Tag: Singleness

Party of One by Joy Beth Smith [Book Review]

Over the past year, I’ve avoided books on singleness, but Party of One by Joy Beth Smith was a breath of fresh air. Party of One touched on topics that aren’t always discussed within the Church or Christian circles. Unfulfilled desires, sexuality, masturbation, and porn are just a few of the topics Joy Beth discusses in her book. This book wasn’t polluted with Christian cliches’ and nonsense. One thing I enjoyed most about this book is how honest and humorous Joy is about this topic.

Singleness is serious but can be fun too.  

Everyone’s experience with being single is different and unique. I think what separates this book from the rest is it’s a fresh voice. A voice that’s willing to address the difficult and messy parts about singleness. I used to think singleness was meant to prepare us for marriage, but I’m realizing this isn’t always true.

Joy reminds us that our life and significance doesn’t begin on our wedding day.

Marriage is a big deal but so is singleness. We shouldn’t spend our single life preparing for marriage, we should be letting God prepare our hearts to be more Christlike.

I resonated a lot with this book mainly because of my experience with singleness. I recommend this book to any single person who is currently trying to navigate this area of their life with a voice out there reminding us, “Hey, I understand. You’re not alone.”

 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Why God Calls Us To Singleness

Earlier this week, an incident happened and made me take some steps back and see things differently. I’ve talked a lot about my past relationships. I didn’t know the impact these relationships would have on my present until I tried dating. Let me just say, I’m failing at dating pretty miserably.

I believe God calls us to singleness to navigate difficult parts of our lives we haven’t been able to confront so we don’t bring them into new relationships. I’m learning more about myself now than I did a year ago and it’s pretty eye opening.

Dating when we haven’t fully forgiven our past is difficult and should be confronted immediately. 

Being single is one part of my life most people don’t understand. If I’m not ready for a relationship, I must be hiding something. If I am with someone, people are invited into sacred places they don’t belong. God is the only one who needs full access and invitation to those places, period. But so many other variables get in the way.

We have to be able to navigate our singleness knowing God wants us whole persons before we expect others to do it for Him. Truth is, no other person is placed in our life to make us whole persons, but they are there for us to love and visa versa. Not the mushy kind, the eternal kind. The kind that lasts.

All of this is a work in progress. I’m learning to navigate the difficult areas in my heart and life that still need God’s healing touch. Importantly, I’m surrounding myself around the right people. People who don’t throw in the towel and quit every time there is disagreement. Real love doesn’t abandon, it drops the offense and moves forward in forgiveness.

I’ve used my time of singleness to be attentive and grow. There are still places in me that need growth. I’m learning, by God’s grace alone, to rely on His wisdom over my feelings. I’m learning to love again, the right way. To love Him first, others second, and to see myself the way He sees me. It’s not easy after rejection, but it’s getting better.

Someone told me I should consider counseling to deal with my issues. My response was I don’t need counseling, I need a friend and people in my life who genuinely care about me despite my dark moments. We all need people like this in our life. We need people who will step into our brokenness with us unafraid to get their hands dirty.

Singleness has taught me what it means to put others’ needs before my own. It’s taught me the power of selflessness over selfishness. Don’t mistake this for being someone’s doormat, I’ve been there and done that. But, it’s learning to choose my battles wisely and love people the way they deserve instead of push them away.

God called me to singleness to teach me how to love and forgive. Both are difficult, mostly the forgiveness part. But, in Christ there is freedom. 

What has singleness taught you?

What Being Single At 32 Will Teach You

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Honestly, I didn’t think I’d still be single. I thought I’d be married with children by now.  God must have other plans.

This the reality I live with – God has a different plan for my life than I thought I wanted. 

I’ll be frank. I hate being single. It’s bothered me more in the past year than any other time in my life. Most of the time, I just write it off as I’m just lonely and need someone in my life who can fill a void. But the truth is, I don’t hate being single because I’m lonely. I hate it because there’s a part of me who believes I’m going to die alone.

As a woman who believes in the Lord, standing firm in my own convictions and realizing, settling would go against God’s will and best for me in this area.  Men say they want a woman who loves the Lord with her whole heart and follows Him closely, yet, at the end of the day, most settle. I’ve met married people unhappy in their marriages so they flirt their way through other people hoping they will erase the ache. I’ve met single people afraid of commitment so they settle for dead end relationships.

One of the most difficult things for me is knowing what I want, that God has it covered, to going my own way, doing this dating thing my way, and hope for the best. But it doesn’t work that way. I know what obedience in this area feels like and it’s the way I feel now.

I know God wouldn’t have led me to the people He has over the years without their lessons. Lessons about what I truly need and want in my relationships and never settling for less than I know I deserve.

Love is blind, but with God as my guide, He makes those things clear. 

Being single at 32 is not the love story I envisioned for my life. I saw things differently, very differently, but it’s just proof I know nothing. When I asked God into my life back in 2011, I also allowed Him into my heart. And though my heart is messy, He’s always protected me. Though there were times it didn’t feel like protection, looking back, I know He knew what I needed better than I ever did.

The brutal reality is, I could be single for another year, 10 years, or God could choose to leave me single. The unknowing is the difficult part of it too but there’s also beauty in watching God’s plan for my life unfold before me. 

God’s fingerprints are all over this area in my life and though it’s difficult at times to trust, surrendering this area of my life to Him completely is freeing. I don’t have to search for the man God has designed and prepared for me. He will bring him into my life when He knows I’m ready and without my help.

If you’re single like me, surrender this area of your life to God completely and leave it there. Trust His plan over yours and your heart with Him over your lusts and wants.

Singleness isn’t punishment, it’s preparation. God is preparing the love of my life the way He’s preparing me.

I trust Him. 

 Will you?

photo credit: Poppies, England via photopin (license)

Why I Probably Won’t Marry

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This is not being written out of bitterness or hurt. This is not being written from a place of hopelessness. This is being written from an inner knowing.  Sometimes we reach a point in our life when we question God’s direction in the area of relationships and there has been no clear direction in this area for a while. I thought I would be married by now, I thought a lot of things. The reality though is I’m not married and don’t see it happening in my foreseeable future.

Married people will tell singles to patiently wait. Single people tell other singles to focus on God and our relationship with Him. Divorced people will tell you marriage isn’t worth the commitment or baggage.  God says nothing, He’s silent.

I’m at a point in my life where I would love to settle down and marry, but I don’t see it happening. I stopped seeing it for a while. I haven’t lost hope I’ll find it but I need to be realistic and sometimes being realistic means facing the truth there is no one out there for me. If I could paint any of you a picture of what the last six years of my life have been like in the area of relationships, it’s been hell. My last relationship was different and after it was over I questioned whether I would find someone to settle into a life with.  Honestly, I don’t think I will.  My luck lately has been laughable.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment between us and another person. Marriage is not a piece of paper, it’s a covenant. The kind of commitment I’m looking for isn’t staring someone in the eyes and saying, “I do.” It’s looking someone in their eyes and seeing Christ.

Despite what this culture will try and tell us, marriage is serious.  Marriage is flesh and bone, soul to soul —- one. It’s this unity our culture tries to tear apart by its influence. We have fallen away from what God wants for us and each other, for His Church, by a culture diseased with selfishness and sin.

Marriage is beautiful when two people are brought together by the Lord, I’ve experienced it and it didn’t last. It’s for this reason I don’t believe marriage is in my future. When we love the Lord with our whole heart, mind, and soul, our hearts need to be fully surrendered to Him and not the desire for marriage or a family. Though the desire in my heart has never really been there, sometimes what we think we need in life, we really don’t. People hurt and wound. People are unfaithful and unloving. It takes someone fully committed and surrendered to God to unconditionally love someone else the way His Son loves us. It takes a true follower of Christ to love and lead a woman and family.

I’ve met so many people in my life who have promised to love me and never abandon me. I’ve been looked  in the eyes and told they wanted to spend the rest of their life with me. I’ve heard it all but shown differently. We can’t take others at their word, we can only see their actions.I don’t fault men who are happily married and are good fathers. I’ve met my share of good men and observed how they are towards their wives and children. They’re fully committed to the Lord first and put their family second. They love with all they have and are willing to go above and beyond what is necessary to ensure their wife and children are provided for because they know true provision comes from God and Him alone. It’s through an intimate relationship with their eternal Father they learn what it means to lay their life down for the Lord and follow Him and it’s in their following they learn how to lead their wife and child.

This is why I probably won’t marry. I have yet to meet any single man who is willing and able to do these things or even know how. There is always an excuse or reason. Fear of commitment, fear in general, past baggage, it’s always something. Sometimes I look at myself and wonder if there’s something wrong with me and not the man, but I can’t blame myself for others’ lack of commitment or fear. I can only face my own fears and realize a man’s lack of commitment has nothing to do with me but with what they haven’t fully surrendered to the Lord.  Either way, it’s disheartening.

Honestly, I’m writing this from a place of disappointment. I never imagined I’d still be single at 30 and without children. I never really gave marriage much thought until I had someone in my life who told me I was “The One” and they “knew.” It was then the idea of marriage became more than fantasy but probable. I believed it for almost a year. Now, I don’t know.

It’s been through this time of separation I’ve had to surrender any desire in my heart for marriage and a family.  At this point, probably for good. God never promised me marriage, He promised to give me a future and a hope. Maybe the future He’s promising me is only between Him and I and no one else.

Only He knows.

photo credit: Denise ~*~cc

Requited Love

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Excited to announce I will be a monthly contributor to Whole Magazine. This online magazine features women who are transparent and vulnerable in telling their stories.  Stoked to be a part of such a beautiful community of women who aren’t afraid to share their healing of brokenness with the world.

My first post “Requited Love” went live last night.

February is slated as a “month of love,” It’s a month where couples express their love towards each other while us singles wonder, “Where is our one?” I’m in the middle of navigating through singleness and trying solely to focus on God and lean on Him when I’m lonely. Sometimes it’s easy, most of the time it’s not. When you’ve gone through more rejection in your life than you can bear to count and we’ve uttered “I love you” than you care to remember, singleness is hard. We all want to be loved, treasured, and valued. When someone comes into our life and says those words, a part of us wants to believe it. Until this person is no longer in our life and we wonder if we’ll ever experience it again.

Rejection is painful. Unrequited love is devastating.

You can read the rest of the post here.

 
photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warrencc

Defending Singleness

I always told myself I’d never Tweet, Facebook, or blog when I’m angry or upset. While I’m probably writing this post a little peeved, I need to blow off steam. It’s no surprise to anyone I’m single. Not to mention a virgin. I feel because of these two factors there is some invisible target on my back and I should be defending my single status forever.

Yesterday morning the conversation went something like this:

Them: You write a lot about singleness. I noticed that.

Me: Is that a problem?

Them: No, it’s just why are you single? Is it because of your looks, personality, or insecurity?

…….

While I respect this person asking why and was probably genuinely concerned of and about my relationship status, to imply that I’m still single due to how I look, how I act, and insecurity hit a nerve. I spent the whole day milling this one out and tried to understand why this conversation upset me.

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m single. I could give a list of reasons but they’d be lies I’ve made up in my head to justify a means to a dead end. Because there is no real reason I’m single.

I just am.

I have kept my personal life semi private.  The parts I’m willing to share are out in the open. The why of my singleness isn’t one of them because I just am. Why do I feel the need to defend it? From the outside people will assume what they want about any one, but no one knows why any one is the way they are regardless of their relationship status.

It’s wrong to assume anything about any one’s life.

The last guy I talked to I really saw God’s hand in it.  And I’m not going to be redundant about it because it’s been written too many times. Truth is, the moment things got hard or work needed to be invested into our relationship, he bailed.

He decided I wasn’t worth the investment or effort.

That’s not a statement out of bitterness, it’s a statement of fact. And I’m okay. When the enemy forces me to feed into his lie that I’m not good enough or it was my fault things failed, I remind myself that everyone is given a choice to love and accept us – all and every part of us  He chose to walk.

Being single has taught me a lot , I’m still learning. Yeah, it gets lonely sometimes and without getting all biblical up in here, I pay attention to what triggers my loneliness and I refocus. My relationship status doesn’t define me or my life.

So, if I need to defend my singleness, I will. Because God is protecting me. He has always protected me. Only God knows what is best for me because when I jumped and did things my way, it failed or when I thought His hand was in it, it was but the end result wasn’t ‘happily ever after’. It was a learning experience. And I will defend what I learn until God decides it’s time to share those experiences with another living soul.

I won’t rush love.

Song of Songs 2:7

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

If you’re single, do you ever defend your relationship status?

What’s the worst thing someone has assumed about you and why you’re single?

photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc

You Don’t Need a Boyfriend To Make You Happy

If any one would have told me at 17, I’d still be single at 29 I would have laughed. Because at 17 I had my life  mapped out. I knew when I wanted to get engaged, marry, have children, and ultimately live my ‘happily ever after’.

God had other plans.

I don’t want to guard my heart. I want my heart to be exposed and open.

I want to know what it means to experience happiness and joy with another person with God at the center. I want to know what it means to intimately submit my life to someone else and know that God designed me to do life with that man. Yet, the feeling I will end up alone looms as I face the reality of who I am and who I’m not.

I wonder if God is punishing me.

Yesterday I had the honor of guest posting for Renee.  You can read the rest of my story here.

Four Things I’ve Learned in Singleness

 

When I was 17, I had this plan for my life that I would be married by the age of 25 and I would have my first child at 26. Here I am 28, and neither which have happened.  My last relationship ended in 2008 and I swore I wouldn’t date or settle ever again.  Honestly, being single has never really bothered me. After I hit 25, my life changed and my priorities shifted. My focus in life changed.  I told myself that I would focus on graduating college first before I pursued a relationship. I finally graduated college in 2009 and being in a relationship never really crossed my mind.

Then something happened that changed my life forever.

God will do anything to get our attention.  Ten months ago everything in my life that could have possibly gone wrong went wrong within a span of a few days. I felt alone. I was abandoned. God had essentially removed every single person and inserted every obstacle possible to get my attention. And it worked. When God wants us to seek Him because He knows we need Him, He will do the inevitable to make it happen.  He wanted my attention and in the midst of the mess that was my life, I found Him.  It’s been an incredible journey from then until now and I have learned a lot.  

Expectations lead to disappointment. 

Before I restored my relationship with God, I had expectations. I expected things from people that they were unwilling to give me. Not because they were incapable, but because they simply wouldn’t. I am naturally a giver, I give more than I receive. For a while this worked because I never had any expectations. My mind had other intentions. I started feeling unappreciated. I felt I was being taken for granted and I felt used.  Not the best feelings in the world. Those feelings spiraled out of control and caused a huge rift between me and some one very close to me. Every one will tell you, “If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, why do you keep doing it?”  In a sense, they were right and I believed that lie. The truth is, regardless of how someone treats you, they still deserve to be loved. 

Leviticus 19:18

 18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

For a while I had a lot of resentment and bitterness towards people.  But God stirred something inside me and changed my perspective.  He changed my heart.  No longer did I have expectations and I started focusing within. Most of the time when we have issues with other people, it is because we have issues with ourselvesIt’s easier to focus on another persons’ flaws and try and fix them, than it is to face our own and fix ours.  Funny how that works.

God is with me

He will never leave or forsake me, even when I feel forgotten and alone. I used to get lonely a lot. Probably more than I am willing to admit, but when I started focusing more on God, I stopped dwelling on my loneliness. When our mind is right with God, we won’t focus on the wrongs.  I am not going to lie and say I don’t have moments of loneliness, but that’s when my focus shifts.  I pray. I read the Bible. I focus on others. 

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have found strength and courage through loneliness.  God is with me and I don’t have to be afraid. He loves me and His love never fails. We were never meant to do life alone and it’s comforting to know that if we take the time to look around us, at the world around us, we aren’t alone.  We are never alone as we think. 

Forgive others and forgive myself

 Learning to forgive others and myself has been the biggest challenge since I found God. I wrote a post about forgiveness, one that got published recently and even now reading back through that post, I realize there is still a lot of forgiving left to do. Not only with others, but with myself.  Forgiveness is a life long process and it doesn’t happen over night. Once I was able to forgive others, I was able to focus within and learned to forgive myself. Even though there have been things in my life that have been my fault and I have been the maker of my mistakes, I needed to learn to let go and move on.

Ephesians 4:32

 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It hasn’t been easy, but that’s the best part about forgiveness, it’s not supposed to be. Forgiveness is messy and there is something comforting about it because God is orchestrating something beautiful through it.

 Everything is in God’s timing and His timing is perfect

This truth is probably the one that has bothered me most in my singleness.  When there have been times when I felt“ready,” God had other plans for me. I thought for sure that I was ready a year ago, but God removed that person from my life temporarily so I could focus my life and time where it needed it most; On Him. I realized my priorities in life needed to change. I needed to make God a priority. Turning 28 has made me think about my life, where I am and where I am going. I have always been the driver of my destination and have always “went with the flow.” And until I turned my life over to God, that had been enough.  Maybe it’s the fact that I am older and everyone around me is married, taken, and have children. But something I always tell others and what I should start telling myself is that life is about perspective. I am not bitter or jealous towards any one because they have those things. I am just beginning to realize that it just isn’t my time.

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens.

I don’t know what God’s plans are for my life or what will happen tomorrow, a week, a month, or even an hour from now. However, what I do know is that there is a time for everything and it’s time I trust Him and wait it out. The waiting part is the hardest, but I know in the end the wait will be worth it.

I have learned to embrace my singleness with arms wide open because I know God is working. He has a plan for my life bigger than my own and being single isn’t so bad. I know there is a lot more I need to learn. My journey is far from over and until God feels I am ready for a relationship, ahusband, I am going to continue letting Him work. It’s better He does anyway.

If you are single, know that you aren’t alone. While the world around you will make you feel rejected, forgotten, and alone, know you are never alone as you think. Being single is truly a beautiful experience. It’s through being single that I have learned the power to heal and embrace the person God has put me here to be. I wouldn’t change that. I wouldn’t change my singleness because I know God has someone special for me and they’re worth the wait.

God’s plans for my life are worth the wait.

Jeremiah 32:39

39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.