It’s rambling story-time, my lovely readers. Grab your heated blanket and a mug of cocoa and settle in (if you don’t have those handy, how are you not frozen solid right now?)
This, my friends, is my purity ring.
Or, at least, it was.
I was given this ring for my 14th birthday. My dad presented it to me over a special birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant (Red Lobster. So fancy, I know.).
I was 14, I remember my dad saying, and dating was a possibly that could very well come up in the next few years. My life verse, which I believe I had declared only a few months before, was Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The ring, Dad said, was to remind me of the biblical values and standards by which I had been raised, and also of how deeply my parents loved and cared for me. It was to remind me to “guard my heart.”
This was in 2005, smack in the middle of the ‘True Love Waits’ fever pitch. Purity rings stamped with the movement’s name or initials abounded, both at school and church. This ring was my (far more personal, way better-looking) version.
Of course, I was terrified of ruining or losing the ring, so it actually remained in its box on my vanity for the next two years. It wasn’t until a particularly sticky crush situation during junior year of high school that I began to wear it everyday.
But from September 2007 on, that dainty gold ring resided on my left ring finger every single day (with the exceptions of short periods of global travel). I got a few compliments on it now and then, but it mostly passed unnoticed. Its meaning was known to me, but I didn’t ever have to explain it. But in 2013, that started to change.
See, as a woman in the South who is visibly an adult, wearing a gold ring on the left ring finger gets a lot of questions. Well, one question specifically: “Ooh, are you engaged?”
No, world. No, I am not. This is my…purity ring.
I hated saying that. It felt juvenile and trite. A fad past its time. With how the common conception of purity rings has evolved, I didn’t like associating my beautiful ring with thoughts of bandwagon teenagers who don’t understand the biblical concept of purity or why Christ calls us to it.
And to be quite honest, it wasn’t what the ring meant to me anymore, or at least not in full. To me, it had become a promise that *eventually* it would get replaced when *someone* finally came along. It was my “Someday” ring, at least in my mind.
So I began the process of re-christening my ring. And in late 2013, I found my answer (oddly enough, through a friend’s tattoo).
Qavah: to wait, look for, hope, expect
To me, this word came closest to what I wanted my ring to represent in this next phase of my life: my expectant hope in the plans of the Lord for my life. I do not know what is coming, but I trust in the will of the Lord.
What I wouldn’t admit though, even to myself, was that, despite the re-christening, the “Someday” meaning still clung on. My “expectant hope” only applied to my expectations that *someday* God was going to send me that certain *someone* and then all would be on track and my life could proceed as I had planned. It was only a matter of time.
I managed nearly a year before I was forced to confront this fact. But, on a Sunday at church singing an old hymn I’ve known since toddlerhood, I was struck with a realization: If I am to hold that this ring represents qavah in my life, yet still wear it on a finger that holds so much other meaning, I symbolically limit the scope of that expectant hope (If you’ll recall, physical touchstones are a big thing to me, and this ring is chief amongst them).
And so I moved the ring to my right hand.
It seems like such a small action, but it has made an incredible amount of difference to me in the months since. Whenever I get caught up in the expectation of *someday* and *someone*, the sight of my beautiful ring on my right hand reminds me that *someday* and *someone* aren’t the promise. The promise is the guidance and unconditional love of my Lord. The promise is a relationship with a heavenly Father. The promise is eternity.
I have been struggling to write this all down since about October-ish, but after reading this post from my sweet Becca Lynn this morning, I figured it was about time to finally get it all out on (virtual) paper. Even if this didn’t make sense to anyone but me, I’m glad I finally put it all in words.
Have a wonderful night, my friends (and please stay warm).