Thank you for making me a part of your life but you never became a part of mine

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Do you ever wonder why things never worked out with us? We looked so perfect on the outside but on the inside? Not so much. I’m really not sure how to write this. I feel as though I should feel grateful but I don’t. I always hear how it’s such a huge deal in women’s lives when the guy they are seeing wants you to “meet the parents” as if it symbolizes something special, the next step, or that he ‘like likes’ you. When you meet the family, that’s saying something. At least most of the time. But it’s what I’m used to so maybe I don’t see it as all that big of a deal. I do but I don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever dated a guy where I haven’t met the parents. Shoot, some first dates I met the whole family!

I guess you could say I’ve been fortunate to date guys who have been so quick to welcome me in. I think it has something to do with being a virgin. A lot to do with my faith, morals, and values. And some to do with my crazy personality. When you live your life the way I do- you’re the one they always want to take home to meet the parents because you’re that “good girl.” It doesn’t mean you’re in love though.

You loved me (to an extent- I’ll get back to this later) and were quick to make me a part of your life. I liked it. It made me feel special and valuable. It made me feel you wanted me around and you wanted us to work. I always supported you, was quick to become part of your family, and loved meeting the people that mattered most to you. But something was always wrong and I think I’m finally starting to see what it was.

While you’d been quick to show me off and make me a part of your family, you never wanted to be a part of mine. Can we really call that love? It’s hidden behind “I just wanted to make you feel welcome” and “You mean so much to me that I want you to know everything about me” when in actuality it’s “This is what I’m doing so you either come aboard or not.” What happened to the ‘we’? We become one; I don’t become yours. Did you see this? Did you stop to think how I felt? What you were indirectly asking me to leave- to give up? This can’t be what a healthy relationship is all about. I’ve seen better. And I’ll wait for better.

Maybe I’m to blame for part of it. I still see meeting the family as a huge deal. I don’t want any attachments being formed only for us to realize we aren’t right for each other. No sense in hurting more people than we have to. Or maybe I just don’t want you to meet my parents because I already know they’ll say you aren’t good enough for me. Maybe you aren’t. You aren’t if you don’t want to be a part of my life. If you don’t make an effort to break through. Because the truth is you really didn’t love me as much as you thought you did. You didn’t really want it that bad. I was just a good catch that you could bring home to mom.

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Dating, Marriage, and Sex: Part One- What to look for when you are looking for marriage

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I have always been a firm believer in never dating just to date. I really don’t see any benefits in that and someone always ends up getting hurt. That will be someone’s spouse one day- we shouldn’t play with people’s hearts or emotions if we aren’t willing or looking to commit. One of the pastor’s I listen to is Ben Stuart from Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M. He has a wonderful ministry there and I always appreciate his perspective on things. He did a series awhile back and I wish I could find them but the messages were entitled Sex and Dating and had four parts, I believe. I decided to utilize my notes from his messages to write this series for you all because it has helped me so much in reminding me what’s important when it comes to dating. I would like to preface this with the fact that I don’t believe in checklists but this should serve as a helpful guide to help us all think a little more objectively when our emotions may get the best of us. Ultimately, you have to listen to God and make the best decision for your life.

Anyone can get a date. Let’s just get that out there. Sometimes we get discouraged or feel inadequate, that no one likes us or we’ll always be single but the truth is, we could all get married tomorrow if we really wanted to. And we can’t forget that. Lower your standards enough and you can. But we don’t want to and we shouldn’t have to. Sometimes we get caught up on this whole dating and marriage thing as if it’s the most important thing in the world. And while I think we could all agree that I do think it is one of the most important decisions we will ever make, there are far greater things out there we should be thinking about. We must not forget that one of the coolest and most exciting things about marriage is how it represents and shows how much Christ loves us, loves the church.

I think that we tend to be in such a rush to find someone that we miss the gift of singleness. Yes, you heard right- singleness is such an amazing gift. It allows you to be fully devoted to Christ and Him alone. You don’t have anyone else to worry about and aren’t looking for ways to please another. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing and with the right one, you both will be so completely powerful together as you both pursue Christ. But with the wrong one, it could prove to be detrimental. Marriage is never about two incomplete people finding wholeness with the other; rather, it is about two complete people complementing each other to create power. THAT is what makes it so amazing and exciting.

Before you even begin to look at dating, you have to have your relationship with God right first. I cannot stress this enough. If you are not complete yourself, you have no business in the dating world because honestly, everyone will fall short. Only when your security and identity is found in Christ, will you be able to engage in healthy relationships. Otherwise, what we see are just mutually exclusive using relationships or partnerships. I hate to be so blunt but that’s what it is and it makes me so sad. Yes, some of them work but they could be so much better! Don’t you want and desire God’s best for your life? Let God fill your heart so you will be complete, lacking nothing and then allow Him to bring the perfect person FOR YOU into life to help complement it. You have to be full of God’s love first if you want to succeed in a loving and healthy marriage. Since God is love and you are full in Him, the rest will just come naturally and you won’t need all these self-help books on how to love or save your marriage, it’s just who you are.

The next six items are things to consider when looking for a spouse. Once again, these are helpful reminders and tips to help us stay focused and not get distracted from what we really want and are looking for. I would also argue that the first two are the most important. The rest don’t necessarily have to be there but I would imagine a lot of hiccups and arguments in the future if they aren’t. Love is the most important thing, but sometimes we need reminders as to what love really is.

1) A believer. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” You can’t really get more clear than this. One, God says it so I would follow it since God only has our best interest at heart. Two, think about it. If God is the most important thing in your life, two things could either happen- you start to resent the person you are with because you can’t share the most important thing in your life with them or two, your relationship with Christ begins to suffer as you start compromising. There have been some very rare instances where the unbeliever gets saved from what we call “evanga-dating” where you witness to your unbelieving partner. However, this is only because of God’s grace and should never be a model for what we pursue.

2) Someone who is morally submitted to God. This one is so important. If you aren’t really following Christ, I would question how much you really believe. I will sum this one up with a quote from Matt Chandler:

“Can I say something to young ladies here? I’m trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is Godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we’re working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don’t settle, because it’s better to be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus.”

3) Someone who is moving at the same pace. This is so important. Okay, I find myself saying that a lot but it is so true because I’ve been there and it doesn’t work. You do not want to date or marry a guy you are having to drag to be the spiritual leader. It gets exhausting. I can’t tell how many times I’ve had to encourage the person I’m with to go to church or do devotions with me. It’s fine for a friendship but I am looking for a man to lead me and my family one day. I have such a strong personality outside my personal life, that all I desire is to be lead when I am home- safe and secure. And I don’t think that is wrong. God calls women to submit to their husbands and I have such a strong desire to do that but it has to be to someone I believe in, that hears God and I can look up to and admire. We are always to be chasing after God and how easy and comforting is it if we have someone there who is moving at the same pace as us? We are only here for a short time; you don’t need to settle for someone who will only slow you down.

4) Someone who is theologically compatible. While I don’t think this one is a deal breaker, I do think it is important. I had someone break up with me because we weren’t on the same page in regards to infant baptism, spiritual gifts, and predestination. I was willing to compromise on them because I didn’t think they were deal breakers; he was not. What it came down to was he didn’t want me teaching our kids what I believed as he thought he was correct and 100% right in what he believed. As you can see, this would have created numerous arguments down the road. My personal opinion is that there is not necessarily one denomination that is better than the other but that the person truly has a relationship with The Lord. I believe that there are things in the Bible that are clearly stated, while others are a little more grey. It is up to the two of you to share and discuss your individual relationships with Christ (always look for someone who has a personal relationship with Christ and not just someone who can quote off scripture or popular theologians- personal experience;-) and the Bible to ensure you are on the same page in your beliefs.

5) Someone who is socially compatible. I think this one can change over time but this is where it’s imperative you already have your identity in Christ. Once you know who you are, you can begin figuring out what your purpose is. Oftentimes, we confuse the two or get them backwards, or worse- find our purpose and/or identity in another person. What’s scary is if you don’t know your purpose yet and you end up marrying someone else who does have a clear direction and purpose, only to find out it’s not the direction God had planned for you. I do think sometimes another person can help aid us in finding our purpose so I don’t want to discredit that. But at the same time, God created a deep desire within us to accomplish something for His kingdom utilizing our personal gifts. What a tragedy it would be if we miss out on that by marrying the wrong person. Only you can know this one. If your heart is for missions overseas, you may not be most compatible with a person who feels called to stay in the states and do something else. I don’t know though. I still feel with real love, both people can accomplish big goals for God that may eventually change. Just something to think about.

6) Someone you are physically attracted to. Alright, I am going to be honest- when I first heard this series, I thought this last one was totally superficial. I’ve been around long enough to think that looks won’t matter if I can really find someone who loves God. However, I recently dated a guy that I was not attracted to at all but I thought he really loved God so I was willing to look past that. I did start to think he was cuter when I got to know him more. However, I was never really attracted to him. Our relationship never went anywhere for other reasons but I did spend some time thinking about the attraction thing. I finally concluded that God does not desire for us to be with someone we aren’t attracted to. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone you are attracted to. Thankfully, we are all attracted to different types of people so I don’t believe we will have to settle in this area. It’s not asking too much to have a godly, cute person:)

Wow, okay that was a lot longer than I anticipated. Check back later this week because I’ll continue this with my next post on how you should date because we all know that’s just as confusing;-)

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4 months, 4 holidays, 4 ever alone

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Every year I manage to be sick for Thanksgiving- great tradition right?! Anyway, that’s not going to keep me from being thankful for all that I have been blessed with. And it won’t keep me from writing this Nyquil induced post either so let’s gooooo.

This is the worst time of the year if you are single. Seriously. You have 4 months of 4 great holidays and no one to share them with. I think it can be easy to forget that you’re single the other months, especially living in Florida. Come on- you can just go to the beach everyday and still feel perfectly content- am I right?! But these four months can be pretty brutal. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE holidays, so for me, they can be especially hard when you are single. November, December, January, February- the no-dating time for guys and the prime dating time for girls. Each month holds a significant holiday that is more meaningful when shared with someone you love. With today being Thanksgiving and while some of you may be feeling alone, I thought I would send out a little encouragement to help you get through the holidays.

  1. November- Thanksgiving. This can be tough, especially if you have a bunch of family asking about when you will settle down. But the cool thing about Thanksgiving is that it allows you the time to reflect on what you do have and forget about what you don’t. For this one day, I cannot stress the importance enough to focus on what you are thankful for. We all have our different challenges and battles to fight and it can be easy to feel bad about what’s lacking in your life. I find myself getting made at myself if I start to get whiny. If you ate today and are able to read this, you are doing better than most of the world. Just think about that. Our society is so good at getting us to compare our lives with those who *appear* to have no problems. We see the happy family picture on facebook, but don’t see the fights behind the scenes. The couple on the brink of divorce, the family who just lost their child, the father who just lost his job. If you do one thing today, make a list of everything you are thankful for and keep it as a reminder when you are tempted to feel bad. Some of the things on my list include a loving family who mean the world to me, past relationships that taught me more about myself, my freedom to worship God and say how I feel, God’s faithfulness when I let Him down, and the ability to love more even when it hurts.
  2. December- Christmas. Christmas is tough for me because I love giving gifts, watching Christmas movies by the fire, and going to see all the Christmas lights. But the truth is, you can still do all of these things for the people in your life even if you don’t have a significant other. What’s so wonderful about this holiday-it’s my favorite one too- is the fact that we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And honestly, if your think about Jesus, His story, and how much He loves you it is extremely difficult to be sad. It’s only when we take the focus off of others and put it on ourselves that we start to get depressed. So for Christmas this year, why don’t we focus on different unique ways that we may be able to bless others, while asking God to change our hearts to see things the way He does.
  3. January- New Years. Okay, now we are getting to the more romantic holidays and there is just something great about ringing in the new year with someone special. However, this is a prime time to do some personal reflection. I always enjoy spending this time looking back at the previous year and thinking about everything that happened. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a journaler (apparently that is not a real word, oh well). I love to write and look back and see how much I have grown through the years. I often get so busy with life that I fail to see all I have accomplished, as well. During this time, I think about the year ahead, I think about regrets and things I’d like to change. I think New Year resolutions get a bad rap. While I think we should always be growing and reflecting, this an excellent time to break bad habits or start something beneficial. Once again, it’s hard to think about the new year’s kiss you are missing if you are thinking about the impact you will make in the upcoming year and thanking God for another year He has blessed you with. I can’t wait to see what some of my goals and resolutions will be for 2015! Don’t worry, I shall shareJ
  4. February- Valentines. Blah. I love this holiday and I generally always spend it single. I simply cannot wait to spend this day with someone who loves me and someone I love. But until then, I will still love this sappy holiday and be grateful for all the couples that can enjoy this over commercialized day. People say you should show your love everyday and while I agree, I will take any opportunity I can to show my love for someone special. You can go ahead and call me a hopeless romantic. But let’s not forget that this holiday is about love and just because we don’t have a significant other doesn’t mean we can’t show love to others. This is a great day to express your love to those that may need it most through random acts of kindness. Ask God to show you who one person who needs His love this Valentine’s Day and seek to be blessing to them. Our lives our short- don’t get so caught up in the future and how you feel things should be that you miss out on the wonderful opportunities today.

I don’t want to diminish the fact that it can be difficult to navigate the holidays being single. The truth of the matter is we can all be in a relationship if we wanted. But we have standards. And we aren’t willing to settle. I know these times can have their difficult moments but we can make them better if we choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings with you all.:)

With sniffles and sneezes,

Happy Thanksgiving!

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