13. purity is a state of heart and a choice of the mind – and it’s worth waiting for. this year forced me to take some hard looks at how i view purity. i’ve never been in the position of sharing my “status” with someone as an interest (is that the right word?). i wrestled for a long time with how to share it. i dreaded the conversation. i still don’t relish having that discussion with someone (because, at this point, i figure whether i meet someone in church or not – that conversation will be required). what it showed me is that being “pure” is so much more than just not having sex. as i’ve expounded before (see “untouchable” post), purity is a state of being, one i struggle towards daily. yet, as one of my besties says, at this point why stop? and why not push deeper? why not claim more than virginity – why not strive to claim purity?
12. i really do need that hedge. so yeah, i used to think God was a blocker. like, why couldn’t anyone else see how fabulous i am? okay. so He took the infamous hedge and i’ve decided i’m a lot more comfortable not dating lol. i mean, now that i know that i can and that guys may be interested, i also realize that there are a lot of crazy boys floating around and i really do like that hedge for weeding out the boys.
11. pride will destroy you. pride is really the most insidious sin. it creeps in and says you don’t need God, you can handle it, stops you from turning to others for help, counsel, or guidance. it says you can do it alone. it says you are better. it says when you fail, you just need to try harder. it focuses on you – and not on God. if there is a sin to root out, a sin to confess daily and be held accountable for, it is pride.
10. purpose – God’s purpose – is bigger than me. i forgot, for the majority of 26, my purpose. i forgot it was not about me. i forgot it was bigger than law school. i forgot and focused on myself (see 11 – pride). i made it, what little i could remember, about me and forgot why He put me here – not in law school, but here, on this earth. it took a great and powerful scare to remind me. at the base of every huge trial is an opportunity to turn to God for realignment, to allow the Holy Spirit to work sanctification through you. i learned, perhaps a hard way, to remember that i am here for His purposes, and He will accomplish it. i am here for what He designed, and the path of peace is not walked with my head focused on my steps, but with my head lifted to His light.
9. do not awaken love before its time. it’s a bad idea to get frustrated, decide God forgot about this teeny area of your life, and make it happen for yourself. what, just me? oh, okay.
8. be open to God awakening that love. He hasn’t forgotten. that is part of His great plan. Jesus knows all we need. His timing is perfect. when He opens the door, when He gently rests His hand your shoulder to wake you up, there will be peace and joy. when it ends for the season, you won’t have regrets or doubts. you won’t wonder what you did. you’ll know it was God, and be content to allow love to drift asleep, knowing when He wakes you up, it will be delightful.
7. spiritual maturity is getting to the meat but not forgetting that you were once on milk. it’s easy to learn some phrases and feel “mature.” it’s tempting to equate time with maturity. spiritual maturity requires morethan time, more than catch phrases. it is nigh impossible to be spiritually mature and impatient with young believers. it is nigh impossible to be spiritually mature and think you’ve heard it all on a sermon topic/scripture. to be spiritually mature is to have a depth of a walk with Christ that recognizes when it is slowing, searches for deeper areas, and drinks milk without disdain – for we need calcium as much as we need protein and iron.
6. exercise. i don’t like it. i don’t think i ever will, really. i like the results. i like how my body feels. i’ll keep doing it – consistently.
5. action begins with prayer. faith without works is dead – but often those works begin with prayer. sometimes, they end with prayer. you cannot be “believing” for something and never pray about it. you cannot know the next step God wants you to take without praying. prayer is the lifeblood of Christianity. without prayer, there is nothing.
4. family is more than your bloodline – but that is not an excuse to dismiss your bloodline. i have an interesting and complicated relationship with my family, but i cannot ever doubt the love they have for me. it hit me this year all that they have sacrificed for me, and i love them so much. there are moments when i see my uncles, my grandparents, my parents in my mannerisms. i thought i wouldn’t miss them over christmas. i was wrong. my family is wonderful.
3. friendship with godly women is worth more than any precious stone. i have godly women as friends and i didn’t really realize until this year just how rare that is. i’m going to take a moment and name names, even if they never read this. my apologies to those who aren’t named but these women kept me, prayed for me, encouraged me, pushed me, reminded me of purpose, scolded me with the word, called me to more than i could ever be – often without knowing it. Women God sent me to make Pepperdine less lonely: Jessie, Courtney, Amanda, and Courtney. i thought there wasn’t anyone i could call at Pepperdine (or for Court, in LA) if things were really horrible, then I remembered you guys. You made my life so special, eased me out of intense lonelines, prayed for and with me, reminded me that I’m a light and my life has purpose, forced me to get over my pride, and generally saw more Christ in me than I often do. Thank you. My Spelman sisters: Ki, Meems, MiniMoss. Y’all are truly family. From offering to fly me home to calling me out (yes, sometimes the melodrama is necessary) to praying for me via gchat to not being surprised at all by interest when I was – y’all just touched my heart in so many ways. T-Dot/BCF: Rimmah, Linds, Caro, Auntie, Joan. You are such women of prayer and genuine fun. I can’t express what it’s like to get a text at a random hour with a crazy question, a phone call to check on me, a note in my mailbox, an email or facebook message “just because.” you remind me that home is home and i hope you know that even as my communication is sporadic, my love and prayers are daily. Sisters of my heart: Nannette, Bri, Mich, Van. I can’t think of my life without y’all. You drop everything for me, in a heartbeat. you cuss me about mass text messages. you drive across the country with me – and apologize profusely when you can’t. you visit and say it’s for you when really, it’s to make sure i’m alive and not slitting my wrists somewhere (no exaggeration). you understand my neuroses better than anyone else, know my life and responses, and i’m often overwhelmed by how much you see in me and the faith you have in me. you make home, home. All of you: i can never, ever say that i have nothing or no one when God has given me friends like these women. you are each beautiful and brilliant in your own right and i am honoured, truly and deeply, to call you friend and know the sentiment is returned.
2. self esteem, truly loving and valuing myself, means seeing my worth, seeing the me God made, and embracing her. in a way, that is loving me fiercely (to steal from Ntozake Shange). that means really looking at my personality, discerning the God from the good, and offering it to the world around me. that means taking the good and, um, not so good, and offering it to God. that means not ducking a compliment. that means being able to look in the mirror and smile. that means with or without those 10lbs, wearing my favourite dress around just because. that means not looking at pic with my friends and thinking i’m the ugly friend. that means not being out and thinking that the guy couldn’t possibly be into me. that means looking at a grade and knowing i earned it. that means taking a position and knowing God will get me through it – and that He gave me the skills to blossom. that means not laying awake wondering why my friends love me, and what i could do to lose that love. that means seeing who He made me and loving her even a tenth as much as Jesus does. all of her, just like Jesus does.
1. Jesus really does love me.