It’s not because you aren’t pretty enough.

Over this past month, I have had some thoughts that I have wanted to turn into a blog post. Sometimes when I am thinking about my next post, I just wish I could grab the thoughts swirling around in my head and literally throw them on a computer screen and it actually make sense. Most likely, it would be a mess of words tangled up in contradictions, since that is usually what occurs in my head. And it is actually one of the reasons, I have put off writing this particular post.

In fact, I have sat down to write this at least half a dozen times and thought about it another dozen because I am about to be real and vulnerable. Although that is usually not uncommon in my writings. But there is something about this post that I am having a hard time navigating through.

The title is, “It’s not because you aren’t pretty enough,” but I would be lying if I hadn’t thought the opposite of that many times….too many times honestly. And I have this sneaky suspicion that you have too.

But when God reveals some truths to me, I must write it, because I know I will need to re-read these reminders next week, next month and probably even again years down the road….whether married or single.

So this is what I have to do. I have to take my thoughts and weed through them categorizing them into baskets of “truth” versus “lies.” And unfortunately I have a lot of both of those going on in my head.

This is one of my passions actually; teaching others how to recognize lies and change it into truth. The reason I teach this year after year in my middle school girls club is because everyone needs to know how to do this – and the earlier the age, the better. Everyone hears lies on a daily basis, whether from other people, or even worse, the lies that just appear in our own heads. Recently I heard that one of Satan’s most deceitful tricks is to put thoughts into our heads and make us think that they are actually ours. Dwell on that for a minute – that’s a heavy one.

And the lies of inadequecy are much louder when one is in a period of waiting, which often times is disguised as a period of rejection. For example when one is waiting on a job, I am sure there are several unanswered emails after a resume is sent out countless times. After interview phone calls occur with messages that they found someone else better suited. And there are countless nights spent scouring the internet at the latest job openings, wondering if you would meet the qualifications, wondering if you measure up.

I am sure the same feelings of rejection appears when one is waiting on a baby. I imagine they feel like their body is rejecting their desires. And it’s not hard to imagine the feelings of rejection that could take place when waiting on an adoption.

However, personally and thankfully, I cannot empathize with waiting on a job opportunity. I was blessed enough to receive a job right out of college and it’s where I remain today. And I am obviously not in the place of child bearing. But as you all know, I CAN speak about the desire and waiting for a marriage and a family of my own. I have experienced living life in the midst of unfilled desires. And I know what it’s like to live in the wake of rejection. And I will tell you that I believe one of the biggest lies that women will receive during this time is the lie of not being pretty enough.

Dating apps and online dating certainly do not help in fighting off this lie. Take the idea that we as humans are very visual creatures coupled with the reality that dating profiles mainly consist of pictures where one swipes right or left based on what is first shown on the screen.

I am in no way advocating for “no picture dating apps” nor do I think it is wrong to want to be physically attracted to your spouse, I am just explaining the very real fact of what it looks like to “shop for dates.”

A few months ago, I received a message on eHarmony from a man that was 7 or 8 years younger than me. I almost didn’t respond because of that very reason, but when I read his profile, from the little that I did know, I thought there was a chance we might be compatible. Plus, I wasn’t committed to marrying the man, just by responding to one email. So I replied dispite the age difference.

We messaged back and forth for a bit and there were a few times that I cringed at his responses. I don’t totally remember his exact comments, but I remember thinking that it almost seemed like he was trying too hard to make himself look good. I get the idea of trying to put your best foot foward when trying to get a date, but after awhile, I couldn’t help myself and asked, “Is there anything that you aren’t good at?”

His response was, “Yes, losing. I am not good at coming in second place because I usually always win.”

Insert eye roll here….(I can’t help it.)

He then asked me the same question in return and I told him that I wasn’t very good at playing sports.

He went on to tell me that he played baseball in college on a scholarship….you are all shocked, right?

Looking back on it now and typing out what transpired, I am not sure why I kept messaging him. But I did. I will honestly save you from the rest of our conversation, but a few more red flags arose.

I am not sure if I was sensing immaturity because of his age or if age didn’t have anything to do with it and this was just the type of guy he was.

The next day, I received an email from him asking if I had Facebook. At this point, I didn’t see us going out on a date, so it was a bit pointless to add him. Plus, I honestly don’t love the idea of becoming “Facebook friends” with guys that I haven’t met in person yet. Although, I have done it in the past, usually later regretting it, as I watch engagements of people that I don’t even know fill my Facebook wall.

So I explained to him that I did have Facebook, but that I didn’t really like the idea of adding people that I haven’t personally met.

His response:

“Well I am certainly not driving to meet anyone, unless I know what they look like. You look different in every single picture on here.”

Me: Oh my goodness. So you are saying depending on which picture I look more like in person, will depend on if you want to meet me?

Mr. Good At Everything: I’m saying I don’t know what you look like.

Me: So which one of my pictures do you not find attractive?

Mr. Good At Everything: I didn’t say any of them were bad. It looks like you have red hair in one picture, brunette hair in another, blonde in another, streaks in one and highlights in another.

Okay…so insert another eye roll here…

Sidenote: I had just recently added a few pink streaks in my hair. He would have probably ran for the hills if he met me unprepared for that one.

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Me: No red hair….but even though my hair color changes, I am not sure why that matters.

Mr. Good At Everything: Because I said so.

And that folks…is when I stopped responding.

But then an hour later, he sent this:

“And if this is indicative of how future conversations will go, then I think this should be cut off rather quickly…agreed?

Me: Agreed 😉

He later sent me another message because I got an email that said so, but when I signed on to eHarmony to read it, he had blocked me. So I couldn’t have read the last message he sent, if I wanted to. Which I have a hunch, was a good thing.

Fast forward to about a month later and I was “swiping” (cringe) my way through profiles on the Bumble app and saw one that said he was a “follower of Christ.”

Of course that always stands out to me and we connected. I sent him a message and he didn’t respond. On Bumble, after the woman first messages the man, he has 24 hours to respond before you lose the connection. An hour before the 24 hours was up, I messaged him again. That is unlike me, but I just don’t see many “followers of Christ” on dating apps, so I wanted to try one more time.

This time he responded. He told me that it was rare to find another follower of Chirst and how refreshing it was because that was the most important quality he was looking for.

We messaged a bit about the distance between us (this unfortunately is a common thing for me…apparantly there are a lot of single men in a two hour radius from my house), with the conclusion that we wouldn’t let distance interfere with chemistry and compatibility.

Then he asked if I was on Facebook.

Oh brother…

The circumstances with this man were different than with Mr. Good At Everything and from just a short bit of messaging, I could see potential with this guy. So I didn’t want to ruin it again (although I couldn’t have cared less that I ruined it with Mr. GAE).

I literally contemplated for an entire day how I should respond to that.

Knowing I really didn’t want to add “strangers” to Facebook, but also knowing that he may never message me again, if I didn’t, made me question what to do. And then there was the fact that he could very well see the links to these blog posts, if I added him. And I never know how a potential date would feel about this blog. So, I felt stuck.

I thought about explaining my dilemma to him, but in the end, every message that I concocted up in my head, I decided against.

So I responded with my last name and told him he could look me up on Facebook if he wanted to. He didn’t respond on the app, but sent me a friend request on Facebook within minutes and I accepted.

And…. I haven’t heard from him since.

So, my friends…can you imagine the thoughts swirling around in my head at this point???

I signed on to Facebook and started going through my pictures as if I was someone that didn’t know me yet.

And the conclusion I came to was – I must not be pretty enough for him.

Thankfully almost as quickly as the thought came into my head, I was able to recognize it as a lie. I have gotten way better at this over the years. However, although I recognized it as a lie, I had a hard time actually getting it out of my head.

So as I spent time with the Lord, my Heavenly Father gently reminded me of something.

How important the word “enough” really is.

See here is the thing….we will never be pretty enough to be fully satisfied. We will always want to learn how to better perfect our make-up, to shed a few more pounds, to gain more muscle tone on our arms, and to update our closet of the latest fashion trends to feel more beautiful.

I was also reminded that in addition to not being pretty enough, I am also not good enough, not kind enough, not patient enough and not joyful enough.

Not on my own anyway.

Nothing that I do, nor nothing that I am, will ever ever be … enough.

And that’s why The Gospel is the best news we could ever hear!!

Because while we are “not enough,” Jesus died for us anyway. He loves us despite our flaws and our imperfections.

And that my dear friends, is what makes us enough….it…makes…us…ENOUGH! And THAT is something I literally want to shout about.

I am crying as I type this, because what good news that Jesus IS enough. So when we invite Him to rule over our lives, then our “not enoughs” become washed away by HIS “enoughs.”

And because I have surrendered myself to the Lord and daily try to walk with Him, I know (I know, I know and I know) that He is directing my steps. He loves me so much, that I believe He is even directing the decisions that the guys that I communicate with make.

So while Mr. Facebook Requester and Mr. Good At Everything may very well have not found me pretty enough in their eyes, in God’s eyes, it was because He didn’t want them with me.

And whose eyes are more important in this situation?!?!

And do I really know that is why Mr. Facebook Requester didn’t reach back out to me…no.

But if it is, then it is a blessing. Because if God didn’t want Him for me, then neither do I. Because the reality is, if God DID want Him for me, then there would be absolutely no stopping it. No unattractive Facebook pictures, no links to blog posts and no changes in my hair color will stop God’s great plans for my life.

So my dear friends….it really is NOT because you aren’t pretty enough. It is because if you are a follower of Christ, then God is directing your life. And you are going to want to keep letting Him do that, trust me. And if you aren’t a follower of Christ, then I would love to tell you about the greatest news there ever was. Because you are going to want to know it, trust me.

You would think that allowing God to direct my life would be easy. But it is not. It requires me dying to myself daily. It requires lifting my eyes to the Lord and getting them off of myself. And in our selfish, human nature, that is not an easy task. There are many days that I fail. But then I try again the next day. And I will continue to try – through seasons of waiting, through seasons of rejection and through seasons of sadness.

So please please remember that it’s not because you aren’t pretty enough.

And…can I ask you for a favor?

Please remind me that after the next guy doesn’t respond to me either.

 

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When Guys Don’t Respond

Does anyone remember my little experiment that I briefly mentioned at the end of my last post? I meant to write a lot sooner, but my schedule just didn’t allow. However, as much as I have going on right now, I will admit, writing and posting these little glimpses of my life to you all rank pretty high on the list. You really will never know how much I appreciate you reading and caring about my life.

To all my single women out there (especially those who go out on dates or meet guys via the internet and/or dating apps….sigh), have you ever wondered why all of a sudden it seems like the guy drops off the face of the Earth? I’ve had that happen to me a few times in the past six months or so. But then as I started to evaluate my own actions, I know I have done that to guys as well….sigh. I will get better.

But anyway, curiousity got the best of me and I wanted to know why five different men that I had communicated with for a small length of time, never responded back to me.

So….I asked them!

Two guys responded back within a short period of time. Three others, I never heard from.

One of my favorite guys that I talked with ended up responding pretty much right away, which is very commendable.  Mr. Commendable and I had connected on the app Coffee Meets Bagel at the beginning of August. I seem to rarely connect with guys on that app mostly because half of the time I forget to sign on and the other half of the time…well I don’t find profiles like this….

I am looking for someone that loves Jesus.

I appreciate when my date is kind, motivated, confident, honest and upfront. Must have an active relationship with Jesus. I’m looking for someone who can have serious conversations but who is always up for a good laugh.

That was the profile of Mr. Commendable, can you tell why he is a favorite?

Mr. Commendable messaged me first saying this, “Hey there! Do you currently live in (enter my town here)?”

Me: I do! Which is not ideal that we connected and live so far away, and also our age difference. (He lived about three hours from me and he was six years younger.) But I couldn’t resist when I saw your love for the Lord. That’s very rare to find!

Mr. Commendable: I know, I thought the same thing. If you lived closer, I would have at least wanted to get coffee or dinner with you.

Me: Yeah I know…I usually just scroll through profiles looking for the name of Jesus. Most of the time, this app is pointless for me. But I can see how it might work better for you being in a larger city.

Mr. Commendable: I just started using this app a couple of days ago, but I would think so too. Can you tell me,  have you been married before? It’s hard for me to believe that someone like you would not have gotten married unless it was your choice?

Me: Ha! Oh yes, the common question of … “Why are you still single?” I’ve never been married.

I went on to give my usual answer and then he said…

Mr. Commendable: You’re not planning on moving to (enter his city name here) anytime soon, are you? 😉

Me: That made me smile. No plans as of right now 😉

Mr. Commendable: And yes the age difference is a factor, but hey, I’d still take you on a date!

How sweet is he?

Me: Well…if you’re ever in my town…let me know! 😉

Mr. Commendable: Don’t test me! You never know I may actually do that, haha! I do visit some friends kinda near you once or twice a weekend to attend football games with them.

Me: Or you could get a group of your friends to come over and I can gather around some of my friends for a game night!

Mr. Commendable: That actually sounds like a lot of fun! Do you mind if I ask for your number?

I gave him my number and he gave me his full name while stating, “In case you wanted to look me up.”

Me: I’ll look you up when you tell me you’re coming…. 😉

Mr. Commendable: Haha, you’re clever!

Me: I am a middle school math teacher…I have to be…

….and you are now googling “Middle School Math Teacher” and my name, aren’t you?!

Mr. Commendable: I swear I didn’t do it! But I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about it!!! I am laughing out loud right now because I totally do that stuff! You’ve gotta find out if the important stuff is there as much as you can, so it is not a waste of time.

Me: Well if you find the one with the criminal record…I am the other one.

Eventually we switched to texting after I gave him my number. The above conversation all took place on the app itself.

After texting for a bit, Mr. Commendable asked if I wanted to FaceTime. I told him I would, but then explained that I no longer had an iPhone. He ended up just calling anyway and we talked for about 20 minutes or something like that.

He was easy to talk to and I enjoyed myself. Even though we kind of established up front, that distance was an obstacle, I thought maybe I could win him over with my witty charm 😉 and he would want to come visit. Because after all, it was his idea to Facetime (or talk on the phone like we ended up doing).

I was wrong. I didn’t hear from him afterwards.

About two weeks later, I was telling my friend the story of how I connected with Mr. Commendable and I started wondering how he was doing, so I sent him a text.

“How’s the Coffee Meet Bagel app treating you these days? Find any more middle school math teachers with criminal records? I am sitting at the pool with a friend and she asked me about the apps and it made me think of you.”

Again, nothing.

So a month later is when I sent the question about asking him why he never responded.

Me: I know this is a hit or miss..but I’m gonna try…so…I write blog posts about dating. And my next one is going to be about guys that stop responding to girls and their reasoning for it (or vice versa). So with that said, can you give me your reason of why you never responded to me. I know this is an awkward request…haha..but I don’t have anything to lose 😉

Mr. Commendable: Hey, that’s not a problem at all. I don’t know if you remember but we talked on the phone for a while and I would have honestly asked you out, if we didn’t live so far apart. So this doesn’t apply to you, but I will go ahead and tell you the reasons why I stop responding to other women.

Here are his words:

“If I begin a conversation and they respond, then I will do some research online about them to see if I can find out more about them. If I see them drinking, partying, using inappropriate language or wearing inappropriate clothing, I immediately cut off the conversation. Also, I am not gonna lie, if I find out that the photos they have posted on the app do not reflect the photos that I find in my research, I will also stop responding.”

I really appreciated his response, but I was a bit confused. I wanted to know why he personally chose to ignore the last text that I sent him when I was sitting at the pool.

So I texted him back and asked about that.

Then I confused him. He wrote back and said that he didn’t ignore me and that we talked on the phone after the last text I sent him. He asked me if he missed a text and sent me a screen shot of our texting conversation.

The last messages that I saw in the screen shot that he sent were me telling him I didn’t have an iPhone for FaceTime and then the one I sent him about asking him to contribute some thoughts for my latest blog post. The message that I sent him in between at the pool, wasn’t there.

So I sent him a screen shot of that message and he told me that his phone sometimes has issues receiving text messages.

He texted back and said this, “Yeah, so I definitely would have responded to you. You’re the most genuine person I’ve met on these apps thus far.”

That was sweet of him to say, and so since he was responding to me now, I decided to pick his brain a bit more.

I asked him what he did when he found information out about women that he didn’t like. I wanted to know if he just quit responding to them cold turkey or he offered them an explanation.

He told me that he did just stop responding because he felt if he were upfront and honest with them, it would just make him sound judgmental and would be hurtful for the girls. He told me that he connected with one girl, but when he looked through her instagram, he saw promiscuous pictures despite the fact she was “saying all the right things” through text. He mentioned that she was very attractive, but the pictures made him feel that it wasn’t worth a date. He said he really thought about texting her and telling her something along the lines of “I think we are looking for different kinds of people,” but then decided against it because of course she would want to know what that meant and he felt by pointing out her promiscuous instagram pictures, he would come across as being prideful and judgmental.

And he is probably right. I thankfully don’t have to worry about a guy telling me that, but if I tried to put myself into another girl’s situation, I can see her getting really defensive and I am sure it would hurt.

I kinda wish she had a close friend that would tell her. But then again, she might not see anything wrong with the pictures she posted. So therefore, Mr. Commendable would be 100% right. They were looking for different people. Since he found her attractive, I am sure she will not have any problems finding dates with men. Maybe she will even get more dates because of the pictures she posted. But the question is, what kind of men would they be exactly? Men that would treat her with respect and love her heart, just as much as her body?

I cannot even begin to tell you how much respect Mr. Commendable gained from me at that very moment, which makes his nickname even more fitting. I didn’t even know the man, but I was so proud of him. Especially because he was still in his mid-twenties and he ALREADY knew what kind of women he wanted. I am sure decisions like that are not easy for him and I am sure that he spends some lonely weekends because of the decisions he makes, but I can already just imagine the blessings he will reap for it.

It reminds me of one of my favorite verses that I know I have shared before.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galations 6:9

Every time I read that verse, tears well up in my eyes. And it just happened again as I typed it out above.

Because I know what it is like to give up fleshly desires. I know how hard it is to wait on something that I cannot yet see. And when you are working in the field day in and day out – when you are planting seeds and moving around the dirt – when you are breaking your back trying to stand up for what is good – and you cannot yet see the harvest, it is hard! Very hard.

But KNOWING the harvest is coming, is what keeps you from not giving up. I am sure Mr. Commendable (if he is not yet dating…) wonders when his harvest will come, just as I wonder that as well (probably more so because of my age … it was a bit easier for me at the age of 26), but from the little I already know about him, he is making good decisions.

There aren’t many guys out there like him. And I know that seems pessimistic to say, but it is true. Can you imagine having a husband one day that chooses you because you DIDN’T have promiscuous pictures plastered on the internet? Imagine having a husband that had the opportunity to date really attractive women and chose not to because he was looking for character that matched the outward beauty. Then imagine him choosing you instead…that gives me butterflies just thinking about it.

Mr. Commendable asked me for the name of this blog post and then later that day, sent me this text:

“I am not going to give you advice because it seems like you may have heard it all by this point. But I want to tell you that you’re doing a good job and I have a lot of respect for you. Don’t take this as me hitting on you or trying to gain more of your approval because that is not what I am trying to do right now. If I have learned one thing, I have learned that God WILL use your life circumstances for good. And sometimes He makes us more dependent on Him by his taking away (or withholding).”

That meant so much to me and I responded letting him know that. I didn’t take it that he was “hitting on me.”  Instead I took it as a reminder of Galations 6:9.

He then said to me, “It’s funny because I feel like you’re what I’ll be like in six years :)”

I honestly wasn’t 100% sure what he meant by that, but I never asked.

I have hoped that over this football season, I would get a random text from him that he would be driving through my town and would be interested in meeting up. But that text never came. Maybe one day it will. I am not sure.

So despite the fact that we never got to meet because of distance, I am so glad that God brought him into my life, even if it was just for the conversations that I wrote about in this post. He is a blessing and an encouragement to me. And I hope there are many more men out there like him….particularly in my sixty mile radius! 😉

The second guy that responded to my inquiry of never responding back to me said it was because of distance as well. He lived about two hours from me and in a bigger city, so there were more options for him there. I get that. It would have been nice if he would have told me that from the beginning, so I wouldn’t have had to ask a month later, but I guess he didn’t owe me anything.

And like I said at the beginning, three never responded to me. So their answers could have been different. But what I am so thankful for is that I do not have to worry about men searching the internet and finding inappropriate pictures of me. Now, they may find this blog post….and that could be a turn off to some…but I guess I take my chances! 😉

But here is what I learned about the situation with Mr. Commendable. You will never really ever know why someone doesn’t respond to you. I know that is not helpful and if you just read through this entire post, hoping I had some great revelation for you, I am sorry.

Before asking Mr. Commendable about his lack of response, I was thinking that maybe I said something in our phone conversation that he didn’t like. Did I ask too many questions? Did I not ask enough questions? Did he think my voice was annoying?

And the reality was…he never received my text.

Please don’t think I am giving you advice to text a guy AGAIN after not hearing from him. Because I believe with my whole heart that if a guy is into a woman, he will contact her. Period. So if a guy doesn’t respond or contact you after awhile, I say move on. Easier said than done – I realize that. But if you must ask, like I have to sometimes, just be ready for the answer and receive it with class.

Mr. Commendable said up front that the distance was the issue. So yes, he is a nice guy and has responded to the texts that he has actually received from me, but I knew I wasn’t going to be pursued by the guy. So I should have left it at that and not over-analyzed our phone conversation for no reason at all. But I am a girl…and alas, I over-analyze everything…way too stinkin’ much. Another thing I am working on.

And the irony of it all is that I will be in his town this coming weekend for a conference on Saturday. I didn’t think about it until writing this post just now, but I am a tiny bit tempted to ask him to meet up. Then again, what would be the point, right?

Oh the life of a single woman… 😉

 

Closed Doors

In my last post, Free Communication Weekend!, I briefly mentioned a man that I was communicating with after eHarmony MADE me subscribe again 😉

I didn’t know him well enough to even give him a nickname then, but now that I know how the story goes, let me introduce you to…Mr. JNFT! I will reveal what that stands for soon enough, don’t you worry. I wrote about how I was excited to see where our communication might take us and was looking forward to Mr. JNFT asking me out.

One night we were emailing back and forth on eHarmony and as we were saying goodnight to one another, Mr. JNFT said, “Hey, also how would you feel if we talked on the phone tomorrow? If you’re not comfortable with that yet, I’d understand and we can just stay connected through this.”

I think I literally might have said, “Yes! Good Job!” out loud to myself because I was so thankful he had finally asked. Anyway, I of course told him that would be great and passed along my number. He told me he would call at 5pm the following day.

At 5:07 my phone rang and of course I knew who it was. I answered in a cheerful way and he immediately said hi back and then said, “I am actually kinda nervous, I hope that is okay to say.”

I laughed and thought it was an adorable thing to say and I told him so. To me the conversation started out quite well because by him admitting his nerves, it meant (1) he really did care – which means that he had to be somewhat interested in me and (2) he didn’t take himself too seriously and seemed to have a bit of humility because of it. I like when a guy can admit that a girl makes him nervous.

About halfway into the conversation, I realized how much I was enjoying myself and we continued to talk for over an hour. As the conversation was coming to an end, Mr. JNFT said he should be going soon, so he could get some dinner and I agreed. He asked if he could call me again. I said sure, but then asked him how he felt about meeting sooner rather than later.

I know, I know….why did I do that!! Ugh! It kind of just came out! I was supposed to let the guy take the lead. I was supposed to wait for HIM to ask ME that question.

In one of our email conversations we talked about “chemistry.” I think he was asking me about my experience with relationships and dating and this was part of that conversation.

Me: My biggest “hang up” is just the lack of chemistry when I meet someone. I know that chemistry can build, but if I don’t have at least a little bit of a romantic connection it is hard for me. But telling someone that we lack chemistry is sometimes not the most fun thing! But alas, it needs to be done, so we aren’t wasting time!

Mr. JNFT: I hear you on the chemistry thing! It really is important, and understandable to end things over it. Not that every second has to be butterflies, but if there’s no special spark than it just becomes two nice people who get along and hang out for convenience. Which isn’t what should be especially in the beginning of a relationship when things are new and you’re getting to know one another!

Me: I love that you understand the chemistry thing! I haven’t waited this long to just date/marry another nice person that I “could” potentially see myself loving one day. If that were the case, I would have gotten married ten years ago. So I am not looking for butterflies all of the time, but I am looking for someone that I desire to be with and someone that I think about when I am not with.

Mr. JNFT: Yes, I totally agree about chemistry! I believe God uses that to find the right one.

So knowing we agreed about that conversation above, I guess when I suggested meeting on the phone, I was trying to protect both of us. I really did not want to have several more hour long conversations before I met him because what if we didn’t “click” in person. So that was my reasoning for bringing it up. When I did, he said that he thought that would be a good idea and the only reason he was waiting was to make sure I felt comfortable. I told him that I thought that might be the case and I was comfortable with meeting him.

We briefly discussed getting together the upcoming Sunday. He then asked if I thought we shouldn’t communicate before then.

I stumbled through my words explaining that a ton of long phone conversations might not be the best idea but I told him I didn’t mind texting.

Me: So I would be fine if you sent me a text every now and then letting me know you were thinking of me.

Mr. JNFT: I don’t think I will do that. I sometimes get too eager in the beginning of the communication stage and need to be careful about that.

I told him I understood (although I was taken back a bit) and we hung up.

I think it was two days later and I hadn’t heard from him. Or maybe it was the next day…I can’t remember.

While I do understand that he wanted to protect his heart, I was confused by the no communication after our phone conversation. If he were to send me a text, it would have shown me at least a tiny bit of interest and I would have been way more excited to meet him. So I started wondering if maybe I didn’t convey myself well on the phone and I messed that up.

So I started replaying our conversation in my head and I remembered right before we said goodbye he said how much he enjoyed talking to me. But I didn’t say it back. The reason was because I was still wondering if me bringing up meeting him was a bad move or not. So I accidently forgot to tell him that I also enjoyed our conversation because I was just too much “in my own head” when we said goodbye that evening.

So now I began to wonder if he even knew if I was interested or not. Would that affect him wanting to meet me? I decided to send him a text. Which might have been another bad idea.

Me: So, I was thinking about our phone conversation on the way home from work today and thought I would tell you that I love that you told me you were nervous. I also feel just a tad bit badly for bringing up meeting each other. I hope you are sure that you are okay with that.

He responsed to me two hours later.

Mr. JNFT: Yeah, everyone gets nervous talking to someone the first time, I thought it would lighten the mood to just call it out. Well to be honest, this Sunday won’t work for me anyways, so why don’t we try tentatively for next Saturday.

Me: Sure!!!

I didn’t really know what else to say, but I threw in a few exclamation points to be safe. Because no where in that text was there any reassurance that it was okay that I brought up meeting him. Nor was there anything in that text that showed me he was still interested or willing to pursue me other than the fact that he might want to meet the following week still.

But then again, I knew he was probably trying to be careful. But at this point I really needed SOMETHING. I needed some kind of text or message to make me smile and excited to meet the man. I began to wonder if maybe me bringing up that he was nervous felt more like a diss than a compliment to him. I had meant to try and encourage him, but the way he responded almost seemed like he was defending himself about being nervous.

So after another few days went by without hearing from him, I sent him a message through eHarmony. I do realize I am probably now on strike three.

Me: I hope you don’t feel like I have lost interest after talking with you on the phone. So just in case those feelings did creep up, I wanted to let you know, that I hadn’t. Now..how’s the interest on your end?! ha!

I had no idea how he was feeling and I was tired of wondering every day what he was thinking and what I did wrong or how my words came across to him. So I decided to just ask.

Mr. JNFT: Hey, I’m going to respectfully back away. I’m just not feeling this. I wish you the best and I know God’s got someone very special for you. Take care.

My stomach dropped a bit after reading that, but he did give me the answer I was looking for. However, I was a bit confused, so I figured, why not ask one more thing.

MeThank you so much for letting me know! I really appreciate it and enjoyed our communication the time that we had. May I ask you just one question though, for learning experiences on my end. Would it have been different if I didn’t bring up meeting you? I guess I’m just curious what turned you off?

Mr. Just Not Feeling This (do you understand his nickname now?!) did not respond and a few days later the disappointment that I felt dissipated. Mainly because I knew that he was right. God has someone REALLY SPECIAL for me and he obviously was not it. He probably saved us from the pain of meeting and having that awkward conversation that there wouldn’t be a second date.

He had told me previously that he had already been praying about us and therefore I knew God closed this door 100%.

However, I also know that I messed up.

I messed up by not letting him lead and by over-analyzing too many things. I will certainly work on both of these aspects next time. Which is ironic because I am not the girl that “comes on too strong,” that is exactly the opposite of who I am! But because of my past experiences, I have realized it is better to meet sooner rather than later. But regardless, I need to not rush the process and let the guy do the pursuing and ask me out when he is ready.

But I do not regret being open and honest with him. I do not regret asking him where his interest was because I don’t believe that relationships or “beginning of communications” should be confusing. So I will always continue to be upfront about my feelings and ask when I am unclear about the other person’s.

Because after all, to me that is one aspect that makes a relationship great – you don’t have to wonder and ask how the other one is feeling. It’s when you already know because they communicate that to you.

I realize that with Mr. Just Not Feeling This, it was way too early for us to even be at that stage of communiating well with one another, but it is what I hope and pray for in the future.

And for some reason, his lack of response at the end just bothered me. If the situation were reversed, I would have responded and answered the guy’s question. So it got me wondering….I really do wonder why people all of a sudden stop responding to someone.

With Mr. Just Not Feeling This, I could surmise. But it would be just that, a guess. But what I surmise is that he probably felt like the response that he gave me ended our communication in “take care” and no other closure was needed. He probably didn’t feel like he needed to explain himself after that. And maybe he didn’t.

I know that if Mr. Just Not Feeling This was who God intended for me to date and marry, everything I actually “messed up” wouldn’t have mattered. I take comfort in knowing that every single situation that doesn’t work out just means I am one step closer to finding the sitution that will. If God has someone else planned that fits me even better than any of the other guys I have had the privledge to meet and go on dates with, then I am more than willing to allow God to close as many doors as He would like. Actually, that is pretty much my exact prayer to Him.

Keep closing them doors Lord, because soon, I know you will open one.

But I won’t pretend this process is easy.

With Mr. Just Not Feeling This’s lack of response, It got me thinking back to the other conversations I had with some men on dating apps. There were five men in particular where conversation just haulted and it wasn’t because I was the one that stopped responding. All five men had interested me because they had written something in their profiles regarding their faith and so of course that stood out to me.

So I decided to take my own advice in regards to transparency and communication and ask them why they quit responding to me. So I sent all five guys the same message.

My message to them said this: “I know this is a hit or miss..but I’m gonna try…so…I write blog posts about dating. And my next one is going to be about guys that stop responding to girls and their reasoning for it (or vice versa). So with that said, can you give me your reason of why you never responded to me. I know this is an awkward request…haha..but I don’ have anything to lose 😉

You all think I am crazy right about now, don’t you???

But guess what! 2 out of the 5 responded to me!

So stay tuned to what I learned in my next post. I am kinda excited to share about it.

I might not have gone on many dates lately, but I am at least getting some good blog post material 😉

Free Communication Weekend!

I have this idea. And I will introduce the idea to you at the end. But until then, let me give you some background information.

So….

I am back in the eHarmony world folks. I know, I know….some of you are thinking “When you stop trying, that is when you will find your husband.”

“You will find your future spouse when you least expect it, so just sit back and wait already!”

I’ve heard your comments, I know those thoughts.

But before you go thinking that I am not letting Jesus take the wheel anymore, let me briefly explain.

Those that think/say those comments maybe believe that because that is what happened to them, they are basing their thoughts on their own experiences. However, there is a whole ‘nother camp, that told me in my 20s (when I did just sit back and do nothing  – when dating sites and apps were non-existent in my life) that I need to put myself out there – that Prince Charming wasn’t just going to show up at my front door.

So, I have heard it all. I have heard your advice. And I appreciate it all because I know it stems from a place of love and caring. But in the end, God can and WILL use whatever vehicle He wants to. He can use eHarmony or he can use a UPS truck. I envision a UPS guy delivering a package, knocking on my door and wha-la there is my husband! Does God’s plan change based on my actions…well, that is a topic for a different time. And an answer that I may never truly know until I get to heaven one day.

But in the meantime [and I am typing this out mainly for myself], I want to make it clear that I have in no way lowered my expectations or lost trust in the Lord by getting on dating apps and dating sites every once and awhile. In fact, I know what I am looking for now, more than I ever did in my 20s – when I spent the weekends dateless, just praying for God’s will. I still pray for God’s will, dont get me wrong. But now because of these electronic vehicles, I now have a date every once and awhile. Although it has been three months since my last date. Which did not happen from an app or site, by the way. But that’s another post in itself as well.

Plus eHarmony is a sly one. I receive emails from them ever since I ended my subscription and I usually just delete them without even looking at the subject line. But they got me this weekend with their “free communication weekend” promo and all.

I easily clicked on the bookmarked tab on my laptop and signed in to see what was new in the eHarmony world. And that is when I saw I had 99+ messages in my inbox. I realized…actually, I think I knew this before…but when you end your subscription to eHarmony, your profile stays on the site. So guys are being matched with me and sending me questions or messages, thinking I am just not responding. The only way to avoid this is to delete my profile altogether, but when I tried that, they warned me that if I ever wanted to get back on, I would have to re-take the questionnaire. So I never delete it altogether. I just cancel my subscription and my profile stays in tact. It’s also a good way to get “cancellers” back on, because hello…99 messages?!?! Who wouldn’t be intrigued?!

Here is the catch – as I was going through the messages, I couldn’t see any photos. So here I am reading the different messages – some sweet, most of them generic, and some that just made me laugh – like this one:

You’re pretty much the only woman I’ve seen on this site that doesn’t creep the living hell out if me. Do you like egg salad sandwiches? 😉

So I can’t start conversations with all 99 of them… I would be here for a year doing that! So that’s when I see at the bottom of my screen that I can convieniently re-subscribe to see photos for a mere $9.95 a month for a 3 month subscription.

And there you have it…I was back in the game!

Going through the profiles of the guys that had sent me messages, I almost immediately regretted my decision. I was back in familiar territory, to say the least, but why did I think that this time would be any different than the other times I have tried it?!?! I envisioned going on another 30 dates or so, only to remain in this same state a year from now. The thought exhausted me!

But I responded to a few messages anyway. One message simply said, “Hey! How are you doing today?!” While, I actually read a few messages way more intriguing than that one, I found myself responding to him. The “how are you” message was delievered on May 6th by the way.

Me: Sorry for this ridiculously late response – I hadn’t paid for a subscription for about a year, but forgot to put that in my profile before I cancelled. So I guess I was still getting matched. Anyway, this weekend I decided to sign back on and have been going through messages. Are you still on here?

Him (I have yet to come up with a nickname for him and I want to be careful when I do because who knows how many blog posts might be about this one – ha!) Hey!! Thats totally understandable. I actually did the same thing myself – haha. About a month ago I was praying and just told the Lord, ” I’m gonna take a break from the whole online thing and see what you’re gonna do.” So I hadn’t been on at all. I pulled my email up today and saw you had messaged me -haha. I really liked that the first thing you said in your profile was about your passion for Jesus. That’s such a rare thing to find these days! To me there’s nothing greater than to serve the Lord!

So we’ve been messaging back and forth the past couple of days. He hasn’t asked me out yet and I am torn in which way I am feeling about that:

View #1 – I am having fun messaging you. I look forward to reading your messages and get a small excited feeling when I see one pop up. Let’s just continue this. I am nervous if we meet, things will no longer be exciting. We won’t have chemistry and you will just be another story for another blog post.

View #2 – Please just ask me out already! I know you are probably trying to be considerate and giving me time, but the more I message you, the more I like you… and I don’t want to like you until I know I can like you in person too.

Ha! Does that make sense?!

You can’t blame me for siding with #1’s thoughts because that has pretty much been my experience with all but one of my dates. The exception was the date that actually turned into a relationship.

So I am kinda leaning toward #2, but I am trying my hardest to let him lead and not be the one to suggest us meeting.

Which made me start thinking about our future date. If it ever gets to that point…

I have been on a lot of good dates. In fact, when someone asks me to tell a story about a bad date, I have a hard time thinking of one. But the problem is, rarely are the dates great.

I, of course, desire for this next date to be a great one. So I started thinking “If I were my best friend, what advice would I give this guy to ensure he had a great date with me.”

And this morning, I woke up at 5:50am with a bunch of ideas for a blog post for that very topic! I think I am going to title it “5 Pieces of Advice to Men to Guarantee a Great Date.”

I am still wrestling through the selfishness in it all. But I also think it could be a good read! I am sure there are a ton of pieces already written very similar out there. But how fun would it be to use my experience and state my 5 pieces of advice personally?

So as I was laying in bed thinking about what I would put in a post like that one, I grabbed my laptop and started typing. But I just spent the past 1516 words explaining the back story to you. So I have decided to make this my intro post and write another post about what makes a date great totally separate.

So in the meantime, I want to hear from you! Maybe I can include other women’s thoughts about what the difference is between a good and a great date. Yes, we all know that it is the unexplained chemistry that two people have together. But what I want to know is – what are some things that are said and done on a date that shows that you two have chemistry???

I know what I would say – so be looking for those in my next post!

Because you know if I wake up before 6am (heck, before 10am) on my day off, it must be because I feel inspired!

And, I will take thoughts from men too – I don’t mean to discriminate.

Looking forward to seeing if other people have the same thoughts as myself!

online dating1

Online Dating 101

I currently have three part time jobs and while I could have spent the day preparing for one of them (I did do a bit of “LipSense work”, I will admit that), I instead decided to open up a dating app to see what was going on in the world of Bumble.

I haven’t been on this app since January I believe, but I actually re-activated it a few days ago when I was laying in bed and could not fall asleep for the life of me. It was 3 am and I had to get up for work the next morning, but my body wasn’t letting me fall asleep. So…I guess it’s time to fire up the good ole’ Bumble and see what was buzzing. I figured after that night, I would get too busy with school starting up, that I wouldn’t spend much time on it anyway.

But with absolutely no plans on this Saturday, I decided to start swiping again.

I have a love/hate relationship with online dating and apps. And if anyone else has been on them, you will know exactly what I mean. On one hand, I think it can be a wonderful way to meet someone you would have never met otherwise. I believe there are a lot of wonderful and potential matches out there, that just might not be in your radius. Or maybe they are, but you just haven’t bumped into them at the grocery store yet – which has always been a dream of mine actually – to meet my future husband as I walk up and down the produce section.

Anyway, my hate comes from the fact that nothing usually seems to change when I sign back on and begin communicating with my matches. I know, I know, why do I keep doing this to myself? In fact, I actually despise the word “swipe” to indicate a level of interest, but alas it is 2017.

However, tonight after “swiping” through a few potential matches and having a conversation with one of them, I realized how badly I wish I could teach an Online Dating Course. I know that seems ridiculous that I even think I have something to teach others, since I have obviously not had a successful relationship come out of one. But if someone were willing to listen to my suggestions, I really think I could help. Ha! It’s the teacher in me. I have room in my life for a fourth part time job, right?!

So let me explain:

For the most part, dating apps are free, so unlike eHarmony, you will find many guys on there with a wide variety of desires. This could stem anywhere from a desire to find a serious relationship leading to marriage all the way to just wanting to “text,” with no intention of ever meeting. Usually it’s somewhere in between.

To give you an idea of what I experienced tonight and what inspired this post, let me introduce you to Mr. Cynical.

Mr. Cynical and I connected because we both “swiped right” on a dating app called Bumble at 3 am in the morning.

By the way, if you are single and have not read Levi Lusko’s Swipe Right yet, I highly recommend it. Ironically, I was recommended the book sometime last year by one of my matches.

Anyway, I have a love/hate relationship with Bumble because it requires the woman to initiate conversation. On one hand, it’s kind of nice to have the control of who I message. However, on the other hand, I will always have that innate desire to be pursued first. But I guess I can live with sending the first message and seeing what happens from there. The pursuit really only comes into affect after a few “get to know you” messages anyhow.

So my first message to Mr. Cynical (although that wasn’t his name at the time), was asking him what he was doing up so late. I actually hesitated even connecting with him because in his “info section” he stated that he was looking for a woman who liked to exercise and eat healthy. Which is usually just a politically correct way of saying he wanted a woman with a good body.  Anyway he didn’t end up responding, but messaged me the next day and said he had fallen asleep. I had “opened” the chat by my first message and now I was leaving it up to him to guide the conversation. But he didn’t say anything else, so I didn’t respond.

Today I received a message from him asking me where I lived. Which I also found a bit odd becuase that is stated in the profile. But I responded this time and double checked his info section.

He changed it to this:

I think that girls have it in their head that if they say hey, and then you reply, and they wait forever to reply back that it makes guys want them more or something, not this guy. I see it as blatant disrespect and will unmatch you. If you can’t reply in reasonable time then don’t match me!

I couldn’t decide if he was referring to me or not. We were stil matched, so I seemed safe. But would you be surprised if I told you I really didn’t have any desire to keep communicating with him after reading that?

Here is how the rest of our conversation went:

Me: Your info section is interesting.

Mr. Cynical: Yeah, I’m tired of all the dumb games, so I just changed it to that. Hopefully it will weed em out.

Me: Haha…I don’t know.

Mr. Cynical: You don’t know what?

Me: Do you want my opinion?

Mr. Cynical: Sure

Me: Ok, it’s just one opinion…and it’s okay if you disagree… but here is what I look for in the info section…you only have so many characters to write something that makes you stand out amongst the rest. So I like when guys talk about who they are as a person.

Here is where the desire of teaching that class came into play…ha. Why I think people want to learn from me, I have no idea! I can tell you that he didn’t.

Mr. Cynical: Oh I had that before..

No, he didn’t. He put he wanted a healthy-eating, exercise loving, kinda girl.

Mr Cynical:I always get this stupid game of the girl saying hey, me replying and then them never replying or taking like 3 days to reply. It’s flat out ridiculous. So what I had before in the info section, clearly didn’t work.

Me: Okay. I guess it’s just the nature of the app.

Mr. Cynical: Nooooo! It’s the nature of the female.

Is his nickname making a little more sense to you yet?!

Me: Some…I’m sure that is true. But you know not all females are the same, right?

Mr. Cynical: I do, but roughly 90% are eerily similar in my opinion. They all play hard to get, like to shop and buy crap that they don’t need all the time. I have been doing this a long time.

Me: You must attract the same kind then.

Mr. Cynical: Haha nooo…they all think alike and girls do all that girl talk…so they all express their opinions together to form this united conspiracy against men. Men don’t talk like that or share our crap near as much.

At this point, I started to wonder if he remembered that he was still talking to a female.

Me: How are you going to put up with being married to one?

Mr. Cynical: I only lasted 2 years the one time I did that. So I guess there’s your answer.

Me: Haha yep!

Mr. Cynical: Now you are probably red flagging me in that head of yours!

I actually “red flagged” him way back when I read his info section for the second time. But I certainly wasn’t going to tell him that and add to his hatred for women.

Me: True. I am sorry it hasn’t worked out for you.

Mr. Cynical: It works out fine. I just go with the flow.

I think this is my point to stop replying. There really isn’t much that needs to be said. Until like 20 minutes later he says this…

Mr. Cynical: You are pretty by the way.

Whew! I thought his next message was going to be him chewing me out that I didn’t respond.

Me: Thank you!

Mr. Cynical: You are welcome.

While calling me pretty was way better than what I expected, that obviously did not change my desire of wanting to continue chatting with this guy.

So I instead started writing down an outline for the first class in “Dating Online 101.” Just Kidding! There is no outline…on paper anyway!

Most of my dating app conversations have been pretty similar to that one, or we just don’t make it past the first few questions of “What do you like to do for fun?” and “Why are you still single?” type questions.

But every once and awhile there will be someone that stands out like a shiny gold star.

This happened to me back in April.

On a different app, I ran across a profile of a man that described himself like this:

“A Christian who is serious about faith, purpose, and the calling to be a follower of Jesus.”

Can you see why I immediately tried to connect with him?!

Since this was a different app, anyone could message the other one first. So as excited as I was, I even broke my first rule of letting the guy be the first one to reach out to me. I mean, come on, did you read what he wrote above or should I type it out again?!

The only problem is when I get eager to connect with someone that loves Jesus, I may come across a bit desperado.

Miss Desperado (that’s me): I stopped using this app awhile ago because it got to be pointless, but randomly started it back up a few days ago. I told myself I was only going to connect with guys that actually mentioned Jesus in their profile and who I could see myself being physically drawn to…

Sidenote: He was a good-looking guy.

…but I know our distance isn’t ideal.

Another sidenote: He lives somewhere in NC – I think the Northern part, so I think we are several hours apart from each other. However, distance wasn’t going to keep me from connecting with him. Although, it seemed to be a deal breaker for him. I guess, who can blame the guy?

Follower of Jesus: Haha! I am flattered. I agree…I download and delete this app often. Yours was the first profile up and it was a bit refreshing. I initially thought you lived in NC, only 30 mins from me, but now I see that you live in SC…bummer.

Miss Desperado (again, remember, this is me): Refreshing is a word I would have used as well when seeing you mention your heart for Jesus. So do you feel the distance makes it pointless to chat?

Follower of Jesus: No, it doesn’t make it pointless…I’m always up for making a new friend. You can add me on Facebook if you would like. Just look me up.

He proceeded to give me his last name.

And here is where I break my second rule.

I almost NEVER add guys on Facebook that I meet on dating apps. Mainly because I don’t really KNOW them and secondly because they will probably post about their engagement in a few short months and that is certainly something that is missing in my newsfeed – ha! Don’t worry, I am not turning into Miss Cynical or anything.

And I really am not desperate either. After breaking my rule and adding Follower of Jesus to my list of Facebook friends, I knew that if the Lord wanted us to meet, He would make it happen. If not, then He would make something else happen with someone else…one day.

So those are my two extremes – I have a ton of stories that mirror what happened with Mr. Cyncial and even a few similar stories of what happened with Follower of Christ, but both usually end the same way.

Me deciding to shut down the app again.

So who knows, maybe dating apps are just not going to be used in my happily ever after story. Or maybe they will be. But there will be a story. I’m convinced of it. Yes, I have my cynical moments and fleeting seconds that I forget that God has a plan. But I always come back to the fact that there WILL be a story.

About a month ago, my mom’s cousin visited us at the lake and she was telling a story about someone she knew who mentioned to his friends and family that he would pay them $10,000 if they found his future wife. Someone eventually did set him up with his future wife and when I asked if he ever paid the $10,000, she said no.

So maybe that’s my answer. And I would follow through with it too! But I cannnot afford $10,000, so either I am going to need to drastically lower that number or I can pay you in montly payments of $50. Who am I kidding? My budget is as firm as…as firm as…Mr. Cynical’s view on women, so I can’t even afford that. Then again…if I start teaching that course and charge…

Okay, friends, I am going to end this post before I really start typing out that outline. But thanks for reading. Writing these posts keeps me hopeful and actually gives me an entertaining Saturday night.

And don’t you worry – I am STILL trusting AND believing and I will NEVER settle for less than God’s plan.

So until my next story…

 

 

The Scream Sob

One of the earliest memories I have is when I was three years old and I got locked in a bedroom. On purpose. By my parents.

Before you go contacting child services, just remember I am now 32 and I turned out…okay.

So here is a condensed version of the story:

-At our cottage we have one bedroom and at the time there were two beds in that room – one for me and one for my parents.

-This particular night I wanted to sleep in their bed and they said no.

-I didn’t listen and instead would get out of my bed and go to theirs.

-They would pick me up and put me back in my bed.

-This process went on for a few rounds, until finally my dad said, “If you get up one more time…”

I actually don’t remember what came after that. But you guessed it, that “one more time” happened. So my dad proceeded to unscrew the door knob of the door to the room and switch it around so that the lock was now on the outside of the room. They put me back in bed and locked the door and went downstairs while I “cried it out.”

All of those details that I just described above, I actually do not remember. I know the details because of the countless times this story has been told. However, what I do remember is what happened next.

I began to cry.

No, not cry, sob.

I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and did so very loudly. I remember wanting my parents to hear my agony. In the midst of sobs, I would scream a bit. At one point I literally remember my throat being on fire from the scream sob and thinking to myself “I am not going to stop, my throat hurts, but I am not going to stop.” I kept scream sobbing over and over again.

Eventually I found my dad’s video camera and pulled out all of the film, but that is beside the point.

That’s all I remember. I don’t quite remember calming down or falling asleep and I certainly do not remember what was talked about the next morning.

But I will never forget the vivid feeling of my throat being on fire and my stubborn self not wanting to stop screaming.

And while you may shake your head while reading this, many of you will understand I was three and not much judgement will take place on your part. Unless you judge my parents for their style of parenting 😉

However, while three year old me seems justified to scream sob, 31 year old me scream sobbing is just down right embarassing. But that is what happened – four months ago to be exact.

One day in March, without going into the details (surprised, huh?!), three little events went wrong in my day. The events are not important and very trivial, but nonetheless I was affected by them.

But it wasn’t the three events that were really my problem. My core problem was the sadness that lingered in my soul. A sadness that had been stuck to me for an entire year. A sadness that weighed heavy on my chest and could probably be seen in my eyes. A sadness that I had been trying to combat for 12 full months.

I did everything I thought I should be doing.

-I prayed more,

– studied God’s word,

-read other books that pointed me to God’s truth,

-talked about it with friends and family and tried to take in their encouragement,

-cried myself to sleep,

-thought about God’s great plans for my life…and the list goes on.

However, nothing I tried seemed to work. And at this point, I was just exhausted. I am not saying what I did was pointless and worthless. Many times I would receive bits of comfort here and there and it is always a good thing to be reminded of the Lord’s promises and truths. But nevertheless, the dark feeling of sadness within seemed to remain.

I even hesitated writing these blog posts because when I did, I felt like they were laced with sadness and who wants to keep reading about that? Plus, I was a bit embarassed that I couldn’t “just shake it.”

So on that March afternoon, while I was driving home after three very small things went wrong in my day, I began to cry.

Well sob actually.

And the more I sobbed, the more I felt anger raging inside of me. So I started to scream as the tears flowed down my cheeks.

I asked the Lord in a scream, “How much longer am I going to have to feel this way?! I really don’t know what else I can do!” I screamed until my throat hurt.

Then I calmed myself down by taking deep breaths of air and blowing out. I drove home the rest of the way in silence with damp cheeks and a sore throat. I didn’t pray, I didn’t cry, I was just silent.

Much like my 3-year-old self wanting my parents to know that I was not a happy camper, my almost 32-year-old self, wanted God to know that I was exhausted.

He already knew. I didn’t need to scratch my throat to let Him know. Lesson learned.

But what I was really doing was letting the Lord know I had absolute no control over my healing process and I was frustrated. I didn’t know what else to do, I didn’t know how else to be.

After the rest of my silent drive home, I came inside my house and just began to pray.

“God, what I really want…what I really need…is just to know that I am loved by you, like 100% loved without a shadow of a doubt.”

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but apart of me felt like I was doing something wrong or I wasn’t doing something enough. I felt like maybe I wasn’t seeking God’s face enough or loving Him enough because if I was, then I wouldn’t still have this sadness, right??

But I was exhuasted of trying to DO something for my healing to come. At this point, all that was left to DO was to fall in the Father’s hands and feel His love for ME. So I asked Him to help me feel that.

We shouldn’t really need reminders, right? We should already know God’s great love for us just by preaching the gospel to ourselves on a daily basis.

But we still do. God knows this about us. And it’s okay. So He reminds us.

The night of my “31-year-old car tantum,” my parents had invited some of my friends over to their house to have a small birthday celebration. It was four days before my 32nd birthday and for the most part, it ended up being a very uplifting time for me. My friends and parents spoke encouraging words into me and I knew that I was feeling God’s love through them.

But then what happened the next day was something I didn’t quite expect.

It was the evening of March 26th and I was driving home from somewhere. It was already dark outside and as I pulled into my driveway, I saw something floating by my house in the bushes of my yard.

I pulled into the garage and got out of my car to go look. The closer I got, the more I realized it was a helium balloon. For a split second, I thought maybe it was a Happy Birthday balloon from one of my friends as an early birthday present. But when I approached it and picked up the string and brought the balloon close down to my face, I saw that it was much bigger than a birthday present from one of my friends.

The balloon had one word written across it.

PRINCESS

And even now, four months after receiving this balloon, I am crying typing this story out.

Because in reading that one word on the balloon, I knew God was telling me that I was His Princess and I was going to be OK. I was going to be OK. But not only that, I was so deeply loved by Him.

People can tell me that the ballon just happened to have blown in my yard from a neighboring house. People can tell me that the balloon was actually meant for someone else. People can tell me whatever they want to tell me. But I believe 100% that the Lord placed that balloon in my yard on that very night because I asked Him to show me how much He loves me. I needed to be reminded that I was His Princess.

God didn’t need to give me this reminder nor did He owe it to me. Instead, being the loving and gracious Father that He is, He chose to answer my plea and remind me of His love through this balloon.

The day of my car tantum I had started writing down every single blessing and gift that each day had to offer to focus on those instead of the small events that didn’t go my way. So looking back at that journal, two days after receiving the balloon, I wrote this as one of my day’s gifts “the joy I felt today for the first time in awhile.”

I am claiming that day as my day of healing. Even though the healing process is much longer than one day. In a way I had forgotten what joy even felt like. I thought I was stuck with sadness for the rest of my life. I know that seems a bit dramatic, but when you are there, you don’t ever see it lifting.

It has taken me awhile to write about this because – I know this sounds silly – but I wanted to see if “it would stick.” I was tired of telling people I was okay and the next day I was not.

However, I spent the past 6 weeks up north meeting with friends who I hadn’t seen in about a year. And when they asked how I was doing, I genuinely could report that I was doing well.

And just recently my mom saw me laugh and she said, “It is so great seeing you laugh again.”

And just this weekend, now that I am back home, I met with two friends on separate days. Both of them specifically said the words “You just seem so much happier.”

So I now feel confident to share the above details with you. I finally feel like my sadness has lifted. It doesn’t mean that my days from here on out will always be wonderful and easy. And it doesn’t mean that I won’t ever have another day or season of sadness.

But it does mean that for today – I am happy.

As I was talking to one of my friends yesterday, I told her that I have certainly learned a great deal through this season. Walking through a year of sadness was not easy and it took way longer than I ever expected it to take. But the timing was the Lord’s. I learned that the reason it took so long for complete healing was not because my faith was weak. It didn’t take that long because I wasn’t doing something right. It took that long because God allowed it to take that long.

It wouldn’t have been my choice, but then again, I wouldn’t have chosen to be locked in a bedroom when I was three either.

Just like my parents were doing what they thought was best and helping me learn a lesson of obedience (and learning to sleep by myself), God must have thought that a year of sadness was best for me as well.

Oh and on a side note – thank goodness I learned that lesson of being okay sleeping alone – because it certainly has come in handy the past – hmmmm let’s see …32 minus 3…29 years!

So as you may imagine, I still have a very strong desire to be married one day and to have kids. So I would be lying if I said I didn’t still wonder and question the Lord when that will happen for me. But I wake up each day knowing that contentment is a choice. It’s not an easy choice and some days I still fail. But what I do know is, I am at this place in my life for a reason.

I was listening to a sermon from Matt Chandler on singleness during my thirteen hour drive home a few days ago and one of the quotes he stated was from Paige Benton Brown. It almost made me want to pull over so I could write it down. I didn’t, but I went back and looked it up.

“I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to deserve a husband or too spiritually mature to need one. I am single because God is good and this is His best for me.”

Dear friends, may you have hope in God’s best for you.

I pray that if you are going through a season of sadness currently in your life, that you are almost at the end. I pray that God gives you a reminder of His love for you in a powerful way and that you too will feel the dark cloud of sadness lift and a rainbow of happiness begin to stretch over your life.

The picture below was taken a few weeks ago at the lake. As I took the picture, I thanked God for being so good to His children, especially me.

Because God is good in the midst of sadness AND in the midst of happiness.

Thank you Lord for your rainbow and your constant reminders.

20170619_205125

Unnoticed Blessings

Several years ago I went out to dinner by myself. There are not too many secrets in my life, but I don’t think I have ever really shared this story with anyone before.

I think I decided on this solo dinner back when some people in my life were telling me that I needed “to get out more.”

“Prince Charming is not just going to ring your doorbell, you need to go out and mingle,” they would tell me. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really  know how to mingle, but I did know how to eat dinner.

One weekend, with no set plans, I decided I was going to go to a particular restaurant downtown and see what happened. I dressed up in a particularly cute outfit, applied my make-up and curled my hair and set off for the commute to downtown. I didn’t think through all of the logistics ahead of time (which is actually unlike me), until I walked into the restaurant and the hostess asked how many were in my party.

“Uhhh, it’s just meeee…ahem, I mean three.” What was I thinking, about to tell the hostess that I was at this restaurant alone?! Looking around at all the other groups eating together, I all of a sudden felt quite silly. I contemplated just turning around and going home. However, I spent adequate time getting ready and driving 30 minutes to get there, so I decided to stay.

As the hostess sat me, I explained to her that I was waiting on another couple, but they were going to be late. I was basically lying to the woman. At the time, I chose to call the words that were coming out of my mouth – acting (don’t worry, I haven’t “acted” without a stage under me since – so this is not the time to recommend counseling, I can ensure you that).

She sat me outside on the back patio in a booth. I gave the same story to the waiter.

“Can I get your drink ord..”

“Oh! I am waiting on another couple, they should be here shortly!“(insert nervous laughter) “I am not here all by myself…don’t worry.” I gave him my drink order. He smiled and took off to retrieve it.

After dropping off my drink, he stated that he would be back when he saw my friends arrive.

I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into and I remember having an internal conversation with myself about my goal for the evening. What exactly was I hoping to get out of this night? Did I think that God was going to bring someone into my life that night? I was stepping out of my comfort zone and being bold. Maybe this is the night I would meet a guy and what a story we would have!

Robert the Waiter (that was not his real name, I couldn’t even remember his real name if I tried) checked on me a few times. After the third time, I explained to him that my friends were actually unable to make it after all. He apologized about the situation and asked if I was still going to order a dinner. I did and he sat down in the booth opposite of me and began a conversation.

Later he brought my meal back and asked if it was okay if he joined me, since it was conveniently his break time. I told him he was welcome to and off he went to fetch a hamburger.

As we ate, I remember thinking that the only problem of Robert eating with me is now my knight in shining armor would probably not be approaching me, since I had another man sitting across from me at the table. To be honest, I had actually noticed how good looking the DJ was and kept looking back his way to see if he noticed me. I’ll take away the suspense of the story and tell you that he didn’t.

But Robert noticed me. Well, he kind of had to since he was my waiter, but he didn’t have to choose to have dinner with me that night. And he did. Robert had a meal with me. Looking back on that now, I have come to realize that Robert was a blessing to me that night. It wasn’t because we had some riveting conversation. Actually the only thing I even remember about our conversation was that he tried to guess my age by looking at my hands. He told me that the hands of a woman, will usually always give away her age. I still think about that sometimes when I look at my hands and wonder if they would give away that I am now in my thirties. Not that anyone needs to guess my age anymore, since this blog was started, but you get the idea.

I thanked Robert for talking with me as I finished up and paid for my meal. I got up to leave, passed the DJ, and smiled at him. Then I did something I rarely do (tonight was my night to be bold, right?!), I turned around and made eye contact with Mr. DJ and said “You are really good looking.” He seemed to be caught off guard (who wouldn’t be, really?), but managed to say thank you. I smiled and turned back around and kept walking. I was honestly probably sensing a bit of disappointment that Robert was the one that gave me attention that night and not Mr. DJ.

I am not sure what my thoughts were as I drove home that night. And I can’t remember if I cried that night or not. Probably not, I seemed to be a bit more emotionally stable back then, but I am pretty sure that I didn’t thank God for Robert that evening.

I wish I could go back and thank Robert again, this time a bit more genuinely. Because if I did, I would tell him how much his presence meant to me. I would tell him how grateful I was that I didn’t have to eat alone at a restaurant after making such a silly decision to go there by myself. I would tell him that his smile warmed my heart and maybe even offer the “good looking” compliment up to him instead. He probably deserved it a bit more.

Recently I have been pondering the idea of how many unnoticed blessings I have in my life. I am in the midst of reading The Signet Ring by Kerri Kenyon and have come to realize there is a difference between blessings, gifts and being blessed. I am still a bit unclear of which terminology to use at what time, but in the end, that is probably not as important. So I might not get it 100% right as I try to explain below, for I have a lot more learning to do.

Merriam-Webster describes a blessing as, “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.” I began to wonder if God wants us to be happy? And I think He does, because His love for us is so great. BUT sometimes I wonder if our definitions of happiness doesn’t always line up with God’s definition. Many times, my happiness is a result of what is happening around me and it is almost always directly aligned to my own desires. If I think about what makes me happy, I hesitantly admit, that most of it comes out of selfishness. An easy life without many trials would probably make most people happy – our human definition of happiness. But when comparing that to scripture, there are countless stories of people following Christ with a “not-so-easy life.”

In her book, Kerri explains that being blessed is not just the reward that we get when we are good. Nor is being blessed just about getting a good seat at a concert for a good price, avoiding a long grocery store line, or finding a really good sale on a new pair of shoes. According to Merriam-Webster, I can see how all of those would be considered a blessing. But being blessed goes deeper. So maybe we should call those gifts instead?

Blessed refers to living in close relationship with the God who created you. It is an intimacy with Him that allows situations and people to cause us to know and remember our need for Him, not distract us from Him. A blessing then, is simply a reminder of The One who created us. It is anything that keeps us in a place of wanting, needing, and loving Him more than anyone or anything else (Kenyon, p. 28).

Kerri goes on to explain that being blessed often comes through lack, suffering and dark places. That doesn’t really seem to line up with Mr. Webster, does it?

I don’t think what Kerri is saying is that blessings cannot be good things. Blessings can come in all shapes and sizes. And because of that, I think I am guilty of missing some. Maybe a lot.

When we are in a place of longing or despair, we tend to filter everything through a sadness filter. Just last night, someone texted me out of confusion and taking it through my sadness filter, my feelings were hurt. Because it was through text, a tone was missing, but my sadness filter certainly gave it one.

Every day we are walking among broken and wounded people – at our jobs, in the grocery store, and maybe even in our own homes. I wonder what filter they are using to process our words and actions? For most broken people, I am sure they are filtering most things through a filter of pain. Maybe similarly to me, a filter of sadness.

And while I think God gave us emotions for a reason, sadness being one of them, I don’t want to live the next year of my life constantly using it as a filter. I think it is okay to be sad and it is okay to cry, in fact, I think it is quite healthy. But there should be a sense of healing that comes from it. Those that push their sadness down, will one day probably reap the consequences of never letting themselves feel. So I wouldn’t advise that. But I would advise learning how to recognize what filter you are using and gaining the ability to change it.

So, what filter are you currently using as you process your own thoughts and emotions on a day to day basis?

The more we recognize that, the easier it will be to train ourselves to switch up the filter.

I want to change my “sadness filter” to a “blessing/gift filter.”

So when a waiter gives up his break time to eat with a lonely girl at a restaurant, I want to see that as just a small glimpse of God’s love for me.

Again, I am still not sure of the terminology, when it comes to being a blessing or a gift (I am sure it would depend on how I look at it), but here are some recent blessing and gifts in my own life.

-A stranger complimenting my hair as I stand in line at a store.

-People spending their Friday night with me and coming over to my house for a game night.

-A new friend bringing me dinner and then spending three hours getting to know me through conversation deeper than surface level.

-A text from another new friend telling me that she is thinking of me and that she hopes I have a great week.

-A text from a mentor asking how I am doing and making plans to meet up.

-A doctor that is taking interest in the well-being of my family.

-An invite from a friend asking me to come pray with her.

-A discernment of seeing someone struggling, offering to help, and him taking me up on the offer.

-A friend paying for my movie ticket.

-A broken heart that has led me to this place that I am at today.

-Going on several first dates that do not end up in a relationship.

-No guarantee that I will have the same job in the fall.

-32 years living in the abundance of God’s love.

When I stop and really think about it, I could multiply that list by ten. That is what happens when you use the blessing filter. I am really hoping to change that to my default, but I know that is not an easy feat. I know it will take awareness and practice on my part and most of all prayer.

God, please remind me to use my blessing filter more than my sadness filter. But give me the discernment to know how to handle situations when my sadness filter is used without my consent. Help me remember to be gracious to the people around me when they are filtering life through their past or current pain. And most of all, help me be a blessing to those that I talk with, so that they have no choice but to use their blessing filter when interacting with me. 

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8