The Real Reason You’re Single This Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day.  The birds are singing, the chocolate is selling, and love is in the air..except for you. Once again you’ve received flowers from your family members and heartfelt notes from your girlfriends telling you of your importance, but still nothing from the men you have been pining after or hoping to be noticed by. It can be easy to feel that there has to be something wrong with you or something terrible you’ve done to deserve this fate of singleness. Today, I hope that you realize that you are so loved and cherished by the God of the universe. That you were not created on a whim, on a random thought, or by accident; you were made on purpose for a purpose. No boy, no man, no relationship can possibly satisfy you the way that God alone can. So why are you single this Valentine’s Day? Let’s find out!

  1. It Is Strengthening Your Faith

“ Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from satan to keep me from becoming proud.”- 2 Corinthians 12:7

I don’t understand why you are single, why you feel lonely, or why that man with a heart after God’s own didn’t like you back, but I do know that God is always good. In the midst of painful heartbreaks, loneliness, and dateless Valentine’s Days, He is still good.

singleness quote

Before this year, I failed to realize what a blessing singleness could be; what a gift from God it truly is. I look around at some of my closest friends and see the ways they have been devastated by boys, held them as they cried from their broken hearts, and saw their love cast aside by the men who promised to never let them go. I realize that God protecting my heart from these pains of life should not be seen as anything other than a positive. I have no idea why some girls have to go through more heartbreak than others, but I do know that we face different things in life to learn different lessons. Wherever God has placed you on this day, whether in a relationship, single as a pringle, or getting over a heartbreak, He has a specific lesson He wants you to learn through this trial. He does not want you to become conceited. He wants you to wholly rely on Him.

For many girls, having a boyfriend means having built in affirmation and confidence. But, when you have never had that boyfriend, you have to look for affirmation in other ways. One of the ways we can become dependent on God is by asking Him to fill our hearts with His affirmation. I have to constantly ask Him to remind me about His promises. To realize that He will  never leave me, forsake me, or abandon me. He promises to constantly love me, that I am always His, and that He has great plans for me. He tells me that I am altogether beautiful, that I was loving crafted, and promises to wipe the tears of every unrequited love from my eyes.

No man can possibly affirm you with these statements every second of the day. No man can intimately know you and love you the way God perfectly does. No man can guarantee that he will never leave you. But God can promise these things. Men may hurt our hearts, fail us, and leave us broken, but God is the one who stitches us back together. A man may not pursue you, but God is constantly in pursuit of our attention and time. So, yes, you might not have Mr. Darcy strutting across a dewy field to find you in the early morning, but you have an all-encompassing God who is with you every waking and sleeping moment of every day, just anxiously waiting to woo you

2. Your Standards Are Too High

First, having high standards is an absolutely necessary and healthy part of any relationship. It keeps us from suffering abuse, cruelty, and harmful situations that we shouldn’t be in, in the first place. However, as all girls will confess to, we often have ideas of exactly how we want our future boyfriends and husbands to be that aren’t so healthy.  We make up unrealistic expectations and scorn perfectly lovely men because they are “too hipster” or “not funny.” Is that really what we should be most worried about? What about finding a man who can encourage you to be a better person and most importantly encourage you in your relationship with Christ? What about finding a man who will love God more than He will ever love you? What about finding a man who is hardworking, kind, considerate, and patient? What about these intangible qualities that aren’t as much fun to wish for as athletic, musical, and dresses well?

singleness bible verse

The only standard that God calls us to look for in our spouses is this:

“ Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. How can the righteous be a partner with wickedness? How can light live in darkness?”- 2 Corinthians 6:14

I am not saying that there aren’t other important qualities to look for in a dating relationship, but this is the most important. Being able to find a man who can lead you in your faith and who can be the spiritual head of your household is the one area where God tells us we can’t settle. Just a side note, it’s important to realize that it is very unlikely to meet a boy in one of your college classes that is ready to be the spiritual head of your household. I must confess that I just learned how to cook grilled cheese over break; I am not ready to be someone’s wife. But part of any good relationship is seeing the potential in the other person and working towards the common goal of marriage together.

It’s great to have deal breakers when looking for future men you can enter into relationship with, but make sure they are in line with God’s word and His promises, not our own human flaws.

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. We use our time to pout and cry and whine about not finding any great Christian men. We can roll our eyes with our friends about how no one has the guts to pursue us, but are we really looking? Or are we caught up in the men who aren’t right for us, the men who have broken our hearts, and the men that God knows would be all wrong for us? Are we really praying for discernment and being open to whoever God might bring along for us, or are we too busy eating out of our ice cream cartons to lift our eyes? Sometimes the men that are exactly right for us are right in front of our faces, we just need to take the time to look.

  1. It’s Not In God’s Timing…Currently

“ Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”- Ephesians 3:20

“ For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”- Ephesians 2:10

singleness quote

It can be easy as we look around at a media full of Bridal television shows, Facebook posts filled with unexpected engagements, and even our own groomless wedding boards on Pinterest, and  feel like we are the only ones that are alone. But think of some of your best friends and loved ones that are single just like you. What do you think is the matter with them? As a culture and as the religion of Christianity, we need to stop believing that we are somehow less as women, less as people, and less close to God if we don’t experience Godly relationships or marriage. That God is punishing us for the mistakes we have made in the past. That God thinks that we are too dirty, stained, or blemished for some of the men who love Him most of all. That if a man isn’t actively pursuing our hearts that they aren’t worth pursuing.

I don’t know why I am in a season of waiting on a relationship, or why God has called me( not by my own choice), to remain single throughout college and high school, but I do know that He is unfolding a much bigger plan than I can ever comprehend. That someday in the future when I meet my Mr. Right, or if I simply find something bigger I am called to do, that I will see His fingertips at work through the entire process. They were stealthily at work through all the nights I cried myself to sleep, hated who He had created me to be, and felt so discouraged about finding anyone who could love me. That while I felt like absolute garbage because no one asked me to their fraternity formal, that God was right there constantly reminding me of my worth. I urge you to stop wasting your energy on being impatient, and instead pray to be the women you need to be when you are called to be a wife and mother.

Pray to love the God of the universe more than the butterflies you get around that special someone. Pray to be able to serve your future spouse in a way that can constantly point them towards Christ. Pray that you aren’t missing God’s bigger purpose for your life by whining about your singleness. Pray that God will reveal to you how utterly and exquisitely enough you are. It is up to us to push onward in a vast sea of happy couples to find the greater plan that God wants to use us for right now.  Embrace this time of singleness as a way to plug into your friend groups, school work, ministry opportunities, and time with God.

I hope this blog post has helped you to realize that there really is no specific or valid reason why you are alone this Valentine’s Day.   Remember that you are a daughter of the one true God. He will never leave you, forget to text you back, or insult you. He will never make you feel like you are too much, not enough, or unappreciated. He is ready to satisfy your dry and cracking heart today. Though the chocolate covered strawberries, flattering words of a man, and flowers may fade, our God’s love for us will always remain the same. Happy Valentine’s Day!

5 Ways To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Oftentimes, comparison to others can start off harmlessly enough. Someone that inspires you to be kinder, wiser, or dress better. But the problem with comparison, ultimately, is that it doesn’t just stop there. Soon enough everywhere we turn we find someone who is better at this or that, prettier, or more Godly. Suddenly what started out as a good intention becomes a nasty habit that latches itself on to our deepest insecurities and doubts.

I think as women we can all relate to times that we have become prisoners to comparing ourselves to others. To the times we’ve cried because we wanted to be smarter, prettier, funnier than the girl sitting beside us, one of our best friends, or a girl in our office.

Comparison has always been an area where I have greatly struggled in my faith. From wishing my prayers sounded like another girl’s at youth group, to wondering if I’m not a true woman of God because I’m not taking any Biblical classes, to striving to make my makeup look just as effortless as the girl who sits beside me in class; I constantly wish I was someone else.  Comparison quote

At my smaller Christian college ring by spring isn’t exactly a joke. I definitely anticipated meeting the love of my life at this college. I easily pictured getting married the summer after graduation, and then living happily ever after as all our children sported “Future Grover” onesies. I wish I could say I was kidding. Yet, here I am the spring of my senior year, just as single, though hopefully wiser, than my naive freshman self who thought all of this would happen. Being single is a great gift, but it can also be a curse. I know that there are hundreds of fabulous single people all around me on my college campus, but I don’t choose to focus on them.   I choose to spend my days focusing on the people that are dating. And trust me, I’ve heard plenty of the “The right person comes when you aren’t looking,” “God has someone so special saved for you,” and “Would you even want to date who are they dating, anyways,” crap to last me a lifetime. But some days, it doesn’t change the fact that I am confronted online every minute with pictures of happy couples, flashy engagement rings, and Pinterest wedding boards, all while I’m sitting across from a couple canoodling in a study area across from me. This is not to say that I am not wildly happy for my friends that are in relationships and getting engaged, I am, but I also want it to be my turn too. Let’s all be happy and dating together, am I right?

I have liked plenty of boys over the course of my 21 years here on this earth, and with that comes plenty of opportunities to both be liked and to not be the one liked. I constantly find myself in positions where I’m not chosen over another girl. Sometimes the boy has no idea I even liked them, sometimes they do and they only liked me as a friend, and sometimes I just annoyed them. But either way, it is too easy for me to find myself comparing myself to those “better” girls they chose over me. It is easy to get consumed about why you weren’t chosen. Is it’s because she’s funnier than me? Because she’s shorter than me? Am I too much, or not enough, or show my gums too much when I smile? The list can go on and on. And I’m left crying in my bed knee deep in her 8th grade pictures on Facebook wishing that God had made me more like her. Because according to that boy I had obsessed about, she was worth it. And since I wasn’t picked, I was not.

That’s how I used to let myself think. I used to let myself get jealous of my friends successes, spend my days wishing I was someone else, and hating certain qualities about myself that made me who God wanted me to be. This New Year, I am learning to be expectant. I think it is all too easy at times to believe that God has great plans and ambitions for other people. The type of people who can recite whole chapters of scripture, who never have a bad hair day, and who always win awards. But that’s not the case. That’s a lie we have told ourselves again and again like a bad nursery rhythm to ease the pain that we are not enough. You are special, you are loved, you are chosen. Not enough? That thought is unfathomable to a God’s whose thoughts we can’t even begin to imagine. He wants to use you right where you are today. comparison quote

In this crazy life we think we can be satisfied if we are given a sense of worth; if we win the employee of the month at our work places, get complimented on our outfits, or get the highest grade in the class. We think that our worth depends on what we do, who we know, and how we look. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t. Our worth was determined for us long ago when Christ hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins. He didn’t just die for the people that have it all together, the popular kids in high school, the girls you think are more beautiful than you, He died for all of us. Because we are all worthy and equal in His sight.

For example, it’s like being the worship leader at a church. Because let’s be real, everyone wants to be the worship leader, right?  It seems so exciting to be able to lead people in singing songs to the King of the World. They show love to people during altar calls, stir up the Holy Spirit through a simple repeated verse,  and get the credit for picking songs that quite literally save people’s lives.  No one really thinks about the person pushing the words along on the PowerPoint. Unless, of course, they get off and you don’t know the words to the song. But the person who is pushing the slides on the PowerPoint is just as valuable and important in God’s eyes as the worship leader. The worship leader needs the person pushing the PowerPoint too. If people don’t know the words to a song, the worship leader’s job is irrelevant. No one’s lives would be touched, no one would get that “Come to Jesus” moment they are craving. Because to have a great worship service you need both parts.

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

And I don’t know you or the area where you are struggling with comparison today, but I can guarantee you that wishing for another’s gift will only lead to you wasting yours. We all have different purposes, different tasks, and different challenges we face every day. For example, I am not a girl who has ever been overly self-conscious of my body.  It breaks my heart to see my friends and loved ones spending their days hating the details of themselves that were loving crafted. But, where many of my friends have dealt with that issue, they have had no problem getting boy attention, where I have struggled.  Because the enemy wants us to believe that it’s just us who feel left out, abandoned, and less than at times; but that is not close to being true.

Maybe you’ve wondered if God could ever use you because you look around at your Christian friend group, church, or college and see plenty of people more prepared, and in your mind, better equipped to serve God’s kingdom. Maybe you wonder if there’s enough room for you to also have this dream, or that desire, or that ambition. What if you’re too late?

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” – Matthew 9:37

I am not a competitive person by nature. When I used to run on my track team in high school, I would literally size up the other girls on the race line to see if I would be ok with them beating me. “If she beats me I won’t be upset because she went to States last year, but that girl, she’s so annoying. I have to beat her.”  I’m all about pushing myself, but I don’t have much of a pain tolerance or a big desire to push so hard I throw up. The ironic part of all this, is that while I would love to be more competitive on a sports team which is healthy, I chose to be competitive in comparison.

I hungrily read blog posts written by other strong Christian women, on the online magazine I often write for, or a book suggested by a friend and end up feeling miserable by the end. Because, I’m afraid that her great article that has so much wisdom and knowledge means there isn’t enough room for me to post anymore. After all, she got more likes and comments than me anyways, right? Wrong. Remember the verse above, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

comparison and grace quote

Just because she is very talented in the same area of you…doesn’t mean you have to get a new hobby.

Just because your friend got a job first…doesn’t mean you won’t also get a job you love.

Just because everyone around you is dating…doesn’t mean God is calling you to be a spinster.

Just because she has the same dress.. doesn’t mean you’ll look the same or less good when you wear it.

To be honest, while I was writing this article I took a break to casually peruse Instagram. Suddenly I found myself looking at photos of my friends studying abroad, seeing other friends reconnecting, and of course, date night photos. All while I was writing this article in my pjs on a Saturday night. I tell you this to let you know that I haven’t perfected this either. I can only give you some tips that have helped me and hope they can do the same in your life. Because like I said before, no one has it all together.

  1. Spend time with God each morning. This is a major struggle for me. If you know me at all, you know that I am a 10 pm in bed kind of girl. However, I don’t spring up and sing like Snow White in the mornings either. I like to sleep, 10, 12 hours. Getting up for me is never fun, frankly getting up from sleep ever is never fun. But I do notice a significant difference in my ability to control my thoughts when I do my devotions in the morning versus the afternoon or night. Every morning when we wake up we are facing a great battle. This happens between the enemy and our thoughts. Don’t give him any more ammo.
  1. Be on the look out. Every day from God is a gift. We need to be on the look out each day from the urgings of the Holy Spirit to talk to that person who looks lonely, speak the Bible verse our friends need to hear, and follow the call to sign up for a new club or activity. We need to realize that God has a plan to use us each day in big and small ways. Don’t miss your gift by noticing everyone else’s.
  2. Limit your time on social media. Social media is the food that feeds the comparison mResting in comparisons quoteonster.  Though social media is a great way to keep in contact with others, it is also too easy to get caught up in how many followers, likes, and comments we get on something we’ve posted. Suddenly, we are comparing ourselves to Amy’s photos wondering why we aren’t cool enough to get as many likes as she did on that picture of her cat.  That’s the problem with social media. So I’m not saying to quit social media, but if you know that you struggle with comparison, limit the amount of times you check it each day.
  3. Give yourself a break. Realize that you are going to have days where you are bloated, have zits covering your chin, and forget to pluck your eyebrows. On those days or other days where you feel like you could never be as good as insert name here, realize that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. God has already proved to you that you are worth it and worthy of being pursued. The moment those toxic thoughts enter your head, simply take a deep breath and relinquish it to God. He can take these thoughts and give you the peace you require. He can give you the confidence to stand on top of these thoughts and conquer them once and for all.
  4. Finally, fill yourself with what God says about you, not what others think of you or the horrible things that you think about yourself. Look to the verses that say that you were chosen, you were set apart, you are loved, you are worthy, you were created beautifully and with a beautiful purpose. God can satisfy our deepest desires and handle our deepest fears. Let Him shoulder your burdens, insecurities, and doubts each day when they’re too much to handle.

Remember that comparison is a battle that we all are constantly facing, but what do you say? Are you ready to win that battle today?

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Keep Failing

2017. A year that looms before us unknown and sweet with expectations. It’s exciting to think that we have no idea what this year will bring. Many of us wish to find something new to fill the void in our hearts this year; a new person, a new hobby, a new figure. Many of us see this New Year as an opportunity to become the person we’ve always wanted to be. The person who spends time regularly with God, who invests more in other people, or actually gets on that workout regime. C.S. Lewis quote

But we face a problem as we hastily throw down resolutions after resolutions on notebooks and random scraps of paper. We face the problem of reality. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when 2017 has just begun. It only takes a minute to look out at the gray and snowy January day for you to lose the hope that you had to complete the task. So why do we fail? Why do we forget about achieving our resolutions by the time March rolls around? Why do we not become those people that we hope to be?

I think that the answer is rather simple. We are set on being someone new instead of becoming someone new. From the minute our glasses clink ushering in the New Year, we are set on being this “new version” of ourselves.  Maybe for you that meant being less selfish, gossiping less, or being a better friend. Maybe you hoped to find contentment, to increase your spiritual life, or to help out your family more. These are all great plans, but we must remember that nothing comes easily in life. Process is everything. We need help. We need God. We are broken and damaged shells of people. We are not our own.

In the Bible, we see story after story of characters undergoing trials and joys on a journey that would lead them to who they were ultimately designed to be. They didn’t just wish that God would use them in big ways, they took steps to put God’s plans into motion. Think about the story of Paul. He had a major transformation, yet he didn’t become God’s vessel to the Gentiles overnight. He probably was scared to death and afraid, just like many of us. Luckily, God can take our brokenness and weaknesses to be used for His strengths. We are able to read book after book of Paul’s spiritual and personal trials to see how he learned to depend on God above anyone and anything else.

Or let’s look at the life of Peter. When God first called him to be a fisher of men, did he become one of the main leaders of Christianity the next day? No. Face it, he was just a smelly fisherman that was curious and maybe even a little bored with his mundane life. But he took a step. He gave God the opportunity to shape him and make him into who he was intended to be.  By letting God see his heart, his loves, and his failures, Peter became the man who was the rock of the Catholic Church. Do you think after the rooster crowed he was thinking how powerfully God would use him in the lives of others?

Just know that you are not alone in trying to improve yourself but falling short. You are not alone in having great intentions that you Proverbs 3:5couldn’t quite keep. We live in a crazy busy world. We spend our days racing from work to the gym to our quiet time to dinner to trying to squeeze in an episode of Netflix, all while trying to maintain 8 hours of sleep. Our eyes are bleary from the all-nighters we have pulled. And we find ourselves putting on more activities, finding new hobbies, maintaining more friendships, and having less time for God each year.  Have you ever stopped to ask God what desires and plans He has for your life? To ask Him how He wants to use and shape you this New Year? Maybe that’s where you need to start.

And then we face the question of what are the best resolutions? Thanks to social media and modern blogging( haha) we find that every publication, friend, and parent has an idea of what we should be working on this New Year. So we find ourselves up to our ears in self-help books, crazy weight loss solutions, and “read the Bible in a year” plans. All seem to promise that we will better ourselves, be someone different, and become who we always wanted to be just for signing up for their newsletter. That’s not true.

The only person who knows what we need to work on, what sins we need to improve, and what idols we need to kick, is God. Have you asked Him? Maybe this year He’s calling you to give up a bad habit, maybe it’s leading a Bible study, maybe it’s joining a ministry on your campus. But it could be as easy as smiling to everyone you pass on the sidewalk, or talking to that girl who seems lonely in your humanities class. Whatever it may be, I urge you to spend time prayerfully asking God what He has in store for you this New Year. Every year has its fair share of ups and downs, but by having God as your constant companion, you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Over these next few weeks I will be introducing different resolutions I have for the New Year for you to either join in on or to ignore. This New Year, I hope to find ways to not be someone different, but to begin the process of becoming the woman of God I have been created to be. I want to become more content, unplugged from social media, expectant, intentional with others, and more serving. Now, none of these are easy tasks that I can complete overnight. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you any quick tips to become these things in 10 minutes or any cheats. My only offer is to dig into these issues using scripture and to start a journey that most likely won’t be completed in 2017. Because we shouldn’t be striving to become better just for 2017. We should be trying to become the person that God will say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” to at the end of our lives.

So are you ready to become a better kingdom server for God? Are you ready to stop making resolutions and start making changes? God is ready to guide you through this uncertain and unknown New Year, all you have to do is ask Him to lead the way.

Isaiah verse

What Does God Say About Women’s Roles

But what if I’m not gentle and quiet? What if I can’t cook? What if I want to work? These thoughts and more have consistently come to my mind when trying to understand what my role as a woman of Christ should be. Let’s face it, it’s tough enough to be a woman in today’s society without the pressure of feminism, sexist workplace behaviors, and traditional roles. Many of us are left wondering what exactly are God’s plan for women? And are we not able to serve God as well as men?

To be honest, I am not the typical woman figure. I hate cooking and any forms of baking, hate cleaning, and have far too much energy to be content staying at home every day while I kiss my husband goodbye as he goes off to work. Oh yeah, and I really can’t sew. Does that mean I’m going to be a failure to my husband if I get married? Does that mean that I am a disgrace to women?

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Ladies, let me be the first to tell you that God does not have the same roles for any two people, so why would we assume that He should have the same roles for any two women. He might call one woman to a life of staying at home and looking after her family, while He calls another woman to life working high up at a business. Both are able to make a difference for God’s kingdom, but they are used in two very distinct ways.

Have you ever noticed that women that are quiet seem to have all the luck? That they are the ones who always get the boy attention because they  appear to be so “quiet and mysterious.” To be frank, I’ve always wanted to be a little more quiet. To not constantly be getting in trouble for saying something I would regret later. But we have come to believe the lie that we as women are expected to behave this way. That we are only worthy to God when we are off to the side and silent. This is not true.

God created no two personalities to be the same, that is why He knew exactly what He was doing when He created you loud or soft spoken, introverted or extroverted. He had an exact plan and exact skills He gifted you with different from anyone else. Women, we need to stop being so silent in our congregations, silent in our Bible studies, and silent in the way we are serving God.

God now more than ever needs to have women who are vocal, women who are outspoken about His truths, and women who are not afraid to combat the expectations of the media and voices of the world. We need to be powerful in the way we serve the Lord. God can use us to make a difference in other women’s lives in ways that men could never imagine. We need to have women who can mentor each other, who can teach our daughters how to be modest and how to be kind, and women who can be missionaries to those broken by sex trafficking and rape. God has unique plans for women to not only serve other women, but to serve children, men, and any age group. Don’t let the verses in the Bible( particularly Timothy) that are about women’s roles  allow you to remain silent. God has amazing plans for you to further His kingdom in ways that men never could.

So what the only food you can make perfectly is scrambled eggs? So what you sometimes forget to dust your dorm room? So what you enjoy sweatpants more than dresses? Does that make you any less of a women of God? Absolutely not.

One verse that really identifies how we should behave as women of God is 1 Peter 3:4 that says,

“ Let your adornment be that of an inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”

1 Peter 3:4- bible verse about women

News flash ladies, gentleness isn’t a personality type, it’s a type of action. One of the words I have consistently heard mentioned( mostly by my own mother) that I lack would be gentleness. If you know me at all, you know that I am a pretty loud and energetic person, a quiet spirit is pretty much farthest from the truth.

But does that mean I will be a failure to my husband if I get married? Not at all! Learning to be gentle and learning to be more of a Godly woman are not skills we are born or not born with, they are skills we are meant to learn. So let’s unpack this definition of the word gentleness, shall we?

According to a Biblical dictionary, gentleness means the sensitivity of disposition and kindness in behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love.

So what does this look like in real life? It means being kind and mature in the ways that we handle conflict and controversy. That could be choosing our battles with those who disagree and antagonize us, instead of adding fuel to the fire with our hasty words. So we must become women that are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Not women who are the first to write a heated Facebook post or vent about that one girl on our hall. It means watching what we say because we know that all we do can either positively or negatively be connected back to God.

It means being strong. To be women who are not afraid to gently confront our friends when we see them going down a wrong path, to tell our best friend the guy she is dating is not a strong enough Christian, and to have the willpower to not get drunk on the weekends when it seems like everyone else is doing it. To stand firm in our convictions. To not let the new guy we just started dating push us farther than we are comfortable physically, or not allowing ourselves to give into the temptation to wear the shorter skirt or lower cut top when we know we’ll be around a boy we are interested in. It’s not only knowing and understanding the Bible, but living it out in our actions and deeds. We must be strong women who hold fast to Biblical teachings when the world and even our friends and families are trying to lead us astray.

Be a women of a quiet spirit

Finally, being gentle means being kind. Not just acting kind to people’s faces and later talking about them behind their backs, but actually being kind. Truly caring about others and loving them as God loves them.  Realizing the gifts that other people have to offer and  encouraging them in those, instead of  becoming jealous that they are not our own. Dropping everything when a friend is in need or just when your roommate needs someone to look over her paper. Being the type of friend that God calls all of us to be. Intentional, encouraging, prayerful, and loving.

It can be tough being a woman in today’s world, but by looking to God to help us understand our roles, we will be able to serve Him in ways we never thought possible.

So the next time you find yourself feeling bad that you have more of a passion for the homeless than for baking in the kitchen, realize that God has placed that calling in your heart.

Don’t let what you think you should be stop you from what God has called you to be.

 

To The Girl That Has It All Together

Who am I?

This is a question that has haunted women for generations. From trying to wear the right clothes in middle school, to picking the right major in college, to even going through that mid-life crisis, we find ourselves asking, who are we? Where do our identities lie? Where do we get our satisfaction and worth?

The typical Christian response is from Christ. It can be so easy to say “Of course my identity comes from Christ.” But have you ever stopped to consider what that really means?

When I think about who I identify myself as so many words come to mind.

I am a daughter, a friend, a student, an athlete, a reader, a blogger, a leader, a lover of preppy clothing, an overachiever, a sorority sister, a regular sister.

set apart quoteBut  I still have many sins to hide.

I am broken, I am selfish, I am prideful, I am judgmental, I am a gossip, I am hateful.

Yet, it can be so easy to forget the most important statements of all.

That I am redeemed, I am loved, I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am saved, I am a prize, I am His. 

I think that it can be hard for any of us to admit just how much we care about how other people see us. It’s easy to hide behind our plethora of activities, easy to hide behind our awards and achievements, and easy to hide our faith from the world. Every day we wake up and are faced with the battle of having to prove that we are worthy to the people around us somehow. So we force ourselves to get up early and make sure our hair is done just right, we interrupt our classmates in our pursuit to be the smartest voice heard, and we sign up for the mission trip we are unprepared for in order to get the accolades from our Christian friends.

But what if we stopped doing all that? What if we truly embraced our authentic identities in Christ alone? What if we didn’t question who we were in response to another?

“ But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5: 8

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”- Romans 12:1

We aren’t perfect beings. And we never are going to be. So no matter how many awards, “Job well done”, and praise we receive here on earth, nothing is going to wipe away our sins except for Christ. That is why it is completely impossible for us to try to find our identity in any other earthly element, because God is our creator who has made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

I am talking about this subject today because I definitely speak from experience. I would definitely classify myself as a grade A overachiever. I am involved in so many different events both on and off my college campus, and take great pride in the leadership positions I have been able to attain going into my senior year. But I take too much pride. I take too much pride in being the girl who seems to have it all together. The girl who gets good grades, dresses well, is organized, and goes to bed early. But I’m not the girl who has it all together, and I am never going to be. And unfortunately neither are you.

I am just as broken as any other individual on my college campus. I face trials, endure hardships, and cry in the shower when my days become too much to handle. I get stressed out, say things I shouldn’t, and care way too much about impressing fickle boys. When I put my worth and my identity into being the girl who does everything and has it all together, I fail. My identity needs to come from Christ and Christ alone.

Too many days I find myself not seeking God when I am stressed out or upset, but turning to other things to get comfort. I seek to find my worth in social media, how many friends I have, and reminding myself of all the things I’m “good” at. I allow myself to obsess over my reflection in the mirror, for the girl who has it all togetherobsess over the conversation where I said something stupid, and obsess over posting a photo on Instagram to let everyone see how much “fun” I am having. But I don’t obsess about God. I don’t obsess about others and intentionally hearing them. I don’t obsess about the grace I have been given.

So let’s stop. Stop putting our worth in earthly awards and positions and start building up our treasures in heaven. To learn to love ourselves and to feel that we are worthy of love no matter how many campus activities we invest in. To be approachable and open about our struggles. To not be afraid to talk to our friends about Christ and encourage them to live life with Him to the fullest.

I can’t be perfect, you can’t be perfect, but together with God we can become perfect. I have no idea what identity you have been hiding yourself behind these past years. Maybe it’s being a really great athlete, or the mother of your friend group, or the smartest kid in your classes. But those things don’t define you, they are only evidence of the gifts that God so richly blesses us with; don’t turn a gift into your self-worth.

“He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

He delighted in you. Not because you were president of student government, not because you were Homecoming Queen, not because you went on 12 mission trips, but just because you were little old you. Riddled by sin and desperate for grace. So embrace your fallen nature today, you never know how God is going to use your scars to bless another.

 

5 Tips For Your Senior Year Survival Guide

Senior year. Whether you are jumping for joy at the thought of being done with college forever, or already internally cringing when an adult asks what your plan for after graduation is, it happens to all of us eventually. Unlike high school, after we walk across that graduation stage amidst the flashing of cameras and excitement of family members, many us may be unsure where our paths will lead us next. This year will be full of changes. From parting with friends who have become like family, to moving to a new town where no one knows you name, to moving back home, it is important to realize that this unexpected journey has already been mapped out by the Creator of all. So take some time right now to relax, sit back, and let me pass on some wisdom of my senior year survival guide.

1. Be content.

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”- Matthew 6:8

“To the God who is able to do immeasurably more than you can ever ask or imagine.”- Ephesians 3:20senior year bible verse

As I was praying for God to show me what He wanted me to learn and experience in this coming season in my life, one word kept coming to my mind, contentment. If you think about it, many of us are not content in our day to day lives even when we have so much to be thankful for. It can be all too easy to dwell on the negative, like being unhappy doing spreadsheets in your internship instead of being grateful for the opportunity, or being annoyed when your mom makes you help her make dinner, instead of realizing how lucky you are not to worry about food. We all do it.

Learning to be content doesn’t mean always being happy. It means fighting the battle every day of choosing praise over complaints. It means accepting that everything isn’t going to go the way you want it to, but trusting God anyways. It means seeing the good when you’ve recently experienced a whole lot of bad.

This coming year is going to be an onslaught of “Just landed the perfect job” and “We’re engaged,” social media posts. There might be days where you feel like you can’t even check Facebook because you are sick of everyone else getting good news. Do not fall into the trap of comparison. God made us all with completely different gifts and life plans. Just because Suzie lands her dream job in October and you have to move back in with your parents after graduation, doesn’t make Suzie more loved or better than you. Who knows, Suzie might land that job, but end up absolutely hating it, while you end up waiting at home and landing a job you’ve always wanted.

So choose satisfaction. Choose praise when you get rejected from another job and realize you have to move back home. Choose praise when you worry about never getting married or worry if your boyfriend is ever going to pop the question. Choose praise when everything in your once perfect life seems to be spiraling out of control.

No matter how many resumes you send out to hear no replies, how many times you ache to have a date on a Saturday night, or how many times you stain your bed spread with tears from it all being too much, God has not abandoned you. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and He is the same in your period of waiting and the same if this year leads to you getting everything you’ve ever wanted.

Ask God to grant you contentment during this time of uncertainty and to show you the ways He is working in your life that you never noticed before.

2. Don’t be overwhelmed.

“Peace I live with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”- 1 John 14:27

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”- Psalm 61:2 senior year bible verse

College in general is a time of stress and juggling a million things.  Trying to fit in a meal date here, while doing a meeting there,  and doing your homework in the time cracks in between it all.  As a person who barely has enough room to fit her activities on one page of her resume, I can relate to doing too much. Though it is great to be involved in many activities and avenues while in college, you don’t want to spend your senior year making up for lost time. You don’t need to try to go on every mission trip, lead every organization you’ve been in since freshman year, and then sign up for a new activity that sounds fun.

Take a deep breath. Don’t try to cram every memory, project, and fund raiser into the first month of school. Though we are told to savor every moment of senior year and continually told how it is going to fly by, nothing is ever that quick. You still have 9 months to make the most of your senior year, so relax and enjoy being involved and enjoy your friends. Pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment to say yes to the right things and no to those things that are getting in the way. This is your last year to be a college student, so sleep in those days you don’t have 8 ams, say no to going out to stay in and watch a movie, and don’t read all the miscellaneous things assigned to you.

Find the balance between school, activities, and friends that you can handle. It really is true that you can’t do it all, so don’t burn yourself out trying.

3. Don’t check out.

Kind of piggybacking off my last topic, don’t check out this senior year. It’s hard to invest in new people, new campus groups, and new things when you feel like you barely have enough time to spend with your friends, but don’t check out. Take the time to do that mission trip you always wanted to go on, join that group that always looked like fun, and get to know those people in your major you always thought seemed cool.

Likewise, don’t skip out on meetings and plugging into those activities you’ve always loved. If you are on a sports team or in a sorority, take the time to talk and get to know those freshman. You never know the way you can be used to mentor them or how God can use them to bless you.

Whatever you choose to spend your senior year investing in, do it wholeheartedly. Do it lovingly. And do it without any regrets.

4. Be intentional.

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”- Proverbs 27:9

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”- Luke 5:16 senior year bible verse

The hardest part of anyone’s senior year is saying goodbye to the friends and loved ones who have helped you to transform these past three years from that naïve freshman into the senior strutting across the stage to grab her diploma. Be deliberate in all your relationships. You might graduate and move to a new town where you don’t have any friends or family. Take the time this year to invest deliberately in the friendships that you want to last beyond college. Make meal dates, friend dates, and weekend hang out times. Tell your friends that you love them and really want to spend the time growing with them this year.

Invest in your parents. They are the ones who have taught you everything, and no matter how much you feel like you are independent since starting college, you still need them. Truly soak in their knowledge and learn everything you can from them. For me that means letting my mom teach me to cook when I really hate it, or allowing her to buy me things I need to for my house for Christmas over clothes. It means asking for advice instead of rolling our eyes when we receive it. It means watching Lost with my family every night this summer instead of holing up in my room watching Netflix. It means taking the time on breaks to put away our cell phones and plug in to our families.

Invest in our savior. College is the best time in our lives, because we have four years to selfishly and unapologetically focus on nothing but ourselves. We get caught up stressing out in all we have going on and our classes, but really we are stressed because we don’t have time to work out or hang with friends. None of our decisions really impact other people.  God is the only one we can rely on when our life is changing like crazy. He is the only one who understands how bad we feel to be sad that our best friend got a job when we didn’t. He is the only one who gets how scared we might be to get engaged or to leave college never having a boyfriend. He alone knows how we are going to feel and how to comfort us. The real world is going to be scary and unknown, but we can’t properly tackle it without God’s help. That means laying the foundation before we get there. That means taking the time each day to sit before His throne and lay our burdens on Him. That means listening to His call and choosing it even if it isn’t what we had in mind. It means learning to be His servant and realizing we are not our own.

Each of these relationships are important to our growth, but only one can sustain us for all time. Choose intentionality this year.

5. Don’t cry until it’s over

Don’t cry before it’s over; smile because it happened.”- Dr. Seuss senior year quote

My last bit of advice is harder said than done. I would consider myself to be a fairly easy crier. I cry every time Hillary Duff gets humiliated in A Cinderella Story at that pep rally, cry when I’m overwhelmed in the shower, and cry when I skin my knees. I am more than prepared this upcoming senior year with tissues in case I get struck unexpectedly with nostalgia. Don’t live like that!

Embrace all the little and big moments that senior year has to offer. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Likewise, who of you by crying and bemoaning senior year ending can add days to it? So try your best not to dwell on it ending, but live in the present every day. Don’t waste your weekends wallowing in your dorm room with friends, go out and have fun.

I have decided to try my best to not cry until I walk across that stage to get that diploma. That might be unrealistic, but I can tell you I don’t want to waste my precious college memories stressing about them ending. I have plenty of time to cry when it actually ends.

So seniors, go out and build the kingdom this new school year. You have 9 months, let God help you make the most of them.

What The Bible Says About Modesty

I want to start by asking you a question. When did it become a bad thing to want to protect our brothers in Christ? When did it become unheard of or embarrassing to admit that sometimes we wear clothes we wouldn’t want our fathers to see us in? When did it become OK to walk around wearing as little as possible and write it off by claiming our bodies are our own to do whatever we want with it? When did we as Christian women think we had to give up our feminism in order to support modesty?

The word modesty can be so broad. To many it seems like another chore that is required of the Christian faith. That we must hide our bodies because they are something to be ashamed of. To others it is mocked; the idea that we should dress our bodies to prevent poor boys from stumbling is laughable, surely they can control their urges. To many a confusing term. A term that encompasses so many meanings that they are not sure where to begin, but without proper clarity it is too bothersome to consider dealing with. Maybe you also are unsure what the word modesty means and what God’s context for it is. I can’t claim to know the truth, but what I do know is that we as a society of Christian women need to educate ourselves about how our clothing affects those around us.

Modesty quote with woman in black dress as background

Yes, there are pigs out there. Men who will wolf whistle at you when you are bundled up in a winter coat, men who will make you feel uncomfortable when you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and men who say you “asked for it.” These are not the men I am concerned about protecting. There will always be evil in the world and satan in the hearts of men.

We as women have convinced ourselves that all men are this way. That all men are disgusting perverts who perpetually want nothing more than to get in our pants, cop a feel, or undress us with their minds. But what about the good men out there. What about your sweet fourteen year old brother who can’t concentrate during a Victoria Secret’s commercial? What about your aging professor who accidentally gets a look down your low cut top as well? What about the great guy you are dating who is trying to not take advantage of you? What about them? What are you going to tell your children if you have sons? Are you going to tell them to just give over to their desires? Are you going to tell them to treat women like the objects we sometimes dress like? Of course not!

I used to be unaware of what modesty was, and frankly felt like I had enough trouble getting noticed by boys to stop donning my yoga pants. I mean what is a girl without a butt to do? Then I read a book that changed everything. It is called Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. The book takes you through the struggle the two men had separately with lust, and how they were able to overcome it with the Lord. These are good Christian men who loved their wives, but couldn’t quite stop their wandering vision.

I think as women because we are so relationship oriented, we believe that guys see the world and us through the same eyes. They do not. In the book they go into great detail to explain how men were made to receive sexual gratification through their eyes. A quote from the book says,

“ We aren’t picky. It can come in a photograph of a nude stranger, romantic interlude with the wife, or even a scantily clad women in your wife’s bathing suit catalog. Women seldom understand this because they aren’t sexually stimulated in the same way. For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay.”

There point is entirely correct. We don’t understand it because our sexual stimulation is through touch and relationship. To put in perspective, telling a man to stop being visually stimulated is like telling a woman to stop enjoying the intimacy of a man truly getting to know her, or to stop fantasizing about Mr. Right every time she watches a romantic comedy. I was shocked to discover in the book the great shame these men felt for their wives and family for accidentally seeing a women jogging in a sports bra and thus fantasizing about it later. They know we find this particular chemical makeup of their brain revolting, unforgivable, and disturbing.Boy in beanie hat sits on a sidewalk with modesty quote present

But the most important thing I took away from the book was that they can’t always control it. There are many ways for men to get better with their lust and visual desires, and I would encourage all men to be striving towards that, but there is nothing wrong or frowned upon about us doing our best to help those who are trying to help us. The men of the book pleaded with women to consider what they wear and try to help them out a little bit. They are trying to keep their eyes pure for their wives, and sometimes we unintentionally, while trying to impress others, can cause them to stumble.

So what can we as Christian women do about it? What does it mean to be a modest women in Christ? Now, I’m not about to tell you that you can never wear a bikini, yoga pants, a crop top, or shorts that aren’t 9 inches ever again. That would be hypocritical and unrealistic. I’m going to introduce a concept. Intentional Dressing.

Intentional Dressing is waking up every morning with the intent to dress to please the King, yourself, and your guy friends. We all have those articles of clothing we bought when we were feeling slightly risque, wanted to grab that certain guys’ attention, or to show off the weight we had worked so hard to lose. We all have the not quite too short from the right angle pair of shorts, spandex running pants that cling a little too generously, and shirt that is fine unless we lean the tiniest bit forward. We have worn certain clothes, dresses, and shirts to gain attention from the visual part of the male brain. As much as we hate that part of the brain, we still try our best to please it and feed it’s ever growing appetite.

So have we as women asked for it? Of course not! But have we encouraged it? I know I have. As a track athlete it’s pretty much impossible to find anything to run in that isn’t leggings or spandex. How can you wear those baggy shorts when everyone around you is wearing spandex and Sophie short shorts? You’re going to look nasty “face wise” at practice so at least you can take comfort in your butt looking good, right? Yes, we do need these things to run faster and to work out better outdoors, but what about the Sunday afternoons I’ve worn them just because they were “comfortable?”

As a 5’9 girl, I have always struggled every time I searched for shorts, a Homecoming dress, or skirt. The anticipation of seeing the dress fit perfectly at top only to realize it’s barely goes to the top of my thighs. I can definitely be a vain person, like all of us, and can admit to rolling those shorts up just a little bit or choosing a dress without my mother that was slightly shorter, but not short enough to be untoward. Haven’t we all done something like that?

“ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought a price.”

You were bought at a price. God created ever part of you lovingly and paid the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom. We aren’t our own. And even though feminists and those in society might try to convince us that we make our own decisions, we have a right to wear what we want, and we only have to worry about what makes us feel beautiful and happy, they are wrong. In the verse right above that privilege is very clearly taken from us.

Wouldn’t you agree that you can feel just as flattering and beautiful in a sack of rags if a boy told you so? Wouldn’t you agree that you can feel beautiful in something that fits you just right that hardly shows any skin? Wouldn’t you agree that sweat pants are actually a lot more comfortable than spandex? We can’t have it both ways. We can’t both not want men to objectify us and judge us solely on what we wear, but then dress provocatively to get the attention of that part of their brain we “detest.”

Sure you might say that you aren’t dressing for them, you are dressing for yourself. But are you being 100% with me? Are you going to claim that you never once reached for the short shirt because your crush was going to be at that party? Because I don’t believe you. I know it can be hard when you feel like you have to compete with so many girls out there to get attention, but I promise you the type of boys you have to reveal skin to grab their attention are not the right boys for you.

Let’s bring back modesty. Let’s bring back wooing boys with our personalities, charm, wit, and kindness. Let’s stop dressing like strippers and call girls and start dressing the way a princess of the greatest King who ever lives deserves to dress.

"Modestly dressed women complete with quote."

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what modesty will completely mean to you since everyone’s body is different, but I can give you some tips to figure it out.

1.Pray for wisdom. Trust me, if you begin to ask God to show you what things in your wardrobe you should get rid of to intentionally dress He will show you. The Holy Spirit will convict you.

2.Pray for your future husband. He is most likely facing every day surrounded by the temptation of pornography, incredibly graphic sexual scenes in movies, and scantily clad women starving for his attention everywhere he turns. He is trying his best to be good, and I’m sure he can use all the prayer he can get.

3.Be a light. A think a great way to be a witness to non-believers is to embrace modesty . To say no, I am not going to objectify myself by wearing the tightest thing I can find. I am not going to lower my standards in order to get a boy to look twice at me.

4.Clothe yourself in truth. Realize that there are good Christian men out there who would rather nourish you spiritually then take off your bra. Don’t let satan trap you into believing that it’s your fault and that you can do nothing to help them.

5.Practice Intentional Dressing day in and day out. Be honest with yourself and clothing choices. Yes, you can’t always help when men lust after you, but you can try your best to not intentionally encourage it.

If we expect men to become gentleman and treat us like ladies, we have to dress the part. Think about what you wear each day as a billboard for all to see and judge. Who would they say you’re advertising to?

How To Forgive Someone Whose Wronged You

In today’s society, it can easy to look around and have almost anything cause you to become angry. Maybe it’s the political post of an annoying Facebook friend, the lies you just found one of your best friends has been telling about you, or a hurtful comment from a family member. Maybe for a long time your heart has been angry at God for not granting you that one job or one thing you’ve always wanted.

Truthfully, I didn’t fully understand the depth of anger until almost two years ago. I was in the midst of starting my sophomore year at Grove City and I remember coming home on my fall break excited to relax with my family and finally not have to eat cafeteria food. Instead, I came home to my mother telling me that my father had left our house and essentially their marriage was over.

Now, I am not one of those kids who ever once believed her parents had a fairy tale romance. My father is a dairy farmer whose idea of spending quality time with me was forcing me to milk for him on Saturday nights. He wasn’t a bad guy, just not a good father. He never hit me or my brother or mom, he never cheated on my mother with another woman, but he also never made us a priority. It still stuns me to realize that there are girls out there whose fathers buy them flowers for Valentine’s Day and actually knows the names of their friends from college.

Since my parents have been separated for the past twoish years, I have had to start to form a relationship with my father on my own. Nothing could’ve been tougher. At his core, my dad is a taker and not very much of a giver. My relationship with him revolves around his work. I hardly hear from him during the crop season of the summer, but he will be texting me all the time like we are the closest friends when he is bored in the winter. Even when my mom finally told us what happened, I had to be the one to call him first.

And it makes me crazy angry. Like want to rip up something or scream in his face angry. Because people like my dad can never admit they were wrong. That they were the ones who neglected my mother, tormented my brother, and made me some sort of weird favorite. He can never admit that he actually messed up. And that’s the hardest part isn’t it? Forgiving someone who doesn’t admit they are wrong or who doesn’t ask you for forgiveness. How do you forgive someone who doesn’t realize what they did was wrong?

Ephesians 2:26-27

Now I can’t pretend to know your story or relate to the pain that anger or a lack of forgiveness has had on your life. I don’t know the number of tears you’ve cried over the boy who didn’t like you but tried to ask out your best friend, the mother who wanted you to be perfect out of the womb, or the parent who never made you their priority, but I know that holding that anger inside only destroys you.

The Bible talks plenty about God’s wrath and anger, but it also holds the answer to how we as humans can deal with our internal anger and conflicts.

Ephesians 2:26-27 says, “ In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Don’t give the devil a foothold.”

Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “ Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”

It seems that the only person our anger benefits is satan. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give him any more advantage over me then he already has. We can be hypocrites in our anger, becoming self-righteous and not forgiving a person often times for the same crimes we have committed. Sure, I did not abandon my family or put my job over them like my father did to me, but I have ignored God. I have ignored Him in favor of friends or Netflix episodes or sleeping in. I have put idols and my own desires ahead of God’s and rushed through my devotions to get to the rest of my day. Frankly, I have done just what my dad has done to me.

Now I am not saying that we as humans aren’t allowed to feel hurt and let down and angry. The problem happens when we let this anger consume and intensify to passive aggression, hurting other people, and letting it damage our self-worth. God is the ultimate judge of the earth and He will see that each person will pay the price for their sin. Just like the women who was being stoned for adultery, we are not worthy to cast the first stone.

There might be days where your anger is incapacitating, or you feel like you can never forgive the person who has hurt you, but that is a lie. The power of Jesus Christ lives inside you and He alone can help you to conquer this anger.

But how can you start?

1.Talk to someone. Whether that be a family member, counselor, or friend, sometimes you need to get off your chest what has been bottling up inside you. Let them give you wisdom and pray over you for healing.

2.Write about it. I have always felt a lot of relief from talking to God through writing. It is a great outlet to be able to say whatever you need to without having anyone around. It can also be a great tool you can look back on to monitor your improvement.

3.Let go. It can be hard to forgive and pretend like nothing has happened when someone has wronged you so badly. But I guarantee you that letting the weight go is going to give you the freedom and peace you are craving. So what that awful friend of yours is never going to apologize for gossiping about you? So what you have a dead beat dad that has a pride problem? So what you had your heart broken by an ex-boyfriend who you gave everything to? Being angry isn’t going to make them change or make you feel better. If you want to let go of your anger, you need to be the one willing to change.

Last summer, I postponed the last of the seven deadly sins from my series because I didn’t want to share my story with anger. But now I realize that this anger I feel doesn’t have to define me, and it doesn’t have to define you either.

Are you willing to let your anger go today?

3 Ways God Wants to Grow You This Summer

I think plenty of us right about now are praising God for summer and more importantly summer vacation. When I think of summer, I think of the beach, sunny days, ice cream cones, friends sitting around a fire, and driving with the windows down. It is such an exciting time full of endless possibilities and a multitude of memories waiting to unfold. But one of the things we tend to neglect over this 3 month or more period is trying to get closer to God.

We settle into our fast pace of internships, retail jobs, Netflix series, and seeing family members. As college students, long gone are the days where we had the opportunities to serve God through high school mission trips and VBS programs. Long gone are the days where we ourselves were privy to learning more about Jesus at summer camps and church activities. So what do we do now?

It can be hard when we scroll through endless Facebook posts of friends charging off to minister to kids all summer at a summer camp, traveling to a third world country to do ministry, or who snagged an internship ministering to teens. It can begin to make us feel like our summer isn’t really important to God. How in the world can we be glorifying God by tolerating foreign people at our retail jobs, getting coffee for internship supervisors, or babysitting those kids from down the road you can’t stand? How can I possibly grow in my faith the same way as those who are posting their address for people to send them letters in Africa?

Well, if you are feeling that way I have some good news. This summer can be just as great of a way for you to grow in your faith, minister to others, and learn about your identity in Christ as those preparing the groundwork on the mission fields.

Psalm 139: 16 says, “ All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”Bible verse

No matter where God has called you to work or grow roots this summer, He has you there for a very specific reason. A specific reason to help and learn from specific people that are all part of His divine plan. Every day God presents us all with the unique opportunity to uncover His beauty that He has created just for us to notice. We can see this in the love of a friend, the kindness of a co-worker, the beauty of a summer sunset, and even the surprise of ice cream after a long day. Let’s not miss out on those opportunities to see God’s glory just because we aren’t at a Christian summer camp.

So what are some tips we can use to grow in our faith this summer? What are some ways we can glorify God in the job your parents forced you to get?

1.Set aside time each day to grow and be in God’s presence.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”- Jeremiah 29:13. 

You can’t find your potential in who God created you to be, grow in your faith, or glorify

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heartGod if you spend all day too tired or too busy to spend time with Him. Yes, some days the last thing you are going to want to do is come home from an 8 hour work day and traffic to curl up with your bible. The very last thing you might want to do in the morning is wake up earlier than the crack of dawn you were already planning to, leave your comfy bed, and spend time with God. But I assure you, the more you try to desire God, the easier it will become. If you truly want to grow in Him and be properly equipped to help others see Him, this the first step you must take.

2. Do all things to glorify Him.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”- Colossians 3:17

No matter if it’s talking politely with a customer, not cutting corners on data entry, or folding the shirt properly the first time, nothing we do is pointless to God. Nothing slips His always watchful eye. If you believe in Jesus Christ, which I hope if you are reading this you do, then you have to believe that the hard jobs, annoying bosses, and pointless activities will matter in the long run. God will reward us for diligently working at jobs we can’t stand with people we can’t stand. It is a great way for us to witness to our employers, customers, and co-workers. What if all it takes to spark a conversation about Jesus is a co-worker wondering why you are always optimistic or work hard?

3.Pray through the challengesPray without ceasing

“ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Now I understand that it can be hard sometimes to set aside 20 minutes to pray to God uninterrupted, let alone thinking about it all day. We as Christians have been stuck believing the lie that every time we come before the Father we need to hide ourselves away in a quiet place, dwell in His presence for five minutes, even out our breathing, and read a bible verse before we are fully ready to engage with God. But that is a lie. I wholeheartedly believe that once a day we should try to engage in the practices stated above, but that would mean we are only conscious of God once a day. And He wants us to be as conscious of Him as much as possible. God is available and willing to talk to us 24-7. God isn’t going to answer a text message first, scroll through Twitter first, or have to take a second before engaging with us. He’s always ready.

This past year I have been reading the book Jesus Calling that talks about the trials, frustrating comments, and panic situations we find ourselves in every day as God’s way of saying “hey stupid, I want you to notice me.” Our trials and painful situations are the secret to a greater relationship in Christ. So we must try our best to come to Him first when we don’t know what the heck we are doing in our internships, don’t know how we can tolerate any more Canasians, and don’t know how to make it through the rest of the day. God knows how to get us there, and He is waiting for us to come to Him with open arms.

So this summer don’t get hung up that you aren’t curing cancer or helping children from poverty stricken homes. God thinks that the person who keeps sneezing in the cubicle next to you at work is just as precious as these, but He still needs your help in reaching them.

3 Lies That All Single People Believe

“Maybe it’s just not God’s plan for me to get married.”

“I mean with so many beautiful girls around me how can I ever get noticed?”

“God, is something wrong with me? Is that why I’m still single?” 

Whether you’d liked to admit it or not, we’ve all had these thoughts run through our heads when we are single. The sad thing is after so much time we come to believe them. So we pick out a boy that we see in the cafeteria with dreamy eyes, find out where he studies, and stalk him until we become friends. We find ourselves settling for boys that have very blatant flaws because we are so terrified of being alone. We have become a generation of women that aggressively pursue men for the hopeful chance that this one could be the one that solves all our problems. We cry ourselves to sleep every time the boy we picked for ourselves doesn’t reciprocate our feelings, watch a romantic comedy and desperately ache to be a real life heroine, and eat our feelings every Saturday night we remain at home dateless.

Why oh women is this what we have become? Why are we so afraid of the word single that we feel ashamed and dirty at the thought of being independent? Why do we fantasize about these amazing men to ignore the ultimate One that matters the most?

Because we have bought into the media, our familial pressure, and most importantly satan’s lies to why we are truly single. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by him time and time again and ignored the rescuing call of the One who constantly saves. That stops now.

Lie #1: Maybe it’s something wrong with mebible verse about singleness

It can be hard as girl to not compare ourselves to others. To not worry we’re too curvy, too skinny, too quiet, too loud, too fun, too serious, the list goes on and on. As a very outgoing girl, I worry that my personality is too big for any boy to be able to handle. I’m loud, obnoxiously cheerful, and talk far too much for many men’s taste. For so long I wondered if my singleness was due to any of these flaws that could be “too much” for anyone to handle. Maybe, if I pretend to be that quiet girl they all seem to admire, I will actually become her. Maybe, just maybe, I can keep enough of myself hidden that they won’t need to know who I really am until after I’ve walked down the aisle. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I can bury the person God intended me to be in order to become someone I don’t even recognize. This is a vicious, ungodly untruth.

The Lord created us all uniquely, with different personalities, backgrounds, and passions. He did not create us to pretend to be someone we are not and to hide our gifts and selves under the comparisons of the world. If that boy thinks that your personality is too big for him to handle, then good riddance. If that boy thinks you need to lose weight, then good riddance. God knows you better than anyone in this whole universe, yet we doubt that He would be able to bring us a boy who would be capable of loving those very qualities about ourselves that we cringe from.

Lie #2: You are not worth pursuingquote about single life

How many times have you complained about not being asked out? How many times have you had the door slammed in your face because no one opened it, had to pay for a date, or txted the guy first? Maybe you think that chivalry is dead and that it is up to women to now be the ones who pursue. Now I am not going to get into the debate on if girls should ask boys out, but I do believe that the man should be the one who is ultimately leading your relationship. He is called to be a servant-leader, not just a servant.

I’m currently at the end of my junior year of college and I can honestly say I believe I am the only one of many of my girlfriends that has not been asked out on a date during college. Now, I’m not saying that to complain or to make you feel sorry for me, I am saying that because I get it. I get waking up early before your 8 am class because you want to look cute in case you run into any potential boys. I get angrily praying to God because I wonder what the heck is wrong with me that I can’t get a boy to just ask me to go get ice cream. I get having a great conversation with a boy just to find out he’s really interested in getting to know one of your seemingly prettier friends.

The answer is simple. Nothing is wrong with me and nothing is wrong with you either. This applies whether you’ve just had your heart broken by that jerk, are going through a very severe dateless drought, or think only the weird boys want to ask you out. The truth is we are in a constant pursuit each and every day. God is longing after our hearts and every day He tries to delight us into His presence. Yet, we make it so difficult for Him. We pout, we cry, we get angry, yet He is patiently waiting in the wings holding our hearts in His hands screaming at us to trust Him. Not worth pursuing? To God that thought is incomprehensible.

We were so worth pursuing, our dirty shallow hearts were so worth pursuing, He gave up the most precious thing He had, His life.

So stop the comparisons, the wallowing, and most importantly stop trying to control. Just sit back, relax, and realize God has big plans for this area of your life whether you stay single or get married.

“ You are altogether lovely my darling, there is no fault in you.”You are altogether lovely my darling; there is no fault in you

Lie #3: The ultimate goal of life if to be married

Everyone has those family members that scour their Facebook pages and constantly ask you if that boy who was awkwardly tagged in the background of that picture of you with your roommate is your new significant other. They bother and pester and pod until you have enough time to come up with an embellished excuse about how “your guys friends are great, really.” And “no one gets asked out at your school, it’s just weird.” They’ll then get that sad look in their eyes, pat your hand, and say, “You’re too young anyways for a serious relationship”, when behind their eyes are the worries that you’ll be forever alone. And let’s face it, you’re thinking the same thing too. Especially when the other members of your family and best friends seem to have found their Mr. Right, it can hard to not wonder when it’s going to be your turn.

Society tells us with programs like Say Yes To The Dress, Bridezillas, and many others that a woman isn’t really complete until she’s bagged a man and had her dream wedding. We as women can start to feel like spinsters at the ripe old age of 20 or 21. Do you know that the average age for women to get married in the United States is 27? That most people are waiting to get married and don’t meet their spouses in college or high school? How can we spend so many years of our lives “not really existing”? Our purpose on earth is simple. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s it.

We are called to follow God first and foremost and to think about veils and bridal gowns later. God calls us to serve and witness to Him, which I’m pretty sure is still possible to do single. Ladies, there is so much more to life and relationships than meets the eyes. It’s not all adorable filtered Instagram pictures and cheerful Facebook updates. It’s not all birthday collage posts and surprise flowers on Valentine’s Day. It’s work. It’s sacrifice. And most importantly it’s selfless. So yes, relationships are great and fantastic, but no boy can possibly fill the God shaped hole your heart is aching for. No boy can love you or know you the way God does. No boyfriend or husband can be your reason for being alive or the answer to the meaning of the universe. God has called us all to a great purpose and has equipped us with the tools to complete it. So instead of spending so much time daydreaming, wallowing, and eating, we should be spending that time growing with God, and having Him give us the wisdom to know His plan and follow it for our lives.

Don’t be afraid of the single life, embrace it. Because the truth is, you may be single for many reasons that right now don’t make any sense. Right now, God loves you so unspeakably much that He just can’t bear to share you with anyone not worthy of His standards. So get out, go out, and build the kingdom. Don’t waste your time fishing calories out of a Ben and Jerry ice cream pint, fish wisdom out of God’s word, fish peace out of God’s eternal self, and fish patience out of God’s truth.

That one person who is perfect for you in every way is already in your life and He’s knocking at the door of your heart to be let in.