Heavy Days…

The Wounded Healer implies that grace and healing are communicated through the vulnerability of men and women who have been fractured and heartbroken by life. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.” – Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child

Some days are just heavy days, full of frustration, heart hurt, aggravation, not being enough, and being helpless to fix it (whatever all the “its” are). Heavy days for me becomes an exercise of sheer will in order to be kind and fully invested in those who are not a part of my heavy day.

I have found that I cope mostly through praying… or rather, I slip away as much as I can and allow my thoughts the chance to let go of the clutter, which creates space for prayers to float their way through my head. I also spend a lot of time intentionally focusing on setting aside feelings and engaging well in my day.

Heavy days are some of the worst days for my heart because I have no solutions, no ways to make things better, so my heart just hurts, my head cannot seem to orient, and my body hurts more on heavy days. Yet, despite the struggle, I find heavy days good for me because they are the days that my heart is the most open to communication with my Savior.

On heavy days the Holy Spirit speaks to me differently, His voice is sweeter, softer with much more tenderness… and on heavy days, those are the days I feel God’s affection towards me. On most days tenderness is not particularly an attribute of God that I identify with (nor communicate to those around me), but on heavy days I feel the calming presence of His tender presence.

I never wonder why God allows heavy days or bad days, because those are the days that I do not have such carefully constructed walls around my heart and He and I communicate better.

All I want to say to you is, ‘You are the Beloved,’ and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being— ‘You are the Beloved.’” – Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child

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.

The Joy in Turning 29…

I finally have had some time to think, to process, and to make some more decisions about how I am moving forward. More posts about moving forward will come later I am sure.

But, for now, I wanted to share what turning 29 was like.

I love birthdays. I love celebrating other people’s birthdays, so much so that I actually get disappointed and upset when I can’t.. I spend a lot of times thinking up doable, fun, memorable, and cherished things that I can do for people. So, when it is time for my birthday, I usually have high expectations… Not from other people to do things for me, but just from the day in general.

This year was a special birthday. I was turning 29 on the 29th, so it was my “golden birthday”. And, as silly as it sounds, I have been praying for this birthday for years…. As in lots of years.

For years I have prayed for God to do something really cool to celebrate this birthday.
I’ve prayed things like being able to spend it with someone special.. or have it commemorated by a special event…
However, much more recently, I have prayed to have a job by my birthday, or to know where I am moving, or even better to already have moved by my birthday.
I have prayed for miracles big and small for this day.
I have pretty much prayed a whole slew of things for this particular birthday over the years.

None of the specific things I prayed for happened. However, He did answer my prayer for a great birthday.

What is interesting to me is that, despite all my prayers for years, and the well-known fact that:

1. I. Hate. Winter.
and,
2. Snow/winter has ruined literally two dozen or so of my birthdays (even when I moved SOUTH!)

Winter and snow still snuck in and ruined plans again this year.

I had planned to go snowboarding for the first time on my birthday, despite hating the cold, I decided it would be a great fun new thing to try with my family…. Due to serious negative temperatures, the place closed down due to the dangerous temperatures.

Then, the weekend after my birthday I planned a party (I know, planning your own party can seem odd, but I did it anyway!). I had planned a themed game night, with people bringing money in the form of 29 that we would all put into a jar, and then vote on the charities that should receive the money. I was so excited.

And then, we got the 400,000 blasted snow storm of the winter.

I had to take some time and really just process and pray through all of this because to be totally honest, it just felt rude. Like yet another winter personally attacking my attempt at fun and joy in a season I despise… Especially this season, and this time in my life.

One night I was laying in bed pretending I was going to fall asleep, and I started walking myself through what DID happen throughout the week celebration of my golden birthday.

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I had my hair done in brown and purple.

I got to hang out with a friend from DC for an evening.

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I spent my birthday with my brother and sister-in-law, they made breakfast, then we went ice skating, and to get my free Starbucks coffee (thank you), to the mall to get free lipstick and mascara from Makeup Forever (thank you), and then just toodled around and had fun laughing at all sorts of things.

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My sister-in-law and I started seeing Daryl (from The Walking Dead) items everywhere, so we took lots of pictures of us with “him” and posted

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it on Instagram. Norman Reedus favorited it in less than 30 seconds. haha!

 

I went to my parent’s place and had my favorite dinner and a homemade orange chocolate cake from my other sister-in-law and mom. And, let me tell you, it was amazing!!

I had lunch with my mom a couple of days later.

I received flowers, a chocolate and wine gift basket, chocolate covered strawberries, cards, texts, phone calls, voicemail, e-mails, Facebook posts, twitter mentions,  gift cards, etc.. etc… And just an absolutely absurd and overwhelming amount of sweet, thoughtful, and touching words of love and encouragement from SO many people. IMG_1759

Just, So. Much. Birthday. Love. 

And, although the game night had to be canceled, we were still able to play games with some family who braved the weather and came to hang out anyway.

So, while things definitely did not happen the way I had planned, and a vast majority of the things I had prayed for did not happen… Despite those things, God gave me a great birthday. It had some disappointments due to the weather just adding to my hatred of it… But, the reality is, my friends and family are amazing, and they are some of the most loving people I could ever imagine having around.

As I sit and ponder it all, I am thankful. So incredibly thankful and amazed at the sheer level of love and care I was shown by friends and family both near and far.

And, despite everything going on in my life, and the general feeling of frustration I have, I find myself thankful for so many things as well. I feel so very blessed to have the friends and family I do that care about my situation and my heart, and I love that they want to celebrate my last year in my 20’s with me!

I Hate Fear…

Hands down I would say one of the key crappy things about my situation is the severe lack of a the ability to verbally process like I typically need to.

The actual main crappy thing is the constant and intense pressure from the evil one.

As much as I would love to spout off about the situations going on in great detail, that is one of my key rules, not writing when I am angry or naming specific people involved in situations… Keeps me in check, and from saying things I do not actually mean… Or might actually mean. But, in either case, it prevents me from hurting others, and helps keep me from burning bridges.

But, today, and even last week I am extremely angry at the way fear controls people. No matter what name you want to put on it or what method is used to rationalize it, at the core it is still fear.

I know that everyone is subject to fear, that sometimes it seems like the only option is to do whatever will make the fear go away. I know that there have been times in my life where the fear has just been so overwhelming that I have no answers and have no control.. and that just makes it worse.

In some cases fear is healthy and protects you from doing something stupid.. Or at least acts as a flare gun to highlight something that needs attention.

But, sometimes fear is just because we are not in control, cannot see what is coming, and dislike both situations.

What I also know is that fear isn’t supposed to control us. I know that sometimes fear is actually the worst thing we could use as a guide. And, I know that when fear is not addressed, confronted, and a solution is not sought after, other people begin to be affected by our own fear.

Tonight, I hate fear because it’s causing nothing but stress, frustration, relational tension, aggravation, and making me want to high-five a few people in the face…

See? Not helpful.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-7