|One year I painted our verse and hung it in the kitchen.|
I cannot remember why we began sending this phrase back and forth to each other, but over the course of our long-distance courtship, my husband and I repeatedly closed our letters or cards with the words: In All Ways for Always.
It became a comforting concluding thought for our telephone conversations. It reassured us to emphasize to each other that our love would continue despite the circumstances or the length of time that kept us apart.
During the early years of our marriage we tossed it back and forth in laughter, whenever my husband travelled on his business trips. Our end of day reports would feature the comparisons of my struggles with our sons and his challenges with his clients. Every time we would close with those calming words: In All Ways for Always.
Carefully chosen words that created a rhythm for us, a refrain that repeated our commitment to the love we expected of and hoped for each other. As is true for any stated pledge we had to follow through with the appropriate actions to prove that our reality confirmed the intended meaning of this verse.
Why declare such a poetic expression over and over? Why didn’t we write or say something original for a change? Sometimes my writer’s heart longed for a new inspiring declaration from my husband. However, to this day I still know and believe in the sincerity and weight of those simple words that we say to each other: In All Ways for Always.
Sifting through scripture I found repetitions of covenants made by God that I might hear over and over again, as His love letters to me. Psalm 136 reiterates the same refrain following a series of specific accounts of why we should give thanks to God. After each trustworthy action the writer claims, “His faithful love endures forever.”
What if we wrote our own Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God? What if we placed the story of our lives line by line, noting each event that happened? Even when we had to write of our moments of dark despair or embarrassing errors, after each one we could hear, “His faithful love endures forever.”
It’s a closing line we could remember for ourselves. Perhaps it could become our reminder that He will encourage us as we continue writing.
Another repeated concept in the Psalms mentions God’s constant watchfulness. Picture for a moment how that might work. Even as we pray for the ideas that will form our writing pieces, He guides us and provides for us. In practice could we pause, allowing Him to watch over our selections? In that watchfulness, His promise “His faithful love endures forever,” could become a reality.
Psalm 121 echoes loudly in my mind, “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”
I take great comfort in those words. I have a responsibility as a writer to interpret through words, to persuade, to encourage, to relate life situations that may evoke emotional responses from readers. I will remember to pause, so that He may watch over me, as I choose the appropriate stories to share.
Actually, I realize I don’t have to conjure up a clever new closing to share with my husband. As I wrote this today, I discovered these lines as a new lead-in to our own promise:
His faithful love endures forever,
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever,
In All Ways for Always.