Tuesday, December 23, 2014

129: Immanuel (the long version) (no, there is no short version)

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

That line struck me this year.

Singles, we know what it is to go through years of hoping. And simultaneously years of fearing what the future may or may not bring.

For thousands of years the world, the Jewish nation, had been waiting. Waiting for the Promise. Millennia on millennia until surely it must have felt like it would never come.

Was it a myth?

Something dreamed up to make them feel better about their lives? A coming Messiah to cure all woes?

Would He keep His promise after all this time?

How would they recognize him? Maybe he'd already come and they'd missed it!

And then, in a darkened cave on a hay sprinkled, hard dirt floor, all of history, Biblical and Ancient, converged and began to pivot.

He didn't come as they supposed. A conqueror to deliver them from Roman oppression. To save them from everything wrong about their circumstances and what made them unhappy with life.

He came as the Prince of Peace.

He came as the Truth.

He came as the Word of God, silently, so silently given.

The forgiver of sins.

He came and met their primary emotional need. The first need before every other emotional need.

Because, see, a change in their condition or circumstance was not what they needed or what would make them happy. Because Jesus is timeless. He is not for one situation or one people in one location.

He entered outside of time into time. And when He died on the cross to purchase us from our own consequences brought on ourselves, that sacrifice, in my unsubstantiated opinion, reverberated throughout eternity, and eternity was rewritten as if it had always been. He had always purchased you, in love. It was written even before the foundation of the world.

You might still feel under the oppression of the reigning power of lack and loneliness and hopeless desperation.

But in our dark street He still shineth. The everlasting light. And where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in and meets our soul's need for an Immanuel, a God who will be with us. A God who is with us.

He came, and He still comes, into our dark, gasping for change places. Was it His original desire for His people to be living as they did under Roman and religious oppression? No, I'm guessing not. But circumstances wax and wane. Even yours and my circumstances will change. Who He is, our Rock in a time of storm, the surveyor of all time and sovereign determiner of the kingdoms of men, the Keeper of our souls, will not change. He will be with you, always with you, pouring into you His peace and comfort and hope and joy whatever your current situation.

Guys we like will find girlfriends--or won't even realize we exist! We will cause pain with our fickleness. Relatives will ask us if we've found someone yet, and we'll use our self-control to politely shake our heads no--again. And yet . . . Immanuel. God won't turn away from us, won't stay right out of reach, won't unchoose or not choose us because we've messed up royally. Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father.

Is there a hope like this? There just isn't. It is the ultimate present all-year round.

His presence. Always with us.

Joy to the world!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

128: a short change of scene

Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy, 1940

"That chapter is definitely closed."
--Mr. Darcy in the b/w version of Pride and Prejudice

Guess what I just did?

I closed both my ChristianMingle and eHarmony accounts!

Granted, I haven't been paying for those services for awhile.

However, closing my accounts means I cannot go on ChristianMingle when I feel out of sorts and look at the plethora of profiles viewing my profile.

It also means I won't be waking up to e-mails that say...

So why did I close out my accounts?

I don't know. I guess I am finally ready to let go of my personal security blanket (which wasn't doing anything for me anyway) called my online dating profiles.


Hm, I think I need to change my blog description now. :-P

(I still stand fast by the opinion that online dating sites are great tools!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

127: takin' it to the Lord in prayer

I was getting ready for bed, thinking how it was getting late but I needed to spend God time, so I started praying as I washed up.

Lord, I pray--

I paused.

--that continuous, every day prayer.

I paused.

But that I rarely pray. Lord, I pray for a--

Any guess what comes next? It starts with hus and ends with band.

But I'm sure God was sick of hearing about that. Even if I actually don't pray for it very often. He hears my thoughts. He sees the constant theme and figuring out. I feel like I'm imposing, bringing it up to Him again. Like He'll tell me to drop it for once.

That is not God. Humans, yes. Humans reacting to that obsessive, teenage chatterbox in us that thinks the same pathetic thoughts over and over.

But God? Do I need to be ashamed to ask God about what I have already spent hours thinking about?

A friend shared the other day over potatoes and pancakes that she thinks the danger is not in what we think but is instead in not including God in our thoughts.

I can think and think and think, but the real action that can actually do something is stepping away from the drama on the lawn, running up onto the porch, and asking Mr. God about it. Yes, He sees it already and knows how silly some of my thoughts have been. But He doesn't reproach. He gives wisdom liberally to those who ask.

So even though the prayer for a husband and wisdom about boy-related issues might sound redundant and drama-ish and even stupid to an average human, I'm going to remember to feel free to take it to God anyway. He's been in my head for 29 years and still loves me. I think He can take my excessive wondering still.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

126: good guys

I spent this weekend with some really good guys, in person and via a Homeschool Alumni Skype chat.

Does that mean I'm interested in every single one of them because they are really good guys?

No. Because . . .

~Some guys have very different theological beliefs than I do.

~Some guys have different preferences/convictions than me, and I'm not comfortable altering my preferences/convictions to create a cohesive life together in the future.

~Some guys I enjoy their personality in a friendship but wouldn't want to be married to it.

~Some guys I'm not physically attracted to (although "attractiveness" in my mind is directly linked to personality as well).

I have six general things I look for in a guy (not necessarily in this order): Do I like him? Could I love him? Do I enjoy him? Can I trust him? Do I respect him? Will he be a spiritual leader?

I might enjoy and trust and respect a guy. But I cannot control whether I "like" him romantically (this drives me nuts sometimes). Or I might like a guy, but theologically I cannot go there.

That does not negate the fact that there are some genuinely good guys that I am proud to know and be friends with!

The Alamo...guess what we've been studying in class?

And that doesn't negate the fact that some of the good guys I know I could like and love if asked to go there with them!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

125: comparison

When my life-long friend got engaged, God gave me the grace to be happy for her. For the most part, I didn't struggle with pity parties of "but what about me?" Actually, I was more jealous that I was losing her to a husband than I was jealous that she got a husband!

When she got pregnant, that's when I began to struggle. It's the comparison problem. It isn't about her and her life. It's about me and what I have or have not.

Emotion clutches my heart. It points at me and then points to my friend. Then points to my friend and points back at me. It grabs my face and pulls me to look at her through the eyes of my own desires and lusts. It paints her happiness with the ugly and painful hues of comparison.

The emotion comes. It snatches my heart and twists, wanting me to either cry or harden my heart. I take the thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I am freed.

Someone posted a photo on Facebook of my friend's baby boy, held in the arms of his recently married 18 year old aunt. The caption read something like, "She wants her own baby now."

My immediate reaction was not, "Oh, that's so cute and sweet." No. It was "Oh, come on. Wait for a bit. You got married at 18. Let the rest of us in our 20s and 30s catch up to you before you go on and have children too!"

It's comparing, isn't it? It's coveting, isn't it? It's wicked, isn't it? And ugly and consuming and unprofitable and not based on truth.

What do I believe about marriage? I believe it's ordained of God and is good. What do I believe about children? I believe they are a gift from God and that part of the purpose of a godly marriage is to produce godly offspring.

But when my emotions grab me, what I believe and what I think separate.

No. Orthopraxy. Live what I believe.

Fortunately, I don't serve a God whose motto is "become your best self." I serve a God who acknowledges that I am a covetous, envious sinner who has been redeemed with the precious blood of the Lamb, and that it is NOT my power that overcomes my tears as I bang my fists into my pillow late at night crying "why not me?" but it is the power of the Holy Spirit, God of the Universe, the one who spoke light into existence, who can comfort my heart, turn my eyes off of myself, and teach me to walk in His ways.

The amazing thing about dealing with singleness is that it really applies to all areas of life where God is sovereign and I am not.

Friday, November 21, 2014

124: objectivity

I might have mentioned this before, because it is something that I really appreciate.

I really appreciate the objectivity of God.

I love that my God is both in my circumstances and above my circumstances.

I love that God puts objective beauty all around me whether I choose to gaze at it or not.

I love that God has a place called heaven prepared for me no matter what subjective chaos may or may not happen here.

I love that God sees and is present in my past, present, and future even if I forget how the past has molded me or have no idea where He's taking me.

I love that the cross is an unmoveable event in history and that its sufficiency to save me is unchangeable.

I love that God is with me when I change.

I love that God brings the thread of my childhood into my present and says, "I AM."

I love that God is.

And that's not dependent on me.

sorry, couldn't get rid of the red-eye

God has blessed me over and over these last several months. My cup overflows. Tomorrow everything could change. But I am very thankful for today and yesterday's and the day before's happiness, laughs, satisfaction, and peace. (Explanation: Yes, I blog about singleness and its craziness and my fluctuating emotions, but I don't blog about the rest of my life, which happens to be pretty great! Not that singleness isn't...oh, nevermind. :) Anyway, if I could I would be plastering every post with pix of my students! And if I was writing a teacher blog, I would be telling about all the cool stuff we've been getting to do! But that's not what this particular blog is about. :))

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

123: surprise! and a summary

When it comes to guys, I'm a list checker offer and a box fitter inner. I've never been good with the "you're marrying a person, not a list" counsel. But I've been working on it. I really have! I think I'm getting better at it too. And I think I'm finding it's more enjoyable this way. Imagine that!

I'm not very fond of surprises though. I worry when I'm getting to know a fellow that some unforeseen info about him will pop out, or the counselors in my life will discern something unhealthy, and without warning my image of who he is will crumple in upon itself and everything be ruined. That what I know of reality will be altered with a single word. That new information will tug me toward the black hole of bewilderment, despair, and, finally, dismissal of my fellow.

So, while I'm trying to be more gracious and think of prospects as holistic human beings instead of check boxes, I still fear what I will find out as I get to know them, ie. that he whom I'm emotionally invested in might not be who I thought he was.

Solution? Well, still working on that. But perhaps a solution would be thinking of a guy as a whole and ask myself whether incoming new info defines who he is or is just a deviance from the normal good will of his heart and upright character of his life.

That means I have to know a fellow and spend enough time with him in person to trust his heart. Which is why online dating and long distance relationships are not going to work for me. I need to see the 3D person in action, not black words on a white screen telling me who he thinks he is.

random picture from my school year

To summarize this series of fears, with God's help I'm working on overcoming the fear of what others might think of me, the fear that I'll turn fickle as soon as I get into a relationship, and the fear of finding out something horrible about the fellow in my life.

So, I need to keep working on killing my pride, having faith in God to get me through my scared emotions, depending on Him as my faithful Lord and Rock no matter how earthly reality might change, and having courage to move forward despite my worries!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

122: leading them on

Lord, keep me from dealing falsely.

I wrote this as a note on my phone earlier this week. It can be applied so many ways, but the most applicable way is how I deal with guys I like.

Without trying to and without doing so consciously, I have in the past toyed with the hearts of the guys pursuing me. I have strung them along, not willing to be all in, not wanting to let go. I've blamed my behavior on fickleness, on jumping ahead and ignoring the Lord's voice, on not wanting to cause hurt and not wanting to go through the pain of a breakup, on wanting to make things work. Whatever it is, I have dealt falsely with a couple guys and have felt the guilt.

Now I live with the fear that dealing falsely is what is in this wicked, deceptive heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and that that is what I will naturally do again.

I need God's supernatural power to do a work on my flesh so I will walk in the Spirit and not defraud my brothers.

I need to carefully walk with wisdom. Lord, search and know my heart so I don't jump where I will immediately falter upon landing. Help me be patient and even content with what You have blessed me with so that I don't rush and ruin the beauty You may be creating. Give me self-control so I don't start down a path, trying to make something work, when you haven't even told me to go that way. Show me Your way for me right now so I don't move forward based on my desires and earthly wisdom.

These are the kinds of prayers I need to burn upon my heart so that I will not deal falsely next time.

And then the equally vital prayer: Lord, grant me the courage to move forward and not be trapped or controlled by fear that I will deal falsely again. Because You are faithful, and that is more true than my fear.

It's fear-exposing time at my blog. To read about my fear of what others might think, click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

121: what if they think he's too...

In the spirit of overthinking, overanalyzing, etc., I've been examining my fears. There are many things I can talk myself through. But fears ain't one of them. Fears regarding relationships just seem so rational! How can I combat rational thought?

I wrote a little while back about wanting a trophy husband. I'm still wrestling back and forth with what kind of fellow I'd like. (Ok, I know what kind I'd like, but that doesn't mean it's God's best for me or that I'd be happier with it in the long run.) But in the meantime I read a quote that really blessed me.

See, at times I become interested in someone enough to the point of letting other people know (for the purpose of prayer, of course!). And then they want to see a picture, or they want to meet him, and all of a sudden I feel like I have to qualify the guy.

After about 8 months of having unorganized book shelves,
I couldn't take it any longer!
Organized bookshelves=happiness
And here's where I was going to give a bunch of examples of how I've qualified guys in the past/present, but someone might stumble across this post and trace the live examples back to the original people, so I think I'll refrain.

You know, I'll say, "yeah, he's not that good looking" or "but he has this annoying characteristic." Why? Because I don't want those whom I've informed about my crush to come back with a raised eyebrow after meeting him. I don't want them to be thinking secret negative thoughts about why I would like him without me preempting and predicting those thoughts beforehand.

I am sometimes judgmental. Looking at a FB wedding photo of college acquaintances, I'll think, "Oh, he's not good looking and I remember him as awkward. But she's really cute. Why did she end up with him?" (And then I see all their parenting pictures a year later and go, "Ohhh, they're such a cute family! He looks like such a loving husband and father!)

So I superimpose that judgmentalness on others, I suppose. Or I reveal my heart: I want to preserve my own self-importance by pointing out all my blessed fellow's flaws before those who are soon to see/meet him. Maybe I'm subconsciously thinking I'll taint my own perfection by admitting I like a guy without listing his imperfections in tandem.

But back to the quote that blessed me. Gini Andrews gave me--gave all of us--the freedom not to please everyone. This has nothing to do with asking for and listening to wise counsel. Rather, it's about the freedom to ditch the fear of what others will think about the inconsequential things that I'm afraid they're going to judge me for seeing past.

"Is your mind 'like concrete: all mixed up and firmly set?' What would you do if you met an attractive man but he was twenty-five years older than you? Or even ten years younger? Certainly there are problems, but if it should be God's man knocking at your door, you're going to miss out on a wonderful experience. Don't you even want to know what this man is like? Never mind the Ladies' Sewing Circle or the Missionary Guild! This is your life! You're never going to please everyone -- never. You are God's woman; His servant, yes, but also His princess. Ask Him what He wants you to do." 
--Gini Andrews, Your Half of the Apple: God & the Single Girl (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

120: holiday season

The good news.

Our school doesn't have the typical 1-2 week fall break. We have minimum days for parent-teacher conferences, Veteran's Day, and a few days off at Thanksgiving. So the fall tends to go on and on and the light at the end of the tunnel that is paved with crafts and program practices is Christmas break.

So the good news is that it's already November and although I do feel like I'm dragging, I feel completely confident that we will keep going strong until the Christmas reprieve.

The bad news.

I love autumn. I've always thought it the most romantic season, especially as it heads into the holidays. The last week has been the first time I felt I was able to breathe and take a look around and see the changing colors.

But the bad news is I can feel the romance bug biting me the same as it does every fall. Which means I'm more susceptible to thinking, then saying, things I'll regret in January when the leaves, er, scales, fall off my eyes and I can see again. It also means I'm starting to overthink, overanalyze, and just plain play boggle with my contented life.

It's a fun season.

Stick around for the festivities.

Monday, November 10, 2014

119: running from loneliness

the joy in my life right now: teaching 2nd and 3rd graders!
A few posts ago I said I was going to work for the quiet moments and embrace the loneliness.

I am here to say that in this specific season of my life that was a bad idea.

I wasted time. I stayed up way too late watching Princess Diaries 2. I felt the insatiable ache and had no control over bringing it to goodness. It hurt, with no redeeming quality.

On the other hand, not to speak for God, but it does seem like He has provided a way for me to live in contentment. For me it's called getting to bed on time (or close to it). It's called working hard (or even playing hard). It's called living, not letting the angst fester.

I am thankful I have a job that I can put my all into.

I'm thankful I have a job that keeps me busy and gives my life, oh, so much purpose.

I'm not saying that what I thought a few posts ago was wrong, but you have to know yourself. For me currently inviting loneliness would not be a spiritual act, not when I let myself be sucked into the middle of it and it feels like it's chasing me around, and since it's inside me I can't hide from it.

Know yourself. Know what season of life you're in. Listen to God's wisdom. Act accordingly.

Ok, off to prepare for bed. :)

P.S. If you are going to stay up late though, you should spend it watching the YouTube channel Blimey Cow. XD Especially Jordan's Messyges.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

118: pity party vs. truth

Yesterday I was switching my wet clothes into the dryer when my arm knocked over a nearly empty and very grimy jug of liquid detergent head first into the washer. I imagined the last flow of soap pouring onto my clothes and getting them soapy again, and if not that, then all that nasty dirt and lint and germs on the plastic jug shaking off onto my clean clothes and ruining my flow of laundry loads. Meanwhile a really nice blouse that needed to be line dried fell off onto the dirty garage floor. I flipped out. Fortunately, only my dad could hear my raised, panicked, frustrated, stressed out voice, and he didn't come running to see what was wrong. I headed into the house, my shoulder muscles tingling tensely, and washed my hands. (Fyi, my laundry was fine.)

It reminded me of Friday. Sometimes as a teacher you can either let students alone and throw the grades up in the air and see where they land, or you can work superbly hard to try to try to try to try to try (sound like a broken record yet?) to get a student to thiiiiiiiink and learrrrrrrn (insert my whining voice and whimpering). And some days at the end of a long week where one of our staff quits and unintentionally leaves the rest of us hanging, I hold my head in my hands and want to tell everyone to just please stop, just stop talking and raise your hand first please! (Ok, I think I actually did that.)

I'm learning a lot about myself via teaching. One of which is I don't know how I could be a homeschool parent. Or a mother. Like, I don't know how I could parent well and sanely and with patience and kindness because mothers don't have evenings and weekends off. And little people require a lot of calmness. And control. And patience. And not freaking out over dropped laundry and toppled detergent.

So yesterday evening I was driving down the road thinking about my singleness (snort) and after reviewing the last two days performance thought, "Well, maybe God is waiting until I can't have kids anymore to bring me a husband because He knows I wouldn't do well with kids."

Eeeerrrrrt! Stop! Reverse.

No. That is a pity party. That is not truth. The truth is I want kids. Always have. The falsehood is that God will not give that to me because I'm not good enough. The truth is that God's grace is sufficient, and if He chooses or does not choose to give me children of my own to raise then He will supernaturally give me the power to face every day in a way that glorifies Him regardless of my own ability.

I find pity parties sometimes come very slyly upon me. They come in the form of resigning myself to something that I don't need to resign myself to simply to erect a wall of identity behind which to hide and lick my wounds. "Yeah, I would probably make a mess of it anyway, so it's just as well." Translation? I want xyz, and I'm hurting right now, so I'm just going to say that I'm a horrible person (or not pretty enough or funny enough or too brash or too confusing anyway) and pretend that it's all okay when it's not.

Reversing the pity party can be painful, but I would rather live in the light of truth than behind a wall of excuses.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

117: tick...tick...tick...

See, it used to be those people, those older friends. Those adults.

Now it's me, or rather people my age, families I could be having. People younger than me with two year olds.

And I'm just over here sleeping in the day bed I've had since I was 5, calling my four students my "kids," and dreaming of growing old with my dog.

It's not me creating a family and it doesn't seem like it will be.

But when I see a sick child with sandy colored hair cuddled up with his mom on the bench, covered with a soft train blanket, I can't help feeling wistful and like I'm missing out.

As I look back at my image in the full length mirror in the school restroom I panic just a little at the thought of getting older and never having a person by my side to smile at me along the way.

It's not always about finding fulfillment or purpose in the single life. Sometimes it's about God-designed biological clocks and navigating your way around its ticking.

Hashtag resigning myself to perpetual singleness

Hashtag trying to be content if that's God's will

"growing old with my dog"

P.S. I wrote the above last week. This week I'm thinking an adaptation on arranged marriage might be a plausible solution to perpetual singleness, depending on God's will. Yes, that sounds like a joke. No, it's not, these have really been my thoughts. Yes, I agree, my dog is really cute, thank you. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

116: short thoughts on leaving a legacy

I was toodling along, thinking of accreditation and a vibrant classroom atmosphere, when Natalie Grant's song "Legacy" came on the radio. And it connected the dots for me why I always felt if I had a husband and kids my life would have purpose. When you have kids, it's in your face every day that you are having an impact, good or bad. You are leaving a legacy and it is unavoidable. As a single, you have to leave a legacy more intentionally. It's easier to forget that you're making an impact by how you live. You have to think about how your life counts and live on purpose or else the years pass by and it feels like there are no long term results.

At least, that's how it seems for me.

because we all know if you live in the country you'll leave a better legacy than elsewhere...JUST KIDDING!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

115: on lonely and/or quiet moments

A concept from the Harrison Ford version of Sabrina has stuck with me ever since I first watched it a couple months ago. Sabrina, far away in Paris, goes home every night to her photograph of David. A colleague tells her, "You seem embarrassed by loneliness, by being alone." Her colleague more or less encourages her to embrace it as a starting point.

Afraid of loneliness, I clog it up with Facebook and movies when I'm not at work. But what would loneliness propel me toward if I did let myself feel it? Would it propel me toward marriage? Toward God? Toward depression?

I've been trying to reacquaint myself with quietness again. It's hard work. I enjoy filling my hours with work and people and entertainment.

I had learned to fear the still moments, because it is then you remember that which it is safer to forget. Worries and burdens I can't handle. When prayer for help makes things worse because I am thinking about my problems again. Strivings within me that I can't solve. I filled those lonely moments.

But now it seems different. Quietness feels like an old friend I'm rediscovering. Oh, I haven't spent a whole lot of time in the media-void-silence yet. But, I'm experimenting with the moments I do seize, and it seems good.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

114: stronger

"You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me"

You know what terrifies me? The man that falls hard and falls fast, who loves deeply and over whom a girl has tremendous power to bring incandescent happiness or, through her vacillating mind and emotions, to bring confusion and deep pain.

Forgive the comparison, but it seems God has the same depth of love for us. He staked the life of His own Son on that love. As with anything God does, He loves us completely and fully, not holding back.

"The love of God
has been poured out in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit"

God does not require His love to be reciprocated though. Like when He put Abraham to sleep and passed through the covenant by Himself, holding up both ends of the agreement, so He loves because He loves. He demonstrated His love while we were still enemies of His. He wasn't a gallant knight, laying His life on the line for the fair maiden who would lavish kisses on him when he returned.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us
In that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us"

I don't respond to God's love because I pity him and don't want him to feel bad. I respond because who He is commands loyalty, obedience, and worship. I respond to Him not because I have tremendous power to bring Him joy or pain, but because He is strong enough to put up with my unfaithfulness, disobedience, and self-serving and still call me back again and again.

"Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God
Our God"

Humans can't do that. God can. And thus my God is stronger and greater than any other. He is my Rock, and there is no one like Him.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

113: young marrieds, old singles

My mom and I drove up to Oregon this weekend to attend the wedding of two 18 year olds.

In anticipating the wedding, all I could think about was how young they were. Crazily young. Just kids.

But seeing the bride walk down the aisle, focused only on the young man at the front of the church, I began to accept that she was ready. As I saw them stand up there, holding hands, eyes only on each other, I told myself, "This is right." Because it was. Is. This joining of two young lives into one is not only ridiculous--how can they possibly know what they are getting themselves into?--but also undeniably right.

fall theme

Her sister, my friend since we were five years old, is now married and will give birth to her firstborn, a son, in less than a month (Lord-willing!). The last few months I've begun struggling with this idea of being single without hope of change, and accepting it. Figuring out what to do with the thoughts of being the single adopted aunt who drives up on her days off to visit her childhood friend, her husband, and her son. How many years will it be like that? Nothing has changed in the last 10. What guarantee do I have that it will change in the next 3? Do I accept the position? Or do I refuse to accept even a hint of the thought that I'm becoming the old maid? Or do I reconcile myself to something in between resigned singleness and hoping against hope?

Meanwhile, soft reminders speak to me. They say I have more value than whether I'm married. That there are still plans for my life. It's the voice I've heard from my youth. And I reply, "Yes, Lord, I know that is true, but I still want this." Still, it's a comfort.

We'll see how life progresses.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

112: a different good

Why not me? The quiet question my psyche asks in the temporary disturbance of freshly raked-over discontent.

Because your story is different, the reply comes.

I've found as a lover of the study of grammar and writing that I have to appreciate this answer. Even as my old dreams die and what I thought was good passes me by, ie. even though humanly I squirm at the plot assigned me, the love of writing in me acknowledges that not everyone gets to play the same part. A book needs different characters with different traits and different plot lines. My dream dies so the author's dream can live. My idea of good doesn't happen so another good can be my own.

To desire is human; to make petitions and requests is holy; to cry out to the Lord is comforting; to discontentedly envy others is sin.

I look at others and am not happy. I look at the path my own story has taken, and I am content to wait on His plot twist a little longer.

"He has been faithful. He will be again."

P.S. This school year is going amazingly well, and I wouldn't trade it with anyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

111: redeeming God

I love clouds. I love the emotions and drama they paint in the sky.

The last few years, though, I've wondered if it's okay to love them so much since aren't they a product of the Fall? Were there clouds before there was rain, and was there even rain before the Great Deluge?

Today, driving home, I saw a peacock wisp of a cloud, and it struck me. Beauty from ashes. This is proof that God brings beauty out of ashes.

I serve the Great Redeemer. Clouds might be the result of a world-wide opening up of the skies to punish sin. But even so, God has taken that and created something beautiful.

A friend of mine will soon be a step-mom. She would rather the original family have stayed intact for the sake of those she loves. Is a step-family second best?

God is able to do what seems impossible to me. Yes, He can create something beautiful from nothing. But He can also pick up the broken pieces of the original, and instead of gluing the shattered pieces back into a shabby copy of the original, He transforms and redeems and makes something newly beautiful.

That confounds me. How can a do-over be beautiful too? I feel hesitant to suggest that a re-creation can be equally beautiful to the original design. But isn't everything God makes beautiful?

That's what each of us are. A shattered people redeemed as new creations.

And so I can love clouds anew. They are proof that God is the great Redeemer.

Monday, September 22, 2014

110: of icecream, trophy husbands, and kissing babies

When you are single for a long time, you don’t think of marriage less, necessarily. You simply have more time for your ideas and thoughts to churn and morph and melt and thicken and be re-flavored and . . . when did this become an ice cream analogy?

I took this picture off the internet, and now I feel I have to clarify
that I did not take this sumptuous photograph.
Anyway, I have imbibed some unhealthy notions the last couple years, and it’s taken til now for me to put a label on them.

See, I had decided that what I primarily wanted in a potential husband was someone who I would not be embarrassed to be in public with. Someone who I could be proud to introduce to my family and all my diverse groups of friends.

Even now, the thought gives me happy, warm fuzzies.

In other words, I have wanted a trophy husband.

And I've even gotten to where I can slide a little on less shallow things, like spiritual depth, to get a man whom I can always look up to and respect in that way. If after we were married he became a little distant, at least I could always hold him up as my . . . trophy.

I'm rethinking that notion now. I'm wondering whether I might rather have someone with good character, spiritual depth, and meaningful conversation, even if I have to make excuses for him sometimes or roll my eyes or laugh at him. That's how my friends are after all. I can overlook their quirks because I enjoy being with them. And, to be honest, I'm rather proud to have my friends as friends. But for some reason, once I slap the label "prospect husband" on a fellow . . . I go beserk. He takes on a whole new hue, never before seen through the eyes of "friend."And not that of a rosy love-light either.

Not that I have a bevvy of young men to filter through (I'm done with online dating for now), but it is worth reexamining my unspoken notions.

Meanwhile I came across the funniest picture on FB. Funny because it was so unsubtle.

The article was really good though. And short. I decided not to share it on FB because it would come off a little bold from a girl, but you can read it here.

A few parting quotes from my new bandwagon book, Getting Serious about Getting Married by Debbie Maken. As always, use your own discernment. If God is not speaking to you about this, shelf it.

" . . . God prefers our enthusiasm and embrace of his design to lukewarm neutrality."

"Why would God make us desire marriage by design and then test us to assure our ambivalence toward that very design?"

"God desires your openness and honesty about your desire--not a false ambivalence . . . ."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

109: space model

I think I've mentioned before that I was once told that I'm too picky about guys. I don't flat out disagree, and I don't flat out agree. But the other week a very wise friend presented to me a model for how to prioritize my checklist.

I call it "The Space Model." And I drew a handy dandy illustration in Paint to help you visualize it! Below is my paraphrase of his advice, but of course, it was better coming from the horse's, er, the fellow's mouth.

Non-Negotiable Core: Here you put your few non-negotiables, the essentials that a prospect bf/gf/spouse must have. For example, "must be a Christian and have a personal relationship with the Lord." No arguments, no bending, isn't relative to how wonderful the guy is. If he doesn't have the core qualifications, he's not even on the wish list. Limit what you put here or else you really are picky (those are my words, not his).

Ring of Fire: Here you put the qualities that are almost important enough to be core essentials, but, depending on the person, could be overlooked, maybe. In the words of my friend, if you and the other person are able to put out the fire, then you deserve marriage. But if you play around with these, you'll get burnt. Some people might put "Calvinist" or "Non-Calvinist" here.

Asteroids, or Bricks: These are all the other details. Some are big and important and almost go in the Ring of Fire. Some are preferences, like "he needs to be taller than me." (Hopefully we can be sensible and put that in our Asteroid Belt and not in our Ring of Fire? Maybe we can make it one of the big asteroids near the Ring of Fire??) Like bricks, you get enough of these objections in a relationship compiled one on top of the other and suddenly you have a wall. Can the wall be torn down if the two of you work together? If so, great! But maybe the wall has been reinforced with metal girdings and glued together and ain't budgin'. How you handle the asteroids or bricks is up to you. These are topics to navigate one by one with the guy in your life.


My checklist tends to be a more nebulous this, this, this, this, that, not that, not THAT, maybe this, wish this, hope there's this, etc. I think the Space Model way of prioritizing what you want in a potential spouse is a good way of gaining perspective about what really is important to you and God's will for you.

So when Well-Meaning-Relative wants to know why you aren't interested in Such-A-Good-Guy, rather than wrinkling your nose in that all-encompassing facial expression that says, "Uh uh, please don't bring up such a nasty suggestion again," you can say, "Ah, well, you see, our differences land us in the Ring of Fire and I'm not willing to go fight fires over him," or, possibly, "Hm, you're right. We only have a few asteroids between us. Maybe I should give him a chance!"

In the meantime, go read this post by Holly Stallcup that sounds eerily reminiscent of my own thoughts!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

108: sovereignty and singleness

"God has no obligation to intervene and override the results of our [cultural] sin. . . .

"Are . . . women suffering singleness as a result of their culture? Yes. Are they also compounding the problem with their own sin? Yes. Is God able to intervene and provide a worthy husband for every one of these women? Of course. Will he? Probably not. There comes a time when God takes his hands off and lets us deal with the consequences we've brought about (Romans 1:24-28)."

--Debbie Maken, Rethinking the Gift of Singleness, chapter 6

This quote is not talking about God's personal involvement in our lives, what He's doing and what He has planned. Rather I typed it out here because it helps me understand how so many Christian young women I know are still single and why God allows it if He is sovereign. God is not obligated to provide husbands when our culture and the church have chosen to turn away from encouraging timely marriage. He is still in control, He still uses all things for His glory, but He does not always override culture.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Bride in Store book review

Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride--

Well, of course I was going to pick that book to review! Who says that arranged marriages and mail-order brides don't make for fascinatingly romantic stories? I don't!

Melissa Jagears has written an engaging, well-developed story, but if I tell you what it's about, I'll give it away. Let's just say, Eliza, the mail-order bride-to-be, meets someone before she meets her fiance, which causes . . . plot developments.

I have two complaints about this story, both minor.

1) The ending is obvious for a long time (most of the book?) but it takes the characters forever to finally achieve their happily ever after! The story is drawn out with few real threats to make one wonder if they'll end up with each other.

2) Near the end, there is a short conversation about how the way so-and-so kissed such-and-such was so passionate and unlike any kiss another-so-and-so had ever been kissed, even by her husband, and thus this was evidence that so-and-so really cared for such-and-such beyond a shadow of a doubt. (Got that?) I think there is a false implied corollary here, probably unintended by the author, that true deep love is evidenced by passionate deep kisses. I think that philosophy could destroy a potentially wonderful romantic relationship and marriage, especially for those of us who are saving our kisses til marriage. Can't really prove before marriage whether the love is deep and passionate if you have to have an amazing kiss to know! But passion isn't an evidence of love, and I would hate to have one novel cause me to think that if a guy isn't "I'm going to lose her and so I'm going to kiss her like I've never kissed her before" passionate that I am then settling for second best.

Otherwise, this book was worth the wait of putting off other novels til it arrived in the mail. The characters were diverse and likeable, the subplots interesting.

As always, I was given this book free of charge from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

107: school update

I'm in the middle of my 3rd week teaching 2nd/3rd grade, and I have to admit, compared to my first year of teaching 1st/2nd and not having a clue of what I was doing, and compared to last year where I had 2nd/3rd/4th with behavior issues and nearly QUIT before the end of the first semester, I am so very content and pleased to only be teaching 2nd/3rd with a relatively equal range of abilities across the board. It's a blessing, and I'm just going to enjoy it!

Monday I went to school and felt off. Ever have those days? And then we didn't get everything done, which didn't help. Yesterday, again we didn't get everything done. But, yesterday I taught the kids (off the cuff, sans dictionary) that "hope" is believing "there is still good." And you know what my good has been, even if at times I miss something and feel unaccomplished? I am teaching. I'm not pushing my kids through textbooks, and I'm not jumping from grade to grade like a plate spinner. I'm actually standing in front of them leading them in gestures and hand motions and chants so they can REMEMBER and I'm assessing and evaluating and giving them immediate corrective exercises so they can GROW and I'm sharing and engaging and teaching them so they can LEARN.

That. feels. good.

Today we did so much, it was rather amazing. It wasn't a perfect day. I need to give myself some corrective exercises (like teaching myself not to let one child effect my behavior). But so far, folks, it's been a good year.

Learning to abide, rejoice, not complain, and love,
preparing for 9/11

Friday, August 22, 2014

106: the star you can almost touch

Some days one's dream feels so close to becoming reality you feel like you could reach out and touch it. No reason for it. No evidence. Just an irrational hope. Irrational, unreasonable, full of fancy and wind and sprightly wisps of cloud. And yet, what is the worth of dreaming without a little hopeless hope?

You know, the Bible has some wonderful things to say about hope. I love the passage in Romans 4 about God and Abraham.

". . . God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; [Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations . . . He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:17-21)

I don't have a promise from God, just a desire. But sometimes it seems right edifying to, contrary to hope, in hope believe, and entrust the impossible to Him who is in my future right now.

Tuesday's back to school art project

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

105: all I need?

For a couple years at least I subconsciously wrestled with the idea of telling God, "You are all I need." I was afraid that God would dump me in the middle of some situation (e.g. a foreign country where no one speaks my language and there are no believers and no internet and maybe even everyone I know has vanished off the face of the earth) where I would be terrifyingly alone and go crazy.

But, it finally occurred to me recently that God is my provider. "You are all I need," does not have to mean that God is all I need in the sense of, oh, I don't really need food or water or air to survive, I just need YOU. It doesn't mean oh, here at school, I don't need curriculum and administrative help and fellow teachers to bounce ideas off of, I just need YOU. And it doesn't mean, oh, I don't need a friend or my family I just need YOU.

What it means, at least to me :-P, is that God is my provider. So, contrary to my fears, He's not going to leave me stranded without what He deems, or knows, I need. So yes, He is my all in all because He is with me every moment, He knows me, He has made me and knows my needs, and He will provide according to His riches in glory.

Not by my standards or wishlist, of course, but according to the standard of His infinite love and goodness and plans for my sanctification.

He is all I need because of who He is and because He is my provider.

And depending on anyone else to provide for my needs will not work.

blogging on my new computer in my classroom-in-progress

Sunday, August 17, 2014

104: a cloud of witnesses

I hurried up the church walkway and could easily hear the chorus of strong voices behind the closed windows. Inside, the fellowship hall was packed out with believers holding hymnals and belting out praise songs. A good, old-fashioned hymn sing.

I watched one young girl, about 10 years old, her eyes darting here and there as her lips moved. So observant. I wondered if she was taking in the exuberant worship of the large Filipino lady, praising her Jesus. Or if she was learning how to fall in love the Christian way by watching her brother and his fiance sitting across from her. And even if she didn't appreciate it now, she would be influenced by the heritage of her grandma who stood up and exhorted the young people of the church to learn and memorize God's Word now while we are still free to do so.

She is growing up in a community, a long-time community of children, parents, and grandparents.

Yesterday I went to a fundraiser function put on by my old church. Little girls that I had known when I was in highschool were now reintroduced to me as young ladies either in college or about to go to college. One girl had moved and was searching for a church to get involved in there. Another girl was planning on going to Bible college. I marveled. They were still following the Lord. And I remembered. They, too, had spent all these years surrounded not only by a community of believers, but by parents and grandparents that loved and followed Jesus.

Sitting in on the hymn sing, I saw a sweet beauty in the church community gathered together. There is a feeling of security to see the next generation rising up surrounded by older believers urging them on.

"One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts."
Psalm 145:4

Saturday, August 16, 2014

103: when hubby expects your day off to be a day spent with him

Excuse the marriage metaphor. Give me a sec.

I'm a teacher in the the throes of preparing for a new school year to start on the 25th. This last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, my brain and body have been in school-mode, with the slight variation of dreaming last night of decorating my classroom Doctor-Who style (I didn't actually dream of Tardis blue, it was just a general impression when I woke up that that's what I had dreamt).

what I'll be seeing every day as I teach--the yellow bulletin board, not the mess!
I also believe in keeping one day a week as a sabbath to God, based off of Genesis 2 (God hallowed and blessed the seventh day and rested on it--I'm not Adventist and I have no plans of joining a seventh-day church; sometimes I take my sabbath on Sundays.). During the summer I don't do this as much because "every day's a holiday," but during the school year I try to be more intentional. It is such a blessing. A day where I have permission to recharge and not think about school.

But sometimes it is inconvenient. And sometimes it seems mentally impossible.

As I was laying in bed this morning, lounging through the mid-morning hours because I CAN, I was browsing through teacher blogs on my phone, repinning great ideas, making notes to myself of what I want to remember to do this next week before school starts.

Bear with this illustration, but I could imagine if God was my husband, him saying something like, "Babe, this is your day off. I thought we were going to spend the day together."

And me, scrolling past photos of lime green book bins and rows of ocean blue chairs, going, "I know......."

Now I believe God gives us grace for those times when we just can't mentally turn off and focus on Him. And I also think that we can turn our current preoccupations into prayers: "Lord, help me teach so-and-so this year."

But, as with a husband, I think God also deserves more of my intentional time on His appointed day than I gave him today. I think I need it desperately too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

102: what to expect when you're expecting a difficult year...or, renewing the mind in advance

Here are my thoughts before I officially go back to school tomorrow. (I welcome prayer and accountability.)

I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed (Psalm 77:3). Maybe complaining aids overwhelmtion?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (2 Thes. 5:16-18).

Love others (John 15:9-12). It's not something I've practiced, but like the verse above, it's clearly God's will. I cannot do wrong in trying to do God's explicit will.

"What have I to dread? What have I to fear? leaning on the everlasting arms. I have perfect peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms."

And above all, my goal, by God's grace, is to abide in Him (Jn 15).

I cannot ward off the complaining now. I cannot give myself an immunization shot of hope to battle despair. I cannot get all the sleep now for the rest of the year or do all the grading now or even do all the lesson planning now.

I cannot fortify myself now for the upcoming school year. So I remind myself that today's obedience and abiding in Christ is fighting the war.

I would have lost hope unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

"You're an overcomer! Stay in the fight til the final round. You're not going under! Cuz God is holding you right now. You may be down for a moment, feelin' that it's hopeless. That's when He reminds you. You're an overcomer." --Mandisa

P.S. I AM excited about going back to school and am glad I'm going back tomorrow!
P.S.S. Another reminder to self: Only abiding in Christ will achieve effective results. Abiding in chocolate, Doctor Who, cheap library book sales, cute decor, or time alone with a movie and icecream just won't. Not that they aren't blessings God uses sometimes!

Monday, August 4, 2014

101: no, not dalmatians

Is it just me or has anyone else ever prayed, "Lord, I pray that he would pursue someone so I can stop thinking of him"?

Maybe that's just me. (and hey, God has answered this prayer before!)

On a different note, have you ever thought, "I'm missing it. I'm missing it big, and now everyone knows it. And I should know better by now! I do know better. But I forgot. *sideways mouth face*"?

That's me.

This year, my goal for the school year is to spend more time with the Lord every day, pray more, and overall, abide more.

I have my excuses and justifications why I didn't last year. For one thing, praying meant thinking about my problems, and thinking meant being overwhelmed again, and being overwhelmed meant depression, hopelessness, giving up, and looking for icecream.

And yet, mid-year, when God showed me that I hadn't been abiding, the horrible, rotten, no-good year began to change.

I want God's help this year. I NEED His help. I need Him IN me.

That's just in the area of school. Then I open this book a friend lent me (she reads my blog...maybe she knew I needed it? :-P) called Your Half of the Apple: God & the Single Girl by Gini Andrews.

Because God hasn't fully gotten hold of me yet so that I can say these things in my own words, I'll just quote her, 'k? She writes,

"How exciting is your relationship with the Lord? . . . Think of the traits you love in people: gentleness, imagination, tenderness, warmth, understanding -- to name only a few. Now realize that God is infinite in each of these areas."

"You learn to love a human being by being with him, spending time getting to know what he's like. . . . You talk and you listen; you think about one another a lot.
God thinking about me? The world, sure; mankind, yes, but . . .me?
David said, 'How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God . . . . If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand'; and in another place: 'we are ever in Your thoughts.'"
"Yours is a God who cares for you in detail, who wants to be involved in all you do. He is truly interested . . . --well, there's just nothing about you He doesn't care about. How many hairs in that nice head of hair on which you spend so much time? You don't know, do you? He does. If God notices a sparrow fall, do you think He doesn't care when you burn a cake, wreck the new nylons, or lose a boyfriend?"

"The love relationship between you and your God is forever. It's not just til marriage and not just till death either. The intimacy and comradeship begun here is being forged every day as a link in the chain of a permanent relationship, so permanent that it's eternal. . . .
Loving and radiant, He goes with you on the subway to work, into the kitchen when you're tired, with you as you open the door of your lonely room at night . . . ."

"Does this mean we have no need for human companionship, human love, for marriage? Of course not. . . .
This is the Biggest Thing life has to offer: a deeply personal, day-by-day, hour-to-hour love relationship with the living God, and it's as freely available to you as to your married sisters. Everything beautiful in life enhances this, but nothing replaces it."

"Does God know as much as you do? Are you willing to trust Him enough to put yourself, your whole self, into His charge and go forward with real excitement into the future He has for you, telling Him as often as you like that you want love, you want a home and husband and kids, but you're on your way on the route He wants you to go, that you understand that He really does know how to make you happy?"

My personal summary, what I have lived to be true, and a reminder for when I forget: Whatever hobby horse I have--marriage, teaching, a love for icecream--the basis, the foundation, of life and all its pleasures, of meaning and of hope, is my relationship with God.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

100: advocate

There is something deliciously incognito about writing a post and not posting it on Facebook for a change.

See, ever since I went to the Homeschool Alumni Reunion, I've both gained a new readership and discovered that girls are reading my blog who I didn't know were.

Which brings with it a level of responsibility. I thought only about two people read my musings. And musings they are. Thoughts and formulations of thoughts.

One fellow read one of my posts and said, "you poor thing, you really need to meet someone already haha."

Slightly embarrassing!

But see, I've been reading this book Getting Serious about Getting Married, and it has clarified what I think I've already known. I want to be an advocate for marriage, and specifically in this time of my life, advocating young people pursuing marriage.

Funny, because if marriage inched my way I think I might freak!

Debbie Maken has so many good things to say in her book about the Bible and culture and generations past and Christianity past and Christianity present.
"My goal in writing this book is to resurrect this duty as found in Christian antiquity. Duties inform us of what is expected and affix our responsibilities. Thus duties also affix blame when they are spurned or grossly neglected. If the duty is once again touted with the same force as that expressed in classical Christianity, then those who are in a position to execute it (i.e., the men) are more likely than not to follow through. Instead of taking this duty to marry at a specific time as a personal affront and reminder of failure, let's embrace it and ask for a return to a Christian worldview that believed in this duty to marry and held responsible those who failed to execute it. The older order of things held far more promise for women, for it saw women as vulnerable, had compassion for them, and shamed men who abandoned their duty of timely marriage." (page 50)
I have no desire to shame men anymore than I have a desire to shame women. But I do have this deep rooted desire to join Debbie Maken in resurrecting marriage as an expectation in the church, something to be encouraged beyond "Is there someone...? No? Well, just wait on the Lord." I always blush but am thankful when older women say they'll pray that God brings me someone! God did not design us to wait indefinitely for marriage. Nor did He ask us to. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

I can't rewrite what Debbie Maken wrote. You're just going to have to read it yourself.

But if I write too much about desiring marriage . . . I don't know. How can I apologize? Is it shameful to desire what God saw as the completion of the creation process?

Desires can be out of balance, true. And a blog devoted to this subject will look out of balance for sure. But I feel like someone needs to say what we're all thinking.

"The reason we feel a lack of wholeness is because God designed us to feel incomplete without a spouse. God himself called the state of singleness 'not good.' By being dissatisfied with singleness, we're simply agreeing with God!" --Debbie Maken, Getting Serious about Getting Married, p.24 (Isn't she bold??)

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.