Thursday, October 31, 2013

He Makes All Things New

My wedding day was the sweetest day.  It was full of more charm, more warmth, and more sobbing-my-thankfulness prayers than I had ever imagined.  It was cozy and full of love from the people whom I am closest to; it was small and intimate, but left the biggest imprint on my heart.  It was the day I had, in reality, never imagined, and often times didn't want to.  And I'm finding that perhaps it's because I didn't know the sweetness that comes on the other side of the wedding.

The evening of my wedding day, I kept looking at my husband Ben.  Husband... It was such a lovely word, the privilege of saying it left me breathless.  Husband.  The word had been locked and hidden behind my lips since I was a little girl.  I didn't even realize I had concealed it somewhere in the chambers of my heart, never knowing if it might reach my mouth.  When I was young, I never imagined how my wedding might be; I just wasn't that girl.  But most little girls know they want to be married someday because it is on her heart to be pursued and adored forever and ever.  Husband meant that to me, and I would say it as a whisper over and over again during the next few months with a smile that only the spirit knows.  With giddiness and ecstasy, I was suddenly "that girl" who blushed as my lips formed 'my husband' either out loud or in my head.  The newness, the deep meaning, the forever-ness still leaves me in silent wonder sometimes.  I hope this word can always bring me to my knees in gratitude.

The few who leave themselves pure for their future spouse are the blessed few.  To me, they are heroes and saints.  They don't even know what they are holding out for yet, but they are still holding tightly to the promise of intimacy and beauty beyond measure in a future life-mate!  They will never be tainted by past experiences, people-they-thought-were-forever, or the heartache of being ripped away from by someone they trusted with heart and body.

If you are pure, I urge you to wait.  Love is everything wonderful that you believe it is, but true love does wait.  And girls/women, if it is true love with the man you're with now, he. will. wait.  He will honor you.  And if he does not, it's time to question if he actually is your one true love.  We all know this in the depths of our hearts, but we compromise so we don't lose a man's attention.  It doesn't have to be this way.  Really.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ~Proverbs 4:23
"Do you not know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore, honor God with your bodies."  ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Most of us don't have the luxuries that purity provides.  If you're like me, you may have even justified the sacrifice of purity because of the word "love" and the way it tangles your heartstrings, or because of a promise given.  The trade-off seemed fair and good, and you felt wonderful and attractive because someone seemingly valued your flesh and they liked to hang out with you.  Other women have endured many damaging things as children, through abuse, neglect, rape, and other horrific things I can't even begin to fathom.  And so, most of us end up here.  It's a place where we constantly reevaluate what relationships mean to us, each time setting boundaries for the next guy we might date, boundaries we're not even sure we'll keep if challenged.  We just want to be pursued and treasured.  It's on all of our hearts.

Here's the thing, though: the world around you won't tell you this overtly, but relationships don't have to determine your value and self-worth.  Being part of something doesn't make you any more whole than you are by yourself.  You are a significant soul in this universe from the moment you're conceived.  God looked at you and called you lovely, valuable, beautiful, even before you were looked upon by your earthly parents.  This is regardless of "relationship status."  In fact, while you wait for the one God prepared for you, you can increase your effectiveness for the Kingdom without distraction (yes, sometimes husbands are a distraction! hehe).  You are free to develop that woman God is calling you to be!  This way, when a man comes along, you are who God wants you to be, and that man can choose your gorgeous soul or not.  If he doesn't, he isn't the one!  What freedom!  We must be self-assured, through God, of our own worth before we can pursue a life mate.  If we look to a boyfriend or a husband to fill our voids, we will only end up disappointed (and it's not the guy's fault, especially if we put this on him!).

I speak from experience.  Those of you who don't know me that well may find it interesting that I got pregnant during high school (didn't find out until after graduation), and was a single mommy for six years.  I have been a Christian since I was five, and had the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart the whole time, but at 17 I decided I knew more about love than the Bible does, and wrote my own addendum to all of the verses that tell us to wait for marriage.  As a result, I will now forever proclaim that God's Word isn't trying to kill our fun or freedom when it tells us to wait; He is trying to protect us from certain trials and heartache that He didn't design for us.  I learned God's Love in a very difficult and real way while caring for my little boy at a point in my life where many girls are only beginning to build dreams of motherhood....someday.

A sweet moment with my son before the wedding
I want to say that my son's dad and I are true friends today.  God taught me a lot about forgiveness and humility; neither of us did anything perfectly.  He now has a wife whom I adore and appreciate, and they have a little boy that is a sweet little brother for my son.  Likewise, I have a husband and family that is infinitely more glorious than anything I could have conjured up in my happiest of musings.  But the road to get to this point is filled with more anguish than I can again relive.  The sadness of believing I had forever ruined my son's concept of "family", the realities of single-parenthood while working and going to college, the guilt that hung heavily on my spirit each day...these things I wish upon NO ONE.  I am blessed to have trusted in God through and through, to have sought His strength and wisdom, to know that when I am weak, He is strong.  There are many women out there who are trying to do it all on their own.  I wish that I could help them all.  I would turn their tear-streaked faces to the sky and urge them to pray.  God has always had a better plan than this; now we need to turn to Him and ask Him to redeem our situation.  Thanks be to Him that my son has a huge, loving family and that his mommy and daddy don't scream and yell at each other, making him choose sides.  Because of God's grace, my situation turned from sadness to joy, heartache to fulfillment, shame to exuberance.  He makes all things new.....even you (and me).

Why do I tell you these things?  I want you to know that if you don't already have a husband and a family, you have a way to make things pretty perfect.  Remain steadfast and pure.  Get to know yourself; ask God what He plans for your life based on your passions and interests.  Allow yourself content nights at home, joyous times with friends, a good book and coffee ... these things are good for your spirit, sweet woman.

When you're in a relationship, don't compromise the most treasured parts of yourself (physically, emotionally, spiritually, ANYTHING).  Stay true to you.  Let the man who pursues you get to know you, the REAL you.  If he walks away, so be it.  You still have you.  And you always have God.

Married women, let this be said of us: that we pray continually for God's guidance as our husband's bride, that we selflessly serve our families with happy hearts, that we sing as the sun rises and sets, and that we teach our sons and daughters the value of who they are.

No matter which walk of life we are in or which age bracket we belong to, it's never the wrong time to ask God to make us new again if we need it.  Married or single, we belong in His presence.

Here's a song that has touched my life, both as a single girl and a blissfully married woman:

Laughter from the Lord