Deserts of snow.

Deserts and snow make no sense together, I know. Essentially, they are complete opposites. But I find myself feeling deep within a valley dry and alone. Yet, I look outside right now, staring at the snow, and there’s such a peace. I was out this morning shoveling the snow from the driveway and there were birds chirping. The sound of spring, yet in the deepest of winter. All of these things that don’t seem to go together…

As I sat here watching the snow quietly fall with nothing but the sound of those birds outside I began to cry. To weep. Im not sure what the reason was besides just a release of a number of emotions. Mostly frustration and confusion, some anger, some joy. I tried to pray but admitted to God that my mind felt so confused and I had no words to pray. I sat in the quiet, crying, but knowing full well God was with me. And He reminded me of the words to the song “Come to Me.”

And as I listened to it, the tears became the set of thankfulness and joy.

“I am the Lord your God, I go before you now

I stand beside you, I’m all around you

Though you feel I’m far away, I’m closer than your breath

I am with you, more than you know”

So just know, dear friend, whatever the state of your mind, your reality, your past or your future – He is standing beside you, He is all around you. Be at peace in His presence.

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submission vs. wishful asking

You know, I realized something today as I was taking a little hike and doing some praying.

I was praying “God, if this is your will then just orchestrate the details.”

And I just felt Him responding, “If it is My will, why would I not be orchestrating the details? If it is My will, it is bound to happen, so stop worrying about how or why or when or what.”

Duh. I know in my head that if something is God’s will then it will happen at some point, in some way.

What I realized was that often when I pray “if it’s your will, let it work out” is that really what I am saying is “I really want this, and I want it to be your will, so figure out how to make this happen. Please?”

I think, when we are given the example, “yet not my will but yours be done” in (Luke 22:42), the Will is already known it’s just the heart and mind that is not 100% in agreement. But the plan is made clear. When we are praying in this way I think we are giving up control – your will be done, not mine. But, in the way I was praying, it was more like going to God as a wish-granter, which I try so hard to avoid.

So, if the thing I am praying for is God’s Will then I don’t need to worry about the details. And if it is not God’s will, then again, I don’t have to worry about the details. I can just pray “Your Will be done in this situation,” and leave it at that.

doing single well.

I just turned 28 and I am still single.

This weekend that was made abundantly clear to me. Not by one individual pointing it out.

I just felt the loneliness in full swing this weekend. It started as I was browsing all my social media looking at picture after picture of someone I know’s baby, kids, family, wedding, baby/wedding shower, kid’s birthday party, kid’s sporting event, etc. Then there were posts about anniversaries and dates, and, well, you see what I’m saying.

I felt bombarded. Not one post did I read saying, “today’s my 1 year anniversary of being single! Let’s celebrate!”

And I just lost it as I was driving around doing things alone. Again. I cried and I told God how much the loneliness hurts sometimes. And here it is again; just typing that statement brought tears to my eyes.

That’s a really vulnerable statement for me to make. You see, for the most part, I try to hide the fact that I don’t like being single. I try to be strong and put on a happy face, because I have this idea that this is what I am supposed to do as a single Christian – I’m supposed to be joyful and cheery, and be okay just how my life is, because obviously this is what God has for me.

Right?

I don’t know that I think so anymore.

I have prayed and prayed that if God does not will for me to have a family or to be married, that he would remove that [strong] desire from my heart. I don’t want to want what he doesn’t want for me.

But here I am, and the desire seems just as strong as when I first prayed that many years ago.

And here I am still very single.

I have a confession: I haven’t been doing single well.

You may have ready my last post about online dating. So I’ve tried that. I have also dated a lot of people (okay by a lot I mean probably a handful. Whether or not that is a lot is a matter of opinion, I suppose) who really I knew I shouldn’t be dating. I spent money on frivolous things because I had the money to spend. I have been very selfish with my time, because, well, there is no one else I should be giving it to… right?

I think all of those ways I have been living my life were wrong.

I’m ready to doing single well. To do single with intentionality and purpose.

To give my time to those who need my time. To give my money to causes that could benefit from it well.

It’s not my time nor is it my money. If I claim my life belongs to God then why am acting as the God of my own life – dating or otherwise?

I’m still processing all of this. I’m figuring out what intentional and purposeful singleness looks like.

I’ll keep you updated.

related:

single – for those that are and those that aren’t (another post I wrote with some good links regarding singleness in the church)

elevation church – meant to be sermon series

Online dating: you’re doing it wrong!

So… It’s 2014, let’s all stop pretending, if we are single, that we haven’t at least toyed with the idea of joining the thousands of online daters. I mean, I don’t know how many people are “doing it” but I do know when I joined one of these sites the amount of people I was matched with led me to believe that just about every single person now a days is trying it.

So let’s stop kidding ourselves.

Go ahead and tell people, I think it’s WAY more common than we think.

And now here are some tips for those of you that are thinking about giving it a go. These come from my own experience; usually these are the things that make me instantly remove you from my matches.

1. All of your pictures are selfies.
2. At least one of your pictures is a gym selfie or you flexin in the mirror.

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3. You spell words wrong, use poor grammar, or capitalize words that you shouldn’t.

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4. You have numerous pictures with non-family members of the opposite sex. And they’re not the same person.
5. Or they are all the same person.
6. You’re wearing a wedding ring.
7. Your only picture is of some landscape or animal.
8. You talk about how into crossfit you are (maybe that’s only a deal breaker for me…).

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9. You throw out how much you like to “have fun” numerous times.
10. Dropping the phrase “soul mate” in your responses one too many times.

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11. Giving an extensive list of very materialistic things you look for in a partner.
12. Getting too specific, as in you only date brunettes.

27 Things that Happened at 27

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday.

27 was good, but dang am I ready for 28! It is going to be MY YEAR, baby! I don’t say that every year, don’t worry.

Here are 27 things that happened at 27:

1. I moved into my first place by myself – no more roommates, no more parents, not even a pet to keep me company

2. I mutually decided to breakup with my boyfriend – no drama, no big argument, no he-said, she-said – it just wasn’t working. hey, adulthood.

3. I stayed at an all-inclusive resort

4. Saw Yosemite.

5. Saw The Redwoods

6. Did my first relay race (that is if you’re not including the 4×4 I did in middle school track)

7. I started this blog!

8. I actually fasted from food for at least 24 hours

9. I picked up a new hobby – road biking – and by picked it up I mean I just began.

10. I colored my hair 4 times, which is 4 more times than the past 5-6 years.

11. I started teaching a cycling class!

12. I rode a mechanical bull (thank you dear friends for your persuasion on this one…)

13. I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge

14. I went to my first Big 10 (or any college) football game

15. I briefly mastered the deadlift… then stopped doing it for a couple weeks and now need to work on form again.

16. I created a list of bills with their due dates, minimum payment amounts, a box to mark how much I paid and what date I paid them (we meet again, adulthood).

17. I started to understand what grace from my Heavenly Father truly looks like. I haven’t totally figured it out, but I’m getting there.

18. I started practicing hand-stands on the wall

19. I did a WOD

20. I played 18 holes of [mini] golf and made 3 holes-in-one

21. I stayed at my first all-inclusive resort.

22. I went to my first Ohio State football game

23. I watched an Iron Man in person, in Mexico.

24. I rode in a Tesla, and got to see a Tesla being made.

25. I ate more pancakes total throughout the year than I have in my whole life (this is a guess, but a very, very good guess)

26. I did my own wine and paint class, and then did it again.

27. I weighed the most I ever have. That’s what happens when you get older, right?

Nicknaming life.

It just has been so long since I’ve written about what is happening in my life!

This is a new season. My roommates have both moved out of town and I have myself a cozy little one bedroom.

While living alone offers a lot of great benefits, it also offers a lot of higher bills and bigger responsibilities. Oh, and it offers a lot of chance to sit in my sin and pout.

So, as this first month of the first time I am living alone is wrapping up, I am challenged.

Good ole’ Steven Furtick from Elevation Church once again pulled through to bring me hope in this season of life. In a series cleverly titled #deathtoselfie, Furtick tells the story of Jacob and his family. The final sermon on the series was titled “naming rights.” The description reads:

Just because the Bible says God works all things together for our good, does not mean everything feels good all the time. But it’s often our times of greatest struggle that we can gain the most strength and increase our faith. In the final part of our series #DeathToSelfie, Pastor Steven uses the story of Jacob renaming his son Benjamin to show us that, though there are circumstances in our lives we didn’t choose to go through, God has given us the rights to call any circumstance a blessing in His name.

Dang. Do you get it? Rename your situation!

For me, I saw this time of living alone as pretty lonely, and pretty stressful as I stare blankly at a pile of bills I really don’t know how I will manage to pay each month. I saw it as a time of missing community and struggling to find worth in the job I’m not loving at the moment. I saw this time as a time where I’d be forced to face some sins that I forgot about, because now I’m all alone where the enemy attacks me hardest.

BUT I HAVE RENAMED THIS TIME!

Oh friends, it’s so lovely.

This is a time where God is calling out my sin so I can better glorify Him!

This is a time where I can learn to be a good steward of my money and learn to rely on faith that He will provide for my needs, if I am faithful with returning to Him what is already His.

This is a time where yes, I am single, so yes, I can plan my schedule to my own liking.

This is a time where I can learn to trust that God has me in my current job for a reason, so I’ll look for the good in each day.

 

I do hope this time doesn’t last forever, and I think that is okay.

But while we are in our different seasons of life, why don’t we name them something good?

Give this time in your life a nickname you life, not the nickname the enemy’s been using. 

 

Who you are.

I am working on the “renewing of my mind,” per all the scripture (Romans 12:2, ) telling me to renew my mind, as I am a new creation.

Well, if someone wants to tell me how one goes about this, I’d be grateful. I still haven’t figured it out, but I have started the process of learning who God is.

And well, because I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), I can better learn who I am, and maybe what I should be thinking about, and maybe this will give me some insight into the renewing of my mind.

Tired yet? I sure am.

Here’s a helpful sermon by my boy Pipes (John Piper… is that offensive? I just feel like you and I are tight). Check it out for some help on the renewing of your mind.

But that’s not what this post is about – I don’t understand it enough yet to write about it.

This is about WHO GOD IS.

Because, brothers and sisters, when you know who God is, you can learn who YOU are!

AH! Is that not exciting? We were made in HIS image! To be like him!

I am very much into recreating quotes onto canvas to hang on the wall. But to do that, I have to look at an image, because I am not the best of artists on my own.

Here are some ideas on some of the attributes, or characteristics of God (via Challies):

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Those are good, and worth learning about. I also love the book The Attributes of God, by A.W. Tozer.

 

But when I think how I want to model myself in the image of God, I think of things like these:

  • unconditionally lover
  • seeker of justice
  • creative
  • beautiful
  • peaceful
  • strong
  • patient
  • humble
  • trustworthy
  • consistent
  • forgiving

What one attribute of God could you work on for yourself this week?

I’m going to work on “patient.”