Linking up again with Erin and Amy's Thankful Thursdays!
Thankful this week for ...
1) The Christmas season: I love this time of year and am planning to put up my tree this weekend.
2) My car: It's had some issues this year and I'm just glad it still gets me where I need to go ... at least for the time being.
3) A warm house: We've already had some cold days in the Midwest and I'm grateful every time I step into my house and it feels warm and cozy.
4) Laughter: Fun times with friends are good for the soul.
5) Writing: I've taken a little break from writing and am grateful to have a post up at iBelieve today.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
My sweet friend Erin, along with Amy at Sweet Home, are hosting a weekly link-up this month focusing on all of the things we each have to be thankful for. I know sometimes I get so focused on what I don't have that I don't appreciate the blessings I have been given. I wanted to join in this month so that I would be purposely reminded each week to look and be grateful for the blessings God has put in my life.
This week, I'm thankful for ...
1) A mom and dad that I can call at any moment, any time of day, and know they'll be there
2) Friends who truly care
4) Emily P. Freeman's book A Million Little Ways
5) The Civil Wars music, especially the song From This Valley
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Honestly, I was a little skeptical when I saw the subtitle of True Love Dates by Debra K. Fileta. It reads “Your Indispensable Guide to Finding The Love of Your Life.” I sarcastically thought well if this book will actually help singles find the loves of our lives, then it will sure to be a best-seller. I know that there is no method or guidelines that you can follow to ensure you’ll fall in love. However, I was curious enough to read the book.
While this book makes no promises on guaranteeing you’ll find your mate after reading it (I still haven’t.), it does outline some important essentials to keep in mind while single. The book is divided into four chapters: Dating Inward, Dating Outward, Dating Upward and Ask the Counselor. Dating Inward is all about taking time to figure out who you are as an individual such as where do you come from, who are you now and where are you are going.
Dating Outward focuses on dating relationships with other people. In this section, Fileta discusses healthy relationships, protecting your heart, physical boundaries and the importance of timing. The third section, Dating Upward, details the importance of having Christ not only in your life, but in your dating relationship. Fileta rounds out the book with a section devoted to some of the most-asked questions from singles such as “Does God want me to be single forever?,” “Do you believe in love at first sight?” and “What does the Bible have to say about dating?”.
At 34 years old, I feel like I was already aware of a lot of the elements discussed in this book as to what makes up a healthy relationship, who I am and the importance of focusing on Christ. However, it’s always encouraging to me to read words from a Christian perspective that acknowledges the difficulties of living single when it feels like your heart and soul are longing for companionship and family.
I often feel like a weak Christian because I continue to long so badly for marriage and motherhood. I fall into the trap of thinking if only I was more devoted to Christ, I wouldn’t struggle so much. So Fileta’s words in the last chapter of Dating Upward encouraged my heart: “Your longing for an intimate relationship with another person is something you were created to feel. It doesn’t mean that you are unholy or that you haven’t let Jesus fill your heart the way He should. It means you’re human, created in the image of God, a God who loves, who connects, and who longs for relationship Himself.”
Sometimes singles just need to hear encouraging words from someone who’s been through the waiting journey themselves.
Disclosure: I received this book for free as part of BookSneeze's Book Review program.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Posting at iBelieve this week ...
Photo from here
As a single woman, I sometimes feel like nothing I do really matters. I get up in the morning, go to work and stare at a computer screen all day long only to go home, do a few routine things, go to bed and get up the next day to start again.
I am surrounded by Christian moms and dads who are bringing up their children in the Lord and I think what an amazing job they’re doing; I listen to missionaries and hear how they’re taking God’s Word all around the world; I read about people who have started charitable organizations that have grown to feed and clothe the masses. All of those things seem so big; all of those people seem to be doing so much for the kingdom of God.
I long to be a wife and a mom and to teach my children about Jesus, but since God hasn’t had that happen yet, I sometimes wonder if I’ve missed some opportunity, some mission He had for me that I overlooked. Because some days, my life feels pretty insignificant. I fear getting to the end of my life and never having done anything that really mattered.
But God reminds me through His Word that no matter how small something may seem here on earth, we can still bring Him glory through it.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
That is why I want to write … for Him … to bring Him the glory. I don’t have a blog with thousands of readers or hundreds of comments, but He reminded me recently it’s not about numbers or how successful it looks like to the outside world. He will let my words impact the people they need to.
So whether you feel like you’re doing something big or small, if you’re doing it for God, you’re bringing Him glory through it. And that matters.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
A couple of months ago, I posted about getting the opportunity to be part of the book launch team for Pete Wilson's new book called Let Hope In. As part of that team, I received an advance copy of the book. it's evident to me God's timing in having me read this as having hope in some areas of my life this year hasn't been easy. In fact, it's felt almost impossible some days for me to feel hope; I look at things through my human perspective and I can't see how anything will change. Even though it can be hard, we must hold onto hope ... hope in the Lord .... hope in the fact that our God does impossible things and we must continue to cling to that even when we can't see it with our visible eyes.
In the book, Pastor Pete shares four choices that we each have that help us to find hope again and let it into our lives. He then expands on each of those choices with real-life stories (both his own and others) and Scripture that show those choices in action. I've always enjoyed reading anything Pastor Pete writes because he writes with a transparency and authenticity that makes you feel like a friend is talking to you; his writing is real and honest. He reminds us throughout the book that "Our hope is based on a God who can do and will do the impossible." We just have to trust in the Lord; He will make all things new no matter what our past looks like or what we think our future might look like.
This book is full of powerful reminders of just how big our God is, but we have to be willing to let hope in.
Full disclosure: I was blessed to be a part of the launch team for this book and received a free advance copy in return for an honest review.
Monday, September 23, 2013
The Influence Conference is this week. As a second-year attendee, I know what to be prepared for: warm conversations and hugs, learning about an amazing organization or two, listening to speakers that will give me enough food for thought to last several weeks and of course, lots of trips to Starbucks.
But what I haven’t been prepared for on a personal level is how much this year’s conference is making me think of how differently my life looks from last year. A year ago I was knee-deep in my first serious romantic relationship at the age of 33. We were on the verge of becoming engaged and I felt quite possibly the happiest I had ever felt. It was hard for me to believe that something I had longed for for so long was finally happening. In fact, my ex bought my ring while I was away at the conference. I was supposed to be married when I attended this year's conference.
But plans change, life gets in the way and sometimes dreams just aren’t meant to be.
Twelve months later I sit here as a single woman … again … mostly wishing I had never had the experience.
I listen to other people’s stories of broken hearts and dreams and how quickly it seems that God redeemed their pain. Suddenly they meet someone or an old high-school sweetheart appears at their door and the new life they wanted all along begins. But with no prospect of that happening in my life, I can’t help but wish the pain away by wishing my relationship had never existed. For a sensitive heart like mine, the pain of what almost was and what may never be is almost too painful to bear some days.
If God does not have marriage and motherhood in His plans for me, I wish I didn’t know what it felt like to have a guy call me in the middle of the day just to tell me he loved me. I wish I didn’t know what it felt like to watch someone’s eyes light up when they saw me. I wish I didn’t know what it felt like to have a man kneel down, ask me to be his wife and place that sacred ring on my left hand. I wish I didn’t know.
Whether or not marriage and children are a part of my future, I’m trusting that God has a plan for it all. For whatever reason, there was some purpose He allowed my path to cross with my ex’s. I have to believe that. I cling to His promises like I never have before and I am counting on Him to redeem.
I know He will … someway, somehow, someday.
In the meantime, I pray that God aligns my heart’s desires to be His. I pray He uses my brokenness for good. And I’m praying to hear His voice.
He used the conference last year to speak words to my heart and I’m waiting to hear what He has to say to me this year. I can’t wait.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
This post originally appeared on the blog For Unmarried Christian Women back in May of this year. After finding that it's no longer on the site, I decided to re-post it here making me think there might be someone out there who needs to be reminded that we have a God who looks beyond human statistics and facts and does what we humans view as impossible. Believe that He can perform miracles; believe in the unseen; He is working.
Photo from here
I deleted his voice mails, threw away the “I love you” notes he left me, and quit carrying the purse he bought me because they all served as painful reminders of the man I thought I was going to marry.
However, what I can’t get rid of is the stack of bridal magazines I bought in anticipation of planning our wedding. Not that I needed them. I’ve had my wedding planned for years, but buying bridal magazines felt like a rite of passage when you get engaged. For me, it was part of the excitement, the anticipation of this beautiful day I had dreamed of, a day I thought would never come.
As the perpetual single girl, I was 33 years old when I got engaged last year. It’s been several months now since my ex and I broke up and along with the death of that relationship, I’ve struggled with feeling like my dreams of being a wife and mother have also died. I think most everyone would agree that it’s hard, especially in today’s world, to find someone to love, to hold, and to cherish forever. I had waited years to find someone and before I knew it, he was gone.
I hear the lie daily from the enemy that I will never find someone else to love like that, that I will be alone forever and years from now, I will still be longing for something I’m not supposed to have.
And you know what? The enemy might be right. I may never get married; I may never have children. While that possibility can bring me to tears in a moment, I know that my God is Sovereign above all. He will never leave me. He will bring me joy, hope, peace and love in unexpected ways no matter what.
But another thing I know is that the enemy is a liar.
My God is all about the impossible.
If you look at history, God showed up big time when it appeared that all hope was lost. He supplied a sacrifice for Abraham at the last minute in place of his son Isaac, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four whole days, and Jesus Himself beat death on a cross rising again three days later after it appeared that the story was finished.
You see my dream did die with my broken engagement, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.
It might mean it’s on the way to being resurrected because with God, death isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning. So whatever you’re longing for, whatever it appears will never happen just might be on the verge of coming to life again.
Believe in the possibilities that lie in the greatness of God’s power.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to use those bridal magazines one day … and even if I don’t, God is good and He is great.