Holding Hands

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We live in a world that takes everything to extremes.

Success is measured by money and power. Talent is determined by worldwide fame. Physical touch means sexual intimacy.

In earlier years, I was a driven person with over-reaching expectations for myself. I believed my spiritual maturity was validated by my outward appearance, relationship status and/or worldly impact. Something drove me to want what I could never achieve and that something was certainly NOT God. Always pushing myself into a societal mold (even a Christian one) did nothing but increase my anxiety until I was ripe for a mental breakdown.

In the last few years my definition of success has changed. I’m no longer driven by the old rules. I’ve found myself completely in love with a new way.

Unhurried.

Unambitious for worldly pursuits.

Unashamed.

Post-modern society doesn’t have much use for the slow, soft and gentle. The minimalist. Where “enough” is not hoarding, but a sufficient amount for the day.  We are constantly in a rush to be “something” and do “important things” – with no idea what those are.

I find myself enamoured with new things. The quiet of nature. Hours of silence. Driving to work in intercession. Longing for more, but content with what God gives. And even taking joy in the wait.

Success now means obedience and the fruit of the spirit.

Talent is using the gifts He gave me for His glory.

Touch means conveying love and hope and grace in the simplicity of holding someone’s hand.

 

P.S:  This post came from a quiet drive home from work in the midst of a snowfall. Maybe not the best time to let your mind wander, but it is what it is. I admit it: I miss holding hands with a man. Yet, what a delight to know that when that happens in my future I am able to give and submit and love in ways I couldn’t have a few short years ago. To God be the Glory. Only and always. XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ghosted

Have you ever been ghosted?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “ghosted” is when someone you are in a friendship or relationship with abruptly stops contact with no explanation.

I’ve been ghosted. And it was the worst.

Ten years ago I made morning trips to the local dog park. My dog, a golden doodle was still a puppy and needed a lot of exercise. If you don’t frequent dog parks, you should know you meet a lot of different people there. In fact, I met “The Amazing Kate” there – still a good friend to this day.

One day I met “Matt” – not his real name for obvious reasons. Matt was a sports reporter from out east. He had a rambunctious dog, who loved my pup, so we often met up at the park and walk laps. I admit, I did entertain the idea of romance with Matt – he was super funny, quirky handsome, tall and well-employed. However, his spiritual life was not what I was looking for in a potential boyfriend and I was happy to remain his friend.  I introduced him to some of my friends, continued our chats about life and basically grew into buddies.

Then one day I get a phone call. It was Matt. Could I meet him at the corner of such-and-such and pick up the dog and take her to the dog park with me. You see, Matt had gotten into a car accident and the dog was in the car with him. She was stressed and needed a good run. Of course, I could. I picked her up, gave Matt a supportive hug and went off to the park.

After a good run, I took the dog back to his place, along with a cup of comfort coffee. He was stressed too. When I got to the house Matt wasn’t alone. The ex-girlfriend was there. The ex-girlfriend which he shared ownership of the dog with. A quick exchange and thanks for the coffee and a door shut in my face.

Okay then.

The next day I went to the dog park as usual. Matt was there, along with the other regular dog park folks. I went up to ask how he was doing and he didn’t reply. I asked again – maybe he didn’t hear me? This time he turned around and walked away.

Huh.

Obviously something was up, so I gave him space. Later on I texted him. I received a reply, “Leave me alone.”

Um, what?

From then on Matt did his best to avoid me at the park. And although we weren’t dating, I was a bit heartbroken. I had made a friend and for some reason unbeknownst to me, I lost one.

Ghosted.

At this point, I didn’t want to continue a friendship with Matt, but I felt I deserved an explanation. I knew one wasn’t coming. I suspected, at the time, it had something to do with the ex, but who knows?

And wow, did this hurt. I would say it hurt worse than several of my romantic breakups. Why? Because of cowardice. I had thought well of a person and they disappointed me. They took the easy way out and left me high and dry.

Oh don’t worry. I got over it.

Yet, still, it challenges me to be brave. I would never want to hurt someone in this way. Be direct. Be honest. Chances are saying “no” – to relationship, a job, an opportunity – is going  to hurt anyway. But at least show them why.

But what if you are on the other side? If you are being ghosted?

Place that relationship in a jar and put the jar up high up on a shelf. Let it gain some dust. Let it rest. Maybe, one day, it will be taken down from the shelf, dusted off and opened up. But for the time being, put it away.

Then straighten up. Hold your chin high. Walk on.

You, my love, are beautiful and worthy. It’s not about deserving. It’s about self-respect.

Walk on.

 

 

As Good As It Gets

Remember the 1997 movie, “As Good As It Gets”? Jack Nicholson plays famous writer, Melvin Udall, who suffers with debilitating OCD – and makes those around him suffer right along with him. In one scene, Melvin marches into his psychiatrist’s office demanding to see the doctor. Of course, his demand is denied by the front desk nurse. In his frustration, Melvin turns to the waiting room full of depressed patients and says:

“What if this is as good as it gets?”

What if this is as good as it gets, I wonder.

Now, the “good Christian girl” inside immediately replies, “Of course it isn’t! We are children of God! The best is yet to come!”

Hmm.

Lately, that “good Christian girl” has been on vacation. Instead of responding with positivity and joy, my response is tired and my heart a little bit broken.

I’ve been facing an inordinate amount of disappointment lately. Disappointment is a part of life, but this year it seems to be one thing after another. Plainly speaking, I’m struggling.

And I’m wondering, what if this IS as good as it gets. I mean, we are, after all, living in a fallen world. Our hopes and expectations are bound to be out of our reach, right?

Nothing is utterly tragic – rather little pokes of sadness and disillusionment. Tiny things. Career uncertainty. Struggling with singleness and loneliness. Mild depression.

The nagging thought that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

And there is truth in that – this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

How it’s supposed to be is not about me, rather all about Him.

Earlier this summer, during my regular prayer time, I felt God challenging me to lay down my prayers for myself and instead grow my intercession for others. Specifically, wait on God to lead me to pray for three people daily. This is not to say God wasn’t interested in my needs/desires. He knows my heart. He was instead, showing me how to become more selfless and concerned with the lives of others.

I’d like to say this experience has been a rousing success and I’ve been so changed by the practice.

But I can’t.

I’m not.

Yet.

If I’ve learned anything in my spiritual life in the past few years’ it’s God’s demand on my obedience.

I came across this golden truth today:

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And I do. Love Him. And right now the only hope I can access is found in this belief. That I can’t come close to imagining His plan.

So for right now, that’s going to have to be enough.

(Please feel free to comment or if you’re local you can always ply me with coffee and comment face to face. 😉 )

Summer

Ah, summer.

My most un-favourite time of the year. I don’t know what it is, but something about the heat and sunshine doesn’t do it for me. I’m pretty sure I have the opposite of seasonal affective disorder. Instead of lack of light triggering the blues, it’s the abundance.

Honestly? It’s just something I try to get through every year.

So where does this leave me now? In the beginning of July? Do I continue and be content with riding it out, or do I try to work through the general malaise summer seems to bring out in me?

No Zero Days.

I came across a post on Reddit this week – I’d like to attribute it to the author, however no info was attached. Regardless, a commenter left a response for a young man who was dealing with depression and anxiety. The gist of it was “no zero days” – basically do something every day. Even if it’s only a walk around the block, one push up, one sentence written, one sketch. Do something, even minuscule, to help you on route to your dream/s.  Never go to sleep, no matter how depressed you are, without doing one small thing in the direction of your dreams.

No Zero Days.

This deeply affected me – so much so that I promised myself that to get through this summer I would have no zero days.

But what of the dreams/goals? I admit, disappointment has worn me out. I currently have barely an inking of dreaming left. What if I pretend for now? What would I long for?

  • Art – an artistic life. Freedom to explore colour and shape and form. And the discipline to increase my skills.
  • Writing – memoir, non-fiction, fiction. Communicate the God-given talents and tasks God has blessed me with.
  • Fitness – a healthy weight along with a strong body. Endurance, flexibility,
  • Relationship – a man to be my “person” – have my back in stressful times and vice versa. To share a home. A passion for Christ. A dual obedient spirit

That’s it for now.

Maybe it’s because it’s summer or I’m over-tired, but none of those things get me from 0-60 in 10 seconds. For now though, I can work on this list. No zero days.

 

 

E-not-so-harmony: Why I Don’t Do Online Dating

frog-prince-1370022_1920I don’t do online dating.

I know, I know – I’ve heard the advice. How is someone my age supposed to meet a potential mate?

Answer? I have no idea. But, I’m not changing my mind.

Now, when I say I don’t do online dating, that doesn’t mean I haven’t.

Case One: The Engineer

A classic case: all the boxes were checked. Good job? Check! Similar interests? Check! Christian? Check! Obviously, a great match, right? Umm. Not so much.

We arranged to meet up at a public place (safety first, ladies!) and within moments of meeting it was clear he was harmless – and NOT into me. At first, I wondered what could be wrong. He knew what I looked like (online profile photos). I was honest with him: I was no super skinny supermodel. But on the phone (yes, we had chatted before meeting in person) it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Apparently, it was.

I’d like to say I cut the date short and went home early, but that’d be a lie. You see, he owned a Mini Cooper and they had just come on the market in Canada – and I wanted a ride! (I was at an opportunistic stage of life.)

The car was fantastic! Dinner? Not so much.

After we were seated I bluntly asked what was up. I mean, I knew this date was going nowhere so I thought I may as well get some insight. I waited for brutal honesty. Instead his head dropped and he responded, “I got new hardware for my home system and it just isn’t installing properly. I should have cancelled the date as I know I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until it’s up and running.” Um, what? Apparently, I wasn’t the issue. In fact, I didn’t factor into his mood at all. He was so bummed about his computer issues, he couldn’t enjoy my company. I’ve never dated another engineer.

Case Two: The Serial Monogamist (aka – The Boyfriend)

This gentleman pursued me relentlessly via the World Wide Web. Although not a Christian, his wit, charm and lovely sense of humour wooed me and I agreed to meet him at a familiar meetup place: Starbucks.

Ah! A perfect date. Romance. A shared meal of sushi. A movie. (Comedy, of course. Romance? Too much pressure. Action? Not appropriate. So, of course: Comedy.) After movie coffee. Talking until the wee hours of the morning. And finally, when he dropped me off at my car? A sweet goodnight kiss.

Case Two became an actual boyfriend! A pretty good one, too! Until a year and half later when he went on a work exchange to Europe (police force to police force) and came back with a new “colleague.”  He’s married to her now.

Nah, don’t feel bad for me. After the relationship was over I recognized some VERY unhealthy lifestyle traits: hoarding, credit card debt and (shudder!) cats. I can’t say he was a bad boyfriend – well, except for the cheating. I’m not innocent in this either. That sweet kiss? I knew he wasn’t right for me at that moment, but convinced myself otherwise. Eighteen months… sigh.

Case Three: The Monk

A perfect on paper match. A seminary master’s degree. Former pastor. Home owner.

I’ll admit, when we met I wasn’t attracted to him. But I’ve never been about looks, so I let it be and engaged in a lovely “mini” relationship. I say mini, because it was clear he had no interest in marriage or family – something, at that point, I was desperate for. It’s all on me with this one. I was convinced God placed me in this man’s life to be his partner. And then I wasn’t so confident. Thank you, Jesus – I came to my senses quickly! I look back and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking!”

I discovered a few months later that he had himself on every Christian dating site available – to what end? Meh. (Yep, he’s still single.)

 

No. I don’t do online dating. I am at peace with this decision. I still don’t know where I’m supposed to meet a potential mate…

This is where trust in God is paramount. I long for relationship. To get married. (Imagine my mother yelling, “Amen, let it be, Lord” at this point. What can I say? I’m her only daughter.)

Several years ago, I came across a book (I can’t remember the name!) by a female colonel in the US Air Force. A beautiful African American lady who married the wrong man in her twenties and divorced a year later. She was in her early fifties at the time of writing and had a lot of wisdom about the state of singleness.  I don’t remember all the details about the book but one statement stuck with me for years:

Get busy with the things of God and He will bring the right person to you.

And for women? The right man will see your value and pursue you.

Get busy with God.

What that means to me:

  • Be more concerned with my character than my comfort.
  • Prefer others in love. Serve.
  • Embrace humility.
  • Seek wisdom.
  • Get to know God – through his word. In prayer. In meditation.
  • Get so immersed in a relationship with God that I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.

Simply, I’m working on being the person I’d want to be with. Relationships are not a fantasy la-la land – they’re work. Rewarding, sure. But, also demanding.

The right man will pursue you? Oh! My modern sensibilities rail against this.

Yet…

Remember Case Two? The one thing he did right, that felt RIGHT is: he did the pursuing. Boy, did that feel fantastic.

So, I pray for a man who will pursue me.

Mostly, I pray God’s will. At 47 it’s hard to still be waiting and longing. Yet, I don’t regret a moment of my singleness. No life is easy or simple: being single has offered and taught me much. I hope one day to say the same thing about being married.

I suspect I will.

😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, Grieve (Written July 31, 2016)

A note: I wrote this last summer and I hesitate to post it here, but I feel I need to. I hope it gives the reader a glimpse into where I’ve come from and how far I’ve come. I still grieve. I still long, but God has taken my obedience and created renewed hope. Thanks again for reading! 

I firmly believe God created me as I am. I believe He has had His guiding hand on me all the way. I believe my journey – all the twists and turns – has been for a reason.

Despite all this, I grieve.

I grieve the mundane things I never had a chance to experience.

Being chosen.

Falling in love when young. Proposal. Wedding  Building a life with someone.

A positive pregnancy test. Being pregnant. Holding my own child in infancy.  First step. First words. First everything.

But, I’m no longer jealous of those who those who did get this. Through much time and even more prayer I’ve let go of bitterness.

Yet, I grieve. Sometimes that grief seems unbearable.

As I enter my late 40’s,  I miss what I’ve never had. I get sad that I have to do life alone. Despite the community I have around me, I still do most thing solo.

“Smug marrieds,” as Bridget Jones called them, don’t get it. They complain about spouses and children, never realizing their privilege.

I don’t know the feeling of having someone have my back. Even if I’m wrong, supporting me anyway.

I’ve always been the third wheel. Relegated to the back seat. Sleeping in a house alone. Never with. Always one.

And the lack of touch. The pain of not being touched. The gentle hand on the small of your back. A hand reaching out for yours. The hug when you’re grumpy. It’s not about sex (yet that’s there, too), more about scarcity. Taken for granted when you have it.

In this silent lonely place, I grieve.  I grieve because I fear I am in this situation because I am not enough. Or I am too much. I grieve that I don’t quite fit in.

I fear hope. I’m terrified of it. So often disappointed. So often rejected. Uncertain whether I can risk hoping again. I grieve this lack of courage. Too cowardly to move forward and try again. And again.

I grieve.

Prayer:

God,

I ask for courage to move forward. To risk. To have hope.

God, I ask to be found. To let go of my efforts and just be.

And in the meantime – God make me obedient. Make me courageous. Make me humble.

Heal my brokenness.

So be it, God. So be it.