Embracing the Gift of Singleness.

On May 20th this year I will have been single for two years. I have only managed to date one person out of this long gap and to be quite honest, God has shown me that I certainly am not looking at relationships through “spiritual lenses.” When I first entered into the season of singleness, it was not glamorous or exciting at all. It was pretty dark and terrifying actually.

I vividly remember driving home from that empty Kohl’s parking lot with the same empty feeling in my heart. My head was pounding and my eyes were blurry from the endless tears just flowing down my cold cheeks. The roads were not lit at all, just how I viewed my life in that moment. The only thing I had left to hold onto was my faith in Christ. When I arrived home that painful night, feeling nausea and fear, God revealed to me a verse that shaped my relationship with Jesus: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. I read that verse with complete trust and faith. I knew that God was leading me out into the wilderness, ready to explore His raw and wild being. I will not lie, I had to go through some pretty devastating days.

I remember my mom gave me some advice that helped me through the bitter feelings I had: “you have to grieve this person as if they died. If you need to cry or scream, then do it. Do not hold any emotion back.” Well, my friend, that is exactly what I did. I would scream until my lungs gasped for air. I would lay on my bedroom floor just simply repeatedly saying Jesus’ name over and over until my mind went numb. I had to go through the emotions the way God wanted me to. We cannot skip any process of grief, or hurry it per se. I would venture out into nature and worship God with reckless abandonment because that is where I found my refuge.

Up until today I am still struggling. I fell deeply for a man who never returned the feelings back to me. Every day I questioned my worth because of this ones’ person rejection towards me. The man I dated ended up leaving me because he thought I was too “emotionally intense.” I would cry, have anxiety attacks, and allowed my spirit to flow downwards because I have always sought to find my image in a man, not Jesus. God shows me this verse two years later with a gentle kiss: “We must keep our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12:2

My dear brother or sister, if you are in or have just entered the season of singleness, do not look at as a prison. Do not think of it as a place of rejection to the worldly values of relationships. We must take heart that in our singleness, we are to build, grow, and be rooted with our true love. I have heard that if we are in the season of waiting, we are in good company. Everyday you feel unloved, God’s love grows deeper for you.

“Submit To God.”

Hey guys! So…. I totally get that I am jumping ahead just a tad bit in James, but James 4 was laid out completely by God into my heart, so I need to share with you all what I took from it.

I have been in such a dark place these past 5 months total. I’m going to be straight up: I have been consumed with sexual sin. It almost got the best of me and destroyed me, but God prevailed and is saving me daily. I have to die to my flesh every morning/night, but I am on the road to recovery. It’s been so comforting knowing God doesn’t just walk away when we chose to deny Him, instead of submitting to His presence. Hey… kind of what today’s topic is? Well, now that I have settled that, let’s get started!

James 4:1: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

Okay, so when I first read that, something within me struck like lightning in my chest. Basically what James is discussing with us here is that the “quarreling” we sometimes enter into with one another does not necessarily mean that other person did us wrong, it’s our flesh that’s blinding our eyes. We live in a narcissistic place where it’s all about me, me, and me. A envious life is a lonely life, my friend. It will leave you always feeling unsatisfactorily and deprived of the lack of “materialistic” pleasures that seem so spectacular. My friend, we need to grasp that fighting against our brother because they have what we have been praying for is not only wrong, but it can cause a void between you and God. Ouch!

James 4:3: “You ask, but do not receive because you ask God with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

Friendship with the world is hatred towards God! Our hands were created to work for God’s kingdom! We are his craftsmanship! What good is it that the beautiful gifts He has given us be thrown away for flesh, sinful desires? Why drink from the mud when God offers eternal, spiritual waters that will let us be thirsty no more?

Let’s all take away this: God is a jealous God, meaning NOTHING shall separate Him from us. He cannot stand the fact of anything keeping us from His presence! So when He countlessly rescues you and I from sin, it’s because He wants to! He loves us that much! Wow….

Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

I Will Let the World Reject Me.”

This, by far, has been one of the most painful, eye opening, and raw gutting seasons God has lead me through. Every single morning since December I have awoken to feel inadequacy, guilt, and depression. It’s been exhausting trying on different emotional masks that can cover only a small percentage of my exposed weaknesses. I have, regretfully, shunned God and allowed a dark hole suck me dry. I feel as though a light within me has almost gone completely dim; drowning in my own agony.

But…. a voice calls to me, so softly.

A voice that sees my despair, yet can still reach into my cracked soul.

A light that outshines the deep trenches my own sin had created, pulling me out piece by piece.

A love that shows me that I am a sinner, but I’m also deeply treasured. A love that saw me from my mother’s womb and calls me by name. A love that knows my inner thoughts more than anything, and still called me “chosen.”

This is what I will cling to. I will let the world reject me. I will let myself be thrown into the streets, left physically naked and cold. But… I will not reject my Father’s love. I will not turn away from the cross that set me free. The cross has the final word, I will listen to that voice, even if the world’s deceiving tongue shouts lies into my bleeding ears.

“No Partiality.”

I absolutely love James 2 because this chapter is basically about one main thing: FAVORITISM! I do not know about you, but I cannot stand favoritism! Even if I am the one being favored! There is no joy in it! I’ll explain why I feel this way.

A few years back I was extremely involved in my youth group. I was very close to my youth leaders and a bunch of the girls in the same group I considered my best friends. Every Wednesday our youth leader put us on a rotation on who would open up the night, pick the worship music, or even do the lesson. He would sometimes ask for the following week and my hand seemed to always be raised. I did not think much of it. I have always had a passionate heart for serving. It brings me great joy to serve and bring others joy. Week after week though, less volunteering hands were raised and it began to become repetitive of me being in the spotlight. My mind slowly realized that I was being “favored.” After I left that youth group, I completely stepped down from serving. I was doing it out of self ambition, and reputation. Like, a slap on the back or a “good job!” I wasn’t really giving back to the One who deserved all the praise. James talks about favoritism in all levels, as well as faith with works. We cannot possibly

Another story I have is when I was getting back from working out at the walking trail I usually went every evening, I noticed this family of 4 was standing on the curb right outside a Subway, while holding a sign that said a dialogue of hopelessness. I began to feel led to serve them. I went inside Subway and bought two plain subs. As I walked outside to greet the family, I witnessed them all getting into their car and driving away. I began to feel a little angry because I realized that they mostly likely con people into thinking they’re dirt poor or just want “handouts”. I stated to walk back to my car when I glanced over at a nearby trash can and an old man was digging desperately through the trash. My heart felt heavy for this man. I looked down at my subs and immediately knew what I had to do. I bravely walked over to the man and said, “I’m not hungry. Please take these”. The man graciously took them and said a prayer for me. I knew in that moment God was acknowledged, and I served the humbled heart.

“You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” James‬ ‭2:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When.

Sometimes we just crave the “when’s” in life.

“When I get this job…”

“When I find the right man/woman…”

“When I pray this specific prayer…”

I will be honest with you, I’m in the guilty party of wanting the when’s. Sometimes though, those “when’s” are more like selfish “wants”.

I often catch myself feeling some heavy negative emotions that cause a selfish stir in my heart. I even get angry at God in my “seasons of waiting.” Which again, I have been lead into. My heart yearns constantly for things my own mind thinks I’m ready for. As always though, our thoughts processes are outweighed by the promises of God. He knows our hearts so much more than we do! So how could we even begin to question his ways or become a little impatient if I may be so blunt? That’s just how the human mind is. We live in a incredibly narcissistic society. A high percentage of people will do anything to get what they desire, especially with the usage of manipulation and fear. That’s not how God wants it! I love the stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hannah. Both sets of people desired a baby! With the gnashing of teeth and screaming cries of prayer, they both obtained a child. The more honoring and inspirational part though is, they gave back to God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son to show his heart still belonged completely to God. Hannah, gave her son back to the temple, only seeing him once a year at festivals. How unselfish that is, right? So that’s how we should be. Our “when’s” need to align with God’s “thy will be done.” His ways are better, higher, and faithful to the last.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;” Psalms‬ ‭130:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Perseverance”.

This past month has been a whirlwind of changes and growth. God has revealed so much to me in what my flesh is still desiring and what my spirit needs to desire. This morning I read this powerful “sticky statement” (a statement that sticks out the most in an author’s piece or work) and it struck the rift I have been feeling in my spirit right out: “God leads us all into situations, circumstances, and experiences that break me, but mold me into a better version of myself.” We all can agree trials and tribulations are down right awful. None of us like the feeling of disappointment, failure, or my favorite word this week: perseverance. Today, I want to write to you what I have learned from our friend of the bible James, and how trials should be counted as “great joy” in our personal walk with God.

I entered into the dating arena again with hope in my heart and excitement in my brain. The last relationship I had been in was almost 2 years ago! I have been fresh out of the game for quite some time. I will tell you on a personal note that the last 2 years of being single were the best couple years of my life. I grew so intimately with God, learned heavily about forgiveness, and I found a love for myself I never knew I had instilled within me. I prayed for months to share what I learned with the opposite sex (of course, a relationship). God eventually did lead me to someone who was incredible. His mind, body, and soul attracted me so profoundly. I desired to be in this persons’ presence, sadly, more than I did with God. The relationship abruptly ended, and I surprisingly did not leave the relationship empty or broken. I felt two things I have never felt in my life over a break up: hope and peace. I quickly began to understand and truly see how much work God has done within my heart when I had to endure multiple trials of perseverance. James, incredible book of the bible, teaches us that very thing.

James 1:2-3:

Take Hope When Tests Come

My Christian brothers, you should be happy when you have all kinds of tests. You know these prove your faith. It helps you not to give up. 

What a bold statement, right? “Be happy when you have all kinds of tests”. I am currently enrolled in school, and I can gladly tell you I do not find any joy in tests. In fact, I LOATHE tests! But… what would be the point if we did not have tests? How would I be able to see if I understand what I am learning and able to retain it if I do not endure tests of learning? The same exact principle is used when it comes to our faith. We are commanded by our Lord to read His word and apply to our lives so that when we do enter into “trials of tribulation” we can have a hope that surpasses all worldly understanding. We can have joy in knowing that we can endure all attacks because of the living Spirit inside of us.

James 1:4

Learn well how to wait so you will be strong and complete and in need of nothing.

Patience is one of the most used words in the bible. We are called many, many times to be patient. I sometimes like to explore many different versions of the bible, and one version replaced patience with “long suffering.” Wow! My mind immediately went to the cross. Jesus endure an immense amount of long suffering. He was so faithful to God’s will, even though He was in great anguish. That powerful, loving example is what Jesus expects of us. Waiting is an act of obedience; trusting God to do the possible when contradictions around us say impossible.

James 1:6

You must have faith as you ask Him. You must not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave which is pushed around by the sea.

Trials are stepping stones in our faith. We must endure pain and tribulation, so that we will rely on God more and more. Just like the butterfly must complete the whole stage of metamorphosis, we must endure the whole trial of perseverance. We must allow God to mold us into His perfect character!

“The Process of the Butterfly.”

Butterflies are one of the most fascinating creatures God created, in my little opinion. Then entire entity of how a butterfly first starts as a Caterpillar. Just wandering around, exploring this vast world we live in. Venturing up soft, green stems to get its nutrients provided by the plants rooted in the ground or leaves covering the bright, blue skies. I love Spring time for sure. That is when you will see various amounts of these little missionaries fluttering around the beautiful flowers sprouting out after the shuddering cold winters have faded. I suppose you could say that I went through my little “morphing” into my personal butterfly. I remember the year 2016 like it was yesterday. It was one of the most painful, life challenging years of my existence (well, so far at least). I did not realize God has placed me in a hollow, cold cocoon for a purposeful reason He is still do this day revealing to me.

Take a look at how the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is demonstrated: “Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so that it can start the process of metamorphosis. It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. The monarch butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and just enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.”

Pretty amazing, right? What an incredible journey! This could also relate to our personal walks with Christ. When growing in our faith, we have to start off small. We cannot fully grasp God’s teaching by devouring solid foods with baby souls. We have to allow God to train our minds and hearts daily. It takes patience, diligence, and self discipline. I had to do that throughout 2016. I desired a more intimate, deep rooted relationship with Christ. He already knew that. He desired to be closer to me. I wanted Him to flow through my veins and feel His touch deeper than my own skin. So, my own “metamorphosis” happened. God enclosed me in His arms. While that incredible intimacy moved me, it was a heart wrenching process. I had to allow God to cut out areas in my heart that were hindering me to grow. It may take a caterpillar to morph into a gorgeous butterfly in only ten days, this process of total Christ transformation took much, much longer. But I wouldn’t trade for anything. All of those nights I clenched my chest while crying my eyes dry were healing. Those days I gnashed my teeth and fell to my knees due to spiritual deprivation were days I was falling at the throne of Abba. Each passing day, God was adding color. Strength. Beauty. Love. Himself. And here I am. I broke out of that spiritual cocoon and I am flying high. I can see the clouds bursting in front of me. I can feel the cool breath of God blowing through my wings. I feel nothing but peace. I am here. I am alive. I am a butterfly of God’s garden.