Friday, September 21, 2012

Season? or Reason?

In one of the Christian fiction novels I've read, the main character talks about there is "single for a season" or "single for a reason". And it's true! If you were being honest with yourself, when you find out that someone in their late 30's or older are single and have never been married, you ask yourself.... what's wrong with them? At least I do (even though I am in that group also!) Or, if someone has become single again and not married again, you ask..... why haven't they gotten married again? Is something wrong with them?

I'm not saying anything is WRONG with anyone..... it's just what people wonder. People are social creatures. They don't like to be alone the majority of the time. So..... what is the reason they are single?

Honestly, I think one of the reasons is....... where do you meet single people? I am very picky about what I would like in a future mate. I'm not sure meeting them at a bar is the best place to meet them! Especially since I don't drink alcohol (except on vacation, but that's a different story!) :)

I am a member of a "mega" church. Even before this church, I've always been a member of larger churches. You would think it would be easy to meet someone when there are thousands of people around you, but it's not. The key to developing relationships with anyone (male or female) is to have something in common with them and be a member of some type of smaller, intimate group where you can spend time together, get to know each other, and become friends (not just church aquaintances).

This is where I think the problem lies. I truly believe that most churches (small and large) miss the boat with it comes to an adult singles ministry. They just don't know what to do with us. Adult singles (30's and older) are expected to just join a ladies class or a men's class. Some churches expect them to join the married class (and sit alone pitifully). For the churches that DO have a singles class, it is all ages, lumped together. For those singles who have children at home, many times they can meet other moms or dads with similar interests and become involved. But what about the never-been-married, no kids, or no-kids-at-home singles? What about them? These are the singles that desperately NEED other singles to develop friendships with! (And according to my friend, married couples with no kids tend to get left out also!)

I'm tired of sitting at home alone on the weekends. I'm tired of not having friends who share my same issues of being alone. I'm tired of sitting alone at church, or feeling like I don't know anyone! I'm frustrated with not knowing how to MEET people to even TRY and get to know them!

I wish I knew how to communicate this need to churches. I'm pretty sure that adult singles are not an area most churches really think about. Married ministry? got it! Children's ministry? yup! Youth ministry? you betcha! Senior Adults? they are busier than the rest of us! Men's ministry? Women's ministry? Music ministry? Those are all great things! Many churches even have College/Career or 20's singles ministries! These are all WONDERFUL and NEEDED things. I just think my "demographic" is left out.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Talking to some of my friends, I don't think that I am. Yet, I am not strong enough or knowledgeable enough to BE the change. Leading a small group is not my calling. Teaching a Sunday School class is not my calling. I've learned that I can be a pretty good planner/hostess but I'm not even sure how to START attracting singles! (If I knew HOW to attract them, I doubt I would be blogging now!)

I say all this to admit..... I'm lonely. I'm frustrated. I'm growing weary of waiting. I question God.... "Why can't I meet other friends to spend time with?" I also question "what is MY reason I am still single?" And I don't know the answers...... that's the most frustrating part of it all!

Lord, Help me to wait on You. Show me steps I can take to make a difference. Help me to minister to others who also feel lonely and left out. Lead me in the path that I should go so that I can follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

One Day.........

This past month has been super stressful and hard for me. The beginning of school is ALWAYS stressful! Too much to do, not enough time to do it! (But what teacher doesn't deal with that?) :)

But it has been a tough month personally also. Life can change in a moment, and mine changed. One month later and I still cry daily. One month later and I still have unanswered questions. One month later and I still wonder,,,,,,,,,,,,why? I may never truly understand (this side of Heaven). And you know what? that's ok.

The end of a relationship is tough. Friendships, dating relationships, marriages, professional relationships..... it can hurt when any of them have to end. It is even harder when it was not mutual or "your choice" for the reltaionship to end. It is sad. It is painful. It sucks.

Many years ago (and I mean MANY), I began a prayer/goal notebook. In this notebook I kept a list of goals for my life, Bible verses that were especially meaningful for my life, and also a list of "must haves" for my future husband. These qualifications had to do with the character of the person I would want to one day share my life with. Here is my list....

 1. He must place God first in his life.
 2. He must be financially responsible. (Not rich, but a good manager of money).
 3. He must have a heart for missions.
 4. He must be active in his church.
 5. He and I must have similar denominational beliefs.
 6. He must be easy to talk to, someone I feel comfortable around.
 7. He must love me as I am RIGHT NOW physically (size/weight).
 8. He must be willing to be the head of the household and lead our home in a godly way.
 9. He must be never married... and have saved himself sexually for marriage.
10. He shouldn't drink alcohol.
11. He should honor and respect his and my parents.
12. He should desire a family, but will accept possible limitations.
13. He must support my career and my love for education.
14. Traditional gender roles are not important--- we each work to maintain home and other responsibilities.
15. He must study the Bible and know scripture.
16. He should be well groomed (take care of himself--- nothing about cuteness/size, but take pride in himself).
17. He should be willing to speak his mind and stand up for injustice.

I'm sure lots of you have now thought......
"She sure is picky"
"She is being very close-minded"
"No one will ever live up to her expectations"
"She is kidding herself to think she will ever find that"

And you are right. I am picky. I am being close-minded. And I may very well be kidding myself! I realize no one is perfect (myself included) but I have to believe that God has placed these look-for qualities in my heart. That's not to say there would not be exceptions or special circumstances, but that is what I truly am looking for.

However, as I have gotten older, I realize that #9 probably won't happen. Same with #12. So I have had to adjust my list. As old-fashioned as I might be, I want someone who reserves sex for marriage and marriage only. And with some of my health issues (and my age), having kids probably isn't going to happen, even though the chance to be a mom (or step-mom) is one of the largest desires of my heart.

But I have also realized that I need to add to my list also! At my age, anyone I would enter into a dating relationship with is more than likely divorced. That brings a whole new level of complexity into a relationship! Plus, as I have gotten older, I realize there are other things that also matter.


18. He must be active in his children's lives and support them financially.
19. He must be able to let me be part of his life (and his children) and not have to hide his relationship with me.
20. In marriage, I would want our relationship to be a priority. I'm not saying ignore the children or not consider them but that he and I truly become one. I don't want our lives to only revolve around children. I want to build a true relationship so that when the children grow up and leave, he and I have a deep connection already.
21. He must follow through with what he says he will do.
22. He must have godly men that he can look to for friendship, accountability, and advice.
23. He must prove his love by the way he treats me. Not opening doors or paying for dinner (although that is nice) but listening, talking, etc.
24. I must be able to trust him completely and he trust me also. If he tells me something, I want to be able to believe it with no doubts. The same is true in reverse.
25. We must be able to deal with arguements and disagreements in a kind, loving way. He must not ignore issues or avoid them rather than deal with them.

Am I being unrealistic? I hope not. I have never dated a lot (as a teenager or as an adult) so granted, this is all theory! But my recent relationship has shown me how much I truly desire to find a companion for life. I have been praying for 20+ years that God would either answer my prayer for a husband or change my desires so that I no longer wanted one. And the desire is stronger than ever. I have to believe that since the desire is still there, it will be part of God's will for me in my life. Do I know when? no. Do I know how He will answer that prayer? no. But I have to have faith. Even when faith is hard.

I have to be totally honest and say that I have questioned God..... WHY has this happened? And I don't know the answer. I still cry at least once every day over the loss of a relationship and a friendship. I still have lots of unresolved questions that I may never know the answers to. I have been hurt. I have been angry. I have lost respect for someone. I have been depressed. I have withdrawn from people because I just didn't know how to ask for help. But through it all....

I have been blessed to meet someone who really IS a nice person.
For the first time, I realized that I had something to offer someone.
I realized that I was not the ugly troll I thought I was and that someone CAN be attracted to me.
I learned what it was like to love someone.
My desires for a companion have been strengthened.
I can tell someone my secrets and they will still accept me.

So, for now, I have to wait. Wait on God's timing. Wait on the person God will send. Wait on Him....

"I wait.
Dear Lord,
Thy ways are past finding out.
Thy love too high.
O hold me still beneath Thy shadow.
It is enough that Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance.
I wait-
Because I am commanded so to do.
My mind is filled with wonderings.
My soul asks, 'Why?'
But then the quiet word,
'Wait thou only upon God.'
And so, not eve for the light
To show a step ahead,
But for Thee, O Lord,
I wait."
---taken from Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity

But as I wait, I do not become stagnant. I actively wait, serving God as I wait. I build relationships and friendships as I wait. I make a difference for God's kingdom as I wait. I honor God in my waiting. I serve God, trusting that He will lead me in the directions I should go, trusting He will lead my future husband to me. As I wait, I stand on the promises He has given me in the Bible. I pray that He will search my heart, changing areas in my life that don't honor Him. Changing areas that I haven't surrendered to Him.

Help me to become the person that you desire for me to be. Help me to shed the shackles of doubt and lack of confidence. Release me from my selfishness and help me to see Your plan for my life. Forgive my lack of faith and hope in Your will for me. Give me courage to meet other believers. Mold me into the woman You desire for me to be. Change my mindset so that I am looking to You and seeking Your guidance. Help me to see that You have ultimate control and help me to trust You. Speak to me so that I may hear Your plan. Bless my hopes and wishes and change my desires that don't honor You. I have faith and trust in You. Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

When You Don't Know WHAT To Do.....

Ever feel stuck? In a rut? In your own thinking? Feel like your life is a nonstop cycle? This has been me lately. The same thoughts keep coming up and I just don't know WHAT to do..........

I need wisdom.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:5-8 (NIV)

Maybe that is my problem----- I'm REALLY good at ASKING for wisdom- but do I BELIEVE and NOT DOUBT? Sadly, no. Don't get me wrong--- I know that God can do ANYTHING and that HE knows all and leads us in the way we should go in our lives. So why can't I believe that He will give me wisdom for my everyday life? Is it because I want to always be in control? Maybe. Yes.

Like right now, God is trying to teach me to be patient. (And for those who know me well, you KNOW how much I don't want to learn that lesson!) The Lord has answered a prayer (well, shown me the PROMISE of an answered prayer) but the time is not NOW for the fulfillment of my prayer. The Lord needs me to continue to seek Him, follow Him, pray for His wisdom....... even if the answer can't happen on my own time-frame. As a result, I've experienced frustration...... WHY can't it be answered now? WHY must I continue to wait? WHY is this promise not a simple answer?

This frustration automatically makes me go into "control" mode. In my mind I think, "SURELY there is SOMETHING that can be done to hurry this promise along!" Which leads to dwelling on the situation, trying to "fix" the problem, and my feeling stuck in the situation.

THEN I make it worse by asking friends their opinions as to what I should do. Typically that leads to even MORE frustration. ESPECIALLY since God has already told me, "Wait on me. Be patient. I am in control."

I need wisdom. But I don't need to just ask.... I need to BELIEVE.

Father, Help me to not only ask but to also believe. I trust You with my eternal salvation. Help me to fully trust you in EVERY situation. Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worthy of Love and Beautiful

I want to be beautiful. What girl doesn't? I've always been a girlie girl.... make-up, clothes in the latest fashions, nails and toes done, highlights in hair, sweet-smelling perfume...... all things meant to "enhance" my beauty. And like any girl, I grew up in a culture that bombards girls/woment with messages of beauty... "use this product".... "be this size".... "have your hair styled this way".

And let me tell you, it's a crock! We are trained by our culture from a very early age that beauty has to do with our outward self.... how we look.

One of my favorite songs is "Beautiful" by Bethany Dillon.

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me
Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart, and be amazed
I want to hear you say Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart, and be amazed
I want to hear you say Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Have you ever felt like that? I have. I think all of us desire to be "beautiful".... because we associate "beauty" with "love". IF the song stopped here, it would be sad. As I hear the lyrics, I hear someone crying out for love.... based on their beauty, the worth they think they have.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

What we think of as important (beauty/outward appearance) God thinks differently. It is not our beauty that causes Him to love us, He loves us because He created us. He is interested in our heart-- our soul--- our spirit. He is interested in who we are rather than how we appear. Remember....

Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Thank you, LORD!!!! As a woman, I still want to be beautiful. But I must realize that God's idea of beauty is different than my own. He gives me directions on how to be beautiful..... the Proverbs 31 Woman. God's beautiful woman is....

  • Pure- She is a woman of virtue (verse 10)

  • Honest- She is trustworthy (verses 11-12)

  • Industrious- She is a hardworker (verses 13-19, 21-22, 24, 27, 31)

  • Thrifty- She is skilled with finances, She is able to care for her loved ones (verses 14, 16)

  • Strong in character- She faces the daily challenges of life with courage (verses 25, 29)

  • Kind- She is compassionate and brings words of encouragement (verses 20, 26)

  • Wise- She walks in wisdom (verse 26)

  • Holy- She loves the LORD with her whole heart (verse 30)

That's a tall order! It can be VERY overwhelming! But we never need to be discouraged or feel overwhelmed by God's standard for beauty because He gives us, day by day, a lifetime to reach it! Join me (won't you?) in whispering to God, pleading for strength- His strength? Because through Him we can become a BEAUTIFUL woman---- one who moves through the challenges and duties of life with courage, bravery, endurance and His power! WE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL!!!!! (We are WOMEN! We are BEAUTIFUL!)

And the song? See the conclusion Bethany Dillon comes to about beauty.....

You make me beautiful, You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart, and I am amazed!

I love to hear You say Who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful

Lord, Help me to be beautiful by YOUR standard. Help me not to become distracted by the world's idea of beauty and doubt You. Amen.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Treasure Hunter

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

As an only child.... I'm spoiled. As an ADOPTED only child.... I'm spoiled rotten. :)

I have always been used to getting my way. I do not share. I don't play well with others. I've very self-centered. Maybe it was because of my "only child" status, but I think it is because I've tried to store my "treasures" in the wrong place.

I'm too concerned with stuff. I like stuff. My home, my classroom is all filled with "stuff". A co-worker has joked that if I try to put one more item in my classroom, she is staging an intervention. At home, I have so much stuff that I don't even use it all! But it is never enough..... I always want more. Newer... BIGGER..... MORE

I'm learning about stuff. Recently I was able to (finally!) purchase a new laptop computer. Less than a week after bringing it home, my home was robbed. What was taken? You guessed it! The new laptop (and a tv). I've been almost obsessed with trying to figure out how quickly I can replace these two items, and I've realized.... it's gonna be awhile (and probably that's a good thing!)

During this time of waiting, I am going to focus on my treasures...... my earthly treasures don't matter. I've still got a tv to use. I still have a desktop computer. There are lots of people that don't even have that! How dare I pout or be upset? The things that were taken was just that..... things. I should be more concerned with the treasures that I am storing up in Heaven.

What treasures are those? I think as Christians, we all want to think that we are working hard for God and making a difference in our world. Often times we are. But how much MORE of an impact can we make when we don't let our earthly treasures get in the way?

So that's my goal....... I'm hunting for treasure! Showing the love of Jesus to my students by treating them fairly and in love. Loving on those around me who may or may not know Christ's love. Acting in such a way (publicly AND privately) that people will see that there is something different about me. And the toughest one of all---- being greatful for what I have, not always wishing for more.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silnt. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

"For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, wheter living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11b-13 (NIV)

Father, Teach me contentment. Help me to look for ways to store my treasures in Heaven, rather than here on earth. Help me to look for ways to glorify You no matter what. Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pick Me! Pick Me!

Think back..... WAAAAAAAAAAY back..... to when you were in school. Remember p.e. class? Remember those games where you had to "pick teams"? Maybe you were athletic and always one of the first chosen. Or, maybe you were like me--- clutzy, not at all athletic. I remember dreading being called LAST to join the team (or even worse, NOT being chosen and getting "stuck" on a team!)

It hurts to be the last one chosen. Why? Rejection. No one likes it. Rejection HURTS. Even if no one says it, to be picked last meant that you WEREN'T ANY GOOD and no one wanted to accept the "liability" of having you on their team.

As a teenager and as an adult, I've experienced a different kind of rejection. It hurts more than being chosen last for a kickball team.

I'm in my late 30's and have never been married. I've never really even had a serious relationship. I've barely even been out on dates. Why? I've been "picked" last. There is something "wrong" with me that would make me a liability to a relationship. Now, before you try to argue that point with me..... stop. I'm just stating facts.

There is something un-dateable about me. I truly have no idea what. I could list all of my negative qualities, but we all have SOMETHING in our lives that aren't perfect! I'm quiet, very reserved, don't make friends easily. I'm "fluffy" and aren't exactly the most beautiful; but I have good qualities too...... I guess those just don't show up as easily. I'm smart. I'm creative and funny. I love to do things for others. I'm a hard worker. I guess those things don't come across though.

I never know how to meet people. Most of my friends are married and have been so for many years. They don't know single people my age. I work with mostly women. I just don't know where to meet someone (and if I did meet someone, I sure wouldn't know how to communicate!)Over the years, I have tried different online dating sites. I've even paid money to have a membership, rather than just "creep". It's always been the same...... very few were ever interested. Or, they would seem to be interested and then I would never hear from them again as soon as they saw my photo (I'm not THAT ugly! I DON'T break cameras or anything!) Or, they would chat with me but then suddenly stop (and I would have no idea why!) Now, please don't argue that "they don't know what they are missing".... cause the common denominator in this equation is me........ something is wrong with me.

I cannot express how hurtful it is to once again be passed over. It's hard to get your hopes up that MAYBE this time will be different. After rejection, it is doubly hard to get my nerves up to try again. I often joke that God is going to have to cause someone to fall from the sky with a sign around his neck saying, "This is the One. Love, God"

I fear being lonely. I am so scared that one day my parents will not be around anymore and I will be completely alone. Yes, I have friends, but they have their own families, their own responsibilities. I am terrified that my biggest desire to have a mate and hopefully a family will never come to be. I'm scared to grow old and alone.

I have to be honest...... I see people who always seem to have a date, or a boyfriend, or a husband and I get jealous. I want that so bad for myself. It has gotten to the point that it is hard to even be happy for someone else..... because my heart longs so greatly for what they have.

For years, I have prayed about this. To be honest, I'm mad at God because of it. I don't understand why I have to wait. Or why He won't take this desire away from me. I don't know what to do to get over the anger, the hurt, the rejection. I don't understand why I have to continue to wait. What if His answer is for me to wait more? What if having a husband is never part of His plan for my life? What do I do then? How do I learn to accept what He has in store for me?

I have a heavy heart when it comes to relationships. Maybe someone else has felt the same. I just know how weary I am of rejection. How much I'm ready to give up on the hope of a family.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tattle-tale, Tattle-tale, Hang Your Britches On a Nail

Anyone who works with, has, or has even BEEN a child (in other words, EVERYONE!) knows about tattling. I think that is the one thing in my classroom that gets on my nerves the most! At least once a day, one of my third graders come to me to tell me about someone else's business. Sounds petty, I know, but it is a huge problem! Each time this happens, it distracts us from learning (and causes their teacher to have a hissy fit!)

Tattling is such a problem, that I am ALWAYS looking for ways to stop it in my classroom! One of my newest addictions in Pinterest and I've come across some really cute ideas to try in my room!Next year, I wil have a "tattling turtle", a tattling flow chart for "When to Tattle", and spend lots of time talking about what is important to tell and what isn't.

But tattling isn't just a child problem. As adults, we are prone to "tattle" on others. How? Through gossip, being nosy, making assumptions, and sharing things with others that was never our place to share. Each time we stick our nose in someone else's business or share private information about someone else, we are tattling. It hurts just as much to adults as it does to children.

Why are other people's drama so attractive to us? Does their problems make us feel better about our own? Are we so insecure about who we are that in order to feel good about ourselves, we have to drag others down?

Many times I think that Christians are the worst about tattling. We "hide" the gossip by saying that we are just "concerned" about them and would like to pray for them. Hogwash..... we are just nosy. And when we do gain new knowledge, why do we feel the need to share that with others? Or assume we know who someone is talking about and then "tattle" back to that person? How in the world is THAT setting an example of Christ's love?

I'm guilty of tattling as well. I love to hear gossip about others. I love to be nosy and ask questions when it is not my "beez wax". I've also been guilty of making assumptions about other people, and repeating things that I should have never known. I'm sure my actions have hurt others. I will have to ask forgiveness for that, try to make ammends, and accept the fact that people may have lost their ability to trust me or that I have permanently lost friends.

The Bible says plenty about how we should live our lives.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV) commands us to "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Wow.... so when I DON'T mind my own business I am sinning. That's not a good thought.... I want to think that my actions aren't wrong, but they are. I want to think that it is harmless gossip, but it's not. I hate to think that something I might have done have hurt someone else. Or worse, caused someone else to stumble in their relationship with God. The worst? if my actions have caused someone to reject Christ.

So, now I know that it is wrong. I know that it can hurt others. How do I stop it? By guarding my mind and my tongue. I can only do that through God's help...

Psalm 141:3-5 (NIV) "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me- it is a kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it."

Lord, Help me to guard my ears and my mouth. Help me to stay away from gossip. Keep me from spreading it to others and causing pain with my words. Use my mouth as a way to glorify You and bring others to You. Amen.