No Shame

confident woman

Last week, someone I work with dismissively tossed in my face the blogpost I wrote on married sex life.  He said that it was being spread around the department.

For a moment, shock paralyzed me.  I was completely unprepared.  The attack had come out of nowhere.  Then I started talking—word vomit is more like it.  I said I was proud of writing it, that I wanted to break down boundaries.  Then I left.

Despite my words, embarrassment flooded through me.  The thought that he and other people had read the article and were even thinking about me and sex was horrible enough.  But that they were perhaps laughing at it and judging me?  People who I had to work with?

It brought back all of my insecurities and conflicted emotions about waiting for marriage for sex.  While the church preached abstinence, an adult virgin was a joke in the modern world.  As I got older, I would think of the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin with a wince.  That would be me.

And even though I knew that it was a lie, my decades-old insecurity whispered—you’re only a virgin because no one wants you.  You’re ugly.  You’re fat.  That’s what everyone is saying.  They’re laughing at you.

I made it through the end of the day and went home, able to hold back the tears until I got in my car.  I had published the blogpost because I had wanted to help other women, just as reading a similar article had helped set my expectations before I got married and calm my fears when things didn’t go as planned.  But maybe it had been a terrible mistake.

Finally, a coworker helped me reframe what happened.  “He had been trying to shame you,” she said.  Just putting a name to it helped.  She was right.  There’s no real answer as to why he would do that – I heard later that his girlfriend had applied for my job and maybe he was just pissed she hadn’t gotten it and wanted to bring me down some way.  Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter why he did it.  Naming what he had been doing helped me put it in perspective: he was using my own story to try to get power over me.   And seeing it for what it was helped me take back the power.

Because I am not ashamed of who I am.  I am proud of who I am.  I am proud of my choices.  I have integrity.  I am who I say I am and my private life reflects who I say I am publicly.  I am also proud that I am brave enough to put my life out there in public, even the vulnerable parts.  In this Facebook-frenzied, filtered, and airbrushed world, there’s a real need for what is genuine, warts and all.

So be brave.  Yes, you might face opposition and derision, just like I did.  But I survived; you will too. Be confident in who you are.  Call it by its name when you face that opposition and feel the power of the truth.  Be not ashamed to share your story, your light, and your truth with the world.  We can’t wait to meet you.

Proverbs 14

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Proverbs 14,30 : “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” NIV

As I’m approaching 30 (which is really scary that in less than a year my life would have spanned three decades), I can measure my life, and my single years, in decades. I started to do some inventory of my life. This included of course one of the most frustrating part of this season – lack of a ring on my finger. I must confess, I’m pretty contrary in my approach to this fact.

First, I would really (and I mean really really) like to be married. I have a problem with the fact I’m single and never dated and I have tons of insecurities about it. First and foremost – if nobody ever was interested in me in a romantic way then there is high probability that no one ever will. And that is depressing. “Whyever would you make me this way with this desire if me being this way is against fulfilling this desire?” I asked the Lord this question many times.

On the other hand, I feel really close to the Maker and His Son. I go to them with everything and I love to lay my tears at their laps. The combination of the two mindsets makes me a little weird, doesn’t it? 🙂 The first is surely based on envy in some part – you can see how it disrupts my relationship with the Lord.

Pinballing between my grief in being single, being constantly rejected and going to God with my sorrows I understood one day, that it is true – I MAY NEVER GET MARRIED. And you know what? It influenced my life in a profound way. Maybe there was really nothing to wait for. Maybe this was it – my single life may be all there is in the future.

Then came the decision – to live life fully now, without waiting for some grand event to start living. This meant revising my dreams and starting to realize them right now.

So I started writing and some other things. The thing is – our desire for marriage makes us discontented and envious of others that had what we long for. Also hateful towards the life we life now. As soon as I started to fight with that, my life regained colors.

Life is precious at any time. We were given life to live it. Love God, love other people to give them as much God’s love as we can. And to be happy as much as we can.

Don’t let your singleness be just a time of waiting and envy, that, as the Proverbs author reminds us. Let God help you find peace in the middle of your hard single reality – HE CAN. Then hold onto this peace, which will give you a chance to live this life to the fullest.

Join the conversation!  Can you empathize with the above or what struck you from Proverbs 14?

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anna Anna

Hello everyone! I am an almost 30yo single woman living in Europe. Professionally a civil engineer, off hours I live to write and sleep 😉 . After struggling a lot with my singleness I try to live the fullest live that God gives me. Medieval reenactment is also a part of my life so I consider my life filled by the Lord to the brim.

Proverbs 10

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I was sitting at home, casually perusing through Facebook when I noticed a pattern on my feed.  All of my friends were posting photos of their date nights, snaps with their husbands for a night on the town, and those strange mirror selfies while getting dressed up for dinner.

My first thought was “Seriously?  Why are all of these people going out on a weeknight? Ugh!  Don’t they have to work tomorrow?  It’s after 9:00 for goodness sake!”

Me second thought after realizing it was Friday, and therefore perfectly acceptable to do such things past 9:00pm was “Wow. You’re getting old.  You should get out more.”  This thought was quickly forgotten as it was almost my bedtime.

My third thought?  Fear.  Absolute fear.  About what, you ask?  I’ll let you take a guess.  Better yet, maybe you can just answer yourself.  When it comes to your singleness, what’s the biggest fear that you have?  The biggest fear that most of us have?

That we’ll die alone, never having known the pursuit of a godly man.  Or even just a sane man with good credit, a solid career, and all of his teeth.

Either way, a lot of us walk around with holy smiles on our face.  Pretending as if we’re content in our single life, when inside we are absolutely petrified.  We quote scriptures about guarding our hearts, tell our married friends and family that we’re patiently waiting on our Boaz, while our hearts are screaming with jealousy and trepidation.

We are overcome with doubt that the desires of our hearts will never be met.  That we’ll be that old cat lady instead of the woman growing old with the man of her prayers and dreams.

And I have to admit, I sometimes get caught up in the allure of fear.  See, that’s the thing that people don’t tell you about fear.  As much as some claim that fear is some evil, dreadful place to wallow, it is so incredibly comfortable and attractive to stay there.  I mean, isn’t it much easier to live in fear and manipulate your way to ‘happiness’ than to allow God to bring his promises full circle in His time?

But when we live in fear, we know what to expect – nothing (Proverbs 10:28).  There are no promises, no increase, no surprises, no change.  We get exactly what we feared in the first place.

When we live in the hope of God’s will, however, that’s where things can get tricky.  When we stand on the promises of God, we should expect the unexpected.  In fact, we should expect that we’ll never know what to expect.  Except that He can make the impossible possible, even for old ladies like me who go to bed before 10:00pm most nights.

And choosing to believe His will more than our own is not easy or even permanent.  It is a day to day, and sometimes moment to moment decision to trust that what He has for us is infinitely better than anything we could manufacture on our own.

So the next time you’re scrolling through Facebook on a Friday night, or resorting once again to a solitary night of Netflix ’n’ Chill, just remember to keep smiling and practice being content when fear threatens to darken your joy.  Guard your hearts and keep speaking the promises of His word over your life.  And keep telling your family and friends that, yes, you’re still patiently waiting because our God is always faithful.

After all, you are what you fear.  So will you fear Him or the monotonous makings of your own imagination?

Join the conversation!  What is your response or what else struck you from Proverbs 10?

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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.

Following the Lord’s Direction

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Are you following the Lord’s direction or just turning down whatever path appears?

In the Book of Numbers, the Scripture describes how the Israelites followed the Lord when they were in the desert: when the cloud of the Lord settled over the tabernacle, the people remained in camp and when it lifted, they moved to follow it.

Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.  (Numbers 9:22-23 NIV)

I think about how hard that must have been, when they were just waiting for the cloud to lift.  I am sure they had times when they wanted nothing more than to move on, but the cloud had not moved – or when they were content in the place they were, but the Lord kept moving them.  They did not have a choice; they had to follow the Lord.

As with so many things in the Bible, what happens physically in the Old Testament becomes metaphorical in the New Testament.  Our choices may not be geographical, but we have plenty of other choices that confront us. Do I stay in this job or change jobs?  Do I date this person or that person?  Should I be focusing on getting married, or spending more time in volunteering?  I’ve often wished that I had such a clear sign from the Lord.

The reality, though, is that we do have clear signs from the Lord, if we wish to heed them.  We have the Scripture, the Church, and the Holy Spirit to direct us.  When those three things combine, we can know that we are moving in the right direction.

Next month, we are starting our study of Proverbs.  This is a book of wisdom, teachings from King Solomon to his people to instruct them in the right way to go.  As Scripture, it is God-breathed and meaningful for us today.  Being familiar with God’s word gives us a firm foundation so that we can confidently move in the way that he has already determined for us to go.

Are you facing a decision or a choice in your life?  Then I encourage you to come join us next month for our daily reading of Proverbs!  Trust me: I can guarantee that you will be the better for being more familiar with these teachings!

 

 

 

With Confidence

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I wrote in my last post that my strong opinion is that dating many people is far better than staying home, at least when it comes to likely success in getting married.  It’s simply a matter of numbers.

But dating comes with difficulties.  I know from experience that the more that you date and don’t meet the right one, the easier it is to become discouraged and to doubt God’s love for you and good plans for your life.  Each failed relationship is also another opportunity to doubt yourself.

Dating many people also brings greater opportunity to fall into sin.  With each relationship that you think will last, there is the temptation to demonstrate your affection and commitment to that person. And each time the relationship ends, regret.  For those of us who are single into our thirties (and forties and fifties) who have dated, it is almost impossible to make it to marriage without having some regrets about past actions in past relationships.  If I had known it wasn’t going to work out from the beginning, we think, I would not have gone so far.

As time goes on, we can feel ashamed, dirty, and sinful.  We already feel bad about ourselves for not having found the right one, and now we feel doubly bad for our past.  Not only can these negative feelings be a further barrier to a new relationship, they can cause a separation in our relationship with God.  I have gone too far this time, God cannot forgive me.

But God understands who we are and what we have done.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15-15 ESV)

No matter where you are, or what you have done in those relationships, you can still draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.  God loves you and is always ready to receive you back.

War of Words

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My coworker’s nails rapidly pounded against the ceramic mug. The thin taps pinged in the air as I tried to reassure her.

In her lap was her performance review and she was terrified of reading it. Still frantically tapping her fingers, she breathed a shuddering sigh.

“I am so worried about what it’s going to say.”

Looking at ourselves through the lens of someone else can be crippling.

When another describes who you are, bombastically in a crowd, whispered in a half empty room, or written in a confidential email, we take it with absolute legitimacy.

Because if someone can give voice to it, then it must not be made up.

It must be true, we think. I am that.

As a result, our strides regress to crawls. Our heart becomes a hostage of hesitancy and we become afraid to move.

Which is why God wants us to hear and believe Him.

Jesus put value, esteem, and purpose in every single one of us.

We are not only just His daughters or His creation.

We are His best.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

We are works of beauty that are cherished more than we will ever know.

Important souls who have much to offer, much to enjoy, and much to do.

Too much joy is found in the existence that God gives, which is why the devil uses the world’s voice to keep us from fully living.

You are not that.

You are not what they say.

You are who He says.

In the war of words, God’s Word always wins out.

Toss their opinions and trust His truth.

How have you believed man’s words over God’s truth?

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Jennifer  Jennifer Richardson

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 31 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!

 

The Lord Already Knew It Would Rain

rain

“The Lord already knew it would rain today.”

Those were the words of my pastor on Sunday, looking out at some dismal weather on the day of the church’s “Get in the Game” outdoor extravaganza.  Emphasis on “outdoor.”  Ministry leaders had come from all over the city and even another state to share service opportunities with my church.  As the service continued, however, the rain steadily grew stronger.

I was already feeling anxious, but for another reason.  Sunday was also the day of my wedding shower.  After weeks of no rain, we had invited friends and family to bring their lawn chairs and outdoor games.  My bridesmaids and best friends had spent hours yesterday preparing.  It wasn’t looking good.

The pastor shared the weeks of planning that had gone into the event.  The coordinator had had nightmares as she watched the looming forecast.  But even though the worst had happened and indeed, the rain had come, my pastor’s faith and confidence were not shaken.

“The Lord already knew it would rain today.”

The words resonated in me.  While I was feeling disappointed, the Lord was not.

The Lord was not sitting in heaven, thwarted in His plan.  While we may have seen the poor weather as a defeat, God did not.  He was still going to accomplish what He set out to accomplish.  Rain, a temporary weather pattern, was not going to stop the Lord’s work.  Perhaps He even had a greater plan for the rain; maybe it would sort out the wheat from the chaff and those who were only attending the ministry event for the pancakes would stay away, leaving space for connections to be made for the truly interested.

For those of you reading, many of you already know that I am in a season of rain, as my job search has taken longer than I thought.  Where I had stepped confidently before, always assured of my abilities, now I am uncertain.  But the Lord already knew that I would have this season.  He already knew what was going to happen in my life.  And what’s more, maybe He has a plan for it.

For many of you, your season of rain is not a job search, but singleness.  The forecast is gloomy, no ray of sunshine in sight.  You don’t know how long the rain will last.

But God knows.

He already knew of your rainy season, had even foreordained it in many cases.  He knew when it would start and when it would end.  He knew of the rainbow that would follow – He had created it.

While it is not easy to wait out the rain, we know that it is not going to last forever.  We can have faith that God is still King of all our circumstances.  He is not surprised and He still has good plans in store for us.

The Lord already knew it would rain.