Soul Chocolate

giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of deep, dark secrets…

adoption: the hall of faith October 21, 2011

Filed under: milk chocolate — beautynobility @ 4:46 pm

There are those walking us who should be entered into the Hall of Faith. You know, in Hebrews 11 where the Bible lists men and women who are exemplars of faith and the glory of God. We often focus on these “big names” and on those who seem to be the “giants” of our time. Well, this couple that I am so honored to call friend are examples to me.

Amanda and Jonathan Schmitt were among the first to welcome me to Pepperdine. Amanda has quickly become one of my closest friends, praying with me, taking fabulous pictures of me, and being an example of godly womanhood. I have been privileged to walk beside and pray with Amanda and Jonathan as they go through the adoption journey. They have demonstrated a glorious trust in the Lord, in His perfect timing, in His promises to them. When times seemed dark and it appeared that their dreams of being parents were dying, they held to His promises. They have trusted him, and it was with great joy that I answered my phone last week and heard my dear sister in Christ say, “you’re going to be an auntie!”  What a great promise of Christ coming to us! What a reminder of the way God loves us and cares for us and pours His love on us to make us His children and adopt us as His own.

But, just as our adoption into the family of God came with a great price, so does the great joy of Amanda and Jonathan. Adoption is very, very expensive. Praise God, they’ve received a $2,500 matching grant from Dark to Dawn & Lifesong for Orphans. But, this still means that they need to raise the funds to match the grant. This is where you and I come in to support. For each dollar you give, they’ll get $2. Every little bit will help them bring home their little one! To donate, go to: http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/donation.html, then click on “Donate” and enter “Preference: Schmitt#2354 adoption” in the memo line.

Thank you for your support, love, and most of all, prayers.

Amanda and I at a baseball game

**Note: Your donation is tax-deductible. However, note that in following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.

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walk on water October 19, 2011

Filed under: 100% Cocoa,milk chocolate — beautynobility @ 11:00 pm

i was walking on water. i didn’t realize it until i began to sink.

last august, i was sure and secure in Christ. for the first time in my adult life, i had self-esteem that came from truly believing that i was who God said i was. i was caught up in Him. i was single, but not alone. no, i wasn’t rocking the “Jesus is my husband” t-shirt (o_O). i was walking in undivided devotion. i had the faith that He would provide, and there were no buts. no ifs. i just knew.

but i was so sure i was standing, i didn’t realize i could fall. i was at a dangerous place, and only my hindsight has revealed that to me. i had believed a lie. the lie was that i wasn’t good enough to tempt, good enough for a man to pull me away from Christ. for a man to want me sexually enough to tempt me to impurity. the dangerous part of that lie is that it blinded me to the temptation when it came. because i didn’t realize i had to be on guard, i had no defenses to that when it came.

and i got excited. i was asked on a date for the first time IN MY LIFE and i got excited. i was so excited and caught up, i didn’t realize that my feet were getting wet. that date didn’t work out (dude, really, you wrote me a letter saying you were “in love with me” after ONE DATE? creeper). but it was enough to pull my eyes from Jesus, just a little bit. i started to notice the wind and the waves, the blogs and the articles about how to get, keep, love, etc a man. nothing was wrong with them. nothing except they were leading me to live in relationship outside the way God had called me since i was 7 years old.

i went out on another date. a different guy. twice. mr. comfortable, who got me cheesecake during finals and rubbed my back and made me feel…wanted. cared for. i was excited, so excited because an adult, a man, was interested me. so excited that i didn’t notice that my ankles were submerged and my knees were being splashed. that didn’t work out, but it was enough to make me trust myself, my ability to keep myself above the waves. enough to pull my eyes off Jesus and the way He renewed and refined that call when i was 13.

i went out on another date. different guy, who actually saw me in starbucks, asked me for my number, and semi-pursued me. (hindsight: semi-pursuit? not okay). he actually desired me. so much that it scared me. not a “he’s going to hurt me” scared me, but a “this is new and not that thrilling and i don’t know if i can walk this line and be who God called me to be” scared me. i was scared and excited and tempted and…and…realized that i was submerged to my waist and water was splashing on my neck and face. i finally realized that i was sinking.

my purity, the high standard Christ called me to live for, was on the line. i was faced with a verse that has always terrified me and that night, convicted me: to [her] who knows to do good and does it not, it is sin. (James 4:17). what i was doing wasn’t a sin. i’ll be clear and say that again: “putting yourself out there” (**in moderation and alignment with Christ**), going on dates, enjoying the company of men who were interested in me, was not at its core, a sin. i am not indicting dating. i was, however, held to a higher standard. a higher level of purity – something beyond not having sex and dating only “Christians.” i was held to a standard of not dating unless i was going to marry that man. a standard of challenging each man i saw to walk in a relationship with God that was more than “oh did, you read your Bible this week?” i was held to a standard that said that my relationship, all of it, would stand as an example to others who were looking for Christ. by releasing that standard and being okay with just going out with a few people who were decent-looking, interested in me, and said they went to church sometimes – basically, by doing what the blogs and articles said to do, dating the world’s way, i was not doing what i knew was good. i was sinning. i was sinking.

and i saw it clearly tonight. the faith struggles i’ve been dealing with for the past 2 months. the hoping, and wishing, and praying, was an attempt to get back on the water. all the while, Jesus has been extending His hand to pull me up and saying, “you of little faith, why couldn’t you just believe?”

i’m turning my eyes back to Him. to who He called me to be. i’ve been asking Him the past 2 weeks: if this is really You, if You will really provide this life, this adventure, this grand romance, this husband Your way, if the call to purity is all You say it is, just bid me come. And in response i’ve been hearing one simple phrase: come. come to Me for a depth of relationship you have never known, to be in a place that will spark the purest and most beautiful relationship you could ever dream about.

come. walk on the water.

 

lessons from a headache October 17, 2011

Filed under: milk chocolate — beautynobility @ 11:33 pm

i’ve had this headache for about 4 days now. it’s gotten progressively worse, leaving me laying here tonight nauseated and with blurry vision. seriously, i’m sitting here writing this in a rare respite from my eyes crossing in front of me.

i’ve tried to figure out what brought this on, and between one of my friends and my roommate, we decided it’s the lack of consistency in my sleeping patterns. going to bed at 10pm some nights and 3am other nights, and not at all some nights has taken its toll on my system, and my body is letting me know. i need consistency to function.

consistency.

i started to think about the signs in my spiritual life when i’m not being consistent. i lose the ability to fight my fears and doubt my doubts. the little irritants build up, my spiritual vision gets blurry, my soul feels upset. my spiritual body starts to let me know through my short temper, increasing angst, encroaching sadness that maybe i’m not being consistent with God. I’m not resting in Him enough, and the rest of me suffers.

consistency. when things are great, when things suck, and when things are just plodding along, i must be consistent in my walk with God. spending time with Him – not just the scary sounding “quiet time” or “devotionals” but just talking to Him, loving Him, being with Him. turning to Him first with the little and big things. spending time in worship. getting together with Christians. the things that we jump to do in times of great sorrow or great joy, we must do in the mundane times. the practices, the consistency we establish when things are good aid us in the times of pain.

i need to go to bed and wake up at  (roughly) the same time daily to make sure my body doesn’t hate me. i need to rest in God and wake my soul up daily to make sure my soul doesn’t fight me.

time to sleep.

 

fool me once October 14, 2011

Filed under: milk chocolate — beautynobility @ 1:10 am

i was probably seven years old, because i remember we were living in halifax. i was horrendously upset because this girl at school would not be my friend at the level that i understood friendship to be. i invited her over, shared my treats, played with her at recess, and she kept blowing me off. i had other friends, true, but it still hurt that i would make an effort to spend time with her and it seemed to mean nothing to her. one afternoon, about 3 weeks into the school year, my parents sat me down and told me something that has defined my approach to friendships (and really relationships): you are chocolate. you don’t chase people to be your friend. you contact them, you show them you are interested, and if they choose not to be friends with you, keep it moving. they know where to find you, and eventually they will. i dried my eyes, tossed my hair over my shoulder, and kept it moving. i had a sleepover and my (real) friends came. i had people to play with at lunch. i ate my treats, and enjoyed my life. and eventually, just like my daddy and mommy said, she came by at recess and asked to be my friend. that’s when i learned my second lesson: when they come back – because they will – treat them as if they never left. don’t throw it in their face. 

right or wrong, this has always been my approach to friendships. i’m not forcing you to be my friend. i’ll call, text, gchat, whatever. i give you two calls and two arranged outings. you ignore those, i’ll go off the assumption that you’re not trying to be my friend. and i do what my mommy told me: i keep it moving. toss my hair, smile, and go to the people who actually want to be around me. because, as my daddy said: i am chocolate. and as my Daddy says: i am the apple of His eye, a treasure, chosen and loved.

and so,  i give everyone the measure of friendship they give me, and have the expectation they build for me. you want to call me friend but never actually talk to me or hang out when we make plans? cool. i stop suggesting plans; you know where to find me. you don’t want to call back? i’m over it. keeping it moving. and when you come back – because you will – i’ll treat you sweetly and with respect.

but believe this: just as that little girl wasn’t invited over until she’d invited me twice, my time with you won’t be initiated by me. show me you want me in your life.

i’ll be with my friends.

 

let my words be few October 12, 2011

Filed under: milk chocolate — beautynobility @ 11:03 pm

“and Mary pondered these things in her heart.”

i’ve never really been able to grasp what that means. mary pondered in her heart. i mean, i know the literal meaning – she didn’t necessarily talk about it. but what it actually means, how she did it?

i talk. a lot. it’s how i process, how i think, how i bond, how i function. i measure how close i am to someone by how much i can talk to them about. i have very few thoughts that one of the people closest to me hasn’t heard.

but lately, like in the past monthish, i’ve come to realize that may actually be a detriment to my spiritual life. while the majority of the time i receive positive feedback or advice from those i talk to, i’ve also turned to them instead of God. a lot.

i have a bad day, i text a friend. harmful thought, send an email. terrible class, hop on gchat. feel like i’m going to sob, make an sos call. i get to God eventually, but first? not as much as I should.

but perhaps i’ve had such a hard time recovering my heart because i’m not going to God with it first. by the time I talk to Him, my hurt is formed and my pain is solidified. if i’m feeling better, it’s because i’ve been pacified by the people in my life who love me. i haven’t been convicted as much by His Spirit, because i haven’t been turning to Him with a heart open to the conviction.

but yesterday. yesterday i was drawn so close to Him. nothing in particular happened. i wasn’t feeling well enough to go to the gym, but i knew i needed to move. so i grabbed my ipod, threw on my sweats, and went for a walk. listening to worship music, i faced God and saw myself. i saw all the pain that hasn’t healed because He wasn’t first. i saw how i’d replaced my first Love with the loves He’d given me. and i justified it by saying that i’d gone to Him, eventually. but the pain, the tears, weren’t given to Him first, and so they weren’t healed first.

don’t get me wrong; i believe that He speaks through people, and places us in community for a reason. i surely wouldn’t have made it through the majority of my life if i hadn’t been blessed with the amazing friends He’s given me. but when those people, those blessings begin to take priority over His voice – there’s a problem.

so, i’m turning to Him. as much as He made my personality, and made me gregarious for a reason, i need to be like Mary and ponder some more in my heart. ponder my joys, ponder my pains, ponder His promises. hold them and see Him bring them to pass.