Changing Slowly…

Lately I have been taking time to reflect on where I am internally compared to where I was almost five months ago.

Throughout each year, there are markers that serve as points to pause, reflect and compare to a year ago… Yet, this time, rather than reflecting on a year ago, I find myself processing how much has happened inside of me since July of this year. I went into Uganda struggling very much internally, but not even really in a place to recognize it because of how hard and hectic May and June had been in every regard.

Before we left, I had begun asking God to reveal the lies I had been believing, and to restore hope where I had lost it… Then I closed that box of my heart, and got on a plane and launched myself to another continent.

Twice on the flight over I was asked how my heart was doing because people who know me, are aware of how much I struggle and have to actively work to link my head and heart well. I have had a habit of locking my heart up and setting it aside, especially if I am uncertain or overwhelmed by what I’m feeling.

Perfectly timed, around that same time before we left for Uganda, I also began asking God to help me navigate my head and heart well together. I had started to realize that Grace and Truth as well as Head and Heart are the balance of the Holy Spirit. God is perfectly both sides in unison, and in order to be more like Him, and more sensitive to His guidance, I too needed to start learning how to balance these things rather than setting one aside.

I was not prepared for the answer God was going to give me, nor the longevity of what it would mean to get the answers to these prayers.

I actually think if I had known how long and hard this all would be, I would have peaced out and quit right from the beginning. I am fairly confident I  would have shut my heart down and opted out of the process to protect my heart had I known the pain and struggle involved. Yet, one of the many graces in this whole journey has actually been my lack of knowing God’s timing. – I struggle with it all the time (as in allllll the time), but not knowing has also created a reliance on Him that I simply did not have before. Not knowing God’s timing has been so good too because I was unaware of the depths of intensity it would take to fix and heal certain areas of my heart, and just what it would mean to restore the trust and hope in God that I had lost. – Back in July it was as though my prayer for help balancing my head and heart caused God to lock my heart in the open position; it has been exhausting and overwhelming almost every single day since.

Even still, almost five months later, I regularly feel overwhelmed by how I am feeling, the ways I am changing, and how far I still have to grow. About once a week I have a late night meltdown over how exhausted and weary I feel internally due to actively processing every day. I am given the option to choose to grow and learn more about who I am supposed to be in Christ, and to face the ways in which I lack in trust/faith/fruit of the spirit (throw a dart at some character trait and I’m probably working on that too)… I assure you, it is Not. Easy. Nor. Fun.

But, God does not force me, He allows me the freedom to choose to face these things or quit… However, because of who God has made me, I will not give up, and I will choose to daily engage in this process of growth and change.

My journal of prayers is getting record use (literally). The current one (each one is 40 sheets/80 pages) is my 4th one in just about four months…

But so that there is no patting me on the back with congratulations: My prayer journal just makes me look like a crazy person.

Seriously, going back and reading the day-to-day prayers, they just swing widely back and forth, it’s embarrassing, but also they are incredibly intimate and real. These prayers reflect my struggle, my anxiety, my fears, my heart wide open and effort that it all takes, but also the ever so slow changes that are taking place, and just about every emotion possible finds its way into my prayers.

These journals are very how I am choosing to press closer to God and processing all of my tension, thoughts, and emotions.. But, in all honesty, they just really make me look like a wackadoodle. I wish I could share about how sweet the prayers are, but no. The sheer level of back and forth my prayers exhibit is ridiculous; the overwhelming emotions, the joy, thankfulness, the over analyzing things, the confusion and uncertainty, the copied scripture trying to help me grasp onto solid truth amidst the chaos of feelings, the waffling ebb and flow with how I feel vs what my head knows… EXHAUSTING.

Yet, I am also currently reading through the book of Psalms: I feel like my journal looks a bit like David’s prayers and hymns.

Some are so sweet, loving, encouraging, full of thanksgiving, while others are all raging and demanding that God do something (usually an overreaction to an emotion or situation). Some are declarations of praise, faith, love, and hope, while others are full of anger, sorrow, and despair. – This could literally be the description of my prayer journals AND the book of Psalms… So, I guess that is comforting?

At the end of every journal (about every six weeks currently), I go back and review it. I re-read things I have prayed for, asked God about, passages of scripture I copied, and then compare them to my calendar and remember what was going on that day. Every few weeks I am amazed at all that the Lord has done, how I feel about those days after the fact or in light of things that happened a few days later. I marvel and thank God again for answers to prayers, and for His continued patience, grace, and tenderness as I try to press in, learn, and grow.

But, let’s be honest: It. Is. So. Hard.

Several months ago I felt like God told me three things:
Hold Steadfast.
Persevere.
Be Obedient.

Then about a month ago I felt like God added Faith, Hope, Love.

As I review my journals, I am amazed at what it looks like to hold steadfast, persevere, and be obedient, and how these three things play out (and don’t). Previously I never would have been able to accurately identify what it truly looks like to hold steadfast and persevere, because I struggle each day with them. – Before all of this, I would have felt as though the level of my struggle daily would clearly indicate I was not in fact holding steadfast; yet as I go back over my prayer journals, I realize in the long haul it absolutely does. Holding steadfast and persevering doesn’t mean a lack of experiencing emotions or struggle, it means turning to God with every single little bit of it, and remaining there with Him.

I have learned that holding steadfast and persevering throughout scripture leads to faith, hope and love… but also proven character. It is in the journey, the long haul, the process that we refine, create, and prove who we are at our foundational core. But, let’s not dismiss how much proving character takes time, and is incredibly difficult and oh so awkward of an imperfect process.

In the last couple of months I have begun to see the transformation, and just how much I am changed forever because of the time pressing into the Holy Spirit and expressing all the things to God. Choosing to return back to Him with every little thing has changed the way in which I handle joy, hope, failures or despair on a daily basis. Because of the difficulty of modifying who I am on the inside, there has been an increase in desire to spend dedicated time every day with God; I am not entirely sure I can name any period of time in my entire life that I felt this way for months on end… I am so incredibly grateful (and hope it continues, recognizing seasons of life and all).

I long for connection with God, I need time to tell Him how I am, ask for what I want, and process everything that I’m struggling with. Every day there is a nuance to the areas He is work on growing in me, and whatever is heavy on my heart or mulling around in my head that day also gets some much-needed time laid before Him.

Now months into this whole process, I realized this week, on one particularly intense and emotional day full of stress, frustration, anxiety etc.. I still had the clarity and presence of mind to actively choose my responses. I was not swept away in any explosion of emotion and even the intensity with which I experienced my feelings was still there just like before, but despite it all, I found myself able to actively chose grace and patience. – Well that’s new… and not easy.

I have started to realize over the last couple of weeks that the force with which I feel and experience my emotions has not changed at all. God has not lessened who I am or the passion and intensity that I process, feel or express things; instead, He has changed my ability to see perspective, have understanding, and respond in grace and love. It is as though the spring that feeds into my heart-well is different, and therefore what is coming out is also distinctively changed, but that I am who I have always been in many ways, just a better version of that person.

A couple small excerpts from one of my prayers at the end of a particularly difficult day recently:
Thank you for being with me and giving me the extra measure of grace, patience, and presence of mind to choose my responses…
Help me to follow your leading better tomorrow. Give me more wisdom and understanding, and bless me with a greater capacity to love well…
Forgive me for the things I said and did today that did not line up with you. Forgive me for the things I missed…
Show me how to trust you more and be confident in your faithfulness more…

It has been an interesting experience reading through my prayers over the last few months, I would never have chosen this ahead of time had I known how hard it would be. I also have realized that I would never have been able to predict beforehand the ways in which I would respond (good or bad) to how God would grow and make me new. Yet, through it all, I am starting to recognize the small ways He has shown up and proven Himself trustworthy and faithful. But, above all, recognizing this gaining familiarity with Him as I spend more time communicating with Him. His presence and “voice” feel different to me now than they did in July (or previous to that).

My daily struggle to hold steadfast, persevere, and be obedient is still going strong.
Learning how to love well is not easy.
Finding and growing my faith and hope feels ambiguous, but slowly I am realizing that it is creating a foundation I did not have previously.
Making decisions against my own insecurities, and choosing to share my heart rather than shut it down and set it aside is still incredibly hard.

I am not the same person I was a few months ago.
My heart has changed. I have changed.

It has been a slow sometimes arduous process, and it certainly is nowhere near complete, but I am also incredibly grateful… and exhausted.

I am learning that the process and journey is full of challenges and pain (there are good and joyful times too, but let’s be honest, we don’t need people to identify with our good times as much), but it is worth it to become more of who God intends for you to be.

Choose to face it all head on, experience every emotion, and sift through them with the creator of your heart; it will change you forever and it will be so good.

#NeverDull2016 Year in Review

At the beginning of the year I was asked by several people, and challenged by several more to come up with a word or theme for 2016. I am not really a goal setter. I do not have enough organization as a personality to plan things out well…Nor do I enjoy it. I more often than not fake being organized, and typically use all of my organizational capacity for my job.

However, this year I decided to try to pick a word or theme. So, I picked “Never Dull”. It felt like a way of focusing on all the big and little things, noticing how interesting and worth while life can be. After having a few hard years, I needed a year not focused on healing or regrowing, but instead a year focused on the life I have, the good, bad, interesting, growing, and adventures that can be found every day!

Thus, #neverdull2016 became my social media hashtag.

You can read my 2015 year in review posts here.

So, what a year 2016 was!

January

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We had a record-breaking snowstorm in DC, with over 30 inches of snow in 24 hours.
My sister came to visit, and I surprised her with a whirlwind trip to NYC.

February

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Uganda team meetings started! #Ugandaexcited
I studied Romans with a group of other leaders.
I got to tour the Capitol building for the first time.

March

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Threw a bachelorette weekend for one of my best friends.
We continued our Easter tradition and several college best friends came and stayed. – We failed again at going to the top of the Washington Monument lol
I started my big side tattoo!

April

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One of my girls from MI came to visit for her Spring Break.
I went to Philly and got to hang out with some of my favorites.
Threw a super fun fundraising house party for clean water wells in Uganda.
I also started having much more regular meetings with other churches to talk about First Impressions things.

May

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One of my best friends got married! #Howboutthemappels
Our Uganda meetings started happening twice a month!
People continued to join us at the gym haha

June

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We had the 2nd Annual Race for H2Ope Run/Walk fundraising event for our Uganda mission.
I went to Nashville, did a whirlwind visit, and helped her drive back to DC for the summer.
I continued my tattoo process.
I got to help teach dance classes throughout the summer with a super fun group of ladies!

July

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I finished my tattoo just in time for it to heal before going to Uganda!
Our team went to Uganda and dug 2 clean water wells! You can read more about it here.
Our house shifted as one roommate left and a new one began living with us.

August

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I spent the first 8 days of the month in Uganda.
I went on my first date in a year – Had a great time, but it didn’t go anywhere.
We did a presentation at the Fairfax JDC about our work in Uganda.

September

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I went to Disney World for the first time! – With a ton of my family! It was awesome!
Family Dinner Mondays started up again for the fall. – It has been such an amazing weekly time!
College friends had a free weekend, so they came to visit and we all headed to the beach!
A group of us undertook project get Amy’s iron up.. which meant a more strict diet than normal; it sucked and was great all at the same time.
I put all of my roommates on a traveling ban because we travel SO much…. it failed miserably. lol

October

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I went to visit 6 churches to learn from them and deemed it my #tourdechurches – It was amazing!
Our church celebrated its 20th anniversary.
My little brother’s wife had their first baby! – She’s so cute!

November

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I was able to go to Puerto Rico for free cause I have lucky friends haha
I had to say goodbye to friends who followed a God-given dream across the country.
My roommates and I are now fluent in food as a love language.
I finally finished my “corner office” for my consulting work!

December

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This is always one of my favorite months in DC. There’s so much happening, fun parties and sweet time with friends.
I got to spend a lot of time with my family for Christmas, it was amazing.
I got to snuggle my new niece.

Overall

I feel like this year was full of adventures, big, small, and everything in between.

How did this year compare to what I thought it would be? – You can see some of my goals and predictions here.

In some ways I feel like it was pretty spot on… In others it was close, and obviously in some ways it was totally different.

In general, my sentiments are: What a beautiful year it has been.

I find myself grateful. Incredibly grateful that I was able to experience such amazing things this year with so many wonderful and amazing people. I feel rich with friendships and people I love. I am grateful for the adventures and the laughter. What an incredible year full of ups and downs and everything in between.

#Neverdull2016

2015 Reviews

At the end of every year I write a review of that year, they always look different, but, this particular post is one of my favorites to do because it makes me stop and reflect… Which, inevitably leads to gratitude for what God has done in my life… Even during the hard years.

You can see last year’s here, and the 2013 review with links to previous year’s reflections in that post.

So, here I sit reviewing and reflecting on 2015.

This year from beginning to end felt like warp speed, it never slowed down.

I have now completed my first year at my new job and back in DC. This year has been full of stress, frustrations, and confusion as I tried to navigate my new job and rebuilding my life here in DC. Yet, through it all there has always been an overwhelming amount of contentment and certainty that I was and continue to be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Some things took much longer to resolve than I anticipated, like my stress level over money. I had not realized how much being unemployed created an obsessive compulsiveness in me to check my bank account every couple days… I stressed about money constantly. Through work because I manage a budget I was given the opportunity to take Financial Peace University; I love what it has done in my life. While I do not follow it entirely (I’m really bad at using all cash), I certainly have seen it change my stress level, and I have more money in savings, and a greater understanding and comfort (peace) with my finances than I have ever in my entire life. I have a lot of debt to pay off, but I also was able to pay off half of my credit card debt this year.

Blessing #1: Finances settling.

I loved the house I moved into when I first got here. I liked my roommates, and the location was great. Then, we had a curveball thrown at us, and we had to move after only a few months of living there because our military landlords were returning. Insert: Chaos and stress. Figuring out what we were going to do and searching was chaotic and stressful right in the middle of chaos and stress at work. Then we found this amazing row-house that was smaller, but somehow actually better than our last. We lost and gained a roommate in the transition, and yet again, the move seemed to create this pressure valve, and peace, laughter, joy, and community have settled in our home.

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Blessing #2: Amazing house and community.

My car. Not much brings me to tears faster than car problems. There were so many car problems this year, as a carry over from my head on collision a couple years ago. It took a lot of money and time to get everything up to inspection and then in August for a routine oil change my mechanic called my car a “rolling death trap”. He more or less instructed me to get rid of it and stop putting money into it, then parked my car until I decided. After lots of back and forth, I let my trusty car go and have been without a car since. My goal is to go a year then reevaluate, and use that extra money to pay off debt faster. I have loved that not having a car forces me to walk, I have access to vehicles of friends if I need it, and I live in a massive public transportation city which makes life much easier.

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Blessing #3: Having to walk everyday.

This year has been absolutely stuffed with adventure. Which, as I reflected on the different adventures, I looked up the definition just to see how accurate of a term it was:
“an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.”
Every day was full of adventure this year.

And, just to give a (very) small window into the adventures and people that made life so fun and funny in 2015:

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Blessing #4: Adventures.

A couple years ago I topped out at my heaviest weight of my life, and it was not due to muscle. So, I decided in 2014 to start purposefully eating better. In 2015 I was still not happy with how I looked, but also how I felt, so I got a gym membership and began working towards feeling better. It has been 10 months, and I am happier with my body now than I have ever been in my life. I am not yet where I want or need to be, but it is so encouraging to see pictures of myself this year compared to the last two, and find myself satisfied rather than embarrassed.

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Blessing #5: Better health and confidence.

It would get exhaustive to list a paragraph for each of the blessings I see as themes from 2015, so here are a few additional:

Blessing #6: Growing and Re-growing.

Blessing #7: Seeing and experiencing God’s faithfulness new.

You can see the community throughout all of the pictures. The community of people both near and far that fill my life is overwhelming in the best of ways.

Blessing #8: Community.

Just because I always love new music, here, here, here, and here are a links to a few of my endless repeat songs from this year.

Blessing #9: Music.

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Blessing #10: Family.

What an incredible year it was. 2015 certainly did not disappoint, so much laughter, crazy challenges, some heartache, and a few curveballs, but I find myself thankful and amazed at how God was with me throughout it all this year.

How Are You?


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A beautiful sunset sitting outside overlooking Union Station (no filter).

My days are so long, filled to the brim, and often overflowing. Every night around midnight I debate on if I can do squeeze one more thing into my day or if it is a wiser option to finally turn the lights off and sleep. Usually I squeeze something else in…

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But, my weeks F.L.Y. by… Seriously. At the end of every week, I am totally and completely amazed by how quickly the week went. Even more, I cannot believe we are so far into March already! Where is 2015 going?!

So, how am I?.. That has been the question I am getting repeatedly… I am still trying to catch up to my own life I think. I have only just begun to find my cadence to life again. I guess it is for good reason I get asked often how I am since I am currently in a stage of full throttle, but I never really feel like I have a good answer for the question.

Or worse, as odd as it sounds, I really am not a fan of the “how can I pray for you?” question right now. Not because I don’t want prayer, but I cannot seem to be able to think of something when asked… things don’t seems to grasp my attention long enough to ask someone else to pray over.

Maybe the best thing I could ask for prayer for is my level of energy, for sleep to be restful, for wisdom and grace in all situations… especially despite any emotions I still find myself working through.

You see, I am still quite a bit more emotional than I am comfortable with.. or that feels normal for me.
I find myself pretty strongly still regulating what comes out of my head because I am aware that how I think things in my head is undeservedly severe oftentimes.

But honestly, I am good, life is busy, full of good and great things, challenging things, frustrating things, laughter, anger, contentment, exhaustion, all of the feels. Every one of the feels permeates my life right now.

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Thankfully, Spring has finally arrived.. Sorta. We have had DAYS of sunshine, and weather that has allowed me to wear a light jacket instead of try to cover every exposed portion of my skin! I was able to open the windows, clean the house, and breathe the sunshine in deeply this week.

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God is showing up so merciful, faithful, forgiving, and loving. Like I have always known, but much louder right now than normal. Earlier this week, I was having a particularly difficult day, and randomly several people called, texted or e-mailed me throughout the day saying they had been thinking of me and felt compelled to connect.
By the time the third one happened, I just couldn’t help but smile and something inside me shifted because I think I finally was getting the message from God: “I do in fact see you and care tremendously.”

2015 is certainly turning out to be a year unlike any other, and I am so thankful, and feeling quite blessed.

Regrowth…

Goodness has it been a few weeks! I feel like I have been in warp speed mode for weeks now, I basically collapse into bed every night and wake up begrudgingly too soon.

I have been actively pushing myself to step out of and let go of the second nature of survival mode I have felt for so long. I have been asking God for a lot of things, but mostly right now I have just been working to sit in His presence again and find peace and comfort.

Reconnecting and finding my peace and faith built up and restored has sorta become my focus… Usually while I’m walking the millions of miles I have been walking due to getting my car fixed (for the last 2+ weeks).

I desire a deeper richer relationship, but I have also found that I have a pretty strong reservation for indulging and allowing myself to feel strongly. Survival mode strikes again.

Last weekend I helped put on a conference for 500+ people, and it was awesome. Such a great time.. exhausting, but so great. I got to connect and meet so many people, listen to amazing sermons, and worship. It was fantastic.

However, the most profound part had little to do with any of the actual program, aside from the space we created for people to do business with God. At the end, we had a wonderful commissioning sermon, and then we worshiped, and offered communion to those wanting to take and remember, and then we had people lining the room to pray over anyone wanting prayer.

For more than an hour people worshiped, took communion, and let go of burdens, received confirmations, wept, and were encouraged.

What a sight to watch hundreds of people at the same time and place connecting with God; that more than anything else moved my heart in a very real way… What a lovely sight and feeling. For the first time in a long time I felt the shift in understanding God’s love and tenderness.

Tomorrow I turn 30, and I am excited. I am looking forward to starting a new decade, to hitting the refresh button and allowing myself to settle into the stride that is my life and my journey thus far. I am looking forward to this year, 2015 is the year of regrowth for me.

Below are the pictures I doodled while listening to the various people’s sermons last weekend… They are not necessarily connected to what was being spoken about.

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Looking Ahead: 2015

So, I do a year in review every year, and it is my favorite blog post to do annually because it forces me to pause and reflect on where I have been, what I have done, and the people and things that have changed me. I also have found that taking time to remember tends to cause and overwhelming feeling of gratitude to God for all the things He has done and ways that He has once again proven his faithfulness. You can read about the 2014 review here, 2013 here, and 2012 here.. Beyond that, if you’re still interested you can look in my December archives for each year 🙂

My second favorite post of the year is the one where I look ahead, make goals, resolutions, plans, and share the things I can see (or not see) coming, as well as any thoughts or insights into what it feels like God is up to in my life.

This year I turn 30!

I am stoked.

It may seem odd that I am so excited, but for some reason I am.
I am looking forward to starting a new decade of my life.
I am looking forward to feeling like there is less pressure at 30 to prove yourself.
I am looking forward to enjoying life in a new way.

  1. The year I was 29 was incredibly difficult, but it has only caused me to resolve to create healthy habits across every aspect of my life.
  2. This year I am excited about starting a new job and continuing my consulting work, learning, growing, experiencing, helping others, and leading well.
  3. I want to read like crazy this year. I want to learn from other people’s experiences and then figure out how to apply them to what I am doing.
  4. I need to get new running shoes (my other one’s are broken), but, as soon as I do I want to get back to running and weight lifting.
  5. I want to eat healthy and properly hydrate myself. I feel like I made significant progress over the last six months, but I still need make better choices moving forward, so I plan on it.
  6. I am looking forward to walking. I am within walking distance of work, have a dog who needs exercise, and live in a highly active city.. I want to experience and take full advantage.
  7. I want to dance often. I miss Salsa dancing (or latin dancing in general) immensely whenever I do not get to do it regularly… So, now that I have returned to a city that has a great dancing scene, I plan on jumping back in regularly!
  8. I want to be better at mailing letters and cards. I plan on making it a weekly habit to mail at least one letter or card, whether long or short… (That being said.. send me your address if you would like to get added to my list!)
  9. I need to get back in the habit of praying regularly and for extended periods of time for friends, family, and situations of others… So, my mirror 3×5 cards are going back up!
  10. I took a significant break from blogging many times throughout last year. I just felt like I had nothing of value to share, so I said nothing at all. But, I missed it, a lot. So, regularly weekly blogs are getting put back into the rotation of schedule.
  11. I want so badly to travel internationally this year!
  12. I have 5 years to pay off a stupid ridiculous amount of debt, but I am determined to keep my focus there. Even if I do not attain my goal (which, at this stage, I’m not sure how I would) focusing on it will ensure that I am being diligent and making wise choices.
  13. I want to put money in savings!
  14. I want to add to and cross things off my before I die bucket list year!
  15. I need to carve out space in my schedule to read and actually study scripture.
  16. I am going to keep a jar full of daily things that were blessings, positives, good moments, things I was thankful for that day. — I did this for about 5 months of last year, this year I aim for the whole year.

I think this year is going to be jam-packed and I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to look back at the year and marvel at how many things I crammed into each week.
I feel as though this year I am going to be trying to drink out of a firehose all year. I am looking forward to the laughter and ridiculousness of things that are surely going to happen in the process of trying to absorb it all.
I have a feeling that I will get really good this year at owning up to mistakes and apologizing for the things I dropped the ball on.

As I start 2015, I am at a place of marvel and wonder. I am totally amazed at where I find myself after having moments of wondering if the difficult and painful things would ever end.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the marvel and wonder won’t go away for a while, and I’m totally ok with that.

 

The Single’s FOMO…

I was talking with a couple other girls not long ago, and we were discussing the difficulty in being single in Christian circles…

In many instances, and in many churches, getting married quickly becomes the goal or at least the thing that girls (and guys I suppose) should aim towards. Getting married young is common, and in some cases being married is seen as automatically having more maturity than single counterparts.

Quick side note before I plunge deeper into this thought; I am still firmly in the I think it would be great to find someone one day, but this post is not at all a reflection of feeling lonely or jealous of my married friends.

I know from personal experience, it is pretty frustrating to have someone who got married much younger than I am currently, try to offer encouragement in the form of “just be patient”. And, not so much because what they are saying is not true, but because they have not experienced the additional years of patience, and it can feel like they are entirely missing the feelings of desiring to find someone and being unable.

However, while we were talking the other night, we stumbled upon what I believe is the real (ok, maybe just a huge portion of the) struggle for girls (and maybe guys) as they get older and find themselves still single: The fear of missing out (fomo).

“What if I don’t get married until my mid-thirties and miss so many of the things my friends are getting to do now?”
“What if I am too old to have kids when I get married?”
“… I don’t want to miss the possible ten or more years that we could’ve spent together!”

It can definitely be hard at times to watch so many people get married young and have amazing love stories, being so happy and thankful for the person God has brought into their life… While you are still single, and in some cases single for many more years to come. Watching others have these experiences of building lives together, someone to adventure with, someone to support and encourage, families, children.. and of course someone to help you through difficult times… all while being told to be patient just feels like an insult at times. There is a very real fear of missing out on years of love, laughter, and support…

“IF I end up getting married, will I regret the years we didn’t have together?”
“IF I get married, will we be young enough to also have years and energy to enjoy each other’s company?”
“IF I do get married, will we be young enough to have the number of children I’ve always wanted?”

But, the fear goes deeper than just fear of missing out on being a 20-something with a spouse.. What if, by the time you do end up getting married, you still regret and mourn the lost years that you were single?

I do not know of many pastors or churches that even touch on these fears.

But, the reality is, both faith and hope in not just who God is, but how much He loves us, and how much our singleness (for however long we have it) bring Him glory.

I am by nature a more adventurous person, I enjoy seeing what could happen, traveling to far away places, or just sitting and talking with friends laughing until way too late into the night. And while one day, I would love to find a man, fall in love, and get married, that time is not now, and I do not regret my life so far. There have certainly been difficult seasons, and they would have been easier for sure with a partner, at the same time, I realize there are elements of things that I likely would not have learned… and would not be able to use to help someone else later.

So, in my experience, if you have a “young but older young single” person in your life, be gentle and wise in the way you encourage. For the love, do not quote Jeremiah 29:11 to them, instead take time to wade through the complicated maze that is their heart. Understand where the fears come from, and instead of offering trite quick bits of advice, take the time to share their journey with them… I have discovered that my struggle to traverse my singleness (alone) is much more satisfying when I feel like my situation is understood by someone else, I feel less alone when I am not given a quick “you just need to..” and instead, my heartaches, thoughts, fears, wondering, and desires are listened to and responded to with wisdom and insight.

Being single and fearing the potential loss of years of building a life together are real, but put in the right perspective that our God is a good God, He tenderly loves us, and looking back we will have the satisfaction that even Job experienced at the end of his (much more traumatic) journey.