my word for 2016 was wholehearted. i grew so much in the Lord. when josh and i looked back at our year, marking spiritual shifts happening each month of 2016 we gained such perspective and grew in gratitude. God has done so much in me, in us and in my family.

we realized this has been the first year that we both wholeheartedly chose to pursue the Lord. it’s the first year in our marriage where we’ve been in complete pursuit of being intimately connected to the heart of the Father. what i thought would be a year of learning about what it means to be wholehearted, God chose to make me wholehearted and he topped it off with aligning josh’s heart too. God is so good and so faithful.

 each year for the past 8 years or so i’ve chosen a word. this year i chose the word bride. in 2015 my word was restore  and each month that year i did a reflection and this is something i’ve been stirred to do again. these monthly reflections served as a way to track what the Lord is doing in my heart and a way to be mindful of His faithful work in me from month to month. i’m in need of this accountability with the word bride so here i go — reflection number 1 for 2017!

i am the bride of Christ and he is the Bridegroom King. i am also audrie patterson, wife and bride to josh patterson.  i want to grow in knowing and living what it is to be a faithful bride to Christ and Josh. i want to know what it’s like to more fully pursue purity, power and partnership as a bride.

“Those who love God in truth will set their hearts to live in a spirit of obedience in every area of their lives–including their use of time, money, and words and in what their eyes look at. Many in the church today believe it is acceptable to disregard God’s commandments. This is a grave error. We are in a covenant relationship in which we receive God’s love, and the only acceptable response that is worthy of Jesus is for us to love Him in return. He loves us with all His strength. He wants us to love Him with all our strength. Yes, our “all” is small compared to His “all”, but it is a covenant relationship of love in which both parties give their all.”  – growing in prayer by Mike Bickle

what does it feel like and look like, in this day and age, to give my “all” knowing that Christ has given his all?

this first month of 2017 didn’t start as planned but God is faithful to turn our eyes to gaze on his beauty and remind josh and i how deeply and passionately loved we are by Him. as i’ve pursued a greater intimacy with the Lord i find myself regularly moved by just how good He is … just how beautiful He is. He is so kind and caring. He is so invested in His children. He desires healing and restoration and delights when we partner with Him to release, here on earth, the realities we already posses in the spirit. He is so pleased and delighted in his children because we are His. His love is so constant and never changes … it’s solid and will never end no matter what sin we may find ourselves in.

i am finding that as i gaze on the beauty of the Lord the more i grow in love with Him, and the more real Jesus becomes to me. Jesus is a divine being but He’s also a man … with skin like me and hair and eyes and a presence and ears that hear. He’s got a heart that pumps just like mine and has legs to walk around where He needs to go. as present as my husband is when he walks in the door, so is the person of Christ showing up in my life. i’m in love with Jesus because He reveals to me the heart of my Father and His heart is pure and blameless.

as i’ve sought to love my husband with my all, God has so sweetly whispered reminders of the importance of praying for josh. so i scheduled time in this past week to prayerfully and purposefully chose to lift josh up to the Lord. it was a time of worship, listening and verbally praying over aspects of josh’s life. it was in that time i was reminded of how there is nothing else more important i can be doing for josh than praying. it was such a sweet time and i look forward to my time this weekend when i get to be in the presence of the Lord and pray for josh.

God has also been so sweet to encourage me to take a greater interest in my physical appearance for josh. this part of my life has been lacking since graham was born because i know josh loves me despite how i look. it’s been easier to choose laziness and justify it because graham requires something of me. it’s time i’ve chosen josh over graham in this area as i seek to be a faithful bride.

lastly, i’d like to share this prayer set from IHOPKC (international house of prayer kansas city). it was the prayer set i just “happened” upon as a friend and i prayed for our husbands this month. it’s about loving others well and it’s really quite beautiful. enjoy.

http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/#asset/170103_TPR_0800/auto/true