Oh, should…

Let me tell you about what I hope to have in my life one day:

A wonderful relationship led by God, where He is the center. A man I can support who also supports me (then again, you already know this, don’t you).

Someone strong in his faith, and whose life is built around the things of God.

A good sense of humor, encouragement, and friendship.

I want us to travel and explore. I want us to fall in love and love unconditionally. I want us to have a family and an intimate friendship.

I hope for someone who finds me beautiful, and who lets me know he sees me that way. Especially on the days I don’t see it in myself, I know those days will come.

I desire that we could learn each others’ love languages, and, we’d learn to speak them well.

I pray for a man who is willing to take the lead, but who also understands I have ideas and opinions. I want someone I can submit to because I know he is fully submitted to God. I pray for wisdom, peace, and patience (in both of us).

I hope for a gentleman, and I look forward to the little things: having him open doors for me, maybe buy me flowers or my favorite candy; getting to know each others’ favorites; quiet nights at home; days out adventuring. I look forward to the exciting and the monotonous…

I want all of the above…but to get there, I have to wade through the “shoulds”…

Recently, I went on a date. While getting ready, the following conversation transpired:

Me: “I don’t know where my make up is.”
Sister: “Me either”
Me: “Maybe I just won’t wear makeup…”
Sister: “That would be rude.”
Me:”Why?”
Sister: “Because, he deserves to have you look like you tried.”

Look like I tried…I had showered, fixed my hair, and I was in a dress (a rarity in my world – the dress part).

But, I got to thinking about the “shoulds” and the expectations we have as a society about relationships. Everything from how we should look on the first date to when we should kiss someone for the first time.

It also got me thinking about what we “owe” the people we date:

  • Timeliness – your date is taking time to spend with you. We should respect that.
  • Respect – on that note, your date deserves respect
  • Being put together – clean, neat. This doesn’t mean you have to be made up or in the fanciest clothes
  • A thank you – especially if they paid.

Now, what do we not owe them, especially early on?

  • Perfection – No one is perfect.
  • Physical affection – even if he/she pays. You do not owe them anything in the area of physical affection.

But, we as a society put out all these “shoulds” – you should look perfect, be perfectly made up, wearing the best clothing out there. You should kiss by date “x”, other physical affection by month “x” (or in Christian circles, be careful of when you kiss, no other physical affection until the ring is on). You should play hard to get, make the guy come to you. It’s the 21st century, go get your guy…
Often, advice is conflicting, and sometimes, goes even so far as to encourage you to hide yourself at first – “keep in the crazy”.

Honestly, though, if I am ever going to be blessed with the relationship mentioned above, I can be nothing but myself: honest, loyal, who.I.am.

And, in case you’re wondering, I did end up putting on my make-up. Not because I felt it would be rude to him, but because I wanted to.

 


This is a part of this week’s Five Minute Friday…always one of my favorite ways to jump-start the blog again.

What are some “shoulds” that you have come up with in your own dating/relationship experience?

Listen

I know it’s Sunday, but it’s a good day for a 5 Minute Friday post.

This week’s word: Listen

Ready? GO

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
– John 10:27

I learned something about sheep recently: sheep out in the field will go to their shepherd just by the sound of the voice.

Even among a ton of sheep, they recognize their own shepherd’s voice…

For an animal known for foolishness, that’s pretty amazing.

How doe they become able to do such a thing?

Time. The shepherd’s spend time with their sheep, talking to them, guiding them. They know where to go because they can follow their shepherd’s voice.

We have the same arrangement with God.

We cannot recognize His voice unless we spend time in His presence – real time listening. But, also obeying.

As we listen, we may be led to do things we don’t want to do, to go places we don’t want to go. Things may scare us.

But, when we know His voice, when we are truly listening, we can trust He is leading us in the direction that is best for us.

I wish I had a formula for how to hear His voice – but I know it is often different for each of us.

For me, it has never been an audible voice. It’s a deep, deep feeling; a thought & picture that comes up over & over in prayer. A sense of peace as a decision is being made. A gentle nudge or whisper in my heart.

But, I spend time in prayer, waiting, listening for what He would impress upon me.

I don’t always get it. I don’t always listen, I don’t always obey. But, the more I do, the more I recognize His voice, and the easier it is to listen and obey.

He even told us it would be that way, and each day, I want to get better at being a sheep who recognizes His voice, who is known, and who follows Him.

STOP


How do you learn to recognize His voice? How does He speak to you? Let me know below. I’d love to hear thoughts from others on this topic.

Broken Road

“Every long lost dream, led me to where you are…they were like Northern Stars. Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms. This much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

Unicorn
Rare
Chronically Single

Sure. Those titles; maybe me. Definitely me.

But, this is my path. An extension of my calling & dreams…

So, recently, there have been some encounters:

One made me feel pursued – though, he was obviously not a part of  God’s plan for my life. Yet, I was momentarily side tracked by the enjoyment of feeling wanted.

One, I wasn’t so sure about –
A strong faith & a kind spirit –
But, a path far different from my own. A calling not in the same vein as mine at all.

I am not planted here in OK…
My heart is already being pulled to the Pacific Northwest. I know my journey goes there – after a bit of Tiny House travel, I hope.

God has awakened in me a restless & wandering heart. A heart that desires to see a passion for Him awaken among the nation’s youth. A heart that desires to connect to the hurting & broken, hearing their stories, observing the beauty of Creation – all over this nation and across some others.

God has called my heart to adventure…
So, I know my “broken road” must be leading me to someone with a similar heart.

I know I am not meant to be planted here…I know I am meant for this, yes, but also meant for so much more.

So, I will pursue more.
I will pursue His call.
And, I trust this path will lead me to One whose heart is like mine.

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”
– Emily Brontë


Last night, I had a conversation after church

Him: “Hey, Candice, are you really going to move to Washington? Are you really going to get a Tiny House and move to Washington?”

Me (looking at him confused): Of course!

Me (after a pause): Well, actually, first I’m going to get my Tiny House and travel around doing youth ministry for a while, then I’m going to settle in Washington.

Him (laughing): That is awesome! Don’t take this wrong, but that is so you!

This was an actual conversation I had last night. And, it awakened something in my spirit. A sleeping giant.

I have been thinking about all this and praying about it for a while now. But, last night was the first time in…ever…I had voiced it out loud.

I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but the wheels are in motion. I have begun tiny house plans, researching financing, and listing out contacts/resources for this journey.

I don’t know how, when, etc. But, God knows.

I am just watering the dream He planted, trusting in Him to work it all out, as only He can.

And, I.Can’t.Wait.


This post was inspired by last week’s 5 Minute Friday theme PathI’m a little late to the party, but you should still hop over and check out all the posts there. And, stop in below and share some of the dreams God has planted in your heart. I know He hasn’t given up on this world yet, and He will use His people to make all the difference in the world!

 

Haven

I’m trying to wade through the fog that is threatening to return to my life & persevere in doing the things I love, the things I feel called to… So I am participating in 5 Minute Friday for the first time in a while.

The rules are: free-write, 5 minutes, no overthinking or overediting. The theme this week: Haven

Ready? GO

I recently wrote about finding my voice again. Anyone familiar with my blog is no stranger to the struggles of anxiety & depression I have worked through/am working through in my life.

It is this struggle that has led me to a deep, deep desire for Home…whatever that may mean.

It seems for many, that means owning their own place, putting down roots.

I’m learning, for me, it’s about wherever God has me at the moment. And, that just by resting in Him & surrounding myself with a few of the things my heart finds beautiful, I have a home.

Right now, I’m renting an apartment with my younger sister. We don’t have fancy things, but I have an office/reading nook, she has a big/comfy red chair, and I have a loveseat that happens to be my first big furniture purchase as an adult. My bathroom is Wonderland, my room Neverland, and our kitchen is a lovely place to cook & entertain.

I spent my day cleaning/re-arranging, while re-runs of House Hunters played on Netflix in the background. Upon coming home tonight, I felt at peace.

I may not “own” this place, the upstairs neighbors may be absolutely annoying (their children sound like elephants jumping from trees), and my view may be of a parking lot; but this is my place. My stamp has been placed.

I can come home after a long day, smile at my blue door, let my stuff down at my landing, and recharge.

This, temporary though it may be, is my haven. Not because I stake claim to it forever, but because I stake claim to it for now. Not because it is perfectly suited to my every desire, but because, at this life stage, it is perfectly suited to my current need.

This is my haven. Not because of my possession of it, but because of His possession of me.

STOP

Struggle of Proverbs 31

I’m a pinner… Sometimes, it can be a problem.

During a recent pinning session, I came across a pin that outlines the “10 virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman” and the second virtue:

“Marriage”

Now, yes, in proverbs 31, she is married;
but my heart grew angry.
         So, marriage is my only option to be virtuous? No, it’s not!

I’ve written on the Proverbs 31 Woman before. I’ve also written in the context of waiting for that partner, becoming that woman in the waiting.

Yet, this is the idea: in order to be a good Christian woman, we have to be married. We each have that pressure around us at all times.

I have two sisters younger than me, and both seem closer to the alter than I am (& one of them is still in high school)…

So, now, we single women (especially as we get older), are left to feel convicted.
I’m somehow not living up to potential, because there hasn’t been anyone in my life who can be that Godly leader in my life & home, who have been ready for a relationship or commitment.

Does that really mean I can’t be the virtuous woman?
Absolutely not…

As a matter of fact, it conflicts with what Paul says about the gift of a life of singleness:

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” – 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

So, as a single woman, striving to live out God’s plan, what do I do?
Which verse do I follow?
Do I patiently remain single; or seek to marry, so that I can be virtuous?

Yes. Both.

I get to decide to serve God where I am, with what I have.

And, I pray.
I pray for myself in the waiting. And, I pray for whoever God may bring into my life.
I pray for wisdom & strength in the temptation about my passions & desires. And, I pray that I would be of use in the time of waiting.

In the waiting, I become that virtuous woman. (Which, by the way, means “force” “valiant” & “valor”). I can bring good to those I love and those who love me. I develop my work ethic & my service for the Kingdom. I can strengthen myself, and in Christ be bold & powerful.

In Christ, my character develops, and from there my beauty comes through.

And, in this way, I bring good to my husband, even before I meet him.

Thus, I am that virtuous woman…
Even if I am single for another 5 years…
Even if this man comes into my life near the end…
Even if God never brings a husband into my life…
Even if I am called to a life of single service…

So, lets stop shaming the single woman, making her feel as if she must have a man to serve God; instead teaching and encouraging one another to be that virtuous woman even before he comes along. (How much better would that make our marriage when/if God does bless us that way?)

So, my friends, single or married: Go forth & Be a virtuous force!


With this week’s Five Minute Friday