It’s Over Already (Part 2)?

Kim Kardashian posted a note to her fans today on her website and it struck a chord with me.

… First and foremost I married for love. I can’t believe I even have to defend this…Everyone knows I am a hopeless romantic! I love with all of my heart and soul. I want a family and babies and a real life so badly that maybe I rushed into something too soon. I believe in love and the dream of what I wanted so badly. I felt like I was on a fast roller coaster and couldn’t get off when now I know I probably should have. I got caught up in the hoopla and the filming of the TV show that when I probably should have ended my relationship, I didn’t know how to and I didn’t want to disappoint a lot of people… I’m being honest here and I hope you respect my courage because this isn’t ready to go through. But I do know that I have to follow my heart. I never had the intention of hurting anybody and I accept full responsibility for my actions and decisions, and for taking everyone on this journey with me. It just didn’t turn out to be the fairy tale I had so badly hoped for… I’m sorry if I hurt anyone, but my dad always told me to follow my heart and I believe now that I really am.

I do not have first hand experience with what she said, but my husband does, so I wanted to share a little bit about his story.
Back in 2002, my husband thought he had found the girl of his dreams. Physically, she was everything he had ever wanted. Emotionally, they clicked. Spiritually, she was a beautiful reflection of Christ and His love. So, a couple months after entering into a relationship with her, my husband asked his dream girl to marry him. She said yes and they spent a little over a year planning an extravagant and fairy tale like wedding.

Just three months after pledging to spend their lives together, my husband was devastated by his bride’s decision to leave the marriage. He begged and pleaded, offered to go to counseling and even got desperate and dramatic, but her mind was made up. She had to “follow her heart.” She gave a lot of different reasons to my husband and her friends and acquaintances, but in the end, I believe it was just as Kim said. You get caught up and then can’t find a way to end it.

Almost all little girls dream about our wedding day. We think about the dress we will wear and the flowers we will hold. We imagine the perfect man waiting for us at the alter, but, in our imaginations, we rarely go beyond that special moment. We don’t dream about blending our life with the life of another human being. We don’t fantasize about morning breath or toe nail clippings. We love the idea of being swept off of our feet but do we love the idea of truly doing life with another person day in and day out?

My husband told me a thousand times while we were engaged, “plan for the marriage not just the wedding.” He had learned his lesson and was wiser for it. His heart ached for a long time. He felt duped by the girl of his dreams (who turned out to be anything but) and forsaken by the God that he served faithfully. However, when I met my husband in the summer of 2006 (two years after dream girl left), he was a strong man who had been refined by the fire and understood what it meant to pledge forever.

We have to slow things down. We have to be prayerful about all things; especially huge, life altering decisions like marriage. We can’t give up easily. We have to know what kind of commitment we are making and stick to it. Trust me, you will be blessed.

We live in a society that stresses fierce independence and dogged self absorption, but that won’t get us anywhere. Love cannot be displayed, given or received in a world full of people who only care about themselves. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Sometimes following our hearts, as much as we think it will make us feel better, is absolutely the wrong thing to do; especially when we have hardened our hearts to God’s loving regulations for our lives.

Divorce, in this situation, is sin. There are consequences for sin. Ask dream girl. I don’t know her personally, but we have mutual friends and I know that it was a long road toward restoration and wholeness for her. God loves his children and just as a human parent disciplines their own child, so does God. Revelation 3:19a says “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline.” Not everything that is good for us, whether it is being disciplined or sticking it out and working very hard to make a relationship work, is pain free, pleasent and enjoyable. In fact, I would go as far to say that the things in my life that have been the most painful, unpleasent and unenjoyable are the same things that have made me into all of the good things that I am today. (Check out Hebrews 12)

Just as I said in part one of this blog, my heart is broken over this news. Anytime a heart is broken and a marriage is ended, it is sad. It is hard to imagine that kind of pain. I believe, because I know so intimately a very similar situation that Kim K. is broken hearted. She should have ended things prior to going through with pledging her life to someone, but she didn’t and now she has to live with that and deal with the consequences.

But you know what? My God is a God of love, forgiveness and restoration. As the song from part one says, he “makes beautiful things out of dust/us.” God loves Kim K. and his heart is aching right along with hers. He loves you! In all of your sin and bad decisions and heartache. He longs for restoration. He wants a relationship with you. He wants to love you like you’ve never been loved before.
If you are struggling right now; if you feel like you have made a mistake and simply got caught up in the loveliness of an idea, know that if you follow Him, He can make it work. Read some of my other entries for proof. If you are currently on that roller coaster and feel like it is too late to get off (engaged and not yet married), know that it is not too late. Slow down and plan for your life together. Think about the devastation you will leave behind if you try to get off after it is too late.

In the end, it all boils down to love. You are loved by the creator of love. There is nothing you have done or can do that will ever change that. It is a matter of accepting that love and turning around and loving in return.

Kim K.
I am so sorry that you felt you were in too deep when you weren’t. I’m sorry that you have given up hope so quickly. Like I said yesterday, you are loved and know that all things can be restored though Him who loves you!

 

Scenes of you come rushing through
You are breaking me down
So break me into pieces
That will grow in the ground
I know that I deserve to die
For the murder in my heart
So be gentle with me Jesus
As you tear me apart
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/jj_heller/only_love_remains.html ]
Please kill the liar
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains

You burn away the ropes that bind
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth
I begin to see reality
For the first time in my life
I know that I’m a shadow
But I’m dancing in your light

Teach me to be humble
Call me from the grave
Show me how to walk with you upon the waves
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains

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It’s Over Already?

My heart aches at the news of Kim Kardashian’s decision to file for divorce. After just 72 days of marriage the model/reality TV star made this statement to E! today: “After careful consideration, I have decided to end my marriage. I hope everyone understands this was not an easy decision. I had hoped this marriage was forever, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We remain friends and wish each other the best.”
Divorce is a HUGE deal! It devastates lives and people’s hearts. It is not at all what God intended when he instituted the gift of marriage (giving oneself fully to another person for the rest of your lives). God designed marriage at creation. Adam and Eve were married and lived as a married couple. After Eve was created in the Genesis account, God “brought her to the man” (Gen. 2.221). This is considered to be the first institution of marriage. Two verses later, it is written, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2.24). It is clear, by these verses, that God created and ordained marriage and therefore, had a plan for the institution. God designed marriage to be a lasting union between man and woman, in which both partners reveal characteristics of God to one another that were previously unknown to their partner.
With an understanding that marriage was intended to be a lasting union, it seems obvious to assume that divorce was not intended. This is evident when Jesus says, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so” (Mat. 19.8). Jesus responded in this way in reply to the Pharisees asking Jesus about the law of divorce in order to trick him. Even at this very early time in Christian history, there were opposing views regarding divorce. There were two main schools of thought regarding divorce. These schools of thought were formed by two different Rabbinical teachings: a) Hillel and b) Shammai. The Hillel school of thought was that a divorce was permitted in any circumstance, but it needed to happen in a discrete manner. The Shammai school of thought, in contrast, was much more restrictive and greatly opposed divorce among married couples. By asking Jesus this question, the Pharisees were testing him to see which school of thought was correct and, also to question Jesus on whether or not divorce should be permitted at all. The Pharisees were probably attempting to provide an opportunity for Jesus to go against the Mosaic Law. Because Jesus spent the large majority of his ministry ratifying and changing views from laws to love, the Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into saying that divorce was okay.
In the gospel accounts, Jesus continues his teachings on divorce and Paul, in First Corinthians, furthers the teaching. In teaching, both Jesus and Paul discuss exceptions and circumstances regarding the rules of divorce. Because sin entered into the world, God had to ratify his intentions for marriage. He did not intend for divorce, but because divorce became the reality of humanity, He set up guidelines in order to restrict and monitor it. One of the exceptions that is discussed in these passages is the fornication exception, found in Matthew, as stated by Jesus. In order to grasp the meaning of this exception, it is of utmost importance to come to a full understanding of the meaning of the word fornication and differentiate it from any other similar words.
The Greek text uses the word, “πορνεια” which is translated into “unchastity” in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. This is a very important word. Πορνεια is transliterated into prorneia and is from where the English word “porn” comes. Many other translations of the Bible translate πορνεια to “fornication” or “sexual immorality.” The word fornication, in American culture, is often mistakenly interchanged with the word adultery, which is the Greek word “μοιχαω.” These words, in the Bible, are not and should not be interchangeable. Fornication refers to a sexual sin of any and all sorts; adultery is unfaithfulness toward one’s marriage partner.”. While both sins are wrong and carry heavy consequences, they are not the same and they should not be viewed the same, specifically, in regards to marriage. Jesus says, “except for fornication,” not “except for adultery.” The exception clause in regards to divorce deals only with straying outside of the marriage in a sexual manner.
To set up the next exception, Paul goes into a lengthy discourse on the subject of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. He commands that as long as the unbelieving spouse is willing to coexist, the marriage is not to be dissolved by the believing spouse. Paul even goes on to explain the benefits of such a situation, where he says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy” (7.14). The term “sanctified” is not referring to salvation, otherwise there would be no use in identifying a spouse as unbelieving. The term is used to describe the temporal blessing the unbelieving spouse will get because of the believing spouse. In this passage it seems as though Paul is eliminating reasons for the believing spouse to seek a divorce. If the believing spouse is worried about the effect of an unbelieving parent on their joint children, Paul assures them that the children will also experience blessing on behalf of the believing parent.
Paul continues to discuss the issue when he says, … “but if an unbeliever departs, let him depart.” The word “depart,” in Greek is “χωριζεται” which literally means “separates from.” This is the same word that was used in Jewish culture to mean divorce and was almost always used by Paul to refer to divorce. It seems that, under inspiration from God, Paul says that divorce, in the case of the unbeliever leaving the believer, is not to be stopped, if every attempt to salvage the marriage has failed. This is most likely the case when the unbelieving partner is so frantically opposed to Christianity that he or she refuses to continue the marriage.”
These two exceptions to God’s original intentions for marriage appear to be the only exceptions specifically expressed in the Bible. As I will point out in just a little while, this does not necessarily mean that these are the only valid reasons for divorce. With an understanding of what scripture says about the issue of divorce, I want to discuss how this affects us today, if at all. Even with a desire to fall within the confines of Biblical doctrine, it is often difficult to discern what information in the Bible should be taken word for word and without any liberty and what should be taken with more thought and with an understanding of cultural and societal differences. Frequently, in American Christianity, people are searching for black and white answers on any and every issue and in the case of divorce, there are not black and white answers for every circumstance. But how should society today deal with cases that are not discussed in the Bible?
I once read a book called “Christian Doctrine: Faith Once Discovered” and the author said, “the silence of the Scriptures should be respected as strongly as the clear statements.” While human instinct is to become frustrated with the silence, the author suggests that one should have respect and awe for what was purposely left out of the Bible. This, however, still does not answer the question of what to do with the silence. Author J. Vernon McGee discusses this question when he says, “I do not think one can put down a categorical rule either way for today.” He believes that each case should be judged on its own merit and to make black and white rules when there are no true black and white rules for every circumstance is simply unacceptable. It is hard to imagine that God would require a person to remain married when their life, or the life of their children are in danger. Each circumstance should be weighed and measured on their own, because there is no scriptural evidence leaning toward a right or wrong answer.
There is, however, a danger in this line of thinking. Some people seem to be taking far too much liberty in areas of silence. Where scripture is silent, a lot of people are making assumptions and not seeking wise counsel, studying the whole of the Word of God and/or seeking the will of the Lord. With couples finding it very difficult to combine their financial lives/views as well as their expectations for what a marriage should be at the top of the list for divorce and separation, it is extremely important to think, study and discuss thoroughly the Biblical view of divorce, as well as the character of God.
The issue of divorce will always be debated and discussed. Add to people’s opinions on the issues, the different perspectives that people get, along with the past experiences that they bring into the issue and the result is a muddled, confusing and frustrating set of issues that bear hugely on a large number of lives. But no matter how each person interprets God’s teachings on divorce, God’s word itself should be the basis from which we begin to take our stances. So to truly find answers to the issues that press us today, we will need to always, accurately use God’s word to help and guide the direction of our lives.
We have to look to our God for answers. As I have written about before, marriage is difficult. My first year of marriage was straight out of the drama category on Netflix. We both had dreadfully different expectations going into the marriage and adjusting to life together was tremendously difficult! The only reason we made it was because we (thankfully) both understood that we made a commitment to a LIFETIME together and did what we had to do to make things better.
Now, I don’t know Kim K.’s circumstances or if she has Biblical grounds for a divorce, but I do know that my God is bigger than any circumstance and he can change people’s hearts and lives. As I said in the beginning of this blog, my heart hurts to hear of divorce so soon after pledging to do life together forever. If I’m honest, my initial reaction was judgment, asking, “how can you know it isn’t going to work after just 72 days?” I mean, 72 days into my marriage, I had been ready to give up probably at least 70 times. I can only imagine the pain Kris Humphrys and Kim K. must be feeling. I think I know the disappointment, because I felt it; the disappointment of something not being as wonderful as you expected is a distinct disappointment that stings deep down at the core of your being.
Take care, you married people. Remember your commitment and know that God will bless you richly when you honor your commitment. Support, love and encourage your married friends, those who are struggling and those who are not.
Kim K.,
I am so sorry you are struggling through this. Marriage is sacred and it can be so beautiful. Know that God can restore everything that has been broken. Know that you are loved. Know that you are His!

-Rebecca

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

Rainbows and Butterflies

It’s an ebb and flow kind of thing.  Marriage has its highs and lows.  It isn’t all butterflies and rainbows; in fact, sometimes, there are no butterflies and rainbows at all.

My first year of marriage was absolute hell.  I was expecting a honeymoon period.  You know that period of time all counselors and well intentioned friends talk about when you first realize that there are real problems in your marriage.  They say things like, “sounds like the honeymoon is over” and “welcome to the real world.”  I remember learning in my Marriage and Family Therapy class that the honeymoon period can last up to two years for some couples, which led my into complete denial of the fact that not even two weeks into my marriage, my husband and I would be having a screaming, throwing things, threatening to leave fight.  Now in all fairness, my teacher described his first year of marriage as pure hell as well, but for some reason that didn’t resonate with me the same way the two year blissful honeymoon period did.  Call me naive if you will, I choose to believe I’m just a girl who had a fairy tale dream that obviously wasn’t reality.

My husband and I spent our first year of marriage saying things like, “this may have been a mistake, but we made a commitment, so we better figure out a way to make it work.”  Shoes were thrown and walls were punched.  So many incredibly hurtful words were slung without hesitation or care for the long term impact they would have.  We became experts in regards to anger, bitterness and selfishness.  We knew that divorce wasn’t a real option for either of us so we often wondered if we were resigning to live our lives miserable.

That year, many friends and acquaintances got married.  I remember being sick with envy when they would talk about how amazing married life was.  Apparently they were still experiencing their honeymoon period and I secretly wished all of my pain and disappointment on them.  I couldn’t wait to hear them come crying to me down the road about how bad things had gotten and in my eternal optimism (which I do not actually contain), I HOPED with every fiber of my being that things would be better for my husband  and I by then.  I often told my husband that we just had to get through this really difficult period and then we would have a stronger and fulfilling marriage, but inside I was terrified that things would always stay the same.

Pink’s song Please Don’t Leave Me was played often in my heart that year.

I don’t know if I can yell any louder
How many times have I kicked you outta here?
Or said something insulting?

I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of really anything
I can cut you into pieces
But my heart is… broken

Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please don’t leave me

How did I become so obnoxious?
What is it with you that makes me act like this?
I’ve never been this nasty

Can’t you tell that this is all just a contest?
The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest
But baby I don’t mean it
I mean it, I promise

Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please don’t leave me

I forgot to say out loud how beautiful you really are to me
I can’t be without, you’re my perfect little punching bag
And I need you, I’m sorry.
Please, please don’t leave me

Baby, please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this

Please, please don’t leave me
Please, please don’t leave me

Year one was absolute hell.  Year two was a roller coaster.

My husband and I started to find a groove during our second year of marriage.  While we still argued and said and did unhealthy and hurtful things to one another in the heat of anger, we had learned how to communicate calmly once things had settled down.  We went through periods of really good times and periods of really terrible times, but things were definitely looking up in my book.  Selfishness had began to fade, but was still ever present.  It was the roller coaster ride of my life and it reminded me of a quote from the movie Parenthood.

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: Oh?

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!

Gil: What a great story.

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

I was hopeful, but still seething from the prior year.  Hurtful things had been said and forgiven, but certainly not forgotten.  All I knew was that marriage was not supposed to be this hard.  No one had ever told me that marriage could be so devastating.  My parents exemplified a strong, healthy and loving marriage all throughout my years at home and I thought that every marriage was just as easy as theirs (that their marriage was easy was an assumption and most likely a very wrong assumption).  Despite my hope for a better future, I didn’t understand why things were so bad.  I just wanted to have a happy and healthy marriage.

Being married to a pastor only made things worse.  It made all of our struggles and unhappiness stay EXTREMELY private and added guilt that should not have been there.  Only our counselor knew what was really happening with us (and I would venture to say that we were not completely honest with him).  We felt alone.  We felt that if we made ourselves vulnerable by telling the truth, we would be criticized and even worse, my husband would lose his job.  We felt guilty that we didn’t know what we were doing and that we couldn’t make our marriage work.  Even though it shouldn’t be this way, there is this code of silence among so many in ministry.  Vulnerability is feared above all else.

Year one was absolute hell.  Year two was a roller coaster.  Year three was amazing.

Our third year of marriage started out surrounded by people who loved and cared for us.  I was finally being honest with myself and with a trusted confidant and I believe my husband was finally being honest with himself as well.  Early into our third year of marriage, we found out that I was pregnant and we moved to a new state where my husband had accepted a new ministry position (talk about a new beginning).  This was the year of love, fun and surprises for us.

Being pregnant really forced my husband and I to grow up.  We knew that in just a few short months our lives would dramatically change and we wanted desperately to make the most of our last bit of time just the two of us.  We finally truthfully enjoyed being around each other and learned the true meaning of selflessness.  Our intimacy grew astronomically as we began to take an interest someone other than ourselves.

We started cuddling again.  You know how when you first start dating someone and there is something so incredibly satisfying about sitting on the couch all cuddled up next to each other for hours?  We had that back and it was amazing.  Communication ran ramped in our home and loving gestures were freely handed out.  It wasn’t about what I could get out of the marriage.  It was about what I could provide for my husband.

I tell you this story, my friends, for no other reason but to encourage.  I will attend the wedding of a dear friend tomorrow and while there will be well wishes and happy thoughts directed at her, I hope and pray that she has some idea of reality.  Not every marriage is the same.  Not every first year is pure hell.  I know that my marriage will not remain the same.  It is ever changing, ever evolving for better or for worse.  I once heard someone say (in a movie?  tv show?  who knows) that marriage is hard and that there are both good and bad times.  The person explained that there was a three year time period in which he and his wife hardly could stand each other, but they were committed to one another and made it work and are better for it.  That is how it has to be.  We, as married people, have to know that it can always be better.  Even when we are experiencing the best years of our lives together, know that there is still work to be done.  Marriage is difficult and it takes a lot of work.  You have to be willing to grow as an individual and as a couple.  You have to be willing to experience the difficult so that you can truly taste the sweet.

If you are a newlywed and are experiencing the difficult, please know that it does get better.  You CAN make things different.  You CAN have a fulfilling and loving marriage.  It takes vulnerability and trust and strength you didn’t know you had.  It takes hard work, but it is so worth it.  Don’t give up.  Don’t feel like there is something wrong with you because you just got married and are incredibly miserable.  It happens, my friend.  It happens.

If you haven’t yet experienced a rough couple of years, brace yourself.  I believe it is inevitable.  You cannot spend a lifetime with someone and never experience anything difficult.  Know that marriage goes is waves of good and bad.  Know that the size of the waves are different for everyone and that everyone reacts to each wave differently.

Be encouraged, though.  Marriage is a good thing.  It is the most incredible gift and experience.  To love and be loved.  It may be messy, but it is the most worthwhile mess in the world.

I leave you today with a recommendation for one of my FAVORITE movies about marriage.  The Story of Us.  If you can get your hands on it, WATCH IT!!!

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi33227033/

That Bridal Glow

I am all for individuality.  In fact, I embrace it.  I want it for myself and I want it for others.  However, some expressions of individuality leave my heart heavy.

As I have mentioned before, I spent the large majority of my formative years believing that there had been a mistake and that I was supposed to be a boy.  Now in my mid twenties, I can see how outlandish that fear was because the only thing that really made me feel like a boy was that I had the sex drive and thought life of my fellow teenaged boys.  Yes, I also felt that I had the body of a boy, but that was the lie that insecurity fed me.  After all, how many young men do you know who started wearing a bra at the age of eight?  I did NOT have to body of a boy.  Regardless, during these years of insecurity, one thing remained true; I was a girl!

I remember looking in the mirror after having my hair and make up done and getting my dress on for my first winter formal.  I was shocked.  I had never felt that I looked so pretty in my entire life.  I even cried a little.  For someone who swore up and down that she was supposed to be a boy, there was something absolutely breathtaking about my done up self.  I think, for the first time, I saw myself as beautiful.  It was as if all of this longing that had innately been in my heart to be beautiful was finally fulfilled; I knew that I was beautiful.

Beauty and desire, for women, go hand in hand I think.  Whether it is our desire to be found beautiful or our desire for something beautiful, I think we would be hard pressed to separate the two.  As a woman, I want to be found beautiful.  I’m not talking about being lusted after, I’m talking about someone knowing me so intimately that I am the most beautiful person in the world to them inside and out.  I did a quick poll on facebook and on a scale from one to ten, the average answer in response to how great of a need they have to be found beautiful was 8.2.  That is a pretty strong desire expressed and I would probably put my personal desire slightly higher than the average.  I want to know that I am beautiful and I think part of that is being able to express my beauty in a way that accentuates it.  I don’t want to quench my beauty.

Every year starting about a month before our anniversary, I start telling my husband that I think we should celebrate our anniversary by having another wedding.  In fact, I think we should have a wedding every year.  It took me a while to figure out why I always want to have another wedding but when I did, the answer was as clear as day to me; I want to feel beautiful and wanted.

My wedding day, although it wasn’t an extravagant wedding, was the perfect fairy tale.  Every ounce of my need to feel desired and beautiful was fulfilled on that day.  I was wearing the most beautiful and expensive dress I’d ever worn.  My make up and hair were done just right.  I felt good about myself.  I felt beautiful.  And then, I walked down the isle to a man who could not take his eyes off of me and promised to spend the rest of his life with me.  Talk about feeling desired.  Someone pledging to spend their life with you… the good you, the bad you, the pretty you, the ugly you… now that is being desired.  To top it off, my husband had done this before.  He had promised his life to someone else.  She left.  She broke her promise.  And lucky for me, I ended up with a man who knew better than most grooms what it really meant to say “forever” to someone.  I felt even more beautiful and desired because he was willing to risk that heartbreak again, FOR ME!  Why wouldn’t I want to recreate that feeling as often as I can?

There is a MercyMe song on the radio that got me thinking a while back.  It is called Beautiful.  Have a listen.

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
And all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They’d see too much

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
‘Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die!

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
In His eyes

You’re beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful!
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful! You’re beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful! You’re beautiful!
You are treasured
You are sacred
You are His

I have to admit, at least the first fifty that times I heard this song, it meant nothing to me… mainly because I am a dumb blonde.  I thought that the lyrics said, “You are treasured, you are sacred, you are big…”  (I know, I know.)  It wasn’t until I finally heard the lyrics correctly that this song really impacted my heart.  I was driving to the beach with my husband and my baby boy and all of a sudden I heard, “you are His.”  I laughed at myself at first but then I got goosebumps.  It took me right back to my wedding day when I finally knew what it was like to be his.

As a woman, I can inherently relate to the idea of being the bride of Christ better than a man can.  Whether you have experienced being a bride or not, we women know what it feels like to know that you are treasured, sacred and his.  It doesn’t matter if we have ever felt these things before, we were created with a desire for them and therefore know them.  Our heart rate speeds up at even the thought of being loved so intimately and being able to be called his.  I know that when we first started dating, my husband would say, “your my girl” and I loved it.  He wasn’t saying it in a possessive manner, rather he was speaking to my need to be wanted and set aside for only one person.

Shortly after realizing just how amazingly perfect this song was, I spent some time discussing with my mother in law the idea of being a woman.  We talked about how true it is that women want to feel special, pretty and desired and then we talked about what happens when something  smothers or suppresses our God given desire to accentuate our beauty.  Different women do this in different ways, but I believe that all women accentuate their beauty in some way shape or form.

I think that although accentuating our beauty can be done in many ways, there are two categories in which all ways fall: outward and inward.  While, in my opinion, the Christian world has had good intentions, I believe that we have stifled our young girls’ need and ability to express their beauty outwardly.  I also know that there are a lot of girls and women who have been abused in some way and have stifled their own ability to express beauty on the outside as a defense mechanism.  We have taught our girls and ourselves that our bodies are sinful and that there is something to be ashamed of, which is so incredibly untrue.

Please, do not misunderstand me.  I am NOT advocating for a lack of modesty.  I believe modesty is so special and important.  However, I am advocating for teaching ourselves and our young girls to express outward beauty.  Dress up a little.  Put on some make up.  Shave your legs and put on some heels.  Do what makes you feel beautiful.  We have to have faith in our own beauty to be found beautiful.  Granted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and inward beauty typically enhances outward beauty, but there has to be some kind of balance.  My heart aches for those who are ashamed of their beauty.  I know, personally, a couple of women who hide their outward beauty in every way possibly and it makes me sad.  We have the freedom to express outward beauty, I promise!

(Check out Shannon Ethridge’s “Hot Tip” [which is for married women] that completely echoes my point)

Buy What Makes You Feel Sexy!

I was in Target this summer, frantically shopping for everything I needed for my 3-week New Zealand tour. Topping the list — a pair of flats to travel in (translation: shoes comfortable enough to sprint through airports in, as I so often find myself doing!).

I was in the shoe department, when my eyes glanced across a pair of wedge sandals that made my heart skip a beat! Now, I’m not a huge “shoe girl.” I don’t have a different pair of shoes for every outfit, nor do I care to. I like to keep my wardrobe as simple and practical as possible. Yet, there I was, salivating over a pair of shoes that I had NO idea what I could possibly wear them with!

I couldn’t resist the temptation… I slipped off my flip flops, and slid on the wedges… and no lie, I suddenly felt like Heidi Klum, strutting around that shoe department in denim shorts and wedge sandals! I liked the feeling so much that I wore them right on home. Only $14, yet I felt like a million bucks.

And because I felt like a million bucks in those shorts & shoes, seducing my husband when I got home seemed like the natural thing to do. Had I come home in those ratty flip flops, quite frankly, I’m not sure I would have felt such an urge.

And that is when I knew I’d have to do a Hot Tip about simply splurging and buying a little something for yourself that makes you FEEL like more of a Sexually Confident Wife than you really are! Dress the part, and fulfilling the role doesn’t seem like such a stretch.

Funny little side note… I took my son to register for college classes shortly thereafter… and I was wearing those wedge sandals as we walked across the parking lot. We like to raz each other a lot, so I jokingly inquired, “Hey, Matthew, do I look like Heidi Klum in these shoes?”

**crickets **

(even a 16-year old boy knows when to keep his mouth shut)

Then I added, “Or do I look like a frumpy mom who’s trying to look like Heidi Klum?”

That brought hysterical laughter. From both of us. Turns out, he couldn’t have agreed more… with the latter statement, not the former, of course.

But ask my husband what HE thinks when I sport my new sandals, and you won’t hear any crickets chirping. You’ll hear a happy man giving you the same advice – WIVES, BUY WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SEXY!

http://www.shannonethridge.com/email/1108.html

Ladies, when is the last time you looked in the mirror and cried a little because you finally felt that you looked beautiful?  When is the last time you knew that you were treasured, sacred and His?  These are important things to know and feel.  God created you with a desire to be fulfilled, first and foremost by Him and He can do it.  So, my dearhearts, here is to embracing your beauty inside and out.  Don’t let your desire to be an individual, your past abuse or some absurd belief that it is wrong keep your from showing us just how beautiful you are.  Here is to knowing that you are loved and desired.  Be careful to not quench your beauty (inside or out) and hey… live a little.  Put on something that makes you feel good and strut your stuff (even if it is only in front of the mirror).  You are beautiful!