Even though she is doing well, accomplished, educated, loved by more people that you can count on several pairs of hands she is dreading the big 3-0.
Why you ask?
Because she thought she'd be married and have kids by now.
As if everything else is worthless. As if everything else is merely something to bide time until a woman can be truly complete...with a man.
So I was frustrated, and I said as much to a few co-workers. Who proceeded to tell me that I didn't, couldn't understand because I still had almost a year until 30, because my biological clock hadn't started ticking yet and on and on and on.
To which I say pish posh. 30 is not some magical number that automatically starts a decline in a woman's ability to marry. Sure it is harder to conceive and push a baby out of your vagina...but in case ya'll haven't noticed there are...oh, I don't know...millions and millions of babies and orphans.
It really bothers me when a) people tell me that one day in the next 8 or so months I will start to panic because I have "wasted" all of these years and I still have no man and b) when they look at me with obvious pity because I'm deluded myself into thinking that my life is complete and well rounded with no man to rescue me from living alone.
Now now, before all of the wives and mothers I know get their hackles raised I'm not trying to do the same thing on the other side of the line. It's great that you're married. It's great that you have children. I see that (most) of you are happy. I see that your children are beautiful and lovely and perfect in every way (most of the time, but they're kids I'll cut them some slack). But my lack of desire to mate wildly and settle into domesticity isn't something I need you to fix.
Furthermore, one of the women that was telling me about how devastated she was that her boyfriend didn't propose on her birthday (the big 3-0) and that she cried for hours about the fact that she wasn't married...this woman...is the same one that on most days is telling me over the cubicles, "Don't EVER get married Bethany, it's so not worth it"
Could I one day want to get married? Sure. Could I someday want to acquire a child somehow? Sure. For the time being however please note, that while I love kids and think they are cute and cuddly and wonderful people my ovaries and uterus do not (I repeat) do not leap every time I think about having them.
So stop shoving the idea that all of those overwhelming crippling desires will happen on my 30th birthday.
Lastly, this woman, she also was pointing out that she feels the same way about 40. She mentioned some people that aren't that much older then her that are more "successful" and are paid more money, have more corporate power...and yet here she is in her 30s and not close to attaining that success.
It is a waste of your time to compare yourself to other people and use that as a measuring stick for yourself. You determine how happy you're going to be. You can't control what people do or say to you but you can determine how you react. (Hmmm....sounds sort of like advice I should learn how to take)
All I'm saying is, be happy you're married, be thrilled you have children, but please stop thinking, saying, insisting, that my life is less or I am somehow broken because I'm not a wife or mother. Because I'm happy single, I'm happy in this fantastically awesome new home laying on this super comfortable new bed that I share with Gertrude the grumpy and Agnes the hair tie crack addict.
PS: Jake there hasn't been a post like this for awhile, I was beginning to think it was ok to be single! Show you what I know....
Ben looked at me and said, "Yeah, you're just going to need to get over that."
Sin bravely on was something that Martin Luther said, and while I've been trying to find something to hotlink for you to see the context of it I just can't find anything that isn't overly verbose. But basically it's because no matter what we do we fall short of the glory of God, and as believers we are already tied to Christ. So while we should strive to be more and more like Christ, we should sin bravely, continuing to reach towards God knowing that Grace covers everything.
So I'm trying. I'm trying to remember that my definition is not in the wrong words spit out by those that held false authority in my life. I'm trying to remember that I'm not a failure if I fail, only if I give up and become complacent.
It was a lovely after meeting meeting with Michelle talking a little about that and a little about things to do and how to do them. I love that she is a part of this team and that we can lean on each other for encouragement, ideas.
I'm working as hard as I can, on my knees, on my face to drown out the voices I have held onto for to long, praying for God to yank out the sick roots that were planted by those with false authority that spoke ugliness into my life.
I'm trying to sin bravely on and just keep failing into the arms of Grace.
This morning I went to the Legacy Women's Conference where Beth Guckenberger spoke. Beth and her husband Todd are the directors of the Mexico branch of Back2Back Ministries. I went on a mission trip there is September of 2006, and that trip is one of the key motivators that picked me up out of complacency and tossed me down on this path of outreach and service. I could listen to Beth speak for days. She is such an effective communicator, and so clearly shares the way God is moving and how there is little else you can do when he moves, then to be changed.
She gave us an illustration this morning of a tree. The roots are God's image; the trunk is our self-image; and the fruit is our attitudes and actions. There is no way I'm going to be able to effectively communicate this to all of you, but bear with me.
Beth talked about how our self-image (the trunk) and our fruit (attitudes/actions) are all so tied into the roots of our image of God, who we believe him to be (and who he is, which are often two different things).
She told a story about one of her roots, that God will do what you ask of him, but how she always added the disclaimer: "Maybe but probably not all the time", because a year before she and her husband moved to Mexico, her dad got sick and died. She said for years she would only address the fruit, occasionally the trunk, but never the roots. She would never address that sick root that held her doubt that God will keep his promises to us.
Another story she told was of one of the girls in a children's home in Monterrey and her promiscuous behaviour. She said it would be simple to address the fruit only, the sex, the acting out. But to cease the behaviour, but not address the root behind it would only do so much. It would help, and it would be better, but it would only address the action, not the motivation behind the actions.
Do I believe that God is working where I am, in what I'm doing? Do I not believe that he's able to change my circumstances. Beth said faith is trusting the who, when you don't know the what, when, where, why, or how.
When life or a circumstance, or a relationship is to heavy to hard, to dark and you just want to give up, do you?
I saw this tree when I picked up Claire this morning for the conference, and I took a picture of it when I dropped her off. Because this tree, applied to the analogy Beth used at the conference reminded me so clearly of how I handle the to heavy, to hard, and to dark times.
Ok, so it's not a very good picture, but I felt a little silly and didn't want to drive closer (plus there were some people on bikes in suits that I was trying to avoid...)
When it gets to hard, to heavy, to much of everything I start attacking my fruit, my branches. While that can be appropriate in moderation, I take it to heights that are rarely appropriate.
More often then not I don't go to God, I don't go to the motivation for why I'm feeling/experiencing something that way. I am the judge, jury and executioner and it is almost always my fault alone. Statistically speaking, that just can't be true as much as I make it out to be. So I trim. I trim and prune and reign in my actions, words, attitudes, and myself. I close up tight like a fist and I withdrawal into hibernation convinced that I am not worth the dirt I tread on. The core of my self-image, of my tree trunk, is more often then not, nothing. Worthless, stupid, ridiculous, ugly, and unwanted. The core of that comes from some bad, sick roots that have been entangled in the roots of my tree, in the roots of my image of God (but that's a whole other post, that I may or may not have the stamina to post tonight). I certainly created and chose some of these sick roots, but many of them were in place before my story even began.
How can I trace the root back, and ask God to rip out the sick roots and change the core of my trunk? We'll soon see won't we?
to not leave you
to come to you
to hear you
to be your father
to make you a home
to lead you out
to not forget you
to extend mercy to you
to execute justice
to feed and clothe you
to be your helper to maintain your cause
to incline his ear
Stand on his promises and cry out to him. Believe that he will move on your behalf and he will. It won't look the way you think it should (sometimes) and it will require growth and substantial stretching on your part....but God will move, he is moving.
Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is, destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.What is it you are holding on to, that if buried could reproduce many times over? What are you unwilling to let go of in order to hold on to?
I know I am.
I know I often spend so long looking at the areas that aren't the way I wish they would be that I often can't (won't?) see what God is doing, and has done in all the other ares of my life.
I'm listening to Rob Bell sermons all day today. While sometimes I feel like I'm not really paying attention, sometimes the message seeps in without my realizing. (Sort of like real life I should think)
What miracles are you missing?
I rolled over trying to peer through the dark, which is often difficult. I sat up and leaned forward thinking all the while that it was probably just Agnes, and she was likely to jump up and scare me….which she did.
I mean, I think she brought in a trampoline because she not only jumped up on the bed she jumped up into my face! So I did the most natural thing ever…I screamed bloody murder. Which scared Agnes who immediately jumped off the bed and scurried out the door, hitting the dresser on her way out.
All this time Gertrude was grumpily roused out of her deep sleep at the end of my bed with all my moving around to see who was coming in my room. When I screamed she also bolted off of the bed and straight into the wall.
Ahhhh the joys of living alone.
When I see pictures that I've accidentally left out, I feel nauseous
I wish I could see something else
I try so hard to see something else
But your lies, the slippery way you integrated all of your lies into your life, they block those memories with a steel door.
I wish I could see fishing, long drives to elevators that didn't look like elevators
Even now, when I think about those elevators, I think about the lies that were happening in front of my eyes. I only vaguely remember the stories you told me on the way there and back.
When I think of the ice cream window, I think about the trips to the bank where you held the profit of your lies.
I think of you when I don't want to, which is almost all the time.
I wish it didn't get to me, these lies that you told. I think that I could cope with it better, had you not espoused the morality and holiness you "lived by". I wish I could remember the walks down the lane, and the pop in visits to use our phone.
I find myself asking people if they came over to visit or eat my food, and then I find myself blushing red hot with anger that your words slip so easily from my lips.
I forgive you every morning. I wish it would stick already.
favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity
I need a lot of grace. I suck at accepting it, and I often suck at extending it. I was sitting in church this morning during worship, singing Come Thou Fount, and I was bowled over by grace. I mean, I get it. I get what grace is in a sense, I get the definition I found on dictionary.com. But sometimes, sometimes I am absolutely in awe of grace.
Love of God
Is anyone offering you grace that you're refusing to accept? Is there someone you're refusing to offer grace to?
At the end of the day, what is most important, what beats your heart, what breaks it, what heals it?
Is being right better then being loving?
What does it look like to freely give grace? What could you do tomorrow to extend grace to someone that seems undeserving of grace?
Hold a door open
say thank you and mean it
smile at a stranger (or a loved one if it's been awhile)
let someone in during your drive to or from work (without flipping them off and cursing)
Just extend grace. Be kind. Recklessly show unmerited love.
Make it a point, that when people are done talking to you, they pause for a moment to wonder what it is about you that helps them feel a little better about themselves, their life.
Grant someone immunity in your life. You know that person, the one that you are holding a grudge against, that you are refusing to cut any slack. Cut them some slack, give them a break. There will always be time to fight it out, but you never know how much longer you have to show someone they are loved.
This is the first time this series I've been able to sit through the actual service (1st week I worked in children's, 2nd I was recovering from moving). But, WOW. Church was so good today. I mean really good.
Worship was great and Ben's message made me feel all tingly with conviction. So good. If you have a few minutes click on the link above and take a listen.
During worship Andy sang a hymn called Come Thou Fount which I love. The lyrics are so great.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
This is the view of the house from the street (that's me on the porch). You'll also notice the attached garage, that I get to park my car in! On a side note, my office is moving in a month or two and our building has an attached enclosed garage that I get to park in. So unless I choose to, I'll soon be able to go days without parking my car outside or even stepping foot outside when it's not under a roof! That will come in handy if there's a lot of snow!
You can see the dilapidated fence to the left, that's getting replaced with a white vinyl privacy fence this spring (on top of the other million and one things I want/need to do to the house...now I just need the money to do it)
This is the color of the 2nd bedroom before I started on it. It's turquoise, and before that it was bright purple. I think that this proves the painters have a history of bad color choices.
This is the 2nd bedroom now. You can't really tell the color that well, but it's a light celery green color. I also decided the trim and insides of the windows didn't need to be the same color as the rest of the room, and painted those white. I would also like to say, that I moved all of this furniture ALONE! Thanks to some super duper sliders I got from Pete as a house warming present (thanks by the way) I was able to move the headboard and dresser all by myself from the third bedroom into the 1st bedroom and then back to the 2nd (because of the way the hall is set up). I also attached the mirror to the back of the dresser all by myself too. I felt very accomplished because of that alone!
I also tried to replace the doorknob, but the little latch thingy won't come out and the handles I bought won't work with the old latch. I'll actually have to ask for help on that one...
The hallway has 2 coats of paint on it (thankyouverymuchkatiehauck) and all it needs is some edging and trim work and it will be all done. The white is so crisp and clean, much better then the drywall white they willingly painted the walls before (bad color choices remember).
I also oiled the kitchen table today to clean it up. I was really surprised how much nicer it looked after a good rub down.
Here are some more pictures of the house:
This is the living room and my new sofa and love seat! You can't really see the lamp base, but that is the infamous $110 lamp I got for $40!
Hello lover.....I would like to introduce you to my washer and dryer. They are oh so delicious and I can do laundry, IN MY HOUSE. Although I learned today that I can't dry a down mattress topper, the dryer REJECTED it, the dryer is SO SMART! I'm concerned it's going to come to life and take over the entire basement...well, now that I think about it. If it did that I could dry MORE...so I guess I'm ok with that. Ahhhhh....lover
Lastly, the kitties are getting along with each other finally, but Agnes is still a little pissy towards people. I sometimes get the feeling she's impatiently waiting to be taken back to her "real" home. I vacuumed today, both kitties are afraid of the sweeper, but Agnes decided to bunker down in her fortress of solitude, also known as making a nest between my pillows. I walked into my room and only saw her nose sticking out. But by the time I got the phone to take a picture she had noticed the deafening silence of no sweeper being on and started to crawl out.
So it's going good so far. I'm trying to do a little (or a lot) every day so that I can be settled in sooner then later (also so I can find the darn remote for the other TV) I also have been enjoying the larger kitchen, I realized yesterday that I hadn't eaten out at all this week (except for bosses day on Thursday when we all ordered pizza for Judy). Who knew I would enjoy cooking again?!
Is that accurate anymore? Am I allowing circumstances (that I wasn't able to control at the time) that are long past continue to guide my thoughts and actions today? If so, why?
Why do I continue to embrace descriptors of me that I know, that I know are false?
I made some comment, in an off the cuff self-deprecating way, describing how I more often then not see myself (it may have involved the words dumb, freak, and or socially retarded). Before I could even move on, someone said, "But you know, that's not true right?" I giggled and tried to continue speaking. She repeated, "No, wait. You know it's not true right?"
Some days I do. Other days, I still buy into the lie, into the fallacy of the identity I was assigned for so long by a handful of people.
These people, they had an authority over me. They had power, and they abused it. But I snapped out of my fearful hypnotism years ago. Yet, I still make choices, and view myself through the lens of the lies they spoke into my heart.
I still blame them.
While I cannot control what they did. I can't change the devastation the exacted upon my heart.
But I'm realizing more and more that it is my choice to continue to blame them, to hold them responsible for decisions I choose and have chosen years after their influence has left the immediacy of my life.
Who do you blame? Who do you need to let off the hook, to make room for your own personal responsibility?
Make me preach thee without preaching- not by words, but by my example and
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence, of what I do-by my visible
resemblance to thy saints, and the evident fullness of the love which my heart
bears to thee.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
Why? Something inexplicable changed. That certain something that a romantic relationship has that your other love filled relationships don't changed, shifted, and is now something else entirely.
What changed? Everything and nothing. What now?
I know the story, I've had the conversations, I've seen the resignation in the eyes. It's all very calming and troublesome. But what is there to do?
The same conversation was had a year ago, and there was no break. Now, a year later that certain something hasn't been recovered. How long do you stay? How hard do you fight? When is it not worth it anymore?
I am absolutely terrified of commitment. Oh, there are lots of reasons why. I can name a name that I've beaten into the ground. I can boo hoo about the fallout of that relationship that paralyzes me still. But my fear of commitment was only birthed from that relationship. It has been weaned on the fractured relationships that seem to be about how deeply you can wound your partner in public. My fear of commitment has been nurtured by lack of faithfulness, honesty, integrity and sacrificial love. It's grown up to quickly on getting mine no matter what the cost. I've seen the wandering eye and heard the cruelty that only someone you've pledged your whole life to love can inflict.
I'm terrified of committing to someone like that. I think that I could be a very committed person, if I thought that it wouldn't evolve into this dull, throbbing disdain for the other person. I could commit if it wouldn't turn into apathy.
But the oddest thing is, I'm most afraid that I'm the person listed above, and that I would exact that behavior on the person I've committed to. I'm fearful that I would become apathetic and fall into old habits of seeking out weaknesses to exploit for my entertainment. The truth is, I'm most likely to turn into the person that speaks so poorly of the one I vow to cherish. I think that's what scares me most of all.
I understand this breaking apart isn't what it seems to be. I understand that it's not a 'one day it's working and the next it's not' type of thing. They're trying to be amicable. They're trying to remain friends because they do still love each other, the love just changed.
This breaking apart has broken so many things. This breaking apart isn't permanent yet, but could be.
Followed by eating, drinking and general merriment.
Which of course means, I have a cold.
But I'm doing alright with it, just stuffy. To much time for reflection improperly channeled. We're working through a Focus study of the sermon on the mount at church, and this week was Love your Enemies.
Funny thing happens when you ask God to help you work on something. He helps you work on it.
Apparently that's not always easy, pretty, or robotically unemotional.
I'll talk to you all on the flip side.
Sometimes I wish I could stop seeing her when I look in the mirror, sometimes I wish I wouldn't have written her name on that paper bound for Hawaii.
Sometimes, I wonder. I wonder when I'll stop contorting myself to fit a picture you don't even hold of me. Sometimes I wonder when I'll start believing your words more then my interpretation of your words. Sometimes I wonder what lengths I will go to trying to forget the rage and melancholy the slightest hint of the beginning of the tiniest thought of you will bring. I wonder sometimes if I can ever just let it go, move past it, move on and get over it.
I wonder when I will embrace my true definition, my true value and stop running back to cling to the dirt you talked me into thinking I am.
Sometimes I wonder when I'll stop listening between the lines and just know that you love me. I wonder when exactly I'll put down this weight and stop hiding behind it. Stop using it as an excuse.
Sometimes, I just want you to say, "I love you, you're beautiful" and then stop talking.
Sometimes I hold my breath around you, just waiting for you to say you're proud of me. Sometimes I am stopped, in my everyday walking around life, by someone else, proud of me. I wonder, how deeply it would split me open to hear you say it, because I'm always surprised at how deeply it splits me open to hear it from others who are not, and never could be you.
I was fairly certain my check card would EXPLODE when he swiped it. But be assured, all went ok.
My left eye has been leaking for about 24 hours. It's annoying, but it's funny to pretend to cry about stupid stuff in front of strangers :)
Oh! And did I mention the deal I got on lamps at Furniture Fair last night? They were having a pre-public clearance sale and I found two awesome table lamps for $40 each. How much were they originally you ask? That would $110!!!!! Booyah!
I've been left gasping at the amount of money I've spent in the last 24 hours. I think I'm done for today. Tonight Sharen, Shelby, Matthew and I are going to the drive in to watch Kung Fu Panda and Prince Caspien. So much fun for $6, plus you can bring your own food and I bought Honey Crisp Apples at Costco today!
Now I'm taking a nap, because I'll be up obnoxiously late tonight and I'm in childrens tomorrow for the kick off of 4 Corners Focus Series! If you're in the area it will be awesome to be a part of, plus they're having a mobile cone for free ice cream after each service!
The first quote is my favorite.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.
Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic. (I had a boyfriend like that once...)
Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish it's source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishing.
The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
Truth is something which can't be told in a few words. Those who simplify the universe only reduce the expansion of its meaning.
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
What I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?