Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Praying for a Meaningless Life

August 16th, 2013

Daniel and I have a friend who grew up in the faith but has since abandoned it.

Our friend tried Christianity and it didn’t work–or so our friend says.

Since the day I heard of our friend’s lack of faith, I have had one prayer:

Make his life meaningless.

Our friend is young and energetic. He can do whatever he wants. He is free to explore the world, to enjoy every pleasure it has to offer.

I have one prayer:

Make his life pleasureless.

I pray that he would ever have a longing unfulfilled, that he would always come to the end of a pursuit empty, that his wanderings would never satisfy his wanderlust.

I pray that his travels would end like the Preacher’s and that he would come to the same conclusion.

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.”
~Ecclesiastes 12:8

I pray that all of life would seem worthless, meaningless, joyless–until one day our friend would come to the end of himself and discover that meaning, worth, and joy can only be found in doing precisely what he was made to do: in bringing glory to God.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
~Ecclesiastes 12:13

Every day, I pray this prayer…

and I am reminded that I too sometimes need a meaningless life

I too need to feel the gnawing ache whenever my heart is not fixed on Christ.

May I never find meaning, purpose, or pleasure apart from Him.

Get Thee a Wife

April 10th, 2013

Benedick, for years one to mock the married state, now only moments into his own marriage experiences a sudden about face. He counsels his Prince, Don Pedro with these words:

thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:
there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.”

~From Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing”

Here Shakespeare memorializes the plague that has apparently been striking the newly married for centuries: the sudden desire to see all their friends married as they are.

While I was never one to hold Benedick’s original view of marriage, I am just as quick to rush into his second view.

It started at my wedding, when one single friend told me of how another single friend was chatting up yet another single friend. The first told me that the third had refused to give the second her phone number (despite the first’s insistence.)

Oh, wouldn’t I love to see my friends happily married? I thought.

The sense only grew when the second single friend asked about the third single friend before we departed the reception hall.

Having experienced a whole hour or two of wedded bliss, I was determined that all my single friends should experience the same.

As I handed irises to each of the single ladies attending my wedding, thanking them for standing with me as single women. As I tried to affirm them where they are at right now, I inwardly prayed, “And if it’s Your will, send them husbands.”

Now, a month married, I look around the table at my Happy Food friends, many of whom are happily married. Then I see the single men and I send up that same prayer, “If it’s Your will, send them wives.”

My phone beeps and an alert reminds me to pray for different family members and friends. I begin with specific requests–but all too often my prayers for my single family and friends turns to marriage. “Lord, if it’s Your will, send her a husband. Lord, if it’s Your will, send him a wife.”

Why is marriage so on my mind? Why do I pray this for my single friends? Why do I, now that I am married, so quickly desire that all my friends be married too?

There are a number of reasons.

First, this isn’t entirely different than my pre-marriage prayers. Even as a single woman, I frequently prayed that my single friends would find spouses. I know that most of my single friends desire to be married–and I desire that their desires for a spouse be fulfilled. So I pray that God would send them spouses.

Second, I want them to experience what I have. I enjoy being married. I love Daniel. I love being married to him. I am deliriously happy. I want my friends to experience that same happiness. Oh, I know that one can enjoy being single, that one can be deliriously happy as a single person. And I want them to be happy whether married or single. But I have tasted the joy of marriage, and I want them to be able to experience the same.

And finally, I want them to see God’s grace as I have.

For the past while, I’ve been calling Daniel my EOG.

Evidence of Grace.

There are plenty of clear evidences of God’s grace strewn throughout our days. Sunrises, rainfall, heartbeats, new babies. All pictures of unmerited favor.

But today, as I think of God’s grace, the clearest picture that arises is that of my husband. That Daniel loves me, cherishes me, takes care of me is a gift from God, one that I do not deserve.

He is evidence of God’s grace.

And if a spouse can be an EOG to another, I want that to be so. I want my friends to wonder at the completely undeserved grace of God; I want them to receive something they do not deserve. I want them to marvel at how God could grant them a spouse, to thank Him for His incredible grace.

So I pray, “Get them spouses, Lord.”

Leaving and Cleaving

January 16th, 2013

Almost three weeks ago now, I packed all my earthly possessions into a moving van and left.

When I stop to realize how much I left behind, it’s rather overwhelming.

I left my parents (now a 4 1/2 hour drive away, as opposed to a 1 1/2 hour drive away.)

I left my sister/roommate (who I’ve lived with for 24 of my 27 years.)

I left my house (the spacious House of Dreams.)

I left my church (where I had friendship, accountability, and ministry opportunity.)

I left my work (both in the sense of leaving the physical location/company and in the sense of leaving long-term care.)

I left my friends (the dear friends of all ages who had welcomed me into their lives when I moved to Columbus two years ago.)

When most people talk of “leaving and cleaving”, they mean it metaphorically.

I’m feeling the “leaving” literally.

And here, in this unfamiliar place where I know no one save one, I’m also feeling the “cleaving” pretty literally.

I don’t have my sister or my friends or my parents or my accountability here to talk to when I need to get something off of my chest. I have Daniel.

I don’t have people to hang out with, events to go to, activities to keep me busy. I have Daniel.

I don’t have my Bible Study girls to cry with, I don’t have K/Cathy to give me hugs, I don’t have children from church whose hair I can ruffle. I have Daniel.

Having left nearly everything that characterized my life in Columbus (and even before), I am left cleaving to Daniel.

He is the person I can turn to if I’m stressed, if I’m excited, if I’m bored, if I need something done, if I need a hug. He’s the only one here that I can be completely free around.

Except that I can’t be completely free even with him. Even as I’m experiencing part of the mystery spoken of in Genesis 2:24, there’s a part that is still missing.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

~Genesis 2:24, KJV

I am not Daniel’s wife. I am not and cannot now be one flesh with him.

Even as I find myself clinging to Daniel practically (where do I go to…), intellectually (what do you think about…), emotionally (here’s what I’m feeling today…), socially (yes, I’ll go to small group with you), and even physically, I am acutely aware that our cleaving–our union–is incomplete.

Daniel is my fiancee, not my husband.

As much as I would like to cleave to him physically, that we would be one flesh, I cannot yet do that.

And so I must leave even Daniel.

Every night, I leave Daniel. Sometimes early, sometimes late, but every night, I leave. I go home to my room in the basement of a couple who lives nearby. Sometimes I arrive home with new emotions, new thoughts, new desires that I wish I could still share with Daniel. But I have left. I cannot go back until the next morning. I dress myself for bed and pull the covers over my head.

Having left Daniel, I have now left all.

Only One remains to Whom I can cleave.

So I lay in my bed and pour out my heart, my desire before the King of the Universe.

I lay in bed and pray for grace, grace to endure the 51 days that remain for us between “cleaving” and “one flesh”.

Each New Day

October 29th, 2012

Can I just say…

that each new day amazes me

with the goodness of God

and His completely unanticipated grace

I could never deserve

I certainly never expected

the abundant gifts I’ve received

yet each new day amazes me

with the goodness of God

and His grace

Quote: Your feelings are not truth

May 7th, 2012

I was cleaning our office while watching a sermon clip (gotta love multitasking–cleaning is the only reason I can excuse taking time out of my day to watch any of those videos bloggers link to or embed), when I found last year’s notebook.

Rifling through the pages, I found a quote that I certainly needed:

“Remember, your feelings are not the basis of truth. God’s Word is our authority. What He says is true, whether or not we feel it. The more we understand God’s Word and live by it, the more our feelings will reflect His character and love.”
~Robert S. McGee

God’s Word is truth. Reality. Life.

May I understand and live by it–and, in doing so, be conformed to the image of Christ.

Swinging furiously

May 6th, 2012

I’ve always been one for wild mood swings. In high school, I remember flying high on the town one night–and then lying on the kitchen floor the next day thinking I would be better off dead.

I’ve evened out quite a bit in the past dozen or so years. By the grace of God, I’ve grown more responsive to His Spirit–and less inclined to follow my emotions.

But stress and sleep deprivation have a way of increasing my emotional sensitivity. Which means that I’m currently just one drop away from overflowing.

So I hear something disappointing that I would normally brush off? Now I’m close to tears. I hear good news and I’m through the roof. I stop to think and I’m in the depths of melancholy.

The difference between my 27-year-old-swings and my 15-year-old-swings is that my teenage melancholy had plenty of time to produce poetry and self-reflective writing–whereas my 27-year-old self barely has time to eat, much less write poetry.

Nevertheless, I rifled through my notebook today and found one little bit from the past five months that might be considered poetry (actually, it’s just writing in verse, not poetry at all).

My brother is getting married tomorrow
I had a tough day at work
I am single
Other women don’t have to work

I am tempted to look at this life
and feel sorry for myself
Poor me, without anyone
With only a job that drives me nuts
Poor me. Sad me. Woe is me.

The snake sinks its fangs into my flesh
Its poison courses through my veins
Poor me. Sad me. Woe is me.

And the prophet cries out:
“Lift up your eyes,
Behold the curse.”

Shuddering, I lift my eyes
to the snake on a pole
a Man who waited longer than I
who died single and still waits for His bride
A Man who had a task no one could covet.
The Cursed Snake upon a tree

I gaze on Him, the poison drains
My suffering’s small
compared to His
My suffering worthwhile
so long as I am His.

Since the day I wrote those words, my work has only intensified. My loneliness has only increased. It’s not just that I’m single, it’s that I’m alone. I feel isolated from family, friends, coworkers. I’m in a struggle none of them can grasp and I don’t have time or energy to be or have “fun”. I spend time with people, but it’s rarely heart-nourishing time. Sometimes I wonder if I have a heart to be nourished anymore, or if I’ve dumped it all into my work.

The feelings that inspired my melancholy words have only grown–the poison entering my heart so it can be pumped through my veins.

Do I really dare open my heart to you? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t want to poison you too.

So I cover my pain with smiles and the assurance that someday this will end. Maybe in six months, a year? Then I can be again.

Working to keep the pot from boiling over, working to keep you from seeing the emotion roiling beneath the surface.

Now I’ve let you see.

Please, please…point me to Jesus. ‘Cause when I get stressed and sleep-deprived, I have a hard time pointing myself.

Thoughts on my mind

March 7th, 2012

Sometimes I wake up with my mind already moving a hundred miles an hour, puzzling over some philosophical or theological issue.

This morning, it was Wayne Grudem’s fallible view of prophecy, the connection between prophecy and canon, whether discomfort with a theological view is sufficient cause to deny it, and whether abuse of a theological view is proof of its falsehood.

My mind is welling up with Scripture verses, examples and counterexamples, things I’ve read from all sides of the aisle. I want to spend my day exploring the question, tunneling deeper for truth amidst a dozen opinions.

But, alas, I have to earn a living.

When do I become an adult?

January 11th, 2012

Just yesterday a nurse and I were reflecting on the passage of time, exclaiming that it was already the tenth of the month.

Even as I spoke, I knew how very adult I sounded, how old.

“Time flies” the nurse said, “and it flies faster the older you are.”

That was in way of warning.

When did I become an adult?

When am I going to become an adult?

Somehow I’ve managed to settle into those mundanities of adult life without attaining what I thought was the reality of adult life.

The letters behind my name say I’m an adult, a professional. I have a career. Doctors take me seriously when I write recommendations. They consult me. Sometimes they even give me order-writing privileges.

Do they know that I’m not an adult inside?

The class that’s under my care says I’m an adult. I’m a Sunday School teacher, a believer entrusted with second and third-grader’s minds and hearts.

Do they know that I’m not an adult inside?

Somehow I thought that being an adult would mean I’d have everything figured out–or at least that my questions would move on to a more theoretical plane since the practicals would become easy.

Somehow I thought that being an adult would mean I’d want to do the same thing day in and day out, and that I wouldn’t get bored. Somehow I thought I’d outgrow the hunger for novelty.

Somehow I thought that being an adult would mean it’d be easy to keep my room clean, to fold my laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer, to do the dishes before they pile up beside the sink.

But somehow one side of adulthood has found me and the other eluded me.

It makes me wonder if “adult” is really all I made it out to be.

Maybe adulthood
doesn’t mean getting over the boredom. Maybe adults simply keep going despite the boredom.

Maybe adulthood doesn’t mean keeping the house in tip-top shape all the time. Maybe adults just keep on working towards order when everything gets out of control.

Maybe adulthood doesn’t mean knowing all the answers. Maybe it means continuing on even when you don’t have all the answers.

Maybe the emotional roller-coaster never will stop. Maybe adults just pop and Dramamine and get down to business despite it.

I don’t know.

When do I become an adult?

Notta Piranha

April 14th, 2011

My posts recently–and some of the comments I’ve been making elsewhere–might lead you to believe that I’m in full piranha mode.

Just waiting to sink my teeth into the nearest available fish (except for the much-sighed-over lack of fish in this particular sea.)

But I’m notta piranha.


I’m not racing out, ready to hook the nearest single male into marrying me.

I understand that most often friendship comes before dating, which comes before marriage.

And I’m okay with that.

But unlike some of my friends (who are at different stages of life than I), I am not looking simply for some good guy friends, some “brothers” to hang out with.

I am looking for a husband.

Does this mean that I’m going to write off the guys who I don’t deem as marriage material and choose not to be their friends?

Absolutely not.

Brothers are wonderful. Guy friends are nice. It’s just that I’m unwilling to hide what I really want. I don’t want to pretend that I’m just interested in friendship.

I’m notta piranha, I’ve just tired of giving the impression that I’m justa pal.


March 29th, 2011

If Regency Romances are to be trusted, a woman who has reached her later years and is beyond reasonable hope of marriage is said to be “on the shelf.”

Accordingly, when I turned twenty-six a few weeks back, I resolved that I would have a shelf party–celebrating my status as one who is “on the shelf.”

It was a joke–but it wasn’t.

Unlike in Regency days, twenty-six is no longer a death knell to hopes of marriage.

Women have a longer shelf-life these days.

Better nutrition, better medical technology, more options for women–all of these mean a woman of twenty-six still has hope for husband and home. And even without husband, single women are not shelved. We can have careers, we can be independent, we can live lives of our own without .

I’ve taken full advantage of this freedom.

I have a career I enjoy, a home I love, a group of friends I delight to spend time with. I have a group of young girls who take great pleasure in coming to my home to craft and sew.

But all the fullness of my single life does not save me from feeling shelved–and feeling that my shelf-life is rapidly coming to a close.

I’ve dreamed of marriage, longed for a family, prayed for a husband for at least fifteen years.

After fifteen years, the hope begins to fade. The dream begins to feel like a pipe dream. The prayers take on a new dimension–desperation and resignation combined.

As much as I love my career, I would give it up in a heart-beat for the profession of my dreams: homeschool mother of a huge brood of children.

Yet my time feels short.

My mom had children about as quickly as you can have them–seven children in ten years. Even if I were to be married tomorrow, my ten years would put me past thirty-five–the age where pregnancy risks dramatically rise.

The much-longed for profession becomes less likely, more risky, with every month that passes. My body wearing out, my remaining years fewer.

The woman who only wants one or two has time at twenty-six. The woman who wants at least half a dozen–as I do–needs more time.

My expiration date looms, my shelf-life wearing down.

On the shelf.



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