In the Walmart parking lot tonight I passed by a husband throwing up his arms yelling at his wife for how stupid she was spending more money on Thanksgiving than she made this week. Ah, and so begins the highly anticipated and equally dreadful consumer holiday spirit. Thank you Hallmark and Target for the unreasonable expectations of a perfect holiday in a broken world.
The last time I got to have Thanksgiving with my mom was 20yrs ago, in her hospital room. The homemade feast we lugged up five floors was cold and the radiation burned in her stomach as we tried to “make the best of it.” That sucked. This year I have friends who can’t escape loneliness, one fighting to live through the chemo that’s trying to kill her cancer, a friend who is losing a job right now along with a few hundred of his co-workers, a customer who’s son got jailed for the 3rd time this year because “he’ll never learn”, etc. “Happy Holidays!” It’s a bit unfitting to say the least.
Earlier this month I read some FB-posts giving thanks for each day in November leading up to Thanksgiving. They were primarily remarks of thankfulness for favorable circumstances which in turn can make any of us less fortunate to feel cursed. So, I challenged myself. I wondered if I could come up with a “thankful” list that didn’t point to warm houses, new cars, good jobs, loyal friends, life long romances, and perfect kids. All of these “blessings” for sure feel good and are worthy of thanks. They are also at risk of a sudden loss and that can make a holiday suck. At my desk, in-between my 50+ phone calls, I jotted some thoughts and ended up with a list of 30 unchanging realities. I really wrote this for my own meditation but after the Walmart episode I thought I’d share. Maybe, if your circumstances suck right now, you’ll find something to be thankful for that promises to never change.
Jesus, Thank You for …
- Your stunning wisdom and revelation insight, You keep me fascinated
- Your prepaid forgiveness for everything, that astounds me
- Your blood, it lets You see me just-as-if I’ve never sinned
- Your looks of love toward me
- Your eternal desires to be with me, I still can’t understand that
- Not flinching at my uglies when I dare to expose them to You
- My doubts and objections never convincing You
- Collecting my tears, that makes me feel cherished
- Hearing me, after all who am I to be heard by You?
- Drawing near to me when I draw near to You
- Resisting my pride, I would have fallen so many times if You hadn’t got in my way
- Helping me to know Your voice
- Making it possible for me to live without offense more and more, BTW this is blowing my mind more and more
- Healing my heartbreaks, where would I be without You?
- Never fearing to tell me the truth
- Making me courageous with Your very courage
- Trusting me with Your mysteries
- Never giving up on my ass
- Liking me
- Claiming me as Your own like You’re proud of me or something
- Holding me out like a light for others to see because You think I’m worth looking at over and over again
- Defending me
- Never letting shame separate us
- Being faithful to me, You’re resilience makes me marvel
- Making plans to always set me up for a good outcome
- Putting me in You; You’ve made me worth good things that I will never deserve
- Staying captivated with my potential in You instead of my weakness
- Singing n dancing over me with delight, I’ve never had that before
- Making my hopes float when hoping makes me tired
- Wooing me to rest in You especially when it doesn’t make sense… oh, and
- Not letting me marry a dude who shames me in Walmart parking lots:-)
“Abraham labored 25 years for his promise. Then, when he got him, he gave him back up to God.” B Sorge 11-6-15
25 New Year mornings thinking “this could be the year” and 24 New Year eves resolving it was not. Impossible it is for one to wait for God to fulfill His words to you unless His grace is empowering you to believe one more day, one more year, one more decade…
I wonder… what year did doubt meet up with Abraham? What year did human reason try to work it’s mediocrity n twist God’s words? What year did his friends lose hope n stop encouraging his dream? In what year did the devil call him crazy? What year was it that the seduction of depression tried to win him over?
How many of those 25 years did he have to watch his friends get for themselves what he would only get through promise? Then how many more years did he have to watch his friend’s kids do the same while he remained managing his longings within the suspension of waiting through another year?
I wonder what year fatalism tried to take a seat? What year did the accusations against God push their lies? What about the year his aged body told him, no way man? What year was it that his own wife, needed to conceive n carry the promise, finally laughed him off….
Every year began with “maybe” only to end with “not yet”. Abraham walked upon a tight rope of God’s invisible words for over 9000 days of possibility. He saw them all pass him by but one. Absolutely impossible it was to endure faith without empowering grace.
Abraham’s next act of love for God would be greater than the first. Such love would have had no where to anchor if there had not been such a deep intimate history with God in faith through grace.
Everyone wants Abraham’s faith. Who wants Abraham’s wait?
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”
Romans 8:22-25 MSG
This is one of the most thought provoking pictures I’ve seen this year. If I could have personally painted a picture of the evil spirit that abused my femininity since childhood, this would be the most illustrative of its influence upon my innocence. However, I no longer blame culture for our relentless pursuits for beauty. I blame Eden…
I believe our culture is simply echoing an original longing: to return to Eden. I wish men knew, the glory of the perfected female frame they can’t stop looking at, is the same glory we have a divine desire to return to. Working in the beauty industry I learned there were women I too couldn’t stop staring at. The only difference was men wanted to consume their kind of beauty and I wanted to be their kind of beauty. It made me to see there is mutual longing in the human heart for beauty. Our attraction is to encounter perfection, which only existed in Eden but now promised to be restored in Christ. After Eden our executions to encounter beauty has mostly been found enslaving, self-pleasing, and mutually abusive.
At the Fall God told Eve her desire would be for her husband. It’s traditionally taught this means it would be in her nature to want to manipulate, control, or own a “man’s place” of leadership. I disagree. Where was her desire before the Fall? It was to receive from God. It would no longer be in Eve’s nature to look to God for love and acceptance but it would become her desire to look to a man instead…
What men today would dare to partner with God in the beautifying work of undoing her secret shame and watch her deformities actually restored to her original design? No more striving. What women today would dare to partner with God in the liberating work of undoing his secret shame and watch his cravings actually restored to his original design? No more fighting. Oh that we could look upon each others ugliness convinced that’s not who they really are and join with God in returning one another to innocence and rest!
It’s just too easy to be disgusted, search for blame, and rest in our rejections as though their deformities and addictions are neither our fault nor our responsibility. What if we put down our “scissors” of repulsion and lifted our eyes in faith to fight for each others original glory? How much of Heaven would come down? There is so much more to know about love than what the eyes allow us to see. Where is true love proven if there are not impossibilities? We all are not yet who we were originally meant to be
I know, I know, impossible. You say I’m a dreamer. But it’s my blog, so I can.
We are making plans to spend Valentine’s Day with the man we hate to love: Mr. 50 Shades of Christian Grey! We’ll be there by the tens of thousands spending our tens of millions for a quickie: a quick escape, a quick entitlement, a quick hope, and yes – a hot quick thrill. As you pass us bye in the ticket lines next weekend you may wonder, who are we to be so enticed? Well let me tell you…
“It’s the fact that you are mine to do with as I see fit-ultimate control over someone else. And it turns me on.” – Christian Grey*
We are girls who want for greatness and don’t know we were already born from it. We’re attracted to masculine confidence but have learned to settle for big egos. Like Ana, we will tolerate male arrogance (against our better judgement) even if it eventually abuses us. We are looking for someone who appears great to tell us in turn we are great. We will let them define us and we’ll conform for the approval. So what if it comes with a side of pride and control freak? We can’t help it. We’ve simply not yet learned the glory of our own worth nor from where it has originated.
“Why did he say he couldn’t make love? I will do anything he wants.” – Ana Steele*
We are girls who long for intimacy and have learned to repress it for sex. We know – we know, Christian is not intimately acquainted with Ana. He won’t even let her look him in the eyes. However, he is intimately acquainted with the female body and we really like that. Thanks to the countless many he paid to practice his craft on; he is a master at timing, touch, and building anticipation in order to manipulate mind-blowing orgasms! Just like Ana, we secretly long for our men to study us in all of our ways but we’ll let them know our bodies first while we endlessly hope for the engagement of our souls. We don’t know to wait through the slow, mutual, and voluntary reveal of two trusting hearts and a daring martial vow. We’ve not had a grid for that kind of action for decades. Sucks, I know.
“I need to be able to show him affection than perhaps he can reciprocate…” -Ana Steele*
We are girls who long for justice and strive to self-redeem our own violations. We are the abused flocking to appease our secret abuses. We continue to give our sex away hoping one of these days, our sex will finally return the love we wished for the first time we gave it away. Please keep in mind, very few of us were introduced to sex in the context of its holiness, we have no idea the true ecstasy we’ve been compromising.
“I am grateful for your inexperience… Simply put, it means that you are mine in every way.” -Christian Grey*
We are girls who agonize to make an impact and we’re so easily deceived. Our hunger for romance makes us think that he was making a declaration of love until death parts them. The truth we can’t see is that his ego was swelling; knowing he got inside her first, marking her, staking his claim to never be forgotten! His heart wasn’t melting for Ana. She was simply his latest “greatest accomplishment*”. It’s a demonic rebel yell, a declaration of ownership. Now, you might be aware that the psychology of a sexual predator is to get-off on stealing purity, but we don’t. For some unknown reason get flattered by that crap.
“My stomach somersaults-he wants me … in a weird way, true, but this beautiful, strange, kinky man wants me.” -Ana Steele*
We are girls who dream to be counted among the beautiful and, well sometimes, we’re just shallow. We want someone beautiful to tell us we are beautiful because it just seems to counts more. Truth is, if we stripped Christian Grey of his beauty, money, and charisma we’d call him an ugly rapist, an impoverished abuser, a creepy stalker, and protest his pedophile-like perversions. As long as the perversions wear a pretty mask it’s all good with us. The truth is, sometimes we can be just as one dimensional as we accuse our guys to be. Why so shocked? You’ve been told the day was coming for lovers; lovers of self, money, and the profane. Right?
Mostly though, within our own relationships, we feel lonely for someone we have not met, not yet. We are bored with our choices and our insides are empty. We are starving for fascination. So when you see us girls standing in the ticket lines please forgive us, we know not what we do. We’ve mistaken this big-screen illustration of abuse, manipulation, and mutual masturbation for a love story. Pray for us, love on us, but please don’t hold it against us. For if we ever got a deeper glimpse of the beautiful innocence in One True Love, we want you to know we would be making different plans for Valentines Day.
*Quotes from 50 Shades of Grey by E L James 2011
So there you have it, my overgrown faith in the God of the Romantique wasted at His feet and before your eyes. True to form my thoughts and posts have been random, brief, unedited, imperfect, incomplete and, after some rereading, repetitious at times. Sorry about that. After all these years of expectation only one issue of unbelief remains for me:
I can’t believe I still believe.
I found out this week, through a challenging conversation with my friend, I’ve picked up some secret shame along my way in this faith. I don’t know upon which birthday I found it but it’s the shame of my faith not being fulfilled by now. For me to have remained unmarried up to this age is what “they” call a spinster. Yeah, there’s a word for it, and it’s not flattering. There is also the shame of standing before a generation who’s been watching my faith. Recently I’ve been watching them back. I know they are starting to secretly question if this vintage way is really a way of God. If it was not evident in His Word, trust me, I would question it too.
I did what I knew to do with the shame. I confessed it. Jesus took me to Song of Solomon 6:5 and said to my heart, “Turn away your [flashing] eyes from me, for they have overcome me!” It was as though He too can’t believe I still believe. Can’t you hear His marvel echoed, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” Even in the midst of secret shame my faith lives. His pleasure meter was popping coils.
I amaze Jesus. What the …?
You need to understand, self-determination did not bring me to great faith. Love did. He promised me a romantic love 23 years ago. Who knew romantic love would only be a yummy sweet cherry on the fat scoop of a First Love sundae? Who knew He could sustain the faith of a natural born quitter over two decades until it became great? He knew. Do you have the dream of thrilling His heart? I didn’t when I started but I do now.
He’s taken this past year to convince me that a revival of His vintage way of love is coming. Veils that have been hiding us from one another will finally rend. Our weddings will impart to others a greater grace and greater faith to prepare hearts for more divine matches to fill the earth. What has been dishonored will be honored. What has been shamed will be celebrated. What has been misunderstood will be desired. What has been unpopular will begin to trend. So file your hashtags #godoftheromtantique, #vintagelove, #firstloverules, whatever. All that I know is, it’s coming. Check out this word from Bill Yount. It came out after the word I got in July 2013.
To you who-know-that-I-know-you have been waiting too, I want to share a picture I got during worship at Renaissance a month ago. For a split second, why my pictures are only a split of a second I know not, but anyway, I saw in my imagination Jesus moshing His way up the left isle. He was amp’d, almost violent with excitement. I heard His heart inside my heart, “I’m bringing you a miracle!” He was so excited because like you, I waited with Him up to the point of a miracle. Why? Because He doesn’t get this chance often enough. I think it’s safe to say He is way pumped to show off your romantic dream. Thank you for thrilling His heart with your great faith. I love you guys and I-know-you-know-who-you are. Thanks for the tweets and the texts and the call, it’s good to know you’re not alone when you’re alone.
Lastly, a note for my veiled husband. Of all the exciting adventures I could dream up for you and me, I can no longer imagine one of them to be more thrilling to my heart than the enchanting adventures I get to take into knowing the likes of you.
Well, there you have it, a peek at my wasted faith -XOXO
In the last post I suggested when you get God’s choice you know you’ve got the best. What is the best? It’s the one faith brought you. Our chief joy is His pleasure. His pleasure is in our faith. I’m interested in His pleasure and He’s interested in mine. If your desire is only about your joy as a couple then you’ll miss the greater fulfillment. Where’s the conflict? Well, it’s usually in our faith.
I know we can love and learn but it’s pretty expensive to our interiors. Is there healing and redemption after heartbreak? Absolutely. And then there’s wisdom. It’s always bothered me when people say of others, “they’ll have to learn the hard way.” Really? Do they have to? I always think, no, they don’t have to. They can choose wisdom. We’ll have enough practice to love and learn with our family and friends. Those relationships alone will teach us well how to risk, love and honor and give us experiences to rebound from pain and disappointments. Save the romance for the engagement. For me, the vintage way of love is not only right it is wise.
His vintage way may appear too ideal for those who are reminded of their past involvements including divorce. His vintage way is not without redemption. Hit delete, turn and trust Him to do this for you. Your past doesn’t define your future. I can’t imagine a more sincere cry for God’s choice than the ones coming from hearts who’ve experienced the brokenness of a broken choice. Ask!
I imagine to enter into a marriage without a history of pre-mature romances can make the fitting together seem like a dream. Just imagine all the “firsts” you’ll have saved up. You know you are experiencing a first when you start out saying, “I’ve never”. Firsts are the place where that priceless pearl of vulnerability opens itself to an unknown. Adherence to one another takes place and makes history in your soul. You never forget your firsts, so save as many as you can.
I think one of the advantages of asking God to make the choice is baggage control. I guess one of my motivating passions behind encouraging the vintage way of love is the assurance of knowing you are making His choice your choice. You can go the way of dating and I can go the way of waiting. The truth is, we will both be wanting the assurance of His choice. The challenge will be the same: to hear clearly to know surely. You will have to sift through your history with many. I will have to sift through my history with One. I’ll have someone in mind. You’ll have someone in your hands. You know at some point you will be asking God if this is “the one”. I will too. If He says no, I will have to sever a disappointment. You will have to sever a relationship.
If He says yes. then we both win. The prize? It’s the assurance we know that we know. The challenge will be to fit in the baggage we’ll be bringing along. Totes or tubs? I bet I know which one your spouse would prefer. Less is more.
I Don’t Know
This is all I know this side of “I do”. What I don’t know is, if the vintage way of love comes with any guarantees. Is the love better? I don’t know. How do you judge? Is the success rate better? I don’t know. Where’s the polling on it? Is your partner less likely to die prematurely or become handicapped? I don’t know. Should it matter? Will they always prosper financially? I don’t know. Will they have as many children as they want? I don’t know. Is the sex better? It better be! Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud?
I don’t know the other side of “I do” for those who ask for God to make the choice. When I do, I expect there may be some revisions to my present understanding. The truth of His way won’t change but understanding it should. His ways are so much higher than ours. There’s alway more to know of what we’ve known. What’s for sure is the same God Who walks me through my singleness is the same God Who will walk me through my marriage. He’s guaranteed.
Tomorrow is the finale….
- You ask from your free will.
- He promises to order your steps.
- He promises to lead you into all truth so you won’t miss them.
- He gives us the desires of our hearts therefore, we will love His choice and not refuse them.
A long the way, if you believe God has spoken concerning someone and that someone does not agree then you have one of two resolves: it’s not them or it’s not time. Staying preoccupied with Jesus will sort that all out. He will make the wrong things right. Remember you are not waiting on your mate, you’re waiting upon the Lord.
I know many of us lack the confidence that we can hear from God. One thing I like to stress about hearing is first, reading His word makes you familiar with His voice. Second, He will speak to you in ways you’ll get it. If you were a deaf child of His, like any good Father, He would take the responsibility to be heard by you. He would speak up. Three years back I had a guy confront my choice to wait on God as though waiting was a cop-out covering a fear to risk. I wish I had the answers for him then that I have now. My faith rests in His faithfulness to me. I can be in the center of God’s will or acting an idiot, He will be faith to let me know what I need to know when I need to know it. That guys question grieves my heart today
I’d love to know about now, what does that do for your faith? He is so for you why do we doubt?
New flash: the substance of our lives does not begin with marriage. Singleness is not a hiatus to be endured. There is a lot of hard work taking place between now and “I do”. Do it well and you learn to turn into Jesus with your loneliness, unmet desires and temptations. You press into Him with questions of your worth, the pains of shedding the old man, and recovering brokenness. This is your time to grow in intimacy with Jesus without encountering shame. You learn who He’s made you to be on the earth. This is His time to take first place as our sole desire, resource, and primary motivation.
Singleness is our chance to fall in love with our First True Love. When that is our goal we will be enabled to live from a place of being loved instead of reaching for love. He becomes first in our endless longings for attention and affection.
I know what you’re thinking; to wait, watch, pray, and reserve romance for His choice is just not natural. I agree, it’s not natural. It’s supernatural. Hello? You know, you were born-again for the impossible, right? The grace to wait upon the Lord single, untangled from multiple choices will force us to listen beyond our natural and sometimes raging desires. It is an optimal environment for the fruit of self-control to show itself strong. It uncovers the ugly truth about our need for love; it stink’n never ends. He is the only One Who can answer its depths. Our mates deserve to be free of such an impossible demand. I think the best gift we can bring to our wedding day is a heart knowing it’s already fully loved by Jesus.
So, what do we do with our natural longings while we wait? Glad you asked. One day a co-worker and I went to lunch. Puzzled by my faith, she was asking a similar question of me. Okay, her real question behind her question was; what do you do when you want to have sex? I told her, “I’m honest with God and I’ll tell Him the truth, ‘I want to have sex and I want it now’ or ‘I’m lonely and I can’t wait another day’. Sometimes He brings me peace.” Then I stunned her, “Sometimes, I suffer.”
I’ve learned there is a grace to suffer. Grace does not mean you won’t feel it. It means you won’t stop believing in His goodness as you suffer through with Him. The world around us thinks, because God made us with natural desires, we have a right to help ourselves to pleasure them. And that my friends is making Him in our own image. Now, I don’t deny my desires, I deny their power to be the boss of me. Behind every struggle is more of Him to encounter, His power and presence to overcome every untimely desire. Much like Jesus, I will suffer longing because of the joy set before me: my someday husband.
Enough for today I say…
Should I date or should I wait? Well, to the best of my knowledge the bible does not address dating. There is no biblical law against it nor is there any biblical counsel encouraging it. When it comes to dating, I no longer think “to date or not to date” is the relevant question. What God has given us is a series of relationship standards of “one anothering” that apply to all our relationships. He has also given us charges to flee sexual immoralities. That’s it. So basically our instruction is to be good to one another and don’t touch nor lust for what has not been given to us.
What does He say about waiting? A lot! To wait upon the Lord is not only encouraged, it is instructed, expected, and rewarded. He has also given us stories of His involvement in the three romantic matches previously mentioned. In them He has proved how faithful He is in the romantic. He is a wise Giver of good and fitting mates. My logical conclusion is simple; dating is unnecessary.
Keeping our romantic interests in prayer and submission to God works to purify our friendships with the opposite sex and preserve the hearts of everyone involved as well as future relationships. When Jesus spoke of the adulterous thought making us just as guilty as the adulterous act, He pointed to His greater concern: the purity of our hearts. So I wonder, “to be pure of heart or not to be pure of heart” might be the more relevant question. That’d be great because the answer to that question is a no-brainer.
When romantic interests strike and we decide to pursue it with dating we have to deal with the yoked of not being sexual with them. Because we want to do this right we’ll make our own rules to keep ourselves from obsessing, lusting, touching, and arousing one another. All of this becomes increasingly difficult to abide by because while we are resisting physically, we intercourse emotionally and affectionately. Our intertwining tightens, the questions of longevity surface and now we have to fight the pull and fog of our longings as we pray to know if this is “the one”.
It appears to me that all our efforts to compile do’s and don’ts for dating and engagement end up complicating the elementary nature of a giving God. The laborious do’s and don’ts are eliminating from our relationship with Him the very thing that brings Him pleasure: our faith. Either we believe what we see in the bible as His ability and desire to present His choice or we don’t. We wait or we don’t.
Unbelief in His vintage design leaves us alone to surrender ourselves to ourselves, leaving us with only what we can do for ourselves. Consequently, it robs our Father God of the superior pleasures our faith. The consequences domino from there; we are robbed; therefore the church is robbed until finally the earth is empty of righteousness and cries out for holy matrimonies.
What does waiting look like? It looks like wisdom; living preoccupied with Him, believing what He says, and receiving what He brings. If you want something to do while you wait; watch, pray, build friendships, and reserve romance for the one He discloses as His gift to you in His time. The dont’s will fall away in the light of His love for you. Why should we grope for what He is already longing to give?
I think we’re half way there…