Category Archives: Vignettes of Vintage Love

Vingettes of Vintage Love 7.19.14

photo(2)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

 

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Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.18.14

IMG_0773Forgive the blog. She’s full of random thoughts. I don’t know what has gotten into her. No rhyme or reason here, just thoughts. I’m not sure I even liker her. Proceed with caution please.

The Best

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.

Redemption

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!

Firsts

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.

Baggage Control

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….


Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.15.14

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Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea for you and for me. While we are fishing God is looking to and fro about the seas to show Himself strong on behalf of someone who is fully committed to Him. I believe when you sincerely ask for God’s choice He takes you at your word, retires your fishing poles, and sets you apart for a choice of His own. I imagine, as being someone who loves to surprise others with the perfect and thoughtful gift, He too must pulsate with the delight over getting His chance to give His choice to delight you back.
     Having “one” for you does not take away your free will, it answers it. It answers that sincere cry for His choice. I’m not sure why we consider it a dogmatic thought that God would have “one” for us unless we think Him to not be a good Father? He created us so He sincerely enjoys us in a personal way. He would not by pass our desires. He would actually increase them and purify them with His own desires and give us more than we imagined for ourselves.
     I think it’s an overwhelming idea that the Father would so desire to guard the “nudity” of our bodies and souls by keeping us veiled for His choice. It matters to Him to whom He would expose and trust the interior of our lives to. There is something about being veiled, kept unto the Father for His exclusive choice that increases the revelation of our value to our Him. It matters to my earthly father who I marry. How much more would it matter to my heavenly Father?
     Could anyone have been Jesus, otherwise know as “The One”? How many times does God address all these other gods and points to Himself as the One True God? There is but One choice that leads to the Father. He states the truth without removing our choice. In regards to a spouse I don’t think it would be out of character for Him to have “one” in mind for us when we ask.
     The choice is yours: you can swim your way through plenty of fish or set yourself up for one miraculous catch.  If you choose to give God your choice you can be expecting that among all the fish in the sea will be one swimming “like the dickens” as the one He chose for you. They’ll be the one who asked of Him the same. Here is for me the elementary of the mystery:
  • 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?


Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.13.14

IMG_0967New 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.

Truly, to trust God in this vintage way only asks of us what Jesus Himself is already doing; waiting for His Father to present the one He has been preparing for Him.  Waiting upon the Lord is never a passive activity. Rather, it is a violent pursuit of His desires for you. In all of these things I do not perform perfectly, just honestly.

Enough for today I say…


Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.12.14

20140711-123511-45311929.jpg 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…


Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.11.14

20140710-223038-81038832.jpg I commented in the last post, “How we steward our singleness will be foundational to how we steward our marriages.” Our marriages are called to reflect our mysterious union with Christ. Should not also our singleness reflect the waiting and preparation The Bride undertakes, as She is being sanctified and set apart for “the One and Only,” Jesus?

Two words that help solidify the cement in a marriage are “exclusive” and “indissolubility”. Our dating culture violates both those virtues. Indissolubility, it’s one of my new favorite words. Admittedly I am a bit of a word merchant, which is a glittery way of saying nerd. Here’s the definition for my fellow word nerds; not dissoluble, incapable of being dissolved, decomposed, undone, or destroyed. I love that, “incapable of being dissolved”. I think the traditional wedding pronouncement says something like, “what God has joined together…” The assurance of successes in the marriage experience can’t be dependent upon what we join together. We are too weak and its demands are too great. The assurance must rest in what He Himself has joined together and what He provides to keep it together.

We, Christians, are adamant about chastising sexual urges but not romantic urges. We expect self-control when it comes to pre-marital sex but not in the expression of the romantic interests and desires that stimulates the sex. Pursue those romantic interests we say, but don’t touch anything, right? We are doing the “joining together” and awakening romantic love before its time. Rather than the Spirit, we let urges, attractions, and the pressures of peers and society lead us in and out of the dating game. We practice exclusive love, shadow a marital commitment and then dissolve the union when we don’t want it anymore. Those vital virtues, indissolubility and exclusivity, become our victims. They weaken with every break up.

Is it such an impossible thought to see a beautiful prospect, bring our romantic desires and interest in them to God, and choose to cultivate friendship until He gives further notice? Is that not what we would be expected to do when those same desires and interests for another surprise us within our future marriages? Why not practice faithfulness now? I believe the grace to remain exclusive in our marriages can grow from a our devotion to pour out our longings exclusively to Jesus while we’re single. Can you imagine how the virtue of honoring one another would grow, how the discipline to not covet would strengthen?

Marital companionship is one of the greatest driving desires of the human heart. What a powerful opportunity for an individual to take advantage of their longings by growing in prayer, dependency, purity, and intimacy with their First Love while they live expecting God’s choice for true love.

 

I know, I know, the obvious question is,

“How do you know if someone is “the one” if you don’t date?

I’m glad you asked. One of my best friends gives one of the best answers,

“How do you know if you do?”

 

to be continued, promise…


Vignettes of Vintage Love 7.5.14

20140705-100848-36528235.jpgI hosted a small group of singles in my home this past winter. My friend, who took the lead in our discussions, posed a question asking what their experiences had been to be tagged with the single status. Nobody had anything good to report.  They had felt shame, loss, embarrassment, and lots of pressure.  It was the last thing on earth anyone wanted to be.

As I listened behind the grief in their exclamations I heard the tender voice of Jesus whisper to my heart, “To despise your singleness is to despise intimacy with Me.”

I think Paul casts a right light upon this time in our lives, “… if you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married… I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.” (1Cor 7: 27-32) I understand Paul’s concern here is the persecution at hand and what would be wise within those circumstances. However, I do believe the plea to not live your singleness preoccupied with getting married is also a timeless wisdom.  To live in tension of marital desire and yet free from its concern is but a small window of time we get to offer to Jesus like no other time in our lives.

If you desire marriage, you will never within your life time, get another chance to experience the depths of God as a never married person.  After singleness ends you will have opportunities to experience His depths in marriage, possibly as a parent and or a grandparent, and eventually as widowed if you’re the last to go. These succeeding blessings are equal in value but not experience.  Jesus stands by waiting to give your never married status an experience in Him that provoke onlookers unto a holy jealously. Unfortunately our preoccupation with the lack of a mate makes no one jealous for Him.  Our preoccupation propels us into the company of misery.  All the while, Jesus stands along the sidelines aching to pour out a love into our emptiness that no one else can give in such a time as this time in our lives.

Very few people aspire to grow up to be a never married person.  I think it’s safe to say most of us grow up with a desire to marry.  Rightfully so, we were made for love and to illustrate the mystery of the love of the Bride and the Bridegroom.  Unfortunately, culture works overtime shaming the single status.  When we value what culture values we prostitute the purity of our hearts and eventually our bodies in hunting for mates, healing from the failures, and using the “lesson” to strategize our next approach.  We throw Paul’s wisdom to the wind.  We look at our once in a lifetime opportunity and cash it in for a preoccupation with marriage instead of Jesus. What a waste of our potential to knowing Him in this status.  What a waste of the grace He wants to give to equips us for the holy matrimony He has been keeping in mind for us.

Waiting upon the Lord in our singleness is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to become preoccupied with Him without the added concerns a beautiful romance promises to bring.  It’s our chance to be unhindered in the experience of what it means biblically “to wait’ upon the Lord: kawa; to become intertwined with Him.  It’s in “the wait” where we can be preoccupied with what pleases the Lord, where His love becomes our First Love.  First Love, it makes you ready to love unto death the one He makes ready to love you.

The demands of marriage have been proving throughout the decades of divorce that it is a much higher calling than we’ve imagined.  How we steward our singleness will be foundational to how we will steward our marriages.  If you are preoccupied with “the hunt” because you think you are missing out on something, you are.  You are missing out on Him; The One who loved you first.  He’s the only One Who has loved you unto death and back again.


Vignettes of Vintage Love 6.30.14

photo-9Today I want to share with you a little something I heard in prayer about this time last year…

“The marriage community in the church will not find the fullness of its revival in the repair of marriages and the renewal gender identity alone. What needs to be understood and developed is the original concept of the marriage union: God’s choice. It goes back to the garden where Adam had no choice but God’s choice.”

The “original concept” is why I’m calling this series Vintage Love.  It was God Who arranged the first marriage which reveals the role He desires to have in the matching.  He wants to make the match.  For this faith to grow in us it will be important to keep in mind a rule in biblical studies called the “law of first mention”.  It is the principal in the interpretation of Scripture that states the first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern, with that subject remaining unchanged in the mind of God throughout Scripture. 

The pattern God set in motion with Adam and Eve is repeated in Isaac and Rebekah’s story and Boaz and Ruth’s story.  The pattern is, God as Father, arranging the for bride to be presented to the bridegroom.  This pattern is at work now in bringing His choice Bride into union with Jesus.  A principle we can draw out of these 3-way unions of man, woman, and Holy Spirit is this: hunting for romance is not necessary to make a match. 

Is this too high a thought for you?  Is this too impossible a feat to imagine?  I hope so.  If our lives,  including our future engagements, are explainable without the Holy Spirit’s miraculous intervention than we are simply trusting in what we can self-fulfill.

It’s been my experience most people think trusting God to speak and bring revelation of His choice is too constraining on the will.  I disagree.  I say its extravagant grace.  It moves us into the impossibilities we were born-again to experience.  Remember when you were once an enemy of God?  Now you can’t get enough of Him, right?  How did this impossibility happen?  Such impossible love and passion could only have come through faith by what you heard and so can your mate.  It is by faith we live out every other aspect of our lives, yes?

So what’s our real question?  Would He not be faithful to speak to us?  He said His sheep know His voice.  Would He not be thoughtful of our desires?  He intricately wove us together in our mother’s womb.  Surely, He would not be thoughtless to ignore the ways He made us.  He give us our desires and purifies them with His own.  We may know who we are today but not who we are yet to become.  Only He knows that and who is needed to help shape us.

Let’s be honest, our hesitation to fully trust God in the romantique really points to our inabilities not His.

We trust Him so much more with far less important things.  This vintage way of love does something deeper than making a match, it brilliantly confronts what we really think about God’s Fatherhood.  The bible has marriages of His making as its bookends.  I’d say that makes God a romantique at heart.  I believe He can be fully trusted as such.  Like a good Father God wants to give us good gifts.  I really want what He is excited to give me not what I can get for myself.  Don’t you?

Thanks for tuning in! Will see where random takes us next…

 

 


Vignettes of Vintage Love 6.26.14

Re-awakening the blog to express my overgrown faith in the God of the Romantique until such a time it is fully wasted at His feet.  Expect thoughts and posts to be random, brief, unedited, imperfect and incomplete… it’s called thinking out-loud.

I’ve lived in the faith that God alone is big enough and generous enough to bring me into my desire for matrimony.  I’ve reasoned: He is God, He doesn’t need my assistance in the arranging, just my faith and obedience.  He orders my steps and will initiate all things in His time because He knows all things.  Like a good Father I imagine it to be a great joy for Him to give to His kids the long awaited desires of their hearts.  He’s a good Shepherd, faithful to speak to me in the intimate ways He has made me to hear Him.  God is perfect, therefore, His choice will be perfect; perfectly fitted to me with all the delights and imperfections needed to uncover my own.

As of late He’s been challenging me to remove the “it would in His best interest” rational from my request.  He dares me to ask from a pure understanding that He loves giving to me just because I am His and He loves me.

So I’ve pushed through to the core of my of matrimonial desire.  I’ve tried to peel away all the reasoning’s stating what a benefit my marriage would be for the Kingdom.  Its left me to contemplate the simple naked truth of my desire.  Within this large, take-a-deep-breath-run-on-sentence I state my honest claim:  I just want a creative companion of daring faith who is impassioned like me to live out the second half of our lives, married; deeply enjoying who He has created us to be for Him and for one another and spend our days watching people fall in love with Jesus as they encounter what we create together along our way to knowing Him more…. today I see what is the honest motive underneath the noble motive of my desire:

Joy

…and for this one motive I need not repent, apologize, nor justify because joy is Who He is

I am not my gifts.  I have gifts.  I am not a tool.  I have tools.  I am not deserving, He is.  The fullness of His joy comes from the fullness of my joy.  I am His delight.  This is enough reason to expect His goodness toward me. The same is true for you.

In waiting for love I have not waited alone.  He is the only One Who has waited in this faith with me.  We have not waited in vain.  Along the way I fell in love anyway.  I fell in love with Him and I am so freak’n excited to give away to my husband what He and I have managed grow in the waiting.

Truth is, if He never did one more thing for me I will love Him still.  Today my faith is reassured that the feeling is mutual.  He too will love me whether or not I ever do one more thing for the sake of His Kingdom.  Simply because I am His, He desires to give.

Take it for what it is worth for you and Him and see ya next week, maybe:-)  It’s random, remember?


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