Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.~Song 2:7b NKJV
I had no anniversary card to give my husband. But how could I? The car had broken down—thankfully in the driveway.
My husband was returning from a week-long work trip. As the hours ticked by, thoughts consumed me about our treasured tradition. Sure, he knew I loved him, as I knew he loved me. But the glimmer in his eyes as he’d hold my cards let me know he understood love best by reading affirmations. My husband would display his cards for months, then he’d file them in his card box.
This year no card would go into the box.
I cringed at the thought….
When grey hairs would crown my husband’s head, and memories fade, would he recall the circumstances and understand why there was no card to commemorate our thirty-seventh year? I peeked inside my box, and stroked the “xoxoxo” on his latest card, noticing how he’d underlined the words, “I love you,” with determined strokes. Even on text messages, he’d push emojis—which I always counted—thirty-seven was his average. An odd coincidence? This man knew how to draw a tear!
Moonlight streamed through the door as it creaked open. I heard his familiar footsteps, determined but gentle.
“Honey, the car broke, so I have no card…”
My husband shushed me, responding with a tender kiss, “But you brought me you, and I brought you me.”
“But it’s our tradition and I feel terrible. I should have…”
Embracing me, he explained he’d not gotten a card either, having no time to get away. It was in that moment, I realized God had gifted us with the inability to carry out our tradition. We’d go to dinner, where we’d planned on exchanging cards. But on this anniversary, the Lord intended for us to absorb the gift of presence. No cards, no gifts, only presence. This would be the intangible gift we’d treasure as we celebrated thirty-seventh years.
You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse. You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes…~Song 4:9a NKJV
A heart attuned to give and receive love.
Eyes gazing upon the one we adored, with fixed attention.
Bride of Christ, if our earthly husbands value our attention when we have only our presence as a gift, then consider how much more our Bridegroom Jesus Christ treasures this as well. The King of the universe loves it when we come empty-handed, with no gifts except our worship, as we focus fully upon Him. It is in these times that His Spirit lifts us into a realm of glory where divine love can, at times, be felt tangibly. Heaven meets earth with the splendid divine kiss… This is His gift of presence.
Beloved loves it when we let the cares of this world go, and focus on the One we adore, but is this achievable? Yes. It is unequivocally attainable. As the deacon Stephen was being stoned, he saw an open Heaven with Jesus Christ at Father God’s right hand. The sting of death faded, and he was swept into Beloved’s rapt glory (see Acts 7:55-56).
The gift of self….
We give the Lord of Glory the best card-less gift ever when we grace Him with ourselves.
Every memory—whether expressed with words, or not—is embroidered into the chariot seat Beloved takes us home in. I can imagine the glint on His face as He touches a gold stitch, saying, “This, My Bride, is the time you were so enveloped in My presence you had no words to speak.”
When we permit our love to extend beyond boundaries, He positions us to carry His glory, and with this we can reconcile the world.
Share a time you expressed love by the gift of presence.
My Beloved Jesus, I give You the intangible gift of an attuned heart focused solely upon You. Thank You that You treasure this, the gift of my presence. Thank You also for gifting me with the gift of Your divine, indescribable presence. Amen.
Copyright 2021: The Anniversary We Didn’t Exchange Cards: Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved
Published: February 2022: Inspire a Fire: Senior Editor Martin Wiles; Executive Editor Cindy Sproles