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The Elephant in the Room

elephant

So it is time that we acknowledged it.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I’ve talked a lot about being single and how it’s been a struggle trusting God and waiting during this time period. However, if you are someone who used to follow my old blog and/or you know me in real life but we aren’t super close, then you are probably somewhat confused and have been wondering things for a while but was just afraid to ask.

So to answer your unasked question, I am currently single and I didn’t used to be. I got married when I was 24 and got divorced when I was 28. Out of respect for my ex-husband and because the entire world doesn’t need to know, I am not going to state publicly the reason for our divorce. However, if I am asked about it (and I know you somewhat), I don’t mind talking about it.

As a Christian, divorce can be a very touchy subject. Even when I was going through my own process, it was something that I had to pray a lot about and went through counseling before finally making the decision. It was a hard and tough one to make, quite possibly the most difficult decision I ever made. It’s not something you think about doing when you start the relationship (at least I hope the majority of people don’t do it). It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly. When I finally made the decision, I knew that I was going to lose a lot. I lost a lot of friendships.The biggest things were all the hopes and dreams that I had. I also had to rebuild myself up; my self-esteem and confidence from feeling like I wasn’t worthy or good enough.

I believe due to the nature of the reason of the divorce, I haven’t received any outward negative reactions from most people. One thing I was terrified of was being judged, especially by other Christians because of what it says in the Bible about divorce. And I know that there are people out there who do judge me. I will say this: before you judge me (or anyone else basically), unless you have gone through what I’ve gone through you will never know what it was like for me and you cannot tell me what I should have done or what you would have done instead. I made the decisions that was best for me in my situation and I have not regretted my choices and no matter what anyone says to me, I will not feel guilty for what happened. However, if there are people who are judging me horribly, they haven’t let me know right to my face. Instead I have found love, caring, and understanding in the people I have shared this with.

It is a bit weird sometimes to relate with other divorced women in the church. As I was only 28 when it was finalized (and I had been separated much earlier), I’m still quite young compared with most other women. They tended to be in the 40s+ and with children. And their situations are completely different from mine.

There have been though some amazing and things that have come out of all this. First and foremost, my faith in God has skyrocketed. During the worst parts of all this, I felt so alone and abandoned by everyone, including God. I was so angry at him for having all this happen and I blamed him for everything. But looking back, I realize that he never left me. He was protecting me the whole time and keeping me from harm. Even during the absolute worst time, I was in the final weeks of graduate school and I had two huge papers that I needed to write, and I have no idea how I was able to concentrate and get it done and I somehow walked away with a B+ and an A. Since then, I’ve never stopped seeking God and wanting to learn more from him.

I’ve also found that I’ve had to do things to step out of my comfort zone. Because I was finding myself being alone, I knew that I had to reach out other people even though (as I’ve stated) I hate initiating things. My church has an active young adult group and I forced myself to attend so I could find community and not be alone. Even though it was horrible rough and awkward for me at first, I kept going and that has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Through doing that, I’ve found some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life, who continually show me love and have been there every time I needed someone. I found that I didn’t have to go through it alone. I cannot thank them enough for being there during those horrible rough times and I know that God specifically placed them in my life. I have been blessed so much that I feel like I can never repay them and I continue to so thankful for them. In fact, my church in general has been wonderful throughout all this, showing and providing me support when I didn’t think it was possible.

My specific situation has also seen so much good come out of it. I’ve been able to share my story with other people and I’ve seen God specifically work in their lives because of it. It makes me look back and realize that even through a horrible mess God can create something beautiful. One of my very favorite stories ever of God working in my life is me being able to share my story with someone, who at the time I had known for about a week and a half. God kept nudging and telling me to share my story, which I kept resisting because I barely knew the person. Then I literally felt God hit me on the head to speak, and so I  finally shared not knowing why I was doing this (as I hadn’t shared my story with even my closest friends) and just trusted God. Nothing was said that night to explain the reason and I felt rather foolish doing it. But then it was revealed to me a few weeks later exactly why I shared and that spiraled off into so much good, that it can’t be denied how much God was working in our lives. Since then if God tells me to do something, I don’t resist him anymore.

So there have been many things I’ve learned and been blessed from God from this.

I’m not saying I’m in an ideal situation though. Being divorced still has somewhat of a stigma. I can’t hide it and I’m not going to. Sometimes though it almost feels like a label. If the option is there, I have to choose divorced. If someone can’t accept the fact that I’m divorced and that becomes a deal breaker, I have to accept it. We all come with baggage, I just come with some that I can’t hide. There are many people who believe that I should never get married again, and I have committed a horrible sin. As I do want to start dating again now, it can possibly be a very uphill road to climb. There are guys who will only want girls who have never been married and will never look twice at me once I reveal it to them. It’s sometimes hard to not be jealous of my friends who are going through all the events I’d thought I’d be experiencing now. It’s harder to wait and hope that one day it will eventually happen to me.

But it’s going to be ok. I’ve become a much stronger person because of this. If you were to see me four years ago and then see me now, you wouldn’t recognize me. Heck I barely even recognize myself. It seems like a completely different life time ago. I’ve basically become a different, better, and stronger person because of all this. It’s been an adventure and it’s going to continue to be one. I never thought I’d find myself in this place again, I thought I was done with dating and all the emotions that come with it.  It’s not going to be all fun and games as broken hearts, unrequited love, awkward times, all that jazz will and have already happened.

But you know what? I’m excited about it. I feel that I have a different approach and mindset now than I did before, mostly coming from being older and wiser. I have learned a lot from my past and I believe that when it’s time, I’ll enter a new relationship with a better expectations and with a new way of approaching things. God’s put me in this time and place for a reason and I choose to trust him with all this. I’ve gotten a chance to have a reboot in my life, and my goal is to make it worth it. I still believe that God has in his plans for me to get married and eventually have a family. He has continued to place that desire in my heart and so with a lot of prayer I wait for that day, trusting that God will be faithful and fulfill his promise.

Psalm 30

I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

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Tweeting thoughts from someone wiser than me

If you follow me on twitter (@beatccr for those who don’t), then this post is going to be basically a repeat of things you’ve already seen from my twitter feed.

For the past few months, I’ve been following @thesinglewoman on twitter. Mandy Hale, also know as The Single Woman, is a blogger and author of the book The Single Woman: Life, Love & a Dash of Sass. I’ve really enjoyed her book as it’s been really helpful and inspiring to me over the past few months. She also tweets A LOT of inspiring thoughts, quotes, and excerpts from her book. And I feel like there have been times when the perfect tweet from just jumps out at me. Apparently it’s happened MANY times.

Here’s a list of all the tweets of hers that I’ve retweeted over the past few months. No, I don’t retweet everything. These are just ones that stood out to me, that came at times when I knew I needed to see/hear them.

  • It hurts to let go. It hurts more to hold onto someone who doesn’t want to be there.
  • Sometimes all you can do is let go, trusting that if it’s meant to be…it’ll stick around.
  • If you take a chance, good things might happen or bad things might happen. But if you don’t take a chance, nothing happens.
  • I’d rather respect you for hurting me with honesty than resent you for “protecting me” with a lie.
  • The moment will come when you know exactly why things happened as they did.  It may take some time but it will come.
  • You can’t force something to happen. All you can do is surrender and trust that what is meant to be will find a way.
  • When you stop trying to MAKE things happen on your timetable and surrender, you invite God to show up and work miracles.
  • Prayer:  God I trust you to give me what YOU want, when you want according to YOUR plan not mine.
  • The things you don’t stress tend to turn out best. Trust and let go.
  • Sometimes all you can do is let go and let God figure it out for you.
  • Prayer:  God I trust in your plan and I know that everything I don’t understand now will make perfect sense later.
  • You will get to where you need to be in your own time. Until then breathe and be patient with yourself and your process.
  • “It will all work out in the end. Have faith in your self and leave the rest to God.” – Leon Brown
  • There is no one and no force strong enough to close a door that God intends for you to walk through.
  • It’s better to try and be disappointed than to not try and always wonder.
  • Prayer:  God help me to let go of my need to know what’s going to happen next and to Just. Trust. You.
  • You may not see it or understand it now, but everything in your life is unfolding as it should. Trust the process.
  • Prayer:  Thank you God that things happen when they’re meant to happen, not in my time but at the PERFECT time.
  • When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Relax. Breathe. Trust. Let go.
  • Strength is choosing to get up and get on with it even if you never understand why something happened the way it did.
  • Prayer:  God, thank you that I don’t have to stress, rush or force.  What you have for me always arrives right on time.
  • Letting go doesn’t mean you stop caring. It means you stop trying to force others to.
  • Be patient. With time, everything becomes clear.
  • We’re not meant to see the picture all at once. God hands us each piece of the puzzle as we’re ready for it.
  • Prayer: God thank you that even when things happen that don’t make sense, I can always trust in your plan.
  • Some things aren’t to be understood. Sometimes you just have to let go and move on, trusting that clarity will come later.
  • If everything you pray for came to you right now, you wouldn’t be able to handle it. Trust in God’s perfect timing.
  • “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams
  • When you learn to surrender and let go rather than cling and control, everything falls into place as it should.
  • Prayer:  God, I surrender to your plan, whether it lines up with your completely deviates from my own.
  • If you stopped calling, inviting, doing all the work, would they still be in your life? If the answer is no, let them go.
  • When you step back and look at the big picture, you will see that things happened exactly the way they needed to. TRUST.
  • Sometimes all you can do is sit in the sweet surrender of not knowing how it’s going to turn out, but choosing to be happy anyways.
  • When you stop banging on the closed doors, you give God room to open up the ones you’re meant to walk through.
  • When you let go of what you think is “supposed” to happen you’re free to enjoy whatever DOES happen.
  • Prayer:  God, thank you for bringing me things when I’m ready for them and not one moment sooner.
  • Love can’t be forced Sometimes all you can do is take a step back and let them figure out how they feel.
  • When you accept the things you cannot change, anxiety, worry, and stress disappear.
  • A good way to know who’s really meant to be in your life? Let go and let God decide who stays and who goes.
  • When it seems as nothing is happening, you are in a season of preparation for everything that’s coming next.
  • Never lose hope. Even the most ordinary moment can set the stage for the most extraordinary miracle.
  • You can let go without fear. The only things and people you will lose are the ones that aren’t meant to be there.
  • Faith says that even though you can’t see that breakthrough, that answer, that blessing…it’s on it’s way.
  • It’s often in the moment when you finally surrender and admit that you don’t know what to do that God shows you what to do.
  • Just because it’s not happening the way you thought doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. God loves to do the unexpected.
  • Don’t get discouraged if it seems nothing’s happening. A season of waiting and preparation always precedes the breakthrough.

Again I swear I didn’t retweet everything. These all just happen to be exactly what I needed to hear and read. Though it’s quite scary how much they fit what’s going on in my life. It’s given me a lot to think and pray about as I struggle with and try to understand things that are going on in my life. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to share my stories like this to other folks like she does. But until then, I’ll keep being encouraged and inspired.

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Wait, they don’t love you like I love you…

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

I am fairly confident that I would say about 98% of people who are reading this post have been in love at some point in their life. You may not have told the person the actual words of “I love you” but it’s probably a safe guess that you have held feeling of that nature towards someone else.  And it’s probably a pretty good guess that a good majority of those folks have also been in love with someone who doesn’t love them back.

Now either you actually told them how you felt and then were disappointed when they said they couldn’t return the feelings or you loved the person from afar and watched as they gave those feelings away to someone else. Either way, unless you have an unbreakable heart or cannot feel things, you have experienced pain and heartache. When you feel deeply for someone and they can’t return those feelings, it hurts like crap. And because you’ve essentially offered up yourself only to be rejected, what usually follows are feelings of wondering what is wrong with you and what does someone else have that you don’t.

The emo song of all girls everywhere who love a guy that doesn’t love her back.

Because we feel better knowing that we’re not alone in feeling this way, I’ve chosen three examples from TV shows and movies that I believe describes the feelings that come with having a love that is unrequited.

WARNING! THERE BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT! YOU WERE WARNED!!!!!

The first clip is from the 1994 version of Little Women, starring Winona Ryder as Jo and Christian Bale as Laurie. Jo and Laurie have been best friends for several years. Jo wants to go out, make her mark in the world, and live out her life, before even considering to think about settling down and getting married.Laurie, meanwhile, has decided he knows what he wants now. Every time I watch this scene, I’m like “Who on earth would say no to Christian Bale????” Laurie’s pain is very evident here as shown here by the words he says to her refusal. Unfortunately I believe what he does later on in the story and who he ends up with is purely a rebound from this scene. Start at the :52 mark.

The next scene is from the series 3 finale of Doctor Who, where Martha leaves the Tenth Doctor as his companion. Even though the two became extremely close friends, Martha had the unfortunate opportunity of being the companion following Rose Tyler who had been very close to the Doctor. Martha is a very smart and independent woman, herself a medical student, but she falls in love with the Doctor who doesn’t love her back. Some people aren’t a fan of Martha for this reason (they must be Rose fans). Throughout most of her season, you can see Martha struggling with her feelings, hoping that he’ll change his mind but he doesn’t. There is one episode where he does fall in love with someone, but it isn’t her and it pains her tremendously. The following clip is when Martha finally realizes what she has to do in order to help herself. Start at the 1:40 mark.

The final clip is from How I Met Your Mother. The majority of the entire series deals with Ted and Robin’s relationship. Ted and Robin are best friends. Ted has been in love with Robin from the beginning of this story and it is because of their relationship that triggers the search for the mother. From the very first episode, Ted has had strong feelings from Robin that have pretty much never wavered. Robin, on the other hand, has been pretty unsure about her feelings for Ted. She cares for him, but not as much as he does. Ted has lost several relationships because of his continued feelings for Robin and it is something that he keeps struggling with because she is one of his best friends. However, this scene marks a strong turning point for Ted in terms of their relationship. (The original clip got removed so I’ve replaced it. For the most part it’s the same thing)

The biggest thing to remember when your love isn’t returned that is you can’t let the hurt take over you. Yes, perhaps you do have some flaws but so does everyone. However just because the other person can’t return how you feel doesn’t mean you are a failure. Do not put the other person on a pedestal and think that their love is more worthy than yours They aren’t perfect and they are just as flawed as you are. You are not any less worthy a person just because one person doesn’t love you back. Having their love will not validate you as a person and they will not fix you. Only you can do that.

However, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re in the worst pain that you’ve ever felt in your life. Being rejected no matter how nice the other person was about it still sucks. You’ve basically offered what you thought was the best of you only to get turned down. And yes, there is the temptation to become bitter and angsty (and sometimes pyscho) and wish that one day this would happen to the other person so they can in turn understand all the hurt that you’re going through now. I caution against that. Accept the hurt. Mourn the loss. Let the pain happen. It sucks. It’s painful. Don’t try to play it off as it’s nothing and shove those feelings under a rug and ignore them.

BUT don’t let it take over you. It’s not always going to feel like that. You’re going to be ok. Things will get better. Or I’ll let Iris (Kate Winslet) from The Holiday explain it:

You may be in that deep, dark hole right now. You may feel like your heart has been ripped apart. You can cry and yell and curse at the world. But soon you will want to look up. And you will see the light trying to reach into that pit. And you will crawl out of there. And you will have hope. And you will be whole again.

  • “I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”  (Lamentations 3:55-58)
  • “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.” (Psalm 25:16-18)
  • “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)
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The Girl Who Waited

the-girl-who-waited

I am not good at waiting. I tend to be a very impatient person. When I want something to happen, I want it to happen now. I want to know what’s going to happen. I don’t like having to wait for things or to find out how it’s all going to turn out. In fact I’m rather annoyed that I have to wait several weeks before this blog post gets posted as I’m scheduling it in advance and not publishing it right away!

I’ve said this before, but I like spoilers. Yes I look at the back of the book when I want to know what happens. I don’t like being caught off guard. I’m not really a good person to go see a suspense movie with because I can’t stand the suspense.

So knowing my personality and preferences, it’s really frustrating when God tells you as an answer to your prayer that he just wants you to wait. “Come on God, really? Do you realize how hard this is? Can’t you just tell me what’s going to happen?” Nope that’s not how God works. He’s not like a genie in a bottle that grants wishes. He’s not going to make things go faster just because we want them to happen now. There’s a reason why he wants us to wait. And it’s usually when we finally stop fighting him and allow him to take over that we begin to realize why.

I have found for me that the best times for me to do my quiet time with God is in the car during my commutes. It’s good because, thanks to the lovely Northern Virginia traffic, since I have to sit in traffic there aren’t usually a lot of distractions that take my focus away. And there have been times, when I get severely frustrated with the slowness of how things that God has promised me seem to be progressing. And I tend to yell at God and just tell him how angry I am at him and how I don’t understand why things are going this way and how I don’t believe that what he says is going to happen…basically everything from Trusting God When Things Seem Impossible.

I want to know what exactly am I waiting on (is it what I want or is it something that has yet to be revealed?) and exactly how long am I supposed to be waiting (days, weeks, months, years? Should I be actively waiting or push it aside and forget about it for now?).

And then because I’m hoarse from yelling, I turn on the radio to fill up the silence. And I swear this song comes on the radio EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME I started to argue with God about having to wait.

And I’ll kneel down,
Wait for now
I’ll kneel down,
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

-“I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons

And yes I know that this song has been super popular and every station seems to be playing it, and also the song is quite ambiguous if it’s about waiting for the person you love or about God. But the fact that the song would come on right when I needed it makes me feel more like it’s a small and subtle reminder from God on what I need to do.

  • “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:21-26)

I’m not going to wait for specific things to happen. I’m not going to put my energy, time, or any part of me sitting around waiting for that one day to come for things I want. I can’t waste my life away. Instead I will wait for God. I will wait with God. The difference is that I am giving him the control and not me trying to make something happen on my own. I will allow him to have things happen in his own time frame and not mine because I realize that it is not the right time yet. God’s laid on my heart what he wants me to do and he’s made me a promise of what is to come. Who am I to try and force his hand?

“Child,” [Aslan] replied, “that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after…….For the fruit always works – it must work- but it does not work happily for any who pluck it at their own will.” – from THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW by C.S. Lewis

A good explanation of why even though you may want something NOW, it’s better to wait. No matter how it good it may be NOW, wait until it’s time and it will even better than you could possibly imagine.

There are two excellent articles from Relevant Magazine that I have found extremely helpful to me during this time period. The first is “Why Won’t God Hurry Up?”, a question I find myself asking all the time. The other “5 Reasons Why God Makes Us Wait” is kind of ironic for me.  The day that article was published, that morning I had literally just had another “Why God? Why am I waiting? Why am I doing this? Why do I have to wait?” conversation with God when I refreshed Relevant’s homepage and then BOOM! That article then appeared on my screen. It was kind of freaky and comforting all at the same time.

  • “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25)