Thursday, November 28, 2013

Beauty in the broken

This past year, particularly the last few months, have been filled with a roller coaster of emotions and hardships.  There have been challenges at work, significant family problems, and feelings of incredible loneliness.  I have friends that I love, yet since I am one of the few single ones, these relationships that I value tend to be primarily by appointment.  I completely understand and respect the fact that my friends' priorities lie with their own families, where they should be, but it can be taxing coming back to my place and being the only one who occupies that space.  Times when the loneliness hits tend to be when my friends are enjoying their family time and so I feel as though I would be intruding on some level if I were to reach out.

Truthfully, I want someone to come home to; someone to share life with.  Especially during the times of brokenness, I wish I had someone with whom I could curl up next to and share the depths of my heart.  I've had some pretty intense moments of brokenness lately as I learn to let go of preconceived notions of how my life would be.  Allowing others to be who they are, even when their choices are hurting me.  To honour the process of healing that my loved ones are walking through while my heart is breaking.

My one constant is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I'm starting to understand that He truly loves me, unconditionally, just as I am right now.  He embraces my brokenness, my weaknesses, and my failures.  He's not afraid of who I am, even when the sight isn't very pretty to behold.  He won't love me more if I do more for His glory and He won't love me any less if I stop doing what He desires me to do.  I am safe with Jesus, especially my heart.

In His presence, I am stripped of all pretenses, all attempts at being strong in my own eyes.  I merely am who I am.  Yet somehow, God looks at me and only sees the beauty that He has placed there.  I feel valued and cherished beyond measure, not for what I can do, but rather for who I am...imperfections and all.  There is no guilt or shame in His presence and I am learning to rest in the comfort of God's embrace.

As much as I long for companionship and my own love story, the ability to turn to God first when feelings of brokenness and loneliness are threatening to swallow me whole is a habit that I highly value.  No human being will be able to be everything to me at all times.  When I seek God's heart and perspective during the storm, He opens my eyes to the hope I still have in Him.  I also begin to see the good that He has already been bringing about in my situation as well as the good that He has in store.  I am trusting that He will bring healing and restoration: that there will be beauty in the broken.  This pain will not be wasted, but rather, turned into a monument of God's grace and mercy in my life.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Matter of Time

Sometimes I consider myself a patient person, other times, not at all.  When I'm waiting for something that I really want, it can be hard to wait with a good attitude.  Marriage and having a family would definitely rank as things I want as well as am looking forward to with all my heart.  However, no husband or even potentials yet.  I question God at times, wondering why He hasn't "seen fit" to bring my man into my life yet.  I get frustrated and discouraged occasionally.

Lately though, I've been feeling that I need to focus on and be thankful for what I do have rather than what I do not.  I do have family and friends that love me, a great job, a nice place to live, and opportunities to minister to others in ways that maybe I wouldn't be able to if I was married already.  I am in a unique season of opportunity and growth and I plan on taking full advantage of it.

In regards to timing, yes, I would like to meet my future husband sooner rather than later.  One thing that struck me today though was that I have done a lot of growing and working through baggage the last few years.  If I had been married already, it would have been more difficult to work through those issues while directly affecting someone else that I was spending my life with.  I also wouldn't be writing this blog.

If remaining single longer means that my husband and I have the chance to grow up more, becoming the fullness that God has called us to be, as well as having unique ministry opportunities, then I am grateful for this time of singleness.  I was reading through someone's testimony of how, when she was only 15, she purposed to put aside the next five years to focus solely on God and not be distracted by guys.  After that period of time, she met her husband.  My first thought was, maybe I could give it until my next birthday which is in March as I didn't even want to wait a whole year.  After thinking it through some more, I realized that I would rather have to wait another year or two, even longer, if that would bring the most glory to God.

The passing of time can be exciting as it draws us closer to hoped for fulfillments of dreams, but it can also be depressing as that much more time has gone by without the realization of those same dreams.  It's all a matter of perspective.  Although I know there will still be times that I struggle with being single, I choose to focus on the good that comes from this time and not try to rush God because I'm impatient.

I will continue praying for my husband as well as praying that any obstacles in the way of us being together be torn down through the power of Jesus' name.  I will also be choosing to thank God for the blessings He has placed in my life, even if they aren't the ones that I wish I had.  There is value in every moment of every day.  I look forward to enjoying those moments, both as a single woman, and eventually, as a wife and mother.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What is your motivation?

The motivation of love is 100% more powerful and effective than the motivation of fear or hate.  It also has positive long term effects.  The majority of my life was lived out of fear: fear of punishment, fear of rejection, or fear of failure.  I look at the growth I experienced during the first couple decades of my life and see that although I was a Christian since a very young age, it was a very slow growing process.  In the last few years though, since God began setting me free of many negative mindsets, I've had an entirely different experience.
With a motivation of love, I am finding that my growth in Christ keeps increasing in leaps and bounds compared to my past.  My life has completely turned around because I am desiring to please God rather than doing something because I'm afraid of what He'll say or do if I don't.

This principle applies to every aspect of my life.  In a practical sense, if I am desiring to live a healthy lifestyle, I'm not going to get very far if my primary motivation is hate for the body I have now or fear of what I'll become if I don't change things around.  However, if I eat healthy and exercise because I love myself (no, not in a proud way, but loving the work that God has made), then I am more likely to continue making good choices in how I take care of myself.

Same goes for relationships.  If I'm lonely and afraid of being alone for the rest of my life, my motivation for dating someone is not very good.  Entering a relationship because of this motivation will most likely produce an unhealthy relationship.  I want my motivation for dating/getting married to be because I feel God's blessing on it and that together with this man, we can be stronger in Christ than we could be apart.

Preparing for Marriage...Now???

I feel like I've been in a state of preparation for years.  Yes, God has put on my heart to get ready for marriage before the man has even come into my life.  To some, that might seem ludicrous or simply wishful thinking...that preparing will somehow magically produce my husband.  To me though, readying myself now means that I am becoming the fullness of who I am called to be and dealing with my baggage, before being put into such an intimate relationship.

Marriage is a big deal to me.  I have always taken relationships seriously and desired to have a relationship that is everything God meant it to be.  How can I expect to have such a relationship though if I assume that everything will fall into place once I meet my man...that I will suddenly know how to do and say the right things?  Having a God-honouring relationship starts with two people putting God first and allowing Him to mold them into who they were designed to be.  There will be continual growth throughout the marriage, but I'd much rather already be in a stage of positive growth before even meeting my husband.  

One area in particular that I am learning to grow in right now is communication.  I am finding ways that I can stand up for myself so that I am honouring God, myself, and the other person.  I hate conflict and tend to try to avoid it at all costs.  I'll refuse to be honest about things that hurt or frustrate me because I don't want the other person to be hurt or to think less of me in their hurt.  Yet, these habits only produce the negative fruit of resentment, fear, and unhealthy relationships.  I can only imagine how destructive my fear of confrontation would be in a marriage if I never did anything about it!

As I learn to grow in areas that are hard for me, God is stripping away the ugliness inside me and revealing the beauty He has placed there.  I am gaining victory over strongholds of fear, doubt, insecurity, selfishness, etc.  Who wants to bring those negative qualities into a marriage?  I'm not saying those issues will never affect me again, but I would rather start working through them now, before I have another person who is directly affected by my choices.  I firmly believe that my marriage will be stronger as I focus on becoming all that God has called me to!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Legacy of Honour

Sometimes, I wonder why I should bother honouring certain people who may never know how I talked about them behind their backs.  I'm thinking of this past year when I was getting to know two guys (at totally different times).  In both instances, my heart was getting involved as it was looking like things would progress into a relationship, only to be disappointed by the guy not being ready for a serious relationship.  With the most recent guy, I was very angry and hurt at first.  Part of the reason for the strong emotions was very much due to the upheaval in my life caused by my parents separating and other significant changes in the same time frame.

The first couple days, I allowed myself to express my anger in the privacy of my home.  However, even though no one else could hear me but God, I felt that it was wrong to express my anger in a way that was disrespectful to this man.  Name-calling and put-downs were unacceptable.

It took awhile, but after praying quite extensively, I had to make the choice to lay aside my right to be spiteful, and choose not to sin in my anger.  Yes, I'm sure better decisions could have been made by this man, which would have saved me a lot of grief.  Despite that fact, I still needed to honour him, despite how "worthy" he might be of it.

As I began to make choices that honoured him in my thoughts, words, and actions, God revealed to me how these decisions were creating a legacy of honour.  Although this man had no idea what I was saying/not saying about him, the way I handled the situation was having major effects in the spirit realm.

On both sides of my family, there are quite a few examples of negative relationships and marriages.   I used to be terrified that I was doomed to have a relationship like my parents'.  Yet, as I choose to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and His plan for my life, I realize that I have hope to break the chains of generational curses, particularly with relationships, and create new legacies of generational blessings.

When I chose to honour that man that I had felt hurt by, I began to get excited.  I was breaking off old ways of dealing with problems and creating new, Godly ones.  I was building a legacy of honour for my future children!  I was also gaining clarity in areas that God wanted to work with me on so that I could grow from this experience.

The spiritual atmosphere has a powerful effect in our everyday lives, and I am positively influencing this atmosphere when I honour the people God has placed in my life, especially when it hurts.  The truest tests of my character are when I have been wronged.  It's easy to honour people when they treat me well.

As I build good habits with honouring others now, I can pass on those skill sets to my children.  Strongholds of anger and bitterness will be replaced with mindsets of honour, love, and respect.  There will be times that my children will get angry and hurt, but as I model what it looks like to treat people as Christ would, staying clear of criticism, name-calling, and put-downs, they will be empowered to do the same in their own lives.  Mistakes will still be made, both in my life and my children's, but I believe that a legacy of honour is being built with each decision to honour instead of tear down.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Power of Honour

As a teacher, I have many encounters with people of totally different backgrounds, personalities, beliefs, and viewpoints.  I don't always see eye-to-eye with them and may disagree not only with what they are saying, but with how they are treating me.  Times like these, I realize not only how important honour is, but the immensity of the power it contains as well.

First, think of the spirit of retribution.  Someone wrongs you, you wrong that person in kind.  A real life, but sad, example is of gang wars.  I hear in the news or see it portrayed in shows how a gang member will be injured by a rival gang, which leads to retribution for the injured member, which sparks what seems to be a never-ending feud.  When does it end?  When there's no one left to carry on the retribution??  Does revenge actually accomplish anything positive or does its partakers only reap negative rewards?

Sticking with the teacher example, there will be times that I am angered and hurt by the words/actions of a parent or even a co-worker.  My first instinct is to be defensive and find ways to "put them in their place." However, I can stand up for myself while still remaining humble and retaining a spirit of honour.  When I choose to lay aside my rights to lambaste them (in the most tactful, discreet way possible of course ;-)), and instead, choose to honour and seek ways to work with them in rectifying the problem, positive rewards come from those choices.

Honour means to greatly respect, regard, or esteem someone.  I propose that honour starts with our relationship with God.  When we have that intimacy with Christ and know our identities in Him, we are better equipped for being who He's called us to be.  It won't always be easy, but I believe that honouring others, whether or not they deserve it, honours God above all.  Instead of seeking only to get my own way, I can value others and their input.  I esteem them and the relationship more than being right.

As I seek to build a culture of honour in my classroom and with my students' parents, as well as in all other areas of my life, I believe that honour fosters more honour.  When people feel valued, they are more likely to drop their defenses and desire to work with you in coming to a solution that both parties feel is acceptable.  And the best part, is that God is honoured in the process of figuring out the problem.  Seek to honour in all circumstances, with all people, and see what God does!  Honour does not mean being a doormat, but rather, being God's diplomat.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Importance of Honour

The topic of honour has been on my heart for a few years now.  I believe it is incredibly important to live a life of honour for God and others.  Even things that seem relatively harmless such as jokes that highlight stereotypes (sayings that indicate that men are dumb and lazy or that women are a ball and chain in marriage or constant nags) are harmful.  These types of attitudes are damaging.

As a woman, the more I hear how men are inconsiderate buffoons, the more that influences my thinking towards them.  In addition, when I see and hear constant examples of how women are emotionally manipulative, irrational, and critical, the more I believe that is normal, even to be expected of me.  It lessens my standard for myself in how I relate to others.

However, God has called me to a higher standard than the world's normal.  When I allow myself to indulge in stereotypical mindsets, I am selling myself and others short.  I am also not choosing to see others or myself as God does.  

God knows that we as humans are not perfect.  However, when Jesus died on the cross, He died for the forgiveness of all sins of all time.  That means that when I choose to accept the free gift of salvation and live for God instead of myself, I am forgiven, both now and for any future sins I commit.  Now don't get me wrong, this forgiveness is not an excuse to do whatever I want, but rather, it removes the shame and guilt of sin from my life.  It gives me hope that I am going to become more and more like Christ as I trust and obey Him.

When God looks at me, as His beloved child, He doesn't see all the ugliness in me.  I find that I tend to be my worst critic and dwell on all that I've done wrong.  When I ask for forgiveness, Jesus' blood covers over all my sins.  Yes, He will sometimes highlight areas of my life where I am not trusting or obeying Him, but it's not to bring condemnation.  Rather, He encourages me with the promise that He will walk with me in becoming more like Him in that area of weakness. What God now sees is the gold that He has placed within me.  He calls out that gold and inspires me to become all that He has called me to be.

Now, when I look at myself, I ask God for His perspective.  I find that His truth really does set me free (John 8:32)!  I used to be afraid of what He would say about me, but I now know that when He speaks to me, He always brings hope.  He helps me see the areas that He is working in.  He tells me that He's proud of me and He shows me my worth in Him.  This perspective is a far cry from what the world would say about me.  Their unrealistic and damaging standard says that I must look or act a certain way to be accepted.  I am not honouring God if I follow the world's standard instead of His for my life.  

In addition, if I choose to accept the world's perspective of men and women, then I am not choosing to honour God's creation.  Yes, others will disappoint and even hurt me.  However, that still is not an excuse for dishonouring them through gossip, negative perspectives of them, or sarcastic put-downs.  God wants me to go beyond the natural and ask Him for His viewpoint.  Once I am seeing them through His eyes, I can focus on the gold that He has placed there (even if it seems to be buried verrryyyyy deep).  I can choose to honour them even when they don't deserve it.  

There is incredible blessing in living a life of honour.  It isn't an easy road to take as it can go against natural instincts as well as making us feel uncomfortable at times.  I have begun to see the blessing that comes from honouring God and others though.  Deeper, more loving, and meaningful connections are being made.  My heart is to inspire hope and Godly vision through the words I speak and the way I interact with others.  As I call out the gold in those that God has placed in my life, treating them as Jesus would, I hope to see lives changed.  Look at what happened when Jesus called out the gold in Peter.  He called Peter a solid rock in Matthew 16:18 when Peter wasn't even there yet (he later denied Christ three times).  However, as Jesus continued to call out that gold, Peter's life was transformed.

May my thoughts, words, and actions have such a powerful effect!  I choose to honour rather than take the easy way out and be critical of someone.  I know that I won't always get it right and will make mistakes, but I know that God is bigger than my weaknesses.  He will give me strength to pick myself up (or remove my foot from my mouth), make things right, and take another step in becoming more like Christ.  I can't wait to see what God continues to do in and through me as I honour those around me!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Emotion is Not a Weakness

I'm a pretty even-keeled gal.  Yes, I experience emotions, but it doesn't take me too long to return to a sense of equilibrium.  In fact, I've tended to pride myself on my levelheadedness and being a more logical person. Whenever I did feel emotional, I would feel disgusted with myself and ashamed if the emotional state-of-being lasted too long.  I had seen too many examples of women using emotion as a tool of manipulation and an excuse for making poor choices.  They seemed to be living in a never-ending state of chaos, playing the role of the victim, and didn't seem to be enjoying life all that much.  That existence was the last thing I wanted.

However, when things ended recently with a man I had been getting to know, I was shocked by how hard that blow hit me.  I knew it would hurt, but I was more emotional than I have ever been before, possibly in my entire life.  It wouldn't be fair to pin it all on him as there has been some other pretty significant events that had happened in my life shortly before, including my parents' separation, that had majorly contributed to my emotional upheaval.

I didn't understand why things happened the way they did and I was feeling pretty down.  As days and weeks went by, I was surprised that I was still feeling emotional from time-to-time.  This was not normal behaviour for me.  One thing I did notice a strange way, it felt good to "really feel."  I was connecting with my experiences in a way I had never done before.  And I wasn't despondent.  I still had hope, knowing that God was so much bigger than all of these negative circumstances in my life.

Looking back, although I don't like how certain situations came about or were handled, I can see the good that God has brought from everything.  I no longer feel ashamed or despise the times when I am emotional (or at least I'm working on that one).  I recognize that I am human and God knows how I am made.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  So when I feel weak, that is the perfect opportunity for God to do what He does best: empowering me so that I can be more than a conqueror in Christ.

Allowing myself to experience emotion while claiming God's truth in my situation enables me to truly experience life.  Being sensitive can be a good thing, as long as I don't use sensitivity as a crutch for not dealing with my own insecurities or issues.  I don't have to be ashamed of a tender heart.  God made me this way and instead of fighting against that, I can embrace it and let God give me grace to live in a way worthy of Him and His calling on my life.

Feeling a depth of emotion adds more colour to life in a good way.  My relationships can be deepened with others, especially with God, because I am loving them with more than just my mind.  My whole heart is involved.  It might open the door to hurt and pain, but in my opinion, that is a risk worth taking.  Great love takes great risk and my relationships with others and God are too important to only give a portion of myself.  I look forward to seeing the beauty that comes from loving deeply!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dying to Desire

I recently went through a very disappointing situation where I was getting to know someone, thinking it was going somewhere, only to have it come to a crashing halt.  I respect the fact that we weren't as compatible as originally thought, but it hurt...A have that dream ripped from my hands.  Through getting to know this man, I had finally begun to allow myself to dream again about what could be.

My desire is to get married and have a family.  As I get older, that desire only increases, especially after seeing other friends, family, and people I grew up with starting their own families.  I also have to ignore that irritating biological clock that tells me I'm getting closer to 30 and how can I ever expect to be able to have a few kids of my own if I don't start soon.  Valentine's Days, birthdays, and other special occasions march on year after year without a significant other to share those moments with me.

After this most recent setback to my lack of a love life, I really struggled with my desires and what my reality is.  In my conversations (sometimes more of a rant) with God, I felt like He was been bringing the story of Abraham and Isaac to mind, found in Genesis 22.  Abraham had been given this amazing promise of a son in his old age and that he will be the father of nations.  No one will be able to count Abraham's descendants.  However, when this dream finally seems to be coming into fruition, Abraham is told to sacrifice his son.  I can't begin to fathom the courage and faith it took Abraham to do this, but he was fully prepared to do so.  He trusted that somehow, someway, the fulfillment of God's promise was bigger than him or Isaac.  Whether God would bring Isaac back to life, provide an alternative sacrifice, or some other means of fulfilling His promise, Abraham's hope was in God, not Isaac.

Being married is a gift I look forward to enjoying one day.  Having someone to share life with and to walk through life's many joys and sorrows together.  Being stronger and better together than we could be apart.  Becoming more of who we should be as individuals because of our unity.  I fully recognize that it will take work to make a marriage great, but with God as the foundation, I believe anything is possible!

Ultimately, I believe that God has placed this desire in my heart and I have a promise of what is yet to be.  I don't understand why things happened the way they did with that man I was getting to know, but I do know that God is bigger than the hurt.  He is also bigger than the dream and promise I carry within my heart.  My hope lies not with a man but with my God for the fulfillment of this promise.

In the meantime, I am learning to die to this desire.  I'm not saying that it's wrong for me to desire marriage or dream about it, but I need to be careful about making it an idol...that marriage will bring the ultimate satisfaction or I am not fully living until I experience that magical moment.  God is where my hope lies, not marriage.  As I wait for the time when I promise myself to the man who is just right for me, I choose to enjoy each moment that God has given to me now.  Letting go of a desire into the hands of the Almighty God brings such freedom, including clarity of where to go from there.  I can trust Him completely, even and especially when I don't understand.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Is chemistry really all that?

Does chemistry have to be present immediately when getting to know someone of the opposite sex?  If not, how long does one wait to see if chemistry develops?

I have heard many stories of men and women who say that one of the most important qualities that they are looking for in a potential love interest is chemistry.  When they meet someone that they don't automatically "click" with, they cross that person off.

My proposal is that, yes, chemistry is important...but not to give up if it isn't present from the start.  Throughout my teen/young adult years, I remember a couple guys in particular who I wasn't automatically attracted to, but after getting to know more of the heart of who they were, that attraction and chemistry began to develop.  Although no relationship came out of those instances, it proved to me that chemistry is something that can grow.  Fireworks don't have to be there right away.

I would encourage, even challenge you, to give it some time if you meet someone who has great qualities and compatibility, but you're not attracted to or feeling chemistry with that person immediately. Perhaps even past the first couple dates.  Chemistry is a wonderful thing, but it will not make a relationship last.  Chemistry should be present in a relationship, obviously, but it can be fickle and not something to base your decisions on initially.  What makes a relationship stand strong is if there are shared core values, goals, interests, and beliefs, mutual love and respect, trust, good communication, as well as being able to simply enjoy each others' company and make each other laugh.  If you have these qualities already with someone who is interested in you, or if you at least can see the potential there, allow yourself to get to know the heart of that person and see if chemistry begins to develop naturally.  You just might be surprised by who will capture your heart!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to overcome loneliness

Loneliness is not an issue that only a few select people struggle with.  Loneliness crosses the boundaries of race, gender, relationship status, and location.  A person can be single or married, in a rural or urban community, have an active social life or tend towards being more solitary, and still feel lonely.  I used to think that I would never be lonely once I was married.  However, after talking with several different married couples, I learned that they still have their moments of loneliness.

With this knowledge in mind, God began to reveal to me that it was very important that I learn how to overcome these feelings now, before entering a relationship, so that I could be well-prepared for marriage.  I don't want to place all my hopes and dreams on another human being, no matter how amazing he is,  because the bottom line is that he is just that...human.  He will not always be able to be there for me,  If I am not in the practice of turning to God first, I will be creating unrealistic expectations for my husband that he has no hope of ever fully attaining.

So how do I deal with loneliness?  First, I know that God's Word promises that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).  However, being more than a conqueror is not as easy as simply reading this verse and agreeing with it.

My mind is the first place that I tackle issues of loneliness.  My emotions might make me feel discouraged and down, but I need to choose to focus on God's truth rather than what I'm feeling.  I am not a helpless victim to my thoughts.  2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  What this verse means is that I need to take action against the negative thoughts racing through my mind that focuses on how lonely I am.  

After choosing not to allow myself to think negative, discouraging thoughts, I have to replace those thoughts with ones that are focused on God's truth.  His truth is that I am never alone, He will never leave or forsake me, He has a great plan and purpose for my life, and that I am precious in His sight.  And these truths are just a tiny portion of the full scope of God's promises for my life!  

I don't normally feel emotionally better right away, but as I continue to reaffirm God's truth over my feelings and circumstances, my emotions begin to come into alignment with my state of mind.  I'm not saying that it's all about positive thinking, but rather, purposefully thinking truthful, God-honouring thoughts.

As I end this blog post, let me encourage you that now is the time to begin taking action against the power of loneliness, no matter if you are single or married.  As God's child, loneliness has no power over you.  Believe this truth, claim it, and live it out through your thoughts, words, and actions.  You will begin to see results as you are faithful in standing your ground against the enemy's attacks.  The more you practice having the mind of Christ, the easier you will find dealing with future situations where you feel lonely.  And I promise that you will be more than a conqueror in Christ as faithfully trust and obey God!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How to answer the ever-present question: Why are you still single?

First, let me preface with a disclaimer: I have never been in a relationship before.  Yes, I am almost in my late twenties and no previous boyfriends.  So I get this question quite a bit.  Things went from family and friends saying, "Don't worry, you're so young.  You have lots of time!" to something more along the lines of, "What about that guy over there?  He looks nice."

At a Family Camp last year, there was only one man that was there that was around my age and single.  Wow, let me tell you, every person in my family as well as my church made sure that they told me how great of a guy he is.  There were definitely no subtle hints...more like they were already planning the wedding!  Haha, I didn't really mind, but it sure made things awkward when this man and I finally did talk as both of us knew that we had a lot of eyes watching us.

When it comes to question, "Why are you still single," I've always struggled with how to answer that.  I recently came across an advice column on 10 comebacks to that very question, Ten Great Comebacks to the ‘Why Are You Still Single?’ Question.  Some personal favourites of mine are: "My mail-order spouse should be here any day now" and "Name one married superhero.  Exactly."  I especially loved the superhero comeback until a friend of mine informed me of a few superheroes that actually are married.  Bummer!

It hasn't been easy, remaining single this long.  My answer to the question, "Why are you still single?" is not necessarily straightforward.  However, I believe that what it all boils down to is that I truly have not found the right man yet.

Back when I was in my teens, I felt that God was calling me to wait until I felt His blessing before moving forward into a relationship.  Not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I didn't date some guys simply because I was too afraid that I would make a mistake.  I took dating relationships very seriously (still do).  Before, my hesitance in dating someone might have been partially due to my fear, but looking back, I honestly believe that none of those guys were truly God's best for me, neither was I God's best for them.

Back to the present day.  I certainly want to find love, get married, and start a family.  That desire gets stronger the older I get.  I see more and more of my friends leaving the single life behind and starting their own families.  Yet, I can't deny that God has placed unique opportunities in my life, such as this blog, that I might never have been able to do if I had gotten married years ago.

I have no desire to settle for someone who might be a great guy, but not God's best for me, simply because I no longer want to be single.  The fact that I am still single is my choice.  Yes, there have been times where there simply seemed to be not many options for single Christian men in my area.  There have also been missed opportunities, as well as times when I have said no to a potential relationship, or where the man said no to me.

Through it all though, I have no regrets.  I honestly believe that God knows my heart has always been to honour Him in this area of my life.  Even my human shortcomings can't get in the way of God's best for me because He knows my heart is to be obedient to Him.  He won't allow me to miss out on His best for me.

Therefore, I have no shame in replying to the question, "Why are you still single?" with a simple, "I have not found the right man yet."  It's not a bad thing to have high standards as far as the character and faith of your potential spouse is concerned.  Although I strongly desire marriage and am certainly not afraid to put myself out there to find the right man, I am enjoying my life right now as a single woman.  My life is full and I am so thankful for all the blessings that God has brought into my life.

My encouragement to you is not to be ashamed of being single.  You are not somehow less of a person because you are not in a relationship.  Not settling for just anyone because you want to experience love is an honourable thing.  Feel confidence in who God has made you to be and shake off that shame of your single status.  You are God's treasure, single or married!