Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Singleness- A Gift or a Curse?

This has been a topic of conversation in my singles ABF class the last few weeks. Our pastor just finished up a series called Homefront Alliance- and as the name suggests it was geared toward married couples/families. So, where did that leave us (the singles)? Well, as it turned out- there were so many lessons that were applicable to where we are in our current states.

I'll be honest, never, in all of my years did I think I would be 35 and still single- with no option of anything beyond that in sight. In my previous limited thinking- I KNEW that if I followed God, did what he asked me to do, and lived a life for Him then I would be married in a timely manner. Guess what, God's timing is obviously not my timing. So, through this singleness I have worked through several emotions/thoughts and now look at it through completely different eyes- hopefully God's eyes.

1.) The gift of singleness- one thing you hear over and over in the church is the gift of marriage. If marriage is a gift- so is singleness. We were told that the Greek word for gift is charisma- which literally translated means any special grace conferred by God on an individual. It's also been written this way: Charisma meaning "gift," "of/from/favored by God/divine.

So, what does that mean for me? That I have been given grace for the place where I am. In my case- in my singleness.

2.) Contentment- this is not an easy thing to come by and for me- contentment simply means resting in HIM and knowing that He is my rock. If I build my foundation on Him (the wise man building on the rock comes to mind) then I will stand strong and protected against the storm. If I build my foundation on the sand then I will crumble when the storms come.

3.)Blessings- so many blessings have come out of me being single. I have been able to travel when I want to, go on mission trips that were lengthy with no thought to family left behind (and by family I mean husband and kids as those I traveled with thought of), ability to work my schedule to help a friend in need, etc.

I'll end with a quote from a book I have been reading. It's called The Woman of Mystery by Hayley DiMarco

"When you are waiting for love to come your way, you have the opportunity to prepare yourself not only physically and mentally but also spiritually. Paul talks about how much easier it is to serve God when you're single than it is when you have the cares of a marriage to deal with (see 1 Corinthians 7:32-34). Your single years offer a world of spiritual opportunities, and what you do with that time will affect your future marriage. If you neglect your spiritual growth and instead obsess over finding love, you will end up squandering precious time that could have been invested into your spirit."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Stand lyrics

We started singing this song several weeks ago in church and it just sticks with you. I listen to it, pretty much every morning, on my way to work and just reflect/meditate on his faithfulness, his love, his sacrifice. That last one gets me every time. With all he sacrificed how could I NOT stand with my arms high and heart abandoned!? With all of the "stuff" I was dealing with a few weeks ago- even though I felt like throwing the proverbial towel in- this was one of the songs that I kept coming back to over and over again. It was the encouragement that I needed. I pray that it blesses you like it has blessed me.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Discourages (discouragement) is defined as: to deprive of courage or confidence: dishearten

There are many stories/events throughout the Bible and history where discouragement threatens to take over life.

  • Abraham and Sarah and their failure to conceive
  • Joseph, while in prison, waiting to be remembered
  • Moses- leading the Israelites around the desert
  • Peter when he denied Jesus three times
  • Paul, as he sits in prison after prison and deals with people who were hard-hearted
  • Jews in concentration camps as they waited...
  • Families who wait for word from (or about) their loved ones in another country/city/state after a crisis
  • Tami Grandi.. and I know that every single person can add your name and situation to this list as well.
Habakkuk certainly knew about discouragement. He put out two complaints to the Lord and had responses from the Lord. After the second response came a prayer and then--- a rejoicing in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17-19-

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

So, even in the midst of realizing that life is falling apart- that he is living in his Plan B- he chose to rejoice- to find joy in God!

The flip-side of discouragement is hope. Merriam-Webster defines hope as: to expect with confidence (aka TRUST)

  • Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac and from that baby came a great legacy
  • Joseph was eventually remembered and because of his great trust in the Lord he was given a gift that allowed him to save many people.
  • Moses never led the Israelites to the Promised Land but he saw/experienced the Lord in amazing ways.
  • Peter turned the grief he felt at his denial and became a follower of Christ who gave up EVERYTHING.
  • Paul wrote letter to churches in the midst of his imprisonments that contain encouragement and truths we can live by today
To me, hope is the trusting that my expectations are going to happen. They may not happen the way I want them to happen BUT they will happen based on God's leading in my life and that is all I need.

Psalm 126:8- "Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy."

Psalm 130:5-6 "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord..."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Straight Roads or In a Ditch?

The past few weeks/months have been rough. I have hit a dry spell- my "wilderness" and I felt like I was like the Israelites just wandering aimlessly. The sad part- just like those desert wanderers from years ago- I was in denial that I wasn't going anywhere (except in circles). Last weekend I hit the breaking point- I "bailed" on all but one commitment and came thisclose to bailing on church last Sunday. I always feel a little guilty when I feel that way so I forced myself out the door and made my way there. Once there- well, we'll just say the Holy Spirit did his job. I diagnosed my problem (over commitment which was on the edges of burn out). I figured this out through conversations in our ABF as well as the sermon (which the topic was actually marriage but had other applications for a single person) and then through much prayer, conversation, and listening- I knew what I needed to do. I gave myself permission to say no, to have an agenda when reading the Word, and to actually figure out my routine so that my Bible was open more than just on Sundays.

Interestingly enough our small group study is on Abram and we looked at the beginning where God called Abram to leave and take that step of faith. One verse that came to mind through discussion was Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Most of the time we focus on v.5 but I really looked at v. 6 and the part that jumped out at me was "he will make straight your paths." I know that there have been times while driving that I have taken my eyes off the road/got distracted and found myself swerving/drifting into the next lane. The drifting is so subtle we don't often notice it until the honk of a horn or the rumble of the warning strips to get our attention. I realized that my burn-out "meltdown" was my warning strip for my current road. I was drifting and it was so subtle I almost didn't notice it until I was almost in the ditch. However, if I keep my eyes on the road in front of me I can navigate through the curves that life's road throws at me with ease and confidence- knowing that my eyes are focused where they should be.

"Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure." Proverbs 4:25-26