Your steady love

By the time I post this, it will be Valentine’s day (or Galentine’s, whatever applies to you best this season) so yay – that can be real or sarcastic, you decide. I found and re-shared this post I wrote exactly two years ago on college singleness just because I love visiting my old self and the thoughts and words I had back then on my perpetual [lack of a] relationship status. I would say a big part of me seems like not much has changed in my heart since then, but I’d probably be lying. When I posted it to my wall this week, I added this update:

Doing some blog inventory and came across this oldie but a goodie from my 2 years ago self. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, I thought I’d re-share. **Update to the update** : I laugh at my all-the-women-independent vibes all throughout this. But I think I’m more convinced than ever that the waiting season will always be worth it. God KNOWS our hearts, friends, and I’m certain there is more of his good, good, Father heart to be found in these days of singleness than we’ll ever realize on this side of our story.CS lewis

It really is funny how things can change in a year, let alone two. (No family, I’m still not dating anyone right now…) I’m just saying God has a crazy and cool way of crafting friendships, crossing paths, and throwing some pretty sweet and unpredictable adventures our way every now and then. That was all very vague talk to say, “Yes I’m still single. But I’ve no doubt moved away from my walls-up/don’t want to date until I’m done with school/there is no guy I’m attracted to self.” LOL at life. Anyway.

This morning I made the trek across town (via SEPTA – don’t worry I didn’t walk) despite the extremely frigid temps to Old City to check out the CUTEST little coffee shop I had only seen on Instagram. Well, folks, I think I finally found my favorite. I was camped out there for the better part of Saturday afternoon chugging a perfect Columbian pourover, eavesdropping on a cute older British couple, watching the snow come in sideways, and desperately trying to cram origins, insertions, and innervations into my little weary brain. It was lovely, really.coffee

I don’t feel like hashing out all the details of these CRAY couple of weeks for my classmates and I in this post, but I’ll just say the ONLY things (besides coffee+Jesus as always) getting me through these next exams and application deadlines is knowing there’s only 2 weeks to sweet Waco and just 3 weeks to ample time with my best friend/spring break. I’m writing mainly because it had been a couple of dry weeks sans writing and that makes me sad.

Also because I love writing about love on a day about love. But really, I just like to throw a curveball amidst all the sappy and lovey dovey articles or bitter single posts being shared in the realm of social media this week. Honestly, this video of kids confessing their feelings about their crushes is the only thing you need to see.

It is possible, believe it or not, to be single or not have a hot date on Valentine’s Day and be content in waiting. This morning I reached the last page of my current journal, and that’s always a day I look forward to. It urges me to go back to read through and look for all the ways that God was his usual funny and full of surprises self, answering prayers in ways I never imagined. I think this journal holding the journey of these past few months might be up there for the most rambling entries and pages of heartfelt scribbles. [This is a plug to start journaling if you don’t. It is hands down my favorite way to have a tangible record of my dreams, thoughts, and fears, and the ways that God speaks into those]. There have been some BIG and scary prayers in there, my friends. I am nothing but thankful for how He has already begun to answer them so clearly, and I’m filled with hope for the ways I know he will continue to guide my heart throughout the process. No matter how distant I feel sometimes or how shaky and wavering my love for God is on any given day, He shows nothing but a steady and patient love towards undeserving me.

I’m content and grateful today because I know and receive a love daily that will surpass any extravagant romantic gesture on this earth. A love that knows my heart.

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The gift of waiting

A fellow Waco blogger (that apparently goes to the same church as me) whose words are what so many young women my age and in this season need to read. Thank you for this difficult but beautiful reminder.

Six years ago I met a boy. I had zero romantic interest in him, but we became the best of friends. We loved all the same things… soccer, live music, pizza + beer… the list could go on but these ones carry most of my memories of friendship with him.

We spent more afternoons at my favorite coffee shop in Jonesboro, Arkansas than I can remember between 2008-2010, sometimes talking and sometimes just sharing a table while I studied and he planned worship sets. We took as many trips to Memphis as we could to see our favorite bands play together. We talked sports and there was never anything more than a high five going on between us every time we left hanging out.

Then 2011 rolled around. He had a girlfriend at the time, and I remember beginning to think that I missed my best friend. Somewhere over those…

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The Reality of College Singleness

***This post is from last year and here are just some updates: Yes, I’m still single. Yes, more and more of my friends at Baylor (seriously like a few more each week) are engaged. Yes, I’m still incredibly excited for their future marriages and they’ve all done it the right way I believe and are not necessarily rushing into it. Nowadays I have a flashing neon sign that says, “Better not even think about dating me now, I’m moving across the country in a few months.” But really…Yes, I’m nervous and excited for who knows what could happen in this next season in an entirely new place. To any future classmates that might be reading this – Don’t worry, I promise I’m not the stereotypical southern belle on a mad search for my husband. Let’s be real, I really don’t want to marry a fellow crazy-indebted doctor…***

With tomorrow being the inevitable and overly-sappy one day a year that people feel obligated to go out and buy an overpriced box of chocolate covered mysteries for their valentine while all the singles try to treat it like any other month’s 14th day, I thought I’d write a little on what it’s really like to live life as a joyful single but who still sometimes struggles with the waiting game.

First things first – a healthy dose of funny V-day quotes and memes for all my fellow single folks to appreciate.

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I promise I’m not going to go off on some bitter couple-hating rant (I’m seriously SO happy for all my friends in great relationships and my parents, my sis and bro-n-law, and others who are still in so much love!), but I just want to give my honest two cents on this whole concept of “singleness” as a twenty-one year old college student. Every day for the past three years I’ve been surrounded by thousands of people of the opposite sex that are my age, driven and intelligent (well, some), following wholeheartedly after God, easy on the eyes, and just overall cool folks. Granted, a portion are overly cocky frat daddies, lazy slackers relying on parents’ credit cards, unattractively-heavy drinkers and partiers, and of course just some that I’m not interested in at all. A significant amount, though, are great guys that thousands of girls would be lucky to call their other half one day.

***An entirely separate blog post needs to be devoted to how messed-up my generation (and maybe specifically my university) treats the foreign idea of “DATING.” It doesn’t exist anymore, and I really wish I lived in a different era of actually asking a girl out to get to know her instead of this extreme scale of casual and shallow texting/”talking” to the high-pressure atmosphere of everyone thinking every interaction is with the frame of marriage in mind from day one. I’m not kidding when I say an unmentioned guy friend’s family asked him if he realized he only had another year left to find a wife at Baylor. New flash, boys, we don’t all care about that ring by spring, and we might just want to go on a date or two because we’re in college and want to have a memorable social life with a fun and respectable guy every now and then (sure, the END goal will be looking for potential spouses but don’t be so scared of us..step up and be a man if you simply want to get to know a girl better). Can we please make this so much less weird and not treat it like the elephant in the room? (guess what – it’s only going to be harder once we’re out in the real world)***.

Also, have you ever actually looked around and seen all the single people at Baylor? The odds should be in our favor. I’d say it’s safe to say the majority of my friends (and obviously myself) are single and by no means “should” be. This is what society tells us: that if we’re attractive, intelligent, driven, confident, passionate, caring, fun, etc, then of course it would be absurd for us not to be dating. That is not what God tells us, though. His timing is perfect, and we can question and doubt it all we want, but the truth is He knows what’s best for us through every phase of our lives.

My entire life I have taken pride in being an independent woman who does not need to find identity solely in a man. My identity is in Christ, and I know I am a daughter of the King; I am not and will not be only defined as a girlfriend, a wife, a student, a dentist, a surgeon, a musician, a chef, a blogger. My heart breaks for the countless girls my age that place so much of their value and purpose in being someone’s significant other with no real focus on their own spiritual and emotional health, not to mention a riddance of any real dreams they might have had for their own individual lives. I never had the intention of going off to college for the purpose of finding my husband, getting married, and being a non-working mom relying on my husband’s income. My future career will be extremely rewarding both generally speaking as well as financially, while still granting me the flexibility to have a family one day if that is what God has for me. I should have no problem providing for myself and even being more of the bread-winner than my husband if that ends up being the case. We live in a different time than our parents and that is just that. I’m not on some hunt for a guy that will be able to support shopping sprees and luxury cars. Sadly, I don’t think I can say the same for all the girls here at my school, and we have a notorious phrase, “Ring by Spring” that is incredibly accurate.

I have never been in a relationship before, so I’m very good at this whole single thing. It’s all I’ve ever known. In high school, I can probably point it to the fact that I grew up in a very small town and went to a pretty small school (with very limited options), and while I’m not trying to be overly confident, I’m pretty sure I simply intimidated guys at my school with just being the way that I am. Through all these years of not being tied up in another person, I’ve had so much time to discover myself, my interests/hobbies/passions, and how God is leading me to become even more of the woman I’m made to be. Also, a lot of my academic success is probably due to the fact that I haven’t had someone stealing my attention from studying when I need to.

If I’m being honest with myself, right now (and in my future long path of professional schooling), it seems like I don’t have the actual time to invest in a relationship even if I wanted to. I barely have enough time as it is to eat, shower, and rest myself, let alone think about another person’s needs and desires. Having said that, I don’t at all mean that it’s not something I want. Sure, I’m perfectly content to remain single for the time being and have time for myself to do things I want (I am pretty selfish of my “me-time”) as well as stay focused on the rest of my education, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t think about what it would be like to be in a relationship right now. How it would feel to have flowers waiting for me when I get home from class tomorrow, occasional handwritten letters in my mailbox just because, having someone in mind when I sing love songs by my favorite artists, or just someone to cook me a nice meal for once. Every girl wants that. Period.

But…that is not the season of life where I find myself currently. I am smack dab in singleness and spending time preparing my heart to be more like Christ’s every day, so I will know more how to love like Him whenever that guy does come along. My college pastor spoke last week on dating, and he said some really refreshing things that shed some light on the tricky topic of Godly dating in college. To loosely paraphrase some of his points…

When I was looking for a girl to date I would picture me running after God. I would look around at the people keeping up and say “Hey, how’s it going?” I would pick up speed and when I saw a girl going faster than me, I’d ask her out.

Ask yourself, “Am I the kind of person that the person I’m looking for is looking for?” and “Do they love Jesus more than me?”

I was being overly cautious and ridiculously careless and that just led to WEIRD.

He was looking for her and she didn’t even know it (in reference to the passage in Genesis 24). 

A lot of guys ask me when is it OK to kiss her, and my answer is always, “If you’re looking at porn, NEVER.” 

The 4 gauges of Commitment, Time, Communication, and Physical – When one goes up, they need to then all be at the same level. 

One of the funniest/most right-on things he said was, “Not that I’m advocating getting married young/while in college, but guys, if you graduate Baylor and leave this college ministry without your future wife, IT IS NOT MY FAULT! Take a look around at all these beautiful, Godly, servant-hearted, passionate women of God and ASK THEM OUT! Girls, since I’m telling them to put their necks out there, you will say YES.” 

Now that I’ve taken the time to just put my heart out there about how I feel on this day, I guess I will spend this holiday stereotypical-single-ladies style: maybe have my own chocolate-covered strawberries and red wine, curled up on the couch in my pjs and quite possibly studying. Not out of self pity or bitterness towards people in love today, but because this is simply where I find myself and that I’m accepting exactly where I am – full of love for my family and friends and the love which comes from the Father – a divine romance like none other on this earth.

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I’m waiting so I’m this excited one day