You are worth the risk. Dating is worth the risk. Being alone is worth the risk. “Worth the risk” is a phrase my friends and I have been talking about a lot lately.
Being secure and confident while feeling victorious in singleness has been where I’ve been at these past two years and for that, I’m so thankful. But earlier this summer I felt like I spiraled into insecurity. Like, really insecure. Lies and thoughts came into my head and I couldn’t get them out. It felt like I had taken 5 billion steps back. It was like I had forgotten about my answered prayer in what it meant to be confident, comfortable, CONTENT in where God had me.
Because I have been in a season of contentment and pursuing some dreams and passions of mine (more on that very soon!) You may have noticed I haven’t written much. I felt like I didn’t have much to say. I felt like by saying I’m comfortable in singleness people wouldn’t want to read that. I know it can be annoying when you’re struggling with something and someone else says they are so happy with that same struggle. I didn’t want to be that person. But I have always wanted to be transparent, so that’s what I”m doing now. For the past year or so being content is truly the best way I can describe how I’ve felt. What does this have to do with being “worth the risk?” Let me explain:
1. Praying for God’s Will Over Your Own Desires Is Worth The Risk: This is where it began. Through one of my tougher breakups, eventually, I came to a place where I prayed “Lord I want to desire what YOU desire for me. If this relationship is not it, then that is not what I want. Was that easy? 100% no! And I wasn’t ready to do that for a long time, but when I was ready to accept that His plans were probably different than my own in that, did he answer my prayer right away either? No, but eventually he did. And I don’t take that for granted. He didn’t answer the way I thought he would (married, few kids before 30 meeting that guy soon after graduation or whatever.. update I turn 29 this year so…lol) But how he did answer was more than I could have ever asked for. He answered with giving me the sweetest and MOST FUN community, girlfriends who are walking through singleness with me and that has helped immensely with being content where he has me! And I am grateful. These past few years have been the actual most fun full of friends, trips, and growing in faith in a way I could have never known. Praying for God’s will over your own desire is scary bc he probably has a different plan for you, I know that. But I promise it is worth the risk. Time and time again he reminds his ways are better than ours. (Read: Isaiah 55:8-9, Ephesians 3:20-21)
2. You’re Not Worth The Risk Is a Lie: “You’re not worth the risk” is the lie I had been believing for the past few weeks and something I’m still wrestling with if I’m being honest. Without going into too many details I’ve been presented with opportunities and been in situations that have made me realize the desire I do have to be married and be in a relationship. Like I mentioned before, the past year I was ok without (and sometimes wondering if I ever wanted it - it was spooky) Some of these opportunities I thought would happen, have not happened. There have been conversations that have caused me to think I’m not worth the risk. “I’m not worth the risk to date in Dallas because I want to end up in California” “I’m not worth the risk because I”m too confident”, I’m not worth the risk because I’m not currently working in ministry anymore and no I don’t think I want to go back in full-time ministry - I’m sorry that’s so hard to comprehend!( for real people have been shocked by this and I’m sorry but real-world jobs are ministry too!) “I'm not worth the risk because I see other girls getting more attention than me so of course, I’m not” , “I’m not worth the risk because I don’t look a certain way or act a certain way” I mean the list goes on. Have you believed these lies too? I bet I’m not alone. But if I believe these lies I don’t believe God’s plan is better than mine, that he didn’t make me, create me uniquely physically and mentally (what we dream about, what we want to do with our lives, and what we are passionate about is unique and beautiful too!) Believing “I”m not worth the risk” is not believing God made me in his image and the way he intended me to be. (Read Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 1:5)
3. Believing Dating Is not Worth The Risk is a Lie: This one is short but simple, dating often feels so daunting to me - “does he like me, do I like him?” The DRAMA, gosh I’d just rather not deal and be happy with my solo bedtime routine where I don’t have to share a bathroom or a bed lol. But unfortunately, in order to get married, we have to date. SO dating HAS to be worth the risk. Have you been too prideful to try a dating app? I encourage you to do it, have you stayed home instead of met friends for a happy hour with new people? I encourage you to go. Take a risk, get out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there. (I’m preaching to myself here too!) And on the same breath, dating is worth the risk in the sense that you do not need to know if you want to marry someone before you go on a date or after the first date (or first 10!) THAT’S WHY WE DATE! For more notes on dating, I actually BEG YOU to read this article, SO convicting for guys and girls.
While I”m still fighting these lies of being worth the risk, getting in God’s word and talking about it has helped immensely. I hope this related to someone. That I’m not alone. I”m sorry I’ve been so MIA I hope not to be. I will write soon about some of the reasons I have been. But I’ve been overall content, busy, happy and for that I am grateful. July took a toll on my confidence but I don’t doubt god’s goodness in my life. I refuse to dwell on lies because I have seen God answer my prayers. When remembering these answered prayers, I remember His goodness. What lies are you believing and what answered prayers in your life can you combat that with?
So here’s the deal. I try my best to live a non-toxic life, am I perfect at it? Absolutely not, but I do what works for me, what I can afford and what fits into my lifestyle the best I can. I’m constantly learning and growing in this area, and so far I can say it has made a positive impact for me! I have always had sensitive skin issues, and stomach issues and what I’ve been learning is not only is it important what you put IN your body but also ON your body and what your surrounding yourself with. I’ve gotten quite a few questions on instagram about my favorite products so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post about 3 favorite brands and products I use daily. Among this list you will find: skin care, make up, deodorant, dry shampoo, cleaning products and more!
Y’all have probably realized I use and love this brand - so much that I have become a consultant for them. I love that they are more than a product but a MOVEMENT to get better beauty into the hands of everyone. They are the frontrunners of getting legislation changed to have better ingredients in our beauty products in the US. Any ways I use both their skin care and make up! Below are some of my fav daily products and you can find skin care and makeup tutorials on my Instagram highlights.
Countermatch Adaptive Lotion- I put this on daily before I put on my make up - treating i like a primer, t has adaptive technology to get the moisture your skin needs - since I’ve used it I’ve seen a noticeable difference in the oilily ness in my face! (also for you Riverdale fans - Cami Mendez also uses this)
Charcoal Mask - I use this every Sunday night to get out all the gunk. I can most relate it to glam glow, it really pulls out the nasty and leaves you feeling fresh and ready to take on the week
Overnight Resurfacing Peel - I use this around every other night it’s one of their hero products and leaves your face feeling like a legit baby’s bottom in the morning. (don’t worry it’s not an actual PEEL)
Brightening Vitamin C oil - Vitamin C is so important for your skin care routine, on the nights I’m not using the resurfacing peel I put a few drops in with my moisturizer and I also put a few on in the morning with my countermarch lotion
Flawless In Five - this is everything you need for a face in 5 mins (Foundation, blush, mascara, concealer pen, brow gel and lip gloss) I use all these products.
Dew skin with SPF - Each Day I use a pump of this and a tiny squirt of Tint skin foundation and it’s the perfect amount of coverage for me it’s light! The dew sin is alike a cc cream!
Lip Stick - I’m HUGE fan of it, it feels super moisturizing and doesn’t dry your lips out one bit.
****Use code: laurenpoey15 for 15% off all Primally Pure products!****
Deodorant - YOU GUYS. I found it. My favorite non-toxic deordarnt. So My mom and sister also love it! I’ve tried many many and this is by far the best. My personal favorite is the charcoal one - it smells like a spa and goes on so easily.
Cleansing oil - i switch between this and beautycounter’s cleansing balm to take off my make up! (Double cleansing has definitely helped my skin i do this and then a normal cleanser, right now I”m using beautycounter’s counter control)
Chapstick - this stuff is too good, I cary in my purse at all times
Dry Shampoo - I swear by this stuff and it comes for blondes and brunettes! You shake it on and it doesn’t leave you feeling like you have build up, and it lasts for ever.
This is what I use for cleaning! It comes with one concentrate, and different bottles for bathroom, all purpose, mirror/glass, and hand soap! I also use their oxygen boost. I swear by this stuff for counters, your bathroom shower/bath and even dishes! The oxygen boost has also gotten out some pretty pesky stains out of my clothes 10/10 recommend this stuff and lasts forever. Use this link for $10 off!
Honorable Mention: Cocokind
I use their sea moss exfoliator a few times a week for my skin to get dead skin off and their matcha stick to brighten up my under eyes and as chapstick!
There you have it! If you’d like a more detailed blog posts on my skin care/make up routine, or more.. let me know! Hope this helps some of you looking to start a non-toxic journey!
Not to be biased….buuut this might be one of my favorite posts ever. Why? Bc IT’S MY LITTLE SISTER! Courtney and I are two and a half years apart and she is my best friend. We are different in many ways but also very similar. We constantly get asked if we are twins and we keep a tally on how often we get asked that on vacations. We knew exactly how to push each other’s buttons when we were little but it’s been so sweet to see our relationship grow stronger and stronger as we get older. I always tell people “Courtney’s really the older one” because that’s how I feel! She is wise beyond her years, wicked smart, witty and a go getter. She loves the Lord fiercely and is in His word daily. She’s fun, an adventurer and a loyal friend. She knows what to say and do to calm my anxious mind, always has the best advice. Anyways, I could go on and on about how amazing she is and all she’s accomplished (like how she casually just associate produced a feature film… like YES GIRL!) but I want you to read her story in singleness. But first, here are a few fun facts about her.
Age: 26 - as of yesterday!
Occupation: Grad Student at USC - Fight on!
Location: Los Angeles
Favorite thing about living in LA: The Palm Trees and Ocean Sunsets
Can’t Live Without: Coffee and Avocado Toast #basic but true (this chick eats it like every morning)
And now without further ado— my sister’s story in singleness, “Another One Bites The Dust”
When I first took a stab at this blog post, I was still living and working in Fort Worth, Texas. Last June, I moved out to Los Angeles for grad school. I’m always afraid of major change, but I occasionally force myself through it because I know the challenge will ultimately be good for me. In just 8 short months I’ve experienced shifts in perspective - particularly as it comes to singleness - that I never could have imagined.
I used to be constantly confronted with the reality that I was a 20-something Christian girl in Texas, and my single friend count could dwindle at any given moment. I was at a wedding recently that had a fun photo booth. One of the prop items I chose to sport in a photo is a sign reading "another one bites the dust." This phrase explains how I used to feel with each new engagement photo, relationship status, and wedding album I saw on Facebook... And there goes another one. If your newsfeed is as inundated with reminders of your singleness as mine is, it can be tricky to continue in confidence as a single 20-something. What's important to realize as you scroll is that for every engagement post, there are twice as many single girls out there seeing the same post, hiding behind their screens feeling just as discouraged as you. I would get panicked and desperate, my mind swimming with thoughts like "Should I get on a dating app too? Am I not putting myself out there enough? Are there ANY eligible bachelors left at my church?! Do I have to go ON The Bachelor now?!?!"
By no means am I endorsing a pity party. I’m just saying that you’re not the only one annoyed by yet another engagement announcement. But we also need to be careful of the pedestal we put the promise of marriage on. Marriage isn’t the ultimate goal in life. Our friends in relationships are not superior to us, and neither are we singles any better than them. Don’t idolize one status over the other. Let’s also keep in mind that the way we feel in singleness today may change tomorrow. It’s easy to get in a slump and think that things will never change. We often worry about whether a season we don’t like will ever end. We think that because something either hasn’t ever happened or has only ever happened a certain way that it will be like that forever. Friends, let’s all admit together that we know this isn’t really true. The only truly consistent thing in this world is Jesus. I don’t know about you, but as a single 20-something, Jesus has called me to a lot of change - including moving across the country last year.
Being single in LA is an absolutely different experience than being single in Fort Worth. In Fort Worth, it felt like everywhere I looked in my own demographic, there were couples. Everything felt so wedding-centric. Conversations centered around wedding planning, engagement parties, budgeting for bridesmaid dresses and bachelorette weekends, and navigating early years of marriage. Church sermons frequently called out married couples to love their single friends better. For all my CA friends reading this, I’m serious - this was what life as a single 20-something in Texas was like. Fast forward to life in LA… there’s hardly even a married couple in sight. Pretty much all of my friends are single; barely anyone is even dating. Churches have single dudes out the wazzoo and there are no surprise engagement photographers hopping out of bushes around every corner. The culture is wildly different and, frankly, it is much easier to be content in singleness here.
If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I should tell you that I am a proud type 5. If you are unfamiliar, READ UP ON IT because it’s a super great personality assessment that not only helps you feel understood but also helps you relate better to others. Anyway, type 5s are notorious for speculating, analyzing, researching, and diving into deep holes of information without ever doing anything practical about it. I chose my word for 2019 to be ACTION because I wanted to be better this year about actually DOING SOMETHING about what I want. Since moving, I’ve been frequently crippled by timidity and indecisiveness. I’ve watched opportunities come and go because I took too long to decide or I did not act quickly enough. You know the whole “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” thing? Yeah, I feel that on a v deep level. Every missed opportunity only sends me into a deeper spiral of insecurity and honestly, shame. I get so frustrated with myself and end up just wallowing in the fact that I’m a fraud who can’t actually do anything. At my best, however, I know I’m capable of learning and adapting quickly. When I’m put to the test, I can apparently pull off just about anything… including associate producing and managing a feature film production while in school without ever having worked on a film before, just as an example. ;) I’m worth more than my wallowing, and you are too.
I’ve been reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and it’s been kicking me in the booty to really tackle this whole 2019 ACTION goal. She talks about taking risks and going for it without apologizing for being a little aggressive or intense about something you really want. Believe it or not, my advice to all my fellow single ladies (cue Queen Bey, plz) is to TAKE MORE RISKS. I don’t mean “put yourself out there more” like people always annoyingly say. (Seriously though, WHAT does that even mean?!) I mean do something EXCITING, DIFFERENT, CRAZY, SCARY. Sure, it would be nice to explore that city you’ve always wanted to go to with the love of your life, but why not just go see it for yourself? Sure, you might think that your Hallmark small-town-hunny is about to move to your city and find you in the produce aisle after you’ve been patiently waiting ALL THIS TIME. But I’m here to tell you that maybe it’s time you pick a new city, a new job, a new something and just GO. Pray about it, yes, but I do think that us 20-30-something singles are single for a reason. I think some people are meant to stay in the same city or state for their whole lives or marry early and that’s all fine and well. But I would challenge you to pray about whether God has called you to go, like in Matthew 28 and countless other passages in scripture. One of my favorite sermons from Pastor Jim Essian at The Paradox Church is about gospel goodbyes. I listened to this on one of my last days in Fort Worth while walking around TCU’s campus (and quietly sobbed from behind my sunnies). Pastor Jim talks about how bittersweet it is that we build community with people and then sometimes, those people leave, because God has a mission for them elsewhere. When I lived in Fort Worth, I prayed so earnestly for a heart for that city. Was God faithful or what, because leaving about tore me in half. I loved that city and those people like I would be there forever. I prayed for my coworkers, I served at my church, I volunteered in the community, and I enjoyed some of the finest patio happy hours in all of Texas. I freakin’ committed to Fort Worth and gave it all I had. If I hadn’t been single, who knows if I would have developed such a big heart for that city and those people in the way I did. When I got accepted to USC and chose to attend, I immediately started praying the same prayers for LA. I’ll say that LA is a little harder to grow such a big heart for and commit to in the way I did in Fort Worth, but I know God is faithful and has very special plans for me here.
Singleness can be hard. But remember that dating and marriage are hard, too. I’ve experienced discontentment in my singleness, but I’ve also experienced discontentment in my dating. Moving from Fort Worth to Los Angeles for school and work certainly affected my attitude on dating, from the shift in culture to the shift in my own priorities. Life ebbs and flows and if you’re still single out there, keep your chin up. Take that risk you’ve been thinking about for forever. I promise, you’ll only regret what you didn’t take advantage of during your time in singleness. God only knows what is in store for me in LA, but I know my singleness in Fort Worth prepared me well for it, and I know God wants to purpose you well in your singleness too. - Courtney Poey
Rest in my identity as his child. I AM WORTHY
Rest in his eternal love. I AM LOVED
Rest in his nearness. I AM NOT ALONE
Rest in his faithful provisions. I AM ENOUGH
Rest in his patience. I AM STRONG
Rest in his forgiveness. I AM HUMBLE
Rest in his mercy and compassion. I AM KNOWN
Rest in his sovereignty. I AM WISE
Rest in his protection. I AM RESILIENT
Rest in his pursuit. I AM MISSED
Rest in his comfort. I AM PEACEFUL
Rest in his loyalty. I AM JOYFUL
As soon as Sammy read this to us in Bible I knew immediately this is what needed to be shared in this space as the first post of the year. Sammy is a dear friend of mine, she has the coolest clothes of all time, is the one of the cutest humans ever, (like for real look at her instagram is she not the coolest/cutest ever?!) but also has this calming presence, confidence and peace about her that I admire greatly. Sammy is a “yes friend” and someone who isn’t afraid to speak bodly or share the gospel. She can make any dessert gluten free n fabulous and makes an insanely chip good dip. I could go on and on about how cool she is, but you’ll see that for yourself by reading what she has to say about rest, and specifically resting in singleness. I was so honored she said yes to writing this and I hope and pray this impacts, challenges and blesses you as much as it did me.
I will be turning 29 this year and for some reason that number that is deathly close to 30 is making me panic. There are a lot of areas in my life that I feel like I have not achieved what I was “supposed” to have achieved by now. Life just hasn’t gone the way I planned or hoped that it would but this year I wanted to make an extra effort to be content in that, being content has been and probably always will be a battle for me. I am always ready for the next thing before I am even able to enjoy where I am and singleness is especially hard for me to admit any gratitude for.
I was so honored when Lauren asked me and my word choice for the year to be featured on her blog but in all honesty it was also kind of convicting at the same time because we are one month into the year and I am already failing miserably at RESTING in my singleness.
I choose a word each year to strive to live by and for 2019 the word is REST. I recently went through a break.. off? I don’t know, what do you call it when you part ways after seriously pursuing one another for three months but never made it official? Anyway, it was yet another heartbreak for me and I have been feeling very frustrated, why does God continue to bring me to this place? And instead of reminding myself to rest in Gods sovereignty I completely ignore my word of the year and go into hyper drive of how can I fix this my way. Just in this one month it is almost laughable how many times God has shown me that I am not in control, every single day God is graciously reminding me… hey, you said you wanted to work on resting in me, remember? Everything in me wants to roll my eyes at God and groan and complain and justify my actions but God loves me too much to let me stay there long. He put REST on my heart for the year for a reason, he gave me these hardships for a reason, and he has me in this place for a purpose.
So, when my mind wants to completely tweak out and worry myself sick about all the things that aren’t going my way, what does it look like to rest instead? To me that means trusting and surrendering, ironically, those were my words the past two years and that is also convicting. I say that I trust God, I say I have surrendered my life to him so why is this resting thing deeming to be so hard? The reality is that I do desire to trust God but when God is not moving at the pace I would like him to move I unconsciously decide he needs my help. I know that sounds ridiculous, God doesn’t need my help but when I step in and try to fix (or a truer word is manipulate—I hate that word) the people or situations of my circumstances my actions are saying “God you’re not doing what I think needs to be done so I’ll help you out.” And all though that seems like pure motives and good intentions, that “helping out” is what causes my inability to rest, it gives me an anxious heart because when I try to take over and take control I loose focus on the one who is actually in control and put it on my circumstance. Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
I have recently been obsessed with the enneagram personality assessment and found out that I am a 2 which is also called the helper so this act of “helping out” is a natural reaction for me and I am definitely being humbled in the realization that it is often times manipulating. Focusing on resting this year is God’s way of continuing to mold and shape me into the woman he designed me to be and for that I am so thankful.
Gratitude is the key to contentment if you ask me. You always have a choice in how you look at situations and choosing to be positive about your circumstance will always leave you more content than when negative. Trust me when I say I am soooo human and choosing gratitude is not always fun and it is definitely easier said then done but through a million other hardships I have been faced with I have learned that practicing gratitude is the key ingredient. There is always something to be thankful for, even if it as small as the smell of fresh cut grass there is always something you can say thank you for.
For me in the last two months when I have felt forgotten, not chosen, unwanted and/or unheard and just want to question God and say “I don’t think you heard me right, I said I don’t want to be single anymore” I have to be able to choose gratitude, I have to trust him and his timing, I have to surrender to him and I have to rest in him. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. It is a truth I have to remind myself literally every ten minutes.
One example of finding gratitude in my situation was a few weeks ago, I was having a rough day just letting this heart break win in making me feel rejected and just straight sad, I work as an associate manager at a clothing boutique and on that rough day I had two separate customers come in and tell me how great of sales person I was, one even gave me a high five! Then two other girls at different times of that day came in and complemented me and told me how pretty they thought I was. I know maybe that sounds dumb but I said “thank you God for knowing I was having a rough day and sending people in here to reassure me and make me smile.” I think that was God being so sweet to me. I chose to be thankful for those small moments rather then focus on the one thing that was making me sad. I chose to see God on that day rather then stay in place that feels like he isn’t answering my prayers. He is present.
At the same time I think it is so important to be raw with God and tell him every time you are frustrated, be real with him and your feelings in the moment but let him remind you of the truth… that he is using every single second of your suffering for good, that he isn’t ignoring you but drawing you in closer. James 1:2-4 dear brothers and sisters when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
The way I chose my verse that goes along with my word of the year was that I was reading Psalm 22 in the midst of this heart break and I related so hard to a few verses in that moment that were about being unsure if God was there…
Psalm 22:1-2 My God, My God why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Everyday I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice but I find no relief. Then verse 11 Do not stay far from me, for the trouble is near and no one else can help me. And verse 19 O Lord do not stay far away! You are my strength: come quickly to my aid.
Man, that was speaking to my soul and that was so comforting to me that in Gods word, in truth, my feelings were being validated but then I kept reading and there it was, the very next chapter the rescuing message I needed.
Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd. I HAVE ALL THAT I NEED. He lets me REST in the green meadows, he leads me beside peaceful streams, he renews my strength, he guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.
That was the moment I decided that God was clearly telling me its time to REST. God knows me and where my affection for the Lord is stirred the most is in nature, amongst a landscape that is so beautiful that only God could be responsible for creating it and that verse just captured it all, I have all that I need, he gives me green meadows and peaceful streams to point me back to his glory, he is with me and he reminds me everyday with the sky and the sun and the moon and the meadows and the mountains and ultimately that is what is most important, glorifying our creator. Living for his kingdom not my kingdom was a real truth that I needed to be reminded of. God is so good and even in my hardships I have to look through that lens of his love not of a lens of disappointment.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Remembering these key points I have tried to change my prayers to look like this, “Lord, you know the weight of anxiety on my heart. I cannot bear being heart broken and rejected again. My heart is physically in pain, I am hurting so bad, but I will choose not to worry, your will, will be done and I know you are protecting me from something that is beyond my understanding. I lift up this situation to you, please be in the midst of it, please be in control of it, please give me peace in it but I also thank you, I thank you for loving me, I thank you for the small moments that have brought smiles to my face, I thank you for the warmth of the sun, I thank you for the amazing friends you have placed in my life, I thank you from the character you are building in both of us, I thank you for my family who loves me, I thank you for all the resources I have access to that have helped me in the midst of this, I thank you for your word and that it is truth and I thank you for helping me rest in you. I trust you.”
As I said before, singleness is the area of my life that is hardest for me to admit any gratitude for and finding my worth in the Lord, really believing that God is all I need to be completely satisfied is a daily struggle that I face to. I don’t want to desire worldly love more than Gods love, but often times I do. I don’t want to let this world conform me. I want my honest, deepest desire to be that God will continue to transform me into a person that looks more like him. Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know Gods will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
So, as an exercise and a daily reminder for myself to trust that God knows the desires of my heart and he has a greater plan for me than I can ever imagine, a reminder to rest in him and not in what I think that I want, I wrote out some of his truths and promises that I am striving to rest in this year and then right beside it I wrote out what resting in that truth will say about me and my character as God shapes me and sanctifies me into the woman he designed me to be.
Rest in my identity as his child. I AM WORTHY
Rest in his eternal love. I AM LOVED
Rest in his nearness. I AM NOT ALONE
Rest in his faithful provisions. I AM ENOUGH
Rest in his patience. I AM STRONG
Rest in his forgiveness. I AM HUMBLE
Rest in his mercy and compassion. I AM KNOWN
Rest in his sovereignty. I AM WISE
Rest in his protection. I AM RESILIENT
Rest in his pursuit. I AM MISSED
Rest in his comfort. I AM PEACEFUL
Rest in his loyalty. I AM JOYFUL
I am done asking situations, locations and relationships of everyday life to be my savior. I will enter in Gods rest for the rest of my life. Knowing Jesus is my savior and the only thing that will completely satisfy my heart.
Thank you Lauren for this opportunity to catch me in my tracks and help me live true to my word choice, I think this is just another sweet example of Gods timing. I hope this can encourage y’all to join in with me and REST in our awesome Lord, rejoice in his divine romance and be thankful for the way we are all sweetly broken.
SO.DANG.GOOD. I literally have nothing else to say except I hope we all strive to REST more in who God is and who He says we are. He is so good. And so sweet to give me friends with wisdom like this.
Hope vs. Expectation. A common conversation among my friends right now. How do you hope for a future spouse, new job, new opportunity, or any “hope/dream” in a healthy way without a specific expectation?
Often I’m scared to pray about something without ceasing bc I fear it won’t be answered therefore it’s a stupid waste of time hope and expectation. Sometimes I admit it feels silly and honestly useless to pray for the same thing every day and yet it doesn’t seem like God has answered my prayer. But maybe it’s just because he hasn’t answered yet or he has and it’s just not what I expected his answer to be. Can anyone else relate?
Last night my devotional asked the question: “How in the world should I respond to what God is doing?” -Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. Well that was a kick in the butt bc yesterday I did not respond well to a few things. Hebrews 12:11 says “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
If I look back on my life and think about trying moments and seasons, while they were hard I can also confidently say they helped shape who I am today. They absolutely had purpose and I see God’s hand in it. “How in the world should I respond?” - for me - that’s remembering God’s hand IS in everything. To let go of fear, control and anxiety and acknowledging that God IS doing something even if I don’t know what it is. My hope is not reliant on what I think should happen but expectant that God is always good.
In other news: I’m hopeful for some sunshine in what has felt like a month of rain, but have low expectations and am kinda glad for an excuse to binge watch Hallmark and Harry Potter.
I am THRILLED to introduce you to Thane, the first BOY to be featured on The Single Society Collective. Thane is a go-getter, mover and shaker, has an incredible work ethic and is honestly just an overall incredible person. Thane lives in LA and as my sister says, "has about 1,000 things going on but in the best way." You can see for yourself what he's all about on his website: www.thanemarcus.com . But first, get to know him a little more by reading these fun facts below!
Occupation: Collaborator, Podcaster, Entrepreneur, and Author
Can't Live Without: Coffee! (Which is why I’m starting a side coffee business ;))
Loves: Jesus, People, all things fitness + health + wellness, dancing, snowboarding, reading, riding motorcycles, and of course GOLF - the sport that teaches you most about life.
Fun Fact: Growing up I claimed to have African roots b/c my mom was born in Ethiopia - which has no bearing on my ethnicity, but it seemed to work in high school at least!
Obsessed with: Optimizing all facets of life - from sleep, to habits, to focus, etc. - professional golf showed me the fruit of living optimally, and now that I’ve tasted and seen that it is good, I can never go back.
Favorite Thing About LA: It is the “land of opportunity” filled with a culture of ambitious and striving people. I love being the atmosphere and energy it brings, and am excited for how God will use me in this city.
OK GUYS. Here's the good stuff, Thanes words on singleness are so powerful and I can't wait for you to read it yourself.
Singleness is an interesting stage of life to navigate. Whether you’re a Christian or not, it is topic that's been hotly debated on multiple fronts, probably since the beginning of time (or at least the last few hundred years).
The Single’s dilemma is one that strives to marry two sides that can’t be perfectly meshed together. It is the tension that rests between contentment and pursuit, being thankful for where you are at, but also pushing to what lies beyond your current state. This is a tension that is especially felt with each additional year you spend as a single individual in a world dominated by couples.
CLARIFYING MY STANCE
I want to clarify something right away. I believe God has created man and woman for each other (Genesis 2), and that God has designed us to be relational-beings. Thus, it would be safe to say that the majority of humans will be married, and I would go so far as to say - should be married.
With that being said, marriage is never guaranteed for everyone. The point is, a majority will be married, but a minority of singles will remain single. And, most importantly, neither is better than the other.
The funny thing with the culture present today (especially within the church), is that the prior statement I just made could come across as “controversial”, despite the several explicit statements made by Paul (1 Cor. 7), and the implicit statements made by Jesus (Matt 19:11).
In thinking through this cultural bias, there are several observations I believe are helpful in understanding how this has developed and how it affects both singles and marrieds today.
OBSERVATION #1: SINGLENESS IS A SEASON OF LIFE, LASTING AN UNKNOWN LENGTH OF TIME.
Just because you are single now doesn’t mean you “have the gift of singleness”, destined to be single forever. In fact, chances are you don’t have that calling and you won’t be single forever or even much longer than another year.
Viewing and thinking about singleness as a season instead of an identity is both liberating and invigorating. Liberating because we no longer have to resign ourselves to the depressive state of an "unworthiness to be married” or an inferior position below the marital status held by most of our friends, family, and peers. Invigorating because it allows us to see this season as one that is likely passing by, and thus, we must do all that we can - NOW - in order to make the most of this season before it is forever gone.
OBSERVATION #2: MARRIAGE CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
This statement seems like an obvious and trivial point to be made, but discarding it due to simplicity is a mistake.
From the people I’ve interacted with and heard perspectives from, after being married for six months (or even as few as four weeks) they can’t imagine life before marriage. Living in matrimony with another human quickly becomes the “new norm” once you step into marriage. This means, you no longer have the ability to fully relate to your single brothers and sisters. Of course you can always reflect back on your time as a single person, but even in your reflection, as commonly understood from psychology and sociology, your memories will always be impacted by the present reality of your life and the amount of time that has transpired between the particular event and your current reality. More times than not, our memories are morphed into a jumble of real and imaginative realities.
All this to say, for married people to believe they have a clear grasp of the benefits and challenges of singleness is as much naive as it is ignorant, almost to the level of a single person giving marriage advice (key word: almost).
OBSERVATION #3: BEING SINGLE AT 19 IS DIFFERENT THAN 25, OR 40.
Singleness cannot be contained or depicted as a unilateral experience. Just as writing a paper or article as a 19-year-old is different than writing as a 25-year-old, so too is singleness and the experience of this season. There are so many external and internal differences that they are almost not even the same category. There is also some truth in saying that your experience as a 25-year-old single may be drastically different than my experience as a 25-year-old single.
This is something I still have to remind myself of, and this is why it is so important to abstain from too many dogmatic generalizations - statements applying to such a broad spectrum of realities. Just because you weren’t successful at using singleness well at 19 (who was?), doesn’t mean I can’t be successful at using this season well at 25.
OBSERVATION #4: DIFFERENT, BUT EQUAL.
The biblical reality of singleness is that: it is different, but equal to marriage. This is the same perspective that’s needed in the sphere of male vs. female - distinctly different, but equal.
This is a challenge facing the church today and there is much to be said for the impact it can have. On one side of the coin, marriage could hardly be more exalted and extolled within the local church. It is universally preached on, encouraged and prescribed for, expounded upon, and pressured into (but really though). While marriage is an important topic to extensively convey, the excess can lead to added pressure on singles when combined with an absence of the biblical perspective on singleness.
This is obviously not done explicitly, but rather implicitly. What happens when something, biblically, is shown to have value but is never publicly or verbally taught on by a pastor or other leaders in the church? It becomes devalued. It’s not that there are explicit statements made against singleness, but by the very nature of not discussing its benefit, you undermine its worth, communicating just as much by what you don’t say as by what you do say.
STEP INTO THE SINGLE’S SHOES
There are many effects of these implicit and explicit messages sent by churches, but one of the most powerful (and most sinister) is what happens beneath the surface - on the subconscious level. If the message you constantly hear is: “Nike shoes are the best. They look the coolest, they have the most comfort, they are the most dependable, they produce the best performance, and they lead to a greater life.”; what will happen when you don’t own a pair of Nike’s? You will feel like your missing out. You will feel lesser than all those who do own a pair of Nike’s. While you never hear those words, that is the message that often gets translated to your subconscious.
The point in this illustration is to say: a direct effect of only hearing one side of the story (marriage being good) is that singles subconsciously feel devalued. The reason this is sinister is because we are almost entirely unaware of how our subconscious effects our thoughts and behavior (Strangers to Ourselves) - meaning this is an invisible enemy that often leaves us defenseless, at the mercy of it’s power and will.
While this sounds harsh and dogmatic, the point I’m trying to make is: this is an issue that needs to be brought to light, creating awareness among singles and marrieds alike.
There are several distinctions I want to leave you with to balance out this singleness-heavy post.
- The goal is NOT to glorify singleness above its rightful place - I want to encourage singleness to be returned to an even ground with marriage, and nothing beyond that.
- The last thing I want to do is to deify singleness - it is simply a season of life that God has given us, just as much as living in a certain location can be seen as a season.
- I simply don’t know if singleness is my life-long calling or not - and that’s okay. The point isn’t about knowing the future, it’s about recognizing your reality, now.
- This post is not meant to engender sympathy for being single - singleness is a blessing! The last thing I want people to feel is sorry for me or other singles thriving during this season God’s given us. (Empathy is much different than sympathy.)
Enough has been said for today, but more can and should be said in the future. I don’t want to simply encourage marrieds (and singles) to value the season of singleness, I want to help both sides know how we can thrive during this time. God has called us to redeem the time He's given us, no matter the season. It is my belief and conviction (which I stole from the apostle Paul) that singleness can and should lead to the deepest possible relationship with God. But, even that statement is ignorant of the fact that God has called each of us to different giftings, equippings, and callings as His children.
At the end of the day, contentment has to be fought for. The human condition we all face - amplified by both culture at large, and the church culture in a smaller capacity - is that: “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” My purpose in writing this post is to show that: “the grass is greener on the side of the fence that you water.”
... So the question is: why are we watering the other side?
SO good, right? I encourage you to ask his last question; "Why are we watering on the other side?" And also the question of WHAT are you watering on the other side. I hope it was refreshing to hear about singleness from a guy's perspective and that you're reminded that not all the good guys are gone! (lol well at least my friends and I joke about that sometimes..) ANYWAYS I pray his blog post has encouraged you as much as it did me. Until next time..
Ok people. We are just going to get into it. And let me start with this. This blog post is by no means purposefully judging how much people spent on the sale or whatever, this is just my honest thoughts. If you've been on Instagram, there's a 99.9% chance you know about one of the biggest sales of the year, The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And let me start with this: I LOVE Nordstrom and I really do love this sale! But something about it this year, with all the hype on Instagram and being in the "blogger" world really caused me to stumble. I truly don't know how else to describe it. Let me give you a play by play:
The weeks leading up to the nsale I knew I wanted to shop early since I’m a card member (Nordstrom card members get the perk of shopping the sale before the public). I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I had a mission. I wanted to go in with an organized game plan, and stick to my budget. But as the start of the sale approached, I found myself obsessing over it, planning out my week so I could get up early to get online to shop the freaking sale. I FREAKING PLANNED MY WEEK AROUND IT. SOS. (ok those who are full time bloggers and this is their job and way to support themselves that is great, but that’s not me). Anyways, I planned my week around it and was supper anxious I wouldn’t get my picks. I found myself comparing what my friends and other ppl online were getting with what I wanted. I heard a range of spending totals and I kept thinking, “Am I too frugal? OMG will I spend WAY too much? Wait; am I crazy for not getting more? How are people willing to drop TONS and TONS of money on this sale, is that normal? Is that how much I need to be spending?”
So, on the day of the sale, I woke up early, got all my items online and decided to be done. I told myself “ok, you can be on Instagram and talk to people about what they got but be “done.” Well at about 12pm (mind you I got up at 5am - yes I was one of the crazies) I started feeling just sick to my stomach. If I saw one more try on haul, texted one more time about it or spent any more time on it I thought I was going to explode. For two weeks leading up to the sale and the actual day of the sale it was literally the only thing I saw people talking about and posting about on Instagram. Normally, I would say I do pretty well with Instagram. I’ve been intentional about not getting swept up in my follower count or the “keeping up with the jones’” Instagram style mostly due to a community that keeps me in check. But this sale. It was everywhere; it consumed my phone, day, my week, my mind. And I hated it.
That afternoon I decided to get off Instagram until I felt ready. I was sick with my own consumerism and the consumerism of this world. I wish I was as excited to buy new books to learn more about God, or books to better myself as I was for this sale. I wish I was this on top of my game to plan ways on where I can be of good use of my time and gifts. But no, this week was spent obsessing over clothes and a sale.
A few days before I read in my devotional about where we are placing our priorities, are we focused on our life here on earth or above? The devo asked these questions:
“What set of values determines your schedule?”
“What perspective about the nature of and purpose for your existence forms your every-day street level priorities?
“What view of life determines how you make decisions?”
“How does your thinking shape what you do and say every day?”
Wow. Well if I were to have answered them that day and week, here’s what my answers would look like:
“What set of values determines your schedule?” - My values this week were the value I saw in my closet and it determined how I spent my time. I am ashamed to admit this but I actually planned to not be too social Wednesday night so I could be up early, ready to shop online Thursday morning. I even canceled my workout class for that morning. yikes
“What perspective about the nature of and purpose for your existence forms your every-day street level priorities? - Well lol it seemed my sole purpose for existence was this sale so that’s good.
“What view of life determines how you make decisions?” - My view of life was completely materialistic. I was at risk of making unwise decisions with my money.
“How does your thinking shape what you do and say every day?” - My thinking was selfish and also self-deprecating by comparing myself to others. There was a lot of negative talk in my head.
None of those answers included my walk with the Lord, my job, my community or things that matter or bring true value and joy to my life.
During trials (like hi a freaking shopping sale became a trial for me, yikes) I am always brought back to this truth: The only thing on this earth and eternity that can fully satisfy us is the Lord and our relationship with Him. Not clothes, not a sale, not social media, not the amount of likes on social media. He has already given us everything we need through the gift of eternal life. Time and time again we read in scripture “I am the bread of life”.
In Colossians 3:1-2 it says,
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth.”
If were to look at how I spent my time this week, I was not doing that. And I want to be in a place where that is my priority and where I’m asking myself the questions I listed above constantly to keep me in check.
Now, I’m not saying don’t shop the sale, there really are great deals! I wrestled with wanting to post about it on my Instagram too much bc it’s already out there. And I truly feel like my blog is more of a lifestyle place so I want to keep it that way. I hope by you reading this you aren’t offended but can maybe relate, whether it’s the #nsale or something else that’s consuming you right now. What is it? What are you letting “rule” your life right now?
*update: these are picks I decided to show last year and I can’t figure out how to delete it LOLZ.
IT’S HERE PEOPLE! Two weeks ago I wrote about how the 31 Day Challenge changed my life and quiet times. The 31 Day Challenge is an easy way to get back into a routine quiet time. This was given to me during my sophomore year of college, when life was pretty crazy and causing me a lot of anxiety. There were some scary and serious things happening to people I loved around me and I found myself asking "Why God?" almost daily. I grew up a Christian basically my whole life, but my freshman year I wouldn't say I was the most dedicated to my faith and growth in my walk with God. I was not going to church, was not in a routine small group and definitely not reading the Bible daily.
When "sophomore slump" happened (I truly believe this is a thing! freshman year high is over and reality sets in) I was given this challenge through a campus ministry I had been starting to get involved in. I decided I would do this each night before I went to bed (yeah, I know it's weird I'm a night time quiet person -- but hey it works for me!) I got a new journal - which I highly encourage bc who doesn't want an excuse to buy a cute new journal?! And went to work.
While doing this I was able to find more peace and assurance with what was happening around me. I couldn't control anything, but I knew that God was in control, I knew he was hearing my prayers, I knew I was growing closer to Him. With time, I found myself eager to do the challenge each day - instead of feeling like reading the word was a chore in the past. Those 31 days drastically changed my faith that year, and because of that I still love to do it 1-2 times a year, as a good "re-set" button. While being in the word hasn't been a breeze all the time since then, as believers we are called to be in it daily. (Joshua 1:8)
So, starting TOMORROW, I want to challenge YOU to do it with me! Below is the explanation of how to do it, and the passage of scripture for each day. I will also be posting the scripture daily on my stories on Instagram, so be sure to follow along! Drop me a message or engage with me on Instagram if you choose to do it, I would love to engage and talk about it with you all!
Guide For Each Day:
Write In A Notebook:
- Read the passage for the day a couple of times
- Pray and ask God to give you insight as you think about (meditate) about what the passage says
- In one or two sentences, write out the Key Thought of the passage or how God spoke to you the most (what stuck out to you the most).
- Write out word for word the Key Verse of the passage in which God spoke to you (include the scripture reference, example: John 3:16)
- Since some of the days are only one or two verses, you don’t necessarily need to write it out again—just include what God revealed to you in the Key Thought section.
Key Application: (So Important!)
- In one or two sentences write out a Key Application: What will you do differently in your life because of the passage?
- Write out how you are going to put into action what God has shown you
- Pray that during the day through the power of the Holy Spirit (who now lives in you because you are a believer in Christ) you will apply these principles from God’s Word to your life.
- Hint: do not forget to spend some time talking to God…writing or typing your prayers to Him might help! *Lo’s tip: I LOVE writing out my prayers, I find myself not getting so distracted and it’s so cool going back and looking at them and seeing how I’ve changed and what God has answered.*
Day and Reading:
- 1. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
- 2. Psalm 19:7-14
- 3. Joshua 1:8-9
- 4. Romans 12:1-2
- 5. Psalm 119:9-11
- 6. Matthew 7:24-27
- 7. Ephesians 5:3-5
- 8. 1 John 5:3-5
- 9. Psalm 63:6-8
- 10. Galatians 2:20-21
- 11. Colossians 1:9-13
- 12. Psalm 37:3-5
- 13. Isaiah 40:28-31
- 14. James 1:2-8
- 15. Philippians 4:6-7
- 16. 2 Timothy 2:1-4
- 17. Hebrews 12:1-3
- 18. John 14:12-15
- 19. Jeremiah 1:4-8
- 20. Acts 4:24-31
- 21. Philippians 3:7-11
- 22. Matthew 6:31-33
- 23. Proverbs 3:5-7
- 24. 2 Peter 1:4-8
- 25. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
- 26. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
- 27. Romans 12:9-14
- 28. Titus 2:11-14
- 29. Ephesians 6:13-20
- 30. 1 Samuel 15:22-23
- 31. 1 John 2:11-17
I truly can't wait to start this with you guys. Know that I will be praying daily that you will find a new joy in reading God's Word.
Hi everyone! My name is Hillary Unruh, I am 28 years old, and I am currently living in Belgium with my sweet husband Tate. My husband plays professional basketball overseas, so we are in Belgium during the season, and Kansas City during the summers! I just recently started blogging, to fill a lot of my time over here, and it has been such a fun and creative outlet for me. If you love fashion, style, shopping on a budget, and talking about real things, then hop on over to www.hillarymichelleblog.com and let’s be friends! Also, if you have a thing for rap music, specifically the 2000’s, then we will be best friends.
When Lauren asked me to guest write for her blog, I was so excited. Some of you might be a little hesitant reading this, because I am married, but don’t roll your eyes at me yet- your girls got some street cred! ;) I got married just this past summer, August 2017, after dating and being engaged to Tate for a little under a year. Before Tate walked into my life, I was single for eight years. Yes, I didn’t misspell, eight years! Not only was I single, I was never asked out on a date. Tate was my first date at the ripe age of 27.
For eight years singleness was something I really struggled with. I felt like I was ready to marry at age 22, and I am not kidding. My hearts desire was to be a wife, and eventually a mother. I wrestled with God all the time. I didn’t understand why I had to wait so long when I felt like I was ready. I didn’t understand why no one was taking an interest in me. I didn’t understand why other people were being asked out and pursued, and not me. I wanted to be married so badly, my heart ached. I longed to love someone, to serve someone, and to stand beside someone.
God always uses our biggest weaknesses and struggles for His glory doesn’t He? He turns them into our passions. So for eight years singleness was my platform that He used to speak to other single women! I loved ministering to other single women. I loved being used by God to encourage others in singleness, even in the moments of doubt and fear.
When I became married, I realized that my platform had shifted. I was no longer married. I couldn’t speak into singleness the same way I used to be able to. When Lauren asked me to write for her blog, I was so excited because I got to talk about singleness again! It sounds weird, but it was huge part of my life and my walk with the Lord. Even though I am married now, those feelings of loneliness, doubt, impatience, fear, feeling not good enough, are all still so real to me. So I get it, sister!
I want to encourage you in your singleness today. Looking back on my eight years of singleness, I learned a lot and grew a lot. I now see many different ways the Lord used my singleness, and I would love to share them with you! There are also myths and misconceptions about marriage that I want to address as well.
So let’s get to it!
First, wrestle with your singleness. Wrestling with my singleness was one of the best things I did to prepare for marriage. Sounds weird, huh? Let me explain. When I say I wrestled with my singleness, I mean I asked God a lot of questions, I asked myself a lot of questions, and I fought through the ugly hard times. There are going to be days when singleness is fun, maybe you would prefer it, and you see it truly as a gift. Then there are going to be days when you sob in a quiet place alone because you feel left out, lonely, and unwanted. I know that wasn’t just me! I would sometimes get mad at God (not rightfully so) but I was honest with Him. I was mad that it was taking so long, I was mad no one was pursuing me, I was mad other girls were getting pursued. When I got real with myself, and with God, He taught me a lot about myself, Himself, and singleness. He taught me to be strong, He tested my faith, He reminded me of His faithfulness, and He taught me to find my identity in Him. THAT IS HUGE. I didn’t have a boyfriend to be tempted to place my identity in. If anything, being single always pushed me back to the Lord because the Lord was all I had.
Singleness taught me a lot about independence, yet dependance on the Lord, and finding my whole identity in Him. I learned who I was a person, before adding someone else to my life. My strengths, my weaknesses, my fear buttons, my ugly side, what made me mad, what made me happy, how to communicate. Now I am married (finally), ten months in, and I rarely struggle with placing my identity in Tate. And I rarely struggle with looking to him to fulfill things I know he can’t fulfill. I know how to handle a lot of my emotions. I am not saying married people don’t struggle with those things, but singleness prepared me for those temptations! So allow this time of singleness to be used for your sanctification and growth! Wrestle with God. Allow Him to teach you about dependence on Him, and finding your identity solely in Him. Heck, I am still being taught those things even after getting married, and will always continue to be!
Secondly, view your singleness as a ministry. This is big. When you are single, you have an opportunity. When you’re married, you have an opportunity. But we are talking about the opportunities you have as a single person. Incase you didn’t know this, people are watching you! People are looking at you, people notice how you handle yourself, and people look up to you. You may be thinking, “uhh who??”. You may not know it, but they are. You have the opportunity to witness to people through your singleness. Through acts of faith, trust, obedience, and simply having a joyful heart. You are able to encourage those around you who are also walking in singleness.
How are you handling your singleness? Trust me, I didn’t handle singleness well all the time. I had my moments. But when you stop thinking about yourself and what you “deserve”, and shift your focus to being USED by God, your attitude shifts too! God will use you if you allow Him to. There were girls that would tell me they were encouraged by my singleness. “Well Hillary is 26 and still single, so I can do it too, it’s ok”. Sure it is veeery humbling, but it is encouraging! You can be an example to people, even in your walk through singleness. Dive into that. Encourage girls. Challenge girls who might be walking in doubt and fear, causing them to lower their standards. Ya’ll it can be an incredible ministry if you choose to view it as such. Lauren is the perfect example of that, by starting this blog. Seriously, go Lauren!
Third, married people still need friends too. There’s a transition that occurs when you go from being single to married. You go from living with your friends and hanging out with them all the time, to living with a man and I wanting to spend time with him, but also your friends. And as a friend of a person who just gets married, you always feel funny about when to hang out and when to not hang out. Like do they want to be with their husband tonight? Am I hanging around too much? Would they rather hang out with married couples? I remember thinking that with my married friends. I didn’t want to overstep. Friendships will look a little different, and that’s ok, but they are still your friend!! Married people need their friends. Relationship status has nothing to do with a friendship, or at least it shouldn’t. I love hanging with Tate, and spending time with him, but I also want to hang with my girls! Maintaining friendships is so important. Community is needed. We are called to have community! So don’t feel self conscious, don’t back away from friendships, and don’t feel less than. You are needed!
Fourth, getting married will not complete you or your life, and it won’t solve your problems. I remember praying to God, “alright God, I love my job, my friends, my community, my life, I just would love to have that missing piece, I would love to have a husband.” Do you relate? You just need that onnnnneee thing checked off your list and you’re good to go. You will be happy. Life will be GOOD. Marriage is not the one missing puzzle piece. It will never fully complete your life or satisfy that one itch. It’s funny, once we moved to Belgium and I realized I no longer had my friends, job, community, and family, I found myself praying desperately, “God I just need one friend. Could you please send me a friend. I will be ok if I have one friend.” God had given me a husband and I was praying for more! We always want more, we always want something else! Don’t get me wrong, God blessed me with the most amazing husband, and he fulfilled that desire of my heart. It is the greatest gift I have received. But that is just it, marriage is a gift! The gift of marriage is not intended to satisfy your deepest longings, to complete your life, fix your problems, or make you happy. It is a gift that is meant to bless you, and it does, very deeply.
Marriage does not fix problems. Marriage does not fix deeply rooted insecurities and fears. If anything, it exposes them. It is the most sanctifying relationship you can be in! So don’t think that by getting married those will suddenly vanish, because they won’t. I have never been more aware of my selfishness, than I have been the past 10 months! Use this time just you and God to work things you need to work through. Only the Lord is able to fix, heal, and patch up. Don’t look to marriage for that!
I actually feel like I could go on and on, but I will spare you all! ;) But I do want to leave you with two things.
Marriage is beautiful, messy, fun, hilarious, and the most incredible experience. It is worth waiting for. I waited eight long years to meet Tate, and if I would’ve known then what I know now, I would’ve waited eight more years. Well maybe not eight more….haha just kidding. ;) But that’s the thing, God doesn’t always reveal to you His plan and His reasons. Sometimes it really sucks, but it’s always for your good! I still don't know why Tate and I had to meet at age 27, but that is ok. I am so thankful I was faithful in my singleness, even when I didn’t want to be, because he was worth it. Marriage is worth it.
Lastly, don’t let “single” define you or become your identity. Because you are so much more than that! And when it does define you or become your identity, it will blur your vision. You doubt, you question, you fear, you feel less than, not good enough, lonely, behind, unwanted, self conscious. You are not those things! You are loved. You are taken care of. You are cared for. You have a plan already made for you that is without mistake. You are strong. You are enough. You are worthy. You are not behind. You are right where you need to be, because God has placed you there. So choose to believe that every single morning and walk confidently in your singleness! - Hillary
SO excited to have the Collective up and running this year! I loved what Hillary had to say because it's SO good to be reminded of these things even from married friends.
Hi Guys! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written over here. There isn’t a particular reason, except that I have just been busy doing LIFE, which has been pretty sweet lately.
Recently I have found myself feeling pretty content in a lot of aspects, including my job, my friends, and even singleness! And I am so thankful for that. Well, because I had been in a sweet spot of contentment, it caused a quite un-sweet spot in my time with God. I hadn't been desiring or wanting anything I didn't have, so I hadn't felt a need for God. Isn’t it funny how it’s in our biggest moments of desperation that we have our most intimate moments with the Lord? When things are good, it’s so easy for me to put Him on the side. I always pray all throughout the day every day, but I hadn't been intentional or in in the Word. There is no excuse for this; I know I always need to be spending intentional time seeking Him. But after I had finished a few studies, I didn’t have anything else planned. Between feeling content and having nothing lined up, I ended up just not doing anything. I knew I had to get back in it, so I said okay, I’ll start again on April 1st. So on April 1st, I picked up my journal, my bible and something called the 31 day challenge, and hopped back into it.
The 31 Day Challenge is something I have done twice a year for about 6 years, and it really helps me get into a routine. I WILL be sharing the 31 Day Challenge with you soon, and have a special project planned around it, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I wanted to share some tips that help me get back into the quiet-time swing of things. Alan Lakein said “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This quote could not be more true for my life, especially with quiet times. Looking back, every time I've hit a dry spell with getting in the Word, two things were always involved: 1) My lack of a "need for God," and 2) No plan in sight. Any time I’ve seen success in maintaining time with God, these 3 steps led the way:
- PLAN ahead. While you’re in your current routine of a quiet time, look into what you want to do next. Do some research into studies, topics, or even books of the bible you’d like to learn about. Always have what’s next ready for when you're done with your current routine.
- Be held ACCOUNTABLE. Grab a pal who also wants to be checked in on, even if you're not in the same study routine. Set expectations with each other for how you'll check in. With my gals, we've said that by 10:00pm we'll text the other, “Have you done your quiet time yet today?”
- WRITE your prayers. Writing out my prayers or general thoughts from my time in the Word really connects me with God on a more intimate level. A few years ago, I came up with a little acronym to help me pray with intention. I use P.T.C.O.M:
P - Praise: Praise God for His character and Who he is.
T- Thanksgiving: Thank God and take time to let Him know before you go into the rest of your prayer.
C- Confession: It’s pretty convicting to write this out everyday.
O- Others: Take time to pray for your family, friends, and community. Be specific!
M-Myself: Write out your prayer requests you have for yourself.
I know this post wasn’t super focused on singleness, but I wanted to be honest with where I was and what I’ve been up to. It is such a sweet reminder that God still loves us even when we ignore him for a little while. To see more on what scripture says on how we should pray,read: Matthew 6:5-15 this helped me organize my prayer routine and I hope it helps you too! Until next week!
Why is it that the Holiday season makes being single extra hard? I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. The other night a few friends and I were at the Dallas Arboretum's 12 Days of Christmas Display, and the whole time we kept saying "this would be the funnest date". Well, it seems like everything at Christmas would make a great date. Why is that? The Holiday season is festive, colorful, lovely, warm, all things fun and all things you want to share with a significant other. Company Christmas party? Bring your plus one! … oh wait I DON’T HAVE ONE. Bringing home someone special for Christmas to meet the fam? Nope never have, probs never will (sorry ok that’s dramatic). NYE kiss? Um no, and I don’t kiss on first dates so BYEEE. Basically you get the picture. And I know I’m not the only single girl that goes through this thought process.
Earlier this week I wrote a letter to my 22 year old self. That same Christmas I specifically remember getting some Christmas Eve drinks at the Four Seasons with my fam. We were talking about all sorts of things, including upcoming weddings, and well, I started bawling. At the Four Seasons. On Christmas Eve. I felt so alone and desperate in my singleness and it all came crumbling down through my tears at our fancy happy hour… nice. Anyone else have a moment like that? Up to that point on Christmas break I had many people ask or say “So no one special?” - no, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing single” - thanks for calling me pretty, but idk so… and my favorite, “You’re the last person I expected to be single..” like how do you respond that? Yes, I’m aware I’m one of the only ones left from my high school group single, and thanks? It felt like everyone around me was engaged or close to it, and I definitely was not.
Moral of the story: being single during the holidays is hard. You want to share this special season with someone. You want someone to watch all the Christmas movies with (you know the good ones, Home Alone 1 and 2… if you watch the rest, bye. Elf, The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, and for me personally, I read and watch all the Harry Potters this time of year. You want to go on a cozy carriage ride together looking at Christmas lights, or even just a festive Christmas dinner date. Then you go home where you’re faced with tough questions, which come from love, but kind of hurt you in the end. Your normal single longings of being wanted, pursued, and loved are heightened during the Holiday season. Longing. A friend was telling me about a book she was reading and how all our “longings are rooted in our longing for Christ.” I couldn’t agree more. The reason we are celebrating Christmas is to rejoice over the birth of Christ our Savior! You know, the one who was born of a virgin, to save us from our sins and give us eternal life with him forever? Our longings all come back to things HE already provides for us. He has already pursued us fully, loves us completely despite our ugli-ness (and ugly cries of pity on Christmas Eve), and wants to be in a relationship with us - sin and all. In the past, it has been so hard to focus on these things. But this year, this season of Christmas and advent has been so much better than in years past.
My small group and I have been doing the She Reads Truth advent study and it’s been the sweetest thing. Each day I am reminded why we are celebrating this season and where specifically in the Bible the promises I believe to be true are said, and of the stories and strong people behind them. Mary’s story is one that really stands out to me in this season. Reading about the angel coming to tell her she will be pregnant was probably 1) The most absurd thing she’s ever heard, because hello, she was a virgin! 2) Incredibly scary - what would life look like for her, what would people think? Is she capable of raising the king of the world? And 3) Unreal, how could this be happening to her? But after all the thoughts and fears she had, we see Mary respond in incredible and overwhelming obedience to the Lord. She finds her identity in the Lord through it all. Luke 1:38 says that she responded to Gabriel the Angel as “the servant of the Lord”. And we see this theme throughout her entire life. Mary is able to be so faithful, so obedient to the Lord, and eventually her own son Jesus - what an incredible example to dwell on. Reading advent this season has reminded me where my identity lies, and while this trial of singleness can be hard at times (which now looking at what Mary went through, I’m like there is NO room for complaining), I am called to be obedient and faithful to where God has me.
This Holiday season has been much easier than others. I quite confidently believe a lot of that is to do with the community I am surrounded by. They encourage me when it’s hard and point me back to the truths I spoke about above. We have also made sure to make the most of it! You don’t need a boy to do fun Christmas activities. Grab your girls, go look at Christmas lights, go to a fun dinner, go do all the cheesy holiday things in your city, and watch the Hallmark Christmas movies (which I AM HERE FOR).
Even through Christmas is a few days away, I hope this encourages you to rethink what this season as a single can look like for you, and even challenge you to make it better next year! Below is some scripture that I have really held on to and loved during this Christmas, I hope they bring you as much comfort and joy as they do me. Until next year ppl!
“May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE.”
“O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory [or, “accomplished salvation”] for Him.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
“Turn to me with all your heart.”
“GLORY to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
My 22 year old self was a recent TCU grad, and had just finished the best 4 years of my life (or so I thought.) I truly couldn’t have asked for a better college experience, from my sorority, to campus leadership opportunities, to Frog Football victories... the memories are truly the sweetest. Little did I know I was walking into the loneliest year of my life. I had a job where I worked from home when not traveling, and unfortunately all my friends had left Fort Worth. I was desperate for community, friends, and to be loved and known. I constantly cried out to the Lord wondering why he wasn’t giving me these things. Weren’t these good things to ask for? At the time I couldn't have predicted how much better the next four years would get. I now look back and see how intimate my relationship with the Lord was that year, because He was all I could hold onto. I see how he answered my prayers above and beyond. He mapped out a life that I could not even imagine.
Reflecting on all this, I wanted to write this letter to myself. Rewinding 4 years ago, I picture 22 yr old Lo sitting on my bed, reading the bible, and journaling my prayers with tears down my face. Praying for friends, a dog (a story for another time), and wondering if or when I would get married. It seemed like everyone around me was getting engaged, married or in a new relationship and I felt like I was running a race I just couldn't catch up to. I think if I read this letter then I would have laughed, cried and been in disbelief at what was to come.
I’m writing this letter to remind myself how faithful the Lord is and who he promises to be. To look at all that has happened, and what He has done. To celebrate entering my upper 20's as a single girl instead of being ashamed and disappointed. Here goes a letter to myself.
It’s me. (you.) I know you’re lonely, so lonely, and feel like community is so far away, a husband is so far away and everyone seems to be getting engaged. You really don’t like your job, and you’re wondering: Lord what is next?! Well, you’re 27 now, and doing things you never dreamed of. I’m here to give you hope and encouragement. I'm here to tell you all these things get so much better, easier, and God guides you through it all. Here are 27 things I wish you knew, so you would have a few less tearless nights, and more excitement for what's to come.
- You’re still very single. Yup. Not even close to being married, BUT you are happy and so content (most days) and I promise you it gets better, so much better!
- This year is tough, but so are you.
- God has bigger and better plans than you can dream of. These next four years look 0% like what you expect - they're even better.
- Trust God when he says, " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
- You live in Dallas, Texas now! Ya, that place down the road where your friends are begging you to move to right now. But we made it!
- In Dallas, you have the BEST community. You are surrounded by friends who love and know you. Friends who are single, married, dating, and all invest in you and are so life-giving.
- You like red wine now.
- You will be in 6 - yes, 6 - weddings, and not have a date for a single one. But I promise being a bridesmaid is the sweetest gift, and 2 of those weddings... you don’t even know the brides yet!
- You still love Harry Potter and re-read and re-watch the series each year. The love only grows stronger.
- You should look up the mid-west (I know it’s irrelevant to us California girls, no offense mid-western friends), because you’re about to live in Branson, Missouri for 2 years. There, thanks to Kanakuk Kamps Ministries, you'll grow more in your faith than you can imagine. (Yeah, you think you know a lot, but you don't. So buckle up - it's a humbling 2 years! )
- This challenging and lonely (yes it does get hard) year leads you to doing a biblical studies program called the Kanakuk Institute and it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.
- You can give an overview of the bible in 30 mins. (believe me, lol I'm still shocked too)
- You know how to defend your faith and why.
- Eight is the number of countries you have traveled to in the last 5 years (Greece, Turkey, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain, Bahamas).
- You get to live in Belfast, Ireland for 6 weeks because your job (yeah, UNREAL) is to mentor girls in a gap year program and go abroad. It’s the best job ever. These girls teach you more than you can imagine and they are the most precious God fearing-girls in the world. Working at Link Year is an incredible blessing and year of growth for you.
- You won’t go on another date until you’re 26.
- You go on three dates (all set ups) and none work out. But it’s ok!
- You have traveled to NYC four times, Chicago twice, Colorado three times, Nashville, Kansas City, San Fransisco, Oregon, Maui, and more.
- Clearly, you love to travel.
- The Gilmore Girls are great "fake friends" - I wish you would have met them this year. Lorelei and Rory get you through some lonely nights!
- You have an obsession with NYC and constantly wonder if you should move there.
- You are very relationally driven, so no wonder this year is so hard for you.
- Sorry, but you still don't have a dog.
- Remember to thank Mom, Dad and your incredible more mature than you little sister Courtney more often. For putting up with you, praying for you, and guiding you through some anxiety attacks and many tears.
- You learn that God IS good enough, and He always will be.
- Right now you want to be pursued, chosen, and loved. But you already are. Read Psalm 139.
- You're going to be ok. I promise you.
YOU GUYS. I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to Emily. We met through Kanakuk Kamps (a summer camp and ministry) , a few years ago and she has blown me away with her lack of fear and faith ever since. Emily is someone who isn't afraid to take a risk, is full of boldness, and bravery. She is loyal, and incredibly sweet, and I'm so thankful to know and be friends with her. She can talk all things Broadway (which I SO appreciate) and probably knows more about Taylor Swift than you do. She is full of passion, and a dream chaser. Anyways, I don't want to spoil her story because she tells it so well. Here is the first post in the mini series of the collective, "Single In The City".
Name: Emily Ann Domke
CITY: New York City
Can’t live without: My family, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Taylor Swift
Favorite thing about New York: Each neighborhood has its own unique vibe so I never get tired of exploring.
"On May 17th, 2016 I landed in New York City with two bags, a near empty bank account, and no return ticket. For weeks I had feelings of adventure and excitement run through me, followed by dread and anxiety. Thoughts like “I’m going to live in New York!” were quickly replaced with “I am making a huge mistake!” Would a sane person move halfway across the country with no job, no money, and no idea what they want to do in life?
Two months before, I was wearing a stunning rose gold engagement ring and wedding planning was in full swing. Five months later I would be married. I had chosen a venue, found the gown, and had the guy. But I was beginning to have second thoughts...
Jeff and I had met while working at a Christian summer camp the previous year. He was charming, kind, chivalrous, goofy, and I was immediately drawn to him. We had an instant connection that gave me butterflies and made me blush. We would talk for hours without running out of things to say. Once word got around camp that Jeff and I had hit it off, it seemed that everyone was on board. That summer turned into a whirlwind romance that swept me off my feet and left me floating in the clouds.
There wasn’t a specific day, or argument, or reason that things changed, but I began to question whether I was ready to get married. After Jeff and I got engaged and we started talking about plans for the future and expectations for marriage, I had a feeling in my heart that something was off. For months I pushed those feelings away and chalked them up to cold feet or nerves, but as the wedding date drew closer the more stressed I became. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do. I met a guy at summer camp who loves Jesus and loves me, so now we ride off into the sunset like in an old school Taylor Swift music video right? I prayed for months and asked God to take these nerves away. I tried pushing the feelings down and telling myself to just be happy. Finally, after things didn’t improve, I decided I needed to honor my feelings and be sure that getting married was what I really wanted.
Calling off the wedding was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Breakups are never easy, but it is much easier to justify a breakup with a jerk than with a sweet guy like Jeff. I didn’t think I could do it. Jeff wanted to fix it, wanted to know what he did wrong, how he pushed me away, and what he could do to change. I couldn’t answer his questions. The classic cliché “It’s not you, it’s me” summed up the situation perfectly. BUT REALLY IT’S ME! I wanted to make it so clear that he didn’t push me away, or do anything that made me change my mind. Cliché or not, it didn’t make the breakup any less painful.
After sending out uninvitations to make it official (yes those are real things), I did feel a sense of relief. It was as though God lifted a weight off my chest. To be clear, Jeff was not the weight, and neither was the idea of marriage: It was the stress of trying to live up to other people’s expectations and live the life I thought I was “supposed” to be living. I knew I had made the right decision even though it was hard.
What does all this have to do with being Single in the City you ask? Well, calling off the wedding freed up my schedule, so to speak. I didn’t have a job, I was finished with school, and I was not tied to any place or person. My sister and her husband suggested I move to NYC, and at first I laughed it off as a joke. But eventually I began to like the idea of living somewhere new, and what better time than now?
Fast forward to the present. I have lived in New York City for a year and a half now and let me tell you, there are many more frogs than prince charmings (but shout out to Bumble for trying to convince me otherwise). For the most part, I’ve been rocking the single life and have come to enjoy the freedom it brings.
Living in a new city, not knowing anyone aside from my sister and her husband, has taught me a lot about being single. A huge piece of advice I can give is: don’t be afraid of doing things alone. Go to a restaurant and confidently ask for a table for one. Find a park bench and reread Harry Potter. Go to a museum and get lost in the exhibits. Sign up for that kick boxing class. Sip hot chocolate at a cafe and watch people walk by. These are all things I’ve done in the city that I’ve absolutely loved. But my favorite thing is going to the movies. I’m a huge movie person and going alone feels like my own personal date night.
Being single in the city has also taught me to be more independent. There are a lot of things that would have been nice to have a guy around to help with, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to figure it out for myself. I wouldn’t recommend driving a U-Haul truck through the streets of Brooklyn on a Saturday, but now I can tell you that I am capable of doing that. It might take me 8 ½ hours, but I can put together an Ikea trundle bed without any help. If you have a leaky sink, a mice infestation, or a clogged toilet, I’m your gal! My point is, there are times where it feels easy to just throw your hands up and think “If only I had a boyfriend for this!” when really you are strong and capable. Don’t sell yourself short.
Lastly, and very importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be okay. Some days I’m sad and lonely and all I want is someone to watch Dexter with me. Some days I open instagram and think there is no possible way that THAT many people got married last Saturday. There are days when I go to brunch with my sister Holly and her husband Jackson and I think “I will never have what they do”. Not all days or weeks are going to be overflowing with confidence and security in my singleness, and that’s okay.
Currently I am happy that I am single. All the lessons I have learned this year and experiences I’ve had would have been vastly different if I’d had a boyfriend. I have to remind myself (often) that there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting a relationship at the moment and not desiring to get married anytime soon. Being single in the city might sound intimidating, but it's truly a crazy adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything! (Even a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue)"
I am SO excited to announce the start of a new mini-series in the Collective: "Single In The City". Every time I visit New York I leave wanting more - more sights, more food, more of everything the city has to offer. I also come back feeling very refreshed in singleness. In cities like New York,it’s normal to be single in your mid-late 20’s or 30’s, chasing after your dreams and career. There’s less pressure to find that person and get married within months. Instead, I find myself in less conversations about boys, and more conversations about our passions and what we’d like to accomplish in life. It’s so different than Texas, and even the Christian bubble I’m surrounded in. It’s just nice to go somewhere and not be questioned about your singleness. I usually leave in an identity crisis: Did I miss my calling? Do I need to move to NYC? I have always loved performing. I started dancing at the age of two 2 years, and went on to dabble in broadcast journalism, singing, and acting. But I’ve never been the one to want to be the “star” necessarily- never tried out for the main role, and didn’t decide to do broadcasting in college because I struggled with insecurity and became content in being in the background. I never thought I was good enough so I didn’t pursue it. To this day, I miss it so much. I so respect and admire those who did say I CAN.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED the life I have. I’ve had incredible adventures around the world, and amazing jobs. But I wanted to feature some girls who said, “I can, and I will”, and moved to the big city to chase their dreams. Not all of them are performers or in the entertainment industry (that’s just what I related to), but they all had dreams and said “let’s do this thing.”
These girls in the next few collective stories all have their different reasons for moving to NYC, Boston and Chicago. But it’s the big city’s culture on singleness that I wanted to share with you that I hope you find as refreshing and motivating as I do. I hope that a girl reading this has dreamed of taking a risk to do something she loves, and is encouraged to do it by these stories. These are stories of girls who really went in open handed and said “God, I trust you.” This week you will hear from a girl who went from engaged in the mid-west to single in NYC, and what that has looked like for her. And it’s so dang good. Check back in Wednesday to read the first “Single In the City” story.
Name: Lindsay Price
Occupation: Assistant Buyer
Can’t Live Without: Ice Cream (Specifically Grater’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip)
Loves: The Show Friends, hence the title of this blog
Fun Fact: Her hair was straight growing up and now it’s basically a perm.
Obsessed With: George W. Bush
YOU GUYS. This post is so freaking good, I bumped posting it up a week early. Lindsay is one of my main people here in Dallas, she is my community group (small group) along with Chandler Mann and Jennifer Abohosh. Unintentionally these three are the first to be featured in the collective which has turned out to be so sweet. Anyways, back to Lindsay. Linds, is someone who is up for anything anytime, an Ohio State enthusiast x100000 (she BLEEDS Buckeyes), and a crime podcast addict (along with myself, we live for murder mysteries, it’s a problem but I promise we aren’t crazy).
If I had to describe Lindsay in one word it would be LOYAL. This girl is loyal to her core, the best personal cheerleader, and bold beyond belief. Although we only met earlier this year, it feels like we have been friends for decades. She has a fierce faith in the Lord, and handles trials with a grace and strength I admire so much. Lindsay’s story in singleness is stinkin so good, so let’s get to it!
"You know those girls who, with every new school year they had a new boyfriend, even starting in like 3rd grade and even to this day, always seem to be in a relationship? The girls who seemed to never have to try at all to get a date for this function or that because there were always lines of guys following them wherever they went? Yeah, I was so not one of those girls.
I am 26 years old, and I’ve never had a boyfriend. There, I said it. That’s incredibly intimidating/slightly embarrassing/nerve wracking to say to the internet where we put our best face on display 24/7, but this is me being real, because this is my life.
“I don’t get it, you’re such a catch!”
“Wait, you mean, never??”
“Wow, that’s so cool! I wish I had done that. Good for you for waiting!”
“Oh well, don’t worry, your time will come! God has a plan!”
These are a few of my favorite responses people have when they hear that I haven’t had a boyfriend. The one where people compliment me for waiting makes me a little uncomfortable because it’s not like I’m taking this stand to not date anyone until such and such a time to focus on myself or am against it entirely, it’s just never happened… I know it’s coming from a good place, but sometimes it’s hard to not take it like what they really want to say is “What’s wrong with you?” Because, that’s the question that goes through my mind all the time.
At least, it used to.
“What’s wrong with me?” What a loaded question that begins and ends in lies from Satan.
I’ve been the “almost” girl a few times. Where it would like my bad luck with relationships would end, but then it’s over just as quickly as it started. Whatever it was. I would be “talking” to a guy and it seemed to be going well then all of the sudden, he was over it or nothing would come of it. The reasons why varied and some I still don’t know, but in my mind, I was the common denominator in all these situations, so it was clearly me. I was obviously doing something wrong. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not funny or smart enough. I’m too awkward. I’m not outgoing enough, and about a million other of these thoughts roll through my head.
We are not promised marriage and that’s what scares me. Like our friend Chandler Mann talked about in her post a while back (if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so right now, seriously, so good) society has made it seem that singleness is second best. It’s like our whole lives we are racing for the marriage finish line, and God forbid you don’t cross it. Why is that? Why do we feel like we are black sheep in the midst of all these happy, paired up sheep? No really, I’m asking… because I have no idea why.
For me, I think it boils down to, not being alone, but not being good enough.
My Discipleship group just finished going through Lysa TerKeurst’s “Finding I am” study and one of the days (that I lead ironically enough) was titled “I’m not good enough” which obviously peaked my interest. She talks about not getting invited to a party and how much that hurt and made her feel like she wasn’t good enough to be part of the group. Then she had the realization that the term “good enough” is not any good at all. We wouldn’t want people to say that we’re good enough at our job or a good enough friend or a good enough partner in a relationship. No, so often we try to take matters into our own hands and forget that God has our backs. Lysa makes a great point “With Jesus, we are better than good enough because He steps in and fulfills what we cannot do on our own.” So why am I still consumed with being accepted by everyone around me, especially guys?
Most of the time, my season of singleness doesn’t really bother me. I’m a very independent person who, while I love to hangout and be in the mix with my friends and go out and try new things, I feel like I thrive being by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one on and last to leave the dance floor, I’m always up for trying new restaurants on Friday nights and would be at Ohio Stadium every home game tailgating with my friends and cheering on the Bucks if I could. So, while it would be an added bonus to have someone to do all the things with like have as a plus one at all of the weddings that keep coming, go to the state fair with when all my friends have already gone or even just to watch The Walking Dead with on Sunday nights (best show on television, don’t even try, I’m looking at you GOT fans), being in a relationship would be a plus, not a must for me right now.
But that’s not to say the weight of longtime singleness doesn’t get to me, because it does. Being single is HARD sometimes and it bothers me that I let it affect me – make me doubt myself. What bothers me more often than I’d like to admit is the FOMO I get from never having dated. I get scared into thinking that if it hasn’t happened by now, the chances are just going to keep getting slimmer and slimmer. It’s hard for me to not compare myself to my friends, coworkers, family and fictional characters in books and movies and not feel embarrassed about it or not good enough. Especially living in the south, you are very much in the minority to be in your late 20’s and not be in a relationship. Not to mention that you can’t seem to make it past a first date (however bad it is, and trust me, I have some great bad first date stories). It makes me feel as though I’m wayyyy behind in life when everyone around me is having major success in their careers, getting married, having babies, buying houses etc. etc. etc.
For instance, one of my best friends just got engaged!! I had known about the plan for a long time and even helped her boyfriend decide on the ring and did my best to throw her off for when the big day was coming. The week leading up to the proposal, I couldn’t stop talking about it (I’m in Dallas and she’s in Columbus so it’s fine, I was excited not stupid), I was just too happy that it was finally happening! Thankfully, I was in town for a baby shower on the day of the proposal and when someone asked me what I was doing the rest of the day and I responded that I was going to celebrate one of my best friends getting engaged, they asked with a serious look of pity, “Aw, how does that make you feel? Is that hard for you?” Whoa… Well dang it wasn’t until you just said something!!
Jk, jk. But, still.
I’m used to stuff like this. I have become good at laughing it off or coming back with a sassy saying about how no guy could keep up with me anyway, blah, blah, blah. But what I wish I said is, “The Lord has a plan and it’s better than mine.” Because that’s what I need to remind myself every day.
I’ve got a new prayer. After first moving to Dallas, my prayer was for community. Moving to a new city is HARD especially one as big as Dallas and I knew all too well the direction that this move could have gone if I didn’t find one. But the Lord totally provided! He gave me some months of adjustment, but then He came through in a big way and now I have some of the best community that I’ve had. After I rejoiced in this answer to prayer, I thought about what my next heartfelt prayer would be. There was a small thought to now pray for a relationship. I’ve put in my time in the single department and maybe now it’s my turn! But that was my selfish flesh talking and also a lie. We don’t deserve anything, including relationships.
No, my new prayer is actually one I’m stealing from a family friend. A friend who, at his rehearsal dinner, made a toast about his long time singleness after a relationship that didn’t work out. He prayed that no matter what, the Lord would sustain him. And that is my new prayer, that the Lord sustains me. No matter what happens in singleness, and life in general, I pray that I trust in Him and that the Lord will completely fill me. The dictionary defines sustain as “strengthen or support physically or mentally”. Other words for sustain are comfort, help, assist, encourage, carry, support, hearten. I need this every day in every aspect of my life. But especially when my fear of not being good enough for a relationship comes to the forefront of my mind. Because when I’m focusing on the negative, I miss out on what the Lord is doing for me in other ways. He is encouraging, assisting and supporting us daily, and so often we miss it because we are focusing on ourselves and what we have or don’t have. In my case, a relationship.
So just because I’ve never dated, doesn’t mean that I’m not good enough. It’s just giving more and more opportunity for God to fully sustain me, and more importantly, allow myself to trust that He will no matter what. He doesn’t have to provide me with a relationship and at 26 years old, there is no sense in just sitting around waiting on one. So, I’ll just be here, cheering on my Buckeyes, getting invited to weddings to be the life of the dance floor and watching The Walking Dead by myself on Sunday nights so no one has to see how into it I am."
Yeah, told you this was amazing. I hope you are encouraged by her story in singleness, and challenged to make your prayer for the Lord alone to sustain you. "Surely God is my help; The Lord is the one who sustains me." - Psalm 54:4. Until next week friends!
Name: Jennifer Abohosh | Dallas, Texas
Field of Work: Consulting
Can't Live Without: Coffee. (Stumptown Coffee is the favorite)
Loves: Spending time with her high school small group girls and spurring them on!
Has Flown: Over 100k miles this year helping ministries all around the world with digital strategy.
Side Hustle: Dallas Flower Company! She started it just a few months ago and has already sold countless bouquets and has a wedding booked this month! Remember those beautiful blooms on my Instagram yesterday? Those are hers, give her a follow @DallasFlowerCompany
I am so thrilled to introduce you to my dear friend Jen. We first met in a wedding we were both bridesmaids in together in 2015. Since then we were bridesmaids in yet another wedding together last November and have become close friends since I have moved to Dallas. We have recently joined a small group together with Chandler Mann (whom you have met) and Lindsay Price (who you will meet soon!) It has been so sweet to walk throughsingleness together and experience community in the midst of a sometimes lonely season.
If I had to describe Jen in one word, it would be INTENTIONAL. This girl is intentional with her words, time and actions. She is an example to me of what it looks like to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” (James 1:19) (something I struggle with). She is wise beyond her years, and leads humbly. Jen is creative and a go-getter. (Did I mention she’s been promoted at her job like a billion times?) She has an eye for all things pretty (duh, her flowers are amaze) and a gift of making her friends feel known and loved. In this post Jen digs into what it feels like to belong somewhere or to someone in the midst of singleness and where we place our identity. Let me tell ya, it’s good stuff and you don’t want to miss it. Ok, enough from me, here’s what Jen’s has to say on “Belonging In The Desert”.
"Singleness sucks. Can we just come out and say that?
A friend of mine once gave me permission to scream into a pillow and cry over this, because it does suck. Feeling that emotion is part of it – it’s part of the refining fire.
I’m an extrovert. I get my energy from people and by being around people. Growing up, I was the girl that would bring 10 friends to camp with me to have built-in friends, and birthday parties were planned months in advance. Gathering with friends has always given me the most joy.
So, being single in a time of life where most of my friends are married feels isolating.
But desiring connection and belonging is what makes me human – but, for me, is part of what made me incredibly broken.
In the Bible, God uses a story in Hosea to show how a prostitute seeks value from her suitors instead of her husband. God tells him to give her unconditional love, and he does, but she still turns to her old patterns instead of to him.
Finally, in Chapter 2, God threw her into the desert and said, “I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.” (Hosea 2:7-9)
Like Hosea, God, in his kindness, threw me in the desert away from the things I longed for until I realized where true life was found.
Except for my suitors came in the shape of friends, family and relationships that I clinged to for identity instead of fully in Christ.
But the desert is the place where I found myself and figured out what it meant to truly belong.
While in this desert, I decided to face the wilderness alone (with God) to figure out who I was and what He was trying to teach me as I clinged to the promise that “God works in everything for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose” and I knew that even in this phase of life God was at work!
Trying to find my identity in people left me in this constant state of being too much or never enough.
I was either, too ambitious in my career for some men who wanted a stay at home wife. But, I was not feminist enough to really fit in with the career driven women.
I was stuck.
I was trying to cling to identities that were out there instead of grasping my own.
But God showed me that you can’t put me in a box because I don’t fit in a box. I’m complicated, and deep, and snarky, and smart, but it’s all beautifully unique to just me.
I discovered that identity is something that you carry and belonging isn’t something someone can give you. True belonging is something only you can give yourself.
And, true belonging is scary. It’s something you do alone – just you and God. It’s vulnerable and brave.
Because, when you truly belong, you belong nowhere and everywhere at once.
I am no longer picking up my identity from one person or friend group, because I’m unique to me. I belong nowhere but here – with me and God.
But, at the same time, I get to belong everywhere at once – bringing a lot to the table when I do! Since I’m coming to the party whole and already belonging - I get to experience joy from friendships as an added bonus to my life and praise God for those sweet gifts of mirroring His love for me.
I think this what God wanted from me in this season.
I think God wanted to show me that true belonging comes from within, and I don’t need anyone else to belong. I get to belong in the desert on my own. And that’s enough."
Struggling with our identity and wanting to feel like we belong somewhere is so common in all walks of life. I hope you were encouraged by Jen's words just as much as I was and reminded that God has us belonging in what ever season it may be, for a reason, and for His Glory, and "that's enough", because He is always good.
Y'all. This post is raw and it's real. And it was real scary to write and click publish. So bear with me and dig into this nitty gritty not so pretty stuff about singleness.
Remember how in my last post I talked about how I was pretty confident and comfortable this summer in singleness? Well, joke’s on me because the other weekend was tough. Let me just give you a little play by play of what brought me into this downward spiral.
Saturday morning: I wake up MAD because I just had a dream where I was dating someone, only to find out he was dating someone else on the side. 2 things here:
1. Not being good enough/rejection is one of my core fears, so cue the insecure thoughts this dream brought by not being chosen. (And yes I realize this was not real and didn't really happen but it made me really feel things)
2. I woke up over an hour before my alarm so I was pretty stinking annoyed at this dream for the seemingly real feelings it brought AND waking me up early.
Saturday-Sunday: overall great weekend filled with college football (GO FROGS) and friends. But also filled with good and deep conversations, that included talking about relationships and singleness. And me downloading my weirdo dream to two of my close friends (talking about it was maybe a bad idea bc then I just kept thinking about it.)
Let’s proceed to the rest of that weekend/week:
Sunday: the Devil got me good. My dream feelings were still strong and I somehow found myself digging into an ex's social media which I shouldn't have done. BUT I felt like being sorry for myself I guess, so I started comparing myself to other girls he had dated, and other people who are in relationships. Yes I realize this sounds psycho and I'm and crazy but I can't be the only one who does this… right? Oh you don't? Yeah jk me either I just made this up…
Welcome to the crazy train of a single girl's brain! Throughout that week I really struggled with questions like, “ Why has nobody asked me out in so long? “Am I pretty enough”? “Am I likable?” “Is something wrong with me?” “How come they get to have a relationship and I don’t? Lord haven’t I been faithful?"(UGLY THOUGHTS WOW)
Anyone else ask these questions before?
After thinking these thoughts and talking to my friends about these things, I had to admit “I stalked my ex on Instagram”. We all shared stories of how common this is and talked about how negative the effects are when we do this. Why do we do this to ourselves? To throw ourselves a pity party? .. Apparently so. Stalking your ex on Instagram does NOT, I repeat DOES NOT benefit us in anyway. Sure, maybe you’re just “checking in to see what they are up to, how are they doing” but let’s be real. It doesn't end there. It ends in insecure thoughts, and leads to vicious games of comparison. It leaves us feeling sad, not good enough, and maybe sometimes depressed. It makes us remember the good but not the bad of that relationship, and makes us desperately desire to be in one again.
While desiring a relationship is not a bad thing (we were made to be in relationships with one another, whether romantic, family or friendly), it becomes a bad thing when it starts to be an idol in your life. It becomes an idol when you find yourself checking in on the ex constantly, digging down the hole of social media, comparing and wishing for things you don’t have.
So how do we avoid that? It’s simple and easier said than done. But I think we need to choose not to stalk. Choose to take them off our feeds if needed. Choose to be held accountable by friends who will ask us hard questions, and encourage us in the season God has us in. Maybe for you that looks like taking a break from social media completely. I am embarrassed to admit the amount of time I spend on social media compared to other things I know would be more life giving, like long quiet times. Personally, I have decided to “slow my scroll” before I go to bed. After settling in for the night with my roommate and watching our shows, and doing my quiet time, I will set my alarm and choose not to go on Instagram or Facebook, etc. It’s pretty wild when you start scrolling and all of the sudden it's an hour later. I am ending my day journaling, praying and spending time with the Lord instead of scrolling, and let me tell you it’s been so good. Take this time too to talk about your struggles in singleness to God, and reflect on them, instead of stalking and soaking in the insecurities.
While spending time in the word, I dwelled on these things:
- God's timing is good, perfect, and will always be better than what we might think is the right timing. Ecclesiastes 3:11 - " He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
- Wait on the Lord, he always has and always will care for us. Lamentations 3:25-26- "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him", Romans 8:28-"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
- My identity rests in Him and not in my relationship status. Psalm 62:1-2-"Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken."
What do you do that helps get you away from stalking and going deep into the hole on social media?
I’d love to hear!
This week I originally wanted to talk about the importance of community in your single season, and really, in all seasons. But as summer came to a close and I approached the 1 month anniversary of this blog, I kept thinking about what an incredible summer in singleness I had.
Maybe for some of you this is your first summer as a single girl, or singleness came abruptly this summer following major heartache, or maybe you are thinking, “Honey, I’ve been single my whole life, so a summer of singleness is no new thing for me.” Personally, It's been four years since I've dated anyone, so a summer of singleness isn’t necessarily “new” for me . But I feel like this summer in particular, my confidence in singleness outweighed my insecurities in singleness. So, I instead wanted to write about 3 things that helped my confidence win over insecurities during this “single” summer.
I Dreamed With My Team
If you're like me, you make some sort of goal or list of things you want to accomplish throughout the year. For some reason, it seems like these lists and goals are more adventurous during the beginning of the new year or summer. I think summer gives us a new spring to our step - the sun is shining, the days are longer, and even though most of us don’t have summer break anymore, we still get in the mindset that we have more time than usual. I have been wanting to start this blog for the past two years , and this summer is when I finally decided to do it. A major reason that got me to do it was “my people”. I shared this dream of Single Society Co with close friends who encouraged me and pushed me to actually do this thing, instead of just dreaming and talking about it. They held me accountable and asked me questions like, “ Have you started writing? What have you written? When are you actually going to do this? " You can even think of questions you want people to ask you, have them keep tabs, and ask them in return what dreams you can help them accomplish. Your goals may be anything from starting a blog to changing your thought process. Maybe this is the summer you really do want to get over that ex . Have your people check in and ask what you’re doing to accomplish that. For me, this project has kept me distracted from unproductive day-dreaming and wishing for a significant other, and instead, kept me busy with a new side project that I love.
Like I mentioned above, it seems like we just have more time in the summer. Our minds go into automatic vacation mode because we grew up with summer vacation. Plan a trip with your family or friends that makes you excited. I think it’s so important to have something to look forward to, especially if you a struggling with something or feel like you’re in a slump of a season. Whether it’s going somewhere new or going to my favorite summer spot, getting somewhere out of my daily routine and city refreshes my soul and always gives me a fresh take on life. It also usually fuels my already full tank of wander lust. It gets me thinking “next time I go here I want to.. and this reminds me I really want to visit___. " These thoughts fill my mind instead of the daily grind , and help me realize I can still have fun traveling even while single . This summer, I was able to go to NYC, San Diego, LA, and finally Bend, the wine country in Oregon, and The Bay Area in California. It was so great to be with family and friends on these trips and out of the normal day-to-day .
Again, take advantage of this “extra” time summer creates for us and take time to be still and rest. Use those extra daylight hours for an extra long quiet time. Sit on your patio and watch the sunset start till finish. Give yourself a weekend where you choose to say no to something and say yes to taking care of yourself. I really wanted to take advantage of this Labor Day weekend and travel somewhere, but my body said no for me. I slept 10 hours one night and have found time to be productive but restful this weekend here in Dallas, and it has been so good.
I may not have all the answers to combating singleness, but these three things really helped me find the beauty in my independence this summer. I hope you can learn or relate from my experience, and together we can keep celebrating the ways God is using us in our singleness.
Chandler Grace Mann/The Collective
My Dallas community is filled with some incredible people. I'm lucky that Chandler is one of them. Chandler and I have known of each other for years, but we only became friends a few months ago. People said we would love each other and click, and boy were they right. We haven't stopped hanging out since the first night we met (I'm not kidding we are probably together 5/7 days a week lol) Excessive? Maybe, but somehow we never run out of things to talk about, to dream, and scheme about. (and if you know us you know we are both talkers soo yup! we can chat for hours on end) She is a creator, a dreamer, a loyal friend, and insanely talented. She is the creative details behind this blog, and the person who helped me press "go" on this whole thing. She knows how to love and celebrate the heck out of her friends ( I swear, this girl is helping a friend/celebrating the small things with them every.single.day.) But, my favorite thing about Chandler is her heart for the Lord, which in turn, channels her heart to love and serve people so well. She is bold, and consistent in challenging herself and others to be better. She is my Dallas "blonde to my brunette", and I could not be more excited to feature her as the first person in the Single Society Collective.
"Singleness. A word that holds so much weight but can lack clarity in its purpose and design. For the majority of us we are conditioned to believe marriage is the ultimate arrival, the prize, the goal..I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as second best when it comes to singleness.
If you would have asked me even 5 short years ago how I would feel about my current state as a single in her late twenties, I would have been sick to my stomach. I wish I was kidding with you, but this news would have been absolute WORST case scenario to me. Some kind of unwanted purgatory that I would be desperately trying to claw my way out of. By the grace of God I’ve been able to thrive in singleness not because I have it all figured out, but because I have a savior that does.
Let me start out by telling you I do have a desire to be married. Sometimes when I speak on Singleness or write about it people automatically assume I’m called to it for life or that I don’t want to be married, this could not be farther from the truth. I do have a desire to be a wife, but I refuse to sit at an empty table every night wishing my single life away. I’m writing this because I wish someone would have helped me navigate this season or at the very least pointed me to truth and spurred me on towards the purpose behind it.
Growing up I was always the girl with a boyfriend. I found my identity in it rather than in Jesus and you can only imagine how that turned out. When things were good in my relationships I was good, when things were bad, I was an emotional wreck. Living on a constant rollercoaster I thought being a wife was the goal, the end all be all so I exhausted myself in this role. I believed that, you go to college, fall in love and TADAH here comes the perfect Godly man right as you begin senior year, or if you’re lucky even earlier. I was left unprepared, insecure and searching for worth when this wasn’t my story.
How do we combat the assumption that singleness is second best? We learn the purpose and fix our eyes on the creator.
Know the purpose for singleness
I’ve heard it all, “God will give you a husband when you’re not looking,” “your time will come “ “ Why are you still single?” etc etc. I have mixed responses to these humbling remarks. First and foremost it truly saddens me that there is a lack of knowledge about this season of life. Although this is not something I necessarily chose for myself it is the sweetest gift that i’ve been entrusted with. A Gift. Just as marriage is a gift, so is singleness. It is a gift of God’s grace to us. Learning the purpose behind it made my perspective change. Most of us have a general understanding of marriage, It is God’s loving gift to mankind, a symbol of a God ordained permanent union between His Son and the Church. How could singleness not feel second best to that?! The good news is we aren’t. Scripture shows us that Jesus is the bridegroom who will return to take his bride, the church, to be with him forever in eternity. Is this not the best news ever?! Regardless of if we marry this side of heaven, we will not be single forever. If you are single right now, you’ve been entrusted with time, treasure and flexibility to serve the Kingdom of God. I have been able to serve more, disciple more, steward more, live more than I ever thought possible. I wasn’t sitting back wishing it away or dwelling on what could’ve been. I have been able to pour myself and my gifts out for the church. Although our finite minds seem to have a hard time with singleness, scripture is very clear about it’s purpose. ( 1 Cor 7:8 )
Keep your Eyes Fixed on Jesus not yourself
I’ve spent a whole lot of wasted time with my eyes on myself and my current circumstances and not enough time on the creator of the universe. It is easy to take my eyes off of Him to compare my life and my season of singleness to everyone around me. There are so many hard things I’ve been able to work out with the Lord without attaching another person to them and sinking them in the process. I’m not going to paint singleness as the most glamorous thing in the world. I was the maid of honor in four weddings in the past three years and now three of those friends have babies. At times It can feel like everyone in this world is moving on without you, but once again that’s the result of looking parallel and not fixing our gaze above. Let’s be honest, just because we know the purpose and are stewarding singleness well that doesn’t mean all the loneliness will go away. One thing I do know is Marriage isn’t going to satisfy only Jesus can do that. Marriage isn’t going to fix all problems and it would be foolish to sit through singleness believing that lie. However, we do know one day all suffering and difficulty with disappear even those associated with singleness ( Rev. 7:17 ; 19: 7 ).
Knowing scripture and keeping my eyes fixed above have been the two tools I have used to fight discontentment in singleness. I preach these words above to myself all the time. It is a refining process and I wouldn’t change it for anything! At the end of the day, check your heart’s intention. If you want out of this season because you think it’s going to fill a void, it’s not. I beg you to ask the Lord to reveal himself in a deeper way than you’ve ever imagined. There is a God in Heaven that desperately loves you and wants to be on the throne of your heart. Please don’t make this an idol like I once did because it only leads to destruction and wasted time. Singleness is the sweetest gift, my prayer is that we see it as such."
My hope is that Chandler's story in singleness encourages you to "refuse to sit at an empty table every night wishing your single life away.” We challenge you to view singleness not as "second best", but as a season, for opportunity, and as a gift.
Grief In Singleness
A few of you may be wondering why it’s taken so long for me to post after I launched this blog. Well, life happens and this post will help explain why I took a small hiatus from writing. Bear with me, because in the beginning you’re probably thinking, “what does this have to do with singleness?” I promise it will get there.
Right around the launch of my blog, my sweet grandmother (Oma is what we called her) passed away. In the past few years she battled with kidney cancer, beat it, but it recently came back viciously. While she had not been doing great for a while, her passing was still somewhat abrupt. My Oma was someone I looked up to greatly. She was a woman of class, she was kind and gentle, and extremely generous. She also had the best shoe and purse collection of anyone I’ve ever known. But the thing I admired most about her was her deep love for her husband, her family and above all the Lord. A few years back her husband and my Opa passed away. She never stopped mourning his loss, but she still trusted the Lord through it. During her illness instead of becoming bitter, she would constantly talk about how the Lord has her and she trusts Him. I struggle so much with that on a daily basis (what am I supposed to do with my life? When will get married? Will I EVER get married?) The list goes on and on. But she took each challenge with grace and trust in the Lord. At the end of the day she had peace because she knew where she was going. My Oma was ready to be with the Lord and Opa forever. And that gave our family the sweetest closure, Oma was finally home.
While it is sweet to know Oma is where we all want to be someday, grief is still a part of this process. Grief includes crying randomly throughout your days and feelings of overwhelming sadness, but it also includes reminiscing on old times, and remembering what you loved so much about that person. Thankfully for me, it included an extended amount of time with family. It also includes intimate moments with the Lord, asking “why” and “when will it get better.” As a single girl, it included a deep desire for someone to check in on me, care for me, someone to hold my hand and say it will be ok.
It’s times of sadness and loneliness that the struggle of singleness creeps in for me. I so admire the love my grandparents had for each other and the strong family they raised, I can’t help but want that too! I’m going to be real honest with you here, physical touch is probably last on my “love languages” list, but for some reason I kept thinking, I wish I had someone to hold my hand, to hug, a shoulder to lean on. Here’s another moment of vulnerability for you here: Harry Potter is my all time favorite series of anything, and watching it with my family is just the best. We watched a few together last week. During the last movie, the part where they are in the final battle and everyone runs to the their loved one for that last kiss and last “I love you” just in case… it got to me. While watching I was thinking these stupid silly things and I KNOW I’m not the only one that does this while watching a movie or reading a book. These thoughts went something like this: “I want someone to run to me and say I love you if the world is ending”, “I want a final kiss goodbye”(sorry mom and dad), I want that tragic/exciting romance!” LIKE WHAT?! HP is my safe place, my get away from reality, my place to nerd out, not to be insecure about being single! (#forevergratefulforjkrowling) But as I thought those things, I was reminded I already have someone (in fact, more than just someone) for those things. I have my family and my friends, people who send flowers, a call, a text, a card, a shoulder to lean on, a friend to squeeze and hold my hand.
But above all those things I have the Lord. The Lord promises he is there for the broken hearted (Psalm 34:14), He promises He is with you always (Isaiah 41:10), He promises that despite your circumstances, He is still good (Psalm 24:8).
Until recently, I had been feeling pretty confident in singleness. I was feeling very content with my life, my friends, and where God had me. The idea of dating someone overwhelmed me more than excited me. But grieving my Oma, revealed that I still do idolize romantic relationships. It’s funny how the enemy uses something I love (like Harry Potter of all things) against me to think that God isn’t good enough for me in this season of grief. But He IS good and he DID comfort me with his word and his spirit through that struggle. I was reminded that I’m not alone, unloved or unwanted just because I am single.
My first blog post may have been delayed, but I hope that someone reading this and is struggling with these feelings of insecurity, can be encouraged and relate to my single girl ramblings.