Community part 1 

There is something so beautiful about community. The gathering of the body of Christ. The living of life together out in the open. There is something deep down in my soul that is fed when I am living in community. I was made for it. Community is an aspect of our Christian lives that is detrimental to our growth and maturity in Christ. Without community our leaves will wither up and dry out. We will eventually lose our fruit and end up dying spiritually without it.

There is a desire in our soul to be a part of a larger community but there is also the souls desire to be a part of a smaller community. There are benefits of living with others that are in different stages of life. We can learn so much from each other and glean so much goodness in those situations. And I fully believe we should each be a part of this type of community because I think it is so beneficial and necessary in so many ways. But that is another post for another day. Today I want to talk about the sweetness of living in community with those that are in the same life stage as you.

I have recently started praying with a small group of women who are in a similar life stage as I am.

 

We are all single.

That isn’t all our lives are about but it is a common ground that we share. A station in life that is not so common among other woman of our age. But we meet a couple of times a month and we share our struggles and triumphs. We sit in each other’s living rooms and bedrooms and we pray for each other.

As we sat in my living room tonight pouring out our words and our hearts for each other I was so refreshed. I was so uplifted and encouraged by my dear friends and sisters. By their hearts for each other and for me. There is something almost magical about it but I know that it’s not magic. I know that it’s the Lord meeting us. Every. Single. Time.

I was struck by the thought of how we can all sympathize and understand where the other is at. We understand each other’s plight and struggles. We understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We can encourage each other and speak frankly into each other’s lives.

This is not to say that we cannot receive from others that are not in our same life stage or that we cannot adversely pour into them. This is just to say that there is something special about finding your people that are in the same boat with you. That are living it today and that can offer empathy and truth from a place of understanding right now. There is a special kind of growth that comes from these types of community, these types of relationships.

I sat here tonight and was so excited at the prospect of our prayers being answered. Of the Lord meeting us right where we are. Of the Lord allowing us to be a part of each other’s lives right where we are. Of the Lord using this tiny group of women for His mighty work. I don’t know how long the Lord will keep us together or where He will lead us all but I know that now, while today is today, we are committed to stirring each other up and pouring each other out before the Lord and that is all that any of us really needs.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24&25

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The Faith and Fear Cycle

I had yet another revelation on my car ride this last Saturday morning. As you can probably tell by now I have many revelations in my car whilst sitting in traffic. In fact one year I planned and wrote (and even acted out) our churches, children’s ministry recital all while stuck in traffic on the 5 fwy. But I digress, this post is not about my creative connection to my car and traffic and for that you are welcome.

Back to what I actually hopped on here to talk about.

I was in my car listening to a song (No Longer Slaves by Bethel) and a conversation I had with a friend recently came to mind.

The line of the song that got me and made me stop in my tracks was:

 “You split the sea so I could walk right through it, my fears were drowned in perfect love, you rescued me and I will stand and sing I am a child of God.”

With that one line I suddenly gained a new perspective on the Israelites.

You see, I’ve always identified with the Israelites but also kind of saw them as children who just threw fits all the time. I’ve always pictured them throwing themselves to the ground in front of Moses and kicking and screaming like toddlers (mainly because I was a preschool teacher for several years and that was how I could relate to them). I also saw myself in them and saw myself doing the same. My contention was always that they saw miracles happen right in front of them. The other day, as I said above, I was talking to a friend about the Israelites and how they literally walked through the parted waters of the Red Sea. They lived that story. They witnessed it firsthand. The sea was parted for them to walk through and they got to actually walk through it! They were there when the magical Mana was provided and they were also led by a cloud and fire amongst many other miraculous and what I would assume would be faith building happenings.

Yet they still doubted.

Not that I think highly of myself but I always hoped that If I had walked through the parting of the Sea and had been miraculously fed by food falling to the earth that I wouldn’t throw as many fits as they seemed to throw. But what opened my eyes is that all of these rebellions, and I know this is not a new revelation by any means, but they were all sparked by fear. Fear that God led them out into the desert and would forget about them. That they had to do something in their own power to get themselves out of the situation they were in (whoa that just opened up a whole other conversation in my mind as I wrote that). They feared God had somehow forgotten about them or left. They forgot they were children of God and therefore taken care of by their Father. It’s not just because they wanted to go back to their old life and eat different food and live as slaves or because they wanted to worship other gods. It was because they were fearful that they had made the wrong decision and started this journey and now what? Now where? Now Why? And now how? So in their human minds they had to act to move, to do, to fix instead of just being led.

As the song played through my car speakers I realized that God has “split the sea’s” for me plenty of times. I have walked through the glassy water around me more than I can probably count and wondered how? In that moment I am always so grateful but then I forget and those fears that, just a few days or weeks or months ago, were drowned in perfect love float up and start to rear their ugly little heads. Instead of rejoicing in the fact that I am a child of God, and that means I am fathered by the perfect father, I start to scramble and plan and plot and try to make things happen on my own. That’s where I get into trouble, that is where I put stress on myself, that is where I forget who I belong to and who I represent. That is when I fall and fail but thankfully that is also when my gracious Father stops me and picks me up and lavishes me with His love and forgiveness. That’s when He drops Mana from heaven and leads me along. That is when my fears are drowned in perfect love. I’m sure the Israelites didn’t want to continue the cycle of fear and faith. I’m sure they thought that the last time they lost faith was the last time they would lose faith. The cool thing is that I have the whole word of God to stand on, I have they Holy Spirit within me to lead and guide me when I start to wander and start to make my own little gods or when I start to slowly throw myself on the floor in protest. I can rejoice in the fact that I am a child of God and that means that my Heavenly Father will not forget me.

Regarding David and Foolish Faith


It has been another interesting season for me. One where the Lord has been showing me how little faith I have had in Him and how faithful He has always been to me. This season has brought and is bringing many obstacles and I’m sure many of those obstacles are of my own making. It has been a season of re-building faith for me and the Lord has been surprising me at every turn and this weekend was no exception.  

I have been slowly reading through the Old Testament and this last Saturday I was reading through 1Samuel (one of my favorite books) and stumbled into the story of David being anointed, even though he was the youngest and thought to be the least qualified, and then of course David volunteering to go up against Goliath and subsequently beating and killing Goliath with one stone and a sling.

 I read the story and then was off to go about my day. I was talking to the Lord in the car, as you do, and had the revelation that I was David. So much so that I actually yelled it in my car, like a lightbulb went off in my head. I felt so proud of myself and my self realization that I was the little girl with three stones and a sling and the big giant of life was against me. Poor defenseless little ol’ me and I was just going to have to stand up against the giant that is life, with the Lord by my side and hope that He helps me defeat said giant.

So, once I got home I was excited to go back and read about David whom I now identified with and couldn’t wait to see how cool the both of us were. As I cracked open the word the Lord knew exactly what He was doing. He brought me back to truth, to the reality of His word and to show me what David and Goliath was really about.

Boy was I wrong. David and Goliath was not just a story about a giant and a little unprepared man/boy who didn’t know how to fight or fend for himself. It wasn’t about big bad life coming to attack the poor defenseless commoner to build up their faith and grant them some confidence. This wasn’t a “David and Goliath story” as the world so affectionately references it. Nope this was much deeper.

It hit me right where I needed it. Right where my faith should be but really where my faith has not been.

This is a story about a shepherd boy who had, So. Much. Faith.

This was about a shepherd boy whom everybody overlooked but who was totally qualified in the way that he had spent time with the Lord, he believed in the Lord, he had faith, he had come up against opposition before, alone with his sheep in the fields and had fought against wild animals and had won. This is a story about a man/boy whom nobody believed in. Not even his father and brothers. But David didn’t even think twice. The opinions of others didn’t matter to him. He knew who he was and better yet who’s he was.

He came in from the fields with the sheep to be anointed by the kings son and didn’t ask why. He overheard talk of Goliath and was so angered that he volunteered to go up against Goliath saying:

“Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God. And David said, the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37

David didn’t flinch. He was shocked and angered by Goliath and his threats. That such a man should threaten the children of God. David may not have been classically ready for this fight. I mean he didn’t even know how to wear or really move in chain mail to the extent that he decided to forgo the protection because he literally couldn’t move in it. Some might say that was foolishness or naivety but I think he was a fool for the Lord. He had faith enough to know he wasn’t going to need the external, tangible protection.

So David takes his three stones and his sling and goes to battle. Goliath mocks David, obviously, and as Goliath steps to the battle line David has to, I’m assuming, run to the battle line and takes out a stone and his trusty sling and with all the foolishness and faith and gusto of a young man he flings a single stone at Goliath and kills him! But not before he tells him “The battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

I mean… Dude had some great faith!

I read this story for the second time that day and sat back and realized that I wasn’t David but I needed to become like David. I needed to go back and really see what God was trying to tell me, which was to just have faith. Have faith that If He tells me to go up against the giant that is life with nothing more than three stones and a sling, with no outward protection, that I need to run to the battle line with foolish faith and know that my God is faithful and His will will be done no matter what state I am in.

Because this isn’t a story about me. This is a story, this life of mine, is a story about God. My life, should be, much like the Bible is, a story that at every turn points to God and who He is. Not who Jenn is, not who David is or even who Goliath is. But my story should always point to who God is. When up against an obstacle or in the middle of a storm my story should always point to God “For the battle is the Lord’s”. This is not my battle, this is what I need to be reminded of on a minute by minute basis.

It’s been so neat to go back and be reminded of God’s faithfulness to me in so many different ways and in so many different seasons. Even in this season of faith building, which is uncomfortable and inconvenient I have been so amazed at who God is in my life and who He has always been. I have been strengthened by the truth of His word and the stabilizing force that it is in my life. Now I need to take the next step and run up to the battle line knowing, not hoping, but knowing my God is faithful and all I need to do is to place my faith in Him. Like David, I need to have foolish faith.  

Being okay with being alone and okay

When I was at the ripe old age of twenty, a little movie called “I am Sam” was coming to theaters and immediately I knew I HAD to see it. This movie was right up my alley and with all the passion of a twenty year old I was going to see it in theaters no matter what! None of my friends, at the time, were interested in accompanying me to said movie (yes, I know. Don’t worry I have new friends). My stubbornness willed me forward and I decided to go solo, not without some trepidation mind you. I was determined to prove that I was serious about this (why THIS?! I have no idea. Again, I was twenty, so maybe that’s all the explanation you need.).

It was opening weekend and I was actually dropped off at the theater by one of my “friends”, I bought my ticket which was no biggie and then I went inside. I cautiously picked an aisle seat and kept telling myself to give off the appearance of waiting for someone and that worked for a while. My plan of fake it till you make it quickly crumbled as the theater started to fill up and a couple asked to sit in the seats next to me. I had to come clean and knew that they knew what everybody else would now know. What I had been trying to hide.

I was alone.

Cue sweaty palms and heart palpitations.

Was everybody behind me now staring at the back of my head whispering to their companion (because they obviously weren’t alone) how the tall, young girl had nobody to share a movie with?

In my little mind I would soon die of embarrassment. But to continue my ruse I sat up tall, face to the screen giving off the impression that I was okay. I kept that up until I was actually okay.

The lights dimmed and I forgot I was sharing an armrest with a large, male, stranger. I was so okay that I cried through almost the whole movie. I cried because it was a good movie and because I was alone and felt free to do so. The movie ended, credits started to roll and I was the first one out of my seat and out of the theater. The magic of being alone was gone but not lost.

That one step of freedom, as small and silly as it was, has informed so many of my decisions throughout the years. Decisions to go and just do, whether I’m alone or not. Whether I have a partner to share it with or not. I’m not going to let life pass me by because I don’t have someone to come along with me. I’ve had to relearn this lesson and I’ve sometimes given into that little voice in my head that says I cant overcome this hurdle because I am alone or I can’t take on this task because I’m doing it alone.

There is no denying that the Lord has made us to desire companionship and has designed us to live in community. I also think there is a great lesson to be learned from being okay with being alone. Sometimes the chatter and background noise of being surrounded by people all the time can be distracting.

I’m sure parents of little people can attest to that.

Unless you are a severe introvert most of us try to avoid being alone. In fact for some of us single people, being alone becomes a curse and something we desperately try to avoid it and try to get out of.

I’m pretty stubborn and that can be of great disservice to me and people around me but at times my stubbornness propels me to do things I normally wouldn’t do.

I’m okay most of the time being alone. I love taking a book to a coffee shop and sitting alone to read and write, I’ll go to the beach or a park alone to read and pray. If nobody else wanted to go I was fully prepared to go to San Francisco by myself this Summer and I’ve traveled by myself to London because it was an opportunity I didn’t know if I was ever going to get again so as much as I feared traveling to another country by myself I did it! I don’t want to miss out on something just because I’m single or wait to do something until I’m married or have a family or can talk a friend into doing it with me. I think my stubbornness, at a younger age, taught me this lesson.

Being able to be okay with being alone or being okay with where God has you is an important part of our walk with the Lord. If we’re not okay with where God has us, if we are not willing to move forward in our singleness or in whatever station the Lord has us in we cannot fully see or understand or tap into all that God has for us in this place right now.

It’s a silly example, but if I wouldn’t have gone to that movie that day by myself I would have missed out on a great, freeing experience. If I wouldn’t have gotten on that plane to London by myself I would have missed out on an amazing trip. If I were to let fear or doubt or disappointment or dissatisfaction or singleness (fill in the blank for yourself here) stifle me or keep me from doing and being I would have missed out on so many blessings that the Lord has had for me over the years.

I’m not perfect and there are plenty of things I’m sure I have held myself back from because of any of the above fears or more aptly stated, any of the above lies. This area of life, of single life, of barren life has been pressed on my heart lately, these very lies that keep us from really living fully for the Lord. How these things can take hold of our lives and really keep us from truly serving the way we really should. So let’s start by moving passed these things that tend to rule our lives and lets start actually living for Christ and not just waiting for Him to change our circumstances so that we can finally start living for Him. Let’s live for Him now, while today is still today.

This is not what this post is about.

My opinion is not always the most popular or the most common. I understand that and that’s why I don’t always share it but I was grieved this week. I was struck by the weight of death and eternity. My heart was heavy with the weight of sin and it’s retaliation on a life that is not surrendered to Christ. 
This week, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Hugh Hefner died. 

Yes, that’s what this post is about.  

Hugh Hefner died.  

Hugh Hefner, the man that made his millions off of pornography and exploiting women’s bodies for mans pleasure (I’m sure there are many different takes on that sentence but this is how I see it, when it’s stripped down to the core of what his empire was built on.). The man who capitalized on one of man’s most base and animalistic desires. The man who had a huge hand in and in my opinion almost single handedly normalized pornography (I mean he turned his mansion and his “bunnies” into a reality show). A man, who, again in my opinion, talked women into the idea that posing nude and being paid to do so, for men to then gawk at their photos and sexualize them in a magazine was empowering and talked them into thinking that it was their idea and they were in control of the situation. 

As you can see, I am not a fan. But this is not what this post is about.  

This post is about a man, a human, an unrepentant sinner who, as proven this week, was not rich enough or powerful enough to escape death.  

As I scrolled through Instagram and saw the report of his death there was a weight that fell on my heart. A weight of eternity. The idea that this man who from the outside, to the world, looked like he was living a dream. He had fame, notoriety, to the world he was a pioneer in his industry, he had many famous friends, he lived in a mansion and constantly had young beautiful women at his beck and call. That’s what the world saw and judging by the posts I’ve seen the world has envied and loved this man for all of those things.  

I saw something different when I heard of his death.  

I wasn’t going to comment on it, it felt a little weird. But then I saw the Christian response. I saw the blogs and posts about a sinner and about celebrating a death. People all but rejoicing in his death. People slamming him and being thankful that he is gone. As I stated above, I was not a fan of his and think that the things that came out of his “work” are horrible and deplorable and honestly if I sit and think of what must have gone on at the mansion and at his magazine I would become physically sick to my stomach. But again, that’s not what this post is about.  

I saw an old man alone in his bed in the middle of the night. When the mansion was finally quiet and the room dark and it was only him, alone with his thoughts. I thought of an old lonely man with a gaping hole inside that was never fulfilled no matter how hard he tried. No matter how many millions he earned. No matter how many magazines he sold or how many girlfriends he had. There must have always been an emptiness. Laying there alone staring into the darkness must have been unbearable at times. The weight of sin, even though he may not have known or admitted that’s what it was, must have been horrific.  

I thought of a man that couldn’t find rest in life and who surely did not find it in death. A man who, if he didn’t repent in his last days, will never find rest. A man who most likely now realizes what he’s done. A man who most likely now understands the weight of his sin and how he has brought others down with him. The thing is he can’t do anything about it now. I think of this man and I am saddened. I don’t rejoice in his death. I am weighted down by it. I am hit with the reality of it and the finality of it. I don’t rejoice in his death because he was a sinner and “got what he deserved”. I grieve in his death because he no longer has a chance to accept Christ. He no longer has the chance to feel what it is to be truly loved or truly forgiven. He no longer has the chance to experience true grace and true freedom.  

Some wont understand this post and some wont agree with it and that’s ok. Ezekiel 33:11 tells us “ …As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn, back, turn back from your evil ways…” He is, of course talking about the Israelites here But we also find in the New Testament Peter talking to believers saying in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” I don’t believe that God wants us to rejoice in the death of a sinner, in the death of someone who has not repented. There is no hope there, there is no salvation, there is nothing to rejoice in. 

I believe what this should prompt us to do is to pray harder and share more with those that have no hope. With those that don’t yet know Christ. With those that have not yet felt the true love of our savior or who don’t know what true freedom and grace feel like.  

Admittedly this is an awkward and weighty post, I agree. It feels out of place on my little blog but there was something about this situation that I just couldn’t stay quiet about. So thank you for listening. 

A cloud, some fire and a little mana.

This post is full of thoughts that have been thought before. It’s full of connections that have been connected by others and probably in a much more eloquent way at that. This post is specific to me and where I am and probably not revolutionary to you. But the contents of this post have breathed life into some dead and dry places in my own life. As I sat at my desk today working and coming down off of that vacation high I was reminded of what the Lord had shown me. I almost let go of the lessons and words and pictures stored in my mind as I got back to reality. I almost let the stress and screams of life rob me of the life giving rest and reflection the Lord had gifted me just a week ago. So here I am to hold onto these things and to make sure that I don’t forget.

Sometimes we need to step back from our lives and take a break or at least take a breath and take a peek inside.

Sometimes we need a forced perspective to see what is really going on in our lives and our hearts. I have been in a season of transition and honestly just a season of confusion at times. I have changed jobs and ministries within the last year and found myself wondering what to make of it.

What to do or where to go or where not to go?

Where does God have me?

Where does He show up in this?

How am I serving Him and making disciples?

Why do I feel so stagnant?

Why do I feel so alone in this?

Is this it? Is there more?

Do I need to just succumb to this place right here? Because if so, I don’t like that answer.

All of this and more has been going on in my head and heart. But the Lord knew. He knew I needed a change and He knew that I needed to be refreshed right now, right where I am. I was able to get away for a few days and had a friend come stay with me. Honestly, just having her here made me step back from my day to day, while I was still in my day to day, and really see things for what they were and what they were not.

As we left town we decided to just kind of go with the flow this trip. No forced schedule or timeline. We would drive and get where we were going when we ended up there. This is so not me but I knew I needed to do it and it was so good for my soul.

Like so good.

Taking the long way and driving up the coast was so majestic that I kind of forgot about everything else and I was able to just be consumed in God’s beautiful creation. We drove through mountains as the clouds lifted off to reveal the very blue sky underneath. We drove up the coast and through farmland, through city and through small towns and it was everything.

Thankfully long car rides produce long conversations. One of those conversations was about the Lord and His leading. God’s provision for the Israelites came to mind for me. The next morning as I sat outside reading the word that is exactly where I was. I was in the thick of it with the Israelites. God was leading them by cloud and fire. God spoke to me as I sat there in the morning light.

He spoke to me of deserts and clouds and fire and mana and fear and stagnation and… well, He just spoke to me of all the things that come with all of those things.

He showed me that I have a tendency towards wandering much like the Israelites. He doesn’t leave but I become complacent and I try in my own power to do and to be. But most of the time I’m just wandering, wanting to be in His will or just waiting for His will to supernaturally be poured over me but really I’m just stuck in a desert being fed mana and hating it. Exodus speaks of God providing mana and giving specific instructions to the Israelites to gather just enough for each person in their tent and not leaving any left over. The Israelites take enough for their tent but then they don’t eat it all and they don’t get rid of the remaining mana. They’re either really bad at taking full direction (same Israelites, same), straight up disobedient or they go into survival mode and try to think ahead. Either way this results in some rancid mana. 

They didn’t trust and obey God.

 I sat there and read and thought, that’s me.

I fear, I don’t trust, I walk around the desert hot and grumpy, complaining all the way and I don’t trust God to move or show up. So, I do on my own and end up with rotten results. Just like the Israelites ended up with rotten mana. I end up with results that leave me wanting and confused and this has become a pattern for me, one that I have yet to break.

As I went through the rest of the weekend I didn’t fear or want or worry. I just went where the day took me. I rested and sought the Lord. I recognized that it is my wandering and not the Lord that frustrates me so.

I need to realize that God will provide for my need.

I prayed on this trip to be led by the Lord by cloud and fire, to have open ears and eyes to what He has for me today, not tomorrow but for today. I prayed to end my wandering so that I can run freely in His will for me, so that I can run in the fullness of the life He has for me. I need to trust that His mana is better than anything I could ever conjure up for myself. I need to understand that I’m not just biding my time waiting for the next thing to happen but I need to sit in the fullness of the life he has me in right now. I prayed that I would bathe in His light and life giving breath that sustains and surrounds me.

I needed to take a break from my life and understand where I am and what that means. Where that means my heart is. I needed to come up for a breather and remember it’s ok to be human because that means that God is God. That boundaries I have set up for myself are not necessarily the same boundaries that the Lord wants for me. That a night of just laughing with friends or long car rides filled with voices singing at the top of their lungs is good for the soul and can breathe life into some dead spaces within. That what I have said no to isn’t necessarily what God has said no to. That I need to open myself up to what the Lord has and not just bow down to my fear and waste my time trying to store up what I think I might need for tomorrow.

Maybe this all just sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person but I think there are many of us wandering, discontented in the desert. Many of us are frustrated with where life has us. Many of us don’t realize that we are just wandering in circles just biding our time. Many of us are not living in the fullness of the life the Lord has for us. We just keep circling the same cactus wondering when we will be rescued from the horrid landscape (no offense to you desert lovers out there). Just as the Israelites, we keep ourselves there. We could be out of the desert a lot sooner if we would stop complaining and dragging our feet. If we stopped and took a breath and moved forward instead of in the same circle we’ve been moving in. Let’s dust off our clothes, say goodbye to the cactus and move in a different direction, move forward and live, today, in the fullness of the day the Lord has for us.


A Word Fitly Spoken

I was going through some old paperwork this past weekend and found some old study notes of mine.

They were from a time I was asked to speak at one of our woman’s retreats breakout sessions.

My topic was on how to be a single woman in ministry.

As I was putting my notes together I was simultaneously complaining to a friend about the “stigma” of singleness. Venting about singleness and the stereotype it holds or how I felt people treated me. You know, because I’m a sinner.

Ultimately I was hurting inside and bitter and angry at where God had me in my life. I had a longing that was not fulfilled and I felt less than. Nobody was forcing me to feel this way, I had an issue inside that needed to be dealt with. My friend, as she always does, listened and somehow understood my plight and then she spoke:

She told me that she prays for me and she wants me to be married, she wanted to see me navigate that part of life. But… and that was a big but, she also said that she didn’t know God’s will for my life and nowhere in His word does He promise that any of us will be married or have kids. She told me she doesn’t know if I will ever marry.

I sat there and took in the words. These words were spoken with such love and care, with such purpose and clarity. They hit me right in my chest where I felt them settle and start to work.

I sat there on my bed that night and I sifted and worked through many feelings. I sat and prayed with my face to the ground, not because I am super spiritual but because that’s where the Lord took me. And after all of that the overwhelming feeling I ended with that evening was that I was free.

There was a freedom in the truth she spoke.

I’ve had many different people tell me many different things about singleness and marriage. I’ve heard many different people tell my single friends many things about singleness. I’ve gone to conferences and have listened to podcasts and sermons and have read books about singleness. Sadly, up until about five years ago, on that night, in my room, over the phone, through a friend who was hundreds of miles away was the very first time anybody had spoken words of truth about my singleness.

Those are the words that started to heal me and free me from an expectation I was holding myself to.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuke to an obedient ear.” Proverbs 25: 11&12 

My friend, that night, listened. She listened to not only me but she also listened to the Lord and spoke words of truth that I’m sure were not easy to speak. But words that were needed to be said none-the-less. She didn’t try to make me feel better or to sugar coat things. Out of love she got right to the heart of it and it was exactly what I needed.  
I, in turn, also spoke words of truth to these young twenty-somethings at the retreat the next weekend and I’m not so sure they were ready to receive it. I get that, I’ve been there. As their big eyes looked back at me, the girl who was supposed to give them some sense of hope or some insight on how to navigate around singleness (I know this because I have sat in studies with this exact expectation) was telling them that we are not promised marriage. That we should not be waiting to serve the Lord until a man comes into the picture. That God wants our whole life now. That our relationship with God is our own and that our focus should not be on finding a man but on serving the Lord and His people. I said these words with love and compassion because as hard as they were to speak they were even harder to take in.
I have no idea if any of those girls needed that truth at that moment or if any of them have even thought about it after that afternoon. I do know that God healed me through that lesson and placed my expectation and perspective right where it needed to be.  
I don’t believe these words are just for the single folk. I believe there are many of us in various stages of life that are waiting. Waiting for something else to happen before they move on to fully serve the Lord. Waiting to have kids or to get a promotion, to get into a nicer or larger home, for the kids to grow up or for work to be less stressful. We often times get stuck in life waiting for the next thing before we move forward with the Lord. I’m not saying that there aren’t seasons in life that we should step back and wait on the Lord to move us forward or that raising kids and a family are not important. What I am saying is most of the time our lives are not going to go as planned. Sometimes we need to let all of that fall into the background and just serve the Lord. Whatever that looks like in your life and I think we all know deep down if we aren’t living in that space.
All of that to say:

Friends, this life is not our own so lets speak truth in love and follow hard after the Lord.