Single and Seeking

CoupleI have previously mentioned on this blog that there is a lack of single Christian men in my church. To be precise, there are zero single Christian men in my local congregation. The truth is that there is a serious lack of single Christian men in the American church at large. A 2011 PEW Research study showed that there are eight single women for every one single man in the average congregation. Being a long time single with few talents and little beauty, that’s a pretty disconcerting statistic. How I could ever attract a man over the barrage of other single women available is beyond me. It is beyond me, but it is not beyond God. Yet the harsh reality is that unless things drastically change in the makeup of the church, there is a large number of women in churches today that may never marry.

For a long time I assumed that if I loved God and waited patiently, that He would just send the right man to me. My husband would just show up. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22), which implies to me that the husband does the finding. He should pursue after his bride. Therefore, I’ve never looked for a husband. I’ve longed for one, but not actively looked for one. But recently, a member of my church opened my eyes to the fact that my future husband cannot find me if I don’t position myself in a place to be found. The Bible doesn’t just say to ask, it also tells us to seek and knock (Matthew 7:7). I had asked for a spouse, but I hadn’t really sought for one. While I take all of Matthew 7:7 to be a reference to prayer, there is a difference between asking and seeking. Seeking implies some kind of action. The sister in my church asked me what I had done, what actions had I taken in finding a spouse. Not many. I have prayed. I have been faithful. I have waited patiently in the pew for almost eleven years for my husband to walk through those doors.

If we were to compare this search to looking for a needle in haystack (which is what it feels like), I have mostly just circled repeatedly around the same haystack expecting the needle to suddenly reveal itself to me. I have not dug down into the haystack pulling out individual straws in my search. I felt that actually looking through the straws meant I was not trusting God to reveal the needle to me. If it’s His will for me to be married, He will send a man to me, right? Well, yes, and no. He will send me a partner when the time is right, but it’s not likely to happen without any participation on my part. In the Bible, Rebekah had to participate by watering the servant’s camels. Ruth’s participation was even bolder. Ruth purposely went to Boaz (at Naomi’s suggestion) and uncovered his feet while he was sleeping, and lay upon his feet. I won’t take the time to go into the historical significance of what she was actually doing, but it was very forward. She was clearly making her intentions known to Boaz. She wasn’t passively waiting for him, she actively went to him.

This brings me to where I am now. Along with the sister who helped me to see that beyond asking, I should also seek and knock, several other well-meaning Christians have recently asked me what I have actively done to find a spouse. In another post I will expand on some of the things I have done and am doing to try to place myself in a better position to be found. I have sought to form a closer relationship with God, worked out a hidden root of bitterness over the way my last relationship ended, and went through a very intense spiritual battle to fortify myself against a particular weakness I have.

Reluctantly, I have also made myself a little more visible on social media. None of the other things I’ve done do me much practical good when there aren’t any prospects in my church (or even in my district), so I decided I needed to do something to widen the circle. This is fraught with a lot of uncertainty and not a few painful rejections. I’ve seriously been considering going back into hiding, but then I think of Rebekah M and her new found interest who she met through social media and I think perhaps it’s worth trying to stick it out awhile longer. I haven’t quite figured out where the line is between not doing enough and pushing too hard. In the end, it’s up to God. I still believe when I am ready and the timing is right, He will send me a companion. Until then, may God grant me the grace to keep waiting.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

The Blessing of Being Me

In this time of  giving thanks I cannot help but write this post (from my phone so forgive any errors)  about my recent blessing of the new man in my life. 

To be honest,  this is the first time that when I write about a guy in my life,  I feel the most appropriate way to say it is using the term man. He has been through so much and yet has no bitterness and no unhealed wounds (son with spina bifida which causes him to not be able to walk and had had multiple surgeries in his short life already and divorce because his wife cheated on him and then remarried to the guy she cheated with the very month the divorce was finalized despite him truly fighting for their marriage for months until God told him she’d never change her mind).  He attributes it to God.  I hold him up to the list that my brother and sister in law encouraged me to make and it still stands (although it is still VERY early I will admit). 

The big thing though,  what I like the most,  is that I feel SO free to be my favorite version of me.  With work friends I might seem tougher or with world friends I might mention God but not have the luxury of expounding on the things of God as much and stick to common topics .  With this guy however,  I can be every favorite part of myself and I feel he not only likes it,  but cherishes it.  He even calls me “little ninja”  (a personal joke that many tolerate but it feels like he embraces it).  I have never in my life felt this pursued and comfortable.  He quotes back scripture to me like how I do him,  he  and I had a discussion on football and he liked that! (a previous boyfriend had told me he hated my  “guy side”),  he tells me often that I’m beautiful,  gorgeous,  amazing from the inside out  and I believe he means it! 

Time will tell if this lasts longer.  God will either remove him from my life to protect one,  the other,  or both of us  or…  He’ll  say it’s okay.  He won’t stop what is happening if this is His Will and boy,  at this point I sure do hope so because I would be so blessed beyond measure if I could end up with a man who does what this man has been doing –  making me feel even more happy and assured of who I am –  that all the little bits of me can be  appreciated by one person.  Someone who is gentle,  sweet,  Godly,  a servants heart,  and works to make me smile.  He works hard to make ends meet by working three jobs and he doesn’t even care that some may find at least one of them a job that some might find  degrading (dishwasher at a restaurant).  It shows such humbleness and assurance that his worth is in Christ- which is what I need in a man given that I’m a doctor and likely will make more money than many males in general. 

So Jesus, 
While some are thankful for other things,  among the  MANY  things I am thankful for,  I thank you for this blessing of a man who allows me to be the most happy,  full,  free  version of me.  One who can randomly sing a church song to match the conversation,  who send scriptures of encouragement and it’s received gratefully,  who can chat football /comic books /video games  and its  considered awesome,  who can show her love and devotion for You and it is found to make her even more beautiful in his eyes.

Thank You Jesus, 
Rebekah M

God of Second Chances- Take Two

Barely over a week ago I was on a group on facebook and commented on a guy’s picture who was wearing a bowtie how “it takes a real man to be able to rock a bowtie.” He quickly friended me on facebook and began liking random pictures of mine- one even dating back to over a year and a half ago. So I sent him a message saying “you know, if you’re going to keep liking a girl’s pictures you should at least say hello.” Thus began what has quickly become one of the most important interactions in my days. I have no clue how this guy has SO quickly transformed how I go through my day, but he has.  If I could, I’d spend all day just talking to him- even better would be to spend all day WITH him. He is less than two hours from my brother in california and I can’t help but wonder if that is also a God thing since my heart longs more and more to be near my beautiful, wonderful, sweet nephew who is only 7 months now but such a bundle of joy.

The big thing though is that he is divorced.  I never in my life thought that I might even consider dating (or even potentially considering one day marrying) someone who was divorced but I surprisingly do not have any reservations about it. I think it helps that his ex-wife cheated, divorced him, and was married to the man she cheated in the same month the divorce was finalized, but I’ve said for years I don’t know if I could ever do that because I wouldn’t fully understand those scars. Yet when we speak, I see a man who attributes his healed heart to this amazing God of ours. We can talk about almost anything from comic book characters to star trek to deep thoughts on God.  When he talked to me last night on what God has been doing to heal him, I almost wanted to shout “I know exactly how you feel!!!”

In this all, I keep saying “If it is God’s Will…” and truly mean it.  I need God in this. I cannot make steps without Him. If this guy is sincere and truly wants to win my heart, he needs to keep with putting God first.

Regardless though, in all this I can’t help but feel like God wants to be the God of Second Chances to this sweet man- whether with or without me in his life… enjoy the song (even if you’ve seen in on here before, it’s still touching)

Standards of Beauty

整形外科 - Plastic Surgery

整形外科 (Plastic Surgery)

I am currently on a company trip to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Taipei. This post is just an observation about the beauty standards that are prevalent here. It’s not really a spiritual post, it’s just some things that have been going through my mind since I arrived. I think it dovetails nicely with Rebekah M.’s last post, The Monster in the Mirror. Please don’t take this post as criticizing the culture. I am well aware that my own culture is just as flawed and has just as many ridiculous standards. These are just my thoughts and observations.

There is an impossible standard of beauty here. This is true the world over, but it seems especially prevalent here. It amazes me that I can take a walk and get handed packs of tissues from at least three different plastic surgery outfits on a single street.

Plastic surgery is increasingly common in the west, but it’s still pretty much relegated to celebrities and the super rich. Here, it’s not uncommon for your average woman to seek it out. There’s nose jobs to be had, chin chiseling (to get that impossible heart-shaped face), double eye-lid surgery, liposuction, and the surgery to help you get rid of your radish legs. In other words, surgery to change you from something perfectly normal to something supposedly more attractive. There’s even a strangely popular procedure to turn your areolas into hearts. Really? Who would want or need such a thing? Especially something that so obviously can only be accomplished through surgery?

All of the constant focus on beauty here makes me feel really insecure. I do not live up to my own culture’s standards of beauty and really don’t live up to this culture’s standard of beauty.

Honestly, I think those women with the extreme heart faces look weird. It’s unnatural. I think the surgery to get a double eye-lid is a disheartening attempt to appear more “western”. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but that’s sure what it seems like. And radish legs? Seriously? I always thought your thighs were supposed to be wider than your calves. This is considered something so ugly that it bears it’s own insult?

I guess it can be compared to the teenage obsession in the US to have a thigh gap. A few months ago I saw a picture one of our youth at church posted on her instagram account. She had photoshopped the picture in order to give the appearance that she had a thigh gap. It was a rather poor photoshop job so that’s how I knew and it made me so sad because she is a beautiful girl. An absolutely gorgeous girl actually. But there’s that impossible standard of beauty everywhere. Pretty girls are not exempt.

So I know it isn’t unique to this area, but perhaps because I’m in a foreign place it’s even more obvious to me. After all, we tend to do a lot more observing when we’re in an unfamiliar environment. Here most girls don’t flaunt their bosoms the way they do back home. You won’t often see low-cut tops, but you know what you do see? Super short skirts and shorts. Legs seem to be the body part of choice to show off. Therefore, they need to be perfect.

Then there’s the whitening creams, celulite reducers, fake eyelashes, and round contacts. The obsession to look…different…better…younger is everywhere. This goes far beyond the typical fat shaming which is done en masse, but also focuses heavily on things that are completely beyond personal control.

For example, being short is an insult. Being someone of short stature myself, I find it interesting. On the one hand, I love coming here and not always being the shortest one in any given gathering. Back home everyone is taller than me. Here, most people are still taller than me, but the difference in height is much less pronounced. I might be the shortest in a group, but it will only be by a few inches rather than by a foot or more. It’s an amazing feeling to be with a group of people and actually be able to talk to them face to face. I have spent my life literally looking up to people. Taller people are often unaware of how uncomfortable it is when they stand too close. The closer they stand, the sharper the angle my neck has to be at in order to look at them (keep this in mind when talking to small children). I sometimes wonder if this is the cause of my chronic neck pain, but that’s another story.

Anyway, this amazing feeling of not being quite so short here is dampened by the fact that here being short is an insult. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone describe another person as “plain and short” as a way to say they aren’t worth anything. They don’t deserve a boyfriend etc. because they are so “ugly – plain and short”. It’s strange to me. Back home being short is just a description, it’s not an insult. Your friends might kid you about it, but you’ll never hear someone call a person short in the same way you hear people call someone fat; like it’s a horrible thing to be – but here you do. It’s strange to me. At least when you insult someone for being fat (which I’m not a fan of either) the person likely has some control over whether they’re fat. When you insult someone for being short, you’re insulting something that they have almost no control over. It’s determined almost entirely by genes. Good nutrition in early childhood can make a difference, but that isn’t something most kids can control.

I say all that to point out how ridiculous the standards of beauty are. There’s actually a ton more examples of this that I could share, but the point is that many of them are literally unattainable (or only possible with surgical intervention). People grow up hating themselves. Hating the bodies that God gave them. If only they knew that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

The Monster In the Mirror

I cannot describe how much has happened lately. From long work hours to severe sickness to more, through it all I became more and more run down- going into auto-pilot mode. Although my last post indicated I was going to try to re-ignite the passion and deep devotion I once had for God, I drifted more and more into just existing. Trying to survive each day despite my heart and soul slowly shutting down more and more each day. I went to work, went home, passed out, and did it again except on the times I’d show up in church but even then- my heart was not fully in it.

But then vacation. 

God seems to always know when to make things come to pass that need to and because of certain work restrictions I had been forced to take my vacation time that I had wanted to take this month (because I turned 30 recently) to see my brother and his family last week.

We have an on-time God. 

My brother asked me when he picked me up at the airport what I wanted to do and I told him I was there for rest and restoration- and that is exactly what He provided but not just for myself but for them as well. God reminded me of who I am- one who is filled with hope of the future and secure in His love. My sister-in-law and I had an amazing time of prayer before I left and I know that my God is blessing my brother as well.

With all that said- I’ve set the stage for you to understand that I have recently come out of a place of depression and back into God’s light to understand the significance of my next moment I’m about to talk about.

While talking to a new potential guy last night that I met on my vacation (in church), I talked about how someone asked me to take a ninja mask off last year because it scared her and he asked “did she say that before or after you took the mask off? lol jk.” It really was like a punch in the gut. This guy could NEVER understand just what he truly said to me because we just met less than a week ago. He does not know where God has brought me from.

I was broken as a child. I was completely and fully convinced that I was a hideous monster- ugly beyond all ugly. I remember distinctly in 10th grade when I joined an all female swim club and when I walked out in my bathing suit and they didn’t mock me I stopped and thought “wow, maybe I’m not THAT ugly.”

Over the years, God has been working on my broken soul to see the beauty He created in me. From friends and family and even strangers, He has told me I’m beautiful. Only one of the guys that I have talked to has ever left me the impression he truly believed it, all else I have always doubted when they’d tell me I’m pretty or beautiful- but I know that can change.

Which is why what he said made such an impact

But I know my God is greater. I know a God, King Jesus, who has taken me from a place of believing I am a monster and NO ONE CAN MAKE ME GO BACK THERE EXCEPT MYSELF. I should have said something then- see if he learn that I cannot allow words like that in my life, instead I just typed an “lol” and babbled a little, reeling from feeling pushed back to where I once was. But the amazing part is that my Jesus scooped me up and has given me strength to know that He has taken me from a place of self-loathing and I never have to be there again- no matter what anyone says.  I am beautiful to Him and that is all that matters.

Maybe this will be the end of things with the new potential guy. Maybe he doesn’t even think of me as anything more than a new friend. Time will tell. Regardless, God has shown me again how good and faithful He is.

So for any of you who feel ugly, too fat, too thin, too short, too tall. A monster. A face not even a mother could love. REJECT THOSE WORDS AND THOUGHTS IN JESUS NAME! You are loved! You are beautiful (or handsome!) You are created to bring God joy by merely being in His presence! He longs to be with you, to shower His love on you. Let Him love you. Let Him show you how He sees you in His mirror!

Look the monster in the mirror and find there the beauty within. 

In Him,

Rebekah M.

Ode to the Single Christian Female… Again

It has been a LONG time since I last posted. In part from being busy, partially because I was going through a lot, and partially because I was too lazy to get around the fact my chrome browser did not work with the new wordpress editor (I’m posting from explorer today). But I’m back now.

I recently have had MUCH on my mind/heart this month. This month alone I have had 2 of the guys I used to talk to get engaged to their new significant others and the one guy that I was seeing who was not in church sent me an invite for a baby shower with his new girlfriend. It has been quite interesting.  The feelings that roll through you with that many announcements all at once ebb and flow.

For one that I am still somewhat friends with, I am genuinely happy for. We truly are best as just friends and he is a good person so I am happy that he has found happiness with a wonderful, Godly woman.

The other, resentment in how he treated me sometimes tries to boil back up. He apologized so I know that I chose to forgive him but I am still human. Of all things, facebook made a point to send my phone an actual phone alert that he was engaged! I almost want to block him or defriend him but part of me is too stubborn, not wanting to look like I care since in truth, the only reason I am bothered is not because I want to be with him, but because I felt SO duped by him and yet this person that I felt almost conned by with his smooth talk and lack of action is now getting married and seemingly happy. Jealousy at his happiness and resentment for his past actions is not a pretty look.

And for the one not in church… I felt with such conviction that God was telling me- it’s time to truly, fully let him go. 

I remember once, crying in my friend’s kitchen, asking her if she understood what it felt like to wonder if the love you had for someone will ever be matched again. Wondering if he’ll always be the only one who treated you like a discovered treasure. To know what it is like to have someone look you in the eyes with adoration, who went out of his way to make you smile daily, who never fought with you (seriously), and found ways to gap the distance despite the miles… even traveling 4hrs each way to see you for a weekend…

My heart was still in pieces in the kitchen that day with my friend as she consoled me, but much later when the news came recently of the baby… I knew.  I had chosen God over someone who would have led me down a path that would have been my spiritual destruction. God protects us! He wants only our good! To think that could have been me. Celebrating the fruits of sin instead of waiting for when things are right in God’s eyes.  Do not get me wrong, a child is never to blame, but for those who have a conviction that as the Bible says, premarital sex is wrong, you will understand my statement.

Then I felt God ask me if I trusted Him. Did I trust Him enough to believe in a picture I had seen on facebook recently?

I honestly told Him I know He has power and I know this can be the truth, but it is hard as a human. It is hard to think my favorite broken toy could ever be replaced with something better.

But I know He can

…and so I have been working on finding my way back. Bridging the silence between He and I that I’ve created. It’s been like the roommate you see daily but rarely speak with except some pleasantries here and there and maybe one or two genuine conversations, but not the daily deep one of the past. It is weird how you can still be used by Him to touch people in big ways spiritually and yet lack the desperate unity that you once had with Him. But I’m determined to find my way back. To let the doubt and despair lift.

This morning while praying with a childhood friend over FB messenger over safety while in a country that has been hit by Ebola (she’s teaching English there), I felt the old me coming back. The one who fights in the spirit and breaks down walls and chains not by my might, but through God’s power In His name- Jesus name.

I have been created to be a warrior in Christ.

So sisters (and brothers), join me in taking back the fight- if you are single this is your time to give full devotion to God and the things of Him without the burdens of a family or husband (or wife) to care for. Let us make use of our season of singleness for you never know who will be your Eliazar.

Rebekah M.

God Provides

testToday at work I received a payroll check for one of our employees. The check was a replacement for one that was originally issued more than three and a half years ago that was somehow never cashed. The employee had no idea this check was coming. I live for these moments.

When I saw her I exclaimed that God had sent her a blessing as I handed her the check. Bewildered she stared at it and of course inquired what it was for. After I explained, she nearly broke down. Recently, she has been struggling financially as she had to take a cut in pay last year. She told me that her bank account is currently $33 in the negative. She said that she had committed to sending $100 to a missions work in Cambodia and even though she didn’t have the money, she sent it anyway. She told her father that God would provide the money. Her father was skeptical and said, “How is He going to do that?” She said she didn’t know, but she believed He would. The check she received today was for more than $1200!

Let me be clear that I am not advocating for anyone to be financially unwise. We need to budget and plan accordingly. However, if God places it in your heart to step out in faith and give, and you make a commitment to do so, don’t back out of your commitment. Trust that He will provide!

I live for these moments. It is wonderful to watch God provide for His children and strengthen their faith. She stepped out in faith and God opened His windows of heaven to pour out a blessing! Yes, it was technically already her money, but it was money that she didn’t need or miss at the time (nearly four years ago) and instead it arrived exactly when she needed it! God’s timing is impeccable. She kept her commitment to the souls in Cambodia and put her trust in God. He provided. It is a testimony to her father and it is a testimony to me. To God be the glory!'GOD' 'ALWAYS' ‘PROVIDES' - Philippians 4 verse 19

Thank you, Jesus!

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

PS. Please share your recent testimonies with us.

We love to hear them!