Four Days

Not going to explain my title. You can just wonder your little heart out. It’s a mystery! (Oooh!)

I have spent more time devoted to pray in these last 3 1/2 days than I have in years. Also, I’ve spent more time in my bible per day than I ever have. I’ve done some reading during breakfast, while on lunch break, and right before bed. I’ve spent more time seeking counsel from people whom I trust to be solid believers that I have in…. literally forever.

And I have my answer. It’s firm, it’s supported by my mentors, my family, and most importantly, by scripture. My heart is a peace with this answer, totally. Every time I pray, every time I seek Him, every time I read (and I’m not selectively reading what I think will support my desires, trust me), I become more and more assured of what God wants for me. I’ve gone on walks and prayed out loud to God and been reassured. I’ve prayed in my head while I’m working up patients and been reassured. I’ve sang worship songs in the shower and been overwhelmingly reassured and comforted and wrapped up in God’s love.

I am not anxious, or worried, or fearful. I’ve never been so sure about something in my entire life.

However, I’m not the only human mind in this decision. So, I am restless. God has been so good to me, He has blessed me with frequent encouragers, kind coworkers, and good sleep (a very important gift!) as I have been fighting this restlessness. So ready for the conclusion. As encouraged and reassured as I have been about the outcome, I still won’t be totally at rest until I see it for myself. *sigh* Faith is hard. Leaning on God is hard. Not because of Him, but because of me. He’s proved me wrong in my worrying every single time in my life up until now, why I can’t just leap off the cliff and trust Him to catch me, I may never know… I guess thats a part of being human.

I’m running out of edge though. I’m slowly sliding off that cliff. He will catch me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get an adrenaline rush on my way down.

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My First Love

As I look back through my almost 23 years of life, I see all the people I’ve loved and lost, from dear friends who walked out of my life, to my mother who went to be with Jesus long before those of us here on earth were ready to let her go, I see something amazing.

With every loss, He brought something amazing out of it. Through each loss, He pushed me closer and close to Himself, and closer to finding a body of believers I can depend on, who will come alongside me in times of trouble. I am so extremely blessed.

Recently I was looking through some old letters written to me by people who called themselves my friends, but in reality proved to be just chapters in my life story, meant to fade away when the pages turned and the plot twisted. These letters used to make me cry every time I read them, and now, for the first time, I was able to let them go. I put them in a box and set it by the curb to be collected with the trash. I no longer need to revisit those memories.

God has brought me to a place of comfort in His love that I have never had before. He has brought me back to Himself. He is my first love. And though I still struggle with self-doubt at times, He never fails to provide me with perfect reminders of His love for me.

Today I fasted from solid foods (my hypoglycemia requires that I at least have protein shakes so I don’t literally pass out 😛 )  and spent more time devoted to prayer than I have in a while. I’m praying for a situation in my life that is very dear to my heart and very important to me. But no matter how this situation plays out, I have come to realize something. I cannot lose my first love. He will always keep me near to Him, He will always be true to His word. He has chosen me as His pure bride. He is all that I need.

Does that mean I cannot be hurt by circumstances? No. Honestly, though I feel I know what His will is for this situation, but if it ends up hurting me, I will survive. I will move on from it. Yes, it will be painful, but He will see me through. I am earnestly seeking His will now and asking that I do not have to go through that pain.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
~John 14:13-14

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 18:19

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
~Matthew 21:22

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
~Mark 11:24

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
~John 15:7

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
~John 15:16

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
~John 16:23-24

” But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways”
~James 1:5-8

“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
~ 1 John 3:22

I have sought counsel of older, wiser believers, and I have petitioned my King to give me peace about this if I am acting within His will. And I have complete peace. It is all in His capable hands, the same hands that knit the universe together. He holds my heart. I am safe, I am loved, I am chosen.

Boldly, I approach the throne of my Lover and make my request.

Thank you, Jesus, for being approachable, for caring about my heart, and for answering my prayers in ways I never would have imagined. You have outdone yourself time and time again, and I know this will be no exception. Only you are deserving of my praise. You are big enough to handle my hopes and dreams, loving enough to handle my heart with tenderness. I am forever in awe.

~TQG

Ruth & Boaz

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I’ve been told no less than 3 times this week that I am beautiful. At least 4 times that I have gorgeous hair, and twice that I have a sweet spirit. God knows when I need the reminder.

I’m watching everyone I know, coworkers, friends, family and people I don’t even know getting engaged and married and having kids left and right. People that are younger or not much older than myself. It’s awesome, seeing everyone so happy, pursuing futures with their new spouses. But it’s also kinda hard. I have to keep reminding myself that I would rather be single than with the wrong person, or lower my standards just to get affection.

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What I’m looking for is totally worth the wait. I know my creator is thrilled to reveal His plan. He’s got my love story all written out, each step I take traces the lines of His pen. I grow closer each day to the moment when clarity hits. He delights in romance, the joy of learning to love someone completely and fully.

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My man is being prepared for me just as I am for him. A man after God’s own heart. Who loves God more than he loves me, and puts God first in all he does.

I studied the book of Ruth again recently, and I have to say, I just adore the love story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s so imperfect.

Tragedy, hard manual labor, long sweaty days in the sun.

A medaling older woman who gives questionable advice requiring Ruth, a woman, to essentially make the first move. (A big deal back then!) She literally tells her, wash yourself, wear your best perfume and clothes, but do not let him see you until he has finished eating and drinking. I don’t know if they were drinking water or wine, but regardless. She’s getting her daughter in law ready to wow an unsuspecting man after a long hard day of work. Sneaky old lady.

But then, Boaz, a kind hearted, honorable man, sees her hard work and blesses her for it. And takes her forwardness with such grace.

“May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter; this last instance of your loyalty is better than the first; you have not gone after younger men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask, for all the assembly of my people know that you are a worthy woman. But now, though it is true that I am a near kinsman, there is another kinsman more closely related than I. Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will act as next-of-kin for you, good; let him do it. If he is not willing to act as next-of-kin for you, then, as the Lord lives, I will. Lie down until the morning.”

So she lay at his feet until morning…

I strongly encourage you to go read this book to get the full picture. There is no question that he liked and was attracted to her, but yet he sought out the course of action that was honorable and in her best interest, all while reassuring her that regardless, she would be taken care of. Even in the way that he asked her to remain for the night rather than go alone back to her home with Naomi.

I also love how when Ruth recounts the story to Naomi the next day, Naomi says “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”

I get the feeling Ruth was jittery and nervous about what would happen and where she would end up. I can relate with that.

I also like the honest, but very strategic way Boaz poses the idea to this other next of kin. He is totally honest, but it’s clear he is definitely hoping to be the one to redeem Ruth. It’s precious. I can’t help but see in my mind a mature, wise man, talking to this other next-of-kin, his heart pounding, praying under his breath that God bless him with this strong, hard working, worthy woman.

The whole thing is just dripping with raw humanity, and it’s beautiful. It makes my heart smile. God has such a great sense of humor.

I’m not perfect, and I never will be, but I’m hoping and praying I will be a worthy bride to my own Boaz someday.

 

Now I’m A Warrior

It’s been a rough week. I’ve been living the “fake it till you feel it” motto and for the sake of patients and coworkers, trying to be my usual self. And boy, am I tired…

Wednesday night I went to the house of a truly awesome family, some folks my Dad used to work with long ago, when their three boys and I were just little munchkins. The husband is an elder at my church, and his wife is such an amazing woman. I’ve adopted her as my “second” mom, she is Godly, wise, and an incredible listener. Knows all the right questions to ask to get to the bottom of what I’m dealing with, and follows it up with truthful, biblical advice and hugs. She’s also raised three sons who are all 1-3 years older than I, and understands how male minds work much better than I do because of this.

She shed some light on my situation, gave me some very encouraging words and helped me see what exactly my role is now, as a friend. I’m stubborn. I can never truly be ditched, I just refuse to give up on people I care about. So, no matter the personal cost to myself, I remain.

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I will let people walk away, but I never close the door behind them. If they slam it shut, I refuse to lock it. I’ve mentioned in past posts that I’ve had many people leave me, in various ways, some more painful than others, but one thing remains true about all of them thus far; they always come back.

But y’know what… Even if this time is different, I refuse to stop loving someone who has been so dear to my heart for so long. I will relent, I will take a few steps back, but you better believe they will be covered in prayer every day that I breathe. I don’t believe in temporary friendship, and I can’t find a place in scripture where it says follow your heart or love when you feel like it, but I do see this:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

~Jeremiah 17:9

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

~1 Corinthians 13: 1-8

No matter what I feel, no matter the pain that’s been inflicted, no matter how long it takes, I will pray for healing, for reconciliation, for restored friendship. 

Maybe I won’t see it until we meet again when Christ returns, but I know that heartfelt prayer does not go unheard. Even if I don’t get to see the effects of it on this side of Heaven, it will be worth it.

My prayers are more powerful than my presence. And now, I’m a Prayer Warrior.

So if by chance, you’re reading this, Tiger, you will always be my favorite weirdo, and I’ll always be here for you. You have my word.

~TQG

Job 13:15

Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

One Good Conversation

All it takes is one good conversation.

Today at work, I found myself in a rarely seen or found place. My comfort zone! Alone in a room with an adult, married, Christian man whilst we both enjoyed our lunch hour. This coworker and I had not previously had an actual conversation, but I have overheard him talk about his wife quite lovingly, and we’re friends on Facebook, which was, combined, enough to make me feel quite comfortable.

Not sure how we got there, but eventually we got to talking about what we had studied in scripture, and he shared what he had been learning about how we are to handle grief and death, which lead to me talking about my mom.

I worked exceptionally hard to keep from crying, and managed, but just barely, as I talked about her and how she passed. But what really struck me what his reaction. He too was working hard not to cry, and I could see the tears welling in his eyes as he just sat and listened. Not many people take time to sit and listen these days. And when they do, it stands out to me. But even more than listen, he was feeling my words as I spoke them. That is a rare and often burdensome gift to bare. I know, because I share it, and it’s one of the reasons I literally can’t get very close with more than a few people at once. I just can’t handle it. I feel what they feel, and I can only feel so much before I burst.

Back to this coworker of mine. Our lunch hour ended, and we both gathered up our emotions and laughed a bit, and went our separate ways to the opposite sides of the building where we work. But the whole thing shed light on a struggle I’ve had just recently as I try to integrate myself into this new church group I’m in.

I’m not actually as bad at communicating as I keep making myself out to be. See, at this last group event I went to, I was the only girl on the speed boat (be jealous. Of the speed boat, not of me being out numbered by attractive guys, because that’s actually just overwhelming and exhausting) and though conversation is not readily required when going 35-60 mph over water dragging people on skis, wake boards or tubes, there are still plenty of moments when it’s really a good idea to say….something…. anything…. like, seriously. And I DID. Several times!! And I did, indeed, speak loud enough to be heard and somewhat acknowledged for having said something. But a conversation is a two way street. I can say as much as I want, but if no one picks up the topic and runs with it, it’s just gunna lay there on the ground and die a slow, awkward death. And my introverted self only has energy for a few well place conversation starters before it’s really up to them to come up with a new one. Don’t get me wrong, in a group setting, I can kill a conversation without even trying! It’s like a super power! I’m speaking of one-on-one conversations here, where I prefer to live.

Now, I did talk to people, and have good conversations. With a girl who later joined the boat, and her husband. I’m noticing that married men seem to be much more capable of conversation… Single guys however… at least, the ones in this group… man.

It only takes one good conversation, just one time when I feel like they are actually interested in talking and listening, and I’ll talk to them pretty easily from that point on. Not totally absent of awkward, but at least halfway capable of forming cohesive sentences. If someone would just take that 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes to get past that initial awkward, I promise, I have something to offer. It may be walled away, but behind the gate is a garden. And the greatest treasure is planted at the very center of that garden– my heart. I don’t mean this just from a romantic standpoint, my heart is who I am, and you don’t really get to see it until you take the time to try. Not saying it’s easy to get to, but it’s totally worth the trouble, and the path through the garden is actually quite nice.

I talked about this to my Dad recently, and he said to me, “The right guy will see that, and he will take the time to get to know you whether you’re awkward or not, he’ll see what’s hidden behind it and want to seek it out.” Man, I sure hope that’s true. Cause right now, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

~TQG

Please also enjoy this: “Introverts and the inner flame“, a very good little article that relates to mine quite well.

Lioness Arising

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I’m in the process of reading a book titled “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere. Very similar in feel to one of my favorite non-fiction books, “Captivating”, by John & Stasi Eldredge, it takes a deeper look at what makes a woman special, what her role in creation is, and what true femininity looks like through the eyes of God.

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Scripture is so rich with beautiful imagery, and just as C.S. Lewis portrays Jesus as a Great Lion (Aslan), so scripture calls Him “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.

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It also calls Him the Bridegroom, and we, the Bride of Christ. Lisa’s book takes the example given to us in creation of the dynamic of lions and shows us how to be the Lioness to the Lion of Judah. It’s so far been a wonderful read, I’ll be posting a full review of it to Goodreads once I’m finished with it. So far it has given me a fresh look at myself, reminded me that my power in Christ is far greater than I’m allowing it to be.

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As a child, my imagination was completely limitless. When arriving home from work, the very first thing my Dad would do was try to guess what animal I was that moment.

“Are you a horse? A puppy?”

“No Daddy today I’m a LION! RAWR!” 

It was a game I played constantly, changing animals several times a day. My grandmother (father’s side) fondly remembers my pretending to be a golden retriever named Goldy. (I said I had a good imagination, not that I was original.) She played along, and when she saw me climb on the couch, she snatched up a newspaper and declared that dogs are not allowed on the furniture!! She chased me up the stairs with the news paper, I ran (ON ALL FOURS, mind you) and dove under some potted plants to “hide”, laughing hysterically. Imagination has always been a huge part of my mental life. Even to this day I create elaborate stories in my head about people I see, conversations I’ve never had, or places I want to travel. Thus my love of fiction novels.

But this notion of being a mighty lioness, lead by the Almighty Lion of Judah into a mission of eternal importance is not just a fairytale, a childhood game of pretend, or a silly day dream. It’s real. 

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In my own strength, I’m far from fearless. But the more I learn to trust in the leadership of my Heavenly Father, the greater my courage becomes. It’s a thrilling feeling.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pictures I found while searching the web for some quotes to go along with this otherwise short post. I cannot yet recommend the book, as I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I couldn’t stop myself from sharing the those thoughts I’ve had so far. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it.

~TQG

Aslan

The Gift of Personality Types

I learned something today about “highly sensitive” people. Not highly sensitive as in “Watch your step around her, you might look at her the wrong way and she’ll assume you hate her!”, but more like “Man, I don’t know how she does it, but she always seems to know when I’m upset about something, even if I try and hide it…”

HSPs often pick up on subtle non-verbal cues better than the average person, their nervous system is actually wired differently, which makes them highly sensitive to subtleties, loud noises, and can cause them to become abnormally overwhelmed in crowds. Yes, it can make us more likely to read into things incorrectly, more jumpy for no apparent reason, but no personality quirk is flawless!

I’ve been reading a lot about the differences between the extroverted and introverted personality types, and I noticed a rather annoying trend. I seems to be that most of the articles written on the subject are basically trying to communicate one thought universally: “Be gentle with introverts, they’re fragile” and “Just learn to accept extroverts loudness and lack of sensitivity”. And that’s just not true! Introversion is a gift, not a curse, not a disability, not hindrance. Extroversion is a gift as well. Not a “con”, not a trait to be kept under control to avoid “damaging” the poor little introverts.

If the world consisted purely of the socialite extrovert, where would the mystery be? Who would you go to when you just needed to sit and talk about your problems to someone and have them listen without telling you about all the times that “same thing” happened to them?

If the world consisted purely of introverts, the world would be too quiet. Amusement parks would be far less crowded, and we, as a nation of introverts, would be all locked away securely in our comfort zones with no way of knowing the adventure waiting for us out there.

Extroverts can be great listeners. Introverts can be bold and adventurous. We work together, as differing personality types, to bring out the hidden qualities within each other. As an introvert myself, I love spending time with my extroverted friends. They gently push me out of my comfort zone, their enthusiasm for trying new things is infectious, they draw me into a brand new world of experiences. I would have to ask them what/if I do for them exactly, but from what I see, I think I help them learn to slow down their pace. They have to work harder to learn about me and it slows them down and helps develop their patience. They learn how to take pleasure in discovering things about their introverted friends, rather than just receiving offered information, as is often the way extroverts get to know one another.

We’re not opposites, trying to get along. We’re two sides of the perfect coin, learning how to be better versions of ourselves.

Extroverts, don’t apologize for who you are. You give us the gift of adventure! Without you we might never climb the mountains of the unknown. Thank you for giving us that extra little push to greatness.

Introverts, don’t feel disabled by your struggle to let people in, those who really want to know you will enjoy every minute of the adventure of getting to know your heart. They’ll fall in love with your mysterious charm.

Let’s work together to bring out the best in each other.