My happiest moments in life

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I’ve done some reflecting the past couple weeks. As I’m about to turn 32, I began to reminisce, if you will, on my life. Have I lived the life I’ve wanted so far? Are there things I’m proud of? Other things I’m not so proud of? All leading to what I really want to know most- am I walking down the path I believe God has laid out for me?

As I began to write my list of things in my life that have made me happiest, I had to face the reality that some of the decisions I’m making now are not leading to moments like these at all:

  1. I remember when I was younger and in 4-H. I was at a summer camp and I was wearing a Christian t-shirt. One of the other kids asked me about it and I remember being surprised by their lack of knowledge of Jesus. I think at that age I had assumed everyone knew about Him. I begin, somewhat nervously, sharing about my faith. It ended with me asking that other kid if they wanted to pray the sinner’s prayer with me. They did. That was the first time I’d ever done that. To this day, it is one of my greatest memories.
  2. I remember someone suicidal coming and talking to me. I just sat there and listened. Praying to myself for God to show me what to do. I just listened and then I prayed with him. It wasn’t until a couple years later that he returned. He thanked me for saving his life. I’ll never forget that moment.
  3. When I know I gave someone hope. To watch their face light up like they’ve been given a second chance. I have a positivity board in my office at work where people can take a post it note with some positive word they may need at the moment; they can also make one to put back on the board. I remember someone taking one that specifically spoke to her. She came back a week later solely to write another word to put back on the board because it encouraged her so much.
  4. I put a lot of time and effort into my Instagram posts. Praying and hoping I can inspire and help others. Anytime someone comments that it was exactly what they needed, it makes me feel like I am in some way making the world a better place. That God is using my life to make a difference. Nothing could make me happier.
  5. I love to watch and see people smile. Especially when they are doing something for someone else. A good deed. A nice gift. Watching them light up because they are blessing someone else gives me hope and inspires me.
  6. Answered prayers. Every single time. When I know God heard me. When I feel His presence. When I’m reminded of his grace, mercy, love, and goodness.
  7. Peaceful moments. Nothing in particular. Just moments when I know I’m fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.

Not one these moments had to do with money. Not one of them had to do with fame. Status. Not one about a guy I thought I liked or liked me. Nothing to do with what the world may define as success. It was never about me getting something I thought I wanted. My happiest moments in life have nothing to do with chasing happiness. Rather, my happiest moments in life have had everything to do with becoming the person God created me to be and showing that love to others. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.

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photo credit: Corine Bliek Pink tulips via photopin (license)

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Why you do [NOT] have to be financially stable to get married and/or have kids

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I hear a lot, both in and out of the church, about how important it is to be financially stable before getting married or starting a family. While the definitions for ‘financially stable’ may vary, you can quickly pick up on how people feel about the subject through both verbal and non-verbal cues. When a new couple announces their engagement, my first thoughts are how well the couple knows one another, while many others immediately look to the financial side. Although being financially stable- whatever that really means- may be used as a clue into someone’s deeper character- I honestly do not think it should be a determining factor when deciding to get married or have kids. Any family can work with some effort and creativity, and most importantly, love. Call me crazy, but contrary to the popular saying of how you can’t run a family on love, I truly believe you can- and here are some reasons why:

1) You will never be (financially) ready. What does that even mean- financially ready? Is there a set amount? I always love getting my friends’ feedback on my upcoming posts. It makes me view things from a variety of perspectives. A lot of my friends said that if you wait until you feel financially ready for marriage, it will never happen. And I tend to agree. It honestly breaks my heart when I hear people say they are waiting due to financial reasons. Life is so precious and while it is important to plan and not be careless, I don’t believe in allowing money to be a determining factor. And honestly, if it is, I would question the foundation of the relationship. A guy I was dating once made a comment about a couple with three kids who were looking to have another and they weren’t doing too great financially. His tone was enough to show his disapproval. It bothered me. How do you put a price tag on a child? What it really comes down to is what are you (not) willing to give up for another child? It just makes me sad. When I think back to my childhood, the best gifts my parents ever gave me were my siblings. I wouldn’t trade them for any laptop, dance classes, vacations, or anything else we tend to spend money on while saying we can’t afford a family.

2) Love has to be enough. Why? Simply put, if not, then the relationship is dependent on whatever it is you say needs to be there. Why is it that money problems are a leading cause of divorce? Because these relationships were not founded on true love (1 Corinthians 13). They were either founded on a good business deal or partnership or infatuation/lust, but don’t call it love. That is why the “money problems” break up marriages- it was never about love to begin with. Money can serve as a complement to your marriage so you don’t have to worry or stress about certain things but it should never serve as a substitute for love. Never equate someone’s ability to provide for you to how much they love you. With real love you can make anything work. Life is full of uncertainties. What happens if one becomes disabled? One loses their job? House burns down? When you base a relationship on the financial stability level, your relationship lacks the stability it needs to survive and that is why there are so many divorces related to money problems.

3) I’d rather live in a trailer park with 5 kids with love than a fancy house with one kid feeling unloved. Life is short and real love is rare. When you find it, you better hold onto it with all you have. A guy I was dating who owned his own home once asked if I still would had agreed to go out with him if he still lived at home with his parents. This question surprised me and I was somewhat shocked. A lot of thoughts immediately ran through my head. Did he really think that mattered to me? Did he think that made him more of a man because he didn’t live at home? Were his priorities the same as mine? Did he not understand why I liked him or what attracted me to him in the first place? In some ways I was offended. But as time went on, I learned why he had thought that. For many men that is part of what they are taught equates to success and being able to take care of a woman and family. While it was nice he had thought about those things, I came to later find out he lacked the one thing I desire above all else. True love. Genuine love. While you can make choices to put others first, you can’t make yourself love if you don’t have any love to give. A person knows when they are truly loved. At least I know.

4) True love is the best motivator. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how much we loved. While it’s certainly nice to have the latest gadgets and be debt free, these things won’t matter in the end. “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” I believe we were all called to live for something so much greater than this life. Sometimes we get so caught up planning for our future in this life that we forget to take the steps to plan for our future in the next. We don’t know how long we are here for and our time to leave could come at any moment. I see so many people my age that are miserable because they are so set on planning for the future. Don’t get so caught up on the future that you miss out on the present. One of the biggest regrets of so many old people is how much time they spent working. Enjoy today. Love. Real love comes from God and understanding of how much God loves us. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8 When we truly love our spouse and our kids, anything is possible and we can make anything work. And I don’t even like to call it work because, to me, loving and being loved is such a precious gift and makes everything worth it and so much better. I can’t wait to experience that kind of love with my future husband.

-the virgin heartbreaker

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