Place (volume i) [a poem]

Lolz, hello, my faithful followers.

I won’t say where I’ve been or what I’ve been up to except that… I’m engaged!

LOL, nope.

If you fell for that trick a second time, it’s not on me, it’s on you. By now, you should know that if I fall off the face of the earth for a while and come back saying, “I’m engaged!” it’s definitely code for “I am not engaged”. It’s simple language, guys, get with the times.

Anyweys, ahem.

I have a free form poem to share that I wrote this spring. I like it. It was helpful to write. I hope you like it too. I hope it’s helpful to read.

I know:
My place is with You
And that doesn’t change.

My place is with You.
My home is with You.

And You’re not
Giving away my place.

You won’t:
Displace
Misplace
Replace
Me.

That seat beside You
The one at Your table:
It’s mine.
Always has been
Always will be.

So I don’t have to fear:
Losing any other place
Not my place in another person’s heart
Or my place in their life
Or my place among Your people
Or my place at work
Because:
My place is
Irrevocably
With You.

Part of me fears
Has always feared
But won’t always fear
That You’d give my seat away
To someone
Better
Healthier
Stronger
Steadier
More obedient
More faithful
More beautiful.

But You didn’t give me
My seat
My place
For any good reason in me.

I wasn’t:
Beautiful to catch Your eye
Or witty to charm Your heart
Or lovely in spirit to woo You
Or strong to fill some lack in You.

I was:
Broken
Scarred
Some things bent far out of place
In the deep places of my soul
Crippled
Wallowing in my own filth
Trapped and dead in sin
Unable to even comprehend
How revolting I should have been to You,
You, oh, Lovely Son of heaven.

But You:
Require no more beauty
Need no more strength
Lack no power
That You would look outside Yourself.

But You:
Invited me in
Chose me
Loved me
Called me
Redeemed me
Out of the abundance in Your everlasting heart.

You told me:
There’d always be
A place for me with You.

You washed my wounds
Washed me clean
Dressed me in:
Your own respectable robes
Called me by:
Your righteous family name
When as yet
I was not
Am not
Respectable or righteous.

And You gave me that seat
Right next to You
Forever invited to Your table
Never to be uninvited
Never to be unwelcome
Never to lose
My place
With You.

And so I am
And so I will be
A cripple
Dining at the table
Of the Good King
My Good King.

And so I am
And so I will
Fit forever into
Your kingdom
Fit forever into
The place You picked for me
The seat
The role
The calling
The life
Of just being invited
Of just being welcomed
Of just being loved
By You.


That’s all for today.

Further up and further in,

Rosalie

p.s. – I’m working on some ContentTM to share, so keep a weather eye on your inbox.

p.p.s. – I also rejoined the Instagram world. After Tony Reinke AND Andrew Peterson both released books without my knowledge, I realized I wanted to get back onto social media. I feel sooooo much better about it and am in a better place mentally, emotionally, spiritually, grammatically, and economically than I was before with social media. Don’t ask me what I’m doing there because I don’t know. Like maybe it’s a personal Insta account just for lolz (I know, I need to stop saying “lol” and “lolz” but it’s just so… accurate), but also maybe it’s just an aesthetic account with slow motion video, but also maybe I’ve been toying with infographics and acting like I’m some sort of ProfessionalTM or InfluencerTM (who am I kidding–in my mind I’ve been an influencer since birth). My pictures are black and white and awesome looking, I will say that.

I Yet Live [2021 in a nutshell and looking forward to 2022]

*blows dust off blog*

*squints and looks around*

*taps microphone*

Hello?

*really bad feedback*

Did I fall off the face of the earth for like a year? Yes, yes, I did that. It was I. I’ll admit it was me who in fact did that.

*coughs awkwardly*

But I yet live, and it’s time to get back to business.

What’s new?

I’m engaged!

Lol, no I’m not. I thought it’d be funny to throw that out there for the lolz, especially for the extended family wait what I would never.

What’s new (for realz)? This will cover the tail end of 2020 and all of 2021. After that I’ll reminisce about 2022 (yes, I said reminisce. About the future. Because I can do anything here, boo.)

  • My small group multiplied (translation: the group of people that I meet with from my church to discuss the Bible and grow in community got too big to be one group and so we split into two groups).
  • The 2020 election happened. Yep. I remember thinking the 2016 election cycle was a doozie, and now we all know better.
  • I left social media, no regrets.
  • I moved!–still in Texas, still part of the same church, just a new house and new roommates.
  • The Gray Havens released their new album Gray Flower track by track (thank the Lamb for that).
  • I saw Jesus save some people very dear to me and got to see them baptized (best. day. of. my life.).
  • I haven’t been doing much novel-writing in the last year or so…
  • But I have been doing some songwriting!
  • I turned 23.
  • Lost some more idols, survived, know Jesus better, etc.
  • Survived Snowmaggedon in Texas (maybe I’ll write a post about it because it’s coming up in the one year anniversary and it was wild; it made Covid look like the kiddie apocalypse)
  • Had several identity crises and have found myself in Jesus a little more each time.
  • Broke my coffee addiction.
  • Rekindled my coffee addiction.
  • Harbored unforgiveness and bitterness, Jesus said, “Don’t do that”, and I repented.
  • Used to think repentance was beating myself up until I was “sorry enough” but by God’s kindness to me through friends, small group leaders, and the Bible I learned what repentance actually is (a future blog post perhaps?)
  • Lost some more ambitions and aspirations because God’s call on my life is better than what I could want for myself.
  • Fought with a close friend, sinned against her a lot. Reader, she forgave me. I’ve never known reconciliation like this. The blood of Jesus is truly miraculous.
  • Locked my keys in my car. With my phone. At a sketchy gas station. At 10:00 pm. I survived.
  • My ol’ Volvo (the Daydream) died on the side of the road. 25 of my friends from my church pitched in and bought me a car (like wait, what? They did what?). Reader, this is a really nice car.
  • Through being gifted the extravagantly beautiful car, I learned a bit more the abundance in God’s heart for me, that he doesn’t give the bare minimum but that his love goes, and has always gone, above and beyond.
  • Found out that 69 degrees Fahrenheit is absolute warmest I can sleep in or else I will straight up perish.
  • Came to the end of myself like 14 times and received everything I needed straight from the hand of my Father in heaven.
  • Learned that the chief end of an avocado is to carry everything bagel seasoning from the can to my mouth.
  • Discovered part of my purpose in life is wearing velvet pants as often as possible (we’re just at the beginning of this epic new velvet pant age in my life).

2022

  • Still absent-minded and forget to reply to texts, emails, and phone calls.
  • Still learning to receive grace.
  • Still trying not to strive so much (lol, “trying not the strive”).
  • Still get discouraged and listen to the lies of despair instead of believing the gloriously light truth of Jesus.
  • Still keep finding out I’m not perfect and still keep acting like it’s the End of the WorldTM (for sure went and cried in my room when I found out I don’t put my dishes away like an adult human should [“Found out?” you say. “Yes, found out,” says I. One of my roommates literally had to sit down with me and tell me that I don’t put my dishes away. I would wash them, fill up the drying rack, go along my merry way, and forget about them. And then one of my roommates would put them away for me. I’m not going to say anything more than that.]).
  • I did it. I changed the design of this blog again. I changed the header. And the colors. And unraveled all the work I spent in 2018 and 2019 and 2020 trying to have a cohesive “look/brand” that I was going to stick to. I threw it all out the window (if you’re reading this in your inbox, get yourself on over the main website, my faithful friend, and check out the new look; I didn’t buy this domain for no reason [but also don’t look too closely because not all the widgets have been baptized into The New LookTM). There was no one to stop me. At least I didn’t change the name of this blog.
  • Still planning on following Jesus to my dying day and beyond.

Blogging has become an antiquated form of communication, but that’s all right with my little old soul. I won’t do it much (life is too full–so much to do and so little time; I feel that pressure against my soul keenly), but I’ll do it every now and then (my goal in my bullet journal is 20 posts in 2022; we’ll see if I make it).

To anyone out there still tracking with this old rag Penprints and me, I’m back from the dead in more ways than one and of course have many, many thoughts on all matters with varying degrees of importance, helpfulness, etc..

And you know I’ll share them.

Further up and further in,

Rosalie <3

p.s. – yes, I for sure also changed my closing greeting. It had to be C.S. Lewis-ish. I’ve been signing off wrong for the last ten years of blogging. It’s fine; I fixed it now.

So I Liked a Boy [part six: please don’t chase him]

We’ve all been in this series long enough that I’m going to cut the chitchat and get straight to the nitty gritty (unless of course you haven’t been in this series; in that case, check out parts one, two, three, four, and five).

I’m a woman lady girl. So my experience in a relationship (or not being in a relationship, as is the case for this whole series?) is going to be different than a man boy guy’s.

Now, for some, this post may seem very hard. Our culture has a very boys-chase-girls, girls-chase-boys mindset. Anyone can chase anyone. But for Christians, our approach to anything cannot be like our culture’s. With everything, we’re to look to the Bible and look for God’s design.

As has been discussed at various points throughout this series, I wanted The Guy to notice me. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to try my hand a flirting with him. I wanted to give him hints that I liked him.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t tell him that I liked him.

I didn’t hint that I liked him.

I didn’t flirt with him.

I didn’t try to compliment him (even though I was heavily in the he-is-so-amazing boat).

There are two reasons why.

Reason #1: I didn’t have the confidence or self-worth to put myself out there.

For those of you who feel like this post is a no-brainer, don’t mistake a lack of self-worth/confidence for maturity. That’s what I did at first. I thought to myself, “Of course I would never try to make something happen with The Guy, not matter how much I want to. Of course he has to come to me.”

But it wasn’t trust in God behind that or understanding of God’s design for relationships or much of anything holy or biblical. What was behind it was fear. What was viewed by others as maturity was just fake maturity.

Girls pursue guys out of a hurt or a fear (Boat #1). Girls don’t pursue guys out of fear (Boat #2). And some girls don’t pursue guys because they trust God’s wisdom more than their own wisdom or desires (Boat #3). I was not sitting in Boat #3 like I thought I was; I was sailing around in Boat #2.

Girls who chase guys often have deep wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..

Girls who don’t chase guys often also have wounds and fears centering around self-worth, confidence, body image, insecurity, loneliness, unworthiness, etc..

Some of the same root issues, but a different response.

Some women are pushed to take the lead, to initiate, to take their clothes off, to text first, to be louder, to be considered more desirable physically, to give and give, to chase and chase by fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of being alone.

Some women are pushed further into themselves, to put more clothes on, to be silent, to stand by, to be doormats by fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being undesirable. Fear of being unwanted.

Neither is firmly rooted in who God is and who he has made her to be.

This is what kept me to myself at first.

Friend, if this is you, please don’t despair. And please don’t stay there. Confess your fear to someone (someone like we talked about in the last post). Pray about it. Ask Jesus to bring healing to the parts of you that this world and sin has broken—your body image, your insecurity in your personality, your passivity, your fear of others’ opinions. Ask God to reveal what is at the root of why you do not (or do) pursue guys. And ask him to be so kind as to heal it and give you the grace to turn from lies.

Reason #2: I knew it was The Guy’s job to pursue me, not the other way around.

It took a while for the truth to root down in me and reform my motives. In order to understand for myself more why I was to be pursued, to be chased, to be wooed, Jesus led me into a deeper understanding of marriage.

Paul says marriage was created as a way to show the glory of the mystery of God’s love for his Church. So many mysteries and glories lie revealed in marriage. Two people becoming one flesh (an echo of one God who exists as three Persons). A husband leading, protecting, cherishing a wife—an image of Jesus leading, protecting, and cherishing his elect. Marriage is the closest relationship two humans can share. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical union.

Almost always, lust is seen as the marriage destroyer. And it often is. But there is a more subtle (and I daresay more dangerous) destroyer—passivity. Specifically—a husband’s passivity.

This is one of the most fundamental things sin has broken in God’s design for men and women. Not just sex—though that’s gotten plenty messed up too. But what’s been most deeply broken is how men and women relate to each other.

Look at the Bible and see it everywhere.

Adam was with Eve when the serpent tempted her. He was at the tree with her. He heard the serpent’s words and Eve’s response, and he did nothing. He let Eve eat of the tree without rebuffing Satan’s lies. He let Eve hand him some of the fruit as well.

In a lot of ways, Adam didn’t fall; he let the fall happen to him. He didn’t do anything. He was passive. He watched Eve buy into a lie that destroyed them both.

From there on out, a man’s biggest struggle with sin has been and will be a struggle against passivity.

Abraham was promised by God that he would be given a son to carry on his line. Abraham believed, but then after it didn’t happen for a long time, his wife, Sarah, took matters into her own hands. She told Abraham to sleep with her maid, and instead of leading Sarah back to God’s faithfulness and telling her he was going to trust God, he let Sarah lead him into sin. He slept with her maid (the ultimate defilement of the marriage bed of God’s design), Hagar, who then had a son, and both Hagar and her son had a dysfunctional relationship with the rest of the family for the rest of their lives, a rift that went on the span generations. God was sovereign over it and used it, as is his way, but what if Abraham had stopped it in the beginning?

Eli was a priest in the days of the prophet Samuel (right before the nation of Israel asked for their first king). He was a nice dude and raised Samuel to serve God. But Eli had two wicked sons who sinned heinously, openly, again and again. Eli knew of their sin and the destruction it wreaked, yet he did nothing. He just kind of sat there. He didn’t rebuke them as their father. He didn’t rebuke them as their high priest. And in the end, his sons met death because of their sin. Eli was warned, and he still did nothing. He didn’t lose his sons because he didn’t do anything.

David was also passive. In a sickening account, one of David’s sons raped one of David’s daughters. If that wasn’t bad enough, David did nothing. There were no repercussions. Everyone kept on living together like a big happy family. But David’s son Absalom wasn’t so passive. Absalom (the full-blooded brother of the girl raped) took revenge on the half brother who sinned so terribly against his sister and murdered him. And so David’s household spiraled and tore itself apart. Because David sinned in passivity and didn’t call out sin to be sin or seek healing and restoration for his family. His passivity ended in rape, multiple murders, and a ruined family. What sin and pain and destruction could have been avoided if David had actively led his sons?

Now let’s see the outcomes of men who weren’t passive.

Peter was assertive. And I’m not just talking about how he’d always say stuff off the cuff in the gospels. In Acts, there’s an account of a married couple who sold a piece of land and pretended to give all the money to the church when they actually kept some back for themselves (so they lied). Full of the Holy Spirit, Peter tested them, gave them a chance for an out. When they decided to continue in their lie, still full of the Holy Spirit, he called out their sin in front of everyone, and the Holy Spirit struck the couple dead for their sin. And the church was protected (at least for a time) from what the seeds of their sin could have done to the church. If he had done nothing, said nothing, that seed of stinginess, of lying, of greed, etc. could have taken root in the church. Who knows what evil could have grown out of that? One thing is certain: destruction.

Jesus. Jesus chases after his own. He initiates relationship. His is gracious but not passive. He calls out sin. He encourages and leads. He is upfront. He says things that are uncomfortable. His whole life on earth was an act of initiation, of coming down, of bending down, towards, to get to his people. If Jesus was passive, he’d wait for us to come to him. But he came to us first.

So when it comes to The Guy.

If he’s passive in the beginning, the relationship will be shaped and marked by his passivity. He won’t lead you away from sin. He’ll let things slide—not in a gracious way, but in a passive way. Grace acknowledges sin as sin and sets it aside. Passivity is silent and doesn’t want to rock the boat. It is marked with laziness, the fear of other people’s opinions (aka: the fear of man: aka: a misunderstanding of God himself), or lukewarmness.

I’ve seen it happen where a guy doesn’t like a girl. The girl hints at her affections. The girl liking the guy suddenly makes the girl appealing to the guy. He kind of seems to initiate and lead, but areas of deep passivity remain. And sin and hurt is harvested.

For me, I’ve come to truly trust God with my future, and part of that is trusting that if I ever marry, the man boy guy that he gives to me will not be passive. And one of the first markers of that will be that the dude will come for me. He will pursue me. He will woo me. Then I’ll flirt and be awkward and tell him my mind and my heart and be open to him. And I know now that I’m worth being pursued.

The Good I’ve Seen:

I see an incredible model of what a man pursuing a woman should be really clearly in my brother Luke (I’ve gotten a front-row view of his dating, engagement, and early marriage).

He initiates with Emily (my sister-in-law) so well. He is gentle. He isn’t afraid to press into the hard stuff (or if he is, it doesn’t control him/keep him silent). He pursues her, loves her, cherishes her, wants the best for her and is willing to be uncomfortable and put in the work to see her get the best because he wants nothing less than the best for her. He tells her the truth when she’s hearing lies.

When she isn’t acting herself, he doesn’t let her hide away or bury stuff she’s always buried. He has proven he will be gentle with her, so she can feel safe (or as safe as she’ll ever feel) to be fully honest. He stays up late when they both have to wake up early so that they can go to bed at peace with each other. He doesn’t let stuff sit or fester. He doesn’t leave things unsaid. He doesn’t let her leave things unsaid. He’s crazy for her. He pursued her right from the beginning.

And Emily? She is a force of her own, one to be reckoned with. She’s a leader among women, full of the Holy Spirit and his good fruit. Her heart is wholly devoted to God, and her wisdom is peaceful and gentle. She’s a catch, as the kids would say. And instead of trying to snare a husband, she just followed God. And when she liked Luke and didn’t know what the future would hold, she chose to lean on the wisdom of Jesus instead of her own.

And when they started dating, instead of forcing her own way or being consumed by fear, she let him lead her. She trusted Jesus. And she trusts Luke. Like, a lot. She loves him. She encourages him right back. She tells him the truth. She responds to him. She is a well of gentleness and meekness and joy. She is kind to him and patient with him and laughs with him. She doesn’t belittle him or poke at him. She rejoices with him and in him.

He sharpens her, and she sharpens him.

He loves and builds up the woman in her, the woman God made her to be. She loves and draws out the man in him, the man God made him to be.

For me, I’d have to say seeing their relationship unfold has perhaps been the single most influential thing to how I now view and value romantic relationships. Luke and Emily aren’t perfect, but dang they did it well, and they’re still doing it well.

Let’s wrap this up.

Does any of that not make sense? Do you have any questions or confusions? As per usual, feel free to comment or contact me directly.

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – I think we’re finally getting to the end of this series! Next week I think we’ll be talking about The Need To KnowTM. if anything will ever come of the crush.

p.p.s. – I know that this could be a little controversial. Even in the Church there isn’t agreement about what man-woman relationships should be, but after following Jesus for over fifteen years, this type of model is the one that I believe most follows the path God intended for marriage.

p.p.p.s. – a shout-out to Luke and Emily for being The BestTM and also consenting to me fangirling about them on the internet.

So I Liked a Boy [part five: talking with others about your crush]

Here we be with part five of Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up So I Liked a Boy. For anyone just now joining this Reynolds Pamphlet of a party, here are the first four parts: one, two, three, and four.

Now, let’s keep on rolling.

So, the StirringsTM started July 4, 2019, but I didn’t speak of it to anyone until September-ish. As I’ve mentioned many many many times before, I was embarrassed. However, being a human girl after all, I also felt like I had some sort of Delicious Secret. And whenever a human girl has some sort of Delicious Secret (even when the Delicious Secret doubles as a Deep Dark Secret), she wants to tell someone.

You know what I mean?

My crush was my Deep Dark Secret. Some days I was like, “I will take this thing to. my. grave.” I never wanted anyone to know my shame (this was before I knew a lil’ crush was nothing to be ashamed of).

My crush was also my Delicious Secret. Cue the manic giggling and the daydream where I told everyone (including The Guy) about it through an epic lip-sync battle. What a mic drop that would be, amiright. That’s a true story, kids. It was either confession-by-lip-sync-battle or confession-by-somehow-taking-bullet-for-some-small-children. H.E.R.O.I.C.

But, at this point in the timeline I was low-key losing my mind. I was daydreaming. I was distracted at church. I wanted to see The Guy all the time. But whenever I did see the guy, I wanted the fastest way out of there. I was just starting to pray about it. I wanted to date The Guy. I wanted to show him my favorite movies and let him read all my stories.

I also wanted to be single forever. I was also afraid I was discontent in singleness because I had a crush. So I also felt like I was failing Jesus, which is one of my most debilitating fears. But I also wanted Jesus’ will to be for me to marry The Guy. So much fear rose up too—that The Guy would never like me back, that I’m undesirable, that I was liking out of my league, that he liked some other girl, that no guy would ever like me, etc..

I was swinging between extremes, getting lost and tangled up in my own mind. Unspoken things tend to loom larger and larger the longer they’re unspoken Someone once told me that fears always get exaggerated in your head. That’s exactly where I was.

So there I was—closed off in a type of isolation by all the fear tangled up with my Deep Dark Secret. But, by Jesus’ grace (and do I do very much mean that), my girlish tendencies won out (girls want to talk about boys). So I told a friend my Delicious Secret.

But Why?

At the time, I didn’t understand it to be God’s kindness to me that I would crack and tell someone. I just thought it was me being a goofy girl. In hindsight, though, I see why he allowed me to act out of a junior high girl mindset.

Here’s why God wanted me to tell someone (this is also probably why he’d want you to tell someone too if you like a someone right now and haven’t spoken of it):

Because fears get exaggerated in your head and the unspoken things loom larger the longer they’re unspoken (remember this one from way back four paragraphs ago?).

Because, for Christians, a lone ranger is a dead ranger.

Because how can another Christian speak truth into your life if you’re hiding things (even something “little” like a crush).

Because Christians are supposed to be in transparent relationship with other Christians, and the transparent part is so important for every Christian’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Before sin even came into the world, God said it wasn’t good for people to be alone because we’re made in the image of one God who is three Persons in the Trinity who have had community with each other always.

Because pride and self-reliance dictate silence (and then self-destruction), but humility seeks out help.

Because I’d rather be fully known and fully loved than keep secrets and not be able to believe people would love me as I really am.

But Who?

Now, I didn’t just run around telling everyone. That’s also God’s kindness to me. I only told a few people at first.

One thing before we get into some things to consider when telling others: if you’re not talking about your crush with God, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it with others yet. As with most of this whole series, this is not a hard and fast rule, but a recommendation because if you flee to people for help before you flee to God, you’ve got some things reversed. Go to God and people (“people” being a blanket term for a mature Christian usually of the same gender).

First, some probably nots.

(These are not disqualifiers or meant to be condemning; they’re just signs maybe the person isn’t in the best, healthiest spot to listen and offer godly encouragement.)

Not your boy-crazy, relationship-idolizing, constantly dating friend. This is not a condemnation; godly wisdom simply dictates that this person would not be able to offer the best crush/relationship advice.

Not The Guy (or, if you’re a guy, not The Girl; we’ll talk more about this next week). Even if they’re one of your best friends, don’t tell them. This will be what we talk about in more detail next week.

Not someone you know will egg on your crush. What you need is a mature ear and gentle, wise counsel, not a hype person.

Not someone who tends to gossip. You’d just be setting yourself up for hurt.

Not someone struggling with their own singleness. Again, this is not a rule, but just something to consider: would it be helpful for that person struggling in their own singleness to try to encourage and counsel you through your crush?

Not close friends of the one for whom you have StirringsTM. If they’re also some of your closest friends, maybe yes, but if not, just don’t. That’s unhelpful to everyone involved.

Now, for some probably yeses.

Probably someone who loves God a lot. If they truly love God, if they’re truly a Christian, that means they have his Holy Spirit. And that means they are more in tune with love and truth than someone who isn’t a Christian.

Probably someone who knows you and loves you a lot. Then everything they say and do in regards to this delicate matter will be done out of love.

Probably someone wiser/more mature than you are. Think of that person in small group who you look up to as what a Christian should speak and live like. Think of that person who you’ve heard make difficult subjects simple and easy to understand. Think of that person who is a little farther along in their life with Jesus than you are.

Probably someone who reminds you of Jesus (and, remember, you have to know Jesus to be reminded of him by someone).

Probably someone who is prone to gentleness/graciousness of speech. Wouldn’t you rather their words be like honey to you?

Probably someone who has told you (gently and out of love) something you didn’t want to hear before. This person will not cave to people-pleasing to try and make you happy.

Probably someone who trusts God more than they trust their own words. Meaning, they entrust their friends to God instead of trying to save/help/fix everyone themselves. Those who trust God and his power and his work more than their own will be slow to speak.

You want to tell someone about your crush who is going to shoot you straight, someone who fits Proverbs’ pictures of a friend, someone who will meet you with truthful encouragement and grounding grace, not vain optimism (note: there is a difference between real encouragement and baseless, flimsy optimism).

Note for the younger people: lots of church kids get told to tell their parents about their crush, and I’m all for this and believe that a parent/teen or parent/preteen relationship that is according to the Bible and God’s design would be a safe, wise place to go! However, if your parents A) aren’t Christians B) don’t have a safe, healthy, godly, loving relationship with you and/or C) are not regularly seeking God through Bible reading, prayer, and worship, tell the people who do fit those criteria instead.

If your crush hangs around for a month or so, talk to someone(s). It’ll be really helpful!

Do you have someone in mind? Someone who is like Jesus—full of grace and truth?

Now, tell them. Tell them what you’re afraid of. Tell them what you hope for. Don’t ask them if they think The Guy (or The Girl) likes you back because that’s unhelpful for you and for them. Don’t ask them if they think anything will come of it because there’s no way for them to know. Just open up your mind and heart to them and ask them to pray for you and speak truth to your fears.

In the beginning, I only told three people—all mature Christians, all full of grace and truth. Strangely, over time, as the novelty and fear and such gave way to trusting Jesus, I grew more comfortable telling a few more friends when it seemed helpful or relevant because I came to realize that it actually wasn’t that big of a deal even though it became something very formative for me. I told some who The Guy was, others I simply shared that I liked a boy.

I hope that this is helpful for some of you! What are you thinking now?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – sorry this post is late again! I need to stop making plans for Monday nights. *facepalm*

p.p.s. – next week’s post will be about why I didn’t chase The Guy or try to make anything happen with him. Be there or be square.

p.p.p.s. – for those hanging in for this series: are there any questions or things that seem unclear or haven’t been talked about that you would like to see addressed? Comment or contact me directly! <3

p.p.p.p.s. – I also took the liberty of starting to use #soilikedaboy as an official hashtag because this thing is basically turning into a book.

So I Liked a Boy [part four: actually, him loving Jesus isn’t enough]

Jane Austen once said, “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

Ha.

She ain’t wrong.

We’re back with part four of So I Liked a Boy. You can read parts one, two, and three if you’re new or if you just want a refresher of my manic, dramatic, and astonishing wit.

If you want the short version, I had StirringsTM (aka: a crush; aka: the precurser to FeelingsTM) for a dude in my church for a whole ten months and didn’t know what to do with myself and was forced to grow and rely on Jesus more deeply than ever. It was terrible but great at the same time. This series is me sharing the terribleness and greatness in hopes that people in the same spot as me are helped out with their own StirringsTM.

Let’s get part four of this party started.

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All my life, the only requirement I heard that I would need to find in a husband was that he be a Christian. Preferably employed. Preferably not living with his parents. My parents probably had a few other criteria, but the one that stuck with me was the Christian part.

Naturally, I proceeded through almost my entire life thinking to myself, “So long as he’s a Christian, we good to go, let’s pick out the bridal party.”

As I grew up, I became a little more aware that a lot of people call themselves Christians who don’t actually love God. So I amended my Requirement Uno. He’s got to love Jesus. Then we good to go. Then let’s pick out the ol’ bridal party.

The Guy who I had StirringsTM for loves Jesus with more unabashed passion than a lot of people I know (which is remarkable in a church where everyone left everything because they love God; that’s church-planting for you). His obedience to everything God calls him to is quite admirable. His heart of worship seems akin to David’s.

After watching him for a couple months, I thought to myself, “Ah, such a deep love for God; let’s get married.” Yeah, my brain went there real fast; Jane Austen was, in fact, correct.

But, actually, him loving Jesus is the bare minimum, a passing grade, not the end all be all of what to look for/be attracted to in a boy I mean man I mean guy.

I was seeking council from someone very wise about The Guy (I’d been on the moon-eyed train for like eight or nine months at this point).

I was asked why I liked him. I explained some of my reasons. I was told, “Look for more.” Not because The Guy was morally or spiritually deficient in any way but because my vision was too narrow.

Raw affection for God is not enough. Even capacity for extreme obedience isn’t enough. Even spurring me on to Jesus more isn’t enough. It takes more than dynamite love of God to make a relationship work—especially if that relationship is a covenant between two sinners only to be dissolved by death.

He can’t just love Jesus; he has to be like Jesus.

Jesus: a Man of supreme character, grit, zeal, gentleness, wisdom, compassion, patience, and joy.

Jesus: a Man of such strength and goodness.

Jesus: One who even now anchors the entirety of his Church throughout all generations as its immovable Cornerstone.

That’s what I have to look for—not because I deserve it but because that’s what my soul requires for survival. There is so much sin in my heart that I require much much keeping and initiating and leading back to the cross again and again and again.

He can’t just love Jesus—as good as that is. He must heavily image the Son’s person. His very character must remind me of Jesus.

His goodness, mercy, compassion, holiness, strength, humility, devotion, joy, steadfastness, zeal for the kingdom, and submission to the Father must be echoes of Jesus.

Jesus is my first love. Why would I look or settle for anything less or anything different in my second, human love?

Now, you may be thinking, “Yeah, but gosh, Jesus is a hard act to follow.”

And you’d be right. And no man I mean boy I mean guy could follow perfectly in Jesus’ footsteps, that’s why we need Jesus. But while it’s a tall order, it’s not impossible. I’ve met so many people who love Jesus and are becoming more like him to the degree that when I hear them speak or watch their manner of living, I am reminded of the character of Jesus.

To be honest, I’d rather live out my days in the joys and challenges of singleness than marry someone who loves Jesus but isn’t like Jesus.

Questions to Soberly, Prayerfully Ask Yourself and Jesus

When I was praying through liking The Guy, the Holy Spirit stirred up many questions, then I found more in The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler, and then some more from some trusted friends. I had to ask them of myself and Jesus honestly, humbly, soberly, without rose-colored glasses.

So here are some of the recurring questions, which I now pose to you, dear reader.

  • Why do you like the guy? What in him draws you in? Is it his personality, his faith, his character, his what?
  • Is he part of and committed to (serving, giving to, involved in, etc.) a local church? Is it a healthy, spiritually mature (and maturing) church?
  • Is his character known or unknown? If not, why not? If so, what has his character proved to be? Reckless or steadfast, flaky or faithful, bitter or forgiving, selfish or selfless, etc.
  • How does he respond to suffering? Can he endure?
  • How does or doesn’t he submit to authority in the church (this is an indicator of his capacity/willingness to submit to the Holy Spirit)?
  • Why does your heart seek relationship with him? To put an insecurity to rest? To assuage loneliness? Or something else?
  • Do you like him based on who he actually is? Or are you actually more drawn to a version of him that only exists in your head?
  • Can he lead you spiritually—towards Jesus, through the trials of this life, through your own sin? Is he like Jesus in that his character is strong enough, steady enough, steadfast enough for the both of you? Is he one that can be depended on? Does he show forth the fruit of the Spirit?

And you have to actually want to know the answers because if you don’t, you’ll be closed off to the truth.

For instance, I could be honest and ask the Holy Spirit to search me and know me and show me if there were selfish reasons in my heart when I desired relationship with The Guy. It was easy to be open to anything there.

But all along, even though it was the first question I asked myself, I kept myself closed off to the answer of if The Guy could lead me spiritually, if our personalities and tendencies and giftings and maturities and all that jazz were such that I could not only submit to him but he could actually lead me like Jesus leads the Church—without passivity, with grace, with strength, with love, with action, with sacrifice. I made all sorts of unconscious excuses.

There’s no way for me to know that since I’m not in small group with him.

I have such a limited window.

It would be arrogant and prideful of me to say he couldn’t lead me. Etc..

But the truth that the Holy Spirit was pressing on all along was that no, The Guy couldn’t lead me. Not because there was anything wrong with him or because I’m ultra mature or anything like that. It’s as simple as me being a disaster, full of fear, full of sin, full of so many things that require a certain type of man I mean boy I mean guy to love and cherish and lead me through.

Yeah, by the grace of God, I’m bearing fruit, good fruit, Holy Spirit fruit, but there’s going to be sin in me until I die, and if I’m to run this race well—and if I’m to do it married—the dude has got to lead me like Jesus, has got to remind me of Jesus.

And, as I finally let the Holy Spirit tell me, The Guy isn’t that boy man guy. He and I don’t… fit together, if that makes sense. Neither is defective or better or anything, we’re just not fitted for each other.  And that’s okay.

It’s so so so important to be honest with yourself and be open to the Holy Spirit actually answering the questions, even if the answer isn’t what you want to hear. Otherwise, you’re just deceiving yourself and living in a type of false reality of your own making, and the truth isn’t in you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Submit yourself—your heart and your will—to his wisdom and authority.

So anyweys.

That’s all for this week. As per usual, if anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me directly! <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – sorry for the late posting! Internet was down at my house so I had to wait until I could go to a coffee shop to use the free wifi and drink the not-free coffee.

p.p.s. – next week I think will be about who to talk to about your crush and why it’s important to be transparent with a couple of mature Christians about your StirringsTM.