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

My Gladiator Arena

For the last couple of weeks, I feel like singleness has been kicking my butt. Like singleness and I have been facing off in a gladiator-style arena, and I’ve been losing.

Maybe it had to do with hormones, or maybe it had to do with the fact that things didn’t work out with the man I met online. Whatever the reason, I’ve been tempted to sin, I’ve given into temptation, I’ve been bitter against the demands on my time (because I’m single, I apparently have plenty of free time for everything everyone else wants me to do).

With every temptation, every failure, singleness has delivered another blow to my broken, weary self.

In church this past weekend, my pastor’s Easter sermon was on Romans 8:31-39. These verses are all about how God is on my side RIGHT NOW.

In the past, I’ve just kind of thought about these verses, “Yeah, okay, so Jesus is going to win in the end.” I’d picture myself at the end of my life, bloody and bruised spiritually and emotionally, heaving my last breaths as singleness swooped in for the death blow – then Jesus would show up out of nowhere, deliver a final kick to singleness, take me to heaven, and say something about putting up a good fight or something. Read More

My Dramatic Tendencies

I’m a pretty dramatic person (in case it hasn’t been blaringly obvious from previous posts). My default setting is definitely not a healthy sense of perspective. Noooooo, my thoughts always default to THE most dramatic outcome EVER to face ANYone in ALL of history.

Someone cancels plans on me: This ALWAYS happens to me. The ONLY person I can rely on is [insert person who hasn’t stood me up lately].

Someone at work does their job wrong: That’s what I get for delegating. I’m the ONLY one I can trust to get things done.

One of my roommates annoys me: I NEVER get my way around here. I have ONLY my harsh words and impatient tone to rely on.

An event I’m planning runs into a hiccup: Things will ONLY go right if I am bossy and push people around.

I start thinking about the future: I’ve been single FOREVER, and I’m NEVER going to get married.  The ONLY person I have is my roommate (the one who’s not engaged right now).

Sometimes, it goes the opposite way. Read More

My Hope in Tribulation

This week, singleness has sucked.

It’s been full of temptation, failure to resist temptation, and sadness. It’s been hard to find anything to be thankful for. I went back and read some of my old posts and thought, Did I write those? They are WAY too optimistic about Jesus.

It’s been one of those weeks where I’m just done with being single. I’m DONE. Yet, throwing in the towel of singleness just adds to the dirty laundry; it doesn’t actually make the towel go away.

Most of me loves having an engaged roommate with a wedding to plan; most of me loves seeing pictures of friends’ kids, most of me loves hearing about honeymoons and midwife appointments and adoption updates. But the part of me that doesn’t has made it hard to find joy in those things this week.

I read Romans 5 last Friday, and I’ve been processing it and re-reading it for several days. Here’s the blurb I keep coming back to: Read More

My Little Sister

I have a little sister who always lives my dreams. Sometimes it feels like God gave her to 9-year-old me just so we could grow up and she could show me my dream-come-true life.

She started traveling internationally at 15 years old. She lived in Chicago for a while during college. She got a boyfriend at 18, a fiancé and a walk-in closet at 19, and a husband at 20. Now at 22, she’s having the first grandkid for my parents and the first nephew/niece for the rest of us. This past Monday, she texted me that she’s probably going to decorate her nursery with a book theme. Like seriously?! Are NONE of my dreams sacred?

I’m overreacting of course; I really am happy for her. She’s one of the most genuinely, effortlessly compassionate people I’ve ever met, and she is living the story that God wrote for her before either of us was born.

I get into a funk every once in a while, though, because – I might as well say it – it kind of sucks sometimes to not only not see my dreams come true, Read More