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?

One Single Thing (Me)

March 4th, 2018. This is the year I turn 25. The year I wanted to be married by. Had my previous (and only) relationship worked out, I’d be just a few months away from celebrating our one year anniversary. But, alas, here I am. Single, living with an older lady from my church, spending my days working at an eye clinic and going to the gym, primarily.

I gotta be real with you all. I’m frustrated. I’m lonely. I am NOT desperate, ready to fall for any guy who looks my way, however. Quite the opposite. My best friend/man I almost married is still my closest friend and continues to be such a fabulous example of what I desire in a spouse. Just yesterday we were watching a movie and the characters were talking about failed relationships, he turned to me and asked, “Do you consider our courtship a failed relationship?”

No. I don’t. We did everything right, our relationship was and is still healthy, God honoring, and we would have made an amazing couple had we gotten married. The only reason we did not is because he feels called to be single. Our courtship did not end in marriage, but it was not a failure. We both sought God, learned about one another and ourselves, and when it ended, we continued to honor God by maintaining a love and respect for one another that I have not seen between “exes” before.

Because of that, my expectations, hopes, dreams, requirements, and standards for a man have gotten higher. Now that I know there is such a thing as a man who loves Jesus more than me, who loves me selflessly and choses to protect my heart over satisfying his own desires, I cannot and will not settle for less.

And I am frustrated. Because men like that are so rare. Or at least, it appears that way. My heart aches to share life with someone, to have someone to snuggle up in bed with after long day and just be with.

Someone who enjoys going grocery shopping on the weekends and considers that a fun day out together.

Who loves to cook with me, and doesn’t get frustrated with me when I can’t remember what ingredients I just read on the recipe and have to reread it a dozen times.

Someone who knows how important snuggling is to me, and knows that when I’m mad or frustrated with life, cuddles are always the answer.

Someone who randomly starts singing in the car even when he doesn’t remember the real lyrics, and the radio isn’t even on.

Someone who knows more scripture by heart than I do, and doesn’t act superior because of it.

Someone who doesn’t mind me sending him texts throughout the day about inconsequential things that I thought were interesting (That in hindsight aren’t actually that interesting).

Someone who sets boundaries and sticks to them no matter what, honors his commitments, and doesn’t make empty promises.

Someone who knows that showing emotions is a sign of strength, not weakness, and loves people openly without shame.

Someone who calls me beautiful, and loves me for who I am as a person. But also calls me a hot chick, thinks my body is a treasure, something to be respected and appreciated, and refuses to indulge it in until we are married.

Maybe my expectations are too high. But I know one man who meets them. And I’d rather be alone than settle for less.

 

One Flesh, and Reflections

So, tonight as I am listening to the rain and doing some reading in scripture, I thought I’d share a recent realization I had.

I was thinking back to some memories from my childhood, and my parents, and how they used to laugh and carry on, and I said, out loud to myself, “Man, I miss them.”

My dad is still alive. I see him at least once a week. It’s my mom that I miss… right? Then I realized… My parental unit was just that, a unit. Two people, yes, but joined together by God, one flesh.

6“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

~Mark 10: 6-9

I still have my dad, yes. But, God took my mom home. And my dad is now joined with my lovely step mom, Polly. He is the same man, but also, different, his other half has molded and changed him and they have become their own unique unit. One that I admire and enjoy, but it’s not my unit. So I do miss them. I miss my parents. Both of them. I miss what they were, and what they meant to me as I grew up. Their marriage was not perfect, they had some struggles, but almost 25 years and they were still totally in love. I remember the day my mom passed away, we saw it coming. We watched her O2 levels drop.

70%

65%

60%

and my dad leaned down and kissed my moms forehead and said “Liz, I love you, dear. I love you. Stay with me. I love you.”

To her very last breath. Till death do us part. I pray that the Lord brings me a man who will love me like that. When I have nothing to give. My mom was too ill to cook, or clean, she was not able to be sexually available for him, she was barely able to put on her own shoes. But he loved her. And he painted her nails, and shaved her legs for her so she would feel pretty and feminine even though she was unable to go anywhere. He cooked for her, and cleaned, and brushed her hair. And he never once complained. He cared for her the way Jesus cares for us, His Bride. We have nothing to offer, but He treats us like we are precious, and irriplaceable.

I sometimes have nightmares about that night. The sounds the body makes when it literally suffocates are other worldly, and horrifying, and when those nightmares come they last for several nights. But on that night, without being invited, or told what was going on, no less that 6 close friends of my family came to visit my mom. As I was being ushered out of her room so the nurses could attempt to keep her breathing, my friends were walking in. One of them, my good friend Jese, stayed the night with me. Her awesome husband brought her pjs, and she slept on my couch, let me sit numbly without talking to me and was just… there. I didn’t sleep. I just sat. And I didn’t sob. I just let the tears roll down silently. In the morning she made me gluten free pancakes and vacuumed our house, and cleaned our kitchen, all of which had fallen to ruin during the week we had spent practically living at the hospital. She also arranged for a full course Thanksgiving dinner to be cooked for us, as this all happened on Nov. 22, 2014.

Since my mom was taken home, I have seen the fruit of my suffering. God has used me to reach out to people in ways that I would not have been able to, had I not experience this pain. Empathy is such a gift. Anyone can say I’m here for you. But when someone can come along side you, and cry with you, and feel your pain with you, that is truly a gift.

Anyway, all that to say, the marriage union is truly, miraculous, and beautiful, and the best picture of Christ’s love that we can find on this earth. And that is why Satan attacks it with such vigor. Kind of eye opening, isn’t it?

~TQG

Fifty Shades

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that means Singles-Awareness jokes, lots of pepto-bismol pink, fluffy things, chocolate and, as TV adds, media, and probably your coworkers won’t let you forget, Fifty Shades Darker.

This post is to all my Christian followers, and those who are curious about Christian’s standards on entertainment. I will be the first to admit, I am preachy when it comes to this subject, but for today, I just want to offer some biblical advice to my Christian brothers and sisters who are curious about this series of movies/books and are trying to rationalize their way into going to see it.

I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.

~Psalm 101 2-4 (NLT)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

~Ephesians 5:3&4 (NIV)

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

~Psalm 119:9 (ESV)

Don’t tell yourself those rational-lies. Keep your way pure. Keep your heart and mind free of the sin of this world and pursue true, honest, gentle, and guiltless love. What you put in your mind effects you, fellow believers. Don’t give Satan a foothold.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Need an alternative movie night idea? Here are two great titles! Both available on DVD.

“Old-fashioned”

“Priceless” (Available Feb. 14th on DVD)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Let true love win the day!

I did it!

Apologies for taking such huge breaks between posts. I have had a lot going on! Such as:

  • Ever present possibility that I have to move suddenly (I live alone, but it’s my dad’s house, and it is on the market).
  • Going through some difficult times relationally.
  • Full-time job
  • Studying for my COA (Certified Ophthalmic Assistant) exam.

BUT I HAVE GOOD NEWS! I PASSED MY COA TEST! I am officially, Moriah, COA, OSC.

I am super excited about it. I wanted to share something interesting that happened while I was preparing for the test.

One afternoon, I was studying and feeling very overwhelmed. So, I prayed, and I asked God to please help me stay calm, remember what I was studying, and help me pass the test.
And he gently nudged my heart and says;

“You ask for an awful lot from someone you never spend time with. How about you put Me first, make spending time in My word priority, and then, we’ll see.”

I felt kinda convicted. So, I began reading at least one chapter of scripture and spending time in prayer daily before I would allow myself to study. I still studied, but devoted time to both studying ophthalmology and the bible. And I passed my test. 🙂 God is awesome.

Prayer request for you all! My best friend has to move on Dec. 20th. He still does not know where he will be moving to, but so far his only option is 45+ minutes farther away from his jobs (he has four jobs… yeah…), and farther from me (super-sad face emoji). Please pray that God will provide him a place that is closer, more convenient, and in a good price range. Preferably with a roommate that can split the costs with him.

Anyway, I’m off to do some reading before bed! TTFN!

~TQG

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.

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