Sweeter than wine

“God, I love You more than this.”

Two days before Lent and my Just Water year began, these words were spoken to me. I was sitting in my Monday Night small group and we were discussing the importance of decreasing ourselves and our worldly desires and increasing His presence. As the questions of why I am giving up coffee (and everything else) for a year swirled through my head, I felt those words wash over me.

God, I love You more than this.

I love You more than I love the taste of coffee. I love the discipline You are teaching me through this sacrifice more than I love holding a warm mug between my two hands. I love the grace You show my sinning self more than I love mixing lemonade with iced tea on a warm day. The rest I feel in my heart because of Your sacrifice – putting Your son on the cross so I may have eternal life – calms me more than coffee ever could.

I’m not even half a month in and it’s already been hard. I’ve had to come face-to-face with the hard reasons I drink coffee – the coping mechanism reason, the writer’s block reason. I carry around a stress ball to distract me when I’m upset so I don’t feel the need to calm my nerves with a cup of coffee. I have to find new places to write because coffeeshops just aren’t the same anymore, and I have to find a way to fill the holes that are left behind. I am forced to look the year ahead of me in the eyes and say “I refuse to lose because I have Jesus.”

You see, I “can” drink coffee. No one is forcing me to do anything – this is a choice. I will make this choice every morning when I wake up for 365 days straight because this isn’t about me. This isn’t about the strength I may or may not have, this isn’t about the likes I get on an Instagram picture or the comments I get on the Facebook post that probably led you to this very blog. This is about the small amount of good I am doing through The Justice Movement. This is about every single person who says to me “I don’t think I could do that,” in which I respond “I didn’t think I could, either.”  This is about the well in South Asia that I am playing a tiny part in building, about the people there that will get clean water because I didn’t drink coffee for twelve months.

I walked into church one day and our worship leaders began singing this song. I had never heard it before, but as the claps filled the room and the second line made its way across their lips, I knew He was right next to me, holding my hand.

“This love it is sweeter than wine, bringing joy, bringing life”

Every day, when I walk into the office and see a coworker pouring a mug of coffee, I sing this line to myself. I laugh when they see me trying to smell the carafe and tell me that it’s just “dirty bean water” and that I don’t actually want any, even though I know I do. But while I know I want coffee, I know I NEED Jesus. That I want coffee to brighten my eyes in the morning, but God does that on His own – like, have you ever seen the sun in a morning sky? I know that I wish for coffee to calm my anxieties, but I also know two things to be true: 1. That I’ve been ignoring how awful coffee really is for someone who has an anxiety disorder, and 2. The only place I can truly find rest is in His presence.

Now matter how sweet wine may be, no matter how bitter(ly delicious) coffee may be, His love will always be sweeter – and it will always bring me joy and forever give me new life.

Are you willing to give up one mug of coffee while I give up 365 days of them to donate that pocket change to my cause and to be reminded of just how sweet Jesus’ love is? Visit https://justwater.causevox.com/emilygallihugh and walk alongside this journey with me.


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