Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Acting Stupid

Yesterday, I had the thrill of taking in the Super Bowl festivities in downtown Indy. I'm a huge football fan, and this is something I was very excited about, so when some free tickets to the NFL Experience landed in my lap, I just had to bite the bullet and go.

And it was a beautiful day to be there. Temperatures in the upper 50s, a rare feat for Indiana in January. Clear skies. Sun. Some wicked winds at times, but it was all part of the experience. Mom went with me, and we took in the sights.

I was determined, going up there, to make a statement out of this experience. (I live in statements; it's a problem.) I wanted to take this opportunity to smack life and shadows in the face, to determine to live with a Yes! and to use this chance as one of many to take my life back from those things that would try to take it away.

It's kind of an obsession with me.

I live in this tension...between what has been and what has been under what has been. The missed opportunities, the spoiled moments, when I have ever let anything limit me. I guess in so many ways, I am constantly trying to prove myself to the universe. Or maybe just to myself.


We parked in our pre-paid parking garage and set out for the Circle (Monument Circle, for those of you unfamiliar; it's why Indy is called the Circle City) and the giant roman numerals - XLVI. Television does not do these things justice. They were massive, and it was cool. We walked through downtown, taking pictures, looking at the little stores and sights, engaging with people handing out this or that. Made our way down to the Village (think - giant street fair), then across to the convention center and the NFL Experience.

That's when I got a little "stupid."

I went into this thinking I was going to do everything. Throw every football, kick every field goal, stand in lines and attempt every participatory activity they had. This was a theme park, or so they called it, and having been to King's Island six times and Kentucky Kingdom once and spent the entirety of each day sitting on a bench, eating funnel cake, and watching people vomit...I was determined to have that theme park experience. Nice and safe without the whirlygigs and spin-arounders; somewhere awesome. Like football camp.

How cool, right?

But ok, the thing is this. The lines were RIDICULOUS. It would take 45 minutes to do just one activity, let alone all of them. You couldn't even really tell where most of the lines started; they just dissolved into masses of people extending beyond the velvet ropes.

And yeah, I'll admit it. I was disappointed. Slightly. And then really disappointed because I was watching some other people tackle these activities, and they were just wasting time. Flubbing kicks off the tees, throwing 2-yard passes despite their best attempts, getting caught in tackling dummies. I was like, Really? But there was something about their smiles that was infectious. Watching families and even strangers encourage one another, share in laughter, just soak it up and enjoy it. My bitterness didn't last long; it was just a good time.

In the kids' area, they had these really awesome comic-book like mascots all over the walls and the fences. I was looking at them, partly as a designer and partly as a kid. And they were just fantastic. Then, I ran into the Colts' one - a mean-looking horse with a growling face and two fists. I ran right over and stood next to him, growling and baring my teeth, and showing my fists, then demanding mom snap that picture, too.

Then in the hallways, they had uniforms of all the different teams, and you could stand behind them and put your head through and be a player! I think I took 3 or 4 of those before mom got weary.

On our way back through the village, we went up to see the ESPN broadcast stage, the large helmet sculptures, the ice sculptures. We walked through the Huddle, a gathering place of sorts where the news crews were supposed to be broadcasting (they totally weren't there, even though it was the middle of the news hour). We were on our way back to the giant numerals on the Circle, where mom had hoped they would be lit up for the night hours and would take a better picture.

Then it hit me.

I tried to convince mom how awesome it would be to take a series of four pics when we got back there. Me in front of the X making an X, in front of the V with a V, the L with an L and the I, of course, with an I. She flatly refused. I was energized; I was having a blast and just soaking it all in. Then she turned and said it,

"I'm not going to promote you acting stupid."

Stupid. Stupid hadn't occurred to me. And to be honest, neither had anything else. Neither had the statement I'd spent the past week thinking I'd make just by going.

You see, once I got there, everything just vanished. I was walking back to the car when it suddenly hit me - did I accomplish anything? What happened to all that energy that was breaking the bank and taking life by the horns and being ruthless and relentless in its pursuit of that moment of...freedom?

It got caught up in the freedom itself.

Did I come home with a great story to tell about kicking bondage's butt? About letting the world have it? About standing defiant and taking my life back and living this Indiana Jones adventure while conquering the chains that we all have in our lives? Did I come back with a step-by-step understanding of how to win, of how to claim a victory? Something I could share with others and teach them how to find their own freedom, their own way?


But I came back with fantastic memories of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, of a street fair and a theme park and giant roman numerals.

And I came back feeling less pressure. Less of a need to be proving myself. Less of a fight in me. Because freedom doesn't have to be a fight. It can't be. It has to just be. It has to be the absence of anything. The absence of an agenda. The lack of a schedule or a plan. It has to be exactly as it was...

Just a moment. A moment of being. Just to be. Just to smile.

What agendas are keeping you from achieving freedom? What are you struggling against to prove yourself, to the extent you're missing out on some of life's greatest moments?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hurts and Healing

If you know any of my story, you know that this life has taken a lot from me. And what I haven't let it have, it has tried to steal. So this comes from the deepest part of me that still fights this shadow every day. May it be an encouragement to you.

It's not enough to just get better.

That's right - getting better is not enough. Whether you've faced a drawn-out medical crisis, a life-threatening illness or injury, the unseen injuries of trauma to your soul, the wounds of abuse or abandonment or just unfulfillment - just getting better is not enough.

I used to think it might be. That if I could just "get better," the life I had always dreamed of, the one that ran freely through the deepest parts of my spirit, would fall into my lap. And then I would have it. I would have everything a little girl ever dreamed of. The only thing standing in my way...was getting better.

But that wasn't it. The past four years have been a tremendous healing journey for me, on all levels. On an emotional and mental level, tackling the demons of my past and the lingering questions in my heart. On a physical level, finding a proper diagnosis and finding new nourishment and strength for my body. On a spiritual level, connecting with a God I never knew as a little girl but whose love has RADICALLY transformed everything I am and everything I ever dreamed of being. Over the past four years or so, I (by every definition of the words) "got better."

And it isn't enough.

No magical life came dropping out of the sky. No doors swung wide open. To be honest, my heart has hesitated too often to fully grasp what 'better' means.

So you have to get better, and you have to let go. Let yourself embrace better. Let yourself live better. Let yourself believe in better. Even when the shadows cross your eyes and tell you otherwise.

Because it is a constant battle. It probably doesn't last forever. Indeed, as the days go by and I make strong choices in honor of my own healing, it gets easier and the temptations get fewer and further between. But there are those moments...

Those moments when autopilot hasn't adjusted course. When you stop yourself short of doing something because broken, you never could have fathomed it. Damaged, you wouldn't have even tried. Burdened, you couldn't have made your feet move to follow your heart had you ever decided to give it a go. You knew, in your bondage, you would have failed, so what you failed to do was try.

Then you get better. And you face those same decisions. Those same voices that say, "You can't do this." If your reality of better isn't the story you're telling, if it isn't strength in your steps, you listen and just stand there. Looking stupid. While life passes you by. Chalking up another missed opportunity to...and then it hits you. All those wasted moments. All those missed chances. Listening to a narrative that isn't your life any more.

You defeat your demons. You shine light on your shadows. You embrace the better that God puts in you, but your shadows just don't let go. They don't give up so easily.

So you have to have new eyes. A new way of seeing when you realize you're better. When you see the powerful healing God brings into your life, when you start to see things a new way, you have to see yourself, your life, and your circumstance with new eyes, too. You have to take every moment captive, bring it before God, introduce it to your better, and ask yourself honestly, "Can I do this?"

The answer is "absolutely! Go for it!" more often than we imagine. At least, it is for me. There's this wicked back and forth between the shadows and the truth. The truth grabs your heart in that very first instant and says, "Jump. I'm gonna take your breath away." And then the shadows remind you of the ways you would have failed, why you still should fail, why it just don't fit, why you're not ready yet. Then the Truth chimes back in and chases the shadows away, if you'll let it. If you'll open your heart to God's honest truth (yes, there IS such a thing!), you will find yourself ready to embrace life and share in its dance beyond your wildest imagination.

Beyond what once defined you in your brokenness, your bondage, your trap. Beyond what life's circumstances piled on you and dared you to try to get out of.

You just...lay your crutches down. Refuse to answer to whatever would hinder you. Embrace your better. And say a resounding "yes!" Then brace yourself for adventure.

It's out there. It's everything you ever dreamed of.

And it's yours.

What adventure are you looking forward to? And what is the voice that is telling you that you can't?


I am thirsty for an adventure.

It's something that comes up in my life over and over again, and I'm notorious for just letting the moment (the long, agonizing, sometimes weeks-long moment) pass, but I have such grand imagination for adventure. I can picture myself doing all of these awesome, incredible, indescribable things that I would love to do just for the thrill of being out there, doing them.

The adventure doesn't have to be outrageous, though a few of those are definitely on my list. I'd love to go ziplining through some natural expanse - the mountains, the woods, something. (There is a zipline in downtown Indianapolis for the next ten days, but I will not be taking that one in. I want to set my feet on solid ground, not spend 20 minutes climbing an artificial tower for 15 seconds of heart-stopping thrill. It's just not as...adventuresome or dare I say? romantic...as I dream my adventures should be.)

Break: Ok, I said romantic. And I meant it. There's something romantic in adventure, at least in the way I ideate it. Something about the way these moments bring us closer to God and closer to ourselves. They are just...intimate. Enhanced by the way they defy words. You can never tell anyone in enough detail what your adventure has been like to make them understand and know it for themselves. It's highly personal, completely intimate, and it's something I believe God calls on in each one of us to get us to open up, to embrace some bigger story, and to just be.

There's nothing else to do on a real adventure than just be. Just be where you are. Who you are. Fully in yourself but completely lost outside of yourself at the same time. Wholly present to the moment and the circumstance. Because it's adventure. That's what it's like.

There are other adventures in my fantasties. Ziplining, as I mentioned, is one of them. But riding a horse. Rafting on a river (an opportunity I once passed up for the chance to sit in, admittedly, a really upscale movie theater and watch a terrible movie on a hot day). Riding a boat. Or something more simple like hiking through the mountains, climbing a rock, climbing a tree (which I haven't done since I was a kid, but fondly miss). Just the chance to get out and do something.

Then, inevitably, I get UP and do dishes with the longing for adventure still in my heart.

You always see these people that thrive on adrenaline. Adventure isn't about that for me. It's quite the opposite. It's a chance to harness my energy and have less of it. A way to still myself. A way to escape the pressures of paradigms and preconceived notions and the stresses of just living day to day. An invitation to a new viewpoint, an eye-opening experience that lets you see something in a new way and then you realize you see everything in a new way. It really is that romantic thing for me.

And it's more than that.

The more I taste an adventure, especially when I can talk myself into letting it so close that it's almost tangible, the more I realize the power of shadows in my life. The way I have lived in bondage for too long to things that never should have defined me but often did anyway. Adventure...it's like cutting that final cord. That last little bit of everything that keeps you chained to something you never wanted to partner with. That last string that you're holding onto to hold yourself back. Adventure requires that you let go.

And as God has worked so incredibly in my life, He has invited me to greater adventure. I believe for this very reason. Because He knows I need it to let go. A dramatic statement of saying I'm tasting the life, Lord, and I'm loving it. And I don't need anything else.

Then we fall in love all over again overlooking a sharp cliff before He spreads my wings like an eagle's and I soar. I just soar.

If we're being honest, the love itself is an adventure. It is that same invitation to empty myself, to be passionately involved in something incredible, fully present and fully outside of myself all at the same time, deeply in love and trusting something bigger than myself because I am surrounded by it. SURROUNDED by it. Surrounded by Him.

If we're being honest, the love adventure is fantastic. It doesn't need anything else to get my heart racing and my breath steady and my life buzzing.

But what kind of action movie would that be?

You know, I think we grow up with a set of beliefs about ourselves and our world that may not fit with reality. I've always avoided certain things because my mom was afraid of them or my dad didn't like them or for whatever reason, but I've recently found that maybe I'm not afraid of them. Maybe that's just a thought that got planted in my head one day, and I never questioned it. And I can't let the unquestioned fear define my life. In the same way, I think we get locked into feeling like we have to be who people have always thought we are, who they told us we are our should be, or who we have convinced ourselves we are. But those aren't necessarily true definitions, either. So an adventure is a chance to do something radical that maybe even I wouldn't expect myself to do. Because I refuse to live a prisoner to the shadows, to inadequate answers, to stereotypes or misguided definitions. Sometimes, I say "I'm not" and then catch myself because maybe I am. Maybe..I just never was, but that doesn't mean it isn't in me. Adventure is a chance to touch that.

How about you? What adventures do you dream of taking? How do you set yourself free to embrace the fullness of your life and of God's presence?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Numbers Game

I have one of those Biggest Loser-type scales. No, not the oversized, declare your weight to the world type; just the kind that likes to dance around a number before finally settling on something. And while that's all good and suspenseful on television, naked in my own bathroom is neither the time nor place for suspense.

Now, I'm not the type of girl to really subscribe to numbers. We are all-too-obsessed with them in our culture. Are you a size 10 or a 14? Maybe a 2? It's just a number. So why are we so concerned with what one scale says? And they're all different. Let's not fool ourselves - the scale at the doctor's office says something different than the one at home, which is different than the one at the hotel or the friend's house you're visiting, which is very different than the mandatory truck scale on the interstate. (I don't recommend this one; the attendant usually frowns.) And a size 6 at one store is another brand's size 10. So who is to know what a number says?

As someone who has, in her life, been both scarily underweight and clinically 'obese,' I can tell you this: What really matters is how you're rockin' it in those jeans, sister. What really matters is how you feel when you look in the mirror. What really matters is everything immeasurable - your confidence, your love, your beauty. These can't be quantified in numbers.

Yet there's something about the numbers, which is why I come back to this: when I'm standing on my Biggest Loser-wannabe scale and it's searching for a number, is it wrong that I jump off when it decides to start climbing by ones? I mean, there's no telling how much higher it will go. If we're just adding on pounds by the second, I'd rather not see where that train stops. I'll just take the ballpark average, subtract a few for good measure, and slap it on my driver's license.

Then rock it in these bootcut jeans with curves in all the right places and the size tag ripped out. Hey, it's just a number.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strong Women

Growing up, I fit firmly into what you might call the ‘tomboy’ category. I had two older brothers, no sisters, and a dad who only wanted to do those outdoorsy, blow-em-up, get your hands dirty kind of activities. I played sports, built forts, shot guns, went fishing (as long as I didn’t have to touch the bait), spent days down on my hands and knees scrubbing rust off the chassis of a 1960 Chevy Bel-Air my dad, brother, and I were restoring. And I loved every minute of it. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, grime, dirt – they were part of the package, and I never complained.

In all that time, I *might* have owned a dress. Maybe.

Things didn’t improve as I grew up, and I felt very much outcasted by my peers. The girls didn’t want anything to do with me because I didn’t wear makeup, dresses, skank jeans, or low-cut tops. Or a bra. There, I said it. It wasn’t in my style niche; these things would prohibit me from getting dirty. There wasn’t a way, as I saw it, to embrace my love of getting into things and keep that feminine appearance the other girls seemed to want. I was more comfortable in sweat pants, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. And besides, I didn’t want to let all the substance out of my brain to fit in with the popular girls. They weren’t that important to me. (Still aren’t, not that it matters.)

The boys were interested in hanging out, which was fantastic. I sat in their booth at lunch, played role-playing card games, talked about Legos and video games, etc. But I was still a girl and couldn’t be one of the guys. They’d take trips, but their moms didn’t want a girl tagging along. They’d hang out in the basement of one guy’s house for pizza and games, but it was awkward to be a girl there. It’s like they understood that on a practical level, I was more like them than a girl, but I was still…a girl.

And everyone thought I was a lesbian. It must have been the boots.

But as I entered adulthood and got some independence under my wings, I was fortunate to meet what I considered strong women. To be honest, I had always looked up to similar women in my youth – my elementary librarian, my fifth grade teacher, my middle school science teacher. They were strong, and feminine, but they weren’t overly airheaded. They were both grounded and confident, but with that finesse that made them definite role models for a young girl looking to be something more than a “tomwoman.” I really wanted to settle down one day with a husband who would cherish and love me, tell me I’m beautiful, hold me in his arms, and be the father of my children. (I still want that, so if you’ve seen my future husband, let me know.) But I also very much wanted to not lose that part of me that shoves her hands down the tank of a toilet in the bathroom at church because the flapper is offset and the thing won’t stop running. I LOVE that.

Then something strange happened. I embraced my body, my curves, and my budding femininity. I tapped into the longings in my heart for the same things every woman wants – those tender, beautiful things that make you feel like a princess. I started looking in the mirror, picking a wardrobe that emphasized the way I rock this body, and walking with greater confidence. Pinks and browns and greens and soft colors and letting my hair grow out just to make myself feel beautiful. To be that woman that I knew I was designed to be. To look in the mirror and see raging femininity and beauty…and then to kneel down in the mud and change a friend’s flat tire. To not worry about getting grime on my pretty clothes because hey, they are just clothes.

I’m fairly certain that today, I am approaching all I wanted to be. That is, I am a strong woman. I am able to balance those things that make me feel beautiful, make me feel womanly, make me feel worthy, and make me walk standing tall, confident in my identity with those things that I just love to do. In the past few years, I have ditched all but one “workin’ girl” outfit from my wardrobe (an old pair of paint-covered torn sweatpants and a mission trip shirt with all kinds of work stains on it) and am overflowing with sweaters, blouses, bootcut jeans, belted-waist tops, khakis and slacks, and yes, even a skirt. A skirt! And an awesome dress with brown tights to wear underneath. And one pair of tennis shoes, aside a couple pairs of sandals, some conservative flats, and a pair of wedges. But in the past two years, I have also: laid a new floor in the whole downstairs, replaced the windshield wiper motor in my car, put in a new garbage disposal, hooked up the new gas oven, hung and mudded drywall, painted two houses, cleaned the gutters, replumbed the toilet, put in a new kitchen faucet, built my own headboard, and that’s just for starters.

I’m thrilled to have found a way to be who I am on both ends of the spectrum, both a strong AND beautiful woman. And I get excited when I put my hands to a new project and get a little grime on me.

The only thing that’s really different now, I guess, is that I cuss like a sailor when I break a nail like a girl.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


For as long as I have pursued my gift of writing, I have been at constant war with a measurable angst in the deepest of my passion. It has been this talk about platform recently that has helped me to understand what my trouble was.

I had been trying to build my platform to fight my own demons, rather than simply building a brand. In doing so, I trapped myself in that platform and lost the essence of all I was.

Let me explain:

My time and my culture convinced me that I could never be what I’m passioned to be, that I could never be a voice in my world. Who am I, the world seemed to be asking, that anyone should listen to me? Once they found that beneath gifted words, I was nothing special, they would scoff at my every word.

So I began “building my platform” by painstakingly poring over every thought that passed through my head. How could I make it beautiful? How could I make it powerful? How could I make it poignant enough that I could be that writer that people started quoting in the halls, whether they could remember where they’d heard the quip or not? That, to me, was the definition of success: to be oft-quoted. To be watched and followed and friended for those little lines that, I hoped, spoke to my credibility.

I became so focused on proving myself as someone to be listened to, as a brilliant writer and a beautiful wordsmith, that I was terrified of saying anything normal. I cringed at the thought of using social media to say anything so mundane as, “Beautiful rain today” or “Watched a fantastic movie last night.” People became accustomed to me living in the philosophical, and I felt myself fading away into the shadows. My “platform” was costing me my humanity.

My writing suffered. My life suffered. Somewhere in the depths of the remnants of my past, I was there, craving a dance with my passion.

There had to be a balance between my platform and my life.

I determined to take my life back, to build my platform but to regain that ability to live outside of it. There was a beauty in the simplicity of simply living that suffocated under my platform, and when I let that break through and sink into my being, my passion lit up.

Since freeing myself to live a human existence and not just my platform, I find that people are more interested in what I have to say because they finally see some authenticity behind my words. Readers respond when they see your humanity beneath your platform, when you connect with them person-to-person.

Here are four tips to help you live authentically beside your platform, rather than under it - practice that will enhance your life, your gift, and yes, even your platform.

1. Read – inside your discipline. A worship minister friend once told me he savored the days when he wasn’t leading worship because they gave him the opportunity to be ministered to rather than doing the ministry. Reading others who share your passion does not threaten your gift; it feeds you.

2. Spend time outdoors. The trees, the sun, and the sky don’t care a lick about your platform. There is no pressure to perform. You don’t have to be the guru. You can simply be a part of a beautiful creation. Dance if you want.

3. Always carry a journal. When a thought hits me that I want to remember, I need to write it down. Otherwise, I’m going to let it run obsessively through my mind until I find a place to do something with it. That way, I won’t forget. But in that time between having the thought and doing something with it, I miss out on everything happening right in front of me. If I can write that thought down right away, it’s somewhere I know to go back to it, and I can live authentically and fully in the present moment.

4. Be Yourself, Not Your Platform. There are some anomalies in all of us, things we enjoy doing but can’t explain why. Things that people might raise an eyebrow at. Do them anyway. Don’t lock yourself into appearances at the cost of something that brings you joy. Authenticity is credibility, and those who follow you will appreciate your realness.

How do you keep balance between your platform and your life?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Precious Jewels

For a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, I laid in bed wrestling with the images of special gifts. Those precious trinkets and tokens given from one to another that somehow seal a treasured relationship, a place of honor, or a special love.

In those moments, I could not get my dad out of my head. Dad and I had an awkward relationship, to say the least, and it left a lot to be desired in a little girl's heart, but there was one thing my dad knew how to do: he could convince me I was special. Not to the extent that I felt special, walking around like a proud peacock and spreading my feathers, confident in my place in anything. Just in the way that there was something just under the surface, something secret that made me somehow special to him. And so leading up to the holidays, I was thinking of those special gifts and particularly with the image of precious jewelry...and it absolutely disgusted me.

There was something dirty in that mental image, something less than settling, something that finally had the strength to question a special relationship and the meaning behind a father giving his daughter precious jewels. Maybe it was something about my knowing my relationship with the man, the "secrets" shared, the odd sense of...something. Relationship? I would hesitate to call it love, though I loved him with a daughter's heart. Still do (a ransomed daughter's heart, as my true Father has answered so many of my unspokens), perhaps more now.

And I was thinking about the oddity of a father giving his daughter the jewels or the tokens of a love that he should have reserved for a wife, for a true lover. It was just creepy; it made my skin crawl, and something in my heart pained in those moments before I fell asleep with these images on my mind.

Then, as He is so often to do, my true Father spoke. He spoke in such a way that I could not deny His voice or His presence. He said, "Perhaps it isn't so creepy. Perhaps it isn't absurd. For I...I have these jewels for you, my daughter. And I would be honored if you would wear them."

It wasn't an easy surrender, not by any means. How could I accept a token of a love from a Father when these less than glorious images of a corrupt earthly relationship were holding a death grip on my heart? Literally keeping me up at night in the season of gifting, tormenting something in me that began to see clearly and yet was so enticed by the offering of an honest Father.

How to reconcile the gross with the godly?

For days, He worked on my heart. Mostly in those weak hours before I went to sleep, when my heart was still and the world was quiet and I was able to process, side-by-side or simultaneously, the image of the precious gift of a father with the unspeakable precious gift of my Father. Where love took on a new meaning, a real meaning, and I could see the honor in the gift. Even the gift of precious jewels.

Praying, following, listening to my Lord, I began shopping. Browsing for that fine jewelry that was too good for me, that made me feel too special, that stood and questioned that lingering part of me conflicted between filth and love, between brokenness and humility, between being convinced and being cherished. It was tough. Really tough. There were a few things I was drawn to immediately as my heart cried out, "This is beautiful!" then followed with "...too beautiful for you." Those questions of purity and wholeness that have long lingered in my heart were far from silent, screaming for answers and demanding I take a step back from what I knew God was calling me forward to.

What I knew was of Him.

And I put those jewels down, left them behind, and went home to think on it. To pray on it. To consider...

To consider a life where His love speaks louder. Where His grace answers. Where His mercy shows. To consider a life of being His, marked by a gift of treasured jewels, of something beyond beautiful that does not, in fact, contradict anything in me. It only contradicts the pain and the lies that have too long held me back.

It speaks in truth, and it is an honor to wear His gem.

So with God by my side, I found that jewel He chose to honor me, at least in this moment. I wear it around my neck, knowing as I run my fingers over it that we share a pure love, without need for convincing or for secrets or for questioning. We share something wonderful and blessed, as my Father has answered the heart of His daughter and shown worth, wonder, and beauty within. And without.

With this token, Lord, I am honored to be marked as yours, to know this as a sign of something incredible that is not tainted in the least. To embrace your grace, your mercy, and your love without question of my worthiness, my purity, or my place as your beloved daughter.

So this is what love is.

Maybe it's not really creepy for a Father to gift His daughter precious jewels. At least, not in this case.