My Greatest Gift

My mom always speaks about my dad as one of the best gifts God has given her.

My best friends, as they get married one by one, tell me that a husband and marriage are great gifts from God.

My sisters have both married men who are incredible gifts to them.

My “adopted” grandpa says that a good marriage is as close to heaven as you can get on earth, and he dotes on his wife of several decades, looking at her as though he can’t believe the gift that God has given him.

Somewhere along the timeline of my young life, I began to believe that a husband was the best gift God could ever possibly give me. I believed that while singleness is certainly a gift, it was not as good as marriage would be. I easily fell into the trap-lie that said “God is not giving me the best gift, so He has to work extra hard to make up for that with Jesus.”

I don’t think I ever consciously put that thought into words. I started a blog about the truths of the Gospel and how they defeat the lies of singleness. I wrote things like “Jesus is not a consolation prize.” But underneath it all was the subtle, dormant lie that God has been withholding the best gift He could give me.

At the bridal shower for my roommate this weekend, my pastor’s wife Abbey shared a truth that completely…just…aaaarrrrrgh. It dug up the subtle lie, stared it in the face, and then blew it up. Just, BAM.

Abbey said to my roommate, Read More

My Stability in the Storm

Lately, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that my whole life seems to be in limbo right now. It’s perhaps a bit melodramatic, since my WHOLE life isn’t in limbo – just some of it.

But seriously:

  • One roommate is getting married in July, but we don’t know yet what date she’s moving out. We have someone else lined up to move in with us, but we don’t know yet what date she’s moving in.
  • The other roommate and I are going to Europe a couple of weeks after the wedding, and my passport is being renewed right now. We still haven’t planned everything, and it’s amazing how much planning it takes to pack when you want to pack light but be cute and comfortable the whole time.
  • We want to move when our lease runs out in September, but we don’t know where. I want to buy a house, but I don’t know if that’s going to be feasible by September.
  • My medical bills from my surgery were much higher than I expected, so I’m trying to settle all that with insurance and the hospital.
  • Then, of course, there’s the whole wanting-to-be-married-but-not-having-a-boyfriend thing. Not to mention the whole wanting-to-have-kids-but-not-being-married thing.

At this point, if anyone wants to hang out, I have to tell them to get back to me in August. Even then, I might be packing to move. AND, somewhere in there, my roommate and I have to fit in our annual barbecue.

For the past few weeks, thinking about all that has the very real potential of causing me to spiral. Fortunately, Read More

My Self-Worth

My friend said to me this week, “I’m going to wait for a better man, because I’m worth it.”

That got me to thinking about worthiness and what makes us worthy of certain things, like a certain level of man, a certain kind of job, or even a place in heaven at the end of this life.

The idea of “worth” implies a give and take, but also a certain amount of exclusivity:

  • I do this much work for you, I am worthy of that much pay (but not more than that).
  • You become this famous, you are worthy of getting into that party (but not that other one).
  • I make this much money, I am worthy to buy that house (but not that fancy one over there).
  • You make yourself this beautiful (or good or rich or attractive or powerful), you deserve that level of man as a husband (but save the really good ones for the women more worthy than you).

Some people say they’re worth something based solely on their humanity: I’m a person, so I am worth more than how you’re treating me. Nevertheless, the underlying statement is, “there’s something about me that makes me worth X amount – not more or less.”

I think this is a super easy trap to fall into as a single person. Like my friend, I’ve thought many times over the years, “I’m worth better than he’s treating me” or “He’s not worth my time” or even “I’m not worthy enough to get attention from that guy – I’ll just be over here batting my eyes at someone more on my level.”

But there’s a problem with thinking about worth that way. Read More

My Friends’ New Relationships

This has been one of those weeks where every time I log onto Facebook, someone else is in a new relationship. Must be Spring Fever or something.

I’m glad for all these new couples, and I’m excited that the God Who gives good gifts has loved them in this way. But it still makes me sigh. Part of me completely understands that I have absolutely no time for a boyfriend for the next several months, and I’ve just about given up on the idea of getting married on my dream calendar date; but still…sigh. I’m so ready for it to be my turn.

This week, I went back and re-read a couple of my previous posts (here and here) to remind myself of the truths of the Gospel – like about how God loves me and knows that this season right now is for my good, and about how the God Who gives other people good gifts is also my God.

I was thinking about how God loves me enough to give me exactly what I need now, and how this singleness is not God’s forgetting about me; it’s His showing His love to me. I knew it was true, but it was hard to be happy about it, you know?

Then I read in Ephesians 3 this morning, about how God has orchestrated salvation and trials to be for His glory. Paul (the author) writes out his prayer for the recipients of his letter in verses 13-19: Read More

My Faith Free-fall

Sometimes, I take a running start and fling myself off the Cliff of Faith, scared but fully trusting that God will catch me. I’ve moved to a new state with no place to live yet; I’ve agreed to live with someone without having met her first; I’ve traveled alone internationally with no idea if anyone would pick me up at the airport. It’s adventurous and adrenaline-pumping, and God always catches me, even if the landing is a bit bumpy at the bottom of the Cliff.

But this week, I feel like I was minding my own business at the top of the Cliff, and I was somehow pushed backwards off of it without my consent.

There are three things I’ve been wanting lately:

  • To have a husband
  • To own a house
  • To be free of medical bill issues (from my recent surgery)

These wants have been whispering (or shouting) to me, “Jesus can’t satisfy you. Only you can satisfy you. Only sin or hard work or worry can give you want you want.”

Tuesday, I was driving to work, and I was stuck in my hormones, asking Jesus how He could possibly satisfy them – and how He could be glorified in unsatisfied desires. Probably about 25% of my attitude was genuine curiosity (I wonder how He can be satisfactory to me physically); but the other 75% was definitely belligerence (If You’re so all-satisfying, Jesus, then prove it).

At lunch that day, Read More

My Style Secrets

I was shopping with my roommate last week, and the handbag lady at DSW walked up to me and said, “Your style is so classy yet sexy. Tell me your style secrets.” We got to talking about how “kids these days” dress, and she said, “If you could say any one thing to women in their late teens and early twenties, what would you say?”

I think I answered with something about not dressing to impress other people because you can’t possibly make everyone happy with your style choices. Even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were only part of the truth.

Here are more parts of the truth, that I didn’t say: I’m confident because I was homeschooled and didn’t grow up always comparing myself to everyone else; because my parents never told me I was fat and always told me I was beautiful; because I’m in my 30’s now and know what clothes look good on my body type.

I mean, sure – I was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I could talk all day about how that makes me beautiful. But the thing running through the back of my head when I was talking to the handbag sales lady was not that. It was this:

I am confident in my style and body because the only One I have to please is God. And He sees me just as He sees Jesus. So I don’t even have to do any work to be pleasing to Him (Titus 3:4-7).

Way a long time ago, humans made the decision to sin, which separated us from God forever. However, God was not willing for that to happen, so He sent His son Jesus to take the punishment – the death – we deserved (2 Cor 5:21). Now, the Bible says that Jesus stands in my place before God. And since Jesus is perfect and beautiful, God sees me as perfect and beautiful.

Practically, I know how to dress for my body type; I ask my roommates if what I’m wearing is appropriate; I wear work clothes to work and beach clothes to the beach. I know I live in a physical world with physical requirements of beauty and appropriateness. I go to the gym and try to eat vegetables occasionally. Collectively, my roommates and I have hundreds of nail polishes, dozens of lipsticks, and scarves up the wazoo.

But I don’t let that be Read More

My Mother’s Day Musings

Mother’s Day is one of those times of the year, where I never really quite know what to say to people. When I was younger, I would cheerfully wish every mother I knew a “Happy Mother’s Day,” fully expecting to join the ranks of mothers in a few years. Now, having known people whose hearts shatter every Mother’s Day, who skip church the second Sunday of every May, who know nothing but pain in relation to a day celebrating what they don’t have or what’s been snatched from them; now, I’m much less…well, blithe about it.

My own mom came to visit me in April and stayed for a week. Ever since my sister died in 2004, my mom has been the Mother’s Day church-skipper, despite being married to a pastor. Her visit, along with my little sister’s first pregnancy and the abundance of new babies and adoptions this past year in our church – it’s all got me to thinking about motherhood and Mother’s Day.

Each year, I know more people who have babies; but I also know more who want them so desperately that they can’t even talk about it. I know more people who have great mothers; but I also know more whose mothers have passed away. I know more people who get pregnant; but I also know more people who have lost children after getting pregnant. The combination of those things makes me approach Mother’s Day with more sensitivity and maturity – neither blithely or bitterly, but somewhere in between. I’m not perfect but I think I get it more right each year.

As a single woman who wants kids someday (translation: now), it’s good for me to get outside myself and celebrate motherhood, for several reasons: Read More

My Buried Treasures

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I was thinking about treasures yesterday, noticing the things in my life I put value on. There are obvious ones like friends and family, but a bunch of less obvious ones (buried treasures, you might say): the way I look physically, what other people think of me, the control I may or may not have, the size of my bank account, my dreams for the future, even this blog to a certain extent.

This was a good week to process the concept of treasuring the things of this world vs the things of God. I had a surgery last Wednesday – nothing serious, just a routine outpatient procedure to correct a birth defect on my neck. I realized several things about myself and my treasures through the experience.

My mom came from out of state for a week to take care of me. I love my mom, and every part of me is thankful she came and did my chores and administered my meds and got me water in the middle of the night. But it was a huge reminder that when I’m in need I still turn to my mom instead of to a husband. Instead of treasuring my hope of being married – which would only lead to bitterness – I chose to treasure the fact that Jesus (my eternal husband) was giving me invaluable time with my mother (in fact, more one-on-one time than I’ve had with her for over 30 years, no joke).

I had to take time off work, even though all of my PTO this year is going to other trips; so my next paycheck is going to be significantly smaller than usual. Instead of treasuring my bank account – which would only lead to stress – I chose to treasure the eternal riches I am promised in Jesus (Luke 12:33).

Like most people, Read More

My Limitless Pleasures

My roommate reminded me of a verse the other day:

In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11b

On its surface, the verse looks like a happy-go-lucky, name-it-claim-it kind of verse. Everything is sunshine and rainbow unicorns if you trust God! La-dee-dee.

But she reminded me of the verse on a day when I was struggling with the pleasures that the world has to offer. It was a day when I was getting annoyed that I don’t get the pleasures that come along with marriage.

Besides the obvious wink-wink, nudge-nudge pleasures that come with marriage, I’m looking forward to heaps of things: being dropped off at the door while my man finds a place to park, waking up and snuggling for a few minutes until the alarm goes off, letting someone else take care of my car when it breaks down, writing love notes on the mirror, making out in the back of movie theaters, etc.

I’m not dumb – I know marriage is hard, because relationships are hard, and I enjoy not sharing a room. But that particular day this past week, discontentment with the lack of marital pleasures was underscoring my day. Read More

My Romance With Myself

This post of mine was originally published on March 24 on my friend Rachel’s blog:

I recently took myself on a date. Treated myself to the works: Dinner, movie, dessert. I dressed up for the date, texted pics of my outfit to my sisters, met up with myself directly after work and gallantly drove myself an hour away. After the date, I got myself home at the respectable hour of 10 pm and told my roommate all about how I had been treated so well by my date.

Hmmm…perhaps I’ve just stumbled onto the reason I’m still single.

No matter! I’m here to tell you exactly why it’s a good idea to date yourself every once in a while (even if you’re not single).

Dinner: When you go to dinner by yourself, you can get what YOU want – and splurge a little! Whether it’s a steak dinner or just getting the avocado at Chipotle, you can get what you want, where you want it. None of the, “Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” Plus, you can check your phone all during dinner without being rude.

Movie: I recommend the luxury of attending a movie by yourself. You get to sit exactly where you want to sit, people don’t usually sit next to you, you don’t have to deal with other people’s loud snacks or talking during the movie, and you can Read More