ON ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT HEARTS

heart (1)

G:

Well, it’s February.

Which means that M&Ms are now pink and red. And sugar cookies have received (limited edition) anatomically incorrect heart donations.

But here’s the thing: those darn heart shapes are like an epidemic—they’re everywhere. And everyone’s contaminated.

But the contamination of consumerism isn’t all that alarms me. And it’s not even those giant stuffed bears that have come out of hibernation for $40. It’s the fact that love has lost its meaning. Love has become so overly simplified and cheapened.

Just like the shape of the heart.

Love has come to mean butterflies and sparks and fireworks. One night stands. Lust. Celebrity marriages that don’t even last a month.

But the heart is more than just a circle resting on a golf tee wishing he were a camel (just go with it*). The heart is complex, there are valves and chambers and lots of things I don’t remember from health class in middle school.

And isn’t love so much more intricate and meaningful than sparks and chocolate? Doesn’t love come in many forms? Eros. Philos. Agape. It comes in the form of a husband and wife. It finds itself between friends. It pours unconditionally from You.

Isn’t love more than just a fleeting feeling? Isn’t it a choice? It’s selfless, sacrificial, and ditto everything that Paul said (1 Corinthians 13).

But I get it—Pillsbury would never do well with a sugar cookie with an anatomically correct heart inside it. It would be horrifying looking and confusing and the kids would cry because they don’t understand why their cookie is so ugly and moms all over the world would have to appease their kids’ shrieks and tears by covering the cookie up with pink frosting. I get it. I do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we celebrated where love comes from and what it really means in all its forms? Wouldn’t it be great if we were all contagious with a love that meant something? A love that wasn’t cheap. A love that wasn’t dummied down like the heart into a simple shape.

The heart is more than a simple clip-art image. And love is so much more than one day in February.

Your child,

m

* Because I’m not sure you got it:

anatomy of a heart

** On second thought, never mind.

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8 reasons it’s important to have a core group of girlfriends

girlfriends

I used to dread being in a room with all girls. It would mean the inevitable opening of the tear duct floodgates and there never seemed to be enough tissues in the room.

Years later, I can’t wait for a girls’ night watching our favorite television show or praying and encouraging one another. While I appreciate and love my male friendships, there are significant benefits to having girlfriends in spite of the inevitable snot-sleeve occurrences:

1. Intentionality

Every friendship starts with initial effort and flourishes with continual effort. While any relationship takes work, having intentional girlfriends is both a give and a take. Your girlfriends are the ones that you’ll want to check up on and the ones you’ll want to take the time to be with. And in turn, they’ll do the same for you.

2. Accountability

As much as I would like to think I do everything right every hour of every day—I don’t. That’s where my girlfriends come in. Whether it’s suddenly fashioning index and middle fingers into a pound sign and yelling “hashtag inapprop!” when I say something inappropriate or sending a text to see how my writing goal is coming along, I need some checkups. Often. Allowing girlfriends to become an intimate part of your life helps you from straying off the path towards a host of temptations and problems. Whether it’s trying to eat healthier, maintaining boundaries in a dating relationship, or refraining from gossip, it’s better with a girlfriend walking alongside you.

3. Vulnerability

There’s a reason I buy bulk tissues now. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m an emotional being. Girls don’t bond by playing video games and drinking beer; we bond by drinking hot coco, watching a romantic comedy, and sharing our thoughts and feelings. Sure, it’s every kind of cheese in the dairy aisle, but that’s who we are. And we need a safe space with steadfast friends in which to share our thoughts, goals, dreams, and desires without judgment.

4. Encouragement

Think of your girlfriends like those posters in elementary school that had a fluffy puppy on it and read: “You can do it!” Only don’t tell them they look like a dog or that could be taken the wrong way. Sometimes you just need a boost of encouragement from a girlfriend to keep on plugging. Whether you’re frustrated at work, struggling in a relationship, or not sleeping because the baby won’t stop crying, you need a friend who will send you flowers, give you a call late at night, and show up unexpected with the sole intention of giving you a hug.

5. Support

After my parents, my girlfriends are my 911. If I need some wise counsel, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a ride to the airport, I can turn to my girlfriends to be there for me. Having a core group of girlfriends is like having a huge family of sisters from another mother and father—you know you’re never alone.

6. Growth

While my growth spurt ended when I was twelve, my character growth continues to develop. Having girlfriends affords a great opportunity to learn from one another as each girl has her own host of life lessons learned. As a single girl, you learn about marriage from married friends. As a newlywed, you learn about children from married friends with kids. I’ve learned more about life, love, contentment, travel, and careers from my girlfriends than any textbook.

7. Joy-giving moments

Hanging out with the girls doesn’t have to mean all seriousness and prayer time. Hanging out with the girls should also mean creating joy-giving moments. Laughter, silliness, happiness—these are all things to pursue daily and girlfriends can help you create moments where these things will occur. Girlfriends that know who you are and how you tick will help create these moments for you, especially when you are in need of them.

8. An excuse to have baked goods

Food and girlfriends go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Enough said.

God has blessed me with a core group of amazing girlfriends and sisters in Christ. Without them, I wouldn’t be spurred on to growth or enjoyed half the fun-loving moments I’ve experienced these past few years. I also wouldn’t have gained a few extra pounds from all the cookies, but I digress.

If you don’t have a core group of girlfriends, pray for opportunities to meet some and be intentional on developing those friendships once you do. Your spiritual and emotional well-being and stomach won’t regret it.

WHEN PEOPLE ASK YOU WHY YOU ARE STILL NBSB (NO BOYFRIEND SINCE BIRTH)

backstreet

Which is the same as NBSB (No Backstreet Boys) because you are still waiting for Justin Timberlake to knock on your door and say:

justin

#NSYNCversusBackstreetBoys

Based off J’s #christiangirlproblem: “Seriously, NBSB?! (No Boyfriend Since Birth) (why, is it a mortal sin?)”

Thanks for sharing, J (http://jirahlization.wordpress.com/)!

HOW I DON’T WANT TO SOUND DURING A GIRLS’ NIGHT DISCUSSION ON PREMARITAL SEX

shut up judge judy

Without a touch of:

judge judy

Sharing your beliefs without judgement. #dontbejudgejudy

Based off Allison’s #christiangirlproblem: “Feeling like you’re the only one who believes in waiting for sex until after marriage at girls night…how to not sound like Judge Judy.”

Thanks for sharing, Allison!

WHEN YOU’RE DATING A GUY AND HE TRIES TO GET YOU TO DO SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT TO DO

oh hello to the no

And then you’re like:

get out

And when he doesn’t listen:

punching shark layered

If you bop a shark on the nose and it swims away, it must also work on human males.

Based off Laura’s #christiangirlproblem: “Feeling pressured by men to do something you don’t want to do because of your beliefs. This is a big big big one!”

Thanks for sharing, Laura (http://scribblesandwanderlust.wordpress.com/)!

Conversations that carry a lot of wait

my-life-is-buffering

G:

I feel like you and I have had three very distinct conversations over my lifetime.

There’s the “Hello, can you hear me now?” conversation:

m: “Hey God, it’s me. m.”

[Silence]

m: “Hey God, not sure if you heard me the first time. It’s me, m!”

[Silence]

m: “Are we having a bad connection? Perhaps you’re on the prayer line with another person right now? Maybe I should pray back later?”

[Silence]

m: “OK—just humor me. Send me a sign that I will have a new job by June. Have my favorite song come on the radio. Or a knock on my apartment door. Have my phone ring… now!”

[Silence]

m: “I just realized my phone was on silent. Let’s try this again… and GO!”

[Silence]

And the “Is the neon blinking light not obvious enough” conversation:

m: “So, I’ve been thinking…”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But I have this great idea!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But if I—”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But how long do I have to wait?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Have you seen the white hairs popping up on my head?! Do I need to start asking for a walker for my birthday? Some orthopedic shoes? Dentures?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “GUYS DO NOT MAKE OUT WITH GIRLS WHO HAVE DENTURES!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Okay, listen. Have you seen what happens to me when it’s 6:00 PM and I haven’t had any dinner yet and my blood sugar is low and so is my patience? Hm?”

G: “Have you read any of the Old Testament?”

m: “Touché.”

And then sometimes there’s the “I hear what you’re saying and I’m actually OK with it” conversation:

m: “Sup, G!”

G: “Yo, lil’ m.”

m: “I’ve been thinking. I have a few ideas of what this next year will look like. Writing wise. Job wise. Church wise.”

G: “Don’t make any plans. Mine are better.”

m: “You know what, you are probably right.”

G: “I’m always right. Foresight 20/20.”

m: “Right eye -7.5 and left eye -6.5. Hindsight 20/20.”

G: “Which is why you need me—you are almost legally blind.”

m: (sings) “’Twas blind but now I see!!”

[Silence]

m: “G?”

G: “You’ll sing better when you get to heaven.”

M: “OK, so the plan is to just wait and let you lead me where you want me to go.”

G: “That’s the plan.”

m: “Jeremiah 29:11!”

G: “Thanks, I know– helped Jeremiah write it. Divine inspiration.”

Today, I’m happy with you just telling me to wait.

Your child,

m

WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE IDEA OF ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED

scared baby

Based off Elyse’s #christiangirlproblem: “Fear. When/if God brings my dreamboat along, setting sail into the sunset is pretty scary! I’ve been single for a long time and haven’t dated anyone since being saved (2.5 years ago). Am I ready to date? If so, what will that even look like?”

Thanks for sharing, Elyse (http://standoutscripture.blogspot.com/)!