Tattooed Girl

I CONCURED MY FEAR OF NEEDLES IN THE PRETTIEST WAY POSSIBLE!!

In case you didn’t read my previous post, this is a memorial tattoo for my mom, who passed away on November 22nd, 2014. This year was the three year anniversary of her going home to be with Jesus.

My desire is for my tattoo(s) to draw attention not to me, but to my hope in Jesus. To be conversation starters that open opportunities to share the gospel. My next tattoo is one that will be in celebration of the adventures God has taken me on by introducing me to so many amazing people these last three years.

gNl6fl1oS5mBSPuCGPW+SQ

The “carbon” copy, aka, the stencil my tattoo artist drew and then transferred to my shoulder.

AQVdx3T7Rvi47CR00O69ow7Bv%oMDJQ2CdvZSv+IAIMG_1896

For those of you who are, as of yet, ink free, here are a few things you may be wondering.

Does it hurt? Tattoos feel differently depending on where you choose to get them. I chose an area that is known to be one of the least painful places to get a tattoo. I would describe the sensation as having someone scratching you with the tip of a hot knife, not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to be annoying and mildly uncomfortable. It did not feel anything like needles. It felt prickly, hot, and eventually, kind of “fuzzy”. Once  I managed to focus on some distance thought and stop thinking about what it felt like, I drifted off into a calm day dream and didn’t feel much at all.

How long does it take? Depending on the skill of your artist and the size of your piece, it varies. From first touch of the needle to finial product it took about an hour and a half. My artist is very skilled and has 27 years experience under her belt. Do your research before you get inked. Your artist should be experienced, reputable, and have a lot of good word of mouth and online reviews. Find someone who has a tattoo from that artist and talk to them about it. Don’t rush into it. You’re going to have this image/phrase on your skin for life. Be patient and wait for just the right person to do the job.

Are they like potato chips, you can’t have just one? ….. Yeah. Kinda. Seeing as how I am already planning to get another one closer to my birthday. My other should is so bare, guys. Plus, I’m lopsided now. 😁

Any other questions? Feel free to comment. If you live anywhere near South Carolina and want to know who my artist is, shoot me a comment and I’ll send you her info. ❤️

Advertisements

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

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.

Ruth & Boaz

9ad2b9df684def931046ac97e8dc7542.jpg

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.

fb_img_1452730882106.jpg

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.

fb_img_1452726539339.jpg

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.

 

Gotta Be Somebody

A friend sent me this song today. Instant arrow to the heart. But I like feeling sad sometimes. It’s happy for deep people. (Sally Sparrow reference!)

In less sad, or actually, the opposite of sad, news:

GOD IS DOING AMAZING THINGS 

He’s waking my desire for His word. Drawing me out of my fears. Connecting me to new people, new experiences, new joys. And I am loving every minute of it.

But, because of this, I can feel the enemy attacking me. I took a major hit today, I was knocked down pretty bad. But by the grace of God, I know I can get back up.

I had a long, stressful day, and I succeeded. But the devil had to try and end the day on a sour note. Guess what, devil? You’ve already lost. My flesh may fail, but my God never will.

It’s very suddenly 2016. I feel that God has big plans for me this year. I have a few hopes, but I know His plan will far surpass even my dizziest day dreams. I’m excited. 🙂

Here’s a cute, happy Disney song to end the post that I started off so dreary. ^_^

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.

f7fa126d0f12e52b1890465aa1c0eb41

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

Attractions

As I think back over the recent months, I am struck by the superficial nature of our attractions today. In many ways some adults reflect the same level of understanding about relationships as the kids I worked with. The girls are impressed by the boy’s athletic abilities or looks or car, the guys by her physical appearance, her hair or body and all of them seem to value a sarcastic or perverse “wit” or rebellious attitude. As I was thinking back on this Proverbs 31:29-31 came to mind;

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

This led to other passages;

Proverbs 11:16 A kind hearted woman gains honor, a ruthless man only wealth

Proverbs 31:31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gates

What struck me was how off kilter we are when evaluating others as men and women, friends and potential spouses and how these verses need to be applied from both the male and female perspectives.

Too often we see the surface appearance, the facade. What we should be looking at is the person on the inside. The beauty will fade, the body will change, gravity will take its toll and age will add lines of character where there was once smooth skin. What will be the same, indeed what will grow is who we are on the inside.

Ladies and gentlemen will you still be happy when you are left with an aging shell of the person you once “loved” and find yourself the focus of the sarcasm you found so amusing when it was aimed at others.

Guys, that girl you think is so hot, is she beautiful on the inside? That guy who is so cool, will his heart be warm and tender to you when your beauty fades and his six pack turns into a keg? If they were struck by debilitating disease or scarred by fire or accident would you still love them? I like this bit of advice given to a young man though I don’t know its origin;

“Marry the most spiritually beautiful woman you can convince to have you”

Good advice but I think it needs a second half, it should continue – Then spend the rest of your life running after Christ so you are able to lead and care for her as Christ loves and cares for us.

Guys spend your time examining the young ladies around you for their inner qualities, kindness, patience, gentleness, tenderness of spirit, a Christ centered heart. One day when you see a woman who possesses these you will be amazed. You’ll blink and when your eyes open you’ll see her for the true beauty that she is, a pearl of great price for which you would give all that you have.

Ladies look to the inside, for a heart that seeks to follow Jesus, a forgiving spirit, a servant’s heart. That strength never fades, it grows.

Fall in love with the inner beauty, the kind and noble heart that follows after God and you will be blessed for life, not just satisfied for a season.

~My Dad 🙂

He wrote this as a post on his Facebook, and it hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention. I see plenty of “hot” guys, and I’m frequently asked why I don’t “go after” them. I’ve even been told “Y’know, if you really wanted a boyfriend it wouldn’t be that hard for you to get one, you’re just too picky.” Well you know what? A guy that is spiritually “hot” will last a lifetime. Being on fire for Christ truly is the sexiest quality a person can have. I’m willing to wait for that.

About a week ago, I brought an apple to work with me. I love apples, and this one was a HUGE, organic, fuji apple. One of my favorites. I was sitting in a park near my work when I took my first bite. I nearly threw up. Though it was bright and firm and gorgeous on the outside, the core had rotted, and the flesh was bitter and blackened. Any thoughts of the sweetness the exterior had implied were totally gone, and all I wanted to do was find something to get the horrible taste out of my mouth.

Why would I seek to marry and become one flesh with someone who’s rotten on the inside? Of the few men that I’ve actually been interested in, rarely was I struck with their looks when I first met them, but their gentleness, kindness,  strength, and desire for God. Their looks grew more and more appealing the longer I knew them, the deeper my knowledge of their faith, until I could see nothing but who they are in their features. And it was beautiful.

And the guys that have caught my eye with their looks, most have shown to be hollow on the inside. Consumed with themselves and their wants….

Not to say all attractive people are selfish, but that looks should be a secondary qualification when evaluating if they’re someone you want to pursue a relationship with. I have indeed met a good number of extremely attractive men who were also awesome, Godly men. But sadly for my sake they’ve so far all been married. ^_^

Anyway… that’s my little mini rant of the evening. It’s 12am and I’m dead tired and very sore, so I’ll be off now. TTFN! 🙂

~TQG

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

11111131_10155533578050035_8148408407212988082_n

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

~Psalm 103

Home Sick

No, not sick for home, or sick of home, but literally sent home from work because I’m sick. Can’t be sneezing and sniffling when you’re supposed to be examining peoples eyes.

Not happy about missing 7 of my 8 hours, but it’s a welcome break all the same. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be feeling well, and not miss a second day.

It’s been a good thing though… I spent some time reading James, journaling, and dealing with some things I’ve had on my heart. I had a sudden paradigm shift this afternoon as I wrote in my prayer journal. For years, whenever I’ve struggled with something, I’ve prayed for God to removed the obstacle, or to give me the strength to overcome it. I’ll be very honest, when praying this way, I’ve never really had much success. Today as I sat there trying to understand why, I realized I’ve had the wrong motives. I could have just as easily said “God, make my life easy so I don’t have to struggle”, or “God, make me strong so I can figure things out on my own”. That may not have been what I said, but if I’m honest, it is most definitely what I was asking for. And when I asked with those motives, it was like talking to brick wall.

Today as I began to pray, I changed the emphasis: “Jesus, show me how to rely on Your strength, to rest in Your righteousness. Make my heart sensitive to Your heart, and Your desires, align it with Your plan. Embolden it with Your courage and confidence that only Your Spirit can supply. Be my strength when I am weak.” The power I felt as I wrote these words down in a letter to God was amazing. There is power in prayer! Amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring power! Like feeling the Holy Spirit smile as if to say, “Ahh, there you go. Now you’re getting it.” 

Really refreshing and encouraging feeling.

In other news, I’ve redesigned this blog! It was in need of a serious upgrade. If you’re an email subscriber and don’t visit the actual blog, please do come check it out! I intend to continue to personalize it as I have the time. Hoping to find a header image that better reflects the theme of my posts. Feel free to send me ideas if you come across something.

I’ve now been at the clinic for 9 weeks! I’m enjoying my work there, and eager to continue learning more. Also, my Dad and I have been attending a new church and we’re really loving it. (If I’ve mentioned this before here, just ignore me, I’m sick and on lots of cold meds.) So I’m very excited about that. 🙂

Beyond that, I’ve got nothing new to report!

I’m gunna try and get over this nasty cold now! 😛 Go do something fun outside in my place! 🙂

~TQG