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

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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.

Falling in Love

I posted a video of an hour(ish) long sermon a few weeks ago, I titled that post “The Definition of Love” if my memory serves. (And it may not, so I apologize.) It is a fabulous message and I really enjoyed it, it keeps coming back to me time and time again.

Today I was at work, nursing one of the many small injuries I acquired today–mostly paper cuts, guinea pig scratches and one bite from an angry Russian hamster (today was not my day) and thinking about not the definition of Love, the verb, the action, the thing you can and should act out with every person you come in contact with, but the definition of falling in love.

I was once waiting in line for a burrito bowl at Moe’s (one of my favorite places to eat) when I heard a girl say to her friends “I think I’m falling in love with him… I’m not sure, but I think I am.” It made me mad. Not mad with her, but with our culture. Maybe it’s just me, but I know when I’m in love. I don’t mean romantic, lovey dovey “oh he’s so cute and funny and he has a nice smile” thing, that is what’s called a crush. I don’t have those. I might occasionally meet/see a guy who I have a temporary interest in, but it is always a critical interest. Each time I come in contact with him I analyze him. What’s the point of having some kind of “thing” for a guy who is attractive, but deep down just a shallow jerk? It’s such a waste!

So what does it mean to fall in love, then? I honestly can’t say definitively. But I can say what it means for me.

Falling in love is when you’ve analyzed someone, quizzed them, tested them, and inquired of them until you know them extremely well. You’ve seen their faults, and you’ve seen their strengths. You’ve had a few disagreements, but you’ve worked them all out and come out better on the other side. You’ve watched them mature and grow closer to God, and they’ve helped you do the same. And suddenly one day you look at them and a quiet, calm, peaceful thought sprouts roots in your mind, it whispers “I could spend the rest of my life with them, and love every minute of it.” And you realize it’s true. That no matter what you faced, you would sacrifice anything to protect the beauty you see in them. Even if it hurt sometimes, you would strive, and you would love deeply, and you would give of yourself until you ran dry if you have to, because you love them. And you’re willing to commit to loving them even during those times when you don’t “feel it”.

That kind of love doesn’t go away. Even if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, and one day you find someone else whom you feel the same way about, I don’t think that means you stop loving them. You’ve just resigned to the fact that your love for them has to be kept quiet. That you have to move on. And it hurts.

Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.

Proverbs 27:5

Perhaps when you’ve finally found someone who returns that same love to you, your “previous” love changes form, into something that doesn’t hurt, a gentle and endearing friendship-love. I don’t know. I just know that I see almost none of this definition of love in the world. And it makes me feel alone sometimes.

I’ve allowed myself to become something of a hermit of late, for that reason. I just see so many extremes. Extreme immaturity, extreme “religiousness”, when all I really want is someone like myself, in the sense that I am imperfect, I sin, I do stupid things sometimes, make a fool of myself. But I’m changing, I’m self analyzing, I’m striving to become more like He who rescued me. I don’t see that in many people. I just want to be in the presence of someone whom I can relax with. Not worry about being ill influenced by them, and just laugh, and be myself. Sure, mistakes are made, and no one is perfect, so obviously at some point someone will say something the other disagrees with, be it a moral objection or just a personal preference. And that is okay. It’s how we grow.

It’s why I’ve secluded myself. I feel as though I am constantly pouring myself out on those around me, and I’m empty. I’ve run out of “it”, whatever “it” is. I need someone to pour themselves into me, too. I need someone who can give as well as receive. I suppose you could tell me that I won’t find that if I don’t go out and mingle. Perhaps you’re right. But tonight, it’s almost 2am, and I have a cold, and my finger tips are sore and injured, and I’m not feeling very optimistic.

A fact about “Caleb”

I’ve always loved the name Caleb, even though I’ve always been told it meant “Dog”, but today in our family Bible study time my dad dug up this interesting fact! Definitely going to remember this if I ever have a son. 🙂

Many name books / websites list the meaning of CALEB as “Dog”. However, a simple look in a Hebrew / English dctionary one will see that “dog” in Hebrew is CELEB, not CALEB. **Note** the first vowel is different.

CALEB is actually a compound word in Hebrew – something that is quite common in ancient Hebrew. Col (Cuf + Lamed) = all or whole. Lev (Lamed + Vet) = heart. Therefore, CALEB (or COLEV as pronounced in Hebrew) actually means “whole hearted”.

Faithful could be another translation. However, if you read in the Hebrew Bible the exploits of CALEB (as in one of the twelve spies who went into Caanan Numbers 13:6 & 13:30), one will see that he wasn’t simply faithful, but that he served the God of ISRAEL with his whole heart. IE: He was the first to speak up and say, “let’s go and conquer this land,” (paraphrased). It wasn’t JOSHUA (the leader of the 12 spies), but CALEB who was encouraging Israel to follow God inspite of the opposition from the other 10 spies.

Therefore, the ancient meaning of CALEB is: “whole hearted”.

Such a lovely meaning! My name “Moriah” means “The Lord is my Teacher/Master”, and is also the name of the mountain on which Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, but was provided a ram. I am very fond of names with Biblical meaning. 🙂