 at the time, standing in our driveway staring at the tree which rose up a good 5-6 stories tall.  I remember reverence, awe, and utter enjoyment.  What majesty! I had lived in that house for 5 years, I had seen autumn, I had seen the tree turn colors before-- but my breath (not to mention my heart) was stolen away in that singular moment.  I just pointed it out to my mom and dad, "Look, isn't it pretty?"  

I've always been this way, and generally my parents attributed my drama and hopeless romance it to my reading too many books. I can see this-- it's probably true.  Over the years I have gotten more and more practical, and less and less romantic.  Why?  Because I felt dumb when I would get excited over the smell of the crisp spring air, or seeing the intricacies of snowflakes for the first time, trying to get everyone else to "see", but being disappointed when they shrug and act as if it's all normal.

Sure, it's all normal.
I know that, I was just in an imaginary world for a second.  Pardon my drama... again.

I think that this apathy, this nonchalance is a direct attack from the enemy, satan.  He hates hopeless romantics, why?

 I believe that there is true value in being a hopeless romantic.... actually I would change that term, I'm going to now call myself a hopeful romantic.  This is the epitome of what satan hates so much. And I'll tell you why.

Hopeful romance is the essence of the child-like faith that Jesus alluded to in Luke 18:
15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. 16 But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

What are some of the attributes of children?  Excitement.  Creativity.  Simplicity.  Wonder.  Carefree.

My little 3-year-old sister will bound into the kitchen while I'm doing dishes and thrust a weed, little yellow flower on one end, dirt shaking onto the floor from the roots left on the other end, into my face, "Look, Amy!  This is for you!"  I gasp, smile, "Oh, thank you!  You're so sweet!" I take the weed and carefully place it in a little teacup of water as a vase.  My sister's grin widens, her eyes disappear into her rosy cheeks as she struts out of the kitchen feeling like a million bucks.

"From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength..."
~Psalm 8:2a

A hopeless cynic sees that weed as nothing but what it is, a weed.  A hopeful romantic sees that weed for what it really is, a gesture of love.  Being able to "see" like a child, to see the beauty of a weed as a flower, to take it as a token of affection from another child, is the epitome of hopeful romance.

So, what makes this romance hopeful instead of hopeless, and how can one see any sort of romance in a world so saturated with sin?  Asks the cynic.

My romance goes back to the cross. (Eph 5:25)  Jesus loves me, I was bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)  He died that I might live. (John 3:16)  I once was dead in my sin, naked, squirming in my blood. He came along, "Live!" He breathed. (Eze 16:4-6) He picked me up, washed me, clothed me, adorned me.

I was once dead, I am now alive.
I was lost, now I'm found.

I was blind, now I see.

I've been reading a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  In this book, she writes about her journey in how she learned to go from blindness to sight, how she learned to live in the moment, to enjoy it as a gift from God, instead of merely a transition into the next moment.  She began numbering her blessings, gifts from God, some that only she could see.  Like the way that the sun poured in through her kitchen window on a mound of grated cheese.  Who sees beauty in that?  She did, because the Lord knew her, that she would appreciate it.  He loves her, and gifts her according to what he knows that she will love.

 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
~Matthew 7:11

God loves me, and I love Him.  Ours is a relationship of hopeful romance.  I have hope in Jesus, that I will have eternal life.  I am His Bride, He woos me and showers me with blessings of His love, if only I have eyes to see them.

It comes in the forms of breathtaking color on the black arms of a gigantic maple.
The intricacies of snowflakes.
The sound of baby feet on the hardwood.
The smell of coffee early in the morning.
The yeasty smell of bread dough on Famer's Market day.
That blissful feeling of that singular peace, that surpasses all understanding.

That, my friend, is why satan hates hopeless romantics.  Because they see the beauty in the tiny gifts that God gives, they enjoy them as gifts.  They revel in the joy and excitement of their Maker.  They are intoxicated by His love, it is displayed everywhere around them.  They can't help but want to praise Him for what He has done.  He loves them, and they see it everywhere.

May we ever live our lives looking for the gifts of God.  Yes, sin permeates the world.  It is grieving, and there is a time for that.  But as a general rule, the Lord has done so much for us, it is ours to thank Him, to enjoy Him, and to ultimately glorify Him and make His name known.

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?"
~Psalm 8:3-4

"How precious are your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!"
~Psalm 139:17

"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
~Hebrews 13:15

"That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving
And declare all Your wonders."
~Psalm 26:7


  1. Amy, this post is so beautiful! I am such a cynic...but it's so important to see and gain the perspective you have! Thanks!

    1. Michael, my inherent weakness is cynicism. In fact, if you asked my closest friends, they would probably tell you that I was a cynic before they would mention that I was a romantic.

      I believe that this is direct enemy attack-- those of us capable of seeing God's gifts most clearly, feeling His love through His divine romance most potently, struggle the most with being blinded by cynicism, which has been leavened into us by the world. Not that I am incapable of satire by myself (my flesh obviously is bent toward sin already), but it seems that satan uses the world to take advantage of my "naivety".

      It's not easy for me to have this perspective. Not at all. It's only when I am walking in the Spirit and keeping my eyes open, watching for God to reveal Himself through these seemingly small, but simple gestures of His love that I can be a hopeful romantic. When I am walking with the Lord, that is when He is able to fashion (ha!) me into the person that He created me to be, that which the enemy tries so hard to stifle: a hopeful romantic.

      Btw, have you read One Thousand Gifts? It is literally changing my life... FABULOUS book!

  2. Amy, I really enjoyed this post. I am learning to cultivate this skill--I often overlook things (my observation skills are lacking...hmm, I wonder if that explains why I'm geographically-challenged?) But anyway, I am learning to look up (the clouds or the intricate design of the ceilings at Mohonk) and learning to stop and "smell the roses" [something Mr. Hamby actually does!].

    I would add one more distinction between hopeless and hopeful romantics. They both see the world in all its beauty and majesty...but the hopeless romantic doesn't know of the Creator and the hopeless romantic places his/her hope in that which is temporal. We, as hopeful romantics, can enjoy the temporal as a prelude to the New Heavens and Earth that is eternal!

    1. Anthony, thanks for that thought! You are absolutely right-- love that distinction... Though, this post is already 1,307 words, so not sure where I would add that as of now :-)

  3. This is so beautiful, Amy. I needed this. I almost cried. You are such a wonderful inspiration to me!
    I Love you!!

    1. Aw, Kelsey, I love you too. You've got to read One Thousand Gifts!!! :-)

    2. Ha ha!! I will!
      Love you!
      PS- my great grandma just passed to glory :(

  4. Hi Amy,

    I just wanted to let you know that I really identified with this post. I, too, tend to get really excited about things that I am interested in, and in sharing them I want others to get excited about them too, which seems to be a rare occurrence. Thanks for reassuring me in my passion for the world we live in!