acts of faith · testimony · the comfort couch

diamonds in the rough

Well, hi there! Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. But, have no fear — that will soon be a thing of the past!

This blog post is dedicated to diamonds. It’s partly a revelation story, and partly my testimony. I tweeted about this on Sunday evening (16 September 2012) under the #diamonds hashtag. If you’d like to ask me questions, feel free to email me. Anyhow, I pray this blesses you.

When I was 14 years old, God and I had a chat about purity. Incidentally, this was on Valentine’s day. I was in a relationship back then, but it was rather “friendship with a tag” than real “dating” in terms of relationships. Anyhow, on Valentine’s day 2005, I made a promise to God to stay pure — physically and spiritually — until the day that I get married.

Since 2005, God and I have been on a journey of discovery. God has revealed, and I have discovered. And, oh man! What an ADVENTURE it’s been!

Now, just to give you guys a little context, my parents got divorced when I was 12. Coming out of a “broken home” my knowledge of marriage was pretty dysfunctional. However, God in His faithfulness, has healed my heart in soooo many ways! And He showed me what REAL marriage should look like. By no means do I think I know/understand everything marriage entails, but as I’m still on this journey, I know He’ll stick to His promises and make it work together for good!

Since I made a promise to God to stay pure, I’ve constantly sought after His will for relationships, and especially, my future husband. Seeing as this is in part my testimony, here’s some of the adventures I’ve had on the way.

The first time God spoke to me about my husband was on a youth camp I attended in 2005. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, sitting up, and then immediately going back to sleep again.

God speaks to me through dreams quite often. There are many examples from scripture, both in the Old and  New Testaments, where God spoke to people in dreams. However, dreams are but ONE of the ways He talks to us. Whatever He says through dreams/visions/prophetic words etc. will ALWAYS be backed up by scripture. My advice would be, if you had a prophetic dream, to write it down and pray over it. I’ll post a blog about dreams in the future and will then share some pointers with you.

Anyhow, in this dream, God started showing me things about my husband and our children that I needed to pray for. Back then I was pretty new to the scene of dreams and hearing God’s voice for myself, so I had to learn things the hard way. God, in His grace, have been very patient with me! Haha. When I woke up, I remember clearly knowing that this was not just some random dream, but that it would change the way I prayed for my husband.

Since 2005, God has been adding snippets, like sneak-previews, about the things He wants and has prepared for me. Oftentimes He’ll give me dreams or scriptures, but my favourite way of chatting to Father about my husband is through letters.

I’ll tell you about the letters in a minute, but I first want to explain something about marriage.

In scripture, God often refers to Christ as the Groom, and the Church as His bride. And this is with good reason!
In the Jewish tradition, if a young woman gets married, a series of symbolic acts take place. In more than one way, this is a parable of the relationship Christ has with the Church. I’ll try to explain this without going into too much detail, as it might become quite lengthy!

When the Groom asks the Bride to marry, he sits down with the Bride’s father. They, the father and the groom, then set up “terms of agreement” and sign a contract in which the father and the husband both commit to meet certain parts of a deal. (This, in modern traditions take the form of wedding vows.) In many Jewish homes, marriages are often arranged by the father, and the bride only meets the prospective groom when the contract has been signed. Note that this is how it worked in the olden days, but for the sake of the demonstration, bear with me. Anyhow, when the terms have been agreed upon, the groom presents jewels and precious gifts to the bride, and then leaves to go and prepare a home for the two of them. The bride, from this day forward, is then looked after by the older women of the community as she is prepared physically, emotionally, and spiritually, for unity with the groom.

I believe that each of us has, to some extent, an “arranged marriage”.

Ladies, I know for many of us, getting married is one of the things we talk about most often.  The dress. The venue. The flowers. However, I want to state this very clearly — there’s a big difference between getting married (i.e. going through the “official” ceremony) and being a partner in a marriage. In this post when I refer to the Perfect Husband, or Perfect Wife, do I by no means imply that your partner will be perfect — all humans fall short of God’s glory and therefore are weak and sinful. Becoming perfect and blameless is a daily process in your walk with Christ. Going around with a checklist of things you want in a future partner, such as shared ambitions, shared faith, etc. is not altogether bad. HOWEVER, be wary of the things that you “check” off of that list! It’s very easy to set unrealistic ideals and then be disappointed when they are not met according to your expectations. However, God, who is a good Father, has your BEST interest in mind, wants you to be happy, satisfied, and fulfilled in partnership. He will not let you be unequally yoked. Walk with and talk to Him about relationships — make Him a business partner, and I guarantee all your choices will work together for good!

I’ll stick to a girl’s perspective for now, but I’m sure the men reading this will be able to relate. As young women, we often worry that we’ll meet the right guy, and that he’ll truly be the ONE. On my University Campus, statistics show that there are approximately 5 girls to every guy on campus. The chances of meeting the guy you’ll marry are close to nil.

First off, I’d just like to say, if you’re single — whether you’re 18 or 56, I truly believe that God has a marriage partner prepared especially for you. God gave Adam Eve, and unless God calls you to serve Him “by yourself” scripture says that it’s not good for man to be alone. Partnership is one of the most sacred things you’ll ever into. That’s why God calls you His Bride — if you’re in a relationship with Him, you’re also in a partnership with Him.

Many people have asked me whether it’s possible to have more than one partner, in the instance that one of them dies, and the surviving person remarried, etc. I believe it’s possible to have more than one “partner” but I believe that, as you journey with God, He will show His will and purpose for your life step-by-step.

(If you have questions such as meeting your partner in a different culture/ country, feel free to email me)

Anyhow, back to the Diamonds discussion — your immediate environment poses some of the greatest challenges in terms of relationships. I know, speaking for myself, that I’ve often had to ask God which friendships I should pursue, and which I should really just keep as friends.

As christian women, we tend to look to our brothers and close friends thinking, “At least he’s a christian” or “he’s such a Godly man” or “I really like how he’s bold enough to speak about his faith”. Ladies, let me make this clear — just because they seem to be the only “decent” options, it does not necessarily mean that they’re meant to be YOUR options. I know that unwanted attention from christian sisters can be just as frustrating to guys as unwanted attention is to you, girls. Trusting God in relationships — whether it’s friendship, or courting, or dating — is of vital importance, because, as I mentioned earlier, all relationships are really partnerships.

A few months ago, our senior pastor prayed for all the single people in our church that wanted to get married. On Sunday (September 16th) he referred back to this, and mentioned Diamond Mining, which broke open a whole new understanding about marriage for me. He refereed to marriage as a process of diamond mining in the sense that your partner is the diamond that, metaphorically speaking, comes on your finger. Your partner, your future diamond, IS there, he/she just might not be mined yet.

As I was thinking this over, God started speaking to me about various aspects of diamond mining. I’ll try to divide this in categories so that it’s easy to follow.

  • WAITING

Diamonds are in effect, charcoal that have undergone years and years of pressure and heat so that it becomes a solid piece of stone. The longer the diamond, or charcoal, is part of this process, the larger and more pure it becomes.

You can do some research about diamond classification if you want, it’ll help you put things in context. (click here to follow a direct link to Google.)

Anyhow, this is what God told me about waiting. If you “mine” the diamond too soon, you’ll probably end up with a piece of charcoal and not a diamond. We often become impatient, thinking that we’re becoming too old to get married/ start a family. However, when you walk with God in this, you’ll meet your partner at exactly the right time! Not too soon, and not too late!

  • PURITY

I’ve mentioned earlier that diamonds can have different purity ratings. You can get anything from yellow to blue diamonds, and the price you pay for them is largely dependant on the clarity of the stone. As you wait and prepare for meeting your diamond, purity is one of the most important factors ever. This purity covers everything — thoughts, physical purity, emotional purity — EVERYTHING.

  • POLISHING.

Did you know that diamonds are the toughest and hardest jewels? A diamond can only be cut with another diamond. It reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs that says “iron sharpens iron and friends shape one another”.
It’s exactly like that with relationships too! As a young woman, or man, in waiting, it’s vital that we surround ourselves with mentors and friends that can polish and shape us through spiritual wisdom, support and prayer. If you’re not in a discipleship relationship with someone (preferably someone of your own sex) I strongly suggest that you ask someone to be your accountability partner.

Now, back to letter writing. In my quiet time, I will often ask God what He want to tell me, and then write everything I hear. More often than not, this takes to form of a letter from Him, to me, written in my hand.

Here’s an excerpt from a “letter” He wrote to me recently:

My child, I love you more than anything — I love you more than everything! Nothing even comes close to the love I have for you! My child, you are created for greatness! My daughter, Beautiful one! I love you more than Anything. I give kingdoms as bounty for your hand. No price is too high.
You are my treasured possession.

In these letters, Father often confirms the things he has previously told me. I’ve been on my Diamonds journey for nearly 8 years now, and I’ve faced many challenges. When you walk with God you can be sure that the enemy will not like it and he’ll not wait around in a rocking chair while you discover your destiny. I’ve often been challenged about aspects such “marrying a man like your father”, or “having similar callings and ministry”, or “being called to do mission work in different countries”, or “being more or less mature in faith” and other things. These might seem like simple little details, but the enemy will not hesitate to make them seem like impossible challenges. He knows that your partnership, both with God and your spouse, presents significant challenges to his reign. As the saying goes — two is better than one!

Some of my greatest Diamonds lessons have been learnt from none other than Queen Esther herself! You can find her story in the book of Esther in the Old Testament.

As a young girl, Esther was captured by palace guards and taken to the harem where she was prepared for a year to meet the king who would consider each candidate as a possible replacement for Queen Vashti. Esther underwent various beauty treatments and training just so that she could spend ONE night with the king, and if he didn’t like her that would be it. She would never be allowed to go back to her family, and she would also not become the new queen.

Oftentimes we feel like waiting and preparation is the hardest part of preparing for marriage. I’ll elaborate some more on this in the future, but bear in mind that, by the end of your preparation, both you and your partner will be clean-cut, pure, radiant diamonds, and not cheap (by comparison) black, chunks of charcoal.

I’ll end this post with two quick testimonies.

Last year April, I went on a mission trip to Namibia with a couple of people from my church, and one of the women joining us was a friend to our worship leader. On this trip, out of the 9 people going, 5 were women, and only 1 person was married. I was the youngest on the team. Some of the older women are un their mid 30’s or late 20’s. However, one evening, Natasha and I were praying together and we both just felt that we should pray for all the single women on our team, especially Claire, who was the worship pastor’s friend. Natasha and I then decided that, for the following year, we would fast and pray once per week for Claire and the other women on our team. Only later did I discover that Claire was from Graham’s’ Town. In 2010, I attended the School of Supernatural Leadership in Pietermaritzburg where I met Ryan. When I first met Claire, I immediately thought “Claire and Ryan would be a great couple. Since they’re both from Graham’s’ Town, I wonder if they’ve ever met?” Note that I’ve never been to Graham’s’ Town, so even now, I have absolutely no idea how big that place is. Haha. Anyhow, later that year, 2011, Natasha went down to Cape Town for grad school where she met Claire’s flatmate. Lo and behold, it turns out that Claire and Ryan had been engaged before, but that they broke it off. Still, Natasha and I continued praying. And, I’m glad to announce that Claire and Ryan got married earlier this year and have been happily together ever since.

Prayer is REALLY powerful! I urge you to pray for your partner, before and after getting married, and have someone who can keep you accountable and encourage you all the way through!

Now, for the second testimony!

One of my close friends, Edgar, last year invited me for coffee and we had a long discussion about relationships and I shared part of my testimony with him. About a month after this meeting, he phoned me, saying that he’s found the woman he’s going to marry. I was really astonished! It turns out that he had met Carmen at a worship meeting of mutual friends of Edgar and I. He dropped a couple of people off at home afterward, and as Carmen was about to go into her house, he felt Holy Spirit tell him that he should wash Carmen’s feet. He went inside and did as God directed him. Later Carmen told him that she has, on several occasions, dreamt that her husband would wash her feet when they met. There’s a couple of other things that fit exactly together too, but that’s a story for another day. They spent some time praying, and they got engaged soon after that! I’m happy to announce that Carmen, who went to school with me, and Edgar, will get married this coming Friday, the 21st of September!

This, for me, is such a cool testimony of how God makes things work together for good!

There are many other testimonies I can share, but for now, be encouraged by the knowledge that your Father who loves you more than anything and wants only the best things for you, has the perfect partner in mind for you, and He has set the terms of agreement to the highest standards.

Furthermore, as you are in this season of waiting, spend time romancing Jesus as your Heavenly Groom while He prepares a home for you, the Church, His Bride, in heaven!

May you be greatly blessed as you discover the treasures of God’s promises and His abundant love for you! And, whether you’re in a relationship or not, I pray that God continually will show His will to you, and that you might discover your destiny and purpose on this wonderful journey of discovery!

P.S. If you have any questions, whatsoever, feel free to email me: cornelia4grace@gmail.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIkps5lXawU&feature=plcp >> girls’ testimonies about relationships and purity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBaglT6cfAw&feature=plcp >> what guys expect form Christian girls

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