Single Jesus on Easter morning

Having recently moved and in transition, I have done a bit of church hopping. More like dragging than hopping, because I actually don’t like going to church on my own.  Who does? Going with a friend is much more enjoyable. It’s the sitting by myself and the awkwardness of going in and out the doors alone. Pure agony. I’d rather go a day without my morning and afternoon coffee. It’s THAT stretching for me. But every good little Christian and even the sinners go to church on Easter. Joking aside, it would be nice to go somewhere where I’m known. Being known takes time and patience, with probably a lot of painful awkwardness. And the painful awkwardness of social interaction exhausts the little introvert.

I’ve narrowed it to down to three  churches.

Church # 1:

I used to attend when I lived in the area years ago. It’s totally different (in a good way) now and most of those I really knew back then don’t live here now. But there’s an easter egg hunt after (tempting) where I can watch children race  around while I stand next to young parents I don’t know.  And free lunch. Hmm. Free lunch.

Church # 2:

I was invited to a korean, latino, (and white) service where there will be korean food (which I love) after. But in that church I really really don’t know anyone. Even more so than the first church. Except my mechanic and his wife. And mostly they just know that my car is a honda and that it needs a lot of tlc.

Church # 3:

I went to it a couple weeks ago and I did enjoy it. Except for sitting alone and all the social discomfort before and after the service. No free lunch there.

I’m thinking of narrowing it down to where there’s lunch.

Thinking about Jesus today, I realized something. He “gets” the singles.  He was one, after all. Knowing our desire to feel connected and part of the fam. I guess I knew this, but I saw another beautiful facet of his heart. The desire for relationship and family. What better time to share your heart with the ones you love than when you have been resurrected three days after experiencing a most traumatizing agonizing death? His words to his “boys” would capture all the affection his overflowing heart–bringing healing to their broken memories as they’d recall their best friend crucified.

Announcement, announcement, I have an announcement! Tell my brothers (family lingo) that I’m going back home to my dad, who also happens to be your dad. (Liz Brown paraphrase of John 17:20)

He didn’t even mention  the sacrifice that crushed sin and death. Yes, it happened and it happened big.  He skipped right to the good news– A. Family. Had. Been. Born. We were now fully reconnected to his father, and our father, his God and our God.  We are part of the tribe. We truly belong now.  This is what was finished. No more disconnection. No longer orphans. We have a home. The party was planned, and we were invited.

I’m convinced he had always longed for a family. Who knows if he ever desired marriage, but he sure needed connection. He ran with his twelve “brothers”- eating, laughing, burping (probably)– doing life together.  Not to mention his good friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (Free lunch.) He may have been single and God, but he was also single and man. He needed close friends and community too. Let’s not over spiritualize him and take away his humanity in doing so. He would never know family in the conventional sense of the word. Wife and kids. But he would fulfill the desire of his heart and ours to be a part of a family. The family of God.

God places the lonely in a family. (Psalm 68:6)

So single, married, and happy or grumpy about it. It doesn’t matter. We all are designed for family life. A place where there’s plenty of room, free lunch, good friends, and best of all a Father who loves us and an older brother who paid for the event.

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Matchmaking, edited photos, and the text that got me thinking…

It never fails.

And I’m not referring to “love” depicted in 1 Corinthians 13.

It never fails that if there is a single over 30, her friends will try to set her up. Especially her married friends. I have friends in several states that have their eyes peeled just in case there may be a single guy left they can tell me about.

Katy is recently married (over 30) and extremely vivacious, gorgeous, and can sell ice to an eskimo. This was a snippet of a text conversation between us today. (Katy initiates the conversation. I’m in blue.)

1.i have a setup

*I removed his name for the sake of privacy

2. strong christian

*Nathan is Katy’s husband.

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4.photowithhats

I’m sure you are shocked I could include a photo of myself that looks like this!

In this space here, she included a photo of him.5.whatdoyouthink?

She then went on to say he is game to come and meet me (he lives in another state) near where Katy lives and where I’ve already been planning to visit. 

 

6.comemeethim

Katy is a woman of action and enthusiasm–I shouldn’t have been surprised that she was arranging a rendezvous. 

Now, whether I meet up with him or not isn’t the point. Pictures say a thousand words and I hope he isn’t coming to meet the girl that’s edited (first photo) just to find that she can (gasp) look like the second photo! I adore Katy and trust her judgement, but who in the world can measure a man (or woman) by a photo. I had to laugh out loud when she asked what I thought of him. I had two photos to go on with “strong hilarious Christian” as the description.

Appearances (ie: seeing a photo and making a decision whether interested or not) can be deceiving. I could see a photo and instantly  find myself attracted. So could he. Then find out there was much more to the person that did or didn’t cause me to want to proceed.

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.

What is on the inside, the heart? The longer I live, the more  my “Mr. Darcy” changes. Attributes like kindness, humility and willingness to communicate and endure through trial–trustworthiness . Character traits that stand the test of time. These are beautiful. A man who loves Jesus wholeheartedly (and imperfectly)-nothing is more appealing. I think of many guys I’ve been interested in over the years. Few had these attributes, but didn’t lack in looks. (And the few that had the attributes went on to marry.)

I’m thankful and entertained that my friends are looking out for me and sending me crazy texts and emails alerting me that “they are still out there”. And I’m even more thankful that God has been showing me that what is unshaking and reliable are the qualities of the heart. These can never be airbrushed.

Last Single Standing

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Thank goodness it’s not true, but there are times I confess to moments of panic that I will be! I have a handful of girlfriends who are in their 30’s and 40’s still single and believing God for their husband. But the reality is that one of these days the circle will get smaller.

There can be a false sense of security in not being the “only one” left in the single’s club.  As long as I am not alone in my “condition”, I can bear the waiting a little more tolerably. Before you stone me for desperation or selfishness, know this. Any single over 30 has probably contemplated the same.  In all honesty, I want my friends to come into the promises of God, just as I want to as well. This includes the big M. Marriage. But vulnerability sneaks in when I begin to see promises fulfilled in a good friend’s life. What a joy to choose the celebration road with her instead of anger and envy produced from my own continual wait. (Keyword here is “choose”. Envy is easy. It takes courage and trust in God’s goodness to choose joy at another’s happiness.)

The fear of being alone in singleness has been real. Being a few years from 40, to have some friends in the same boat is very comforting. Supportive. We have fought the same battles—to trust God, to not settle, to allow the process to cultivate hope instead of cynicism and entitlement.

I heard it said recently that when someone enters into a promise that is similar to one you are believing for, let it produce faith for your own promise instead of discouragement that it hasn’t yet manifested in your own life.

So today as I’m particularly aware of my desire for companionship, someone to enjoy life with- I celebrate that the circle is getting smaller.  For one day others will have the same joy of celebrating my absence in the circle.

Am I not enough? Pandora’s box flung open

I am officially breaking my own rules about blogging.  “One per week, I promised myself.  More than that would be overload for readers.” So I thought of writing this today as a draft and releasing it soon. I just can’t do it. Some things cannot be placed on hold.

I have written some pretty vulnerable posts. This in my opinion surpasses them all. But I sense that I’m not just writing this to share my heart. This is for the hearts of many women I know. Ladies, you aren’t alone in this fight.

Liz Brown officially overreacted today. Something wasn’t said that I felt should be said in a conversation and my response was disproportionate to the issue at hand. For several hours I have been fuming and trying to get to the root beneath it all.

I am asking this question:

AM I ENOUGH?

Or maybe the better question is Am I NOT enough?

Sometimes circumstances in life just don’t add up.

So, the doubts pour into our hearts.  Here are some examples (some personal, some from those I know):

If I were enough, why is my husband an addict? (Addictions come in many forms.)

If I were enough, why did my dad not shower affection on me in my childhood years?

If I were enough, why do I have a hard time connecting with other ladies?

If I were enough, why did the father of my child decide not to marry me?

If I am really that amazing, how can I be 5 years away from 40 and still single?

If I had been enough, why did he tell me that he was coming to pursue me wholeheartedly– and then when some issues arose, he left?  Never giving an explanation.  Unable to fight for my heart.

If I were enough, how could he have had the affair?

What if my hair looks like photo when I was really going for: IMG_0234_2

My personal checklist to be the perfect woman goes something like this:

  1. Interesting
  2. Able to keep his attention
  3. Beautiful, but not plastic
  4. Humorous
  5. Always full of mercy and grace
  6. Able to know when to be quiet and when to speak
  7. Desirable above the other competition…for it seems he has many women he could choose
  8. Secure, for who wants to see any insecurity?  Don’t want to scare you away.

It’s endless.  And it is a deep arrow to the heart. I’m tired. I can’t do it anymore.

And I’m angry.  I’m angry for every friend I know who is SINGLE and AMAZING.  The men should be beating the doors down just for the chance to win her heart.  Unless, she’s not worth winning, right?  For this is the lie that comes with the lack of pursuit.

I used to ask the “am I not enough” question so that I would like myself.  Now I really really like who I am.  I’m comfortable with my massive head of fro hair.  Introverted, yet deeply relational to the core? Love it. Deep feeler who can at times seem unfeeling when I am passionate on a subject? Yep. I embrace that too.

I think the core of my anger comes from something deeper. Perhaps my spirit is groaning for the day where both the sons and daughters rise up. Where my brothers fight for their sisters’ hearts.  Where the sisters value their brothers and build them up. The day that my beautiful friends who I pray for all the time, finally are pursued and their hearts are won.  Not because a husband will give them value.  But because he will SEE the value that is already there.

So the truth is, ladies, that you ARE enough! If we don’t let that reality bring us into rest, we will be in bondage to the lie that there is something hopelessly flawed in us. Tragic. And simply untrue.

By the way, I feel 80% better after writing this. My hope is set on the King of Kings. I am His daughter.  He holds my heart with great value. Whether another ever sees my value enough to pursue, I am saying:

I AM ENOUGH.

(Ok, so I have to say this or I will probably panic. If there happens to be a guy or two who stumbles on this post—PUH-LEASE. I am not writing out my phone number.  This was not intended as a “hey, handsome…I am single and advertising.” ha ha….girl’s gotta cover her bases when she is authoring a blog called thesingleside!!!)

 

 

 

I wish you Love

I’ve been reminiscing of days past when Valentine’s day really was a pain.  In my heart.  This was a most inconvenient time to be reminded of flowers and chocolates, for someone else.

I can happily say that Valentine’s Day is no longer an empty abyss of self-pity.  It only took me about 15 years to arrive here.  Stay with me as I grab a few of the thoughts climbing around in my head and let’s see where this takes us.

Pressure!  I can’t imagine the pressure you men feel on this day.  You have this day to prove your undying perfect love to your significant other.  She must be the Princess.  The Diva.  She needs to be pampered, spoiled, and feel like Queen B today.  And–you had better be creative, not repeat last year or Valentine’s day is suddenly a day where you are in the dog house.  Bless your hearts.  It’s not even your girlfriend or your wife’s fault.  She has just gotten caught up in what all of the country is caught up in.  A day of having one’s love expectations met and fulfilled.

What is underneath all this is that we are designed for love.  Something in us knows that anything less than unconditional and extravagant love leaves us empty and aching.  Angry and grasping.  Hmm…what if we stopped and thought about our reactions when someone (especially on February 14) doesn’t meet with what we had hoped for? Is it that they were never intended to fill the bottomless pit we have?  Can it be that we look to humans to fill a sacred place inside?

The fact is, Valentine’s day can be lonely for many reasons.  It can be lonely for the single woman who is waiting to be pursued.  Or the single mom.  The widow.  The pubescent teen.  The kid termed “loner” at school.  It is more than candy sweethearts and roses.  This is about feeling on the inside or the outside of love.  Again, stepping back from the holiday itself—inside each and every one of us is a space created for love.  This space in us knows we are meant to be enjoyed.  Celebrated.  Extremely and even at times embarrassingly noticed.  Seen.  All year round.

Brown Family (I am the little girl in yellow)

And we are.  By the one who is love.  He doesn’t have love.  He IS love.  He fills the human heart with a love that is referred to as “living water”.  This love doesn’t disappoint or dry up.  It can be trusted for it has gone the distance even unto death.  All other loves pale in comparison.

Shall we take our eyes off of our own dilemmas today and let L-O-V-E fill our hearts?  And then allow the eyes of our hearts to see.  See the broken all around us.  Crying out for touch.  A hug. A smile. Someone just to notice and express kindness.  Is this day about what I can get from those who love me or can it become a day where we sprinkle kindness and be carriers of love?

For the single woman or man- I wish you courage to celebrate the happiness of others when they enter into marriage before you.  I wish you the ability to find contentment in your life and to see it as an adventure instead of the years you lived before you found “the one”.

For the married woman- I wish you the ability to recall and  remember what it is about your husband that made you fall in love.  I wish your heart the capacity to receive love from God and the perspective that your husband is human.

For the lonely teen–I wish you the strength to resist the counterfeits of love.  I wish that you will not have an identity crisis and be tempted to look to others to tell you who you are.  You are lovely.

Mom and Dad in their glory days

For the mom—I wish you moments where you can be pampered and attended to.  Your heart matters and what you pour into your children will be seen and fruit will be born.  I wish you relationships on the journey.

For the one who needs family— He places the lonely in families.  I wish you moms and dads.  Brothers and sisters. Heart friends.  And a warm welcome.

And for us all…I wish us a revelation of the unconditional fulfilling love of God. May it be poured out into our hearts. Over and over again.

Dueling Desires and why I believe in the Super Nanny

I am reposting this (along with all my previous posts from my previous blog-from 2013 and before).  The first time I published this post, it was misunderstood by some people who I love dearly and are excellent mothers.  So my disclaimer of all disclaimers is that any blog I write is never to attack a friend.  Nor is it to vent in a passive- aggressive manner so that friends and readers speculate and wonder if I am referring to them.  Every blog is written about things I am processing through or have thoughts on.  Yes, I’m writing as honestly as I know how to–attempting to completely own my own feelings and not wonder excessively if I will offend someone.  If I obsess, I promise you I will close my blog account.  What’s the point of a blog if you spend your whole time worrying about peoples’ responses?  So, if something I write seems insensitive, please–by all means feel what you feel.  But I hope you don’t internalize it and stay angry with me.  Chances are maybe it just “triggered” something in your own heart or experience with life.  I have found that if I step back and get to the root of what triggered me, then it’s really not the person that pushed my buttons that I need to focus on.  It’s that there might be an area that is wounded or vulnerable that needs to be addressed.  So….read on…and I’ll keep writing!

 

There’s a picture in my mind.  Dueling swordsmen.  Think Robin Hood or The Three Musketeers.  Only the two who are in conflict are my own dueling desires.

 

The desire for marriage and a family.  Versus the desire for freedom.  Ok, relax. Single hood isn’t freedom, marriage isn’t bondage.  I know that. Obviously if you are married, you’ve crossed over into what I refer to as the “unknown”.  You have more wisdom and grace than I do in this arena.  I see dimly.  My view of things is obviously single sided, pun intended.

 

I’m fascinated with my own dueling opinions and feelings toward marriage.  On one hand, I greatly desire and dream of my life mate, a best friend to share the journey with.  On the other, I’m so used to singleness and making choices that don’t involve another human being in my transient life that I wonder how easy it would be to lay down that ‘freedom’ to take on a different life altogether.  Where it’s not all about me anymore.  My direction.  My dreams.  My hopes.  My path. Where it’s about us now.  Don’t get super-spiritual on me.  Jesus is my husband and God is my Father so, no, it’s not ever really just about me.  But I’m speaking on the practical level of single life as opposed to married life.

I want kids of my own, but having lots of married friends I have witnessed many of the realities of parenting. Buckle up. We are going for a ride through the mind of your unmarried friend.  If you dare to keep reading through to the end, you may find an honest friend who is being real to the core.  Disclaimer:  the writer’s intent is not to attack or to find fault.  Do not read to put a “positive” or “negative” assessment on the writer’s words.  Read for the pure enjoyment of being invited into the writer’s journey.

 

I love kids.  I live for the quirky and even embarrassing situations they put us in.  I should know having nannied much of  the past 10 years.  Classic example and a cute little story to go along with this thought:

 

Nannying:  3 kids.  Driving them to the library for story hour.  On the way there, 6 year old Parker asks me why I’m not married.  So, I tell the kids that I’m waiting for God to bring me a husband.  I didn’t know his little mind was pondering that until…
We get to the library and he excitedly introduces me to his friend’s dad.  With all the innocence of a child, introductions begin:  “This is my nanny Liz.  (Head down and sad face).  She doesn’t have a husband.”

 

Little people are entertaining.  Precious.  You never know what will come forth from their brains purely for our enjoyment and entertainment.

 

That said, dueling opinion now approaches.  ON GUARD!  I’m relieved that at the end of the day I can hand them back over to the parents.  My mom friends say that once I have kids of my own I will feel differently.  Hmmm….. (deep breath as I tread into dangerous waters).  H-O-N-E-S-T-L-Y? Motherhood looks plain unappealing to me sometimes.  I write that not out of cynicism or suppressed desires to be a mother myself, but from many hours of childcare and child contact. Exhausted mothers. Frustrations etched into the parents’ faces because the kids are running around like “Where the wild things are”, without clear healthy boundaries. Husbands and wives having infrequent getaway times JUST FOR THEM.  Babysitters?  Who are they?  I have one friend who makes it top priority to have weekly date nights with her husband.  I know because when I lived with her and her family, she made sure to get in at least a few hours every weekend, with Super Nanny Liz to the rescue.  She also has interests and pursuits outside of her children where she employs her hubby to watch the wee ones or (novel thought), hires a babysitter.  She is my hero.

 

 I want to tell many of my beloved friends who are mothering, that they are allowed to make time for themselves. Nap times or rest times (even just an hour a day) is ok.  Mommy is allowed to have mommy time. Mommy NEEDS mommy time.  Mommy can get very ANGRY and impatient when she isn’t having Mommy time.  I feel very jealous over my friends’ hearts when I see that they suffer needlessly because they feel they aren’t allowed to have time away. Without little Johnny and little Jane.  I’m saying an hour.  Just an hour.  Money should never be an excuse, because we live in a day of “play dates” and moms can take turns watching each others’ kids.  Or, again, babysitting.  A lost art.  It’s too bad I can’t make a career out of watching all your kids.  You’re too spread out geographically=)  I would gladly watch your children so that you can have time away.  I recommended to a young mom recently that though finances are tight, there are creative ways to “pay” a sitter.  Pay with an experience.   A family trip where you include and bless your single sitter with time in a family environment.  How about having your sitter who may not enjoy cooking (uh hum…that would be me!) over for a meal?

 

I should be clear in stating that the parents are the guardians and protectors of their children.  This means, it is healthy and wise to monitor where your children are and who is going to be entrusted with their little hearts.

 

 On the flip side.

 

Not everyone knows a super nanny.  My friend Sue IS the super nanny, in my eyes.  She’s not British and she isn’t televised, but she should be teaching classes on childcare, parenting, loving well, and boundaries.  I wish she would.  I would sign up for the classes and recommend it to other parents.  But, since we don’t all have super nanny in our life does this mean parents don’t pursue things that will exclude the child in any way?  I sure hope not.  I am planning on regular times to get away with my own heart when I’m a mom.  “Just wait until YOU are a mom, Liz!  You’ll feel differently.”  Um…I don’t think that’s true.  I think I will want to have time to myself so that I have something to offer the little ones that I am nurturing.

 

I wholeheartedly and with great confidence can say that the moms I know who are pursuing the dreams of their heart may have more to offer their little ones because their own hearts are thriving.  I have seen this in action.

 

I believe in babysitters.  I believe in mother’s day out.  I am a believer.  Can I get a witness?

 

Not a criticism, just an observation:  why as a single woman do I have all these creative ideas for how to secure a babysitter when I don’t even NEED one? ha ha…

 

Growing up, my siblings and I loved having babysitters.  We would ask my parents to go out together so we could have the babysitter come.  Those are positive memories for me.  Playing outside. Making up games.  Races on piggy back. Even if my brother ended up busting his two front teeth out. Oops. But lighten up people!  Your kids are going to be ok.  They need the adventures that mom and dad can give them by opening up other avenues and experiences.  I felt secure when mom and dad would go out.  I didn’t feel abandoned and neglected. Quite the opposite.  I felt secure because they were taking time for each other and putting a value on their relationship.  When mom and dad are connecting, the children are more at rest

 

Here are the things that make me cringe when I think about what I may have to experience in order to be a mom. Making 3 meals a day FOREVER or at least until they are old enough to cook for themselves.  I don’t enjoy cooking.  I will do it because I have to.  And I guess if you love to eat you have to cook from time to time.  Whining, having to be with that same little person day in and day out, complaints, feeling like life is good if you have 10 minutes to yourself in the bathroom (until they come banging on the door).  Another thing. Why do children have a particular button that they rarely fail to push?  This button is called  “oh Mommy is on the phone now.  I was happy playing or watching veggie tales.  Now I’m not happy because Mommy isn’t giving me all her attention so I will fuss until she gives into me and has to get OFF the phone.”

 

Seriously, friends.  Do people ever think about these things before the babies begin coming and the life of parenting begins?  Am I strange to think about these things?  Maybe there’s bliss in not having too much info in advance. I wonder if every single woman past a certain age with lots of contact with kids has wrestled with this.  Numerous friends had their first “go”  with little people when they started having their own. My experience is different.

 

I confess I am most entertained with the surprising direction this blog has taken.  I think I may be getting to the meat, the core of why I wrestle with the idea of motherhood.  It’s because I don’t see enough babysitting going on! HA! So, I’ve run with a few different tangents, but maybe my real issue is not wanting to give up my identity and my dreams and desires in order to have family.  I want those things to feed my family.  I want my dreams to inspire my children to dream.  I don’t want to turn into a haggard and worn mother who loses herself.  This is a cost I don’t want to pay.. My heart is too valuable for that.

 

I have babysat some of your children.  I am  now taking your pledges to baby-sit mine.  (When the time comes). Make sure I have your current phone numbers and assurance that you will help make date nights possible for me. And please…give me comments that will encourage the half of me that would like to be a mom.  Let me know what’s really so great about it, besides early mornings.

Let’s just “settle” the issue, so we don’t end up “settling”

It’s a chilly autumn day, so good thing I have a cup of tea (with milk and sugar) and my fuzzy socks on.  I’ve wanted to take a day like this for awhile.  Just me, refills on hot drinks, alone with my heart, and time to write.

 

I usually don’t pick what I want to write about.  It picks me.  Something grabs my heart or I’m wrestling or pondering something.  Then I have to write about it to get any sort of relief.  HA! Right now it’s the issue of settling.  I find it’s directly linked to how we view God.  When I am nestled into his embrace and the issue of his goodness is a fixed thing, then I tend to be able to wait.  There’s grace to not make things happen how and when I want.  But, add a little disappointment, desires unmet, and COMPARISON with what others have (that’s a big one), well then “thanks, but God, I’ll do this better and FASTER than you can.”

 

Let me give you a bit of insight into my past 10 years to help you get a sense of where I’m coming from. I’ve moved a lot, been in many weddings (not to mention maid-of-honor 3 times), and seen most of my friends get married.  A few close friends remain  single, but as a whole most are married with children.  I’m ok with that.  I haven’t always been, and I’ve had my share of pity parties, cynicism, and jealousy.  That was before…
Before I began to understand the goodness of God.  He has allowed me many adventures and I’ve met the best of people and have been richly blessed.  AS A SINGLE WOMAN.  I find I’m full.  Whole.  Complete.  Yes, I want to be married, but I don’t have a romanticized view like Giselle did (Enchanted, the movie).

 

Why?  Because God has a sense of humor.  He has given me the opportunity to nanny for several families.  I have close friends that have little kiddos.  Just this year I lived with a friend and her husband and their FOUR CHILDREN.  And their little yappy dog, too! Oh yeah!  I tell you, it was non-stop laughs.  I love this family that opened their home to me, but I must say any bit of romanticism I may have had before living with a family, was definitely gone by the time I moved.  And they are a terrific, healthy, vibrant family.

 

I feel sometimes like I’m an under-cover agent for singles so God puts me in close proximity to others my age who are married with children =)  The learning curve has been fantastic and I’ve been so blessed to have all the experiences.

 

That is the background. Lots of chances to see the “behind the scenes” into family life.
I’ve talked extensively to my married girl-friends who have amazing husbands and I’ve heard the joys and the struggles.  Each has her really classic love story.  And….poopy diapers to change, car pooling, and sleepless nights.  Hee hee. Hey, just sharing the realities of marriage and kids.

 

The common thread for them has been that their spouses have put God first and he has continually been the center of their relationship. Hmmm….that’s worth giving a moment to.
Sadly, I know many more (especially women) who are hurting and lonely.  These are MARRIED women!!!!  I’d say this blows the myth of marriage removing loneliness.  Several women I know are more lonely NOW that they are married than when they lived the single life.  I find this to be the worst kind of tragedy.

 

Two friends that I know.  It’s a common scenario.  But true.  One is older (in her 40’s).  One is younger.  Both beautiful.  Love God.  Desire marriage.  My discovery that both are in serious relationships now is quite intriguing.  Perfect blogging material.

 

I love them both dearly.  I will not criticize but just want to share my heart.

 

The older friend.   I’m not wanting to over-emphasize her age; merely point out that it’s easy to put limits on possibilities because of any number of things.  When you are single, age is definitely a factor. So about this beautiful, stunning, hilarious, and very gifted friend… I have known her desire for marriage and longed with her to see a Godly man pursue her ; to see the treasure that I see.  I’ve seen her make hard choices, lonely ones at times.  She has chosen to do things God’s way.  This means she has surrendered her desire for marriage and chosen to follow her heavenly Father’s plan and not take matters into her own hands.  This path has taken her to foreign lands where she has been able to see the gifts of God in her released and strengthened.  I’m so proud of her. She has carried singleness with beauty and joy.  And vulnerability.  So when I heard her story in full last week I was overwhelmed by how when things are done God’s way, we can trust the best for our lives.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that had she decided she was missing out and taken things into her own hands, she probably wouldn’t be telling me about this amazing man who is now in full pursuit.

 

She knows the goodness of God, and THIS is what kept her from settling.  Her story strengthens the hope level in my own heart.

 

The other friend.  My heart is aching for her right now.  She is with a christian guy but she has admitted that God is not the central point for them. They are headed into a relationship with compromise, possible addictions, and a relationship built on romanticism –with very little substance.  I can’t help but wonder if she has this idea that all those “things” will just vanish, poof, after marriage.  I know from all those many many many talks with my married friends that problems before marriage don’t just go away after the “I do’s”. They intensify.

 

I’m probably speaking to women (there may be a guy out there reading, I don’t know!), but have you noticed we do this?  It can be marriage or anything else in life.  We aren’t fully convinced in the goodness of God.  We may not admit it, but we live like it. God is good and “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk with him”. Simple math, my friends.  When a longing in my heart is still looking for its promise, then it’s just not time.  But who is to say that tomorrow won’t be the day?  Or in the near future.  Nevertheless, the timing for God’s best is always fulfilled on his clock.  Sorry =)

 

The scary thing about making things happen according to our timing and our genius, is that sometimes we get what we thought we wanted.  Yikes.  Help us, Lord =)  Perhaps, the only safe place, then, from controlling our lives is to put them into our Father’s hands.

 

Or we will settle.  Every time.

 

I wish I could tell you….no…..look you in the eyes and convince you that God IS GOOD.

 

So, don’t be settling.  Don’t be rationalizing why you are eating crumbs under the table when you can smell the pot roast right above your head.  You are worth more than that.  You are a treasure.  You are the apple of your Daddy’s eye.  If you dare to LET GO (key words, here), then he can show himself trustworthy.  Crumbs? Pot roast? Crumbs? Pot roast?  Let the feasting begin!!!

30 (+) and single. (Why “thesingleside”?)

 
30 (+) and single.  My goal isn’t just to survive singlehood, but to embrace it.  I heard a speaker say, “If you do single well, you’ll do marriage brilliantly.”  Worth pondering, isn’t it? I think about that sometimes when I’m whining about the wait.  Embracing singlehood is not resigning myself to a life of solitude. Nor is it killing my heart—denying this God-given longing for marriage—and burying my dreams.  That’s merely denial masked as super-spirituality. The other extreme is to take the reins and do whatever satisfies for the moment (ahhh….the fleeting counterfeits) and follow my own way.So: kill my heart or dabble in dangerous territory? THESE are my options? Well, yes if you are looking to control things. For both of those options are two sides of the same coin.  “God, you are not cooperating with my time line or body clock (over 30 here, Lord!). So I must do something about that!”

 

(Long pause)…There IS another way.  But it is the path less traveled; to open my life to God who also happens to be a good Father—and the giver of every good and perfect gift.  Choosing trust instead of control.  His timing over mine.  I’m sure many of us have tried to “help” God speed things up only to find ourselves in a dilemma of our own making.  So we haven’t done things perfectly. No matter! The courage is in getting back up, and setting our heart once again…and again…and again… (perhaps with a bit more humility each time) to trust the lover of our souls.

Blogging. I confess to being slightly terrified; revealing my heart is risky. What motivates me is my desire for other singles to embrace life now and not wait until circumstances change. I write from “the single side” to offer encouragement, share thoughts, and to process my own “stuff.” I’m not strong. I don’t have things all figured out. I am not full of wisdom and answers.  God has met me in my weakness (in struggle) and comforted me.  I simply offer the same comfort I’ve received.

A close married friend recently emailed these words:  “ Allow your heart to soar and fly during this wonderful season of singlehood.   I encourage you to suck the life out of your single days.  They are numbered.”

Her words sparked excitement and strengthened my heart to take courage again, choosing to live all my single days with quality of life.

Jesus (a single man, don’t forget!) spoke these words (John 10:10):
“I came that (you) may have life, and have it to the full (in abundance).”

And I intend to.