Missing a Romantic Bone

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, talk of love is everywhere.  And it is interesting because this is the love I don’t connect with.  Truthfully, it is a love I have no interest in (or expectation of) connecting with.   The type of love that I connect with is compassion (which isn’t to say you couldn’t connect to both, I just don’t).  

I have never been a romantic.  (I still remember having a conversation with my mom as a little where I explained I was going to pick my husband in order to fight racism because social justice has always been my God given mission.)

My romantic bone is all but nonexistent.  But, my deep love of and compassion for humanity bone is oversized and takes the place of both.

I believe we are called to soar, to excel.  But we can’t excel or soar at everything.  I believe I can do anything (with some obvious exceptions), but not everything.   I want to go deeply into everything I do, which means I choose those things very carefully because I am incapable of staying at the surface level.  

I realized in high school, as I looked around at other families in the stands, as I looked around to the other couples in my extended family.  That was not me and never would be.  Love in its best sense is 2 becoming 1.  I didn’t want that, I don’t want that, I don’t think I ever will want that.  I’m too stubborn.  It’s not that I can’t  compromise or share, but that I don’t want to.

You can’t have everything and achieve everything.  That was the thing I was willing to give up.  I didn’t/don’t want to to shift priorities.  I don’t want to shift/share responsibilities.  I want it to be me and God.  Just us everyday, all day.  

I am by no means advocating this approach for others or saying that marriage is bad or compromising.  I’m just glad God showed me so clearly that it wasn’t His plan for me and blessed me with, not just acceptance, but no desire for something different.
I know Valentine’s Day can be wonderful for some women (and men) and painful for others, but, just remember, you are loved beyond belief by the One who knows you beyond belief.  

  • S
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And From Then On, Everything Started to Change

It seems like most Christians I admire had a moment like this.  For those who came to know Christ as teens or adults, often that is this moment.  For people like me who accepted Christ as their savior as children, it seems like there is often a separate event or time of life that led to their spiritual awakening (for lack of a better term).

I think it’s safe to say that for Jessi it was when she was pregnant with Nici.  Motherhood was the event that changed everything.  For me, it was my mental break, diagnoses, and rebuilding (which I describe in My Darkness).    For some, receiving mental health diagnoses may be deflating; for me, it was empowering.

It was validation that God made me different.  He made me the way I was for a specific reason.  There was no reason to try to justify myself to others, make excuses about myself, or change to meet others’ hopes or expectations for me.

Receiving my diagnoses was like receiving a permission slip to be myself because this is exactly how God intended me to be.  He didn’t intend to use me despite my quirks, but because of them.

I found that a huge step towards a closer relationship with God is loving yourself for who you are and where you are.  That is the ultimate step in trust.  Trusting Him in His loving creation of you.

Normality

I have to allow myself to be me and love myself for all my quirky inconsistencies and unnormalcies (I think I just made up that word).  This allows God to help me use all of these aspects that make me who I am.  It allows Him to help me use all those aspects of me that He designed for His purposes.

– S

Goodbye to Safety Nets

I made my castle tall

I built up every wall

This is my kingdom and it needs to fall

I want you and no one else

Empty me of myself

Until the only thing that’s left is more of You

  • Colton Dixon’s “More of You”

This has been resonating with me lately.  I was raised with an awareness of the power of prayer.  Many people have their parents tell them to be careful of what they wish for – for my parents, it was be careful of what you pray for.  I view many songs as a prayer.  Words are powerful to me.  So, they are not simply lyrics, but they often become intimate communication between me and my Creator.  With this in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about this song lately and coupling it with one of the most impactful biblical sections for me:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”’ – Matthew 16:24-25

What are my walls?  What is my kingdom of safety that I have created that needs to come tumbling down for me to truly be completely focused and devoted to God?  What, in my life, am I clinging to that I need to release in order to truly take up my cross and follow Him?

I think this is a very brave prayer that is proposed in this song.  I know the walls I’ve built are ones that are often good intentioned; they keep me safe; they keep me comfortable.  I can take “safe” risks knowing that I have a safety net.  BUT  God doesn’t call us to comfort, safe risks, and, especially not to safety nets.  He calls us to give it all – to risk it all.  Whatever is the most valuable to us, we must be willing to give up.  This is what I have found most difficult.  I think I am willing, but willing and actually doing can be very different.

My prayer for the last few years has been in response to this.  It varies slightly depending on the day, but goes something like this:

God, use me.

Help me to serve You here on earth in whatever ways You wish..

Show me the opportunities.

Help me to respond quickly and without fear.

Prepare me, give me wisdom to identify chances, and courage to respond.

God has responded in many ways to this prayer.  I can feel Him working in me to help me prepare for these things.  Jesus said that we must be faithful in small things before we are presented with big things (Luke 16:10).  These prepare us to be faithful with large things.  So, I am excited to see what big things God has planned for me and how He will continue to answer this incessant prayer of mine.  I don’t know what His plan is, but I can risk with the knowledge that there is one.

– S

Gift of Singleness

I am a single Christian woman.  Let me rephrase that… I am a HAPPILY single Christian woman.  It is a piece of my identity that I embrace and cherish.  It is also a piece of my identity that doesn’t fit easily into most people’s views of Christianity.

I came to the realization several years ago that God intended me for a life of singleness, or, as my mom prefers, singleness in this phase of my life.

When my sister and I were little, we had clear visions of what our successful futures held.  Successful and happy futures meant being married young and being done having kids by about 28.  I am about 6 months from reaching that deadline.  I am single. I am childless.  I am happy.  I am successful.

I firmly believe that God does not call everyone to be married.  “…But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.” 1 Corinthians 7:7b  This is such an important piece of scripture for me, my calling, my identity, and my acceptance of these.  First, it clearly says that God calls some to a life of singleness, which validated what I believed God was telling me.  This verse also says that this is a gift.  It is not a curse, nor a punishment.  It is not something to be fought against or avoided.  It is just as much a gift as marriage.

However, my experience is that society does not feel this way about my way of life: secular or Christian.  Secular society may initially applaud my individuality and refusal to need a man; however, they wouldn’t understand the sacrifice that this actually means.  This does not mean I do whatever I want.  It means a life of purity dedicated to God.  I also usually feel misunderstood and even ostracized at times by fellow Christians and churches.

I have yet to be at a church that has a group that is truly a group for single adults.  Many churches have no such bible/study group for any singles.  Those that I have been to that do offer those types of groups are actually groups of single adults looking for a spouse.  I understand there is a need for that, but I am continuously left wondering, “Where do I fit into this church, the Church, ANY church?”  I almost always end up at the same answer, I must not.

Similarly,I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard that God has a man for me.  When I respond that I don’t think that is in God’s plan for me, their response is always one of shock.  They want to know how I can be a “good, Christian woman” without a husband or kids.  Let me say this now for every woman, the ability of any woman to be a “good, Christian woman” is not only tied to her ability to be a good wife and mother.  For many women, that is an element, but it is never the only element.  For me and other women with similar callings, our determination to follow God’s will for our lives without a husband or children, is a step towards being a “good, Christian woman” – not away from it.

“In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and spirit.  But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.  I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you.  I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” 1 Corinthians 7: 34b-35

Singleness helps me serve the Lord best.  It is in that knowledge, that I not only accept singleness, but embrace it.  It provides me different opportunities to give and live than others.  I am just starting to explore what this means for me and my life, but I can confidently take steps on the path with the knowledge that this is where God is leading me.  I can confidently declare, “I am happily single and chasing God’s plan for my life!”

– S