1. “Are we currently experiencing an earthquake or is that your biological clock ticking?”
2. “I just know you are going to find someone soon and be married within 6 months!”
3. “So tell me, any new guys in your life? Wink, wink!”
4. “It’s too bad you’re allergic to cats. They make great companions. Especially in large quantities.”
5. “Why don’t you just put yourself out there more?”
6. “There are plenty of fish in the sea!”
7. “God is going to bring him into your life when you least expect it!”
8. “You’re still single because guys are intimidated by you.”
9. “Guys don’t like girls who can eat more Christmas cookies than them.”
10. “My coworker’s brother has a sister who has a son who has a friend who just got out on parole…He’s tall!”
11. “You’re just too picky.”
12. “Why don’t you create accounts on eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and heck, put up a Craigslist ad ‘Single and Christian on Christmas’ just to cover all your bases?”
13. “If all else fails, I heard a rumor that the government might be legalizing marriage of first cousins.”
14. “Enjoy being single while you can!”
15. “Do you know what happened to all the Christmas cookies?”
Very excited that Converge Magazine picked up this post! Check it out here.
I’d like for everyone to take a moment and look at my left ring finger.
Yes. It is naked.
I’m going to stop you right there, like you’re a telemarketer trying to sell me a lifetime supply of gold to hoard in my non-existent safe:
I’m good, thanks.
In an effort to save energy on both our parts, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most frequently asked questions with my responses. (Laminated for durability given the undetermined amount of multi-year usage.)
1. Have you met any nice gentlemen recently?
Three weeks ago, I ordered something online through Amazon’s two day shipping. I received a knock on my apartment door, and I opened it. Before me was a FedEx man in a brown uniform holding a brown box. He handed the box to me, smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.”
2. Why don’t you try online dating?
Someone once told me kidney stones were as painful as childbirth. When compared to online dating, kidney stones sound like a combination of winning the lottery, going to Disney World, and frolicking in a meadow full of daises and labradoodles. While eating an ice cream cone.
3. Why don’t you move to where there are more eligible bachelors?
Are you referring to an actual place in America? Or in a utopian piece of literature?
The truth is, I’m happy. Honestly. I’m not pulling your leg — my fingers aren’t crossed behind my back because they’re too busy balancing a mountain of Christmas cookies.
While I’m thankful you’re praying God will put the right man into my life — and soon (I’m still not quite sure how to interpret that) — I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing with me.
Right now, I’m single.
And right now, I’m loving every minute of it.
I’m not living like marriage is my end goal, like it’s the only reason God put me on this earth. I’m here to know Him and to make Him known — in my workplace, in my friendships, in laughter, in writing, and in utilizing my gifts and talents. He has me in my current job, city, apartment, church, sphere of influence, and relationship status for a reason.
I’m content right where He has me.
(Isn’t that all that matters anyway?)
So let’s talk about other things — important things — like how many cookies you think I could shove in my mouth at once. And how Christ alone completes me. And what He’s doing in my life.
Speaking of important things and Christ, rumor has it that it’s His birthday.
The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.
And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.
As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.
You gave yourself.
Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.
Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.
For the director of music. To the tune of “Let it Snow” or possibly an acoustic version of “Wrecking Ball.” A psalm of M.
The Lord turned to me,
and heard my cry.
He saw me,
in my bed underneath 6 blankets,
with my pajamas turned inside out.
He heard me join in a collective prayer,
with my coworkers,
He saw the unfortunate wiggles and shakes,
of my snow dance.
The Lord turned to me,
and heard my whines and groans,
“Why do the wicked get snow days,
Why do you forget your servant, Lord?
Why do you hide your face from me,
and force me to sit at my desk every day,
Monday- Friday with no respite for the weary!”
He broke forth from the cumulonimbus:
millions of crystals that settled onto trees,
the roof of my car,
the highway just before rush hour,
proving that His timing is perfect.
I shall give thanks to the Lord,
all the days of my life!
And sing of his glorious works,
of accumulation somewhere between,
where a day will be full of snow angels,
instead of paperwork and voicemails.
For the Lord is good,
His good acts like the snowflakes during a snowstorm:
pure, evoking joy.
This fall has been a trying time for Adam.
As his condition steadily grew worse to the point that he was rendered almost completely useless, I rushed him to the doctor fearful that I was going to lose him.
A young man in a bright blue shirt and light-washed skinny jeans hooked him up to life support as he listed off possible diagnoses to blame for his decline.
When it became clear that Adam needed to stay for at least 3-5 days in the hospital for surgery, the young man quieted his voice to signal concern and asked, “Have you backed him up recently?”
I scanned the sterile white walls of the large open room plastered in iPhone covers of various colors and patterns. Children and tweens played Fruit Ninja on various sizes of the iPad. And then there was the lady of questionable age and dress taking a selfie of herself with the new iPhone 5c.
I knew that when I picked up Adam in 3-5 business days after his new hard-drive transplant that he would be wiped out and restored.
I’m thinking I’m due for a restoration, too.
I’m sitting here half asleep with a to-do list that when unfolded could easily rival the length of the Great Wall of China. I’m thinking work and errands and Christmas presents and do you know how many days there are until Christmas? and the freshly fallen snow and if that will affect my morning commute and I should really be going to bed earlier than I have been and I’m pretty sure Adam’s battery is also failing and I’m tired and burnt out and overloaded that I’m rendered almost completely useless.
And then I’m thinking about: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23: 1-6).
My soul needs to be restored. Needs to be returned to its original condition. Needs to be put back to where You intended it to be—with You.
Wipe my soul clean of everything that bogs me down. Renew, refresh, restore me to where my soul belongs, to its origins by Your side.
Consider this my Apple Store Genius Bar appointment request. I’m asking to be shipped back to the factory for a total soul restoration with my Creator.
Thankfully, your services are completely free.
So a couple of my friends thought it would be a great idea for me to make a parody of the infamous eHarmony cat lady video on Youtube: So I did. This may be the worst thing to ever hit the interwebs:
I’m trying to be a person that relishes moments. Like catching a firefly in a jar, I want to take in the beauty of a fleeting experience by being fully present.
I’m thinking about this soak-up-experiences-like-a-sponge state of mind while the colors from a sunset streak across the sky like the atmosphere is your canvas and you’re the Master Painter. I’m thinking about this while I’m catching up with a kindred spirit through an invisible connection from my computer to hers on the other side of the world. I’m thinking about this as I’m visiting my parents’ home for the first time since Easter and we’re sitting on the couch together with no lights on except for the multi-colored glow of the Christmas tree reflecting off handmade ornaments decades old.
I’m savoring these moments as they are all special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for them and do them justice. Because important things not only need to be remembered but need to be relished in the moment.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent, a time when we are preparing our hearts for the coming of your Son.
I’m thinking about how I usually relish the moment that is the Advent season—cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups, white lights that look like icicles, glass ornaments, music about sleigh bells and winter wonderlands, malls with 50% off bargains, movies about humans that think they’re elves and travel to New York City and fall in love with a blonde Zooey Deschannel.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent and wondering how I can be more fully present in these fleeting four weeks before Christmas.
I’m stuffing my firefly jar too full of meaningless activities and sugar and shopping that I forget to embrace fully the sole light, the sole reason, inside. I want to savor this season because it’s special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for Jesus’ birthday and do it justice. I want to be the person that relishes in the anticipation of You coming to earth to dwell amongst us as a baby, Emmanuel, You are with us—the Light of the world.
For several years, I planned a Thanksgiving potluck feast for my young adult bible study. Before we commenced our hour and half of gluttony devouring sweet potato casseroles and two butterball turkeys the size of toddlers, I laid out a cornucopia of markers and crayons for which they were to create hand turkey drawings.
Beside each hand turkey was a list of things, people, or inanimate objects for which they were thankful. Some worked their way up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting first with basic needs of food and shelter before expressing gratitude for relationships of family and friends. There were the techno-enthusiasts singing praises to their iPad or smart phone of their choice, and the dreamers who wanted to thank fall leaves for making that pleasant sound when crunched underneath their leather riding boots.
And then there were the handful that still remembered to be thankful for You and even fewer that listed out Christ by name.
I was always too busy preparing for the dinner to sit down and draw around the outline of my left hand with a brown marker, add some extra feathers in red, yellow, and that little jiggly red thing dangling from his neck like an awkward homemade scarf. But I know what I would say if called upon to list the top three things I was thankful for.
The obligatory: God, family, friends.
It comes automatically, without any real deep heart reflection. You come first, of course, because that is expected and commanded. Family and friends because it’s true even if it might sound cliché.
This list is certainly all well and good but it’s missing something.
As I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” the last part of verse 18 stuck with me. Usually we focus on the first three parts, the part about rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks, but the rest of the verse always trailed off in my mind. That little part about Christ always trailed off in my mind.
That little part about Christ’s sacrifice always trails off in my mind.
And it’s not a little part.
As we count our blessings, listing out all the things and people and food and shelter that we are thankful for, we forget the not-so-little-part about Christ’s sacrifice for us.
You call us to rejoice, to pray, to be thankful, all through the lens of Christ’s greatest gift of himself on the cross.
Why do I always forget that on my list?
Cultivate within me a heart that is thankful first and foremost for the gift of eternal life through your Son, Jesus Christ. By viewing my life through the lens of this truth, I won’t want to do anything but rejoice and pray and be thankful without ceasing. Christ’s sacrifice allows me to appreciate the little things because of the biggest thing he did for me.
Help me remember what should be first on my thankfulness list. And not just one day in November when my belly is full of food and that chemical in the turkey is kicking in and I’m sleepy and warm and nestled amongst the love of family. Help me remember that because of your love for me through the sacrifice of your Son, I’m nestled amongst the love of a Savior everyday of my life and for all eternity.
I’m a plagiarist.
And the copy and paste shortcuts on my keyboard weren’t even utilized.
It started out innocently enough. I’m at work receiving praise from a colleague, and we’re not talking the throwing-flowers-at-my-feet-let’s-erect-a-statue-in-your-honor praise, we’re talking the one-pat-on-the- back-and-a-teeth-showing-smile praise.
And I received it without any hesitation.
No online websites or articles were copied and pasted (including Wikipedia), no one received $20 dollars from me in exchange for a B paper on sustainability in Eastern Europe, and no books from the library were harmed in the making of this act of plagiarism.
All I did was forget to cite my source. (Even after years of constant threats of expulsion from institutions of higher education and multiple copies of the MLA handbook.)
When someone comments on my seemingly chronic state of smiling, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone compliments me on a wise word I said, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone notices my personal contentment and joy, I receive it without any hesitation.
I receive it as if I am the one responsible. As if I, through personal hard work and perseverance, created within myself a content, joyful, and wise spirit. As if I manifested these characteristics of my own accord.
But I know full well that every good and perfect gift comes from You.
The hope I have in your grace and Christ’s sacrifice, gives me a joy that radiates. Your love keeps me in a seemingly chronic state of smiling. Your Holy Spirit grants me wise words in difficult conversations. The promise of Christ’s power to give me strength in all situations cultivates contentment within my soul.
This is all a sign of Your hands at work—not mine.
I’m guilty of taking Your work and passing it off as my own.
I’m a plagiarist that needs to start citing her Source.