Don’t Always Believe Your Big Sister

So I asked my sister, (Glenda) if she read my blog and she gently reminded me that she is very busy raising 3 children and doesn’t always find time…

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..then she added at the end…”plus they are always so serious. “

Now I enjoy a good serious blog just as much as the next person-but I realized that she was right in the sense that I don’t often incorporate my humor too much into Bit o’ Betty (BOB for short)…(no that is weird)  which is a big part of who I am! So here is my attempt at not always being so serious.

So this is for you Glenda 🙂

I’ve entitled this short story: Don’t Always Believe Your Big Sister 😉

When I first moved in with the family who ended up adopting my brother and I, Glenda was almost 16 years old. She went from being an only child, to being the on-call babysitter, entertainer, chauffer, and blame-receiver to a wild 5 and 7 year old.  We turned her world upside down, and wreaked havoc on her once peaceful living situation. Despite us ruining her things, and seemingly stealing her parents, she tried hard to love us (though often unlovable!) and was a quite champ! She would bring us to her room, escape out her window, dress up like a clown, climb back into her room from her balcony no longer as Glenda, but as “George the Clown” and entertain us for hours!

Though don’t put this super sister on a pedestal quite yet. She had a dark side. A very dark side. And that dark side was knowing-that-I-was-and-still-am-super-gullible-and-would-convice-me-of-all-sorts-of-things.

The most memorable of things being this: The first summer I moved in, Glenda convinced me that children were not born with a butt crack. That’s right. They were butt crack-less, smooth bottomed, and had to be shipped to China where they have a special butt cracking machine. They would slide the babies on, and then like a giant paper cutter, *shhhfiinnggg*, (that is the best sound effect I can think of), and then the babies were shipped back home to their families.

Well, trusting my new big sister got me in trouble that next fall in Mrs. Nani’s second grade class. We were having a sort of cultural emphasis week, where we were to bring in foods and artifacts and facts from different places around the world. A time came when my dear, sweet, teacher asked the class if anyone had been outside of the country. This was my chance to inform my fellow peers of the wisdom my older, smarter, big sister had bestowed upon me.  Hand raised as high as I could, and wiggling it to show my excitement, I was finally called on, “We’ve all been to China!” I proudly proclaimed!

Mrs. Nani didn’t miss a beat, “You visited China? How lovely! Did you see the Great Wall?”

“No, no, no. We have ALL been to China!” I waited, a second, excited to share the news, “When we were born, we were all shipped there to get a butt cracks!”

Mrs. Nani’s eyes enlarged, and the 2nd grade giggles around me urged me to explain further. “When you are born you don’t have a butt crack so you are shipped to China because they have a very special butt cracking machine where the baby…”

“ENOUGH MISS HAMPTON!” (name prior to adoption)

I pursed my lips, and furrowed my brow as I watched her walk to the front of the class to write another note for me to take home to my parents.

Needless to say, I got in trouble-I’m pretty sure it was a spanking. Supposedly “I knew better”. Doubtful. But do you know who did know better?

My big sister.

And you know who didn’t get a spanking?

My big sister. (okay so she was 16 at the time, I still thought it was deserved!)

You know who you can’t always trust with facts concerning medical procedures with newborns?

My big sister.

Love you always and forever Glenda!! Hope this isn’t too serious for you 😉

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(Aunt B and the 3)

Dating with the Intention of…

Dating is a tricky thing.  Now, don’t get me wrong-there is so much of dating that is fantastic and necessary.  It is a joy to have a confidant, comedian, caretaker, and caretakee who gets to invest in you and whom you get to invest in. It is such a blessing to have someone of the opposite gender to give you biblical wisdom and advice. It is important to know somewhere ever so well before you marry them!  It’s also great because of little things like, having a best friend who thinks you are really awesome, getting to do out to dinner with your best friend who thinks you’re really awesome, and especially lounging in yoga pants and a sweatshirt looking like a homeless bum with your best friend that thinks you look ridiculous and yet still thinks you’re really awesome.

But there is no much of dating that feels…unnatural, impossible, and often times frustrating. For example I wish I could better understand and implement how I am supposed to “guard my heart” because he may not be my husband, but also “be vulnerable and transparent” in case he is going to be my husband? And Lord knows I am not the only one who gets frustrated with years of being intimate in these acceptable ways, A, B, C…but not these ways: X, Y, Z. All while planning on probably, most likely, aiming for, trying to, might, perhaps, hopefully marrying this person-but with no real guarantee that you two will make it to the alter.

Date with the intention of marriage they said. It’ll be fun they said.

Fun until you fail.

In February, I just broke up with the man I had been dating with the intention of marrying for almost two years. When that happens, when you get to the end of your relationship, and it’s culmination is not what you have been working for-you feel like a failure. Your goal was not met. You did not succeed in fulfilling its purpose. You did not win. You failed at dating.

And it is so very painful.

There is a lot I would do differently in that relationship-maybe God in His wisdom will gives us a chance to try again. If that happens, do you know what I am going to do differently? Well, there are quite a few things, but one of the primary things will be to change my heart’s goal. I want our goal instead of being marriage, marriage, marriage- to be to date with the intention of godliness.

If we date with the intention of godliness, and at the end of our time together we realize that we aren’t compatible in marriage-that is okay! Because that wasn’t our goal or purpose. My goal is simply to help him to grow in holiness, and his is to help me grow in mine. Dating with the intention of marriage can accidentally encourage sexual sin, whereas godliness forbids even a hint of sexual immorality and there is no crutch of “going to be’s” to lean on in sin.  If we date with the intention of godliness, the man I do end up marrying would be able to thank my relationships for investing in my holiness and righteousness, for making me a better woman! And vice versa.

I thank God for each of my dating relationships, but appropriately mourn over parts of them. I pray for the day that I honor God in dating a man that leads to honoring God in marrying that man. And I pray that He blesses us with the opportunity to teach ours sons and daughters how to and how not to date for the glory of God and the intention of godliness.

What do you think? I know this doesn’t “solve all the problems” of dating? And I know I didn’t lay it out in much detail-but does it make sense? Is it possible (and or profitable) to do?


We Learn in the Pain-Filled Points

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Whether it is a friend, significant other, or family member – relationships bring both great joy and great pain.  When I am in the center of the painful points I am sometimes tempted to covet an “easier life” that would be void of such pain bearing relationships. But I know that not only is that not POSSIBLE, but it is also not PROFITABLE. We learn in the pain-filled points. We see our sin more clearly-our need for a savior more clearly. We are blessed by the example of our Triune Creator who engages in intimate fellowship despite ALL outcomes of hurt and short fallings. We are reminded of the grace extended to us-grace than we are commanded to extend to others.  We are reminded that God is at work in each and every scenario whether we see him or not. And ultimately, when we disappoint others, or they disappoint us-we look to the cross and then to the empty grave-worshipping in gratitude the One who will never let us down.