A few months ago, my very sweet friends (AKLM) who know my strong approval of Starbucks ceramic ware, gifted me a very sweet coffee cup. It’s the perfect size as it allows me to walk (spill-free) to the couch while holding it in one hand and is white with large red and orange flowers asymmetrically dispersed on the inside and outside. I loved it when I got it and still get this odd sense of bliss when it comes to that day during the week when I get to pull it down from the cupboard and pour my daily brew into it.
In my last post, I told you (well, the four friends who got suckered into reading it) that if there was anything that you should know, it’s that I’m not fearless. The second thing you should know about me is that I am a dreamer… especially when it comes to my future home and the people and the things that will fill it. For the most part, I’ve lived pretty lightly due to having roommates that are pretty well-equipped. To date, my kitchenware consists of an extensive/sophisticated list of cooking gadgets. You know… pots… pans… a food processer… micro zesters… an olive pitter… etc. It does not include, however, silverware… drinking glasses (other than my Starbucks mug collection)… dinner plates… you know, things you would eat those pitted olives with/on! As such, I have been known to spend/lose/relish in hours walking through Macy’s or Crate and Barrel looking at plates and dreaming of what could be. To date though, I haven’t actually picked anything out in fear of jinxing things. Having been perpetually single (as I would define it, I haven’t had dinner with anyone that my parents have met), there’s always been the fear of getting ahead of myself.
So what does my stalking of ceramic plates have to do with my sweet Starbucks mug? If you had asked me last month, I wouldn’t have an answer. Due to the occurrence of some very strategic events, however, that sweet little Starbucks mug has a lot to do with my lack of commitment to everyday china. You see, until a few days ago, that sweet little mug represented my suppression of the glory that Jesus has blessed me with. Just recently, I’ve realized that I’ve been holding one of God’s most awesome blessings away at arm’s length.
I could get off on a tangent so I’ll be forthright. I haven’t wanted to buy plates because I’ve always told myself that I should wait to “get the good stuff” until I’m married. Somehow, I believed that waiting for marriage to buy FiestaWare was a discipline of a godly woman. Well, due to having the awesome opportunity to listen to a godly brother and sister in Christ (at separate events), I’ve realized how silly and sinful my well-intentioned restraint has been.
It began at a church event where Dr. Les Parrot, a psychology professor/researcher at Seattle Pacific University, came to discuss how the single population could start to foster healthy relationships. I’ll admit I had a hard time paying attention as I had been up the night before until 2:30 AM looking for my car keys in the dark at Green Lake (a future post on grace, perhaps?). I was exhausted and actually nodded in and out of consciousness (sorry Les!). I did get a recap though later in the evening as my friend (G) and a few other women discussed Dr. Parrot’s advice. I was intrigued when one of the women said something to the effect of: “Wasn’t it encouraging to hear Dr. Parrot tell us not to put our life on hold while we wait to find our future husband?” At first, I was pretty smug as I did a quick self-assessment of my life. I thought of my extensive traveling, great (no, really great) job, the fact that I have taken whatever opportunities I’ve been given to pursue interests, and do other general shenanigans which let me sleep well at night. Yep, no ‘life on holder here’, I thought.
Fast forward about a month or so to last weekend and I was at my church’s women’s retreat listening to Barbara Hughes explain that God plans our point in human history very carefully (which I already had believed) and that this included our times of singleness (which I also believed). B. Hughes then continued, however, and went through a list of the benefits to being single. It was at this moment where my heart got a mini-jumpstart. As I mentioned before, I had already been won over to the idea that God plans our life carefully because He is good. What I hadn’t really considered though was that my singleness was something to rejoice in.
Over the course of the next few days, I began to process things and, by Jesus’ good grace, realized that while I might have not been putting my life on hold, I certainly haven’t been reveling in the place where God has me. As of now, the Lord has me in a position where I am Jessica: daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend. Instead of living in a place where I’m waiting to buy salad plates and cereal bowls, I should be living the life that Jesus has crafted OUT LOUD because He is the master painter and my singleness is the color on His palette.
Now, does this mean that I’m going to go stampede into Crate and Barrel tomorrow morning? Probably not. While it’s fun to blog about my favorite coffee mug (thanks again AKLM!), this is really more about rejoicing in the circumstances that I find myself painted in at the moment. It’s about loving the people that Jesus has put in my life, pursuing those who haven’t met Him yet, and praising Him for letting me play any part of it.
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;…