This Single Woman's Aim

An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. 1 Cor. 7:34

Wow. God really pulled at my heart a few days ago as I stumbled upon this verse. As a single woman, I have so much opportunity before me, yet this is a reminder that my ultimate concern should not be about the opportunities offered in this world, but that of the opportunities only found in God and in pursuing His kingdom.

So I switched out the beginning of this verse with the replacement of "single woman," just to continue to shed light on exactly what this verse means for this period of my life as a single:

A [ single woman ] is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.

With a dating relationship, and ultimately marriage, the focus isn't fully on God, but on the other person as well. But as a single, my focus can and should be entirely on Him!

So, I choose to be single. I choose to view this time as a gift and to not rush into a relationship.

The world says that singleness is a curse, but God says that it is a blessing. It is a short-lived period of life where I can grow closer and closer to my Lord and Savior each day. I can serve Him. I can get to know Him better. I can continue to seek Him about the path He has for my life.

And if the right guy comes along, in step with God's leading, then what a beautiful moment that will be!

But until then, it is my prayer that my only aim would be full devotion to the Lord in both body and spirit.

That He would be my everything.

That He would be enough.

That's this single woman's aim!


There's a Hole in My Heart

There's a hole in my heart, and my heart yearns for it to be filled. I am discontent, weary, impatient. I am desperate for satisfaction, so I turn to every possible source of this world. Success, love, busyness--these things work at first. I feel a sense of purpose, a sense of contentment, but this feeling is only temporary. No matter where I turn or who I meet, I only become more dissatisfied. My contentment diminishes as I seek to fill this hole. My perspective is altered as my focus shifts to what can satisfy this heart of mine, what can fill the void.

I seemingly forget, in the midst of all this, that there is only One who can fill that hole in my heart.

And His name is Jesus.

Every ounce of dissatisfaction is dissolved in the arms of Jesus Christ. His sweet embrace sweeps me away with a love that is so much greater than anything this world could offer. Jesus brings purpose. Jesus brings contentment. All the things and ways of this world will fade, but He will always remain.

I'm learning to rest in that. I'm learning to trust in that. This hole in my heart was not meant to be filled by the temporal. It was meant to be filled by the love of Jesus. We are all meant to walk in communion with God. He wants to be in relationship with me. He wants to be in relationship with you.

My yearning heart can only be satisfied with His perfect love. That love is chasing after me, and it's chasing after you. Stop running!


Don't Lose Faith

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. Romans 4:20-21

Maybe your circumstances do not appear like they will be changing anytime soon.  Maybe you're praying, and waiting, and seeking God about something, and it looks as if nothing will happen. Maybe you're beginning to believe that God won't come through as He has promised, that He won't finish what He has begun---

don't lose faith.
keep praying. keep seeking. keep knocking. keep trusting.

He has the power to "meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19--a timely message I happened to hear in a pizza shop today!). He has the power to do the impossible. He has the power to open the door you've been knocking on, as well as to close the doors that need to be shut.

He has the power to do what He has promised: to finish what He has begun.

This is truth I'm hanging onto.

Your prayers ARE being heard.
Don't lose faith!


Be Grateful For The Manna

"I really don't feel like doing this today"

"It's going to be way too stressful to work a part time job and be a full time college student"

"This video training is going to be so boring"

The complaints kept coming. It was the first day of my first job--video training day. Up until that day, I was pretty excited, but in those moments of the car ride there alongside my mother, the words kept slipping out of my mouth. Negativity filled the air. Grumble, grumble, complain, complain. It was as if I lost all gratitude, all excitement.

As if this job was a curse, rather than a blessing.

It's so easy to do that, isn't it? I'm generally pretty positive and seek to avoid complaining, but some days, it happens. Once the words start coming, it's like the domino effect from there. One complaint leads to many more complaints. All appreciation of God's provision is lost.

At first, I stepped into my workplace and forgot the ugly attitude I was wearing in the car ride there.  Once I began watching the videos, it wasn't long before God took hold of my heart and reminded me of how I was acting. In that moment, I could hear His still, small voice whispering: You were acting like the Israelites. Wasn't this job an answer to your prayers? Wasn't this job a provision from me, a provision even beyond what you expected?

In that moment, I was convicted of acting just like the Israelites did, after God rescued them from their enslavement in Egypt and provided food--manna--for them. Yet they began to complain that they were sick and tired of eating manna all the time. He provided, yet they grumbled:

“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!Numbers 11:4-6

Seems like the Israelites were forgetting the days of misery they experienced in Egypt. They weren't remembering the complaints they spoke when God first rescued them, when they didn't have any food to eat. Yet God provided. They saw through eyes of dissatisfaction, rather than of gratitude.

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I realized that was me too. This job was not only provided by God, but happened in a way that pointed to His amazing power and love. I had been praying for insight about a part time job for many months, yet the offer basically came to me at the end of my 21-day fast at the beginning of this year. And not only did I get the job, but the provision and pace was beyond what I would have ever expected! Dissatisfaction, maybe a little anxiety, crept in and stole the excitement and joy out of my heart.

Where God guides, He provides. He guided me to this job, He provided me with this job, and He's going to strengthen me through this job!

In that moment of conviction, I asked for forgiveness. How silly of me to forget all that the Lord has done and grumble about His provision!

And in fact, the first few days I've experienced so far have been so enjoyable.

It happens. And it will happen again.

Philippians 2:14-15 says to "do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.'"

It's easy to view the "manna" in our lives as anything but a blessing.

Look through the lens of gratitude instead. It takes intentionally choosing to look at our situations as provisions from God.  But when we do, we will not only walk in joy, but in the satisfaction of knowing that He is in control, and will lead us through!


Who Is Jesus?

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Image via Google Images

Who is Jesus?

Ask any historian and they'll tell you He walked on this earth.

It's a historical fact.

He walked among us, ate with the "sinners", even went to the cross.

It's up to us to determine who He truly is. Is He really the Son of God? The One who performed miracle after miracle, who has even been reported to have risen from the dead?

And if you decide that He's not who He says He is, then who is He? A crazy man? Just a really good person? A model teacher?

You decide. If Jesus is who He says He is, that means life change. That means He died on the cross out of His own will. That means that He had all the power to take Himself off that cross, yet He didn't because He came to this earth to accomplish a specific purpose--to take the punishment for sin that WE deserve. He died because He loves us. And then He demonstrated this very power when He rose from the grave and defeated death!

It means that we can have a personal relationship with God. That's life change.

Who is Jesus? It's up to you to determine.


At The Appointed Time

Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time and Sarah will have a son. Genesis 18:14

At first glance, Abraham's story looks far from my reality. An old couple, unable to have kids (yet they eventually do!). A righteous man who has conversations with God like they're the best of friends. A guy who has been chosen to become the "father of many nations". If you're anything like me, you might be thinking, "Yep, definitely doesn't relate to my life." But God opened my eyes today to just how relatable his story actually is to my circumstances.

You see, Abraham and Sarah couldn't have a child, but God promised Abraham he eventually would have a son, and that his descendants would be as numerous "as the stars in the sky". Abraham's faith is pretty inspiring. But his wife Sarah, upon hearing God's words that at that time the following year they would have a child, laughed. How can a woman, past the age of childbearing, give birth and then, to top it all off, raise a child? Would God really provide a child after so many years? Oftentimes we may relate to her lack of faith.

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It's hard to imagine the provision when it's nowhere in sight right now. It requires faith. Sometimes we may desire something so much that we turn to our own strength and power to bring that provision, but our reliance on ourselves and our own timetables results in us missing out on God's best for our lives. He loves us so much that He has delightfully and thoughtfully crafted a plan for each one of us, and it's through His divine appointments, His perfect times, that His gifts, His provisions, and His best plans for us will fall into place. When we rush His timing and bring along our desires now through our own doing, we miss out, and our plans will likely end in destruction in the end (this happened to Abraham and Sarah as well, as they decided to bring along their own child through Hagar, the maidservant, and this led to a lot of bitterness, mistreatment, and ultimately destruction).

In fact, God revealed this very concept not only through Genesis, but when I happened to pick up the book "Jesus Calling" and read the devotion for today:

Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert my sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment. Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace. (Sarah Young)

Wow. Let Him set the pace.

This couldn't have come at better timing. And the fact that I read this within the same hour as reading Genesis continues to show the essence of God's timing. He has set up divine appointments in each of our lives. He has placed the right people in the right places at the right times, all for a specific purpose that goes far beyond a plan that we can see.

Maybe you're like me and you're praying for guidance and direction about several things regarding your future, and it seems like God's provision isn't coming. Trust in His plans. He has already set up people, places, and events that will occur in His right timing. Have faith that at the appointed time, God will provide direction for your life.

Maybe you're single and you're waiting on that guy or girl to come into your life. Your prayers don't seem to be going much farther than your bedroom ceiling. Don't give up. Have faith that at the appointed time, God will bring that person into your life. His plans are bigger than you can see.

Maybe you've been praying for a length of time for a particular miracle: of healing, of finances, of a restored marriage, of a provision (maybe even a child, like Abraham and Sarah!). God told Abraham and Sarah that at the appointed time, that child would come, and sure enough, He is faithful to His Word. Trust that for you too, that provision will come at the appointed time. He is our Provider, our Healer, our Counselor, our Creator. He can do the seemingly impossible: restore sight to the blind, cure the incurable, raise the dead to life! Nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible for God. It may not be the provision you were expecting, but He works for the good of those who love Him, and He will carry out His plans according to His perfect timing.

He is orchestrating events, placing people, and directing you to the right places, all according to His appointed times, His perfect plan. There are no such thing as coincidences when it comes to God. Have faith that wherever He has you right now, He is faithful to His Word. Let Him set the pace. He will provide at the appointed time!


Trust & Go: The Year 2016

2016. //

I am convinced that if you will wait for the Lord's timing and the Lord's provision, you will experience the truth that "God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Gerard Long in "Awakening to God")

Oh, how chilling it was to read these words, among pages of my own journaling, during the first month of the year! I began 2016 seeking God more than ever before through a 21-day social media fast, which quickly transformed into a month long break. Never before have I experienced what I experienced during that month. God did some crazy amazing things: answering prayers, revealing over and over the same messages and Scriptures, drawing me closer to Him, and even preparing me for probably the greatest tragedy I've ever experienced thus far in my lifetime: the loss of my grandmother. Losing her was a horrible experience and one that made this year probably the toughest one yet, but I stand today stating with full confidence that I would not have been able to handle this tough loss in my life if it weren't for the Lord preparing my heart during that fast.

I asked God to reveal a word or two during this fast that would define my 2016, and by the end of the month, He sure did! Through all the trials during the fast, as well as my constant prayers and concerns about my future with college/a career path, God put the word "trust" in my head not long after the fast began. He revealed again and again that I was in a waiting season, and that He would not delay to provide His best and to reveal the next step for my future at HIS timing. I just had to trust that He is in control, that He is on the throne no matter what comes my way.

But He didn't stop with the word "trust". Seemingly in every book, daily devotion, everywhere I read, the word "go" would pop up! He surely seemed to be calling me to go and make a difference this year: to pray for and reach out to the lost, to stand up and be bold, to let go of my fears/shyness, and to walk out in faith and fulfill the calling He has for me. To go and LOVE on people!

Sure enough, He moved in crazy ways during my 2016. He revealed my career path an hour before the fast would end, and slowly but surely guided me to the college I would attend during the following year. Concerts, prom, and fun events filled the concluding months of my senior year. He spoke to my heart about writing letters to children in poverty through the Compassion program (something that ended up happening only through the hand of God!). Multiple scholarships were provided, and at the last minute, after praying every week of my senior year, I was announced salutatorian of my high school class. This was something that I asked God only to provide if I could bring glory to Him, and if I would be able to handle the fears accompanying speaking in front of several thousand people on graduation night, and sure enough, He provided the words, the peace, and all that I needed! Lots of speaking and opportunities to leave my comfort zone seemed to encompass much of the last few months of my senior year.

Summertime brought a season filled with lots of fun memories and unforgettable trips, a busy summer that I'm not at all used to having! Theme park fun for a friend's birthday, a graduation getaway with a different friend aboard the Disney Cruise, attending my church's Freedom Fest concert with a new friend of mine, and meeting up with a close, godly friend and her family for the third time ever (we originally met online!) in her home state of West Virginia brought a summer of not only a ton of fun but one that also brought me out of my comfort zone once again, forcing me to place more and more of my trust in Him! It was a summer of transition, a short but memorable season between the high school and college years, that I will never forget.

Sure enough, the college years would begin, and I would find myself at the local college I was already attending during my junior and senior years of high school through the dual enrollment program. While God revealed throughout the year that I was being called to finish there for my AA degree before I transfer to a university, I did not feel confident until I actually began the semester. An extremely heavy workload made it the toughest semester yet, but the experiences I was able to have and the ways God moved assured my wondering heart that I was where He was calling me to be. Having classes with some of my closest friends, as well as meeting and interacting with new people (as well as people from the past) made the experience at the college itself an exciting time. I really began to overcome a lot of fear and shyness this semester, as I took on the challenge to love others, and worked on making time to say hello and engage in conversation with those in my path. While I spent the majority of the semester studying and doing homework, as well as in the classroom, I spent my Fridays dog sitting, and one weekend in particular, I attended a Meredith Andrews concert. This was totally another provision from the Lord, as I won a pair of VIP tickets through a radio station on an exact day where I had less homework, and more of an opportunity to go. While the crowd attending this event was tiny, the concert was probably the most impactful one I've experienced yet! God continued to speak to me about waiting on Him about certain situations in my life, and about letting go so I could fully seek Him. What I loved most about this semester though is the Bible study group I began to lead with a few friends on campus, and how God has been moving through that. He called me to "go" this year, and it didn't hit me until recently that He's been helping me do just that!

These are a few of just the big things God has provided in my life this year. It's been a tough, stressful year for my family and I, but nonetheless, there has been so much good as well. I've grown so much in my relationship with God, and have learned to trust in Him and depend on Him more than ever before, but there were also days where I stumbled, days where He wasn't my everything and days where I didn't feel any closer to Him. It's during these moments that I'm so grateful for the grace and love of Jesus Christ, which He so willingly gifted to each one of us when He laid down His life on the cross.

Wow, what a year! Looking back, I'm in awe of what God has done around me, in me, and through me these past twelve months. His still, small whispers of "trust" and "go" clearly defined this year in ways I never would've imagined. I cannot wait to see what He has in store in 2017!