Tag Archives: church

Why Am I Still Single?

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I’m not sure whether this has happened to you before, maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. If it hasn’t, I’m going to to set the scene for you:

 Your friend invites you to a gathering and to your surprise it’s not completely boring – in fact, it’s becoming the best night you’ve had in a long time. Conversation is flowing, everyone is having a great time and then the person you’re talking to you suddenly says:

 You’re so great – why are you still single?!

This startling (and arguably offensive) question reminds you of the not-so-subtle hints and questions you’ve been receiving in what were once safe environments.


It all began the year I graduated from university; I noticed that when the women from my church would pray for me, ‘a god-fearing husband’ was suddenly on the menu of blessings. From that point onwards, I began to notice a shift in other areas; young women I had known for years would drop sentences into our conversations such as ‘so when I get married’, wedding ideas were casually being thrown into discussions and my Facebook newsfeed became an array of engagement rings and relationship status updates.

What was going on? What had I missed?

Let it be known that I had no real problems with weddings (except that they were long and there was rarely enough food for everyone). Even though I wasn’t really sure why people were so excited about marriage (if it was so easy, why were there so many divorces?) my main concern was the assumption that because I was a woman and above the age of 21, I should be seeking a man to settle down with.

There is a deep-rooted cultural and religious belief that we are somehow completed when we meet our life partners and that this is when our lives truly begin but this simply cannot be true. As a Christian, our lives begin the moment we surrender to Christ and true completion can only be found in him. He is the One, our soul mate, our true love – and all those other mushy western concepts.

It is so easy to get sucked into that weird world of ‘waiting’ but before I jumped on the eager-to-be-married-bandwagon, I decided to ask myself a few questions:

 Do I believe I have an individual purpose?

God created me with wants, needs, hopes, dreams and most importantly, a purpose. Now while I believe that some of our purposes can be linked in some way to other individuals, I also believe that if our purpose were completely dependent on another, we would have been born in twos. Since we were not, I am forced to conclude that… wait for it…there are things that we have to accomplish as individuals and certain parts of our journey that we have to walk alone.

Am I lonely?

Loneliness is an issue we don’t really like to talk about because it makes us seem weak, feeble and needy, but it is a state that a lot of us experience – some of us experience it every single day. Every time I am lonely, I begin to question how far I am standing from God. It says in the Bible that God will never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:8) so whenever I feel alone instead of reaching for my iPhone, I do my best to reach out for him because he is always there.

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

Real, real, real talk: if you are Christian who is constantly jumping from one relationship to another because you desire constant communication and validation, I urge you to look to God; the one that stays and never leaves (Joshua 1:5) and the one that does not forsake (Deuteronomy 31:6). I hope that you will also come to see the finished work of the cross (John 19:30) as your constant source of validation. Remember that there was a man that loved you enough to lay down his life for you in the hope that you would one day come to love and accept him. He loved you even before you could love him. If that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit special, I don’t know what will.

Am I seeking to be the perfect spouse or am I seeking to be like Jesus?

Okay, I get it; you wouldn’t try and sit an exam without revising (unless you’re me and it’s GCSE time) so yes, it is important to prepare yourself for marriage. However, the Bible speaks more on striving to be like Christ than it does about journeying to become the perfect spouse.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Every time I feel like I am getting somewhere with God, I inevitably become complacent; a day will pass where I haven’t set time apart for him or a situation will arise where I respond inappropriately. There is internal work to be done and there should a constant movement towards the person God called me to be because that it my ultimate goal.

Have I forgotten that there is a time for everything?

There is no rush and there is no decree that I must be married by *insert arbitrary age here*

 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Doing things in my own strength and my own time usually has disastrous consequences. Sometimes I’ve got to shake myself and remember that I am  worth having and that my spouse will be worth the wait.

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Habakkuk 2:3


I know that my stance isn’t a popular one at the moment. I should be telling you to wait patiently in your bedroom praying, hoping that the One somehow finds your address and knocks on your front door but that would be poor advice. There are many other Christian blogs which will detail heavily ‘what to do while you wait’ and that’s great, it really is, I just feel that we have shifted our focus and have begun to idolise marriage. This is deadly  because it will never live up to our expectations or withstand the burden we are placing upon this sacred union. There are many more important things (outside of marriage) to be achieved and seeking God about those things should not be neglected whilst you ‘wait’. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but life revolves around Jesus – he is the One.

Your Single Pringle,

Joy xxxx

What I Learnt: Hallowed Be Thy Names

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Why I chose this book

I was quite excited to read this book because I hoped that it would positively impact my prayer life. There are times where I just want to praise God for who he is and remind him of all his amazing attributes and…well, I can’t, simply because I don’t know enough of them. Does anyone else ever run out of things to say?

I also think it is important to remind God of who he is (not because he forgets) but because it increases our faith and belief, especially in times of great difficulty.

5 things I learnt 

1. Know God

We can know someone’s name and have very little knowledge about who they are. Some of us claim to be Christians but know God on a very basic level and are yet to explore what the Bible says about his nature, his characteristics and his personality. I think a lack of understanding concerning the character of God can have harmful consequences such as stunted growth and limited expectations of him.

If we do not know that God is Jehovah Jireh, our provider, what will we do when we are in times of financial difficulty? Will we call upon God and remind of who he is or will we crumble under the financial weight? If we do not know that God is El Shaddai (all-sufficient), how we will ever shift our focus from our own weakness, powerlessness and failures, to his ability to keep us, teach us and make a way for us in the wilderness?

I think this book once again highlighted the necessity of reading the Bible every single day and being in relentless pursuit of God. At the beginning of my relationship with God, a prayer a day was absolutely fine but that is no longer sufficient given the time that has passed. If you are still where you were when you first started your journey with God, I think it is perhaps time to reflect on what you actually desire from your relationship with him and what he desires from you. Every day is an opportunity for growth and we shouldn’t let these opportunities pass us by.

2. Problems can be good for you

It is only in the past year that I have come to appreciate the problems and trials that I face. Being a Christian doesn’t excuse me from life’s pains but it does give me access to an amazing pain-reliever. When we look back on our lives in years to come, our most remembered moments will be the ones of pain, the moments where we felt like we had nothing more to give but managed to somehow survive. Hallowed Be Thy Names continuously reminds the reader that it is in the most difficult and trying times of our lives that God gives us a revelation about who he is and a fresh view of his character and power towards us. In order to overcome the challenges we face in our lives, we have to have a deep-rooted belief that our steps are ordered, leaving no room for accidents, good/bad luck and coincidences; everything happens for a reason and ultimately for our good.

3. Are you angry with God?

Some of you are angry with God in this very moment and this anger is linked to moment in your past where you feel God failed you.

God, you said you were going to help me but all I felt was loneliness

God, you said you keep my loved ones safe, but the person I loved the most died

God, you said no weapon formed against me would prosper and yet every single day I wake up sick

You wanted God to come through for you but he didn’t. He let those bad things happen to you and knowledge of this constantly overrides your love for him and your desire to seek him. Whenever you begin to get comfortable with God you remind yourself of that intense pain he failed to shield you from, retract and question his existence all over again. All you can think is “well you let THIS happen” and “where were YOU when I felt like this”.

It wasn’t until I read this that I realised that I also had some issues with God. I had to admit those issues God and ask him where he had been during some of the hardest times in my life. I can’t tell you where He was during your storm but as I looked back on those hard and dark years, I realised that God was there. Even though I felt isolated and alone during those years, the fact that I am still standing today, free from the issues that once held me captive, is evidence of God’s love and presence. He didn’t leave then and come back a few years later; he was always there.

4. It is not enough to just acknowledge your sins

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:23

I sin. You sin. We sin.

But are we still moved by our sins? Have we become desensitised to the magnitude of our actions? Yes, we cry out to God and repent but the very next day, we are back to the very thing we asked God to save us from. How genuine is our cry of repentance if we return to the sin? The more we engage with the sin, the less convicted we will feel and eventually it will feel as though the sin isn’t even ‘that bad’. If we hold onto our sin we will eventually forsake God and be given over to our lusts. God will send warnings but eventually we will move so far away that we will no longer be able to hear his voice. We need to daily cut sin away from our lives and fight the desire to do that which we know is wrong.

5. Grace over wrath

The wrath of God isn’t as fun to talk about as the love of God, is it? As Christians, when we fail to speak about the wrath of God, it’s like giving the listener the best ice cream in the world but not warning them about brain freeze. We want to sell them his love but not warn them of his wrath; in doing so we fail to fully encapsulate the nature of God.

God is merciful, kind, patient, compassionate, full of love and grace

BUT

God is also holy, just, pure, severe, unchangeable, a despiser of sin and no respecter of persons.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them

Romans 1:18-19

 

Would I read the book again?

To be honest, I wouldn’t. I do love how much I am learning as Dani and I go through books and write about them and I am finding that each book has something to offer. This book I felt had too much opinion and I found the author quite conservative.  Despite this, it increased my desire to learn more about the nature of God and I will be reading more about this subject in the weeks ahead.

Lots of loving,

J xxxx

 

What I Learned After Cheating In My Relationship

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I’m not your average cheater. You know that person that has to listen to a long diatribe from Jeremy Kyle about how they don’t deserve the person they’re with and how much their cheating habits disgust him….yeah that’s not me. I’m far from being a saint but cheating is just so out of character for me, that after the… shall we call it…‘brief encounter with polygamy’ (‘affair’ sounds a bit harsh and ‘betrayal’ just too deep) I went on an emotional journey where I learnt lots about myself and about the world.

I suppose you want all the gory details! I do have some shame so you’re just going to have to fill in the gaps but I will give you some background info:

Prior to the ‘brief encounter with polygamy,’ (even I’m starting to feel like cheating is a new cool thing with that title- it totally isn’t) I’d been in an  off and on, mainly on, relationship for a long while. Average puppy love turned intense relationship as puberty came and went and my hormones finally relaxed  long enough for me to decide how I felt about things. That was me: average girl in love. I was happy! When I wasn’t happy, it was the usual breakdown in communication/ misplaced expectations that everyone goes through. What I am trying to say is…

I didn’t have a real reason to cheat.

I know it sounds cliche but one thing actually did lead to another and then BAM, I had made a mistake that filled me with regret. But hey, you didn’t sign up to listen to my sob story, I’ll get on to the useful things I learnt.

1)      Everybody can cheat

I guess this sounds like I’m justifying my actions but I promise you, that isn’t the case. After going through the whole period of regret and confession ( I had to confess; I’m a bad liar, and I knew he’d know what I’d done) I realised that I was wrong to think I was above cheating. I don’t know if I thought I was above cheating  because of the length of my relationship or because of how great the relationship was going at the time, but cheating forced me to wake up and realise that I wasn’t less likely than the next person in a relationship to make such a grave mistake.

2)      Dragging out apologies doesn’t help

So the morning after I had still had that half-sick feeling you get after doing something you regret. I was determined to make it right between us and I vowed to do everything in my power to make up for the day before… but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t know whether to say something or just carry on as normal. I couldn’t just push it under the rug because I wasn’t allowing myself to stop feeling guilty. That’s when I realised I had to address the problem.

3)      Cheating doesn’t mean it’s over

I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same: I didn’t deserve to be in an amazing relationship when I couldn’t even stay faithful. I won’t try and defend myself because you’re right. However as Christians, we are able to enjoy a love we do not deserve every single day. I’m so aware that I don’t deserve the love God gave me when Jesus died on the cross.

Last week I slipped up and for a moment put a priority above God. I deserved punishment but instead he surrounded me with his love when I came to him to ask for forgiveness; I once again realised the true extent of his greatness despite how underserving I am.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now: I was cheating on God

We’ve all heard the analogy that John used describing Christ as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. Have you ever thought about what that means in real terms? Here’s what I realised: Amongst all the great things that come with a relationship, there are rules. You know the difference between casually seeing someone and then becoming an item? Now you have categorised your relationship , categories bring boundaries and preconceived rules about what is and isn’t ok. Unless you sign up to this new age logic which states that no-one can be faithful so we should all live in polygamous relationships, you understand the importance of staying faithful. When you entered into the relationship with Christ you committed yourself to him and him alone. We  never think of being married to Christ but it shouldn’t even be too hard to imagine. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to share your heart with Tom, Dick and Harry, or,  Coursework, Boyfriend, and Career.Staying faithful to God means keeping him as number one. Everything can have its proper place in your life but nothing else should inhabit your heart the way that God does; nothing else should take his place.

I hope you can learn something from my experience of cheating. You need to invest into relationships to keep them going. Also, in the same way temptation causes people to cheat in human relationships, temptations can cause our eyes to wander from God. From someone who’s been there and done that; it’s not worth it. Nothing and no-one can compare to the love that God gives you. Sin might be sweet for a night but we all have to live through the morning after. Let’s aim to stay faithful, affairs just aren’t worth the scandal.

Love lots DC X

Praying To Persevere

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James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that The Lord has promised to those who love him.

So it’s the day of rest and we’re all living off that weekend buzz, with a whole week yet to be conquered. Everything is possible and everything can be achieved. We all love a new beginning, a fresh start, and an opportunity to do something great. That’s how I feel every Monday. I know for most people it’s the dreaded, go back to work, go back to school day, but for me, Monday is joyous and I spend it hyped about the week that lies ahead. Monday follows Sunday, and Sunday is a good day for me. It’s reconnect with Jesus day, go to church and leave all the troubles at the altar day. No matter what’s happened earlier in the week, on Sunday the slate gets wiped clean and I’m back to where I want to be with Jesus. Hence Monday is fab. I can still remember the message that was preached from the day before and I can still feel the Holy Spirit walking close by. Needless to say, Mondays are great.

So God is great, I’m great, and I’m ready to face what lies ahead. My outlook changes when the trials and tribulations of the week commence. I’ve stayed up too late to wake up early enough to spend time with God before I start my day. I quickly read my bible app on my travels but the scripture doesn’t hit home, and by Thursday not only have I forgotten Sunday’s message, I’ve forgotten the strength I’d set out with at the beginning of the week. By Friday I don’t want to read my bible and by Saturday I’m ready to take the day off from ‘being a Christian.’ Cycle sound familiar?

We need to have an action plan in place for when the ‘new beginning’ feeling wears off and the ‘hard work’ feeling sets in. I can literally vouch for Nehemiah 8:10 that says, ‘The joy of The Lord is your strength’. There is no other way to persevere than with joy, because seriously how long can you grit your teeth and bear the pain, and quite frankly, why should you have to? Matthew 11:30, Christ says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Really, in essence, it’s not supposed to feel hard. ‘BUT HOW?’ I hear you say. How can it not feel hard when you’re going through trials?… The joy of The Lord is your strength, and in the presence of The Lord there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11.)

Word of advice, and only giving it because I’ve learnt the hard way: stick with it.

Trials will come and that Monday feeling will wear off. If you want to feel like a Sunday Christian (close to God and excited about his presence) even when it reaches Thursday, you’re going to have to stick with it. Read your bible. Don’t let the sun go down and you haven’t spent time with God. It’s literally the only way to get through the week. You won’t have to pray for perseverance when you’re constantly praying.

It’s the gaps in our worship and the breaks we take from dwelling in His presence that lead us astray. Don’t allow yourself to feel distant when the storm hits. Easier to not drown when you’re already sitting in the boat than when you have to swim to reach it.

God bless.

Dani xxx