Saturday, September 24, 2011

Painful Singleness

Singleness was created by God to be a blessing. An initial plan to give us the intimacy with Him that He created us for. But we, as sinful man, destroyed this intimacy and pulled away from complete intimacy with God and loneliness came about.

As a 25, almost 26, year old woman I have this conversation almost everyday. It is usually prompted by an unanswerable question followed by a surface compliment then ended with a reoccurring question, "Stephanie... why are you single? You are just so cute.... why don't you have a boyfriend?" My vocal answer and head answer usually sound terribly different. My vocal answer is, (giggling while talking) "Well I don't know... maybe he is just around the corner!" But my head answer sounds something like this..."I don't freaking know. You think I am doing this on purpose? You think I LIKE to be one of the only one of my friends that isn't having babies, or married, or seriously dating someone? You think this is my choice? Cause it isn't. So stop asking me questions like this is MY fault!" haha Thankfully the Lord blessed me with a filter and everything I think doesn't escape from my mouth! I know that people do this because they care about me and my happiness. But what I have found out is that talking about singleness usually feeds Satan's plan to get my eyes off of the 'blessings of singleness' and focus on the 'hardships of singleness'... aka jealousy, bitterness, loneliness and self-pity.

I think people think this is like an entitlement and if you don't have it then there is something horribly wrong with you. Like, if you are married then you are godly and have your life together, but if you are single it is a punishment for sin in your life. But these lies are what get our view of singleness so distorted. Singleness and the pain of it's struggles should not drive us to long for marriage, but to long for a reunion with our Creator.

Singleness comes with many different attributes. One often found is loneliness. This is not a unique quality to singleness though. You can feel this in many different stages of life. I have friends that are married and have husbands that are emotionally distant, absent or abusive... that is lonely. I have a friend who just lost her best friend and husband of 30 years to cancer in February... going to bed, to the grocery store, to normal everyday things by yourself now is probably lonely for her. Loneliness is not just felt in singleness. It isn't even something that will kill you... but I can honestly tell you that when I am experiencing it, it seems quite unbearable at times.

I am a hopeless romantic and love, LOVE! So when I think of a possibility of never being truly known by another person it hurts. Never having a best friend that is always with you. Never having someone to constantly encourage, spur on, reveal secrets, dreams, fears, and longings to... that hurts. However, I am reminded that this is a gift. I read a blog and a girl wrote and shed some light on this. She said, "The pain of loneliness is such a gift. Like all pain, it lets us know that something somewhere isn’t quite right. My loneliness reminds me that this world is unsatisfying and insufficient. It’s a signpost that prompts me to seek help outside of myself. Each jab of loneliness tests my heart: do I believe in the ‘enoughness’ of God? Will I believe in what He says even when life seems to testify otherwise? He says I have everything I need. He says He will satisfy the longing heart. And each twinge of pain provides a reminder to cast my gaze heavenward and to refuse to be comforted by anything but Him."

When I am sitting at home alone for the 4th time in one week because my roommate is out with her boyfriend, and I feel like no one is thinking about me, cares about me or even knows I am alive...I have to rest in the hope that only comes from the truth of the gospel and the goodness of my Beloved. Because if I am just sitting around having a woe is me attitude I am wasting this gift of time without distraction. Whether that lasts for a year or two or until I am called home to glory, it is still a short time to fully fix my eyes on the Lord. Loneliness wasn't designed to teach us to long and pray for a spouse. It was designed to teach us to long for our Creator. Loneliness doesn't happen because Jesus is not enough, it happens because we don't have enough of Jesus.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The FAITH of a Child

Anyone who knows me well, knows that this school year has been quite different than the others. I leave daily with a pounding headache. I yearn to love, impact, mold and care for my precious babies.... but it is hard. This is the toughest group I have ever had. I KNOW that I will grow to love them as my own. I KNOW that it will become easier as they become more comfortable and mature. I KNOW that once they get my schedule down and I begin to realize their learning styles that we will mesh better. But now? No bueno amigos. I want to cry often. And that is when I don't want to scream. It isn't all of them... and the ones it is, it's not even really their fault. They were taught these traits and habits. And now it is my job to break the habits and begin the reconstructing process.

I was talking to one of my best friends last weekend about my class and I was disheartened. She said, "I knew things weren't going as normal by your facebook status." I don't want to be a negative person or a Debbie Downer. I pray daily that the Lord lets me love them hard and like Him. That He allows me to see them through His eyes and forgive them like He forgave and forgives still. THEN... I got this. A precious blonde haired, blue-eyed angel in my class brought me this card. It had cut out hearts all over it and it had a poem that was called, "Why God Made Teachers". He then told me that he had been praying he would get me as a teacher, loved me sooo much and thought I was the best teacher he had ever, ever had (I know he has only had one other teacher in his life but it was still sweet words).

These words brought tears to my eyes. These words reminded me what my purpose on earth and as a teacher was. To be a friend and love someone who may not receive it anywhere else. To help them understand creation and live in a way that would radiate Christ in every conversation and action. To pour into their lives, show them right and wrong and help them grow in stature and wisdom with God and man. And lastly, to show them how to make a difference in the world by first hand showing them how I can make a difference. To encourage. To serve. To love.

Thank you LORD for your grace and mercy and showing me that even when life is tough.... a) YOU never leave my side and b) You use others... even six year olds.... to bring me back to where I need to be. Which is at your feet daily and humbly!

Why God Made Teachers
By Kevin William Huff

When God created teachers,
He gave us special friends
To help us understand His world
And truly comprehend
The beauty and the wonder
Of everything we see,
And become a better person
With each discovery.

When God created teachers,
He gave us special guides
To show us ways in which to grow
So we can all decide
How to live and how to do
What's right instead of wrong,
To lead us so that we can lead
And learn how to be strong.

Why God created teachers,
In His wisdom and His grace,
Was to help us learn to make our world
A better, wiser place.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Truth Speaking Thursday

This doesn't have to be a hateful or bad thing... it can be a blessing. A gift from the Lord. Hope for good and the future!