Friday, July 10, 2015

Almost Amber Black

The big day is here, and I am struggling to understand the grace that has been extended to me.  Anyone who reads what I write and even those who spend a little time with me may fall under the false impression that I am a constant ray of sunshine, and that I have a close to perfect walk with Jesus.  Those who know me intimately are well aware of how fallen and broken I am.  I daily fight battles with sadness and depression.  I lose my temper over things that don't matter.  In short, I am a very sinful person who has made mistakes over and over.  But, because of my relationship with Jesus, I am forgiven, I am whole, I am complete.  I struggle with understanding when good things happen in my life because I know the condition of my heart on many days.  Having Jesus as my redeemer helps me understand on the smallest scale the power of His redemption and restoration.

I have written about my past in previous posts.  I have written the story of Brian and me.  Today, God is painting an incredible portrait of His power, His grace, His restoration, and His sovereignty.  As I start to get my jewelry together and make sure that everyone has what they need for the day, I am overwhelmed with joy and peace!  I know that those are gifts from God and are gifts I had thought I had all but lost years ago.  God is good, friends...all the time in every circumstance whether you can see it or not.  He is at work.  "See?  I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?"-Isaiah 49:13.  Hold on, friends...that something new is coming.  God loves you so much and He has something wonderful for you if you will follow after Him.

Today, I will change my name.  Recently, I prepared a lesson for my kiddos at church based on how people know you by your name...I wanted them to understand how important their name is.  I asked what people thought when they heard the name of the children?  Do they think good things or bad things?  Are they happy when they hear the child's name mentioned?  We talked about people in the Bible like King Saul and David.  When people heard about King Saul, they were fearful, angry, etc.  King Saul had done things that made his name one that people did not like.  We talked about David and how he brought courage and hope to people when they heard his name.  We talked about how if we claim to be a Christian, our name becomes tied to Christ.  When people hear your name, are they pointed to Jesus?  When people hear your name, what do they think of and feel?  I thought about that lesson again this morning as I prepare to change my name to Amber Nichole Black.  I will be tying my name to Brian's.  I am so excited for that to happen!  Brian has made sure to have a solid and sound name.  When people hear his name, they think about humor, Notre Dame and Reynolds football, and about Jesus.  Brian is a man after God's own heart.  He loves all people.  He has a desire to be involved in missions with the ultimate goal of bringing people the love of God.  I have no trepidation in taking on his name.  It is my prayer that I add only good things to the name we will share.

I am not a big believer in the mushy-movie-love that saturates our culture.  The things Hollywood portray are insincere and temporary at best.  I want a Bible-based love, a God-ordained love, and  a love that will last.  "Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves...Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another..." Romans 12:9-15.  This is the love I want and the one I believe God has given Brian and me.  I love Brian with all that is in me, and I am excited and honored to be given the blessing of becoming his wife.  Our marriage will have it's struggles and challenges.  But, if we keep this passage in our hearts, if we keep our priorities in order, we can be a power couple for the Kingdom, and that simply thrills my soul!

Brian, Ashley, Hannah, Amber, Cecely & Titus
I have so much gratitude to our family and friends who have walked through life with us and who will be celebrating this day with us.  I am so thankful for God's faithfulness and how He has showed it through His amazing people.  Thank you for every word of encouragement, every tear that was shared, every laugh that was given, and every prayer that was lifted up.  Please keep those prayers coming...pray for protection over the hearts and minds of our family.  Pray for strength to overcome strongholds and differences.  Pray for us to exhibit grace and patience with one another.  Pray that our family can be one that brings people to Jesus!  Now, I'm off to start getting ready for this big day!  I'm getting married!!!

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