When He finally popped the question

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Per-fec-tion: the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects; the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.

That was the way my life looked in a box. But not a box big enough to fit someone in who pops out to yell “surprise”. Nor is it the size of a box that a brand new and unassembled couch would come in. No, this box is more of an engagement ring box. A beautiful, small blue box with a giant white ribbon. A tiny box that only opens when a deeper question is popped. Because if you keep it open too long, the possibility of that ring inside getting damaged, dirty, or even worse, lost, is not an option.

The beauty queen. The big house. The tropical vacations. The cheerleading captain. That was what was written on the pretty little bow outside of my box. The physical features one sees from the moment they look at the box is crucial, right? If a box is all banged up and wrecked, nobody wants to even see what’s inside. So, pretty bow it is. At least that will fool them long enough to think the inside has more to offer.

The moment that God commanded my life to head a different direction, I was completely unaware and unprepared. I was stuck inside my box of perfection and would do anything to keep it that way. As long as people saw what looked to be perfect, I was happy- even though the box was filled with rawness and the stone remained unpolished. God let me stay in control until I was driving full speed into a brick wall and my only choice was to give him the steering wheel.  

I couldn’t let the outside know that I submitted myself to an abusive relationship with a sex and porn addict. One to whom I gave the control of the strings to my helpless soul, as if I were a marionette moving on a stage. I couldn’t let the outside know that I had one too many drinks one night, got behind the steering wheel of my car, and woke up the next morning with a DUI as the headline of my entire life. I couldn’t let the outside know this blonde hair, blue eyed girl spent the night in a jail cell because of those actions. I couldn’t let the outside know my family was being ripped apart piece by piece just ready to be picked up by wind and never put together again. But there my pretty, perfect bow stayed in order for me to fool every person who glanced. Because who would want to praise a flawed and blemished stone?

But one day, God decided He was sick of seeing my pretty bow. It was time. It was time to show that not all that is on the outside matches the inside. What may seem like a big, beautiful diamond inside that box, may also just be a tarnished gemstone. And that’s exactly what I  believed I was. Unfinished, unwanted, and invaluable.

One of my favorite church leaders, Pastor Steven Furtick, quoted, “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” And that’s exactly what I wanted everyone to see. The highlight reel. The perfect bow. The perfect box. And kept my secrets tucked deep inside until God was ready to pop the question-- "Can I have your heart?"

That question. That question pulled at the strings of my heart tighter than ever before. "But God, you don't want my imperfections. I'm not ready to be yours. You deserve so much more than I can give you. I'm a broken mess. What can I offer to you?"

But our God isn’t a God to the perfect. No. He’s far from that. He is a master designer. His heart and soul pours out into the ones who allow their imperfections to be exposed and molded. He’s imaginative and artistic, knowing the precise settings to bring out our hidden beauty and character. When a jewelry maker begins the process of turning a gemstone into a diamond, he must refine and shape the gem in which it will be cast. He then melds all the parts together and will possibly engrave specific designs into the metal. Then, he finally polishes the finishing touch. God is our master designer because he looks beyond the outer, uneven exterior and into the soul in order to refine and design us into the beautiful masterpiece He knows we can be.

God is both a God of grace and a God of truth. Since he loves us, he disciplines us. He cuts away the rough edges, just like a jeweler would when working with his gemstone. Hebrews 12:10 speaks about this. “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplined us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” As Paul points out, it is so we may go out and remember the brokenness we experienced, but continue to show His healing and transform it into beauty.

In the book the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren observed “We are like jewels, shared with the hammer and chisel of adversity. If a jeweler’s hammer isn’t strong enough to chip off our rough edges, God will use a sledge hammer. If we are really stubborn, he uses a jack hammer.” Many of us, including me, experience God’s interceding with a sledge hammer. It’s a long and painful process, but God doesn’t use his tools in order to hurt or destroy us- He uses it to show His power of beautifying even the most stubborn areas of our foundations.

But the most amazing thing about our God is that He never stops forming us. He always believes we can be a little more beautiful with each cut. Our God doesn’t settle for mediocre. He continues to cut and trim at our edges so that each carving creates new captivation. He sees our potential and will never stop molding us into that beautiful diamond.

So looking at my ring box now, all of the words on the bow are gone. Beauty queen, big house, and tropical vacations are the last things I want people to see when they first glance at me. The only thing that I want on top of my box is the word “GOD”, because everything inside of my box is beautiful, regardless of the flaws and imperfections, because of the one Name that is truly exposed. I will always be a diamond under construction and I have a new outlook on my transformation. I am not being shaved down to suffer deeper but in order to shine brighter. Every day is a struggle to remind myself of that, but I do it by wearing two rings on my left ring finger. One ring is a cross that says He is the first one that will always have my heart. The second one is a tarnished, unfinished gemstone before it goes into the process of becoming  a diamond. Even as a simple gemstone, God loved me and saw me for my true identity and purpose. Not just the shining diamond He continues to create me to be. Simple symbols of His love can plunge you into the remembrance of the battle He has already won for you and to never take it for granted.

No matter what stage you are in today, if you feel like the untouched gemstone stuffed in a box or diamond who has been cut and polished numerous times, God is always molding you in order to move you. Moving you into the calling He has on your life. Moving you into the person He created you to be. Moving you into your next mission in His kingdom. Diamonds are only created under pressure, and God is your pounder. Submit to the transformation, but most importantly, never forget how He turned your messy stone into a magnificent diamond.  

“Before a diamond shows its brilliancy and prismatic colors, it has to stand a good deal of cutting and smoothing”
Halle HillmanComment