Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Being Wooed In the Wilderness

I am in a new season which always causes me to reflect.

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.

Hosea 2:14-16

My eyes had scales that wouldn’t fall off
I wandered around alone, longing just once
for silence.
But the voices
the loud, mocking, embarrassing condemning
never shutting up voices
refused to stop.
They were my constant companions
I stumbled when they said I was worthless
cried myself into exhaustion when I couldn’t sleep
because I saw the girl they saw,
With hands that didn’t work, feet that didn’t cooperate
poison to all who knew her
because her words were
I heard His quiet voice
“Come away with me,
My love,
Come away.”
But I ran
toward my tormentors
because the Truth
was a mirror whose reflection I was not ready for.
As I ran, He was relentless, redeeming, jealous
because I was settling for all the “less than” that
death was telling me was all I was good for.
As He pursued I noticed something I had never enjoyed before,
And in that silence He spoke
“Look at the desolation, the wilderness.”
And my heart broke.
Because all was bitter,
but He promised Manna
and He provides
each day it’s own
Grace sufficient
And I know I’ve come this far
because He held me, wooing and whispering
the whole time
making my desolation
my safe way home. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What I Never Understood About Purity: What Single Women Need to Know

Song of Solomon 2:7 "I charge you do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."

I was blessed to grow up in an environment that encouraged purity and abstinence, and as much as I value who I was a result of that. I never understood why it mattered. In high school I never wanted to get married so honestly purity just seemed like "no big deal." I saw no need to walk in purity (even in the small things) because one of the main reasons purity was focused on was because "the bride wore white" and I had no desire to walk down the aisle.  I have never had sex, but that does not mean that somewhere along the line I did not compromise the purity values I had grown up with, and the price I paid was higher than anything I have ever experienced.

I think purity is a must have value, especially in today's culture which paints such a false picture of physical relationships, making it seem like you walk away totally put together, totally in control, and with no regrets. I think one mistake the church makes is not focusing on why purity matters. It is painted in such black and white terms "Don't have sex, don't cross the line, leave room for Jesus." YES please do, but let me tell you why. Please ladies, let me tell you why it matters. Let me tell you what I wish someone had told me.

I wish someone had told me, When you open ANY physical door at all (handholding, kissing  making out sending a sext) you instantly give away a part of yourself you are NEVER getting back. Every time you see that man all you are thinking about is that part of yourself he will always know, the secret Victoria never kept, the woman you were before you knew that man...even if you marry that man I can guarantee you some part of you still feels lost.

I wish someone had told me the innocent belief you had in fairy tales will lose its luster the instant your prince turns out to be a toad. I wish someone had told me about the gnawing, never-ending guilt the enemy attempts to attack you with, and the way it feels like you will never be good enough for another relationship because you feel like so much useless garbage.

I wish someone had told me that even though there is forgiveness and grace and a perfect plan, forgiving yourself for compromise is a process that will take years. I wish someone had told me about the way you lose trust in yourself and in others the instant you realize you have "arouse and awoken love" in a way it was never meant to be awoken.

I wish someone had told me purity matters not only because you may want to get married someday, but because when you give away those parts of yourself you are cheating yourself out of the woman Jesus made you to be,  you are losing the sweet sense of clean that every woman deserves to feel.

MOST IMPORTANTLY I wish someone had told me when you arouse and awaken love when it is not time it turns being in a relationship-or being single into a NIGHTMARE because you are always fighting desires that have one place and one place only-the marriage covenant.

I also wish I could be there for those women (who like me) have seen part of themselves tainted and scarred. I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you, you are not alone. There is redemption and restoration, and when you need to vent about a lack of faith in the fairy tale you totally can because there are other women in the church who know the pain of compromise.

I wish I had clung to the truth of scripture that Jesus loves perfectly, and His love casts out fear When I struggle to not settle because I feel like "good enough" is all I will ever deserve I choose to remember that Jesus will give me the desires of my heart. When I hear the enemy scream guilt and condemnation and dirty hurtful lies I choose to believe in grace. I choose love, I choose restoration. I choose Jesus.

And He chooses me.