Friday, November 17, 2017

Waiting...

There aren't a lot of times when it is clear to me that God is asking me to wait.  Most of the time it probably should be clear, but I just ignore the signs.  This time though, God has been pretty clear.  I was looking through my journaling from a couple of years ago at this time.  It was a time in my life when I was seeking out some direction about a specific situation, and I felt like God was telling me to wait.  Instead of waiting though, I think I just kept trying to make this thing happen that I wanted to happen.  Instead of waiting for God's timing I just kept pushing, and reading into things, that really if I would have just waited it would have gone a lot smoother, and might not have had the outcome that it did. 

So, here I am two years later, in a similar situation, except for this time I know that I need to wait.  Why is it that when feelings and emotions are involved we want to jump in head first instead of taking the time to pray and know that it is the right thing?  For me it is a lack of self-control, patience, and trust.  I know that I want to trust God with my life, with my desires, and with my future.  But there is this part of me that doesn't trust Him to fulfill everything I want Him to.  There is a part of me that gets lost in the need for things to happen in my time instead of His. 

It is hard though, right?  It is hard because we are human and waiting is not a fun thing to do, especially when it seems like this thing if it would happen would totally be the right thing.  But what if I need more time, or the situation needs more time?  What if the person that I need to become is going to be the person that would be better in this situation?  I have to believe that the waiting is molding me and making me into who I need to be for that given moment of time.  I have to believe that when it is time, then I will know it. 

So, I wait.   It is not an easy thing to do everyday, and I know that I don't always wait with perfect patience or peace, but it does help to know that He's got me.  He knows my heart, my circumstances, and the desires that play into who I am and who He created me to be.  Sometimes we don't even know what we truly want without time.  Sometimes we get lost in trying to decipher this or that, when really it is just about kneeling at the cross, and being willing to do whatever it takes to wait for His timing. 



Verses that help me wait: 


Psalm 27:13-14
Psalm 37:34
Isaiah 30:18
Romans 12:12

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shaped by What I Love

Most of the time Sunday morning sermons have a way of speaking straight to my heart about what I am going through.  On a rare occasion they dig deep into my soul, and wake me up from the awful path I am about to step onto.  Today was one of those Sundays.  Whew!  When you get spoken to on such a specific level, in such a way that you have no doubt the words were to steer you away from the direction you were going... well you have to listen, don't you? 

The other night I had a little too much wine, I was feeling sorry for myself, and I also was tired.  I was tired of always trying to do the right thing, and then not getting what I felt like I wanted in return.  I was feeling pretty entitled when it came to God.  You see it was more of this if God is not going to give me what I want, then why should I worry about obeying the rules?  Or why should I care about what I am doing with my life?  If I am going to spend my life without a husband, then why not just give in to desires?  What does it matter anyways?  I have spent a lot of my life focused on doing right, and good... don't I deserve to have my dreams fulfilled?  If they aren't going to be fulfilled the way I want them to, then I am just going to try to substitute for something that will fill the hole for a little while. 

I was playing the it's not fair game a lot Friday night.  Maybe you know it.... "It's not fair that this person or that person has been married two times, and has 3 kids, and I don't have any of that.  It's not fair that that person has spent their life not following God, and they have everything they have ever wanted, a family and kids, and a great job.  It's not fair!"  Trust me about 1/2 bottle in, this conversation was pretty one sided, and pretty whiny.  It was also pretty self-focused. 

Conversations with people, and sermons have a way of pointing me back to where I need to be.  I feel like I had a couple conversations this weekend that directed me to focus more on God, and less on myself.  But actually that's not true, because in focusing on God I realize more of the weaknesses I hold, and the things I need to change about myself. 

So, I am sitting in church today, and what do you think the sermon is on?  Being shaped by what we love.  Talking about how we love the lesser things more, and the greater things less.  That was the first time that I was shaken a little.  Of course my focus, especially the other night when I made this decision to just give in to things, because it is easier that way.  Definitely I was loving the lesser more than the greater.  I was letting that desire be what rules my life. 

I am also having a really hard time finding my way in the current world we live in.  Not being so focused on this world, yet knowing that my job here is to be His, and seek goodness.  How am I going to seek goodness, if I don't truly understand what Jesus' goodness looks like?  It is such a confusing way to live.  Maybe I don't have enough that I am adamant about?  Maybe my need to offend no one is actually harming my voice of love for others? I don't necessarily think that the sermon today was something that is going to help me understand this, but it did spur me down the path of thinking about this more. 

Jesus lived the authority of the Bible, but I don't know that I have been living that.  I don't know that my life truly shows the authority of the Bible.  How do I live that out without becoming a pharisee, or a hypocrite?  How do I portray the loving kind of righteousness?  The Jesus kind of righteousness without turning everyone away from God?  Is there even a way to do that? 

One of the things that was said today is that "Righteousness is what your life looks like when you are living in  God's kingdom." 

To me living in God's Kingdom means being more involved in His word than other things.  My desire is to know Him more.  My desire is to not mess up this life too badly.  My desire is to constantly know how I need to change in order to love Him with all my heart.  So as I take a deep breath, and understand how He wants to change me, I open up my heart and mind to people that I need to learn from.  I dive into things and community that are going to bring me closer to Him, instead of farther away.  I try to say no to the things that cause me to be living in the world's Kingdom, instead of God's.  It's a journey and I know that, but I truly hope that my life is shaped by His focus, rather than my own. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Would I be Missed?

Do you ever wonder if you would be missed?  Do you feel like you are always the one making the effort in friendships?  Like what if I just stopped calling or texting, would anyone even notice that they hadn't talked to me for awhile?  Or would it literally be months before I would hear anything from them?   I've had best friends before, friends that I was able to call on any given day, at any given time and they would drop everything to hang out with me.  There are people that I would, and have done that for.  There are people in my life that I thought would do that for me, but I am not so sure anymore.  Maybe I am too needy, too damaged, too much.  Maybe I am too selfish, too dramatic, too outspoken.  Maybe I am not conservative enough, or too conservative?  Maybe I don't leave an impression on anyone's life.  Maybe if I stop making the effort, I will just be someone they knew once.  Maybe my life doesn't actually matter that much.  What good am I doing?  I'm not really sure.  I feel pretty disposable at the moment.  Maybe I am just that person that comes into people's lives for seasons, and never really stays.  As hard as that is for me to admit, it feels more and more true everyday.  One day I hope that someone comes into my life, and looks me in the face and tells me how important I am to them.  So important that they always want me in their life.  One day I hope that happens, the hope of that happening is starting to be less and less everyday.  I like someone who doesn't like me back, once again.  It is hard, it is messy and it sucks.  But you know what, it's okay.  Tonight is just a rough night, and I will feel better tomorrow.  But, for now I am going to put a lot less effort in, because I am tired of being the girl that always calls or texts first.  One day I want to be the one that is chased after.  Or at least is treated with value and worth.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Facing the Giants in Silence

Tonight I deleted the FB App, IG App, and Tinder App from my phone.  Yes I have been dappling in Tinder for about a month now.  It has had its good times, and not so good times.  Last night I wrote this blog about the desires of my heart, and how I just feel this hole not being filled because I am single and childless.  Then  today it was like God met me exactly where I needed Him to.  He spoke straight to that blog, straight to my uncertainties, and you know what His answer was? His answer was that I had lost my focus.  Now, please do not misunderstand.  Last night I felt every singe word of what I wrote, and tonight I don't feel like it was a mistake or those feelings are invalid.  I just feel like God showed me exactly what was happening. 

I was allowing my giants to be bigger than my God.  I was seriously allowing myself to focus on all the bad.  I was allowing myself to go down this path of longing and searching for something that just isn't where my focus should be.  I don't believe that at this time God has taken the marriage/kids desire away from me, but He reminded me of what I am here for.  He reminded me that when I look at what I don't have, instead of what I do, then I cease to worship Him in the way that He wants me to. 

I have made so many mistakes in the past month.  Tonight I went to the Instrumental Praise performance at church and I just cried.  I cried because I am so unworthy of all that I have.  I cried because I have been so focused on myself, and what I want that I have allowed myself to give in to things that I shouldn't have.  I cried because I haven't loved the way I need to, but I also cried because God sees all of that.  He sees every single step that I have taken away from Him, and He still opens His arms back up for me to run into.

Do you ever get so focused on expectations of others, that you forget truths of who you are.   Those tears were for that reason tonight.  The rejection and pain of never being enough.  It cuts so deep sometimes that I allow that pain, that rejection to be what defines me.  Tears they aren't always about weakness.  Sometimes tears help you find your strength.  As I listened and watched tonight I just cried.  I cried because I have chosen to look around, instead of up.  I have chosen to waste time on social media, and chasing people that obviously don't want me in their lives.  I have chosen to put those people before my God. 

We lose focus a lot.   Especially when that certain person gets a hold of us.  They come into our lives like a freight train, trying to run us over.  It isn't always a relationship, it sometimes is just someone that you connect with on this level that you didn't even know you had.  Then before you know it, they are the ones you are focusing on instead of God.  Wondering if they value you as much as you value them, and then you are so focused on that you forget that your purpose is to share Him with the world. 

You start making excuses of why it is more important to open that FB app, then sit down and open your Bible.  You start to check Tinder more often than you are connecting with God.  Swiping right or left, instead of silently taking those minutes to pray for whoever God has for you.  Now I don't think there is anything wrong with swiping right or left, but if that is becoming my giant.  If that is becoming my hurdle that is keeping me away from where God wants me, then it isn't what I should be doing. 

So tonight as I worshiped, and cried, and opened up my heart to what God wants.  I realized that He wants my focus.  He doesn't just want it in the spare moments of time that I choose to give it to Him.  He wants my social media focus.  He wants me to long for news from Him, the way I long for my phone to chime saying I have a new message.  So until my longing for God matches my longing to know the latest FB gossip, I am going to stay off of it for awhile. 

I will probably fail a couple of times, but the beauty in failing is that He is there to catch me when I fall.  He is there to knock those giants down, and He will never cease to be there to let me back in His arms when I look up and remember the truths of whose I am. 



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxpVkbikDVQ





Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Girl Next Door

It seems here lately that I find myself writing a lot about singleness.  Sometimes I feel like I need to just let it go, and be okay with where I am and move forward.  Then there are other times when I realize that this is my story right now.  This is where I am, this is what I am dealing with, and it is okay if the best way for me to get through it is to write about it.  So, if you are not wanting to read a blog about some of my latest thoughts on this subject, then probably don't read any further.  Most of us write about what is going on in our lives.  Whether that is singleness, the loss of a relationship, infertility, or just major life challenges.  The weird thing to me is that we all seem to try to give advice, right?  We have some sort of advice to give on every single problem that someone is facing.  Married people, love to give advice to single people.  People with kids love to give advice to those trying to be parents.  It is what we do.  So, for a moment just imagine a world in which we listen to understand what the person is saying, instead of listening to respond and tell the person what to do. 

I had a wonderful day today, and usually at the end of wonderful days I have a lot of feelings and emotions that come out.  I am not actually sure why it happens that way, but it does.  I find myself thinking through a lot of things, and contemplating life choices.  Maybe God uses my full days to help me work through tough things, because on my not so full days, I can't always handle them.  Maybe? 

For pretty much my whole life I have been the girl next door.  Not the cute, pretty one, that was always getting asked out, but the one that everyone turns to when they need a friend, or they need someone to go out of their way to lend a hand.  I am that girl that would bend over backwards for someone no matter what because they are my friend.  Sometimes this causes me to read too much into friendships.  Sometimes it causes men to see me as a friend and nothing else.  Actually a lot of times it does.  It is hard being the girl next door.  It is hard never being seen as someone worthy of being chased, pursued, and loved by a man without them wanting something in return.  Why do we do it to ourselves?  Why do we allow ourselves to feel, when we don't know for sure that there will be feelings back?  Why are there so many decent, single, human beings in the world longing for relationships that they aren't able to find? 

I'm struggling right now to understand this.  I am struggling to understand how my desires to get married and have kids just have to be pushed aside, because it is not the right "timing."  I chose to move overseas.  I chose to live life in far away lands, but was it at the expense of never getting married and having kids?  I chose to live a life that was focused on God, and doing what I thought I should, and in some ways I feel like I am constantly being punished for that because I don't have a family to call my own. 

I don't know what it is like to lose the love of my life.  I don't know what it is like to have someone that I thought I was going to spend my entire earthly life with, walk out the door.  I don't know that heartache, because I have never had the chance to even feel it (and that's not a bad thing).   Because I am 36, single and kid-less, does that mean that I have missed out on that portion of my life? 

I know, I know what so many people are going to say.  It's God's timing... He's teaching you something through this.  I'm going to say, I have no doubt about that.  I know He is teaching me a lot, but I also know the longing I feel isn't going away.  Is there always going to be this constant ache, this void that never gets filled?  It hurts, it's painful, and please don't write it off as something that I should just get over. 

I am fine being the girl next door.  Because you know what?  That girl, she won't fail you.  That girl, she is always going to be a listening ear.  She is always going to let you pretty much walk all over her, because she loves hard.   That girl, she is strong, and courageous, because she has been hurt.  She has been hurt by never being the one.  She has been hurt by those that look right through her.  She has been hurt by those that want to tell her it is much better to stay single.  That her life means something, maybe just not as much as a single mother's life, or a family of seven's life.  But her life does mean something. 

Those may be the words that are spoken, to her, but those aren't the words that are spoken about her.  When she turns around and walks away after pouring out her heart to her married for 25 years with 3 kids friend.  Those aren't the words spoken about her when she says that she doesn't have time to volunteer for the latest church function. When the mother with 3 kids is looking at her like, "what do you even have going on."  Those aren't the words spoken when a friend talks to her husband about her husband's single friend and how they would be perfect for each other. 

Singleness isn't  something to be fixed, yet we all act like it is.  It feels like a sick brokenness that is unable to be healed except by marriage.  Not just any marriage, but marriage to this one person that is your soulmate.  Isn't that what we have taught our daughters and sons to believe?  Isn't that what we have allowed ourselves to believe?   We tell them that they are not complete without someone else.  We teach them that God created us for a partnership with one other person.  Then they grow up, and don't find that fairy-tale.  Or they grow up thinking that they have to have the perfect trophy wife/husband, when really who they need is someone that strengthens them and challenges them to grow closer to God everyday. 

I don't actually know the answer, but I know that there is a void in me that many people will tell me I am trying to fill with other things.  I know that.  I don't need judgement, or advice.  I just need understanding, and compassion.  We all have our things, right?  We all have those things that draw us away from God.  Those things that try to steal our joy, and peace.  We all have our crutches. 

Sometimes my faith in God comes easy, and I have no problem believing that the desire for marriage and children is going to be filled.  But others, like today I just can't wrap my mind around why me and so many others are walking around alone in a world full of people!  Faith doesn't mean never having any doubts.  I think that my faith is strengthened by my doubts.  So I keep doubting.  I keep looking forward, and loving those around me. 

I embrace the girl next door, because after all she is who I feel like God has called me to be for this time.  The girl that is there for those around her.  She is willing to give up time, money, or whatever it takes to show people they are loved.  Sometimes that means she loves too hard.  Sometimes that means that she makes mistakes, and has to apologize.  Sometimes that means she leaves a conversation not knowing where she stands, or what she even feels.  But mostly it means that she keeps walking down the path of faith.  Mostly it means that she never gives up, and keeps trying to be exactly where God wants her to be.  Sometimes that means that she gets hurt, she gets her heart broken, and she doesn't find the love that she is searching for.  But in the midst of that heartache, she grows in His strength and love, she deepens her understanding of what it means to walk by faith, and believe in things that she has yet to see. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Unexpected...

Do you ever get so caught up in thinking that all people are the same that you just lump people together that have similar views, and write them off.  I admit that I have done that in the past couple of months.  Someone in particular gave me a bad taste for those that don't think the way I do, and I kind of just started putting everyone with similar views in the same category.  It wasn't even something that I was trying to do, or even knew I was doing until the other day.  Then I realized that I had closed the door on something because of this lumping that was happening. 

We live in a world with so many different views.  There are conservative people, liberal people, in between people, those that believe in God, those that don't believe in God, those that preach God with the highest form of volume, and those that softly sing His praises.  It is so hard to know and understand exactly where we fit in and how to keep living life without lumping people together. 

I never want to be a lumper (yes I realize that's not an actual word).  I never want to see people with similar views and just pretend that I know everything about them, because I don't.  I don't truly know their hearts, until I sit down and have a conversation with them, even then it isn't for me to judge them.  I can try my hardest to speak love and truth. 

There are a couple of people (okay more than a couple) in my life that have very different views than I do.  We have the most important things in common, but when it comes to some of the nitty gritty that we all feel passionately about we don't see eye to eye at all.  About 5 months ago I met someone that couldn't ever be wrong.  It was an awful experience one in which I was determined that I could never possibly engage myself with people that didn't have similar thoughts on life, government, politics, and religion as myself.  Because this person could never see things from anyone else's viewpoint.  That's an awful place to live if you ask me. 

God started changing me like He often does.  In the past couple of months He has started showing me that maybe some things I think, are not as concrete as I would like them to be, and maybe I don't need to think that every conservative person is as hard-hearted as I thought.  Maybe there is a common ground, and maybe I could start opening myself up to that in ways that I had closed myself off before. 

When we lump people together we lose out, because we cease to see them as the individual creation that God chose them to be.  We instead see them as this big puzzle instead of just seeing the piece that makes up part of the picture.  When we lump people together we lose part of the grace and mercy that makes God who He is.  When we lump people together we miss out on having them woven into the fabric of our lives. 

So, here is to letting in those people that I don't always agree with.  Here is to opening up my eyes to learn and grow from those that don't see things the way I do.  Here is to breaking down walls, and not lumping everyone in the same category because categories aren't what defines us.  Here is to leaving behind preconceived notions and opening up to new experiences and risks. 

Embracing the unexpected....

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Church and a Drive

Originally when I planned to go to Kansas for this weekend, I didn't actually know just how much I would need to get away at this particular time in my life.  It isn't necessarily because I feel overwhelmed, it is more because I just feel like there are things happening that I am just unsure about.  Do you ever second, third and even fourth guess decisions you make.  Like, thinking through every outcome just so you can make yourself crazy with all the analyzing?



As I drove along the plains, there were so many things that I thought about and prayed over.  Last week I had someone tell me that I was fake, and that I post things on FB and then I am not like that at all.  So ofcourse with anything when someone says something to put you down, you examine it right? You take what they say and you keep what needs to be kept and let go of what might cause damage.  So the truth is that I am not always who I pretend to be on social media.  I have faults, I am opinionated, I judge people when I shouldn't, I choose to drink a little too much sometimes, I don't always stand up for my God the way I should, and I definitely don't trust God with all that I should either.  I try to post things that not only will encourage others, but will help me to live a better life.  In that I fail a lot of times.  I am quick to speak, and slow to listen a majority of the time.  So, maybe this person was right.  Maybe I am not who I pretend to be on FB, but also I will probably be the first person to say sorry.  I also won't go out of my way to cause hurt and pain on anyone no matter what they have done to me or said about me. I help people out, and try to be there for them.  I am sensitive, and love too much.  So yes, I have things to work on, but I also am one of the greatest encouragers through writing you will ever meet. 



So much of my journey this weekend, was letting to.  Letting go of words that have been said to me in the last couple of months.  Letting go of doubts that I have allowed to seep in because of people, instead of truths that I allow to overflow out of me because of God.  Letting go of friendships that need to be left behind and embracing those that are important enough to me to continue to pursue, and make sacrifices for.



Another part of my journey was giving something over to God that I continue to let grab a hold of me.  Do you ever have those things in your life that you want to happen so badly that you are willing to do just about whatever it takes to make them happen.  But you know that if you pursue it, instead of letting it be God's timing that you will end up making a big mistake.  So, I let it go, and I gave it over.  I allowed my heart and mind to be at peace with the fact that what is meant to be will find its way to me.  And I prayed a lot for this situation, and the person involved in this situation, and the things that I hope will come out of it.  Maybe that will bring the result that I want, and maybe God has something else for me. 



About this time in my journey I saw the church that I pulled over to take a picture of.  It made me remember that sometimes in life I get so caught up in feeling, doing, and feeling again... that I forget to just let the drive happen.  I forget that God's plans are bigger than my own.  I don't always know how to let His plans be my plans.  In fact a lot of times I forget to go to God altogether, but you know what that is because I am a work in progress.  God knows that I am not perfect, He made me.  He knows the cycles of mistakes that I continue to make, and one day He is going to break me of them one by one.  But for now each mistake, each sin is a bigger chance to learn and grow in Him.

I don't have to be perfect, I just have to be focused.  I don't have to know where my journey is taking me, I just have to have faith in the driver.  I don't have to make sure that I cross the finish line first every time, I just have to make sure that my pace continues to be steady and straight ahead.

So for now, I keep going, knowing that around every turn there will be lessons, there will be moments, and there will be things for me to change.  But my life doesn't lose its worth or value.  I am always loved, and as I pass along little churches along the way I hope I continue to see glimpses of how God is working and moving, and allowing me to let things go, and grow closer to Him every day. 


Sometimes I think that we come across as perfect to those around us.  Or we come across as trying to be better than someone else, when really I don't think deep down any of us actually feel that way.  I think that we want to be the best version of ourselves we can be.  Perhaps taking the time to hate a little less, and love a little more.  Taking the time to not be the driver, to not always be the first to speak, to let someone get all of their thoughts out before jumping in with a suggestion or judgment. Taking the time to get to know people on an intimate deep level, and allowing them to trust you at that level.  Isn't that the hardest?  Being able to trust each other with things. 


I could let the fact that I have trusted people with things that I don't want others knowing dig into me.  I could put myself down, feel really bad about it, and go into a dark place to hide away from that sin, guilt and shame.  But instead I embrace the mess that I am.  I allow God to fill that darkness with light, and I move forward on this journey.  It isn't a perfect journey, I get things wrong every single day, but I try my best to look up, see light, and keep going.  Vulnerability and trust, those are probably the two biggest things I am working on.  I let people in that I shouldn't these past couple of years, and I got hurt because of it, but I am also better for it.  I am better because I have learned a little more about sacrificial love, and what it takes to live with more of Him, and less of me. 


So, if you are feeling these things, I encourage you to take a drive.  Let God speak, let God listen, and be honest with Him.  He knows anyways.