5.21.2015

When you're a Christian, but not a virgin


I have had many girls come to me because they 'don't have anyone else to talk to' and 'don't know how to get over this feeling [of dejection and shame]'.  Why do they feel this way?  Because they had sex before marriage.  And are now suffering from knowing that that was wrong.

Many of these girls are Christians.  Many of them were Christians at the time of their wrong decision.  And I will not try to sugar-coat the truth or try to make these girls not feel that they did wrong.  The truth is that it was wrong.  It was a mistake that they chose to do.  It was a sin because it went against God's command to keep the marriage bed (sex) pure until after a covenant of marital commitment had been established (Hebrews 13:4).  And I won't exclude girls who claim they were 'forced' to have sex because their boyfriend 'wouldn't stop bothering them about it'.  You girls have a choice.  You are your own person.  You can walk away.  You can say no.

I am not writing this to rub salt on your open wound.  I am not writing this to tell you 'everything's going to be okay'.  I'm writing this to you because you need to hear it.

(Disclaimer to the haters:  This article is specifically addressed to girls who chose to have sex, not to girls who were raped or sexually abused.) 

So what's the story?  A Christian girl with Christian standards, biblical morals, life-long dreams, and goals to stay 'pure until marriage' suddenly finds herself on the opposite side of the spectrum and...not a virgin anymore.

To quote one girl who emailed me with her pain and struggle as a non-virgin Christian:

"It's been, I think, six months now since I've done it and I regret so much.  I thought if I do it once, he would be satisfied and it would help our unhealthy relationship become better.  But it didn't really.  Since that day, it has really taken over my life.  It's like a drug and I crave for it...  I'm not the good godly girl I was before, and I guess I became a rebel.  I don't know what to do."

She went on to say that her 'uncontrollable behavior' and 'acting so irresponsibly' has been a continuous cycle, and that she has had to keep this a secret from her family and church.  Her choice has made her feel a need to put distance between them and herself.

"I guess I just wanted to feel something.  To feel loved and wanted."

Don't we all?

"I want to go back to God but I'm so ashamed and confused because if I go back to who I was, I would have to marry a Christian guy... but what if the truth is revealed?  I am so used to my worldly and 'satisfying' but destructive lifestyle now and I don't know if I want to change."

Can you hear her through those words?  The pain, confusion, torment and fight is real.

No, I've never had sex.  Yes, I'm still a virgin.  Then how can I relate to her?

Simply because I am a human too.

I am a woman, with God-designed womanly passions and desires built into my heart, mind and body.  And most of all, because I know what it's like to want to be loved.

It's taken me a while to know exactly how to write this article.  I needed time to think about how I wanted to say what I wanted to say.  And how I could be honest and brutal, yet encouraging and loving all at the same time.

To fix a problem, you must first know what the problem is and how it began.

Sin is a big issue, right?  As believers, we are called to stay clear from anything evil and anything that goes against what God has specifically said 'No' to.  (And if it's not clear, then we just need to use our own common sense and convictions.)

Sex is something He has made clear.

"Marriage should be honored by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."
- Hebrews 13:4

This isn't me talking, people.  This is God.

Something else He has also made clear is this:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
- 1 John 1:9


News flash: NOT being a virgin does NOT keep you from living freely in the grace of God.


Many girls I've talked to say that they don't think 'God can forgive' them or that 'God will forgive' them.  Those are all future tense.  No.  He already has.  How?  Because He knows your life story, and He knew what would take place before it even crossed your mind.  When He first began forming you in your mother's womb, He knew your future.  Your story was already written.  He knew you would have sex by the time you were this age, in this place, with this person.  Does that make Him love you any less?

No.

He won't turn you away when you come to Him with your hurt and shame.  If you ask Him to forgive you, you ARE forgiven.  Any shame and guilt you still feel afterwards is satan and the evil forces in this world trying to make you continually feel unworthy of His acceptance and love.  And you are unworthy.  But that is the beauty of grace.  His grace that can wash away any sin, any shame, any guilt.  Before His eyes, by the blood of His own Son, you are made clean.  Always remember that.  He made you, He called His creation 'good', and even then, He knew you would fall short.

He still loves you.  And nothing will change that so long as you admit your wrongs and ask Him for  forgiveness and grace.

And I pray that you do.  I pray that you choose to walk closely and honor Him from now on with your body.  It's so hard.  I know, personally, how difficult it is to stay focused on the LORD and not be drawn to physical temptations.  But if I can do it, so can you.  We aren't alone in this struggle.  And it's good to admit that it is a struggle.  We're human.  We mess up.  We will continue to mess up.  But that doesn't mean God loves us any less.  Or that He won't come through in the end.

Because He always does.


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This post was originally published by Raquel on Brave.


5.20.2015

"Sometimes, you need to be your own little hero"


I’ve been staring at this blank page for a good ten minutes or so.  You ever have those days when things just don’t go as planned?  There were some good moments, some happy moments, some funny moments, and then some downright bad moments.  And those bad moments seem to take precedence over everything else.  They are all you can think about.  And just how unplanned they were…
That kind of day happened to be today. 
And it ends with this.
With me
sitting outside on the patio
on a sleeping bag
huddled in a hoodie and wrapped in my favorite blanket
my hands freezing
typing away on my laptop
amidst nature
and birds calling goodnight to each other.
It’s 8:46 p.m.
And my day is slowly ending.  In a way I hadn’t expected it to.
And I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes that holds bittersweetness, melancholy feelings and truth. 
“Sometimes, you need to be your own little hero.”
I wonder how I can do that sometimes.  Do I just forget that people fail me?  Do I just forget how things disappoint and hurt me?
Or do I remember those things and use them as building blocks to my success and remember that sometimes, it’s through those times that I can build new memories…of how I was strong when others thought I was weak.  Of how I decided to not let the negativity of people stop me from loving this incredible thing called ‘life’.

So my fingers are cold, and I don’t have anyone to warm them.  I can warm them myself.  I can be my own little hero and kiss the cold away.  Or embrace it.  And remember that there could be a million other things wrong in life than being a bit chilled.  And what IS wrong in that?  Being able to FEEL the coldness means one thing for sure.  That I am alive and well.  And that in and of itself is a blessing.  Or that I have the ability to think and write and type all my thoughts out onto this laptop screen.  

So sometimes, being my own little hero just means reminding myself of the wonderful things in life.  Because no matter where I am, who I’m with, what I’m doing…there is always always something to behold.  Even when it’s a small beauty, it’s still something grand.


And now the birds are silent, snuggled in their nests for the night.  And the frogs have started to serenade the stars that are just beginning to peak through the darkening sky.  Like pin holes into heaven…

5.16.2015

Everyday Blessings // 33


I am sorry for the sad lack of posts this week.  A lot has happened.
One of the biggest preventions/distractions from being able to write this last week is because of a car accident I was in on Wednesday morning.  I was rear-ended by a Dodge Ram while in a full-stop at a red light.  She was driving about 35 mph.
I went to the ER and got x-rays done.  They came through with negative on breaks and fractures (thank God).  I do have intense bruising and soft tissue though.  My lower back is pretty banged up, and my neck is really painful when moved in certain directions.  But I am praising God that the accident and injuries weren't worse.  I have chiropractor appointments scheduled for the next couple of weeks.  Please keep me in your prayers on my road to recovery.  And thank you to all who have been doing so already:)

Here are my blessings for this week...


>> life
>> family and friends who care
>> getting a bouquet of tulips delivered to my doorstep
>> a friend stopping by with chocolate and tea
>> a special person coming over three times this week to be with me
>> watching Pitch Perfect
>> recording an original (Cities In Silence is about to blow your world)
>> $1 Dutch drinks at a new Dutch location
>> HeyLets (a new app that is a new fave of mine)
>> this blog post
>> a new do
>> pizza, friends, and parks
>> napping in the sun
>> long weekends
>> snuggling with my bunny
>> spontaneous trips to Safeway to buy comfort food
>> planning trips for the summer
>> taking the first steps towards something big...

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What are some recent blessings you've had in your life?


5.08.2015

What is your life’s manifesto?



It took me five tries to write this all out before my fingers would cooperate and type what I am thinking and feeling…

In the past four days, there have been two tragic car accidents that I have had to report on.  One took the life of a 17-year-old girl.  The other was a 26-year-old mom of two sons, ages 6 and 1.  Investigations as to the cause of the accidents are still underway. 

But that’s not what I’ve been focusing on.

My thoughts have been about ‘life and death’.  

Life – something that takes time and effort to begin.  

Death – what brings a heartbeat to an end…quickly.  


In less time than it takes to inhale air into breathing lungs, the life of the person could be gone.


This past week, I also celebrated the third anniversary of a friend’s entrance into heaven.  Some of you may remember when I posted on Facebook about a brother in Christ who had fallen into the Rogue River and drowned.  (Crazy how that was three years ago.)  And while the sadness and grief of losing someone close to you can last a lifetime, their souls are present before the Savior instantly.

For every car accident report and obituary that I’ve had to write this week, God allowed other emails and news to come to me, such as birth announcements – one of my favorite things to write for the paper.  Not only to write out details about a newborn baby weighing 9 pounds 3 ounces or another measuring 21 inches, but also to see pictures of him or her.  Such small, delicate, sweet little humans.  Aren’t babies a wonderful way to start people? 

So I’ve realized something.  

And honestly, it’s been the only thing that’s kept me from breaking down – not for myself, but for the families and friends who are hurting because their loved one is gone from this earth – amidst the loss, the grieving, the difficulty, the deaths…God still allows beautiful occurrences.  He still brings life.  

What a blessed treasure this thing called ‘life’ is.  The ability to move, to speak, to see, to feel, to think.  Even when everything we experience is, in our eyes, not good, there’s a bigger plan and picture that we do not yet see.  Or may never see.  

But in this moment, right here and now, are we living a life worth remembering?  Are we living a life that, if we were to die within the next hour, people will see as part of the big picture years from now?
 
What is your ultimatum – for yourself?  

What is your life’s manifesto?

5.06.2015

31 ways to know if he [really] likes you



1.  As much as you know that he likes you, he still puts God first and makes it clear that He is more important than you.

2.  He doesn't have a preconceived idea of a 'perfect woman' or have ridiculously high levels that a woman must meet before he decides to pursue her.

3.  He sees you as an equal, a partner, a helpmate but this doesn't mean he doesn't also make it a priority to keep you safe, make you feel protected, and care for you, body and soul.  He asks for your opinion, advice, and even help in certain situations.

4.  He's not afraid to make a commitment to you and let you know exactly what he's looking for.

5.  He not only wants to get to know you better but also your family, your relatives, your close friends, your church...

6.  ...and you see that he doesn't discard those around him because of his 'busy schedule', especially ones he views as family.

7.  He knows that being strong, independent, capable, and self-reliant doesn't make you any less feminine, but rather, he's attracted to you because of these attributes.

8.  He wants you to be successful in whatever you enjoy doing.

9.  Even if he doesn't have the same interests as you, he'll still do things with you because he knows they make you happy or they're important to you.  And he'll actually make an effort to enjoy them.

10.  Like every human, there will be times where you'll be frustrated with him, and he with you.  But he knows how to control his temper and deal with problems rationally - whether that means to address them right away or hold off and give you some thinking/cooling off space.

11.  Scrubbing the toilet, taking out the garbage, or mucking out your horse's stall may not be necessarily romantic, but he does it because he knows it makes your life easier and happier.

12.  He makes you feel good about yourself, confident and beautiful no matter how you think you look.  He is most attracted to you when you feel the most comfortable in your own skin - whether that be while you're dressed up, in sweats, when wear your hair loose or never wear makeup.  Oh and he thinks you're just as beautiful in the morning as at any other time of day.

13.  He is willing to be humble, own up to when he has been wrong, and apologize.  But even if he wasn't wrong, he will attempt to not argue and make both of you more angry, but instead will have self-control and know when to be silent and when to speak.  And if the situation turns out the way he said it would, he won't rub it in your face.

14.  He will call you out when you're in the wrong, and not let you get away with whatever you want to.

15.  He remembers things about you, your life, your past.  He may not have an incredible memory, but you're important enough to him that he makes it a point to study and learn about who you are.

16.  He treats you as a human soul and body, not as a disposable object.

17.  He asks you genuine questions because he's curious and sincere about who you are and what you have to say.

18.  He also wants you to meet his family, but doesn't push you to get to know them (that's on you).

19.  He will admit his flaws and admit yours.  But love will always be stronger than the short-comings.  

20.  He knows that there is a time to cry.

21.  He asks you what you are ultimately hoping to accomplish and achieve in life, and waits to hear if your plans can revolves around his or not.  He doesn't automatically assume that you will have to do what he plans on doing.

22.  He talks about his future and slowly but surely shares his dreams and goals with you.  If he doesn't, he may not have any.  And if he doesn't have any, what are you doing with him?  A man without vision is a man who isn't a leader. 

23.  He doesn't freak out and feel ignored or that you 'like him less' when you need space or choose to spend time with your family and friends instead of him.  Of course you should always make time for him, but there needs to be a healthy balance.

24.  You always feel that you can approach him about life situations, circumstances you're facing, challenges at work, drama with friends and he will always be there.  He offers to listen, offers advice, encourages you and makes you feel and know that he's always going to be someone who cares about you.

25.  If he can enjoy himself with just being with you, whether that means running boring errands, listening to music, joining in when you and your girl friends want to watch a chic flick and he'll cuddle up with you, he'll love it just because he's there with you.

26.  When you're apart, he sends you little reminders that he's thinking of you and that you're on his mind.

27.  He includes you in his circle of best friends.  A man who's crazy about you will show it by showing you off.  If he plans hang out times with his buddies around his dates with you, it's for reals.

28.  Of course showing and telling are two different things, but if he can tell you how much he likes you, how crazy he is about you, or the things he loves about who you are, listen up.  Take his word for it.  Trust that he is only saying it because he means it.

29.  You're well aware that there are other girls out there who are pretty, and that he thinks are attractive.  But he never lets you feel doubt in your own beauty and makes you feel like the most gorgeous human on the planet.  Not only on the inside, but he loves your heart more than your body.

30.  He talks to all women with respect, regardless of their position in life, their age or their occupation.

31.  When you look at him, you can not only see but feel a connection of love, admiration and respect that you have never had with any other man.


'Be with someone who treats you like a destination, not a stop along the way.'

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This post was originally published by Raquel on Brave.


5.05.2015

5 Eye-Roll Worthy Things You Should Never Say To Me



1)  I'm bored.
There is literally ALWAYS something you can be doing.  If you're not making an effort to find those things, chances are you're in your parents' basement, playing video games.  Don't give me the 'I'm bored' scenario.




2)  Life sucks.
Really?  REALLY?..................You suck.




3)  I'm ugly.
Stop it.  No you aren't.  God doesn't make ugly things.




4)  It's never my fault.
Oh suuuure.  A person who can't own up to their mistakes and admit that they COULD, in fact, be wrong...you probably won't only get an eye-roll from me, but probably an honest opinion.




5)  My family is weird.
Whose family isn't?  C'mon, people, everyone has a family - or at LEAST one family member - who is ridiculous and weird, but they're still your family.  Love them.  And stop talking bad about them to your friends, or to me.




Okay, that felt good.  Just needed to get that off my chest.

Oh and this is my first post using gifs... Does this make me an official blog nerd?




Okay, I'm done.

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What about you?  What are some things people have said to you that just make you roll those eyes?

5.04.2015

Everyday Blessings // 32


>> baby bunnies (his name is Luca)
>> The Avengers: Age of Ultron
>> discount days at coffee shops
>> band practice, band meetings, band performances
>> sleeping with my window open at night
>> string cheese
>> wearing shorts for the first time this year
>> long weekends
>> being free to communicate something with someone that you've been waiting for the right moment to tell them
>> sleeping with heat pads
>> new tea flavors
>> waiting with expectancy
>> short work days
>> pay checks
>> morning talks with Mama
>> hanging out with couples who don't make you feel like a third-wheel
>> sweet potato chips
>> warm days
>> rainy days

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How has your month of May begun?

4.29.2015

54 Reasons I Will [Not] Date You


Below is a list I compiled of 54 reasons I will not date you.  Originally, it was going to be 102, but I got stuck at 54.

See?  I'm not that difficult of a person.  Oh wait...I'll probably think of 50 more reasons after I hit the 'publish' button.

And YES.  Many of these CAN have exceptions, but for the most part, they don't.  Most of them don't.

Like 99% of them don't.

---

I will not date you if you...


1.  Whine.  About anything.  Whining is not funny.  It can be cute, but you gotta know how to do it right.

2.  Talk too much about yourself and never ask questions about me.

3.  Can't cook.  (And I'm not necessarily talking about all out gourmet chef style here - although I wouldn't complain about that - but just being able to follow a recipe and cook it well.)

4.  Don't want to have babies.

5.  Do drugs.

6.  Or smoke.

7.  Or drink too much alcohol.  (A nice glass of wine or a bottle of beer is fine, but you need to be controlling of your intake and be able to know when to stop.)

8.  Gamble.

9.  Have no other hobbies besides video games. (If you even actually consider that a hobby.)

10.  Argue.  (Especially with no valid reason.)

11.  TALK ABOUT YOUR EX-GIRLFRIENDS.

12.  Act like sex is gross.

13.  Are 'fine with where you're at in life'.  (No.  Men should have goals and vision.)

14.  Can't take the role of leadership.

15.  Are utterly obsessed with immature things, to a point of I-theme-stuff-after-this. (Pokemon, video & computer games, Star Wars...)

16.  All you can talk about are cars.

17.  Ask me for nudes.

18.  Text me when you're drunk.

19.  Have bad grammar.

20.  Abbreviate a lot when you're texting.

21.  Won't/don't want to meet my family.

22.  Don't care about your family.

23.  Or don't want me to meet them.

24.  Say that you could live without music.

25.  Can't at least TRY to like some of the things I do.  (Or at least appreciate and be happy for me when I find joy in things.  Because I will do the same for you.)

26.  Picky about food.

27.  Can't handle butchering animals for your own meat.  (Not like you have to do this very couple months, but seriously.  If you had to, you could.)

28.  Can't handle the sight of blood.

29.  Don't care about eating healthy.

30.  Don't want to travel.

31.  Are constantly on your phone.

32.  Still talk kindly and over-the-top sweetly about your ex-girlfriends.

33.  Are constantly ogling girls in public.

34.  Don't realize your shortcomings and areas you need to work on. (I'm not saying you have to become a better person for me, but just know where you need to change...for the better.  Not for me.)

35.  Think that the birth process is gross or weird.

36.  Can't have an intelligent and edifying conversation.

37.  Don't have phone etiquette.  (This includes drunk dialing and 2 a.m. calls.  There are very very few exceptions, but for the most part, just no.)

38.  Don't treat all women equally and with respect, no matter where they're from, their lifestyle or their occupation.

39.  Don't have a good relationship with the women in your family.

40.  Cuss a lot.

41.  Don't drive responsibly.

42.  Don't have style.  (A nice fashion sense, okay?  At least know how to put on a tie.)

43.  Talk obsessively about your workout schedule and what you did this day and that day and oh feel this muscle cuz I've been focusing on...  Just no.  If you have a nice body, I will compliment you on it.  But you talking about it all the time is prideful.

44.  Don't have a career in mind or that you aren't currently pursuing.  (Seriously?  You're gonna work at McDonald's your whole life?)

45.  Constantly complain about your job.  (If you don't like it, get another one.  This ties in to #1)

46.  Care more about the opinions of people on social medias, than in reality.

47.  Don't give me space.  Yes.  S p a c e.

48.  Are some whacked out control freak who will question my every reason for not replying to your text within ten minutes of you sending it to me.  (I've had this before.  No thanks.)

49.  Constantly beg for compliments.  (Whether verbally or the I'm-going-to-be-silent-until-you-say-something-nice-about-me)

50.  Don't have a healthy measure of self-confidence and self-esteem.  I'm your girlfriend, not your mom, so no, I won't be telling you how cute you look all the time.

51.  Say that you're 'needy' or 'need my attention'.  (I've had this before too.  JUST NO.)

52.  If you act like we're already dating and tell me that I can or can't do this and that.

53.  If you don't love Jesus, you ain't even in my sights.

54.  If you don't have an understanding of Biblical theology and doctrine and can defend your Christian beliefs.