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.