Just Got 2 Tell

Anything & Everything I Feel Compelled to Share with the World!

Purity Ring May 23, 2012

Filed under: Christianity,Love & Life,Singleness — Anna @ 5:24 PM

On my left ring finger I wear a ring. A simple silver ring. It has been there for years, since somewhere around 2002, so that would be a decade. Now the original band, the one saying “TRUE LOVE WAITS”, that one had to be replaced. Don’t ask me how, but somehow, somewhere, I lost it. I replaced it. The new one reads “I am My Beloved’s My Beloved’s is Mine”, referencing Song of Solomon 6:3. It is not an engagement ring, not a promise ring. I was 15 years old in 2002; it is now 2012 and I am almost 25. I would hope that if I was engaged or promised to someone ten years ago, something would have become of it.

It is a purity ring. I guess I assumed it was a more common thing, at least among the Christian community. When I got the first one, it was something just about all of the girls in the youth group did. I made a commitment to purity, to abstinence until marriage in 6th grade. But this was a ring, a physical, near constant reminder to that commitment I had made to myself and to God to preserve my body and heart for the man I would someday marry.

For years I never got any comments about the ring. Maybe the one that read “True Love Waits” was pretty obvious, many had at least heard of the True Love Waits program. Maybe as I get older, it’s more possible or likely that I am married. But in the last year and a half, I’ve been asked three times if I was married. The first time was this guy in Hardee’s, which was odd, but it didn’t really shock me.

The second time was a classmate in a class I took at UNC this past semester. Also didn’t shock me, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to talk to her about my beliefs. It always shocks me the response I get. “That’s cool or a good thing to do.” But you can tell they’d never think of choosing that for themselves as if it’s too difficult.

But today shocked almost irritated me. Maybe because she didn’t take the time to see it or see what it said but automatically assumed. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a fan of the person that asked due to other reasons. But it bothered me that she automatically thought that this stone-less ring was an engagement ring and gave me this shocked look when I said it was a purity ring, as if she’d never heard of such a concept, even though I know she was brought up in a Christian home.

But why is purity so often considered such a lofty, unattainable goal? Why is it so often seen as something we should all do, but very rarely is it done? This is even among the church. It seems that when I tell people I’m saving myself for my husband I get 2 responses. These are responses I get from Christians and nonChristians alike.

“That’s great.” Said plainly that’s a good encouragement, but so often I also get the ‘but I could never do it’ (said or implied). It’s like they are setting me up on this pedestal, often thinking I’ve got a ‘holier than though’ attitude, even though I don’t do anything to give that off.

The other response is ‘are you serious?’ I got that response from Christian friends when I told her I didn’t believe in high school dating. That’s another post on another day, but she got all defensive.

 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

 

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun May 20, 2012

Truthfully, time flies no matter what, except when you’re waiting. When you’re waiting, time creeps. It’s true no matter what you’re waiting for, water to boil, the microwave to finish heating up your lunch, a doctor’s appointment, to move, a new job, Mr. Right to come into your life. But there’s one thing I’ve learned about waiting. When you’re waiting, you’re not doing anything, just waiting. You may be sitting or pacing. Or in the case of moving, a new job or Mr. Right, you may be going through life, but your mind is preoccupied by what is to come. For a long time that is what I’ve been doing, mainly in the case of Mr. Right. I know in my head that God will bring him along in His timing, and for the most part I believe in my heart that His timing is perfect. But that doesn’t stop me from that longing to be married and have my own family.

So would you like to know the remedy for waiting and that annoying fact that time slows down when you’re watching. Do Something. It’s that simple. When you’re busy doing things you enjoy, you don’t realize how fast the time goes. For instance at the doctor’s office? Bring along a good book, or there’s of course your smartphone fully equipped with ever-addicting games like Words with Friends & Angry Birds. In December my best friend bought her first house, and it was decided that we’d be housemates, only we weren’t moving in until June. Okay, so that’s a pretty long time. In the meantime, I’ve seriously been crazy busy with work, school, church, to boil it all down: I’ve been busy living. And now, we’re counting down the days. Everything is falling into place, and I can’t believe June is almost here. I also cannot believe the first class that I was the lead teacher of is about to graduate in less than two weeks.

I still haven’t been able to prove that it works with Mr. Right. But this I do know. God never intended for us to sit around waiting on Him to move. He never intended for us to sit around and watch life go by. He wants us to live, to have life to the fullest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. —  John 10:10

Take this to heart. If you’re sitting around waiting on something to happen to your life, then you’re missing how God wants to change your life and how He wants to use you to change your world.

 

All my dreams, all my plans May 18, 2012

Filed under: Christianity,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life,Spiritual Growth — Anna @ 9:42 PM

No, you’re not crazy. Yes, you are in the right spot. I have updated the theme of my blog. While I loved the colors and even the Indian feel of the Matala theme I had been using. It was difficult to edit the title of my posts on Windows Live Writer (the program I use to update my blog). Also it was a bit of a strain to read my white font blog name & tagline against the colors. So after playing and switching to a bunch of different themes. I’m now settled on this one. I think. There was one I absolutely LOVED, but I do not have the sixty bucks to splurge on a theme for a blog that I sometimes forget I have. But I just wanted to let you know that this is still Just Got 2 Tell, a blog by Anna Walker.

Now for the point of this post. There’s a song the Praise Band at Liberty University used to sing. They might still sing it; I’m not sure. I haven’t heard them in quite a few years now, but this along with a few others were and still are some of my all time favorite worship songs. They are simple, not complex, a few simple lines with a huge message. I wanted to take the time to share the lyrics to “Nothing Back” as well as my thoughts though the lyrics speak clearly enough on their own.

All I’ve got, all I am,

All my dreams, all my plans,

I’m holding back, I’m holding nothing back from You.

I surrender it all. I lay it before You.

For all of my days, I’ll give You the glory.

You caused me to see my heart is divided.

Lord, take of all my ‘cause I have decided

All I’ve got, all I am,

All my dreams, all my plans,

I’m holding back, I’m holding nothing back from You.

Lord, whatever it takes I’ll trust you completely.

I’m here in Your hands, if You need to break me.

One of the reasons this song speaks to me so much, is that this was the biggest thing God tried to teach me while I was a student at Liberty, giving it all to God. Giving God complete and total control of my life. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when our society teaches and encourages us to be independent at a young age, not relying on others, able to do and care for ourselves. Up until college, I’d always had my life planned out before me. Though my career may have changed several times, the main storyline always looked the same. Go to college, get married, work, have kids. By the time I graduated the storyline was fairly specific. Go to Liberty, graduate, go into missions fulltime working in an orphanage in Guatemala. The vision was that I’d meet my Mr. Right in college, and we’d serve the orphans together. To say God threw my plans out the window is an understatement. He balled them up, stomped them, drowned them, burned them, then threw the ashes out. And it’s not that any of my plans were ungodly. I attended a Christian college, wanted to serve Him by ministering to the kids. I never dreamed of marrying anyone other than a sold-out for Christ kinda guy. They were all good, godly things, but they weren’t what He had in mind for me.

When things weren’t working out the way I thought they should, I became very upset, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I couldn’t see how I could serve God without those key things happening. “Nothing Back” brought my perspective back in check.

God didn’t create us to be independent beings, completely self-sufficient. He gave us free-will, yes. But He created us to choose complete and total dependency on Him. That’s a really hard concept for the semi-feminist that I have the tendency to think as. God had to break me, tear down my plans, in order for me to see that His plan truly is the best. He sees the whole picture—past, present, future—how everything fits together, how everything effects each other. He knew that the summer I wanted to spend in Guatemala was better spent with the 5-8 year olds in my school-age summer class at Mary Bethune Academy. He knew that none of the guys I’d wished would show interest in me were the right one.

And while I might not be living in the intense, humid heat of Central America, I am loving the opportunity God has given me to teach and love the little ones at PCC. I am being used to encourage fellow Christians around me, to share God’s love with those He has put in my life.

I know He will continue to unveil His plan for my life, but it’s up to me. I have to be willing. I have to put myself in His hand. And until I can see and understand it all (which I doubt will ever happen), I will continue to pray the prayer one of my professor’s shared with us “Lord, show me clearly what you want me to do, and give me the courage to do it.”

 

Seasons of Life May 16, 2012

Filed under: Comfort,Forgiveness,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life — Anna @ 10:54 PM

Seasons of life, we all go through them, periods of our life that seem to be ruled by certain themes. It may be a period of several months where depression ruled, 2 years of rebellion against God, a year of learning complete and total dependence on God, etc.

I wanted to take this time to reflect on the seasons of my own life. There’s a theme that has run over the last 10-11 years, only it has generally existed on opposite ends of this spectrum. In high school I was very involved at church, serving in handbells, youth choir, going to Sunday & Wednesday night youth group, Sunday School, teaching 3rd & 4th grade Sunday school class, just about every retreat. I served 2 whole summers in missions, which I loved doing. I’d also done a decent (as even then there was much room for improvement) job of personal quiet time and bible study. I’ve gone back through papers that I’d wanted to keep but didn’t know where to file them. I’ve found some of my journaling, I’d taken my daily Bible readings and written my own devotional explaining its importance in life, what one should do with this knowledge. I don’t say this to brag at all, I say this with remorse that I’ve lost much ground and have not stayed the course.

Instead I fell away. Like the prodigal son, I came to believe I could do better on my own. It wasn’t an outright decision to ‘not pursue God’ rather a laziness to sleep in, to fill my time with other things, easier things. It’s a shame to say that though going to a Christian college, I did not grow stronger in my walk with God. Reading the Bible became homework, Christian service became a requirement for graduation. I did those because I had to, not out of a joy to serve and commune with God.

Moving back home after graduation I began moving forward again, began feeding myself good, whole, spiritual food again. I began serving again, but soon after I began moving in the right direction, I found myself falling away again. Moving away from my parents, working in a town 45min from home & church being 45min in a different direction from the house and my lack of stick to itiveness, I slept in rather than personal quiet time. Financial strains made an easy excuse to not go to church except on Sundays, so there was no Tuesday night women’s Bible study. I was teaching the Young Adults Sunday school class, though I doubt I did much service to them, as I know I never prepared as I should. It was one of those things where when I was asked to serve, I prayed for guidance and was never told no, and thus since I didn’t have any valid reason to not teach, I couldn’t really say no. I prayed about finding a church closer to where I was living, even found one I enjoyed attending, but it’s so hard to have grown up in a church where you have such a support system, even if at times you feel very disconnected from them and then try to go to a church where I know no one, I thus didn’t know how to go about serving, etc.

In His love, God has brought me back to Roxboro in work and currently home at least until June in which I’ll be living a little South of Roxboro. But through this, He has renewed my love for studying His Word. He’s brought me a sense of community and support in both a Sunday School class and the 2 Women’s bible study groups I’m a part of. Since October, my life season has been about feeding, nurturing, renewing, and reviving my soul.

And yes it is wonderful to feel and know that I am learning and applying God’s truth to my life once more. However, I’m still missing something. We are not called to solely fill ourselves up with God, to merely seek an intimate relationship with God, but also to shine and be a light for Him to the world. We are to serve Him by ministering to others in need. I refuse to fill my schedule with every service opportunity just to say that I am serving, to busy myself with every ministry and thus be too burnt out to find joy in Bible study and prayer & devotion. My prayer is for Him to reveal how and where I serve.

 

My Testimony May 11, 2012

Filed under: Comfort,God,Jesus Christ,Saving Grace — Anna @ 10:25 PM

By definition a testimony is “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.” Oftentimes we think of testimony as the spoken or written statements given in court as proof or evidence of a crime or something similar.

In Christian terminology, a person’s testimony is his/her story of how Christ saved him/her. So many wonderful speakers, evangelists, pastors, writers have a dramatic testimony. They may have been raised in church or by unbelievers, but they pursued a life away from God, fell down the wrong paths, did the wrong things, were bad people. And then one day, God got a hold of ‘em and they made a complete 180, they were headed one way and made a complete u-turn to head God’s way. These are beautiful testimonies and portray the strength and power of Christ Jesus, His ability to save anybody from anything. These are the testimonies that relate to others who are currently going down the wrong path and give them hope that Jesus can save them, too. I love listening to these people tell their stories. I am always awed by how God speaks to people who are not looking for Him, to those who want nothing to do with Him. These testimonies are powerful tools used by God to reach the lost.

But there are also those of us who were saved at a young age. I myself became a daughter of God at the age of 11. There aren’t too many terrible choices an eleven year old could have made (yes there are many 11 yr olds nowadays in some serious stuff, but that was most definitely not me). But I knew I was a sinner, I had done wrong and that Jesus died for my sins. There was no dramatic change in my life. I had spent the first 11yrs of my life in church and I have since spent the next 13 years in church, bible study, prayer, missions, etc.

I’m not exactly sure why. I’m not sure if it’s our American mentality to compare/rank others or what exactly, but for those who do not have a dramatic testimony, they often do not feel adequate to ‘share their testimony’ as a form of evangelism. When compared to the dramatic “I was heading to hell in the fast lane, then Jesus saved me, and now I’m on fire for Christ’”, the “I grew up in church and asking Jesus into my heart was just as natural as any other thing in life” just doesn’t seem enough.

I know I have felt this way in the past, and I’ve gotten comments from others about it as well. At camp one year, one of the speakers talked about this fact, comparing two aspects of God’s grace: saving grace and sustaining grace. I’d like to explain it comparing to different aspects of God, his role as a Savior and also a Protector. Now of course each Christian experiences salvation and protection from our Lord and Savior, but just as each person’s life is different, each person receives from God differently.

It’s easy to see the saving power of Christ in those who have that ‘dramatic testimony.’ Yet there is an equal amount of protective power of Christ in those who are saved at a younger age. It took my a while to see this in my own life, but there are so many things that God protected me from and I have no doubt that it was because I chose to follow Him at a young age.

By nature I am a people pleaser. I have that desire to be accepted by others, to be appreciated by my friends, to liked, to make others happy. And I am certain that were I not a Christian long before I started high school, I would have done a lot more to try to fit in. Having been raised in the church and deciding before middle school to give my heart to Christ and follow Him, I put what He said ahead of what others said. There were times when I messed up, for instance a summer or two when my clothing was not as modest as it should have been. But for the most part God put a protective shell around me. I never had the opportunity to say no to drugs; it was never offered to me. I never had the opportunity  to not put myself in a compromising situation with a guy; a guy never asked me out.

For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me, that I was not pretty or pleasing or acceptable to the opposite gender. But God showed me how His hand was over me during this time, protecting me from the bad apples, not allowing me to be led astray, keeping me pure and whole.

For us, we have a different strength of testimony. We can stand strong before our children and tell them it is possible to save yourself for marriage, it is possible to have a full and exuberant life without experiencing drugs, sex, alcohol, peer pressure, etc..

 

A God-shaped Hole May 9, 2012

Filed under: Comfort,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life — Anna @ 9:49 PM

I hope you are all having a fabulous week. I’ve been slowly reading a book called Captivating by Stasi & John Eldredge. In addition, the young ladies bible study group I’m a part of is studying Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity. They are both beautifully written and inspiring. I encourage any woman who has ever questioned their purpose in life to read both. Any man brave enough to delve into the ‘mystery of a woman’ would benefit greatly from Captivating as well. This is a quote from Stasi & John.

The curse for Eve & all her daughters cannot be limited only to babies and marriage. If that were true than all single women without children would escape the curse. The meaning is deeper and the implications are for every daughter of Eve. Woman is cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men (which is not how things were meant to be, it is the fruit of the Fall and a sad fact of history). Isn’t it true? Aren’t your deepest worries and heartaches relational–aren’t they connected to someone? Even when things are good, is your vast capacity for intimacy ever filled in a lasting way? There is an emptiness in us that we continually try to feed.

Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill? Wasn’t her life going to be hard enough out there in the world, banished from the Garden that was her true home, her only home, never able to return? It seems unkind. Cruel, even.
He did it to save her. For as we all know personally, something in Eve’s heart shifted at the Fall. Something sent its roots down deep into her soul–and ours–that mistrust of God’s heart, that resolution to find life on our own terms. So God has to thwart her. In love, he has to block her attempts until, wounded and aching, she turns to him and him alone for her rescue.
“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them.” Hosea 2:6-7
Jesus has to thwart us too–thwart our self-redemptive plans, our controlling, thwart the ways we are seeking to fill the ache within us. Otherwise, we would never fully turn to him for our rescue.

We were created for intimacy with God. In the beginning, before the fall, Man & Woman walked with God. That was their specific purpose in life. That same purpose is passed to us. God has added on to that by telling us to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth, that others may know Him as well and that they too may fulfill their purpose of walking with Him. But our main goal in life is walking intimately with God.

Turning to other things to fill the emptiness inside of us will never work. There is a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill.