Category Archives: love

A Quick Reflection on Fixing, as Yet Another Year Passes

Every year I tend to blog on this day. To share what I’m feeling and to make a pitch to love on my parents, sister-in-law and nephew a little bit extra on this day.

It’s been 8-years since my little brother, Devin, passed away suddenly in his sleep.  And this year is no different, and I don’t feel like I have anything to add.

I still miss Devin. I miss his face and his smile and his voice. I miss knowing he was always there for me. I miss his young wisdom and his big love.

And I still want my parents, sister-in-law, and nephew to feel an overwhelming amount of love and grace and peace today. I still want to take away their pain, to help somehow to carry their burden, to lessen the hurt.

But I can’t fix it. Really in life I can’t fix much. I know this. We all do I think. We all know we can’t fix the other person or their pain but so often we want to and in that want sometimes we hurt them more. So this year, I want to say sorry for the hurt I’ve caused wanting to fix it.

Pain is uncomfortable and hard to watch others experience. My head has known this for a long time, but my heart actions can’t always stay in that head space. You could say I’m a bit of a feeler. And by a bit I mean I pretty much feel everything. And I can deal with my own feelings, but I don’t want my love ones to have to sort through theirs. I’m not sure why either, because I really like feeling and so maybe they are ok feeling theirs. But it’s taking me a while to get there.

And so this journey of figuring out how to love my family in their pain and not try to fix it has been challenging.

My friend the other day said that he felt like the pain he was facing in his life was a gift. And while that sounds so crazy, I totally get it. Because in that pain I have found Jesus in such a deep and tangible way. I have received His love and grace in ways I wouldn’t have known I needed with out pain. And I can see how pain, done well, is a gift.

So now I want to let go and pray that my loved ones receive their pain today as a gift. A gift that their Maker is so close and loves them so much that He won’t leave them alone for a moment in that pain. That in that pain He is drawing them in. Holding them tight. And creating something beautiful out of that pain. Because pain done well, can help others carry their burdens. I don’t want to take away from the hurt and sadness. It is real, it is unfair and I don’t think it is what God wants for us. But He does want good for us, and I think knowing that feeling and working through the pain leads to more good than we can even allow ourselves to comprehend.

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Walking Away and Looking Back

Today I am thankful.  Today I am full of unexplainable joy.  Today I smile. 

But the following blog entry is from where I have been.  It was a few months back.  It’s what I’ve left behind and learned from a series of events.  I’m forever grateful for failure and disappointment. 

April 4, 2012

I’ve made some risky life decisions lately.  I like making risky decisions, I like taking risks, I like adventure, I like living by faith.  This time some decisions I got to make, others were made for me and they were all heartbreaking.  Heartbreaking in the best sense of the word.  I’ve been hurting.  Deep, intense, cry out to Jesus just to breathe; pain.  It’s good for me.  It’s hard.  It feels like it’s almost over.

I don’t like it when I don’t write for a while.  Sometimes it’s because I’m busy, sometimes it’s because I’m just a bit down.  Sometimes it means I don’t have a lot to share and I’m in the midst of pain so the words won’t come out.  That’s where I’ve been lately.

Things end, things change.  It happens to everyone.  We all have seasons.  Life is a rollercoaster.  Sometimes we’re on the top; sometimes we take a big leap to the bottom.  It’s good.  It’s where we grow.  It’s where our character is tested, broken down and made new.  It’s where we get on our knees and cry out to God for relief.  It’s where we find ourselves.

A few things have ended for me recently.  The relationship I was in, ended.  And in step with that I ended my employment with Straight Ahead Ministries.  There is a strong team working to open the coffee shop/community center that I know God will work through to bless the Main South area and every kid who walks through the door.  And I hope to head over there and volunteer at some point, but not yet.

The ending of the relationship I was in was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been faced with.  My heart’s desire is to find that special someone to team up with and live this life with.  And I’ve given that search to God.  Asking Him to bring my best friend into my life so I wouldn’t keep giving my heart away.  The relationship I was in seemed to happen so organically.  It felt like God was leading us together.  I look back and I see God’s hand working in each one of us and in the relationship and I see opportunities I could have walked away.

I have learned a lot from the relationship and from the ending of it.  I look back and think, maybe I should have walked away sooner, maybe I was holding on too tight, maybe I wanted it too badly.  And then I think, maybe he wasn’t ready, maybe God has something better, maybe my job was just to love him while I had the chance and then to let him go when he walked away.

I’m thankful for the insight I have into the situation.  God has blessed me with clarity so often in my life.  I know He will reveal just what I need to know about a situation as I need to know it.  I need to have confidence in those revelations and not look to others to confirm them.  Don’t get me wrong, wise counsel is important and I will continue to seek it, but one of my biggest lessons in all of this is to have confidence in me, in what I hear from God and in my decisions, without needing everyone else’s approval.

I will admit I’m scared.  I want to love again, I want to connect with someone, share life with them and let them into who I am.  But my heart has been broken.  It’s healing but it’s fragile.  Maybe that’s right where it needs to be.  More guarded than before.

Part of me feels like I’m back to the beginning.  Back to where I was before those “big dreams” fell into place.  I am and I’m not.  I am in the sense that I don’t have a job, a partner in life or big project I’m working on.  But I’m not too.  Because I have renewed hope, I’ve healed and worked on things through this suffering and I’ve found new strength in Jesus.  And I’ve been humbled.  I’ve laid it all down before Him and He’s shown me some of my “weeds”.  We’ve ripped them out.

I have direction from God to keep pursuing church planting, I have hope that He will bring my partner to me in His time and I have faith that the right job is right around the corner.

Life’s goal should never be to avoid suffering; it should never be to avoid pain.  It should be to embrace suffering, to embrace pain, to cry out to God and say thank you for this.  Thank you that in this pain I can cry out to you Jesus and you will rescue me.  And it’s that rescue; it’s that love from Him that is more than enough.  And in this pain, in this suffering I say thank you and pray that His glory is revealed.  I ask God to use this pain for His good and to not waste a single tear.  I know He won’t.  It’s His promise.

7/2/12

Update –  I am back with Straight Ahead Ministries, working in the café.  You should come by sometime…it’s a great place to be and I’m so thankful God let me go back!

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Waiting on Mr. Just Right for Me, Sent by God!

The last time I blogged about a boy I got a pretty tough comment.  And it fits just right for this blog. 

To quote the comment, reader Karen says,

“I hope it works for you, but honestly it sounds so far fetched. Best of luck to you. Almost living in another world…”

That was in response to my turning down of Mr. Breakfast man (It’s Raining Men, Aug 4) just a few months ago. 

What she’s also talking about besides my decision to not go on a date with that guy is my decision to give God my romantic life and trust that He will work it out to the best possible outcome imaginable.

Maybe it is another world I’m living in.  It does seem like such a foreign concept to give God such control in my life.  But I’m so thankful I did!  The journey is bringing me closer to God with every passing moment. 

Let’s talk a little bit about how we got here.  More than a year an a half ago I got dumped.  We’ve all been there, it’s not fun, but it happens.  And when it did, I decided again – that God was going to have to take control of this whole thing.  But this time I really meant it and I took steps to really surrender control.  I gave God every little detail of my romantic life.  God was going to have to deal with it.  I was done.  I wasn’t looking, I wasn’t going online, I wasn’t going to just date any guy who came along.  I would wait for God to bring someone into my life, if He chose to. (I guess I assumed I would just know when this happened). 

But it’s a desire of mine and I’ve consistently let God know that.  I tell God over and over, ask Him nicely and expectantly, where is my mate?  Can he come soon?  And I also told God that if He could use me best single, I would stay single.  I don’t want to, but I will.  Because I love God so much and I trust that He has the best for me.

Since I gave it to God, I haven’t been dwelling on this aspect of my life.  I have my moments, but it hasn’t been consuming – or even too heavy to handle.  It’s a desire I believe God will fulfill.  And it set me free.  Giving that over to God has given me the freedom to live my life.  It’s given me the freedom to follow Him and His path, I’m not always looking around, checking to see what I need to do to make it happen.  I’m free to be me and hang out with God.

I think God gives us big gifts when we make big decisions for Him.  My gift in this situation is a friend who made the same commitment.  We came to the decision on our own and then took the journey together.  We pray for each other a lot.  We have this connection that can only come from God.  I know when I’m having a tough day, when I think all hope is gone, when I just can’t see past my circumstances, I can ask her for prayer and God just breaks through – reminds me of His promises and revitalizes that hope that He’s taking care of things.

My life is constantly changing for the better.  God is breaking in with new hopes and desires, He’s fulfilling promises and dreams that I thought I had to let go of.  And as I grow closer to Him and His love I just want Him more.

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Thank You, Fenway and You

This blogging twice a week thing isn’t working as well as I had planned but I am trying.  So much is happening in my life it’s tough to keep up with and tough to put into words.   

My dog died.  Fenway was my little buddy.  My pal.  She followed me home, she picked me, she loved me.  I loved her a lot.  She moved from West Virginia to North Carolina and back up to Massachusetts with me.  She is why I went home at night, who I got up to walk in the morning and the reason I made certain decisions in my life.  She dictated my schedule.

 

That dog saved my life.  There was a time when she was the only reason I would get out of bed.  I had to feed her, I had to walk her.  God gave her to me when He knew I would need her.  Her smile made me laugh when I could barely see through the tears.

But she was tough.  She was not a good listener.  She was feisty, seriously cute and could always tug at my heart strings.  She was precious. 

And I miss her.  I miss the moment when I get home and she would greet me.  I miss the moments after I awoke in the morning and I would snuggle with her.  I miss her smile.  I miss her presence. 

But in all of the loss, there is gain.  God is good and He is great to me.  Even in all of the loss and sadness he has filled the void with new friends, exciting opportunities and an outpour of support one can’t dream up. 

The community that I call mine is second to none.  And it reaches across every border and boundary imaginable so far that when I’m in need, my different worlds come together.  I wish I could describe my thankfulness.  But God didn’t create words to match the feeling in my chest.  And I think it was for a reason.  If we could describe it all too easily we would use it all too much.  This feeling is meant for special occasions. 

So thank you to you.  To those who posted on Facebook, those who called and texted.  And to those who showed up.  You are a gift.  And it is a testament to how God has blessed me with more than I can even understand. 

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It’s Raining Men!

Well, at least one man fell from the sky, into my life.  It all started last week….

I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet when I took my pup for a pee-break. It was early Wednesday morning, my day off, and I was getting ready to start plugging away, applying for jobs.  But Fenway had to go, so it was time for our morning walk.  Every morning I get up, read my Bible and then walk down to a nearby lake to pray.  It’s so pretty and I’m lucky that there’s access to it behind the restaurant next door.  I stand there by the water, and pray, out loud.  I love it.  It’s my favorite time of day. 

So there I was praying out loud, maybe even praying for you, and I turn around and a man is walking toward me.  A good-looking man.  I’ve seen him before.  At Cumby’s the day before.  I noticed him, he was cute!  So I’m standing at the edge of the lake, talking to myself and he walks right up to me and says, “I saw you walking down the street and I just had to come over and tell you that you are beautiful.”  Ok, ladies…melt, now.  It was so sweet.  And, did I mention, he was cute!  I was speechless (doesn’t happen often).  I didn’t know what to say, so in my good church girl fashion, I invited him to service on Sunday.  I didn’t give him my number, didn’t say much else.  All I knew is where I go to church and what time it starts.  So that’s what I told him. 

We chatted for a bit and then we both went about our days.  I didn’t really think about Mark much for the rest of the day, I eagerly applied for jobs and he slipped my mind.  Over the next few days I told the story to some of my single girl-friends offering them hope, that yes, God can drop a man into our lives at any time.  But is that what God is doing with Mark?  I pondered a bit, we talked about faith a little bit and he was up for coming to church, so I thought, we’ll see.  I prayed that God wouldn’t let me just sit in it and go back and forth wondering if this guy could be “the one,” or not. 

That Sunday things got rolling at church and I didn’t see him.  Then toward the end of service he showed up.  Wow, he came I thought.  While dealing with all sorts of odds and ends at church I had a few minutes to chat with him.  He left a meeting at work to drive and hour to stop by so I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Nice.  He asked me again if I would be walking my dog at the same time and I said yes.  He said, ok, he’ll see me then.  

Life went on and I updated my single-ladies with the story, the fairytale.  Then Monday morning came and I walked Fenway down to the lake.  He was already there, waiting with a red rose and breakfast.  How romantic.  We sat by the lake, ate and chatted.  The conversation was good and he was very respectful.  He asked when I would again walk Fenway at the same time and two days later he showed up with breakfast again.  It was nice. 

One of my biggest dreams in life is to find a partner to share it with. I want to get married.  But I’m not actively looking for someone.  I’m believing and trusting that God will bring the right guy at the right time.  Just like that, poof, he’ll show up.  So Mark showing up out of nowhere seemed like an answer to prayer.

But I had to end it.  God answered my original prayer and I just knew I couldn’t go forward with this.  He kept asking when he could take me on a proper date and I couldn’t agree to it.  I told him I wasn’t interested in dating and if he wanted to be friends, that would be nice, but I just don’t want to date now.  There were a few red flags, for me, that in the past I would have over-looked.  But not this time, this time, I had to chose God and know that even if I let this cute-cat go, God would deliver again.  He will.

With so much unraveled in my life right now, it sure would have been nice to be wooed by a sweet, cute guy for a while.  But I just knew he wasn’t on the same path when it came to faith.  And all I could think about was the healing road ahead if I did date him, even for just a few months.  I’m not interested in dating, like I told him.  For a moment I thought, oh, that’s kind of a lie, I want to date, but, it’s not, I don’t want to date, I want to meet my husband, share our faith, get to know each other in community and then see where God takes it.  It may end up being dating, but in a different sort of way. 

So was he from God?  Maybe.  He did feed me, twice.  And I’m broke right now so free food is huge!  Was he the man for me?  Well to use my least favorite cliché, only time will tell.  If he is, God will bring him back.  I trust Him.

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A Story About a Crush

As I lean into the back of the park bench ….my eyes wander and gaze upon a man…a man I know, but not too well.  A man I’d like to know more, but maybe it’s not time. 

The warm summer breeze sweeps my hair across my face.  I gently remove it from my eyes and take a sip of my smooth red wine. 

The band starts to play….children wander….couples cozy up on their blankets scattered about like an unfinished quilt. 

But who is this man?  What does he like?  What is he thinking about at he sips his drink….my intrigue gets the best of me…but not enough to walk over and say “Hi”.  It would take more than that…he knows my name, my number, but nothing.  Why not?  Am I not cute enough, small enough, young enough?  What is it?  Is it You, God?  Do you have better for me?  I ponder.  I wonder. I stay still waiting for Your move. Not his, not mine, Yours. Is this where You’ll make your move?  But would he move if You told him? Would he hear?  Would he listen?  Would he understand?  Am I not his type?

More people come out, crowd the park…I can’t see him anymore.  Friends join one-another, laughter fills the air.  Children scurry through the crowd, back to the safety of their blankets to settle in with mom and dad.  My focus shifts, my mind wanders, back to you Jesus…back to the band…they play my favorite song.

He stands up, looks around, meets my eyes, I quickly look back to my drink. Why does this crush get to me?   What is it?  Is it for real?  Is it the thrill of the chase?  The not knowing where his mind wanders?  To me?  To someone else?  Someone special?  Does he know what I think?  In that brief moment he looks into my eyes does he see my thoughts?  Does he know what is running through my mind?  Does he know?  The important question, does he care?  Or would I, if the feelings were reciprocated?

I need to feel to write….am I just trying to feel?   Overflowing with emotion I try to remain calm…but it gives me confidence.   Confidence, despite his earlier decision to walk by me, sitting on my bench alone.  My friends are nearby; I am not alone, just without company for that moment.

The band plays louder as dusk turns to twilight.  He moves closer…back in eye shot. I look up. I see him.  The moon light gives off just enough glow to make eye-contact once again.  Where do I look? What do I do when my gaze meets his?  My friend and I had a 3-second rule. If we met a guy’s eye and we thought they were decent we would not turn our gaze for 3-seconds. But where am I in this world? 

Blocked again.  Hmph.  More people.  Maybe that’s good. I am God’s. God is finding me my husband.  So does it start with a gaze?  I am not worried. Not looking for something to do.  Just living in the emotion of the moment. It hurts, it soars….it fills me with excitement, that I know will only be let down.  God does not let me down.  Even when I think He does, He doesn’t. He has my best!

The beat goes on…..la la la la…

Shows over…

God is saying it’s not time.  Maybe he’s not the one.

It doesn’t matter…it’s for You to decide.

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“Coulda’ made a sweater,”…for the ladies only. :)

So a couple weeks back I was getting ready to go our for my friends 31st birthday party.  As the only single gal in the midst of all my friends – some days these excursions can be emotional on my end – not because they make me feel bad or anything – I love them all and I love their significant others.  It’s actually my favorite group to go out with sometimes because they all take care of me and I never have to worry or think twice about anything – they all have my back. 

But back to getting ready – for our birthdays or special events we have this tradition we’ve started – we go to this nail salon that let’s us bring wine/beer and snacks and we all get pedicures and hang out….then we go out to dinner and the guys usually meet us for that (all but one who loves his pedicures! J )  It’s a great night and a great excuse for a little pampering.  This particular night as I was shaving my legs, I realized I couldn’t remember when I had shaved them last (mind you it’s the middle of winter) and I was like…darn.. ‘I coulda’ made a sweater,” talking to God, who I tend to tell everything to!  And I think He laughed.  Or maybe it was just me. 

It just got me thinking –  I wondered (never got a chance to ask) what my married friends were thinking when getting ready.  Were they thinking, I love getting ready for my significant other – or are they just content being comfortable and not getting all dolled up because they already landed their sweetie.

So there may be no real point to my blog today, except that as single ladies – we should still take time to make ourselves look nice (on the inside (of our clothes) and out) for ourselves – and also to never lose hope of what I know God has for me and you…a sweetie of our own.

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