i think there is a small part of me that is feeling alone. now that a year has passed since the day i moved out to california, the romance of the new adventure is beginning to tarnish and i am seeing clearly the culture of southern california. i love it, i really do -- however it is lacking something of great and priceless beauty; it is lacking simplicity. there is a lifestyle embedded deep in my soul that was born from the authenticity of the midwest and such a lifestyle is completely absent here in california.
there is a desire that has been newly uprooted. the past 2 years my heart was peacefully resting in a season of singleness. the season remains today, but delicate breezes are quietly stirring a longing for a life partner. i sense it is a hunger that is not to be satisfied today, rather it is the beginning of the journey to a relationship. living for 2 years in complete contentment as a single woman, i am utterly baffled as to what to do with these new emotions.
someday i hope to be married. the normality of our culture is to receive a brilliant, shiny, over-priced engagement ring. about 4 years ago when my friend kelly and i enjoyed a weekend retreat in historic stillwater as a brief opportunity to unwind from the busyness. we spent one afternoon strolling the quaint, nostalgic streets, and stopping in each unique antique stores. i love antique shops -- anything that holds a vintage story greatly appeals to my rare form of eclectic taste. each store had a case of antique wedding bands, very few of them were diamonds, but they each were very sweetly worn. i like to imagine the couples who donned such rings; the struggles they endured together, the joys the shared, the places they traveled, the children they raised and loved. while i romanticized over the stories of people i have never met, i decided i would love to one day receive such a ring.
but this strange hope for a cheap, used engagement ring is directly linked to a reasoning far more significant than romance. see, as i grow in christ, he breaks open new doors that reveal his passionate heart, and therefore refines my own heart to become a radiant reflection of his. injustice seems to be crushing my soul more and more these days, and out of that i cry out for justice and mercy to quench our dry and cracked land. when i think of the norm, of outrageously over-sized diamonds playing the expression of a man's love for his girl, there is a very real part of my heart that is stretched and twisted into an uncomfortable knot of pain by the unnerving reality of the price paid by humanity -- of the inconceivable injustices that are paid just so couples everywhere can flash to one another the weight of carats sparkling on their left hand.
god has me in a refining fire. it is his inferno of grace and he purposely placed me in the fiery kiln. the heat scorches my pride and burns to ashes my yoke of slavery. every fiber of my being screams to break loose from its painful blaze of transformation, but (how can such a simple word be the profound transition to the deliverer of hope?) because of god's amazing grace i remain engulfed by the flames of love.