Pullin a Paul.

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Three Christmas’ ago I had a housewarming/Christmas party for some of my closest friends at the time. I had about 9 ladies come over for spaghetti and the best of Christmas games and festivities. In my own creative fashion, I decided to put a spin on dirty Santa, and decided I wanted to “mug” Santa this Christmas. So, I purchased about 12 blank mugs in diverse sizes and colors, then pinterested quotes until I found one I felt would be fitting for each of the beauties that would be in attendance. I painted each quote for 12  unique mugs. As per usual, some ladies had to cancel due to holiday responsibilities, so after all of the Santa mugging I was left with three of the cups I had created. This particular cup, found its home in my cabinet.

I had chosen the quote,

“He offered her the world, She said she had her own.”

for a friend of mine.

My mug said,

You’re allowed 5 emotional minutes in your day, then you gotta be a gangsta.”

Fitting, I know.

Of course, with my obsession for coffee, you’d think that every coffee cup in my home would get regular use…. but you’re underestimating the amount of mugs I hold ownership off. I’m pretty sure I end up getting a new one every holiday, and that is in no way a complaint.

This particular mug reappeared when I moved into my current apartment and found its way to my mug centerpiece and then into my hand this past week. I filled my cup, then wondered over to the fridge, sitting the cup on my stove as I needed two hands to be careful not to drop my carton of creamer, not that I’ve done that before or anything. When I stopped, backed up, and looked at the mug, sitting on the stove burner, I couldn’t help but see an analogy. Bear with me.

I am 25 years old.

I have a bachelors degree in mathematics education.

I graduate in May with a Masters in Teacher Leadership with a Mathematics emphasis.

I am currently teaching high school mathematics for the fourth year at my alma mater.

I attend an amazing church and stay involved in so many beautiful aspects.

I work at our local gym, teaching swim lessons for young kids.

I regularly volunteer time with my family serving at our local Food Pantry.

I have my own apartment in town, with my own vehicle parked outside.

 

All of these things that could be considered accomplishments. All very attainable with time and focus. All filling my schedule to the brim. Still, on a regular basis, the world tells me I haven’t achieved the norm. I haven’t accomplished enough, because I am single.

I am the coffee cup believing I have my own world to live and embrace, but I am sitting upon the burning ways of this world.

Scrolling through a Facebook feed, Instagram timeline, or even walking through church can sometimes be painful. Hearing, “Awe honey, the Lord is preparing the right one for you” or “The right time will come” are all words meant in loving support, but realistically is this something we should believe?

I attended a church gathering around a year ago and had the opportunity to sit and chat with many christian peers I admire and look up to. One individual I was seated with during my meal happened to be an elderly lady who is a clergy. As we sat and enjoyed our meal, she said something that smacked me so hard in the face.

She said,

“Dear, I didn’t meet my husband until I was fifty one years old, and I sure wasn’t searching for him. I knew I alone had to bring one hundred percent to my Lord every single day, and if a man came along wanting to offer the Lord one hundred percent beside me, then that’s up to the good Lord, and together we can offer him two hundred percent.”

WHAT. A. PERSPECTIVE. I don’t even know if I responded to her. I honestly think I just sat there pondering the weight that statement held. How often do we hear people say, “He completes me?” or “They’re my other half.” Don’t get me wrong, I have been one of those people in relationships past.

So, taking those wise words, I decided to dig into my Bible…

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:11-12

 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Mark 12:25

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:32–34

Now, let me be clear, the Bible shares that marriage is a gift, a beautiful one to be cherished, I am not taking away from that! I am simply sharing my discoveries on singleness and the perspectives I feel, personally.

Singleness is something to be cherished. For far to long, I thought singleness was somewhat of a punishment, or a result of past mistakes, and I was in turn missing out on precious time to grow. Time to spend chasing after the relationship our father intended to have with us. A time to bring all of our attention to his kingdom.

Singleness has it’s struggles, the two most common struggles of singles are loneliness and sexual temptation. Our worlds stance on these two can quickly lead singles astray, as it even can those in relationships. Christianity in the culture we live in requires continual pursuit of relationships with friends and family, particularly those who will keep you accountable and desire to join you on your daily quest of a life focused on the Lord. Pressing forward in pursuit of the real prize, we spend our time on this earth chasing after that which would make our father above proud; spreading love and hope. Singleness brings us time to focus it all on on him, our father in heaven, as Paul did.

I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. -1 Corinthians 7:7

Lastly, Rather than find comfort in the words of hope of an earthly relationship, we singles can find comfort in that while singleness may be a chapter or a story of our lives in this world, It is not a permanent state:

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. -Revelation 7:17, 19:7


You are already a Bride, be sure to make yourself ready, daily, for our heavenly relationship, above all others.

He offered her the world, She said she had her own.♥

If I died in college, I would’ve gone to hell.

If I died in college, I would’ve gone to hell.

That may sound harsh, but it’s a life changing realization I had to genuinely grasp.

img_9663-e1522235984262.jpgThe person I was then, the person I am today, they’re two very different people. While they share many positive characteristics such as a servant’s heart, openness to talk to anyone, forgiving nature, and willingness to embrace tasks benefiting and helping others while sacrificing one’s own desires, I was far from a walk through the pearly gates on my way out.

The world we live in today, is a world of self-gratification.

You want it? Go get it… Sounds fun? Go ahead and do it… You want to eat that? Eat all of it… That’s going to make you happy? Embrace it.      

We are Eve, in the garden of Eden. All of these sins, are the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We have the entire garden, all of its glory, at our command, but Satan simply makes the one fruit we can’t have, the most appetizing to our sight. How bad could it be if it tastes so good, feels so right, or makes me happy right now?

We want to play God, {make our own choices, live our own way} and we lose.

Growing up, I always “understood” the “Rules”. I’d say I understood the things the Bible told us we’re “bad”, But did the Bible ever really say that? I “knew” sex was bad, but now, I read about how it is a gift – A gift to be shared within a marriage. I knew gluttony was wrong, but now I see how much healthy choices make me feel and live so much happier. I felt the guilt that would come with lying, stealing, or gossip, but now I know the relief of knowing that my conscious is clear and I have had no part of those wrongdoings. There was never meant to be a list of rules to follow…. but rather a relationship to be had. A Saving Grace of Love, Peace, & Joy.

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. -Philippians 2:15

You see, the difference is I have a personal relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. -Often times, we are so willing to invest in earthly relationships, yet offer no real time to a heavenly one unless it is convenient. Oh how guilty I was of this.- By no means does this mean I’m perfect, for we are all sinners in a sinful world. What it does mean is that I started to read his letters to me (the Bible), spend time in his house, embrace his other children, and speak to him, and slowly, I noticed changes. I noticed it was easier to say no to the fried pickles. I noticed I stopped putting myself in positions that made the bad choices too easy. I noticed that when people came up to me saying, “I need to talk to you about something” my stomach no longer fell through my butt because I didn’t know what I had done wrong this time.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:2

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame. -1 Corinthians 15:34

The massive checklist of sins I always felt I had to avoid, was in fact no checklist at all. My father above loves me. Man, he loves me more than anyone on this earth ever has. As a parent, he wants to guide and protect my life. He wants to see me flourish and to do far more than I even know I am capable of, and to do so he gave me a few tips along the way….

“Darling, don’t give yourself to that boy, the future is unpromised and he himself isn’t even sure what he wants from his life.”

“Sweet Girl, have a treat, but be sure to nourish yourself so that you can be fit enough to carry the children around the nursery, run with the youth at the Easter egg hunt, and aid your stepfather in tasks around home. Wouldn’t want your elders to outlive you.”

“My Child, see the best in people, and let nothing come out of your mouth that would cause others to stumble away from my love.”


Matthew 7:13-27 states, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name, perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”


While there are a plethora of important, powerful, and moving passages in the good book, this one, to me, is probably the clearest.

In my college chapter of life, my fruit was not so sweet, and my House was a bit shaky. I chose to be of this world, and while I knew the name of Jesus and believe that he was the son of our father God, I didn’t know him personally. I didn’t talk to him, or desire to understand him. I didn’t thrive off my studies or try to stand out from the crowd. I chose to be a house on the sand, probably a nice house, with lots of friends visiting, but no doubt the water came and washed that house away. There was no foundation, no strength, until I found my strength in the one greater than anything this world has to offer.

For in him you have been enriched in every way. -1 Corinthians 1:5

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:18

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. {Proverbs 27:17}

Have you ever been to a play? I recently went to watch one of the delightful girls in my youth group perform in a play at her high school. It was so perfect! Taylor and all of her peers dressed up as under the sea characters for the mermaid Jr. It was adorable… Sebastian, Flounder, Ursula, Ariel, the Prince…. Guys, I loved every second.

It had me thinking a lot, though. Sometimes, life fly’s by so fast for us that we see it as more of a movie, but just how beautiful it is to see things   s l o w e d   d o w n   a bit. To see the hard work that goes in to setting up each set, the lights go off but you can see the shuffle that occurs on stage rapidly to get all the right pieces and characters into position to make the scene just perfect.

See, God is the producer of our lives. He knows the exact pieces and precisely where they belong for the perfect presentation for the world we’re living in.

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Recently, one of my college roommates and best friends Savy wrote me(<<<She’s the hottie on the right). She brought up just how hard it is to form friendships as we get older and how challenging it is not having the friendships with those surrounding us every day, as we did then. Of course, when you’re living and playing college soccer together, between living arrangements, the pitch, campus, and adopting each others families, pretty much your entire existence is spent together for those four years. Those bonds are unique and forever. She was so right, that I had not held friendships like those, since. Often, I miss them, and I wonder why God felt the need to send all of my best friends to Sweden, IMG_2039Nebraska, Louisville, Amsterdam, Random states here and there, and to the farthest parts of Kentucky, yet leave me here in Home Sweet Ohio County.

But you see, God already knows my play. He has set the stage and he has offered me all the supporting characters I need for HIS purpose. Friendships come, some go, some add a little distance, some adapt. That doesn’t make any role less or more important, for they all are for, from, and through God.

 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. {Proverbs 18:24}

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. {Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. {Proverbs 12:26}

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We Boast in the Hope of the Glory of God

Have you ever read something – whether a caption, a book, a quote, maybe a billboard (Sometimes I need something that big for me to notice) – that just caught your attention? Making you ponder and question it to the core? It ignites a fire down in your soul and gave you the desire to press forward in a new direction, as if life hasn’t already sent you in enough directions already? For me, the book of Romans has done just that. It has brought me comfort, hope, and drive. It reminded me of the need to Boast in the hope of the glory of God. -Romans 5:2. Whether in suffering or prosperity, we were called to be obedient. But what does that look like in the world today?

In Romans 11:36 the bible states,

“For from him and through him and for him are all things.”

ALL things. This verse twisted me inside. It brought to light the truth that all of the choices I make each day should have a proper vision. My eyes, mouth, heart, and hands, all set towards HIM.

In Romans 10:8 the bible states, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” Will we fail? Oh yes, every day we will stumble, but our reassurance is in Romans 11:11 when we are comforted in, “Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!” Whew, we even got an exclamation mark there! And I am thankful for that exclamation, that I am never beyond his love and grace.

Romans has challenged me to share my stories, my trials, my life, through this Blog. Of course, as the rest of the world, I am a sinner who has fallen short many times before, as I will continue to do so. I can only pray that through sharing my adventures, my stories, and my trials, that this will be somewhat of my gift to you, as I have received the gift of shared life from many who have gone before me.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

-Romans 12:6-8

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