Who I’ve Become; A Rant on Self-Love, & a Trip Down Memory Lane

Our world is rather obsessed with self-love at the moment. Be who you are, be authentic, love your flaws, don’t change yourself for the approval of the world.

Those are all rather neutral ideas. But they can easily be abused, I think they need to be updated to fit a more biblical standpoint…

Be who God created you to be, and who He is making you to be.

Love the way God makes up for your flaws. Your flaws allow Him to shine through you.

Change yourself for the approval of God even if that means loosing the approval of the world. Or, rather, let God change you into something He approves of, and don’t worry what the world thinks.

Let God’s love shine authentically through you.

Over the last three-four years, I have gone through some major changes that have helped me realize those things…

November. 22, 2014, my mom passed away at age 47.

March 2015, I began a new career in Ophthalmology.

June 2015, I met Peter, and…

March 2016 …soon after began my first courtship with him, which lead me on many wild and exciting adventures of travel, self-discovery, and fear-facing. Car crashes, long talks about marriage, delved so deeply into who I am with the help of a truly amazing man by my side.

April 2016, my dad got remarried to a really lovely lady who is now, obviously, my stepmom. And I gained two step siblings.

September 2016, Peter broke off our courtship, which was extremely difficult, as the last 6 months of our relationship had gone amazingly and the only reason to end the courtship was that he felt he was meant to live a life of celibacy. A calling he has felt most of his life, but he sought God through our courtship to see if he was meant to marry me. He felt he was not. But we have remained very close friends and still love one another deeply as such.

December 2016, I obtained two certifications in Ophthalmology. OSC & COA.

January 2017, I moved from the house I grew up in into a house with a roommate.

July-ish 2017? I began developing a friendship with Jonathan, a lovely fellow I’ve known as long as I’ve known Peter, but had never really sought to spend one-on-one time with. He’s my adopted little brother now. He’s a gem. I love that guy dearly. ❤️

December 2017, Got my first tattoo. A memorial for my mom.

June 2018, Got my second tattoo, a reminder that Jesus has paid my debit in full and my battle is won by His blood.

And now, here we are, June 30th, 2018, and I am just a day short of one month away from being 25. In among those above dates are countless road trips, hours and hours of laughter, tears, literally thousands of dollars worth of fuel and fast food, moments of fear, moments of joy, dashed hopes and hopes turned into realities, and lots of good music. My heart aches to be able to go back in time and relive the moments of discovery I’ve had over this stretch of time. So many good memories, woven together with so much pain. Growing pains that have lead me to where I am now. Stronger, wiser, more confident, freer than I have ever been.

I still struggle hard sometimes with things. Temptations, fears, laziness, etc. But I love the person God has made me to be. I love the heart he has given me towards certain people and certain struggles, I love the adventures He’s taken me on, I love the risks I’ve taken and the way those risks paid off in my life…

I feel that now, for the first time ever in my life, I can say that I honestly do love myself. Not for what I’ve accomplished, but for what God has accomplished in and through me. I love the way He’s used me to love and provide for people. I love the way He’s dashed all my fears against the rocks and sent me out into the ocean of His love to drown. Dying to who I thought I was, and coming back as someone far, far better than I thought was possible.

As I sit here today in a very weird rocking chair (seriously… it’s strange..) typing this, with my tattoos and my Oklahoma shirt that I got in the airport years ago on my first solo traveling adventure, I cannot wait to see what God’s going to do next. I still have fears, and insecurities, and doubts, but the excitement far outweighs it all.

Anyway, all this to say… Love yourself. But not in the way the world tells you to. Keep going on adventures. Keep being spontaneous. Never stop exploring. And let God lead.

 

 

 

 

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Fish Love 🐠 ❤️

So I was talking with one of my super awesome dude friends late last night after we had a fabulous adventure day at Carowinds Season Passholder Preview Night, and he shared a super cool thing. He gave me permission to share it with you all.

There was a Jewish man who once saw a guy eating a fish, and he said:

“Oh, enjoying that meal are you?”

and the man said, “Oh yes! I love fish!”

“You love fish? You love it so much that you killed it, skinned it, cooked it and ate it?”

So much of what we call “love” is fish love. We love something because it gives us gratification or pleasure. We don’t actually care about the well being of the person, place, or thing when we say we “love” it. What we are actually saying is that we love the feeling it gives us. If we really loved the fish, we would care for it, provide for it’s needs, give it a good place to live with fresh clean water and food. And then we would be both satisfying it’s desires and needs as well as our own, because if we really loved it, our satisfaction would be found in the act of providing for it.

You cannot separate love from Jesus. Real, true love, is the desire to provide for, satisfy, and care for the object of our affection regardless of how we feel or what we get in return. Only Jesus can sustain that type of love within us, because He is constantly pouring His selfless love into us from the moment we accept His forgiveness.

This is why so many marriages and relationships fail. We are shown through TV and movies that love is that spark, that “love at first sight” moment followed by romance, sex, and falling “madly in love”, where your passions are so strong you just can’t stay away from one another. And that is not love. That is lust. It’s the love of ourselves, our own gratification, and the feeling of being accepted and adored. Sure, it’s consensual and both parties are equally taking advantage of one another without complaint. But, a few months, a few years down the road, when desires and passions change and fade, and things start to become less like a thrilling rollercoaster ride and more like a long trudging journey uphill, suddenly “the spark is gone”, “I’m just not in love with you anymore”, and heartache, divorce, affairs… Suddenly they start seeking the feeling of “love” again elsewhere, thinking they perhaps married the wrong person, or just that “the love is gone”. No, dears. The lust is gone. The gratification is gone. And since, though you refuse to acknowledge it, you were in it for the thrill of gratification, you aren’t really interested in sticking around for the long haul. You were in it for the fish love. And well, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Jesus doesn’t love us because we have so much to bring to the table. Actually, we bring absolutely nothing to the table. We come to the table with empty stomachs and dirty hands, hoping for a few crumbs. And Jesus cleans us up, dresses us in His own clean clothes, sits us in the seat of highest honor, and serves us humbly the best of the harvest. He his satisfaction in us is to care for us. Our satisfaction in Him is to serve Him, and our joy in Him is to share His love with everyone we meet. Because why let a lost world sit in rags, begging for crumbs, when we have a Savior who longs to take us under His wing?

The Greatest Adventure Of All

I have blogged about a fair number of adventures in my time here, but I wanted to clarify something. All of my adventures are just chapters in the grand adventure that is life with Jesus.

Living for Jesus is the most exciting,  joyful adventure anyone could ever hope for. Because of Jesus, I have met and gotten to know people I never would have invested in had He not prodded my heart to do so, or vice versa, had He not prodded their hearts to pursue friendship with me. God has taken me on so many grand adventures in my life, through trials and hardships that ultimately resulted in both His glory and my growth, and also through thrilling , exhilarating, ridiculously fun things that leave a smile on my face every time I think of them.

He has rescued me from my sins and failures, and doesn’t give up on me even when I fall over and over again for the same old stuff. His mercy is new every morning, and His grace never runs out on me, even in my weakness. He loves me with an everlasting love. ❤️

And that is why, for my 25th birthday, my plan is to even out my lopsidedness and get a tattoo on my right shoulder, of mountains, with just the word “Adventure” under it. My hope is that any time someone compliments me on it, or asks about it, I can say “Thank you! Every day is an adventure when you’re walking with Jesus.”, just like I am able, with my current tattoo, to share about my mom and how yes, it’s hard that she is gone, but I know I will see her again because we have eternal life in Jesus.

I realize I said it before, and I was wrong, but I will say it again regardless. I seriously doubt after this one, that I will get any other tattoos. My moms memorial and the word “Adventure” are the only things I have that mean enough to me to want them permanently on my skin. Other than scripture, but there are so many verses I would like to have and just not enough pain tolerance/money/skin that is easily hidden to go around. I am enjoying being a tattooed girl, but I want to also remain classy. ☺️

Anyway, just thoughts I had on my mind that I wanted to share.

Got some thoughts you want to add to that train? Please, feel free to comment!

Being An Empath

I had my heart bruised last night. Not broken. Just really badly bruised. So, riding a roller coaster today. It coasts along at a semi-conversating state, then dips a little into the emotionless dead air zone, before diving headlong into the tears-that-just-won’t-stop drop that leaves you feeling like your heart wasn’t able to handle the speed and just got left back on the tracts somewhere.

As with a several fellow Empaths I’ve met, when we hurt, it changes the way we receive the emotions of others. Some temporarily lose their ability to feel others emotions because their own are too strong. Other’s still feel them, but can’t discern them well or find their origins. Usually I am of the former variety. But today, I experienced something new. I felt more. My own pain left me wide open to feel others pain, or happiness, or cruelty, or kindness… I felt like I was feeding off of them.

Also, I became extremely aware how different it must be to not be an Empath. Almost no one noticed that I was struggling. And I’m not a great actress. Not that I needed or wanted to be noticed or acknowledged, but it amazed me the lack of … awareness, that people have for the emotional states of others.

I’m an INFJ, we’re naturally Empathic, and generally fall into the “HSP” (highly sensitive person”) category as well. Meaning our nervous systems are often wired in such a way that we react more strongly to things and feel things more intensely than is “normal”. We tend to have low pain tolerance, to dislike temperature, sound, light, or people extremes, (too hot, too loud, too bright, too crowded, etc). For example, I hate florescent lighting. It just grates on my every nerve. I work in a building with almost entirely florescent lighting, so I often sit in the dark without lights when I can. Drives my coworkers crazy. Sudden noises make me jump even when I see them coming. Also, emotions are strong. There’s no such thing as half-way for me. I either like you, or I don’t (required to love all people because Jesus does, but I don’t have to LIKE you), I trust you, or I don’t (though I will discern at times what degrees of trust should be allotted and trust people with certain things but not  others).  The words “I love you” are weighty to me. Very strong. Very important. Difficult for me to use with many. But once I’ve said them, it’s set in stone. Yes, I’m required to love everyone. But love is a verb. When you find someone who you also love with your emotions as well as your actions, it is so much more intense and binding and… wonderful. And painful. And terrifying. And incredible.

I know, this is random and disjointed and makes no sense. Welcome to my world, as it is for now. Pray for me. I have a deep ache in my heart and I’m confused and I need comfort and understanding.

I am set free

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

~Galatians 5:1

God has set me free from sin, temptations, and fear. I am no longer a slave.

He has set me free from secrets, self-doubt, self-loathing and condemnation.

Stepping into the light, letting His glory shine down on even my darkest parts, He has made me new. Clean. Forgiven. A spotless bride before His throne.

I cannot express how extremely grateful I am that He loved me enough to not only die for me, but pursue me and woo me, take time and effort and endless resources to make sure that I know how loved and cherished I am to Him.

Where once I was bound by the flesh, He has severed my chains and given me life, eternal! Hallelujah!

I am currently waiting for for my favorite dude to get off work, as he has my car at the moment, and I told him I would help him cook this evening. (Mostly just keep him company while he cooks, he’s a better cook than I am by far.) And was just struck with the desire to express how awesome God has been to me. And that He longs to do the same for you. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior and Father, you are missing out on something spectacular. Not fire insurance, but on a relationship that far surpasses any earthly relationship you could ever make. God is seeking after you, to save you from yourself. And His love for you is greater than anything you could possibly imagine.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or have questions, please feel free to comment on this post and leave me a way to contact you, and I will be happy to reply. 🙂

Anyway, that’s all I really have to say at the moment. Hopefully my dude will show up soon. I have a hug for him that I’ve been saving all day! 😀

TTFN!!

 

~TQG

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.

Lioness Arising

lioness

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”.

lion of Judah

 

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

Legacy of Bliss

After church on Sunday, my dad and I went to lunch with a lovely couple that we’ve known for quite a while. True, honest, real friends. Their last name is Bliss, and it’s the perfect name, they exude a joy and playfulness far beyond what you get from most married couples in their late 60’s.

Mrs. Bliss is a fantastic painter, her art fills me with awe whenever I get to see it. Stunningly beautiful portraits and scenes that look like memories stretched out on a canvas. And every bit of beauty from those paintings shines in her eyes and her youthful smile. She’s a classy, amazing, gorgeous lady. One of few people I truly admire and look up to. Though I’ve never told her this, and haven’t gotten to spend much time around her.

After we had lunch, she and I were talking, and she looked at me straight in the eye and said to me, “Now, I’m not just saying this, I really mean it! You know, I’ve known you for a while, and I’ve seen you growing up, and I have to say, you have just gotten more and more beautiful as you grow older. I mean it! You’ve matured into a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I’m just amazed by you.” And she did mean it, I could see it in her eyes that she meant every word with complete sincerity and honestly was amazed by me. 

I’m… really at a loss for words. I feel completely unworthy of that level of compliment, I’m humbled by it. I pray that I may be the kind of woman who will someday speak that level of loving encouragement into the life of younger women around me.