I’m in the midst of visiting longtime friends in a city I’ve been to so many times over the years, but it’s never really stood out to me in and of itself. Instead it’s been the people here–the women here– who have touched my soul in such a way that when I visit, they are all that matter.
But on this particular visit the present collides with the past and as Hope and I sit in a church and listen to those old gospel songs I have flashbacks of our college choir that we warmly refer to as MUGS (Miami University Gospel Singers). I remember those early days when we sang and belted out our love for Jesus and I was on a high of the Holy Spirit.
We left that sanctuary of praise only to make a visit to the hospital. I watched her care and serve and do what I know would be difficult for me. I think of our dreams and hopes for a future that morphed into a present that wasn’t at all what we expected. I think, “So this was my life. To be with these women. To spend 15 years on a path of surrender with these women. To face hard things and difficult situations, but to face them together.”
My friends are amazing. Parents are ill though we are still young and life is fleeting. We make memories together. Some of these are painful, but others are joy, inspite of the pain.
I’m so grateful for their consistency and this gift of friendship. That as a 19 year old I developed covenant friendships that stayed with me even through my shortcomings and fallen nature.
My friends are worthy. They are go getters and dreamers and doers of those dreams. They are a multifaceted group of talent, love and hope. They are my cheerleaders and I am grateful to have that kind of support system in place when life is never what you expect it to be. When the naive hopefulness of the 20s gives way to the slow dawning realization of the 30s.
They are still there. And I know that is nothing short of the grace of Elohim.
Have you ever interacted with someone who just doesn’t see you? Your gifts, your talents, your beauty? No matter how hard you try they are blind to the greatness that is “you”. I found myself in that position recently. And what made it worse (actually there were a lot of things that made it worse but I’ll address just this one thing) was that I kept seeing myself through their lense. And because I saw myself through their lense I became a lesser version of myself. Sigh.
This lesser version was insecure and needy and very unattractive. I was sincerely surprised at my own conduct and tried several times to pull it together and yet was unsuccessful. What is goin on with me? I thought. Why am I acting this way.
In hindsight I still have a lot of processing to do but the one revelation I do have is “not everyone will see you”. Not everyone will see you because they are not called to. Christ walked the earth, God in the flesh, and there were so many who allowed God to walk right by them without even so much as a glance. What a missed opportunity for them! But they did not have eyes to see.
Those in my life who see me are “my people”. They affirm, encourage and love unconditionally. They do not define me by my flaws but by my position. My position in Him.
Its ok if there are some who are not your people. There are plenty who are. And as we stay on the path and move forward we will meet them. I have met one particular young lady through this here blog, and now in just one week she will be moving in with me! I never could have foresaw those events but God has great surprises on His path for us.
Those who are called to us, those who deserve the title of being “our people”, they have demonstrated His love and grace which in turn brings out our very best. It is a cycle when this happens, but a very good one.
If you’re even just a little bit privy to celebs and entertainment gossip you have probably heard of some well known couples whipping out the celibacy card. Some very good looking couples I might add! These good looking couples have shared that their purposes for being celibate have more to do with their faith then anything. One couple actually released a book about their experience called “The Wait” written by Devon Franklin and Meagan Good. I have yet to read the book but a blogger friend of mine had the opportunity to interview them. Please check out the interview here.
I applaud Devon and Meagan’s efforts to help others become aware that God wants our bodies as well as our hearts. I appreciate that they have a greater platform than many believers and can even reach a more diverse group of people to share a message of purity.
Another couple that has been outspoken about “their wait” recently became engaged. Russell Wilson and Ciara are on their way to the next step in solidifying their relationship. While I rejoice that this couple desires to honor one another and God in their relationship I understand by experience that celibacy is just one step towards the goal of a healthy, godly marriage. Purity runs deeper than just physical boundaries and a solid foundation for a relationship must encompass mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual components. I pray this couple gets that understanding if they don’t already have it. In my experience the body of Christ has done a poor job of preparing singles for marriage. The teaching has been very surface level and often times Christian couples modeled worldy couples, except without the sex and sometimes maybe they prayed together. They just kind of tagged Jesus on and moved forward functioning from a lot of self and immaturity. These teachers thought that celibacy was the key.
But I believe wisdom is the key.
Celibacy is just a byproduct of holiness and intimacy with God. We respond to Him by laying down our desires because He is so good, but that is just one level of knowing Him. As we keep walking and maturing in Him we learn there are greater components to a covenant with Him and a covenant with a spouse.
I pray these couples who desire God’s best learn there is much more to the foundation of a healthy relationship than just abstinence. There is wholeness which cannot be cultivated easily. Instead it takes time and obedience and faithfulness.