Un

girl

I contracted the un disease when I was about 8 years old.

Accompanied by her mother, my best friend Keisha and I went to see a movie on a cold January afternoon. The movie was, in my very urbane and elementary school aged opinion, totally stupid and I remember not really wanting to see it. But it was Keisha’s birthday. So what the birthday girl wants, the best friend does to make her happy.

Afterwards, while leaving the movie, someone approached Keisha’s mother, gushing over how gorgeous Keisha was.

I could have easily been her daughter, too. But the praise didn’t go to me. It went to her.

The encounter was brief but I remember watching them interact while I thought to myself, “Why didn’t he say I was pretty, too?” The slight made me crawl within myself and feel less.

That was the day that I met un and carried it home in my lap. Un buried itself in my skin and spread like a virus.

Unpretty.

Unimportant.

Unworthy.

Every trait I had, every compliment I heard was immediately contaminated. But one (of many things) that I love about Jesus is He is unafraid of the diseased. He heals us with the truth.

What others see as nonexistent, He knows and celebrates it as wonderful. What man thinks is meaningless, He knows and declares it as powerful. And who the world sees as worthless, He knows and deems priceless.

You are unbeautiful. You are unimportant. You are unworthy. God handpicks those of us infected with un and takes it away.

“My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important.”

-1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (CEV)

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

You are Worth Being Single

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Everyone I know on earth: “So.  How’s it going?  Are you dating anyone?”

Still single me: Sigh….”No, I’m not dating anyone at the moment.  Yes, I’m still single.  No, there are not prospects in the foreseeable future or the requisite 15 mile radius.  And, yes, I’m fine.”

Them: -_-

Me: “No, really.  I’m happy and content on most days with being single.  Why?  Do you know someone?”

Them: “Oh, goodness no.  You don’t want to date any of my friends!  They’re so (fill in the blank with some incredibly strange or terrible character flaw)!”

Me thinking inwardly to myself: Why do you have friends like that?

Does this conversation sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m constantly defending my singleness on a daily basis.

And often when we look at this time in our lives, especially when you’re over 30 like me, people tend to lean more towards the negative side of the spectrum.  Towards the absence of something.  As if the lack of a spouse is a curse that needs to be reversed before the clock strikes 24 years of age.  Or worse, that God is withholding the blessing of marriage from us because of some unconfessed sin or the assumption our puny faith needs some pumping up.

Unfortunately, we take that stance as well.  That we’re missing something.  Incomplete.  Not yet worthy of the love and affection of another human.  Particularly a human who is male with rippling muscles, always smells like Christmas and ambition, opens doors, lays his jacket down over puddles for us to walk over, and picks up the tab on first dates without that awkward moment after the check arrives.

I’m not asking too much, am I?

Either way, while everyone else is viewing our situation as the glass being half empty, there’s always an alternative.  And from what I’ve experienced, seen, and heard, there are much worse things than being single.

Yes, there are worse things than the solo Netflix and Chill.

You could be dating that guy you met the other day who was hiding behind a smile and false chivalry.  Only to find out 3 months later that he  was actually a jerk who has no intention of ‘waiting’ or holding you in any higher esteem than Dana, Jessica, Tasha, Lauren, or any other breathing female.

You could have wasted 6 months of your life in a ‘text-lationship’ with that guy who sort of likes you but never really made a move to ask you out on a date.  Meanwhile, you’re holding strategy sessions with your friends to decipher his texts of “hi” or “what are u doing” with a winky face to determine what they really mean.  Because everyone knows that emoji was a sign of his undying love for you that he’s just too scared to reveal directly.

You could be with that nice guy who has a check mark next to most things on your list for years.  While inwardly feeling that sinking, gnawing reality of settling because you’re tired of waiting for God’s best.

But, at this moment in your life, you are worth being single.  You are worth resisting the temptation to fall into situation-ships as a result of your fleeting feelings of boredom and loneliness.  And you are worth being hidden by a God who knows your value.  And trust that He intimately knows the man who will see that value without being told or convinced.

So don’t lose hope because there are no prospects in the requisite 15 mile radius. You’re worth the waiting you have to endure to enjoy God’s perfect love and will for your life.  It may be painful in the interim, but the process of growing closer to Him and getting closer to what He has for you is unrivaled in possibility.

And not just the possibility of marriage and being found by someone to share your life with.  But the possibility that He is saving you from the extreme heartache and time wasted trying to do life on your own.

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.” Psalm 32:7

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8

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roz  Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

Do You Feel Worthy of Love?

mirror

I used to be the worst at accepting compliments.  When one came my way, especially from a guy, I went into deflect mode.  Adrenaline started pumping, I got nervous, and I babbled some sort of nonsense.  “Oh, thank you, but, I’m not that beautiful.”  “Oh, thank you, but I need to lose a couple pounds.”  “Oh, thank you, it must be this outfit.”

It was the same fight-or-flight reaction I would have facing an attack.  Fight – I would deflect the “blow” and try to shift the conversation.  Flight – I would blush and try to hide.

But what attack?  It was just a compliment!  It should be the opposite of an attack!

I realized that it felt like an attack because it was an assault on one of my core beliefs about myself – the belief that I was ugly, the belief that I was not worthy of positive attention from a guy.  I could not accept someone else’s positive view about me because I did not have a positive view of myself.

The same applied when it came to my relationship with God.  I could read the verses that God saw me as beautiful, that He loved me, but I did not believe it in my heart.  I passed quickly over them and straight to the parts about what I should do to win His love.  I struggled to see God as loving me for me because I did not see myself as worthy of His love.

This failure to believe hurt my relationships with both men and God.  It was impossible for me to have a positive relationship with either when I did not believe or trust that they truly valued me.

So how did I break the pattern?

First, I had to retrain myself to accept the compliment without instantly negating it.  With men, I trained myself to simply say, “Thank you” and nothing more.  With God, I didn’t just read over the verse, I forced myself to stop and actually dwell on the verse and meditate on it in my heart.  I had to learn to trust both men and God that they were telling me the truth.  I may not have believed it about myself, but I had to accept that they honestly saw me as beautiful.

Second, I had to work on my own beliefs about myself.  I had to learn to value myself and to see the beauty in myself.  I have always been confident when it comes to academics and work, but I struggled when it came to a personal relationship.  So I had to focus on seeing my beauty and value not just professionally, but as a woman.

What about you?  Do you know your value?  Do you know that you’re worthy of love just as you are?  Do you believe people when they compliment you?  Do you believe the verses about God’s love for you?

I will post some verses below and I encourage you to not just read them, but really place them in your heart.  Write them on your mirror so you see them in the morning.  Place post-it notes around your car or office or home.  Save the verses as your screen saver so you see it every time you use your computer.  Surround yourself with the truth of God’s love and really work on believing it.  Because you’re worth it!

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:13-16

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. – Isaiah 43:4

Ask MRP!

ask-mrp

Hi MRP! 

I need your advice!

At work there is a guy who I think might like me. He sometimes smiles at me and has said hi to me in the office. However, because I am really shy I have not initiated anything, it terms of a conversation. He works in a department from me, but I have noticed him in the canteen. My main concerns are that I don’t know if he is Christian, and he looks really young, like he might be in his twenties. I am in my late 30’s.

Also I am scared of making a fool of myself; as in the past I thought guys have liked me and been completely wrong. So I am holding back in the present situation; my shyness maybe interpreted as me being unfriendly when that is not the case. 

Please help!

God bless, E

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Hi, E! Thanks for your question!

As a fellow shy butterfly, let me say that I completely understand your reticence. It was Hard with a bolded capital H to break free from my bashfulness. It still is at times. And that makes what I am about to suggest to you a little surprising:

Talk to him.

A dating book I once read had a challenge where I needed to talk to five men I didn’t know a week. Five! It was daunting and the most I made it to was one and a half :-). But the point was to begin to feel comfortable talking to someone, regardless of circumstances.

There’s a chance that he may just be a friendly coworker. And there’s an equal chance that he does have romantic interest in you. The only way to discover the truth is to have a conversation. I know you are fearful of misinterpretation and winding up with egg on your face. But it doesn’t have to be something overtly flirtatious or romantic, especially since you work together. It can be something very mundane and ordinary. Like if you’re in the canteen, “Hey, do you know if they have any [insert favorite beverage or snack] left?” Or something work-related, “What do you think about the new [insert office machine]?” Sometimes, enough small talk pieces can build a springboard to lengthier chats.

If he does turn out to be younger than you expected and if romantic interest is clear, I don’t think that should be an immediate deal-breaker. He may be mature beyond his twenty-something years. Or it could turn out that he is a very young-looking 37!

And now for his faith in Christ. It may seem upside down to place this at the end of my answer. But I think the bigger issue at play is interaction.

In Luke 5, when Jesus dined at the home of a tax collector and with other societal outcasts, the Pharisees were aghast. One commentary says they would have stayed outside of the house since eating with sinners was contaminating in their view. But God Himself remained in the thick of this relationship building meal. He ate, laughed, and spoke to those who were worlds away from the religious aristocracy.

The answer to whether or not he’s a Christian should absolutely determine any further romantic development. But it should not sever further conversation. If he is not a Christian, continue to talk to him and interact with him in a friendly manner. You may be the way he is introduced to Christ.

I pray that this helps you in your decision. May God guide you and give you strength, peace, and reassurance.

I am that prostitute

alley

I have nothing in common with a prostitute. 

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve had this thought many times in your life.  Or maybe you’ve never even thought about it all.  Which is ok because It’s likely not a common comparison.  But I can tell you with absolute certainty that you, yes you, have many things in common with the ladies of the night.

And I just couldn’t believe that I was so wrong about this.  Because I tend to be right about many things in life.  Which is also a lie.

But let me tell you a story of how I came face to face with my inaccurate thought processes:  

There I was.  With all my holy haughtiness.  Sitting in the back of a van with a few other ladies and one gentleman.  Riding around an area in Atlanta known for its high rate of trafficking and prostitution.  I was excited, scared, anxious, and relaxed all at the same time.  

I was sure that I was going to venture out into the darkness to bring the light.  That I would touch the souls of men and women who felt trapped in lives where their bodies encompassed their worth.

And that’s exactly what was going through my mind as we approached the first lady to give her a rose and extend a hand out of that way of life.  But as soon as I stepped out of the van to dramatically save her soul, I was smacked by a sudden realization.  

Yes, Jesus slaps people.  Right in the face.  And it’s not a gentle nudge.  It involves all five fingers and has the weight of the Holy Spirit behind it.  And also behind that slap was an epiphany that this girl, these women, were all me.  

I am broken.  I am a mother trying to make ends meet to raise my daughter in the best way I know how.  I feel overwhelmed by circumstances.  I struggle with keeping my worth in line with my God-given value.  I believe the lie that one decision won’t change my destiny.  I have allowed tiny decisions to add up until the damage was evident to myself and others.  And that damage led me to surrender in the arms of my Creator.  

But one more decision could have brought me to those same corners where I came offering roses and hope.  One more decision could have landed me on dark stages stripping off pieces of myself to gain hurt in return.  One more decision could have seen me depending on the cheap approval of men to feel loved.

But that’s the funny thing about doing things for the Kingdom.  You walk in all high and mighty ready to change lives, only to realize that you were the one who needed changing.

And trust me, you’d much rather learn humility through service and putting on the suffering of others than have God knock you down to size.  I mean, have you read the Bible?  He’s been known to rain fire, instant death, and turn folks into a pillar of salt.  No thanks.  I don’t want to be the seasoning on anyone’s meal.

So next time you step out to share life, remember to see yourself in every single person that crosses your path and leave your piety at home. Vulnerability is more powerful than holiness.  And service is much more effective when others can see where you’ve been compared to where you are.  That is dealing hope that their lives can be better, can be different, rather than sending them the message that they could never be you.

PS – If after reading this, you are still of the mind that you couldn’t possibly be that person you’re serving, just remember three things.  One, Jesus slaps people.  Two, God can rain fire. FIRE.  And three, you are not that important (Galatians 6:3).

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

Check-Up

stethoscope

I felt invincible once upon a time. Once upon a time, I could eat frosting slathered cinnamon rolls without an increasing waistline. My teeth didn’t shiver when I chewed gum. I could spend an entire night watching movies without nodding off once.

But during a recent doctor’s visit, I discovered my tenure of invincibility was over.

Is this scale calibrated correctly? Those numbers can’t be right.

My iron is low? I guess that would explain why I fall asleep by 8 o’clock.

I’m WHAT-deficient? So I have eat more vegetables? Hmm, I guess french fries wouldn’t count.

Since that visit, reading ingredient labels and calorie counts are a habit. My medicine cabinet sounds like it’s full of maracas thanks to the influx of vitamin bottles. I’ve become much more aware of everything that goes in my body.

And all it took was a check-up.

Self-examination can feel sort of obsolete as we get older. Through college, jobs, relationships, and experiences, we’ve collected a bounty of knowledge and experience to fund our decisions. We no longer need parental permission for anything so there are no limits and refusals.  Our emotional, physical, and spiritual diets are in our own hands. And we can reach a point where we know what to do and how to do it well.

Or so we think.

Throughout His Word, God tells us to take assessment of ourselves, honestly, without filter. “Each one should test their own actions” (Galatians 6:4 NIV) and “don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3 NLT)

How well is your soul? Is your heart full of joy or damaged from disappointment? Is your mind where it should be? What are you feeding your emotions? How spiritually healthy are you really?

Check-ups aren’t fun. They can bruise the ego and deliver unexpected news. But through them, we are able to correct problems in the making and change course.

Make an appointment for a self-examination with God this year.

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Jennifer Jennifer

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer.  I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!