Adventures in Dating

Hey there! Long time no hear…I am sorry. I must be honest, I have not been feeling myself lately and I haven’t wanted to write about it. I still don’t, but I have to. I have to get it out or else I am going to be like a bomb and blow!

I began seeing someone. I was having such a good time and I think I forgot that I am great when he was being a smooth talker. Every day I tried to become more of the person HE needed me to be instead of the person I am trying to become. He wasn’t a bad person, just someone I wanted to please even if it meant losing myself again!

After a month we stopped seeing each other. No reason, no problems, just stopped. I am reflecting on how quickly I started to be absorbed into another person. Do I need to have someone else tell me how to “be”? Why?!

I am smart. I am beautiful. I can do anything I need to do and if I can’t I figure it out. I spent so much time being told that I was almost there that I go above and beyond as a rule. I am the definition of a “catch.” So why don’t I believe that?

I believe every relationship brings you closer to being the best version of yourself and the take away on this one is that I have to be super careful about handing over my mind, body and soul. Even if I don’t believe it all the time, I am a powerhouse. And the person I am is the person (fill in the blank) is attracted to so becoming an extension of them instead is not good! Also, I have been scared to try and start dating and now I know it is okay and I am ready. Dating adventures…take one!

Professional Room Temperature Checker

Once upon a time there was a girl who only thought of herself and how to make herself happy and comfortable. She was selfish without realizing, she honestly believed that by taking care of her own destiny she would be making everyone around her content as well. “You can’t love others without loving yourself”…”you can’t make people happy without being happy with you”…”you do you” and all those cliches. People around her pointed it out (a boyfriend dedicated the song Cold As Ice by Foreigner to her at a club during a fight) or they followed her around like the goddess she just knew she was. Life was good. Or was it?!

All the narcissism was an act to cover the fact that she didn’t feel important or needed. Fake it till you make it was the true cliche she lived by–she just knew someday she would find the person who would make her want to care about someone other than herself. She even got married right away so she could have a reason to put someone else first. She didn’t know that at the time, just like she didn’t know that caring for her younger brother growing up instead of being a kid who was incapable of caring for others like a normal 4 year old was a huge reason for her codependency and whirlwind relationships.

Then she met someone who was so much more narcissistic and self important. Now, instead of being the rule maker and the front runner, SHE was the follower. She drank the kool-aid, she didn’t make a decision or have a thought without getting his superior opinion first. And again, she was unaware. She fell right in line with the belief that she was less than, she did not think twice about the fact that she had no original content anymore. She had finally found the person who she loved more than herself. The person she checked the temperature in the room for to be sure it was perfect. She could just put on a sweater or a short sleeve shirt if she was uncomfortable, how she felt was irrelevant.

When he left, she began to wake up. She looked around and realized she was temperature checking the room for everyone in it, she still felt like she was irrelevant. Even though she tried to go back to being the leader of the pack, she knew she wasn’t happy in that role.

She is still growing and changing, she always will be. She has found a new person to love and adore, except he doesn’t have a “love me fully or you are worthless” vibe surrounding him. And the funny thing is, she feels like she has known him her whole life. With all the “if I don’t take care of me no one will” decisions she had to make in her life, it is pretty clear that He was steering her then. She knows in her heart that everything that happens, every choice she has to make are put in front of her to help her become her best version of herself. She knows that when she is unsure or worried about something she can go to him and talk freely. And when life is good and things are going smoothly, she knows that He is steering that as well. Turns out He is always with her and always ready to listen. Life is good, for real this time.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope…Jeremiah 29:11

What kind of prayers are you afraid to pray?

I follow this woman om Instagram who goes to my church actually but she is a published Christian author. Today she posed the question: what kind of prayers are you afraid to pray? (She reposted the question from another Instagram, @thebiblerecap.)

After rolling it around in my mind for a little while I came up with this. I am afraid to pray for what I want for fear that I will be disappointed. When my Beloved was getting treatments for his cancer, I prayed that he would get better. I knew it was a long shot but at the very least the poison he put in his body should be working, right? I prayed every day that his tumors would shrink and we would have more time. When his first scan showed that his tumor had not shrunk, his Doctors were overjoyed. His agressive cancer had slowed down a bit and the tumors had maintained their size. I guess I should have been rejoicing with them but I was too busy thinking how stupid I was for believing that God was going to heal him. From that point on, I always add “or how ever your will needs this to be” or something along those lines so when my way is not His way, I am not flattened like a dried up worm on the sidewalk!

We are going through a crazy, unbelievable time right now and my prayers focus around the people in my life. I pray that if they get sick they will recover. I haven’t thrown in my “if that’s what you want” clause at the end for some reason, maybe because I am not praying for the disease to go away completely or for it to spare my loved ones?

I need to figure out how to move past this hurt and love my God with my whole heart–NOT if that is what his will desires. Of course he desires for me to love Him completely and I am holding back just a little. The thing is, I am not sure how to build that trust back up. Guess I have a little more thinking and praying to do!

 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Moving on up!

When you write a story, do you name it and then write about the name you chose? Or do you write a story and then come up with a name that “goes with it?” I realized today that I typically make a name, write a story, and then pick a brand new name that matches better. I like to be difficult hahaha!

I am not sure what to write and I don’t want to just make up a filler story so this one will be short and sweet. Been spending a little more time with my friend from church and I am enjoying his company. I am enjoying that fact that we are friends and we are getting to know each other without any pressure. I am a little more relaxed because he goes to my church and we pray before meals and stuff so he is probably not going to try and move into another stage of the relationship until we are both ready. It is pretty great!

He (my friend) and I talked today about forgiveness and how it is a daily prayer to forgive someone who has wronged you. I mentioned how it took probably 10 years to ask God to allow me to forgive my ex-husband for the bad marriage but there are very few things I need to pray to have God remove these days.

So my question to you is this–is there someone or something in your life that is just so huge that you need to ask God daily (or more!) to help you give it to him and not take it back at the end of the day so you can stress and worry about it again? I think I could give Him something every day to stop stressing about and just have faith that it will work out in His timing. But as a whole, I am really pretty good at not trying to solve these problems on my own. Another tool God has given me for my toolbox!

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Genesis 12-15

I know I skipped the beginning of Genesis. No excuses, I just started writing down my thoughts 🙂 So Genesis 12 through 15 is about Abraham (Abram at this time) and him moving away from his family and friends because God told him to. My question is this–would you do it?

I try to be a good Christian. I try to follow His plan and I try to ask His opinion about every big and little decision. But I have to be honest, I am not sure I would just pack up and leave. I mean, I live about 30 minutes from my family and friends. And that was by choice. I really appreciate my family when I see them I think the distance makes me enjoy them way more. But would I move like miles away? I guess if God asked, I would do it. But I wouldn’t be happy!

The other part of Genesis was about how Abram told Sarai to lie about being his wife. God punished Pharaoh for taking Sarai as one of his wives. Ok. So I get that Abram was worried about being killed for his wife. I am not sure how I would handle that situation so no judgement. But why doesn’t God punish him? Not only does God punish Pharaoh, but after giving him a stern “talking to” about it he gives Abram a bunch of stuff. I don’t know about you but in my world lying doesn’t get you rewarded!

One of the highlights of this passage for me was the side story about his nephew Lot. Lot loves his Uncle and chooses to uproot himself to go with him when he leaves his homeland. Lot becomes a successful person and has a lot of livestock and workers. When Lot and Abram’s workers start bickering and fighting over the land they were sharing, they decide to split up before it ruins their friendship. Abram decided. Ok, so maybe he isn’t just a jerk for making his wife lie. He felt so strongly about his nephew and their relationship that he sent him away. Just like God to put his faith in someone who has flaws but ultimately is a pretty great person. Kind of reminds me that even flawed, I am still chosen!


Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I 
will show you. Genesis 12:1

Job

Let me start by saying that I found this to be long and redundant. I am sorry and I will read it again in the future and wonder what I was thinking but for today, it just felt like it was going on and on. Maybe I am too cut and dry about stuff but I feel like it could have been a shorter book of the Bible. That being said, there was actually a lot going on in this book.

I know that Job was the most righteous. I know that what happened to him was just unimaginable. I understand that Job never blamed God for his misfortunes and tragedy, which made him all the more righteous. And probably burned Satan’s butt as a happy side note!

I get that Job’s wife and friends all tried to blame God or Job himself for what happened and Job never faltered from his undeniable faith in God. Over and over he seemed to be blaming himself for some sin that he doesn’t realize he commited. He curses his even being born, with the thought I am assuming that none of the people who worked for him would have lost their lives and his children would not have been born so they would not have died either.

Isn’t it funny how the default thought is to blame God? How many people have you talked to who said they stopped going to church because they lost their family member or their close friend died in an accident so they just can’t believe in a God who would make bad things happen. The thing is, believing in God is also believing that your life is not your own but instead is a book written by God that you get to live out. And just like in a good book, there has to be some conflict and tragedy to make it worth reading. I don’t know about you, but when I am reading through a hard part of a book I am truly hoping that everything is going to work out in the end.

I have tried to live my life the same way. When conflict arises (and I feel like I have had my share of conflict, although not all in the same day and time like Job!) I TRY to remember to thank God. When I am feeling like it is hopeless, I remember other times in my life when I felt that way and how God brought me through them. Usually stronger and more prepared for the next challenge!

I am not saying that I don’t have days when I feel weak. Just last Sunday I had a day where all I could do was hide under the covers and cry because life was just too much for me. But even through all of that, I knew that God had me. I don’t smile and walk blindly through my life but I do have a peace in my heart because I know that I am not walking through this world alone.

I am not even close to as righteous as Job. I am pretty sure if God and Satan were talking about which one of his children Satan should test, my name would not be in the conversation. As a matter of fact, I would not even be a “but what about…no, she did ‘fill in the blank’ so she won’t do” thought! But what I do have in common with Job is the inability to place blame on the Lord. When you have faith, you just KNOW that everything that happens is bringing you one step closer to being the person God has in mind for you to be. Isn’t that everyone’s goal, Christian or not, to be the best version of yourself?!

Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. Job 21:21-22

Herman’s Head

Does anyone remember that show? A guy lived a normal life but we got to be a part of what his different brain parts thought and did in every day situations. It was cool how everything had to work together and how the different parts had to communicate and figure stuff out. Even on TV life is a team effort!

I have been having problems at work with just that. Some of us work together but there is always that one lone wolf who wants to go it alone. The thing is, though, this job (and most jobs!) are way more effective when everyone does what they are supposed to do and leaves the other stuff to the people who do that stuff. There is no I in team and all that.

I am getting so worked up and there is nothing I can do about it. I am pretty good at letting stuff I have no control over go but for whatever reason I can’t seem to do it. It is making my stomach hurt all the time and I feel awful. Something’s gotta give! So I figured I would occupy my head a little more so I have less time to stress out.

I am doing a bible plan to read the Bible as it actually happened for a year and I am going to start giving my commentary here. I learn something new everytime I read it and writing down my thoughts will be interesting to go back and read.

So, starting tomorrow I am on it. I am reading Job right now and I gotta say–stop whining already! I will get more into it tomorrow 🙂

Hiding my light under a basket

Hi there! I was not planning on writing today but something happened that is threatening to send me into a spin. Jesus tells a parable about not lighting a lamp to cover it or put it under the bed but put it on a table so it can shine it’s light everywhere. Although not exactly what he meant, I feel like telling my story out loud is like putting that lamp out where it’s light will touch everyone around me. If I don’t talk about the grief or the anxiety when it hits me, it is akin to putting that light under a basket where I will know it is there but it won’t be seen and won’t be able to help anyone see the way.

My cousin sent me a Facebook invite to the annual Thanksgiving family Football game. It brought back memories of all the years previous with my Beloved and how much he looked forward to this tradition. I remembered when he threw a snow ball into the megaphone my Aunt was using to cheer her team (not his team!) during the first game he had participated in and how I was mortified and certain that no one would ever want me to bring him anywhere after that. Of course, everyone loved him and maybe even more because he stood up for his team even when he probably didn’t even know the names of the people he was playing with yet! I remembered how every year when we got the invitation he would say he wasn’t playing this year, he was too sore after last year’s game, blah blah blah. And then we would go and he would play. I remember that he never told me if his team won or lost, just about all the fun things that happened or how different people did stuff on the field. I remembered that last year he was barely walking and the idea of bringing him to this state park with its dirt road and grassy fields was too much to even plan. Even when Al was just getting to know us, he was a part of the family when it came to playing football. After crying on the couch, I responded to her invite with an enthusiastic “Can’t wait!” (Fake it till you make it, right?!) And I can’t wait for real. Even though every part of me wants to spend this holiday alone in my pjs, I don’t think that is what I am meant to do. My sister in law always tells me “Life is for the living, go live!

My Pastor talked about forgiveness in the last sermon and how it is truly for the person who is holding the grudge. I realized while he spoke that I am holding a grudge against Al for leaving me here to go through all this alone. I know it isn’t realistic to be mad at someone for something they couldn’t control, and I am sure if he could have Al would be here. Still, I need to be angry at someone so why not be mad at someone who can’t fight back or defend themselves, right? I wrote Al’s name on a piece of paper and put it at the foot of the cross. Symbolic but also part of my memory now. Whenever I start to feel that anger bubbling up I recall writing his name down and giving it to God to take away the feelings of hurt. Maybe it is simplistic, but that truly helps me to stop and thank God for the experience.

I am trying my hardest to be a light in the darkness for those who will go through this experience. It isn’t always easy (actually, it is almost always NOT easy!) but God gave me the power of a voice while Al was sick and I don’t think it was a tool he wanted me to use then and discard after!

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehamiah 8:10

The Highs and Lows

Day 16 talks about the highs and lows in my days. More specifically, being thankful for the highs and lows in every day life. It is easy to be thankful for the good stuff and ignore or even be mad at God when bad things happen (even “simple” things like a missed cab or getting cut off in the grocery store!). But just like all the other days, having a grateful heart revolves around being able to recognize and appreciate that sometimes bad things happen but they are all for the purpose of making you the person God knows you should be.

When my kids were little, we had a practice of starting each dinner by going around the table and talking about our days. Each person would say something bad that happened, something good that happened, and how they would make tomorrow better. They were not allowed to say anything insignificant or lame. I know that even small things can make a big impact in our day but truthfully, they were likely to say something just to have their turn be over. By making them pick something significant, I was making them really think about the responses before they gave them. The point in starting this tradition was not to instill a grateful heart inside them but rather to have an opening to let them tell me about their day without being a nag or without them saying “fine” when I asked how their day had been. Now that my daughters have children of their own, they have told me they wanted to have that same talk over the dinner table when the kids were old enough. They recognize that it was a good way to have a conversation with moody kids!

I would like to say that I practice gratitude in all parts of my life but I would be lying. I am grateful for the difficult stuff when I am writing in this blog but not in every day life. A new habit I need to get into is saying thank you when someone cuts me off at the grocery store. Maybe I will get back into the habit from long ago and tell God the good the bad and how tomorrow will be better!

Give thanks to our Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. And say “Save us God of our salvation, gather us and rescue us from the nations so that we may give thanks to your holy name and rejoice in your praise.

1 Chronicles 16:34-35

Lucky Day 13

Hey there! Like I said in a previous post, I am returning to my 21 days of Gratitude Bible plan. I have completed the plan but it was kind of nice to dissect each day here. So without further ado…Day 13! (Que the applause…)

Day 13 is about focusing on the Lord instead of on the “stuff” of this world. The reflect asks what I catch myself focusing on; and whether there is anything in my focus that I need to lay down so I can shift my focus to my Creator. Hmm. This is a hard one because I don’t focus on either!

I am realizing that I don’t dig too deep into every day occurrences. I would like to think it is because I don’t want to cause any waves in my world. Ignorance is bliss and I can’t forget something once I have learned it. I used to be told that it was because I had a weak mind (whatever that means!) and so I tried to really pay attention and learn stuff about the world around me. It was exhausting!

When someone is mean or disrespectful, I usually just assume that something in their life is really bad because people of good. They just have bad seasons. I have never been a person who stresses about money. I have a job that I love and I make enough money to get by and save a little. I have not thought about how I wish I made more or what I could buy. I don’t look at other women and think I wish I had their…fill in the blanks. As unhealthy as it is to see nothing but flaws in yourself, it is equally bad to think you don’t have any! Don’t get me wrong, I know I have flaws. But I genuinely believe that my good qualities far exceed the bad ones. I am coming to realize that I have always known I was special, I just didn’t realize it was because I am a child of God!

I guess the one place I definitely turn my attention away from my Creator is when I start trying to write my story without waiting to see how it is going. More specifically, when I am thinking about who I will spend the rest of my life with. It will happen when God decides it will happen, but that doesn’t stop me from looking at every guy who steps in my path and wondering how to make them love me hahaha. I need to focus on the Lord and know that He will let me know when “the one” comes into my life.

My Pastor friend and his wife reminded me to just keep praying that God will open doors for me when it is the appropriate time. So keeping my focus on God instead of myself to solve this “problem” and I will have peace about it. He said that when he turned his attention to God, he was still lonely (of course) but all the stress in finding a wife left him. God took that from him and left him with the feeling that it would all work out. I have changed up my prayers and I do feel better already. Of course, I still ask myself when I meet someone new if this could be “the one.” Then I pray for God to lead me to the person I am meant to be with and if it is this person, let me know.

So that is it in a nutshell. Changing my focus to the Creator and knowing in my heart that my life is not my own and will work out the way it is meant to. Sounds easy, hopefully it is! It has only been a day and the ball of stress in my chest has loosened up. Focusing on God truly does take my mind off how I can make my life work in my way!

Philippians 2:16 “holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”