the bermuda triangle of singleness.

In exactly 50 days I will be 30.  Another birthday I get to spend as a single.  UGH.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had lots of great birthdays.  And I generally love and enjoy my life.  But every year, like clockwork, there comes a point where I feel a little down.  It seems like my fabulous solo life…is a little less fabulous and a lot more…well, pathetic and depressing.  I call this time period the Bermuda triangle of singleness.  It consists of 3 months where singles feel like crap on a stick…namely December, January, and February.

For me personally, it’s more like a Bermuda square.  It starts in November – my birth month.  Do you know what being born in November means?  It means you were conceived in February – most likely around Valentine’s day.  How romantic is that?  Not so romantic if you’re a single.  Here I am, celebrating being conceived on the most romantic day of the year…and I’m spending my birthday alone. UGH.

here's a helpful visual for you...

here’s a helpful visual for you…

For most singles however, the Bermuda triangle of singleness starts in December, or as I like to refer to it: “that month where couples stare lovingly into each other’s eyes while sipping hot chocolate and snuggling in front of the fireplace”.  December is particularly painful for a single.  There is talk of kissing under the mistletoe, eggnog, hot chocolate, snuggling, fireplaces, s’mores, carriage rides through the snow, etc.  Something about the holiday makes it ideal for romance.  None of which you get as a single.  Okay that’s not totally accurate, we do get eggnog, hot chocolate, and s’mores…in abundance.  But let’s face it.  Life does not mirror While you were sleeping or Love Actually.

Then, just when you think you’ve made it through the holidays in one piece…January comes along.  Or rather, New Year’s Eve to be exact.  Now it’s all about having a special someone to ring in the New Year with, to kiss when the clock strikes midnight.  Or at least to have a friend confess his undying love for you in true When Harry met Sally style.  The reality is more likely to involve New Year’s Eve parties where people get wasted on cheap booze and you end up wondering why you bothered to go out and if it’s too soon to leave so you can crawl into bed and eat ice cream while watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model.  I’m just keeping it real…

Finally, there’s February – hello Valentine’s Day.  The day made to make every single in the world feel inadequate and lacking.  Also the day the price of flowers goes through the roof.  I don’t need to explain this further right?  Suffice it to say my involuntary gag reflex kicks in at the sight of paper hearts.  Which basically means I’m barfing through the first half of February.  It’s not a pretty sight.

But don’t despair – once a single makes it through this patch of rough water…there’s land ahoy.  March is in sight.  And nothing lifts a single’s spirits like sunny skies and summer fun…

…right?

on lists and being image-bearers.

I was having dinner with a married girlfriend and a single guy friend one night and the topic inevitably turned to dating & marriage.  We’re all in (or nearing) our 30s and it just makes sense that this topic comes up more and more in conversation.  Somehow we got to talking about our preferences in a life partner.  My guy friend started talking about his dealbreakers.  He discussed how he had been getting to know a woman and how he had witnessed her lose her temper.  That was an immediate turn-off for him and he began to distance himself from her.  I tried to tactfully let him know that everyone at some point loses their temper.  She could have been having a really bad day, etc.  Granted, it’s not an excuse for losing one’s temper but I thought it was premature to become disinterested in a person because they turned out to be…well…imperfect.

My girlfriend offered one of her own dealbreakers – she could not date a man who didn’t speak good English.  I was surprised.  I understand how people have preferences but I didn’t consider these things dealbreakers at all.  But then I realized I had voiced similar opinions in the past.  So here I was, contemplating what I wanted to say to add to this conversation when my guy friend hit me with a doozy of a dealbreaker.  He didn’t want a girl that came from a broken family.  I was floored and stupefied.  This man is a loving godly person.  Couldn’t he see what he was saying was demeaning and unloving and unkind?  Did he really think that women from broken homes were somehow “less than”?  That he was entitled to a woman that came from a perfect family background and never lost her temper?  I tried to be kind as I carefully added my 2 cents.  Inside, my heart was breaking.  Is this how we choose whom to pursue or who we allow to pursue us?  How discouraging to live in such a world.

The bible declares we are made in the image of God.  I like the term “image-bearer”…we are image-bearers of God.  What does this mean?  Mike Erre, pastor at EvFree Church describes the duality of being an image-bearer of God and being a fallen sinful human in this way:

you are a person who has intrinsic dignity, honor, and worth. You, like the rest of us, are also broken and bent toward what is worst for us. But the good news is that Jesus has come to make things right. He invites you into that redemption.

To recap: we ALL, no matter our backgrounds, no matter what we’ve been through have the same intrinsic dignity, honor, and worth.  We are ALL also broken.  We must never believe that we are somehow “less broken” or “more worthy” than someone else.

When choosing or praying for a life partner many of us like to make a list.  This list may contain “dealbreakers” – characteristics or traits you absolutely cannot have in a life partner.  The list may also contain “must-haves”.  A list of items you wish your partner to be.  Many a person has spent countless hours pondering their list and praying over it convinced that if God really loved them He would give them what’s on their list.  Convinced that this person they have made up in their minds is exactly who God has handpicked for them.  I have several problems with many of these lists (note I did not say ALL of these lists).  I don’t believe God has handpicked a person for everyone.  I believe God let’s you choose – although He knows who you will choose.  I truly believe in my heart that we were made FOR God and not for another person.

The List.

I also don’t believe that God actually values most of the items people place on their lists.  There are 2 things that I find on most lists…

1. Appearance.  People put things like “blond” “blue-eyed” “dark-hair” “fair” “not dark” “not (insert race here)”.  People place these items in their lists and say well God knows what my attraction gift is…it’s not that I’m racist, I’m just not attracted to certain people.  Is an “attraction gift” even in the bible?  I’ve never read a passage with regards to that so I have to think this is something people have made up to make themselves feel better about making these choices.  And I can understand having a preference for people who look a certain way…but there is a difference between stating a preference and saying “I absolutely cannot see myself marrying an African/Indian/Chinese/Caucasian person.”  Why? Do you think God cares about race?  Do you think He cares about whether a person is short or tall or dark or fair?  Can you see God showing up and saying “my daughter/son you cannot marry this person because well…they’re kinda chubby.”  Let’s be honest – we are being superficial.

2. Background.  I will reference my friend’s dealbreaker of not pursuing someone who comes from a broken home.  Going beyond that this isn’t even the person’s fault – you really can’t blame a person for their parents’ decisions…Do you honestly believe God judges people based on where they came from?  Didn’t Jesus open his arms and his heart to the worst of the worst?  The shunned?  The outcasts?  The sinners?  That list includes you and me by the way – did you think we were any different?  That we were somehow cleaner or better?  Debra Katherine Fileta, author of True Love Dates has this to say in her article “I settled in marriage…and here’s what happened”:

BACKGROUND is just that: the backdrop.  No matter what “background trait” we’re talking about, how often do we move the background qualities to the forefront- defining people by their history, their past, or their origins…instead of defining them by who they are today? As Christians, we should be the FIRST to have eyes of grace and clarity, looking for the truth of a person’s here and now, instead of defining them by the background story.

I was so encouraged by my girlfriend’s eventual response to our conversation.  She texted me a day after saying that she had thought about what we talked about and realized that preferences were a good thing as far as reminding yourself not to repeat certain mistakes in choosing who to be in relationship with but ultimately she realized that we all need to be flexible enough to respond corrrerctly when God reveals what He thinks would be best for us.  She also realized that having these kinds of dealbreakers were indeed degrading to others.  In fact, she shared that she never expected to be so happy in a marriage to a man that was more sensitive than herself and she realized that had she stuck with her own dealbreakers she would not have the wonderful marriage she has today.

I’ll be honest.  I have made my own fair share of lists with superficial and degrading dealbreakers.  I have judged people on appearance and background and a host of other things that I know God does not value.  Friends, we continue to demean and degrade each other as image bearers with these kinds of lists.  How would a woman who came from a broken home feel had she heard my guy friend’s comments?  What about a man who was foreign and struggling with his English…how would he have felt if he had heard of my girlfriend’s dealbreaker?  Do we truly treat others as fellow image-bearers of the Most High?  Please, let’s treat each other with the dignity, respect, and kindness we all deserve.  Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate those lists.

 

If you want to check out Debra Katherine Fileta’s article please click here.

it’s always the same, it’s just [a] shame.

Yesterday night I had the privilege of hearing a couple speak about their love story.  It was truly beautiful to hear how God had redeemed two broken people and brought them together to glorify Him.  They talked about staying pure and their boundaries.  I didn’t agree with everything they said as a general rule but I realized that these boundaries were right for them (perhaps even right for me…only time will tell).  Towards the end of the night the woman asked the single women in the room who wanted to be in a relationship to stand so she could pray for them.  I remained seated.  She looked at me and asked what was wrong and prompted me to stand.  I tried to shrug it off and motioned for her to begin praying.  She again prompted me to stand.  I did not want to offend anyone.  I wasn’t trying to call attention to myself.  But in that moment I knew I had to stand firm.  Half-jokingly I said “well, what if you’re perfectly happy to not be in a relationship?”.  For a couple of seconds there was total silence.  My pastor noticed the tension in the room and tried to smooth over the awkwardness by quickly saying “that desire is a gift!” and they then moved on to prayer.  I felt my whole body go hot.  My first thought was “I hope she knows I didn’t mean to offend her”.  And in the next breath I realized that I should also feel offended – I had unintentionally been single shamed.

Simply put, single shaming is an occurrence (common in churches) where a single person is made to feel like there is something missing from their lives because they are not in a relationship.  It implies that there is something wrong with singleness, or that it is merely a season that will soon pass.  Always, marriage is heralded as the gold star or first place.  Singleness is somehow reduced to a consolation prize.

singleness is NOT this.

singleness is NOT this.

I am not going to discuss my own personal opinions on this – it would no doubt lead to misunderstandings.  Instead let’s look at what the bible says about singleness (and marriage).

1.  Your life is really not about being single or being married.  I say this with all the love in the world…Jesus did not come to this earth so you could get married.  Dying for our sins, he came to restore our relationship with (and reconcile us to) God.  He empowers us through his Holy Spirit to love others as he loved us.  To proclaim the good news.  To reach the brokenhearted.  To be salt and light in a broken world.  Never have I heard it said that Jesus came so we could find “the one” (not a biblical concept by the way).

2.  Being married doesn’t matter in the eternal perspective.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate marriage at all!  I think it is a wonderfully beautiful representation of God’s love for us while we are on this earth.  But the bible says that at the resurrection “people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matt 22:30).  On judgment day God will not ask us whether we were single or married.  Instead He will ask “did you feed Me?” “did you clothe Me?” (Matt 25:31-46).

3.  Marriage is not for everyone.   In 1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul says that some will have the gift of singleness and some will have the gift of marriage.  In fact, that whole chapter in 1 Corinthians talks about both marriage and singleness and how in some cases singleness can be very beneficial in serving God (allowing for undivided devotion to God).  Jesus himself discusses this as well.  In Matthew 19:10-12 it says “The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’ Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.'”

4.  Just because you desire something doesn’t mean that’s your gift.  I’ve heard it said that if you truly truly desire marriage then you’re not meant to be a single.  Where in the bible is that?  And please don’t misquote the verse on God giving you the desires of your heart.  Because otherwise half the female American population would be married to Brad Pitt.  Psalm 37: 4 actually says “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  This means that you actually have to spend time with God, getting to know His heart and having your heart turn towards His.  This means His desires become your desires.  So take inventory.  Is it really God speaking?  Or is it your own heart?  Ultimately it is impossible to really know if you have the gift of singleness until you die (as a single).  It may be that your gift of marriage was reserved for much later in life.

5.  Many of the figures in the Bible were single.  Jesus himself was single.  So was Paul.  Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and Lydia were all single.  What makes marriage better than singleness (or vice-versa for that matter)?  I have heard of churches that do not allow unmarried men to be pastors, elders, or deacons.  So Jesus couldn’t be a pastor.  Neither could Paul.  Interesting.

Again, I feel it is important for me to say I don’t hate marriage.  If God were to bless me with a husband I would be extremely happy.  But He may choose not to.  I don’t think it’s wrong at all to pray for a partner.  Or to spend time talking about singleness and marriage.  These are both good things that should be talked about.  There is much to learn from both camps.  I maintain that I was truly blessed to listen to that couple’s testimony.  I recognized how God was so present in their love story and how He has plans to use their testimony to glorify Him.  My point in writing this entry is not to belittle marriage at all.  Marriage is beautiful and a blessing and gift from God.  My point is – let’s not forget that singleness is all of that too.

You don’t have to try so hard.

Today I let my hair do it’s own thing.  Well, for the most part.  I straightened my bangs and then left the rest of my hair alone – which resulted in a beautifully (to me) wavy mess.  A guy friend at work asked me why my hair was wavy today.  I replied that, actually, my hair was really really curly (but now wavy as I’m waiting for the effects of a straightening treatment to wear off).  I just didn’t want to straighten it that day.  I showed him a picture of me with natural curls.  He took one look at it and said “I prefer your hair straight.”  I wanted to hit him.  

I get it.  Everyone has an opinion.  And I don’t need to get upset over every opinion that is different from mine.  Everyone has a preference as far as what they consider beautiful or attractive and that’s fine too.  But here’s the thing.  You don’t have to tell me that what I look like naturally is not appealing to you.  I didn’t ask.  I don’t care.  I don’t exist so I can tailor myself to what you think is aesthetically pleasing.  

This man is a friend of mine.  He’s one of the most unashamed Jesus lovers I know.  And yet, what came out of his mouth was decidedly un-Jesuslike.  What’s even stranger?  He doesn’t think he’s being offensive.  How crazy is that?  That I live in a culture where telling someone you prefer them skinnier or plumper or with straighter hair or fairer skin is considered normal?  Is it really OK to tell people that how God made them naturally is not beautiful?  That they have to change what He had in mind when He designed them?  

I’m a girl – I understand putting your best foot forward.  But I’m talking about natural beauty here.  I was designed by the Creator…who must have thought I’d look beautiful with naturally curly hair!  I have the option to dry, curl, straighten my hair.  God won’t look at me and say “hey, I made your hair curly so you better wear it that way for the rest of your life”.  But He won’t look at me and go “hey, I made a mistake. You really look better with straighter hair” either.  

So, to all the people that want me to have straighter hair, or put on more weight, or put on less weight.  To all the people that tell me that having cellulite and stretch marks are not OK.  To those people that have ever made someone feel ugly by being tactless and not careful with their words…

You don’t get a say.

not an option.

My best friend recently bought me a book she had been trying to get me to read for a while now.  It’s called “Kisses from Katie” and it’s the story of an 18 year old girl that graduated high school, moved to Uganda, and adopted 14 kids.  All by herself.  All because God told her to.

We agreed on reading a chapter a day and then discussing it over Voxer.  I read the first chapter, cried my eyes out, and decided I had to share my reactions here.  So for the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about this book, one chapter at a time.

Chapter 6: A change of heart

Quick Summary: Katie has a new understanding of who God is, what He cares for, and how He will use her as His servant.  As she pours over the Word she realizes that what she is doing – helping the poor children – it is not an option, it is a requirement.  She also realizes that, for her, adoption is not just a good deed – it is how God wants her to serve Him.  It is His command for her life.

My reaction:

“Disease is certainly not a sin.  And poverty is not a sin; it is a condition, a circumstance that allows God’s work to be displayed…I knew God wanted me to care for the poor…It had happened so naturally, I was simply caring for those around me out of an overflow of love for Christ and the love that He had lavished upon me.  I never thought I was doing anything different or unusual, just simply what He had asked…as I poured over His Word, I realized that what I was doing was not simply my choice – it was a requirement.”

Caring for the poor is a requirement.   I have been a Christian most of my life but I have only recently realized this truth.  The gospel is meant for the sick, for the lost, for the captives.  And yes, for me.  I am all of that – but I have been set free by this gospel, by the love of Christ.  And now it is my requirement to share that with the world.  To be a worker – to harvest the field.  Yes, to do this from an overflow of love for Christ, but not forgetting – this is what God has commanded me to do.  It’s not about whether you feel called to it or not.  You must help the poor, the widow, the orphans.

“Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God’s heart.  His Word says, ‘In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will’ (Eph 1:5).  He sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6).  The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is ‘acceptance’.  God accepts me, adores me even, just as I am.  And He wants me to accept those without families into my own.  Adoption is the reason I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace…I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress.  I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matt 10:39).”

I realize that helping the orphans doesn’t always mean adoption.  But we need to be open – what if God asks this of us?  Christ is radical.  When he walked the earth He dined with sinners, lepers, tax collectors, the Am Ha-Eretz (unclean) of the Jewish world.  If He calls us to love the untouchable, to love the unlovable…if He Himself adopts the untouchable and unlovable into His family, if He Himself has adopted us…is it so inconceivable that He would ask us to do the same?  I don’t believe that Katie is trying to say that everyone should adopt.  But I do believe that she didn’t see this as part of her life – but she said yes anyway.  Because God said this was His will for her.  As difficult as doing God’s will is – it is still so much easier than running from His will.  He who loses his life for His sake will find it after all.  But he who seeks first to find his life apart from God will lose it.  I need to be open.  I need to be willing.  I need to expect to be called to doing radical things.  For my radical God.

“My goofy, trash-loving children are constant reminders of God.  They look at things that I see as used, broken, and dirty and they see treasure.  Can you imagine?  God looks at everyone, broken, old, dirty, probably not a whole lot more exciting than an old toilet paper roll, and sees treasure.  Something He loves dearly, something He would die for.  Wow…Thank You that when I feel old and used-up and broken and no more exciting than a cardboard box.  You whisper that You love and value me, and that in Your eyes, I am shiny and new.”

Katie talks about how her daughters love to play with trash and not the actual toys she has given them.  Amazing how children so clearly reflect both a sinful heart and the heart of God.  Children can be selfish and cruel at times – and so unfiltered in their expression of these things.  But they can also reflect purity and innocence and a clearer understanding of who God is than most adults.  To be entranced by trash…to say, “yes, there is value here”.  That is how God sees us – he assigned us value, knowing full well that as sinners, we deserved death.  Even as we have now turned to Him we still fall.  We still succumb to our fleshly desires and emotions.  And even at our worst he sees us not as trash, but as treasure.  If only the story ended there!  But no, He goes further – He asks us too, to see through His eyes, and to see others as precious gold, diamonds, rubies, instead of filthy, unclean, and untouchable.

P.S.

I was finally able to start doing outreach at a children’s home :)  And now my small group is planning to do outreach (Habitat for Humanity, orphanages, etc) once a month!  Praise God for answered prayers!

Matthew 10 - 38-39

To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.

fearless love.

My best friend recently bought me a book she had been trying to get me to read for a while now.  It’s called “Kisses from Katie” and it’s the story of an 18 year old girl that graduated high school, moved to Uganda, and adopted 14 kids.  All by herself.  All because God told her to.

We agreed on reading a chapter a day and then discussing it over Voxer.  I read the first chapter, cried my eyes out, and decided I had to share my reactions here.  So for the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about this book, one chapter at a time.

Chapter 5: “Can I call you Mommy?”

Quick Summary: This chapter details the beginnings of Katie’s new call – a “mommy”.  She talks about how she took in a trio of young girls and realized she could not just leave them at an orphanage.  From being a mother of 3, she is now known as a “mommy to many” – to her adopted daughters, to the kids that come to her home everyday to do schoolwork/have dinner/play, and to the 400 children in her community.

My reaction:

“At nine years old, Agnes had become the primary caregiver of her sisters, seven-year-old Mary and five-year-old Scovia.  Their father had died of AIDS and their mother had long since disappeared.  Their grandmother, who lived nearby, helped with what little she had, but often her own food was barely enough for herself.  Days consisted of digging in the fields for a little something to eat and walking miles to and from the nearest well with a large plastic jug to collect the day’s water.  Mary kept a neighbor’s baby and, in return, was provided with some food for herself.  Even little Scovia went to dig for hours in the field to find food, helped fetch water, washed clothes and cooked supper when Agnes had to stay late in the garden.  Like all little girls, their hearts held hopes and dreams of the future, but the hardships of everyday life kept them focused on one day, one experience, one moment at a time.”

This appalled me.  A mother leaving 3 defenseless little girls alone to raise themselves, clothe themselves, feed themselves.  A nine year old forced to dig in the fields for something to eat.  A seven year old having to babysit for a living.  A five year old made to cook and clean clothes and help dig in the field for food.  At these ages I was playing with Barbies and having birthday parties and snuggling up to my parents.  These little girls – well they didn’t have the chance to be little girls like I did.   These 3 girls were the first children Katie decided to adopt.  This started her on a new calling – the calling to be a “mother to many”.

I don’t think I can be a “mother to many”.  I’m not sure that I’m called to that particular lifestyle.  But, don’t I have a responsibility to the helpless and hurting?  Don’t I have a responsibility to love as Christ loved me?  Forget responsibility – don’t I have the desire to love the orphans, the poor, the lost children?  Perhaps I have not always had this desire to do so but slowly and surely it is being awakened in me.  I feel like someone who is seeing with new eyes.  To quote a Switchfoot song: “This is your life – are you who you want to be?”  The sad answer to that is NO.  This is not who I want to be.  I want to be like Christ.  I want to care.  I want to be fearless in love.

“They laugh hysterically when I cuddle them or kiss their foreheads, and it hurts my heart a bit that they find the fact that someone loves them so funny.  And that is the blessing God has given me in this house: I get to provide a home for children who are homeless, a safe haven for children who feel threatened, lost, and unwanted.  Most of all, I get to love children who don’t know love otherwise.  I get to accept them for who they are.  I get to present them with my love and then teach them of the Father’s extravagant love.”

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not trying to be the next Katie Davis.  It’s not about opening orphanages in Uganda, or about adopting 14 girls.  I just want to have what she has.  Fearless, beautiful love for others.  An overflow coming from our Father.  I want to extend myself for someone other than myself.  I find myself asking if this is what it means to love like Christ – and I already know the answer is Yes.

no such thing as "loved too much"

To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.

being available.

My best friend recently bought me a book she had been trying to get me to read for a while now.  It’s called “Kisses from Katie” and it’s the story of an 18 year old girl that graduated high school, moved to Uganda, and adopted 14 kids.  All by herself.  All because God told her to.

We agreed on reading a chapter a day and then discussing it over Voxer.  I read the first chapter, cried my eyes out, and decided I had to share my reactions here.  So for the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about this book, one chapter at a time.

Chapter 4: Saying Yes

Quick Summary: Katie details the beginnings of her nonprofit organization.  She wasn’t qualified to start any sort of organization – she merely made herself available to God.  Within 3 months, her dream had become a full-fledged nonprofit organization that was sending over a 100 children to school, feeding them, offering medical assistance, and telling them of Christ’s love for them.

My reaction:

“I was in no way qualified, but I was available.  I have learned that something happens when one makes herself available to God: He starts moving in ways no one could imagine.  God began doing things in me, around me, and through me as I offered myself to Him.  I began each day saying ‘Okay, Lord, what would you have me do today?  Whom would you have me help today?’  And then I would allow Him to show me.  I would like to say that I had all kinds of great ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.  I would like to say my ministry was born out of a carefully thought-out plan.  These things simply aren’t true, though.  I was walking through life one moment at a time, blown away by what God could do through me if I simply said yes.  My heart was on fire with a passion to say yes to God’s every request – to do more to help the people around me.”

I am a reticent person.  I will offer a million reasons why it is safer to not reach out, or to merely donate money to people who are more “trained” to reach out to others.  I am Moses, bargaining with God to send someone else.  I am Jonah, running away from the mission God entrusts me with.  My sister however, is none of these people.  She has always been brave – fearless really.  And with a capacity to love and interact strangers that amazes and scares me in equal measures.  I remember her coming home to tell me how she met a young boy in the city park and upon starting a conversation with him realized he was a runaway who had been “recruited” into prostitution.  She helped him go home to his mother.  My sister is my secret hero.  But I don’t have to wish to be like her – I CAN be like her.  I can be the person that says yes and is available to God.  I can be fearless because I’m beginning to understand it’s not about how hard I try.  All I need to be is willing.

“God had promised Sarah and Abraham that they would be the parents of a great nation, yet at the age of sixty-five Sarah was still childless.  She was beginning to doubt.  Leaving behind her homeland, she and her husband moved hundreds of miles south to the land of Canaan, the place where god had told them He would fulfil His promise.  The land was full of God’s promises but barren of all things cherished and familiar.  Finally tired of waiting, Sarah tried to take matters into her own hands by letting her husband sleep with her servant, and though the outcome was a child, this was not the perfect child God had promised, the one who would make her the mother of a nation.  Years later, at the age of ninety, Sarah finally gave birth to her promised child. She called him Isaac, meaning ‘The Lord has filled me with laughter.’  Despite her frailties, little faith, and self-reliance, God accomplished His purpose – and Sarah was filled with joy.

I will doubt.  This is not a call to not doubting – let’s be honest, we will all doubt.  But thank God He is faithful when we are faithless.  Despite our frailties, our doubts, our lack of faith, our desire to control our own destinies and rely on our own strength, despite our humanness – God will accomplish His purpose.  I just don’t want to fight Him along the way.

2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)

To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.