1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Recently, I was asked about Tyler's Quinceanera. So, I decided to try and write it out. I wish often we would have recorded that day. But, we didn't so to hold on to the memory I am going to try and paint a picture of it here.
First a Quinceanera is a special celebration/ceremony that a young Hispanic (usually Catholic) girl has on her fifteenth birthday. It is sometimes called a "wedding to God." The reason is it is as costly and as elaborate as a wedding, but there is no groom. Instead, it is a day for a young lady to dedicate her life to God. The above scripture in Romans 12, is often titled a dedicated servant. This is the goal a mature Christian should aim for, and this is the goal Tyler wanted to tell her family and friends she was aiming for.
When my oldest niece turned fifteen she had a Quinceanera and after that day, Tyler had decided she was going to have one. If you know Tyler she never asks for anything. In fact, when she was little we would take her to the store and offer to buy her something, and she would always say no thank you. So, when her dad realized she seriously wanted this party, he decided since she was our first daughter, that he was going to do it right. Thank goodness we had a very blessed year the year she turned fifteen.
So, since I had no idea what a Quincenera was I started to research it and figure out how as a non-catholic we should do this. Thankfully, I found a lot of good websites. My favorite being http://mamaknowshow.blogspot.com/2009/04/christian-quinceanera-ceremony.html. We decided that we wanted to do this right and so we made up a purity class and assignments for Tyler to do with us. Then we told her she had to make a purity statement as part of the ceremony. Together, Tyler and I picked out the other ceremonies we would included in her celebration. She wanted all her friends and family to come, and it was to be a formal event. We asked my dad (a retired minister) to oversee the ceremony. We found a beautiful hall to hold the party in. We went shopping for the dress. We got jewelry. Every member of the family got formal clothes to wear. Tyler chose to have a court of fourteen total (six boys and eight girls). She chose her aunt, cousin, three best friends, and three sisters and for boys her uncle, cousin, two close friends, two brothers.
Grandma Lisa took on the huge task of decorating the hall.
Then Tyler decided she not only wanted to make a special statement of faith and purity, but she also wanted to sing a couple songs of praise to God. She worked hard to prepare to sing that day.
We decided on the rose ceremony, the Bible ceremony, the ring ceremony, and the friendship ceremony.
So, here is how that day went. It was a perfect day. Thanks to all the help we had.
We arrived at the hall and decorated and then it was time for everyone to get dressed. We got all the brothers and sisters dressed, and grandma Linton started to do hair.
Then Tyler got her gown on and grandma did her hair.
All her friends arrived and got ready, grandma even did some of their hair. Guests began to arrive and take their seats.
All the court took their special places up front.
Then Tyler's dad walked her in with the song "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLtHJ-grcEw playing.
Jeremy then welcomes everyone for coming and thanks them for celebrating Tyler's life with us. He explains that this special day is a day of Worship to God and dedication to him from Tyler.
Then my dad comes up and shares a special message reflecting on Tyler's life up until now, and reminding her that to serve God all the days of her life she will need to know His word. He then presents her with a Bible.
Then my mom, mother in law, and I each present Tyler with a white rose each at different stages of bloom to represent the stages of her spiritual growth. As a bud she only knew God as her creator, then as she began to bloom she began to know him as her savior, and know that she is blossoming she can know him as her everything , and give him her whole life. I cried, and my mother in law totally lost it. My mom gave a beautiful speech that I really wish I had recorded.
Next, Jeremy and I present Tyler with a ring as a reminder of how precious she is and that she should save the gift of herself for marriage. After this, Tyler sings and gives her speech. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h64opCwLZCw Her speech brought tears to us all. She shared how she knew God had her future in His hands and that she wanted to life a pure life in heart, mind, and body. She shard how she hoped to share Christ with the lost and hurting.
Then she presented her friends with each with a yellow rose and thanked them for being there for her.
Lastly, she finished the ceremony with another song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8w7mGug0c
Oh, I forgot the prays. Both her dad and my dad prayed for her. After the ceremony we had a delicious catered meal and cake. So many wonderful friends came out to celebrate with us that day and helped with preparing for it and cleaning it up.
I can never truly capture the beauty of Tyler that day, and the presence of the Lord with us all. I can say that on her wedding day I will be bringing a big box of tissue. I hope she sings that day too. As she sings I can't help but enter into worship God with her. But, I am happy to wait on her wedding day for many more years, and to celebrate as each of her younger siblings turn fifteen.