Wednesday, December 31, 2014
“Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”---Jeremiah 31:21-22(Message)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."---2 Corinthians 3:17(NKJV)
Last night, I read an article entitled "Why I Bought Myself an Engagement Ring".
Now I'll say this: I don't know if it's my age or what, but no matter how much pop culture tries to cram it down my throat, I will never been able to rock with women being referred to as female dogs. Why? *Because we're not female dogs*.
I'm sharing that because if you decide to read the piece, she references her friends in that way. I'm thinking as a term of endearment. I didn't want you to be jarred if you saw that.
The article is basically talking about how a lot of her friends have engagement and/or wedding rings and her decision to get a ring that she liked that could basically pass as an engagement ring (especially since she said that it would only fit on her ring finger when at the time that your purchased it). Not because she's currently in a relationship but because shoot, *she liked the ring*. Again, you can click on the link to read the entire piece. However, this is how the article ended:
I immediately texted my ex-boyfriend. We talk every day. Like I said: best friend, but not my husband.
“I bought a fancy ring in Tanzania.”
“Well, someone had to.”
“Don’t be stupid.”
I think I’m half-joking when I call it my engagement ring. I think about what the nuns told me. It’s a commitment to myself and a reminder that I’m not wrong, or crazy, or flawed to wait for the right person. I saw the sun rise over Mount Kilimanjaro this morning while writing this, looking at my ring sparkle as my fingers flew across the keyboard. I'm happy to just be with me for a little bit longer.
I went to bed with that being one of the last articles on my mind...
Then I woke up with an idea. A notion. A concept---actualized.
Although I personally prefer to leave my ring finger "open" until I am married (so that when the time comes, there will be no question what having a ring there symbolizes and signifies), wouldn't it be awesome to invest in an *embracement ring*? Not necessarily embrace from the angle of "to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug". I mean, that's cool and all but let's go deeper:
Embrace: to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly; to take in with the eye or the mind; to take up (a new idea, faith, etc); adopt
I mean embrace from the perspective of rocking something that symbolizes/signifies that you're willing to be the kind of woman that the Message Version of Jeremiah 31 speaks of. A woman who will be open to embracing a transforming God and all of the plans that he has for you as you walk in true spiritual liberty.
Being single is not about sitting around waiting for a husband...
Being single is about being whole and *truly embracing* all of the experiences that come with that season of life.
I did a bit of research on what rings on different fingers actually represents. One article said this about the middle finger that caught my attention:
Left Middle Finger
A ring worn on the left middle finger doesn't necessarily stand for anything. However, since the middle finger is central to the hand and is the longest finger, a ring on this digit can symbolize power and responsibility, if you wish. This finger is also a good choice if you want to show off a ring without making a statement about your life.
*Nice*. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" and Galatians 6:5(NCV) states "Each person must be responsible for himself". By fully living, each and every day, with power and love and a sound mind, by making a point to be response-able for our lives, there's so much we allow ourselves to embrace.
To receive gladly...
To accept willingly...
To take in and to take up...
From the Father.
So although I oftentimes talk about getting things for your hope chest, as we're hours away from 2015, do something special for you and *strongly consider* getting an EMBRACEMENT RING. Imagine how *adorned* it will make you feel and how much of a witness it can be when people say to you...
"That's a beautiful ring that you have on."
And you reply "Thanks, it's my embracement ring."
"I'm sorry, it's your what?"
"It means that I willingly accept my journey and all that God has for me."
A beautiful way to witness, indeed!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
"Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God."---I Peter 3:3-4(AMP)
Adorn: to decorate or add beauty to, as by ornaments; to make more pleasing, attractive, impressive, etc.; enhance
So, today's installment is actually going to be shorter than usual. Consider it simply a seed planted.
Although I personally observe Rosh Hashanah as the New Year, I know that this is the time when many people are pondering (Proverbs 4:26) over the past calendar year in preparation for what's to come.
And so, I did some praying...
Remember how last year the word that I was focusing on a lot for the "On Fire" women was "luxuriant"? Well, plain as day, the word that was brought to me for 2015 is "adorn".
How awesome is it that the Word encourages both outward adorning as well as inward adorning? It's wonderful to *make the time to invest in yourself* by adding beauty to your outward self (if you won't make the time to celebrate yourself in this manner, why would you expect a man to do it?!?). It's even more important to devote time, energy and resources into making yourself more pleasing and attractive---first to God.
That's what this year is going to be about. I still have some current "On Fire" giveaways to get off of my to-do list. However, once the plate is clear and I do some praying, I'm pretty sure that you'll be seeing some opportunities to get in on some things that will *enhance* you; if not physically than spiritually.
How...shoot, *fun* is God that he would actually support us in adorning ourselves?
Make the time to do that this coming calendar year, OK?
In the wise words of the L'Oreal ad catchphase...
You're so worth it!
Note for this next one: It might seem easy to take this sexually;
however, I personally find it to be applicable across the board.
A man is pretty shallow if he denies a woman he likes only
because of her size. We all have preferences; nothing wrong with
that. Yet sometimes our spirits discern beauty...differently.
When we surrender to it. OK, now to the quote:
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Slight side note edit: Never *be in love* with someone who treats you like you're ordinary. We're called to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and sometimes they treat us worse than ordinary.
Back in my not-so-wise days...
One of my favorite songs was "No Ordinary Love" by Sade. On some levels, it still is.
Except on this side of wisdom and not "returning to my own vomit" (Proverbs 26:11), I'm looking at it more from the perspective of desiring a mutual kind of extraordinary love rather than feeling like I'm the only person in the relationship offering it.
Do you feel me? Yeah, I figure you would. ;-)
I mean, how can we proclaim that we are daughters of the Most High (Psalm 82:6), that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), that we are of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9-10) and then when it comes to something as godly and special and precious and purposeful and amazing as marital covenant...settle for the ordinary?
Ordinary: of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional; plain or undistinguished; somewhat inferior or below average; mediocre; customary; usual; normal
Synonyms: traditional, typical, humdrum, routine, run-of-the-mill, common
Now for the record, I'm not cosigning on "living for the fairy tale". If you've been following this blog long enough, then you know that fairy tale is not my most favorite term on the planet. It literally means "an incredible or misleading statement, account, or belief", "a story about fairies or other mythical or magical beings, esp one of traditional origin told to children" and "a highly improbable account". Hmph. There's no telling how many marriages are jacked up, right at this very moment, and it's due to the fact that the wife was "living for the fairytale". The Word speaks of there being a time when *childish things* need to be put aside (I Corinthians 13:11) and the Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 tells us that when we fear God, *when we reverence him*, we put forth the time, effort and energy to focus on reality.
It's kind of like how I'm also not thrilled with the whole "I'm waiting on my Prince Charming" resolve. *Why would you want to do that* when the Word says "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30-NKJV)? Again, there's no telling how many wives are going to roll over in their beds tonight, look at their husband and mumble under their breath "Who *are* you?" because they got caught up in *charm* rather than *character* (Colossians 3:12-17).
To me, waiting for a love that is out of the ordinary means not settling for the Average Joe (as you strive to be more than the Average Jane). It means not missing out on an opportunity simply because it's "abnormal" or breaks tradition (as long as you're staying within godly guidelines, it's OK to veer away from tradition. Christ did it *a ton* while on this earth). It's about being open to trying things that are not hum-drum or common. It's about truly letting God write your love story and not expecting love, or your proposal or your wedding or your marriage to be...typical. The Word does tells us “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9-NKJV), after all.
I thought about all of this when I checked out a video tonight. A married couple lost some of their wedding day reception footage and so the husband decided to recreate the event as a one-year anniversary present:
I continue to be amazed by and appreciative of the love stories that beckon us to not become (or remain) jaded...or discouraged...or fearful...or worse than all of them *desperate* to the point that we will get into a relationship (or remain in a non-marital relationship) just because we don't believe that we can have an extraordinary one:
Extraordinary: beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established; exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable; very unusual, remarkable, or surprising
Synonyms: amazing, fantastic, exceptional, incredible, marvelous, odd, rare, remarkable, special, surprising, unheard-of (you're unique; your marriage should be too), unique, unprecedented, boss, fab, peculiar, stupendous
Speaking of extraordinary couples/marriages, don't even get me started on these two:
Per an article I just read:
The Briggs have been married for 38 years, but together for 43 after meeting at a Christian camp as teenagers.
The deeply religious pair adopted their first child 29 years ago — and have no plans to stop.
Many of the children — aged between four and 35 and from countries such as Mexico, Russia, Ukraine and Ghana — have severe medical or learning disabilities including polio, cancer and autism. Most struggled to find families in their homelands.
With 24 of their children still living at home, the Briggs have the organizational skills of a drill sergeant and the patience of a saint.
God does some pretty miraculous things and he is the inventor of marriage.
You've waited this long.
Don't settle for the ordinary.
Let him bring you (Genesis 2:22) to something and someone who is truly...extraordinary.
And in the meantime, allow him to make you the kind of woman who will be ready to receive it.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
"There are girls out there worth fighting for. Still.
And there are guys out there still willing to fight."
Thanks Alicia for sending this video my way. Just now. Tonight.
As life would have it (Proverbs 16:33-AMP)...
All day long, I've been listening to one of my absolute favorite---and I mean, absolute favorite---love songs. On repeat. It's been a while since I've checked it out and so I should've known that the Universe had something up its sleeve. Anyway, it's a ballad by a guy named Britten and it's co-written and co-produced by one of the sweetest men that I know and then one of my closest friends. It's entitled "Stick to Your Guns" and whew! It's so...right and real. You can listen to it here but the chorus is as follows:
Stick to your guns if you love her
Stay by his side if you care
If she's the one and you need her
If it's the right thing
Keep on fighting
Stick to your guns for love
It goes along real nicely with the statement that there are women worth fighting for *and* men who are willing to fight, right?
*And then*, as I was doing some other writing/researching, an email came into my inbox. I get a lot of info in my inboxes. However, this one, although long, is worth 30 minutes of your time. Especially since it's the eve of Christmas Eve and so you're probably going to watch something that you've already seen a million times before on television right?
Before I share what was sent my way...
I'll say that there are three things that I *really respect*, to the point of even honor about this couple.
1) I dig filmmakers and I like how how Max, the man in the story said, "Creativity should be used for service." Indeed. And he used his gift/talent in excellence here.
2) Not to totally giveaway the story but the fact that Bonnie Kate, the woman in the story, had the courage to return to a movie theater speaks to her resilience and fearlessness. It's inspiring.
3) The actual marriage proposal. I dug how Max left that part private and shared what led up to it and what followed. #classytouch
It's a reminder, yet again, that while *none of us* should covet (Exodus 20:17) someone else's love journey or love story (including their marriage proposal or wedding ceremony-Psalm 33:15), when a man loves a woman...*he will show it*...*and his woman will know it*.
Also before we get into the video, I want to share *another gift* that this particular man has: his narratives.
Here's the intro...
Let me tell you about a girl
She is the stuff of movies and books
The kinda girl that captivates your head and your heart without even knowing it
She's the one you compare all other girls to, none of them standing a chance
The kinda girl who leaves you helpless because you know
After just one date
She's the one that you want to build a life with
Raise your kids with
Who will forgive you all the way
Strong in weakness
Is wake up
No make up
She is forgiving
She is forgiven
And she is my fiance'
And her name is Bonnie Kate
And then he says this later on in the video...
This life is short
And if you can find someone that beckons
And a larger than life love out of you
And who is willing to forgive you and all of your junk
You pursue her with everything you've got
Even when it looks like you're waiting for years or months. You wait...
You lay your need for more than friendship down
And you serve
And you wait.
And then a final quote...
"A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty."
A reminder that, as I heard someone say in a Christmas movie...
"There are already too many mediocre things in this life. Love should not be one of them."
Don't settle. It's not worth it.
Just ask Max and Bonnie Kate.