Monday, July 28, 2014

99: proactive or waiting or remembering the big picture of hearing God's voice

On the Kindle app on my phone, I've been reading Kevin DeYoung's Just Do Something, alternative title being "How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc."

I just got in the mail Debbie Maken's Getting Serious about Getting Married.

I've also been contemplating arranged marriage a lot lately.

Notice a theme?

Despite all the proactive stuff I've read (including The Surrendered Single by Laura Doyle and Get Married by Candace Watters), there is a part of me that still knows that God is in control. I don't know how much is my responsibility and how much is His. I tend to think my generation has been far too mystical and lackadaisical about marriage. I know I'm probably too picky for my own good (tho, as I like to say, how can I be picky when I haven't had that many guys to refuse?). But I also know that God has done good things in my life these unplanned single years of my 20's, whether it is because He planned them or because He works all things out for good.

It took til 26 to bring me to a point where I really had to grapple with my singleness. I always had, but this was different. It was more dealing with unfairness and whether God knew best and why He would withhold something good from me. It began a time of figuring out who I am standing on my own two feet without continuing to hold out for a husband and family to define me. I questioned how hard you should work to be caught and how much God cares about the explicit details of possible suitors (does he just want you to get married and not get hung up over different convictions). It began a time of reconciling myself to the possibility of not getting married. And living without that hope. Seeing that my life didn't have that definite end and changing my course accordingly. And yet not letting go of hope.

I guess God is still God and life is about His kingdom and you still have to have a close relationship with Him and hear His voice whether you proactively pursue marriage, whether you acquiesce to an arranged marriage situation (caring more about character than falling in love), or whether you are still waiting on God to bring it to pass.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

98: admitting interest

"So I talked to this guy for three hours last night. But I'm not interested in him or anything!"

Why is it a virtue to not be interested in someone?

Have you noticed that?

Now to clarify, I'm not talking about teenage crushes that serve no purpose. And  I totally understand not wanting to share personal feelings because of their sacredness or wisely being discreet in who you share your feelings with.

Sometimes though I feel like I need to qualify to protect my own hide. No! I don't like him! It's okay. Nothing's happening.

Then sneaking another peek at his profile photo when no one's looking.

But isn't that what we want? How God designed us? For us to like someone and for something to happen?

Maybe that's why I've become less reserved in admitting at times, yes, I'm crushing right now. I would love something to happen. It probably won't. But I'm not ashamed of my choice--he's a good guy. And I'm ready for marriage! There's a purpose in my crushing.

I haven't quite gotten to the point of letting older friends set me up with strangers. I still laugh nervously and roll my eyes. Don't want to be desperate or anything!

"Dishonoring your desire to get married is a way of protecting yourself from disappointment . . . . Saying that you don't want what you want is not helpful." 
--Laura Doyle, The Surrendered Single

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

97: the trickiness of talking

I recently went to the Homeschool Alumni National Reunion in Oregon. For the last week or so since it ended, Facebook has been alive with friend requests, new photo albums, comments, likes, and instant messages. Crazy socialization frenzy!

The question used to be can you be "just friends" with a guy.

The question for me now is can you have instant message conversations with a guy on Facebook without leading him on and him thinking you like him?

I mean, I just minimized three instant message conversations I'm in the middle of with three guys that I'm not interested in!

I don't know. I wish I had someone to ask.

Would my future husband be bothered that I discussed favorite music with one and offered a virtual cookie to another over instant messenger on Facebook? And enjoyed doing so?

Am I willing to forego virtual male company even if it means I suffer that horrid alone feeling I know so well?

What does God think?

I don't want to be bound by extrabiblical rules. I do want to be wise and live rightly. I don't want to threaten my future husband. I don't want to be careless with others' feelings.

Lord, grant me wisdom.

(Maybe I'll find someone with brothers who will get their input for me!)

me at the reunion talking about church with two edited-faceless-for-privacy guys as we wait for the talent show to start

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

96: a delightfully silly prayer

The other night I was stalking, researching a prospective mate, browsing a friend's Facebook profile (no, I'm not going to tell you whose!), and amid the status reading and subconscious smiling, I paused and prayed, "Lord, keep this one in mind, ok?"

And then I had to smile.

Such a silly prayer, full of my girly, giggly emotional hype. Such a delightfully silly prayer, because God already knew he existed before I did, already knew he was an "option" before I thought of it, and didn't need me to point him out to Him. And yet He lets me point him out to Him. "Keep him as an idea when You're picking out someone for me, ok?"

A simple surrender.

I also really like this quote by Michelle McKinney Hammond, in her book Secrets of an Irresistible Woman, as quoted by Carolyn McCulley in Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? (tho I've begun Secrets and really enjoyed that too!):

"God, I think I really like this one. What do you know about him? What is the purpose of his being in my life? Is he the one for me? Should I proceed, or should I not waste my time on him?"

A simple, practical way to turn it to God.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

95: figure of speech

Sometimes I suspect that God isn't going to give me what I want. That perturbs me because, well, better is a bird in the hand than two in the bush. Sure I don't really have anything in my  hand, but I've got a good idea of what should be in there, and it's lovely and shimmery and fills my stomach with happy feelings. But when I look up and see that bush, and, what? is that a slight movement? I peek across my closed fist and my curiosity is aroused. Maybe there's something fantastic and amazing hidden but planned for me. But then I fret. What if it's, like, a gift that I have to grow into. You know, the bike that is just a little big for you now but you'll grow into it? What if it's beyond my comfort zone, and, as I imagine what it could be, Lord, I don't know if I want that--. Yet, if He gives me something a little too big for me to handle, He will handle it for me because it will be a God-sized future.

Is He going to give me the bird in the hand or the two in the bush? I don't know. Why does God like surprises so much???

"Prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them." -C.S. Lewis, as quoted in Laura Story's devotional What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, taken when I finally went to Hollywood last week (only lived in California all my life)

Friday, June 27, 2014

94: my trip

Last week I went to Mexico with my mom to visit missionary friends. It was a relaxing way to start the summer. We stayed in a house next to our friend's big house with a living room view of the ocean. We went on ATV rides on the beach and along the cliffs an hour north for breakfast. We went segunda (thrift store) shopping and ate lots of yummy food.

It was also spiritually refreshing. And it was nice to get away from most of the internet noise, though, to my chagrin, we had wi-fi. But it was so unpredictable! I read a lot, and watched a couple intense movies, three of them about the Holocaust, which actually was nice. I like intense sometimes.

I tried to write a bit. But I felt like I didn't know what to write, so my mom told me I should wait for inspiration to strike. Funny, that is usually my philosophy, but "real" writers work at it. Maybe I should stop being a real writer for now. Do it as it is--a hobby.

Last couple days I've been at school taking teacher classes on learning disabilities and ADHD. I love sitting there listening to someone else do all the work of teaching and me just being the student.

Am I rambling? Yes. Ah well.

There is something detrimentally lonely about looking at the clock at 10:30 or so at night and realizing that you and your dog are the only ones awake in the house.

And so I cast my words into the world wide web and try to feel not quite so alone.

I read some of what I wrote on the trip--a spiritual turn-around for my character--and I feel much better now. Thanks.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: Stuck Together

I've heard it said that authors should set up their characters and then put them in hot water and pour on the trouble.

That's exactly what Mary Connealy does in Stuck Together, book 3 of her "Trouble in Texas" series.

This is the first time I've received a free book to review from Bethany House Publishers. A free book, in exchange for an honest review? How could I turn down a free book? I was excited when I ordered it--they let you pick from a list of new books, or bypass them all and wait til next month--but then I started reading another book, got into that, and when Stuck Together came in the mail, and I opened it, I just wasn't that interested. But I had to read it so I could review it, so I left my other book at home and, somewhat grudgingly, brought this one to Mexico with me.

Thankfully, it only took a little while of setting the stage and introducing the characters before the action started. And once the action started, it didn't stop. In fact, more and more stuff started happening.

Abridged synopsis from the back of the book:

Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is showing signs of dementia. And his surprise sister quickly falls for one of Vince's best friends.

That's not even to mention a friend and his pregnant wife being shot at, an angry Indian tribe, a jail break, a stash of whisky bottles being found, and a manhunt. Meanwhile, as if Sheriff/Lawyer Vince's life wasn't crazy enough . . .

With nearly every other man in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with strong-willed Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen . . . .

And that's why I've gladly carried this book around the house with me and stayed up late reading, reading, reading to see what would happen next. Unlike my initial fears, it wasn't boring at all. At all. Stuck Together was one of those books that immediately took me to my happy place.

Frozen's song "For the First Time in Forever" has been doing that lately too. :-P