What heights of love.

God has been speaking to me so much this week. Actually, God speaks to me always, but it’s difficult for me to recognize His voice sometimes. I get distracted by so many other things, and I miss His whispers to my heart.
Since I’ve given up one of the biggest idols in my life, I’ve felt so … full of the Holy Spirit. I’ve felt His presence in my life so much more than I have in the past few months. It’s been kind of a spiritual high, like the kind you get while on a mission trip. It feels like God’s “closer,” except that He’s always near and always has been, no matter what. Maybe I’m just recognizing it more.

I want to describe this feeling, but it’s indescribable. It feels like I’ve been freed from bondage. As much as I still want to get married, it’s no longer something I think about daily, strive towards, and look for in my relationships with my Brothers in Christ… or guys in general, really. It’s not an idol in my life anymore. Such a weight has been lifted off of my chest, and I keep thinking about a specific time in my life, I can’t remember when or what the circumstances were, when I told God flat-out that I would never give up my grip on marriage; I wasn’t going to leave it to God, because there’s a chance that God doesn’t have marriage planned for me. As I said in my previous post, I still want to get married, but it’s not controlling my life anymore. I think about how far I’ve come, and how much God had to break me down to get me to this point.

I read a metaphor once about how God clears the “junk” away from our lives after we become Christians. “God loves us just as we are, but too much to leave us that way,” is a quote that helps explain this metaphor.

God is like a sculptor, think Michelangelo, and we are the blocks of rock. Once we become a Christian and accept Christ into our lives, we allow God to chip away at us. It’s painful, but He needs to git rid of the outer shell of who we are to get to the beauty of who He created us to be. There are things He gets rid of that are easy to chip off: cursing, cheating, stealing. Then there are things He chips away that are more painful: bitterness, the need for acceptance, emotional scars. Then there are things that are so imbedded in who we are, we cry out to Him as He chips them away, begging Him not to take them from us: the need to get married, our money, our reputations. These last things aren’t inherently bad things, but when they’re placed above God, they’re idols. God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. God loves me too much to leave me the way I am.
This process is not an easy one. It took Michelangelo three years of painstaking work to create David, and Michelangelo is a flawed human. Think about how much longer and how much more precise God is with us. He’s infallible, and He creates perfect masterpieces. We aren’t perfect, because we’re human, but everything He does is perfect, and He has a perfect plan for each of us.
When God chips away at our bad habits, our scars, and our deepest-set idols, it hurts. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” God has to chip away at us so that our faith is refined, even when that means chipping away something we hold on to with all of our might.

All of that was to explain how I feel right now. My need to get married was a deep-set idol. It took a long time for me to let go and let God chip away at that, and if you know me, you know how much I wanted to get married. You know.
Since Sunday night, when I had my mini-revelation about what an idol it was, I’ve felt like I can fully trust God with my future now. There’s a wonderful song, we actually just sang it during CRU tonight, called “In Christ Alone.” One line, one very powerful line, says, “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” And Jesus does totally command my destiny. What a powerful realization, that God commands everything that happens to me. There is no “chance,” there is no “coincidence;” God has everything planned. And He has something amazing planned for me, I can feel it.

James 1:27

For those of you who are really interested in my personal life, you will seriously enjoy this post. It will probably read more like a journal or diary entry than a blog post, but that’s cool with me.

I’m 21, and perpetually single. I’m the girl my guy friends look at and think, “She’s an awesome friend,” but don’t want to date (apparently); more girl friend-material than girlfriend-material (yes, there’s a difference).
Anyway, I was thinking a lot about it, and decided that I should probably deal with my emotions about being forever-single. I started searching online for Christian articles about what to do if you never get married. To be clear, I still want to get married. It would be wonderful. BUT… if I happen to never get married, I want some kind of a back-up plan so I don’t feel cheated out of life by waiting to get married. So, while I was searching, I came across this old Sunday school handout from 2007 from some church, and the first question was, “To determine whether you should get married or remain single, answer the question, ‘What will liberate me to be most fully devoted to Christ?'” Boom! Conviction. I have been looking at marriage all wrong since… since I pictured myself walking down the aisle in a beautiful white gown. Marriage is not a goal, something to check off my list. It isn’t something to aspire to have, like a title. It’s supposed to be a union that first and foremost glorifies God. I have been worshiping marriage as an idol for so long, and it’s time to fix that.
Ok, so since marriage has been an idol in my life, and God tells us to flee from idols (1 Corinthians 10:14), I have to distance myself from the thought of marriage. Probably a little extreme, yes, but necessary. I’ve begun to focus on how I can serve God as a single woman, not tied to anyone else. Because I have so much free time and I don’t have to worry about a husband or children or anything like that, I can do God’s will wherever He sends me.
Which brings me to my next point, and the reason for the title of this post.

Since I am putting marriage out of my mind for right now (NOT forever, let me make sure you understand), I’ve been thinking about what extreme things I’d like to do if I happen to stay single forever (or things I just want to do, in general). One thing that’s been heavy on my heart is that, for argument’s sake, if I never get married, I’ll  never have children. That pierces my heart because I love children and, given the chance, would love to have a bunch … maybe five or six? Since I’m going to always have a heart for children, I’ve been thinking of ways to be a “mother” without being married.
The answer: I’ll run an orphanage. They’ll fulfill my desire to have “children,” and I can be a mother-figure in their lives. Of course, this is just a thought. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful opportunity to share God’s love with the least of us? In James 1:27a, it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” This is not a set-in-stone plan, and might just be frivolous musings, but I’d love to see what God does since I’ve fully given my heart to Him.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve given my heart to Him but held on to my desire to be married. Now, with my whole heart in His hands, I feel freer than I’ve ever felt. God has my whole heart, my life, and my love, and now He can send me wherever He wants whenever He wants.

Your love is a symphony.

This morning as I was sitting in church, a thought came to me. We had a sermon on the recent tsunami and how God fits into all of it. The following thoughts might be hard to read, especially if you’re not a Christian, but please humor my musings.

God is just in all He does. He has given all people the free gift of grace and eternal life by Jesus’ death on the cross; all we have to do is accept the gift. Who are we to say when anyone should die? If He has given everyone the opportunity to love Him, and has made himself known through creation (Romans 1:20), whose fault is it that they didn’t love Him? Of course, the tsunami was devastating. I’m not saying that I’m glad it happened, by any means. I’m merely stating that we have no excuse to be mad at God for what happened. He is in control of everything, and He did create the earthquake that caused the tsunami. God knew what would happen, and He has a perfect plan and reason for it. We may never understand it; actually, we will never understand His reasons. The only thing we can do is understand that no one is guaranteed another day, another hour, another minute. I could die walking to class tomorrow. We are not promised life, and we do not deserve to live.

We may never fully understand God’s plans for us or for the world, but we can rest assured that He is completely in control of everything in our lives. Nothing He does is left up to chance at all. God is like an orchestra conductor. He controls everything, and everything works together. When God waves His hands over the cellos, the tides ebb and flow. When He motions to the percussion section, our hearts beat according to His tempo. If you’ve ever wanted your own theme music (as I wish for, on more than a weekly basis), this is it. God’s written a song for you, and He plays it constantly, every minute of every day. Don’t miss out.