July 24th, a dream

I saw you in my dream last night. 
You came to pick me up, and we went for a walk. 
I had never seen you before, but in my dream, I knew you.
I knew I was comfortable with you. I knew I was happy to be with you.
I knew you were calm and confident.
I knew you would walk in a relax and steady pace.
I knew your smile was my favorite thing.
I knew your broad shoulders would be soft when I laid my head down.
Your eyes lit up when you looked at me, and I knew I loved that. 
You apologized for keeping me waiting. My answer, flowed from me so naturally, that it left me blushing. I didn’t mind. It was true.
I knew I would have waited forever.
You smiled.
My favorite thing.
And I knew.

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Postcards from the Edge

 

Dear Sir,

I’m writing to inform you about a special invitation. You see, my mom loves Christmas! When the

holiday comes around, she magically becomes one of Santa’s little helpers; wrapping sweaters, PJs, jewelry and the like. In fact, we jokingly dub the dining room her workshop – the table, overtaken with gift papers, ribbons, boxes, and bags of various colors, shapes, and sizes. You are guaranteed to find a present under the tree for even the random, last-minute guest.

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But, as exciting as that sounds, I actually believe my mom enjoys giving cards more. She loves picking out these Christmas cards and writing one for each of her children. And each year, the final adornments on the tree are the cards, carefully placed between the branches. Believe me, we enjoy receiving them.

This year was interesting. It was the first year everyone was a couple – except, of course,  yours truly. And this year, each child and each significant other had a card in the tree. And my mom, to compensate for the lack of another’s intimate significance in my life, did what you are now cringing to read. She wrote a card to my “future boyfriend” and very excitedly presented it to me in the presence of all my younger siblings and their others.

Open floor, bury self.

I have to confess that in the midst of the awkward laughter, I fought back a tear. It was a tear made of a combination of things, really. Embarrassment. Sadness. Awareness that this future person was so important to her. Refusal to let her see my bruised ego. Realization that I would cherish this card as some sort of special pass, only to be given to this future “him” when I knew he was the real deal. A combination of emotions flooded my tear. But I smiled, I hugged and thanked my mom for loving you already, and I saved your invitation card.

Oh! I should also probably inform you, Mr. Future Boyfriend, that there was a present included with your invitation, but like a proper future girlfriend, I needed a pick-me-up in your absence, so I used it to buy myself something shiny. Please be sure to thank my mom.

Sincerely,
Ms. Future Girlfriend

Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

I’m not one for recommending books on singleness, but ladies, gentlemen, single or not, bring out your highlighters.

In my younger years – when I thought I’d be married by 27 and have three years to settle down with my husband (plenty of time to confirm that children were not in our future) before we decide to travel the world, living off my best-sellers, giving humanitarian aid to people in need – I read lots of singleness books. And married books. And dating books. And waiting books. And what to do while you’re waiting books. And getting ready to be a good wife books. And being in love with God so you don’t have to worry about finding a husband because that’s how he’ll find you books. And oh you’re still single books. And how to serve your church since you’re still single books. And… And… And… Then no more books. I wouldn’t even walk by that aisle in a Christian book store. I rolled my eyes and cut off all attention at the mere mention of one of “those” books. And when friends and well-meaning loved ones would recommend the latest wonderful, enlightening, eye-opening relationship book that I should read, I outwardly smiled politely but inwardly growled at their audacity. If my unsuspecting mental victim was single, I would cynically think, “how about you get back to me when you have proof?” Oh, but heaven forbid that well-meaning individual was married! The verbal boxing gloves came off as I mentally ranted off reasons why s/he had no “right” to talk to me about singleness.

So, what happened a few weeks ago? Perhaps a combination of things: God had steadily been working on my heart, time had humbled me, love had genuinely grown for my unsuspecting victim. To be perfectly honest, when my beautiful, younger, married-to-a-loving-husband-and-has-an-adorable-child friend brought a book along with her to lunch, I inwardly smirked. My first thought, “Very funny Lord! What would I do without that wonderful sense of humor of yours?” And in that dry amusement, I agreed to give the book a try – out of respect for my friend, of course. She had lovingly dog-eared some pages, which for me meant that I only had to read those sections to fulfill my obligations. But God, indeed, does have a sense of humor!

Carolyn McCulley‘s Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? is the best book I’ve read on the topic of singleness. But even that statement is inaccurate. Because singleness it’s not why I’m loving this book! Singleness is not why I look forward to spending time with it every morning. Its God-centered biblical truths are wonderful challenges, gracious reminders, and supportive encouragements for living! Period. The only reason I put the book down is to meditate on what I’ve read, consider the application in my life, and then go back to reread it. Life is hard enough. Life as a single woman in a Christian culture that quietly screams how incomplete you are as a woman without a husband and children, is callously tortuous. And when you juxtapose that with a secular culture that glorifies all the wrong ways to be single, life becomes painfully lonely. But this book reminds me of why I LOVE this life God has given me. It challenges my views of and feelings towards this (perhaps temporary, perhaps life-long) gift of singleness. It encourages me during those times when the “single” life seems too hard to bear.

Were all the books that I read before bad? No. But in retrospect, many offered nothing more than momentary distractions and secret formulas to understanding myself, so that I could be a better me for someone else. A frustrating waste of my time and mental energy plagued by the lingering question, “what if there isn’t someone else?” But this book offers guidance to being a godly-er, holy-er, lovely-er, happy-er me (who happens to be single). And compared to the others, none have espoused me to live so completely, single.

To my sweet friend, thank you for having the “audacity”. I am so grateful and so much better that you did 😉

The God who created man

Trust God. Serve Him. Focus on Him. Be content in Him. Look to Him. Hide your heart in Him. You’ll see, He has the best for you. You just need to stop worrying about it. You just need to wait patiently. But you’re not in a waiting room, you’re in the field. Enjoy this opportunity to serve freely. Enjoy these moments, because they will not last forever. It happens like this all of the time. The minute you’re not “looking”; at the exact moment that you’ve finally surrendered your heart; just when you’ve found your complete contentment in Him, then it will happen. You’ll see. You’ll be speechless. You’ll be so glad you waited so patiently… so faithfully…

… In the meantime, you have to work. God has given you a growing opportunity and you have to use it. You have to work on your education. You have to work on your career. You have to work on your debt and finances. You have to work on your savings. You have to work on your relationships. You have to work on your personality. You have to work on your temperament. You have to work on being a better daughter… a better sister… a better friend… a better woman… and of course, being a better future wife. Learn to cook. Learn to clean. Learn to keep a budget. Learn to keep a beautiful showcase quality home on pennies. Learn to be an excellent hostess. Learn to deal with difficult people (future mother-in-law). Learn to take care of children by constantly volunteering to save your happily-married friends from theirs for an afternoon so they can have some much needed quality time with their spouses. Learn to be culturally diverse. Learn something about sports. Learn to keep a conversation. Learn to keep silent. Learn to be independent. Learn to be submissive.

And above all, YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT NEGLECT YOURSELF!

Get your hair done. Get your nails done. Get your feet done. Treat yourself like a lady. Buy yourself something nice once in a while. Wear flattering clothes. Nobody wants a frump-monster. But, you should work on being modest. You have to be a good steward. Don’t be wasteful. Don’t be materialistic. Keep your pride in check. It’s who you are that counts, not what you wear. And truly, you are an amazing person already. A great catch! A phenomenal addition to any family. A wonderful daughter, sister, and friend. Honestly, the man who gets you is going to be one especially blessed man. He will be singing praises for having such a well-rounded and completely whole person. Prepared from the inside out. You should work on the gym, though. You should work-out at the gym. You’d get a lot more attention if you lost a few pounds. You have such a beautiful face. Your smile, it lights up a room. You just need to lose a little weight. You just need to work-out a little. Wake up a little earlier. Go to bed a little later. Watch your carbs. Watch your calories. Watch your fat. Watch your points. Because you know how it is; men will be men. They can’t help it. They see with their eyes, not with their hearts. It’s really not their fault; it’s how they are built. It’s how they are wired. It’s how they’re created.

But, just wait. You’ll see. When the time is right, it will happen. You just have to keep working on yourself. You just have to keep waiting… patiently… faithfully… serving, learning, working, growing, molding, shaping, fitting, fixing, exercising, doing, being, living, waiting… You’ll see. Just wait. You have to trust Him.

Trust who? God? The God who created man? Yeah, maybe I should work on that.