I Am That Girl

When I was a little girl….and well into college, I used to pray that my life would not be normal. From an early age I wanted to serve God in a grand way.

Of course, I assumed that would include marriage and a family. Duh.

Growing up, there were always a handful of “older” single women in my life. I remember them as fun and dynamic. They were involved in ministry and poured into my life in some form or fashion. That’s why I knew them. And loved them.  But as much as I admired them, I did not want to be one of them.

I always thought marriage and a family was a given in life. Until it was not.

The other day I was in Target, walking down the aisles.

Thinking.

Daydreaming.

About life. God’s plans. My plans.

And in a moment of clarity, I realized I AM THAT GIRL!!!

I am the “older” single woman.

Who is fun and dynamic. Involved in ministry. Who still dreams of marriage but has accepted that it might not be in the cards. At least at this point in life. Who is going for it. Regardless. Living life to the full. No matter the season.

And the truth is… I really like being that girl. Her life is pretty great. 

What I judged in my youth, is actually a gift.

Getting ready this morning, I had a bit of a hangover. A vulnerability one. Because when I wrote about my year without romance, I opened up my heart a bit too much. I feel like I showed my guts to the world. And they spilled out a little.

Because I’m 38 years old. A grown woman.

Friends my age are navigating life with teenagers. Mortgages. College funds and daycare. Parents who are sick. Possibly dying.

And my deepest struggled is still boys??? Are you kidding me???

But it is. I could lie and pretend it isn’t. But then I would be keeping a secret. And living from a lie. And lies destroy us. And then we eat our feelings. Or worse.

And I don’t think I am alone in this.

When I think about the people I care about,  I think there are plenty like me.

Who are living lives they never imagined. Or judged in their youth.

Maybe you are one of us. Maybe you are the mom where your life and family look like a crazy hot mess busy. And you always swore your kids would not act like that in a grocery store. Until they did. All the time. And maybe you realized life isn’t about being the perfect mom. It’s about being available. And messy. And it’s beautiful.

Or maybe you are that career gal. Sex in the City style. Or suburbs. Who is working her way up the ranks. You’re a leader. Shaping the future. Of a company. Of a planet. Of a generation. Getting to invest in people. Earning enough to give in ways you never imagined. You own your own home. You travel when you want. You do what you want. God is allowing you to use your gifts and talents and you are a person of influence. And while it wasn’t the life you dreamed of, it’s actually pretty great.

Or maybe you are that married lady. (Or single woman) Who is amazing. Whose life is blessed and beautiful. Whose relationships are fulfilling and job is awesome.

But.

You long for babies. And it creates an ache deep inside that won’t be silenced. That cries out to God. Over and Over. And over again. You have done everything you can. To make the dream come true. And then later, silence the cries. But it won’t work. The longing won’t fade. And so you live your life. Full and amazing. To the best of your ability. Trusting God is writing your story. All the while, hoping and praying. That maybe one day. You’ll get to see a flutter of a heartbeat grow to maturity. And you have learned to live with the pain, Maybe it has actually become a place of ministry. Of healing. Of hope for others. And even though you would you trade it all in tomorrow, you see God’s hand. And know that He is with you on the journey.

I think in some way, we are all “that girl.” The one living someone else’s life. Dreaming of a different one.

I just finished a book called “Looking for Lovely” by Annie Downs. It’s all about how she looks for God in everyday moments. To see and acknowledge His hand. In her life. If there are any chubby girls in the house-this book could be our manifesto. If you want to see your inner most thoughts on paper, she spills her guts in the first few chapters. To set up the story.

Brene Brown calls it Daring Greatly. A life of gratitude. Leads to wholehearted living.

Ann Voskamp wrote 1000 Gifts. Same idea. Finding joy by being thankful.Seeing the gifts amidst the pain.

If you are reading this and think you might be “that girl.” The one you loved but didn’t want to be. Or judged and prayed you never would become.

Embrace her. 

Take a moment and find the lovely.  The beauty. Be thankful for the good. Find the joy. 

It’s there.

Because our God is good. He writes beautiful stories. With plot twists. Climax. And denouement.

You might just be in the middle of a really powerful tale of God’s love and redemption. That seems to be His favorite theme.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

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A Year without Romance | embracing singleness | how to do single well

A Year Without Romance.

Last summer, I felt like the Lord asked me to give up romance.

Novels.

Music.

Movies. 

For those of you who are still getting to know me, this was a hard ask.

Because.

I am a champion of love!!

A Year Without Romance | I am a champion of love | The girl who lives in my head | 

 

I love all things romance.

And may or may not have a matchmaker sash to prove it.

I have whiled away many hours reading yummy Christian fiction. And teen fiction. And tween fiction. And chick-lit. Love stories. They are like candy to me. I don’t read tragedies. Life is hard enough. I want to be swept away.

I heart meet/cutes. Of any kind. Of all kinds. They lived happily ever after, yes please!

I may or may not plan my holiday social life around Hallmark Christmas movies. Oooo, your Christmas party is on the 13th at 6pm? Let me check my calendar.

Seriously. Hallmark movies are pretty much why I heart Christmas.  I mean, besides Jesus’ birth. And time with the family. And the food.

So of course when I heard the Lord ask me to give it up for a year, I wanted to make sure it was Him and not me talking.

It started with a random thought while driving down the road. It went a little something like this…

    You should give up romance for a year. Nope. Turns up T. Swift on the radio.

A few days later…

    No really. I think there is something to that idea of quitting romance. Just give up the music and movies for one year. What’s the worst that could happen?

   The worst that could happen!?! Some amazing guy would move to Maui and I would miss him because I’ve given up romance.  Turns up Blake Shelton on the radio.

Sometime after that I wrote this in my journal.

Papa G-Help me to trust you. My heart is so full, so happy, so pleased. And yet, I don’t understand why I haven’t met my counterpart. I see the picture dimly. And I make up all sorts of wrong conclusions. It’s painful to me. My heart. My confidence. Our relationship. What is the Truth? Why am I still alone? Is there something broken in me that needs to be fixed or is it just  a timing issue. I see this whole thing imperfectly. Would you speak to my soul and answer my heart’s most intimate question? If it is because I’m broken-will you please fix me? Mend me. Make me whole. I know that you are the God who sees me. I lay down this desire at your cross once again and choose to trust you and wait patiently for you.

 

After seeing my heart in writing, I realized that it was time to obey.

And give up romance.

novels.

music.

And movies for a year. 

It hasn’t been as hard as I imagined*. 

 

And the results have been incredible.

Why???

Because the desire to be married no longer consumes me.

There have been (many) seasons where I been 100% content with being single. And there have been (many) seasons where I have not. Been content.

 

Being single.

 

And when I am not content it is not pretty. Every time my brain is not occupied. When it at rest. When I’m driving. Or laying down to sleep. The desire to be married becomes my focus.

Or worse. The reasons why I must not be marriage material become my obsession. Focus.

It’s exhausting.

It’s debilitating.

It steals my joy.

And binds my soul.

To the wanting.

 

And I know God sees this. And wants so much more for me.

So He whispered the solution. Give up romance. So I did.

My friend Kimberly is always talking about idols.

And the Southern girl in my wants to scream. Because I heard idolatry pounded from the pulpit.

But usually she is right. And she is lovingly trying to bring something to my attention. That is not serving me well.

Matt Chandler says it this way:

Matt Chandler | Idolatry quote | When you take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing, you guarantee that thing will drive you into the ground.

 

 

And that’s what the desire to be married had become. An ultimate thing. And knowing my track history, that’s a really dangerous place to be.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking…if it is an issue, why not kill it off? That desire.

 Makes sense.

It would definitely be easier. SO MUCH EASIER. To make the choice. To kill off desire.

To just decide, I’m not going to get married. I choose singleness. Done. And just live from there.

Because in essence…desire brings pain. So kill desire, kill pain. Right?

Oh wait. That’s Buddhism.

And I don’t think that is what God wants me to do. Kill my heart off.

Instead, He’s asking me to give up control. By surrendering. All my desires.

And to trust Him with them. All of them.

 

And wait. On His timing.

 

It is much harder to choose hope. Than to kill desire.

It actually takes great faith.

So He whispered a solution.

Make me the Supreme Romance of your life. Desire me. My love. My heart. My attention. My affection.

Only that’s not what He said. Because I wouldn’t have understood what He meant.

But when He asked me to lay aside what I thought was romance,

 

He filled in the gaps.

 

And set my heart on fire.

 

For Him. And Him alone.

 

And when my mind is at rest, I’m no longer obsessing.

I’m living. A beautiful story. That He is writing.

With an open hand and surrendered heart.

At least for today.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

 

P.S. I am in no way advocating anyone giving up romance or anything of the sort. This is my issue. My journey.

P.S.S. In an effort at full disclosure, I have had a lapse or two in the movie department. When I was with my parents at Christmas. And maybe that one time in February. Around Valentines Day.

 

Dreams Do Come True. 

Not too long ago I got this in the mail.

special delivery

 With this inside.

presents!!!

And this.

James Bible Study

Love this Lady!!

 To say it made my year, would be an understatement.

Here’s the story of how it all unfolded.

When I first met Alyssa’s future husband Jeff, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Granted, at the time of our meeting, the poor guy was on display, surrounded by people trying to figure out if he was good enough for Alyssa. Turns out he was. So around the time she said goodbye to Maui and moved back home, they fell in love. And I was super stoked because I had been rooting for him.

 

 

Then this happened.

 

Anyway. The next time I saw this guy it was at their wedding and he was already famous and I was super intimidated.

 

He had just become BFF with Beth Moore. And for those of you who don’t know me, Beth Moore is kind of my jam. I can drop a relevant Beth quote in almost any conversation. Because her bible studies have had a profound impact on my life. And God uses people to shape me.

 

Beth Moore Pic

Here’s me at First Baptist in Houston for a Siesta Scripture Memory Weekend. And the closest I’ve ever gotten to Wanda Beth. (I’m in the middle left) I was way to nervous to try to meet her. Plus we all know I would just freeze anyway.

Now, if you remember, I get nervous around celebrities and Jeff had just hit celebrity status. So, my way of handling my nerves was to tell him, “I’m not quite sure we can ever truly be friends because deep down I will always wonder if I’m just using you to get to Beth Moore.” (Insert cute shrug)

 Well, Jefferson is a class act and a perfect match for Alyssa.

 And now that they live in Maui,  I’m getting to know Jeff on a whole ‘nother level.(Insert fajitas comment here) And it is such a blessing. The character that Jeff demonstrates reminds me of David. He’s got such a teachable heart, humble spirit and just a tenderness about him in the way that he loves Lys. And don’t get me started on how much he loves Kins.

Right before they moved back Alyssa sent me a text that Jeff had surprise for me that was going to rock my world. My immediate response was “Did he pack Beth Moore in his suitcase???”

Well Beth Moore didn’t quite make it to Maui, yet. (Fingers crossed) But her assistant did send me a package in the mail.

And when I texted Alyssa thank you. She informed me it was all Jeff. Having Alyssa back on Maui is a dream come true. Having her with her amazing husband and sweet family is icing on the cake.

So I texted him back.

text

Love , Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head.

PS This is actually my favorite video of his. I like how courageous and raw it is. Probably because of this

 

If My Life Had Gone as Planned.

When I moved back, it felt like everybody and their brother got married.

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And it was awesome. We had lots of fun.

Cardboard Sledding

And then, they all started popping out the babies. And that was pretty sweet.

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But then apparently, babies change things.

My social life as I knew it changed.

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So I stretched my wings and met some new people.

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And that’s when I met these crazy girls.

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And they changed my life for the better.

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We went on long drives in Blanche.

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And got our craft on.

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And laughed.

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A lot.

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And became dear friends. Who walked through all kinds of seasons together.

It was wonderful.

And then…

They hung around another year.

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And our friendship went even deeper.

We talked about God. Our hopes and dreams for the future.

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We went on crazy adventures. Talked about life, love and boys.

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And then Alyssa moved away.

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And fell in love with this guy.

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So of course, we went to the wedding.

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And had a ball. Catching up, laughing and dancing the night away.

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And now she and her sweetheart just moved back to Maui!! And brought a little extra something to the party.

(Sorry Kins, I know it’s not the most flattering shot)

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Risa stayed on Maui a little longer.  And our friendship went even deeper. We had a blast. Late night laundry chats. Laying in my bed eating ice cream. Talking about everything under the sun.

(I also got to know this amazing lady)

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And then in a fairytale, Risa met a boy at Young Life camp. And they fell in love. He popped the question. The stars magically aligned and Alyssa and I got the privilege to help her pick out her dress.

(Ring the Bell, Baby)

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So of course, we went to the wedding.

here comes the bride

Here’s the handsome man who swept her off her feet.

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And now, they have a little bun in the oven.

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And I can’t wait to meet him!!!

This is just a snapshot of a few of the amazing women that God has brought into my life. And I adore them all.

Sometimes when we are in a season of life that we wish was different, we can overlook what is right in front of us. I’m so thankful that my life has not gone according to plan. I would have missed out on so many amazing relationships and adventures. I would not trade anything for the the friendships God has given me. If I were married with kiddo’s I would not have been able to invest in these women with the faithfulness, depth and drop everything mentality that being single allowed me to do. I try very hard to not take it for granted. Because it won’t always be this way.

So, the question of the day.

Is there anyone or anything in your life that you are overlooking because you want things to be different? Are there people you could be investing in or things you could be doing because of the way God has designed this season of life? What is keeping you from going for it?

Sorry I Skipped Your Baby Shower

Dear Friend,

Baby showers make my knees sweat.

It started about five years ago.

I used to adore them. I can still remember the first one I ever attended as a little girl with my mother in Tennessee. Women in beautiful dresses. Tiny sandwiches. Pink watermelon balls. Refreshing beverages.Beautiful ribbons and bows. Itty bitty bits of baby delights.

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And then I grew up and graduated college. Time passed and my friends started having babies. One. Then two. Some four.  First day of kindergarten pics turned into junior high. And more time passed. So I made new friends. Younger friends.

And now my news feed is filled with ultrasounds, baby bumps and adorable announcements like this one.

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How adorable is that?

And I love it. I’m so excited to meet these little people.

I mean, how can you not love these  faces??

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I mean seriously. Bring on the babies!!

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I LOVE being an Aunty.

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But if I’m honest. Baby showers strike a chord deep within me that makes my womb ache.

It’s different from wedding showers. Wedding showers fill me with HOPE. Every new love story I hear reminds me that anything is possible and that Mr. Right could step off the plane tomorrow. (I live on an island)

Baby showers are trickier for me. Sitting there, trying to balance my refreshing beverage and plate of tiny sandwiches, I feel like a fraud. An imposter. It feels like I have nothing to bring to the party. Literally and figuratively. Your life is about to change in ways I will never understand. And I get that. I just don’t know how to fully relate to it.

I tend to leave these festive events feeling overwhelmed by how far behind I am compared to everyone else. With no hope in sight. Time is ticking and the clock might have run out. So when everyone starts doling out advice and telling their funny little stories, I will sit there and begin to do math. If I meet someone tomorrow and we date for two years…and then wait two years…and it all spirals downhill from there.

I mean, I was the girl who started dreaming of marriage and children straight out of the womb. Life didn’t quite go as planned. And as I told my dad after he read  Pushing Through the Lonelies (he was worried about his little girl),  87% of the time, I love my life.

But baby showers touch that part of my soul that is raw and disappointed. And I don’t want to bring that to your party. You deserve to be with women who can celebrate with you, wholeheartedly. And most days I can.

Here’s the crazy part. Please don’t stop inviting me. Because I want to come. And when I RSVP  yes on your adorable invitation, I have dreams of women in beautiful dresses. Tiny sandwiches. Pink watermelon balls. Refreshing beverages.Beautiful ribbons.  Itty bitty bits of baby delights.

It’s just if by chance I “get sick” or “something” comes up, please know that I love you very much and honestly couldn’t be more excited for you. It’s just, I’m having a little trouble being happy for me. And as lame as that is…it’s the truth.

So please forgive me…

And I’ll make it up to you in free babysitting….

Once they’re a toddler. (and I can no longer accidentally break them)

 

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives in My Head