whew. 16 is a lot of advice. to give. and to get, i suspect. so here are the final four...

#13 s.o.s. and diana ross

let’s just call this our take home from song of solomon. you know him, the wisest guy that ever lived. until he had 300 wives and 700 girlfriends. then he kind of got stupid. 1,000 women in your life will do that to you. anyway, here is his advice about love and from a guy with that much success in that particular field, i do tend to trust what he might have to say in this area. and he says it THREE times in song of solomon and whenever you see something repeated THREE times in the old testament, it is really really really important...

Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4 

 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
       by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
       Do not arouse or awaken love
       until it so desires.

or as diana ross sang, “you can’t hurry love. you just have to wait.” and i think she sang that chorus three times too. hmmmm, was she jewish?

you will notice that a lot of older women sent in this advice for you. “don’t worry about having a boyfriend now. that will come later.” or “don’t waste your time searching for love at your age. there is plenty of time for that later”. hmmm. seems a common theme. in solomon and in 2010. don’t hurry love. don’t awaken it by fixating on it. don’t make it be there before it is. the king jimmy version says “don’t stir up love”.  wait until it develops on its own. do not arouse it by artificial means before it is ready. let it begin of itself in its own good time. if you try to open a flower bud before it is ready to open; you simply destroy it. like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. if you don’t let it have time for its wings to dry, then it will never fly. it has to sit and dry and finish maturing before it is ready. too early, and it won’t make it.

don’t read the love books, watch all the love movies and think you have to have that right now or you will die.that is “stirring up love”. there is time and place and space for that in your life. in the right time, and place, and space, it is a wonderful thing. too early, is too early. God knows a thing or two (or three) about love. He knows when is the right time. trust Him. not your heart, or society, or those lovey dovey songs or movies. fools rush in.

#14 God is in the little
and the BIG.

remember when we were in the museum of natural history in new york? in the planetarium? and there was that path where you walked up the curving walkway where we saw how BIG the earth was and at the same time how infinitesimal it was at the same time? my science teacher used to use the term “infinitesimally small” but really that is redundant and like saying “infinitely small small”. well, God is concerned with the BIG and the little. don’t despair of doing little things. doing them well. doing them over and over again. and don’t yearn for HUGE things. they will come. and if they don’t, then keep doing the little things that He puts in front of you. until you realize that they were the BIG things after all. He is the God of the BIG PICTURE and all of the littlest details as well. 

#15 read

read, read, read. read the Bible. read shakespeare. read poetry. read good books. heck, read a stinky book every now and then. non-fiction. fiction. magazines. blogs, and the back of the cereal box. read stories. learn how to spot a good story. learn how to live one. God is an author. He loves the Story. He writes good stories with our lives when we hand the pen over to Him. with plot twists that you can't even imagine. and really great endings that go on forever with a feast and a wedding.

#16 give up on religion

the most important thing i have to tell you is to stop being religious. 

let me unpack that for you to try and redeem my name as mother.

Christianity is not and has never been a religion. Jesus doesn't offer it to us that way in the Scriptures. the mantra of religion is "obey and you will be accepted", "follow these steps to ultimate perfection", "do this, and then this, and some of this and all will be well." religion says that if we do these things, avoid these other things, and because we do those certain things or avoid certain things, God will accept us, forgive us, be nice to us, bless us, and maybe give us a really smokin' hot spouse, a huge house, some kids, and a life of unparalleled happiness, and keep the boogie man away. this is what religion means. and it is taught NOwhere in Scripture. it is a lie. it is a really smokin' hot attractive lie. and the really sad part is that a lot of people believe it. and sometimes i believe it. and it always comes back to bite me in the butt. which on me is a rather large target, so no wonder it never misses.

so if you don't have a religion in Christianity, what do you have? you have a relationship. an ongoing, growing, loving, living, deepening relationship with the One who created you. the One who knows you best. the One who created this world and knows exactly how it works best. the One who sought you, who calls to you, who searches for you, who sings over you, who died for you, who yearns for you to crave One and only One thing that satisfies our souls... His Son, Himself, His Spirit.

every other belief system is a religion. following these steps to goodness. being a slave to rules, regulations, or having NO rules and regulations and doing whatever you want to (which is following the desires of your own heart... and being a slave to your feelings, and emotions, and the whims of yourself.). we were created to worship. and worship we must. be it the worship of fickle mankind, or things created (sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, money, artwork, movies, our couches, or the golden gate bridge), or worship of self. you will worship something. you will serve something. you will be submissive to something. so what will it be. Who will it be? there is only One worthy of worship. only One who can be trusted with being worshipped and still being Incorruptible, Eternal, and Righteous.

millie, do not be content with serving God. do not be such a good sunday school attender, leader in your church, mission taker, or the thousands of other "good' things that we do in the name of service to try to satisfy our souls... only let your heart be satisfied by KNOWING HIM. and the quickest way to KNOW Him, is to TRUST Him, and OBEY Him. time and time again, i come to the same conclusion... obedience is the ONLY key to freedom. i am only free when i am obeying Him (all the things He tells me when i look into His perfect Word and see what His commands are for my life). in every area of our life we are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. and His Word says that we aren't really slaves when we are obeying Him, actually we are adopted children. co-heirs with Christ. His sons and daughters, obeying out of love and trusting Him to know what is best. sin never makes us daughters and sons. sin makes us slaves only. asking more and more from us, taking more and more from us, giving us less and less in return. giving us shame, regret, guilt, and a host of other really horrible warning type things. 

only with Christ is there freedom. to love. to grow. to be who we truly are. His. to worship the Living True God.

no religion. no working to gain acceptance. not modifying our behavior to gain salvation. He has made the Only acceptable sacrifice on the cross. 

a relationship. being accepted. being adopted. trusting. obeying. growing more and more like Him. and growing more beautiful as we become more like Him. 

grow beautiful sweet girl. and avoid bangs.

that is all i have for you.

but trust that there is One with a lot more good advice. perfect advice. that mine pales in comparison to. and so does my love.