Ok … it’s not really midnight but I’m not staying up that late to post this and I’m so tired it might as well be midnight. So there’s that.
I was thinking through my day and the last few weeks … and I was overwhelmed in a good way. It just dawned on me that when my heart is overwhelmed in good and bad ways I cry out to God to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I am“. So I went in search of that Psalm.
It’s Psalm 61 and the header for the Psalm in the NKJV is that it’s an Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection . Although this Psalm really speaks to moments when we are under attack and in need of rescue, I think it is also a beautiful reflection of resting in God’s goodness when He overwhelms you with His love.
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” Psalms 61:1-4 NKJV
Thank you, Lord, for always leading me to rock that is higher than I at the mere mention of Your name.
When I was a little girl, I had two baby dolls and they were named “Darlin’ and Sweet Darlin’”. They were my babies. If you asked me what I was going to be when I grew up I would have probably told you either a mama or a singer. Then on some days a mama singer! As I have shared before myplan was to get married by the age of 23, have my first child at 25 and be finished having babies (3-4, and I wouldn’t have put them on the ground face first … duh) by the time I hit my early 30s. Instead, I am single, 32, live in an apartment and have a dog! I am neither a mama nor a singer (at least not what I had envisioned).
Nothing, in my plan, panned out at all. Not even my college plans. My 20s included the death of many lifelong dreams and the birth of many new dreams. Dreams that I pray and believe are of the Lord and not strictly of my will. I still long for marriage but children are totally negotiable at this point in my life. I am pretty content with where the Lord has me and on the days that I am not it’s usually because I am too focused on someone else’s life.
However, I have realized there is a huge gap in our churches where singles are concerned and it’s something that I noticed years ago when I was in my early 20s. The Church, at large, doesn’t seem to know what to do once you are past the college and career age. I consider the college and career age to tap out at about 25. Everything the Southern Baptist Convention rolls out seems to be directed towards the college and young career group. Conferences and seminars are geared for this group, i.e. Passion.
I guess no one really accounted for the fact that more adults would be holding off on getting married whether it’s due to careers, finances, commitment issues or lack of dating options. So there’s a large group of people who are being overlooked within the Church.
Even with the churches that seem to have an active singles ministry, if you get to the core of that group it’s spiritually dry. You either have a singles social club or a literal small group of Christians committed to growing in Christ. Women are threatened by the possibility of a new woman coming into the class when there are only a few guys in the class so they often talk negatively about the class to newcomers or just don’t invite anyone. Or you get the singles that are strictly there to find someone to date and end up working their way through the entire group.
I don’t know if this will fix the issue but here are few ideas I have:
Stop giving everything a name. There was a time when every youth group and program had a name which carried over to the singles Sunday school classes. I have heard of PowerHouse, The Bridge, The Pathway, The Crossing, Crossroads, The Road, Landslide (JK), Landfill (JK), The Headstone (JK … but I’m guessing that would be a senior single adult class). We aren’t kids. Just divide by ages – names not required. J
Once a month by rotating, each church in the area could share the responsibility with hosting a city-wide Singles Worship service by putting ego and competition aside … this would be something that is not catered to the college demographic but rather speaks to career-minded singles in their late 20s, 30s and 40s+ with solid preaching that also gives everyone an opportunity to meet other singles in the area. And please … no lame ice breakers. In fact, just avoid games altogether.
Stop promoting marriage as the end all be all in the church. Yes, the majority of us do want to be married but for one reason or another (or in some cases, multiple reasons) we are not married yet. However, we have married friends and we know it’s not the ticket to paradise, endless bliss or total wholeness. We see the broken marriages. Some of us are a product of them. Some of us are called to be single. Singleness isn’t a disease and it won’t rub off on you if you are around us for too long. We are vital to the Church and not just to fill the roles parents are too tired to fill. J
In the same vein … stop acting like singleness is a gift when you know you didn’t see it that way when you were single. Yes, we have “tons of time” to ourselves to do “whatever we want” … but that is a lot of time that we are by ourselves. It can be lonely. And there will be someone who will comment that “it’s better to be alone and on your own than alone in a marriage”. To that I say … loneliness is still loneliness whether there is a ring on the finger or not. Please do not downplay one person’s pain because of their marital status. We have all been called to this stage of life that we are in for a purpose.
It’s not Singleness<Marriage or Singleness>Marriage … it’s Singleness = Marriage.
Teach on Biblical Manhood/Womanhood for Singles … I fully support the Church’s fight to save and support the marriages within her walls but there needs to be teaching on what it looks like to be in your 30s and 40s living a pure lifestyle. It’s more thannot having sex before marriage. It’s more thannot watching/looking at porn. I have been shocked by how many singles I know who view drunkenness, murder and abortion as sin but see nothing wrong with premarital sex or living with their mate outside of marriage. Hello? Have we ripped out 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 from our Bibles? Somewhere the wires were crossed in our youth group meetings that we missed the truths on what it means to truly live for the Lord. It’s not about “missing out” or being restricted by a set of rules but rather experiencing life abundantly the way God ordained it!
These are just some thoughts that have been running through my mind (the only part of me that actively receives exercise but that’s another story) over the last few weeks as I feel like I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole within the Church. I don’t want to read another book geared towards singles on “How Not be Bitter that You Aren’t Married Yet”, “How to Stop Looking So They’ll Come” (The Field of Dreams version of singleness turning into marriage. The Hallmark Channel is fighting Netflix for the movie rights on this!), “How to be Content in My Waiting” or “How to be Better at Waiting When all You Do Is Wait” … I want to read a book about what it means to be the woman that God created me to be, right now, in the place that I am in … without having to skip over the chapters of praying for my husband and/or children that do not and may never exist. Someone write to me!
Someone write about how true beauty and allure is found in the one who lives a life of sincere praise …
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate.” Psalm 145:1 AMP
But until someone does write a book Biblical Manhood and Womanhood for Singles in today’s culture may I humbly suggest we turn to Colossians 3:12-17 for reference and put into practice what Paul writes?
“Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].
Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.
And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17
I am committed to doing my part in making a difference in the lives of other singles … will you join me in praying that the Lord will show me what that part is and that I will be obedient to follow through with it? And if you are a pastor of a church and any of these ideas have sparked your curiosity then I would love to talk to you!
In honor of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday today, I am sharing the prayer/poem that his wife Ruth Bell Graham wrote in her teens about the man she hoped to marry someday.
The Man I Prayed For Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid (as we’re inclined to do), I do not need a handsome man but let him be like You; I do not need one big and strong nor yet so very tall, nor need he be some genius, or wealthy, Lord, at all; but let his head be high, dear God, and let his eye be clear, his shoulders straight, whate’er his state, whate’er his earthly sphere; and let his face have character, a ruggedness of soul, and let his whole life show, dear God, a singleness of goal; then when he comes (as he will come) with quiet eyes aglow, I’ll understand that he’s the man I prayed for long ago.
By Ruth Bell
A few years ago, I adopted this as my prayer too. I have it printed out and framed in my living room as a reminder to myself to continue to pray for him, my future husband, as well as the empty picture frame that sits by my bed. I posted a picture of one of my many copies that I have of it in 2011 … 5 years ago … but I still stand by what I stated then. 🙂 I would like to say that I pray for him all the time but I don’t instead I bemoan the fact that he isn’t here.
Well, last night I had two very vivid dreams. The first I ended up in a “school musical” and for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was now, however, I was a last minute addition. Let me just tell you that I have never been in a school musical theater production. As much as I loved singing, the thought of getting on stage and acting in front of people mortified me. So here I am, in my dream, thrown on stage in a school production at the last minute but it was the backstage conversation that has stayed with me all day long. I ran into a friend who was deep in grief and admitted that they had been using musical theater (of all things) to fill the void of their lost loved one yet they were still empty. I found myself empathizing with them and admitting there have been many times that I have used various things to fill the loneliness in my life that is only meant to be filled by the Lord.
Instead of seeking solace in Him, I look to things to satisfy that only work for a brief time when what I am searching for is something more fulfilling. I’ll be honest … I use food to fill that void 9 times out of 10. I’m not a glutton but if I am lonely, bored or sad then I’ll eat something. For others, it may be shopping, alcohol, relationships, your children, drugs, social media, or TV. We all have various things that, in and of themselves may not necessarily be bad or they absolutely are, we allow to fill the needs in our lives versus the Lord. And let’s just be honest, when we turn to other things than seeking the Lord first it’s ultimately a form of disobedience because we are in essence making other things our gods.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49
We will never be satisfied with the things of this world or with the things that are of the Lord if the Lord is not first. It’s that simple. What kind of foundation do you want to build your life upon? Are you, like me, replacing the Lord with something? Seeking comfort in something other than Him and His word? He’s ready and waiting for us to return to our right fellowship with Him. We just have to take that first step.
In my second dream, I was sitting in a house high above a city with a large picture window. There were several others in the home with me when I looked outside and could see planes falling from the sky along with other catastrophic events happening. It was apparent that the Rapture was occurring. It was actually happening in stages. You know in movies when you see a wave of implosion slowly overtaking a city? That is what was happening in my dream but it wasn’t a scary situation. Those in the house were worried because we weren’t “taken” yet but I had this peace that it was coming and we needed to get ready. And that’s what I believe this dream was about … the Lord is coming back … it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are regarding the end times. He’s coming. He told us He is.
“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory.So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree.When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near.In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place.Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware,like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:25-36
Are you ready? Do you have everything in order in your house? Because He is coming. Now more than ever it is time to be about the Father’s business and share the hope we have in Christ with others.
So today … the day before the election … the day of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday … I am thankful for the Godly example of marriage he and Mrs. Ruth set for us. I am thankful for the hope of Salvation that he faithfully preached to the nations over his lifetime. And I am thankful for the hope and assurance that Christ is coming again.
Ha … that’s a little formal sounding coming from me but I did something different this time and decided to write to you, my dear husband, on my blog versus in the journal that has been set aside for your eyes only. (And I am saving my special term of endearment for you alone, hence the formality.) I am sure for those who are seeing this right now they may be greatly confused as they are 100% sure that I am still single and it is true, I am.
As far as I know, we have yet to meet or if we have, I am not aware that it’s you and I am assuming you are not aware of this either. But I write to you every once in a while like I have been since I was 18 because I believe that someday we will meet and there have been some key moments in my life that I have wanted to share with you. Moments when I thought, “I wish I had someone in my life to experience this with,” but for some reason, I wasn’t dating anyone so I wrote to you. I believe the Lord has saved my heart so that only you and He could have my entire heart.
I do not have high expectations of what our life together will be like. You do not reach 32 without seeing some of your friends and family experience deep heartache and heartbreak within their marriages to know that this isn’t the stuff of fairy tales. However, it is something hard, holy and totally worth it with Christ at the center of the relationship. I want to put the work into that kind of relationship, into that kind of a partnership … the kind that makes a difference for the Kingdom of God. Not a relationship that seeks to gratify self over others. I believe we are capable of this because we both know it is only by the grace of God that we have found each other and it is only through the grace of God that we can support each other throughout our marriage.
This is what I am waiting on. And while at 32 years of age, I am closer to 35 and 40 than I am to 25 or 20 I believe you are still worth the wait. In a few months, I will be 33 years of age and since Jesus laid down His life at that point, I figure this would be a good age for me to get married and lay down my life as well. So if you would like to come along say … today … then that’s fine with me too. 🙂 But if we are called to wait further still then we will wait.
However, in the meantime let me catch you up on our life, we have a niece due any day now and I am beyond excited for the moment that I get to hold her in my arms and sing “Jesus Loves Me” to her. We, also, have another niece or nephew due in May! Brantley is going to be a big brother. He is going to be amazing at it. Needless to say, come this Summer I will be wearing out the interstate between here and West TN to see our 3rd little one. It will be a blessing to have the 2nd one so close. I love being a “DeeDee.” These past 5 years with just Brantley have been the most amazing years of my life. The protective love I have for that boy and knowing that I am just his aunt leaves me in awe at times. Speaking of Brantley … he’s been wondering where you are. 🙂 I hope you can throw a football as that is very important to both him and me. Tennessee football has been a roller coaster as usual but we still love our VOLS.
I am still working with the four and five-year-olds’ Sunday School class at my church’s new campus in West Hills (a community in Knoxville) and they leave me laughing every week. Oh, the things they say!
I am not singing in church like I used to as that is not how the Lord is seeing fit to use me but I still sing in the car and in the house … all the time. And you can probably count on at least one concert in the car on any given road trip. 🙂 Should the Lord decide to open that door again then I will gladly sing His praises from any pulpit but I am content with singing His praises from the pews and anywhere else I am led to break into song … just song … no dancing. Be glad for that!
I think Knightley has finally stopped growing. He even tries to play matchmaker and does the 101 Dalmation wrap up with guys whenever he can. It can get slightly awkward!
Even though the election has our nation in what feels like an upheaval, I have such a much-needed peace today that the Lord is in control.
I always feel His presence when I am writing to you and I have since I was 18. I need to trust Him with you more. I need to leave the who, what, when, where and how of “us” with Him and rest in the fact that He is in control.
For one final note … here is my costume for “Halloween” that I wore to work yesterday. I was a “Fisher of Men” instead of a fisherman. This is what I posted on Facebook …
“What can I say?! I take my calling in life as a single woman to be a fisher of men VERY seriously. The key is that you pick the right spot, you have the right bait and are prepared to wait. You have to be knowledgeable about which ones are just teasing the line and which ones are serious about the hook. Use your energy on that one. The bad ones, the young ones and the really old ones will be thrown back. And like all true fishermen, I’m still waiting on that “one” big catch of a lifetime.“
Hahaha. So just know that until we do meet, I am going to keep having fun making jokes about being single as it helps set people at ease. Besides, I have no desire to be that single woman who cannot find joy in being single. At least I get the entire bed and control of the TV to myself … who couldn’t find joy in that?
I am thankful for this time as I learn what it means to seek the Lord on your behalf. I am thankful for you and the hope of you. Most of all I am thankful to the Lord who is faithful to sustain me.
Just know that you are never far from my mind and always in my heart.
Until we meet,
**It has been a privilege to link up with Kelly’s Korner today. May all the other singles out there be blessed, be reassured that you are not alone in this season and find contentment in every season of your life. Blessings … from Knoxville, TN**
I knew something was coming as I could sense I would be sharing this story for several weeks now but I couldn’t imagine how I would be telling it nor how I was to be this open with everyone, therefore, I chose to keep my mouth shut and not write until He told me to …
…Here we are …
For the first time in over a week, I am lying in my bed and not watching an episode of Downton Abbey. The reason for this is that I have completely started and finished the series in a week’s time. What can I say?Go big or go home! Now for those who are not familiar with Downton Abbey, I should share that there were only 5 seasons and 9 episodes per season. Each episode lasted 45 minutes to an hour, give or take a 2 hour Christmas special. Kudos to those who actually watched the show while it was in production … I would have been so frustrated with only 9 episodes per season.
This show literally had me feeling “all the feels” … anger, joy, disappointment, heartbreak … all of it. I did not cry in some of those episodes that most have cried in but I could have. This is why I am accused of being heartless. Ha! There was very little language and I truly mean very little. They did touch on immoral issues but unlike today’s television show’s they were not issues to be celebrated but things to overcome. They showed how everyone, no matter their background, should be treated with love and respect. I will be watching this show again and again for years to come. It was not anything that I had expected and I am so glad.
I have never been one to become emotionally invested in a TV show. I like television but it’s entertainment. What I did not expect was to see myself in the three daughters of Downton Abbey. And lest you think I have visions of grandeur for myself, I do not. It was their faults and/or weaknesses that I seemed to resonate with the most. While I do not want to give away too much of the show to those who have not watched it I am about to become more specific with a few details.
I saw myself in Lady Mary’s coolness in her attempt to mask her feelings and her frequent regret over her sharp tongue. The sharp tongue is something I have worked hard, by the grace of God, to overcome over the course of my roaring 20s. In Lady Sybil, I see the war between doing what is right and wanting to rebel at the same time. Thankfully, she finds the right balance of being able to honor her family and stick to her convictions as well. For me, that was growing up in the ministry but still being my own person (i.e. not allowing everyone’s opinions on how I should dress, color my hair or when I wanted a break from singing in the choir determine my decisions). Finally, there is Lady Edith. Oh, Lady Edith. Lady Edith really struck a nerve with me. While I could not identify with her issues in seasons 3 and 4, I saw myself in her in seasons 1 and 2. I have never been more annoyed! I saw her chasing after a man and not taking the hint to leave him alone … it was all I could do to not groan out loud in frustration.
I spent 10 years of my life basically in love with a man who did not love me back … at least he wasn’t in love with me. We were friends. I still remember the first day I met him. I have movie reel in my mind that I can pull up at any moment and play through various memories of those first conversations. His smile. His laugh. His look in those first few years. Those first years when it seemed that something might form from our innocent friendship. Moments when there was flirtation coming from him. Then something would happen and I’d watch him shut down. So I would chink away at the wall he had put up again.
I had looked for the “signs” as all good Baptists do. You know the ones I am talking about … things that the world would call coincidence but believers know are of God and had found them. I could even find biblical significance in the number of years that we had been friends and so forth. I was that desperate for this to work. He was everything I had imagined for myself, except for a few things. He was “the one”. I knew it. Others seemed to know it. He just didn’t know it.
I dated some in between but my heart always his. I was finally challenged by a friend to ask the Lord for him. So I did. I got down on my face and asked the Lord. I called it my “bold request”. It took a few months but it became clear one night that I would never mean to him what he meant to me. He was never rude and it wasn’t anything he said or did. In fact, it was what he didn’t say and he didn’t do that told me everything I needed to know I remember leaving the dinner that night absolutely crushed.
We are still friends to this day but it is one of the many reasons why I do not have close guy friends anymore. The water can become too murky. Invariably one will end up wanting something more. My best girlfriends are the ones allowed into my soul and they, in turn, now help me to “hide my crazy” when it comes to men. I am sure he had to of known because I was as subtle as Lady Edith was or a bull in a china shop but he was always so kind to me. It is for that reason and so many more that he will always mean the world to me but he no longer has my heart. He hasn’t had it for some time. I just couldn’t see it or simply refused to see it, because, like with so many other things, it feels like another death of a dream. But, instead, I am thankful for the things the Lord taught me through those 10 years of being “in love” with him and for the things my friend taught me as it only increased my faith.
It is funny how a television show was able to help me finally bring that chapter of my life to a close but it has. So here’s to moving on … not necessarily to bigger and better because this isn’t a negative thing or bitter situation but simply in a manner more surrendered and less spastic! I’m looking forward to the days and years ahead because of this promise that I have from the Lord … a promise that doesn’t require a sign because I can enter His presence with just the whisper of His precious name.
A week ago Friday I received an email from Christian Mingle, letting me know that my profile update had been approved. I thought that was funny as I hadn’t submitted any changes to my profile. I figured that was their attempt at getting me back on the site as I had been pretty MIA that week while preparing for my sister’s baby shower. I logged on and saw that they were asking me to update my job title again which I was pretty sure I already had on there. Anyway, I submitted the information “academic support assistant” and moved on with my day. A few hours later I received another email letting me know my picture had been approved. I was like, “what?” I log on and find this looking back at me …
Yea, if only I had that jaw line. I quickly emailed customer support with the line “My account has been hacked.” I was with my mom grabbing a few grocery items for the shower at Walmart and quickly thinking of things to do when I decided to shut my account down. I didn’t want whoever this chick was to misrepresent me to guys or to offer things I would not be willing to do. I was so ticked off that this had happened. A friend that I met via CM emailed me through his personal email later that night to show me what was appearing on the website from me …
It took 4 days for my account to be turned back over to me. I had to prove through various ways that I was the true account holder. I had to read the email where they talk to you like you are a kindergartner and remind you to not give your account information to anyone. “Thank you. I didn’t.” I have no idea how this chick gained access to my account. After creating an entirely new email address, changing multiple passwords and signing over the rights to my firstborn child (which the joke is on them as I do not plan to have children) my account is back in my hands.
After thoroughly checking my profile for any deviant changes, I am ready to shut it down. My 6-month promotional period is almost up and it’s just not worth it to me to keep paying for this. Please know, I am not sharing from a place of discouragement or anything like that. I am genuinely glad I put myself out there on this site and I know that there are others that I can try but I am just not feeling it right now. I guess I am weird because I don’t want a guy who is only going to look at my profile every day but never take the step to communicate with me or when I take the step to say hi then I am ignored. Where are the men with gumption? Men who will at least meet you halfway on this.
I’m not interested in continuing to pay so I can find email buddies. I’ve been “one of the guys” my whole life. I love my guy friends but eventually that all has to change, as it should, when they start getting married so I’m not looking to add to that area of my life.
I still have a hope that there is a man out there that loves the Lord with his whole heart, is seeking to figure out what it means to live for Him on a daily basis, knows what it means to make mistakes and learn from them, desires to love and be loved by someone. Maybe that is asking too much. I don’t know. I am honestly not looking for anything that I am not willing to strive to be myself.
I am thankful for the experience I have had with Christian Mingle over the last 5 months as I have learned a great deal about myself and about others. I have seen some really ugly insecurities surface in me but have been able to bring them to the Lord and face them. I have had my convictions tested but have been able to stand firm on them. I have been able to hone in even more on what I am looking for in a mate vs. what I am not.
Thank you for walking with me on this CM journey. I’m ready for a break from it and should I decided to try online dating again it will definitely be with another site. But for now, I am not looking. I am going to enjoy Fall in East TN and prepare for the upcoming arrival of my baby niece.
Happy Fall Y’all!!
I love you all.
**DISCLAIMER** It appears the profile picture that the hacker added to my account was stolen as well. So the lovely woman in this picture is more than likely not even aware that her image has been used on a dating site!
This is one of my most favorite statements to proclaim when things are not going my way, seem to be spiraling out of control or my presupposed plan has to be completely altered. Itsimplyis what it is. You’ve just got to roll with the punches and go with the flow. I’ve never been a control freak but instead I am one who can typically see the bigger picture and better understands why something will or will not work. However, I do not have to have my own way and never demand it. I do like some sense of order in my life, even though you could never tell it by the chaos that is my house (but I have a theory about this which involves better organization, less stuff and having a second bedroom someday but I digress …), so if someone moves something on my desk at work it will be moved back to the correct spot. That is about the extent of the organization in my life … if I make set plans with friends then I stick to them but other than that whatever I plan for myself can change at a moment’s notice. I use a handwritten calendar to keep up with my life vs. a digital calendar because I like to write and because I remember things better that way. It has also allowed my creative side to really come forward. But again, I digress.
This past week has been one of the most stress-filled weeks of my life. It was glorious. (Please read that dripping in sarcasm.) Instead of turning to the Word of God for comfort and focus, I just plowed ahead and allowed the busyness of all that was before me to overwhelm me. I did not manage my time well … shocker … and due to that fact, an event I hosted suffered. While to those on the outside it may have seemed quite lovely, I will always know in my heart what it could have been and what it wasn’t because of improper planning on my part.
This past weekend I have mourned my unrealized expectations as well as looked my pride and my false sense of perfection in the face. I have been humbled by all three. I struggle to ask for help when I truly need it. I am still like that stubborn toddler that insists she can put her right shoe on her left foot. I don’t want toneed help. I want to be capable of doing this all by myself. And I am not. It is what it is.
As I took a few minutes this morning to catch up on the reading I missed from last week I read these verses …
“Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.” Psalm 16:5
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. … ‘Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’ The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude“ Psalm 46:1, 10-11
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2
Thank you for going before me this past week ready to meet me where I needed it the most with your Word. Please forgive me for relying on my own feeble strength and not turning to you when I needed you the most. Thank you for your faithfulness and patience with me, your stubborn one. Thank you for being gracious enough to still redeem the time this weekend by allowing us to enter into your presence Friday night as we prayed over my sweet sister and precious niece. Please continue to go before us in the days ahead. Thank you for loving me just as I am but not allowing me to stay this way.
“Trust the process. God hasn’t brought you this far to suck the wind out of your sails.” These were the words I tapped out in a quick reply text to a friend a few weeks ago as she begged me for prayers over a situation that she was guaranteed wouldn’t be a problem. I wasn’t just offering a flippant response but a sincere suggestion as a result of God’s faithfulness I had seen on display in her family’s life over the years that I had known her. While we do not a serve a name it and claim it God, He has been faithful to provide for their needs where He has guided their family to walk so I knew He would not fail them now. I knew she could trust the process. This whirlwind process that the Lord has asked her family to walk but with other believers at their side, praying with them and for them.
Trust the process. Those words have echoed in the darkest places of my soul the last few weeks especially when I am tempted to feel alone, insecure or scared. Trust the process.
Trust the process. When I desperately desire a community with people my own age but I have been called to teach a preschool Sunday School class. Trust the process.
Trust the process. When the doctors are giving you a diagnosis you do not want to hear.Trust the process.
Trust the process. When it’s easy to see how He is working in other people’s lives yet you are blind to His work in your life. Trust the process.
Trust the process. When you are living a story you would have never written for yourself. Trust the process.
Trust the process. When He says “go” but everything within you says, “Now, but how? I’m not sure I’m ready. Are you sure, Lord?” Trust the process.
Trust the process. When I feel isolated by the standards and convictions the Lord has called me to in the online dating world and even in just the daily interactions with my neighbors. Trust the process.
Maybe just maybe trust the process is another way of saying have faith.
And when all else fails … cling to Deuteronomy 31: 8 “
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you, he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I pretty much have come to the conclusion that I am screwed up. Ha! Well, I mean we all are in some way or another but having never really dated I don’t know how to relax and just enjoy the process. I question everything I say and do and figure it’s probably the wrong thing anyway. I want to blame it on growing up in the ministry but I don’t think I can because my brother and sister don’t seem to be like this. Or perhaps they chose to not let that part of the pressure of growing up in the ministry get to them. The part where everything you say and do is reflected back on your father and that spoken/unspoken fear of somehow if you do something wrong it could get your dad fired. I mean, seriously? I could write a whole other blog about what kind of church would put that kind of pressure on a pastor’s family or who has that much of a power trip to hold that kind of expectation over a kid. However, some of those fears were self-inflicted and I fully recognize that as it seems to be my own issue and I am so tired of living like this. It is suffocating. I want to be likable. I want to be enough. And in my eyes, I am neither. Ugh … that is so gross. LOL.
Over the past two weeks I have struggled with being able to sleep while part of me wonders if it is “the change” … reality says I’m too young for that. Although, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if menopause was causing my sudden bout of insomnia. Ha. However, in those sleepless moments all throughout the night I grab my phone to see if I have a notification on the Christian Mingle App letting me know I have received an email or if my profile has been viewed. When it hasn’t, I’ll disappointingly roll over and attempt to go back to sleep.
I have had the opportunity to spend some time in the presence of several lovely teenage young women. As I have listened to them talk about their lives and experiences I have not envied where they are but thought how grateful I am that I am past that point in my life. But am I? Am I past that point of comparing myself to others, trying to find worth in someone else’s eyes, hoping that the right filter on a selfie will make me feel pretty? No, I am not. And this insecurity has stared me in the face the last few days.
It is not lost on me that all this past week the Lord has been leading me to verses about finding shelter in Him during my daily quiet time. Well … apparently and obviously, I am a slow learner … but I am running to His arms to find shelter. So if you can’t find me in the next few days, just look somewhere around the feet of Jesus and you’ll find me in the fetal position clinging to the hem of His garment and taking a break from Christian Mingle. 🙂
Don’t misunderstand me, I am still on Christian Mingle but over the weekend I did turn my profile off. For this week, I am not actively searching on there. I am going to take a break from the search. It has been a wonderful experience of getting out of my comfort zone and just talking with guys from all walks of life. It’s not that I don’t know how to have a conversation I do. I am just working to not second guess myself. I am working on just relaxing and being me.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your Word.” Psalm 119:14
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21
Being online hasn’t been easy. It’s raw and it’s vulnerable … at least for me it is. But in the end if all that has come out of it is that I am seeing myself through His eyes then it will be worth it all.
So this past week on the Mingle, I kindly said “thanks, but no thanks” to a guy who kept making it quite clear that the distance between us just wasn’t going to work and that if anyone was going to be making trips to visit the other person it would be me. See, he kept bringing up the fact, on his own, that he absolutely could not relocate because of his child which I totally respected until I found out that I lived an hour closer to his child than he does and I am 4.5 hours away. So call me mean if you want but I just can’t get behind being the one asked to make all the sacrifices when he won’t make the sacrifice of living closer to his son (and he made it clear he just doesn’t want to move). I am all for making a major move for someone who lives in the same city as their child but beyond that then there has got to be some give and take.
I also had a guy the week before messaging me answers to another girl’s questions. Now grant it, he had just been released from the hospital for what I believe was a medical and not a mental issue. J So he may have still be under the influence of some good medication. Anyway, he was so embarrassed when he realized what he had done that he blocked me. It saved me the effort of having to say “thanks, but no thanks!”
There are a few others, who seem to be normal, that have just started messaging me and
thankfully, they know of a definitive time in their life with they came to know Christ. Y’all … I would now say that 9 out of 10 guys mark on their profile that they have been a Christian their entire life. This is not possible. We were not born Christians. We were born sinners. And it is not possible to be raised to be a Christian. You can be raised a Baptist, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, etc … but you have to choose to follow Christ. Our parents cannot choose it for us. Period. Did you see where it says in verse 9 if you confess with your mouth and then again in verse 10 with the mouth one confesses? I don’t know about you but I understand to mean that at some point in every person’s life we have to face the fact that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. There is no other way around it. I am so burdened for these men. Head knowledge will not save you. Only a heart relationship with Jesus Christ provided through His redeeming work on the cross will.
I just updated my profile to include most of this paragraph as well as the verses commonly known as “The Romans Road” … perhaps it will cause some to think. At the very least I may receive some hateful messages about being judgmental but hey, I grew up in the ministry … I have thick skin. 🙂
Who knows … maybe I am on here to encourage others through this process but I am paid up through October and after that I doubt I will renew it. There are better things to spend my money on than weeding through every 6 out 10 guys’ stating that they are looking for a Proverbs 31 woman. I often tell them I’m looking for her too. J I’ve met many women who emulate many characteristics of her but I have yet to meet one woman who completely embodies everything about her …
So yea, one thing I am learning is that I am perfectly ok with my imperfect self that is seeking to grow more in the Lord, learn more about me and continue to find joy on the journey through this process.