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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Tetelestai

My “it is finished” tattoo is…. well. Finished!!

 

Totally love it. The T’s look like three crosses, and the red looks like a world map. Because Jesus’ blood covers the world. ❤️

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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?

Unofendable

🚨 Rant Alert 🚨

Actual conversation I had today on Instagram with an undisclosed stranger:

Me: “Your body is exquisitely beautiful, too beautiful, in fact, to be given away for free. Which is why it saddens me to see gorgeous women post scantily clad or nude photos of themselves. You’re worth so much more.”

Them: “How dare you disrespect me! I graduated from ____ school of art! You’re making me feel uncomfortable! I am offended!”

So. I basically said you’re way too beautiful to be given away for free to the world, you’re worth so much more than that and this world doesn’t deserve you for free…. And that is offensive.

This is how our culture responds to truth. “OH, my feelings!!” Not all the time, but most times, “I’m offended” can be translated to “You made my conscience feel convicted and I’m not ready for a paradigm shift so I’m copping out of this discussion that endangers my lifestyle!”

Just a reminder to my fellow Jesus Freaks. When you walk in the truth, you cannot, should not, be offended by any slander thrown your way. Jesus promised that the world will hate us. We must be unoffendable. When you walk in the light, you no longer need to fear the dark.

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!

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

Narrowly Practical

Man is becoming as narrowly “practical” as the irrational animals. In lecturing to popular audiences I have repeatedly found it almost impossible to make them understand that I recommend Christianity because I thought its affirmations objectively true. They are simply not interested in the question of truth or falsehood. They only want to know if it will be comforting, or “inspiring,” or socially useful.

-C.S.Lewis

Tired & Torn

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Sometimes I’m tired of being brave.

Of going out into a world of hostility and putting on a good face.

I struggle to keep smiling when I have to fight just to stay me.

To keep myself from the habits of those surrounding me.

Staying on the higher ground.

When a word of profanity tickles my tongue and I have to bite it.

When a hostile attitude boils within me and I struggle to remember to Whom I belong.

At every turn, I see only obstacles.

I feel as though I clamber over them,

No one by my side.

Is it too much to ask for a friend who cheers me on rather than telling me to turn back?

We could help each other over the mountains,

Stroll through the valleys in unison.

Don’t tell me my fight is pointless,

Don’t tell me I try too hard.

Tell me to push harder, to strive to be more.

Tell me my quest is worthy,

Take my hand and join me.

Maybe we won’t scale every mountain,

Maybe we won’t always win.

But God is on our side, my friend,

And He has concurred sin.