Life Update… Some GOOD news

Hello old friends, I have emerged out of a haze of schoolwork to write to you again. It has been too long. I miss the simplicity of this blog and the days where I felt like I had time to ramble on the internet instead of feeling guilty when I tried to write something other than an assignment. Guilt or no guilt, I have made a short return to briefly tell y’all about something extraordinary which has happened in my life…

Some of y’all have been following me for so long, and it only seems fitting to share this news with people who almost feel like dear old friends: I am engaged to the most wonderful Christian man.

I almost did not believe I would date anyone until I met Taylor. As cliche as it is, people really are right when they say you meet the “one” when you least expect it; they just never told me it would also be in a way I never expected (but that is another story for another time 😉 ).

Meeting Taylor was unexpected, but he quickly became one of my closest friends, and I consider him my best friend as well as my fiancé. Words cannot adequately describe how excited I am for my future with someone I want to grow old alongside and someone I also want to grow up with.

I promised myself I would keep this post short, but maybe I will go into further details in the future. I just wanted to share with you, but if I were to give any advice right now, even though I am hardly even close to qualified, I would tell you not to settle. It is not worth it. Find someone who not only meets your standards but raises them. Please, find a faithful Christian first and foremost. It is worth the wait, my friend.

Much Love,

Grace

Dear Sister, Wait, Don’t Settle

Hey guys, it’s February and you know what that means… here comes the onslaught of blog posts about being single and sad.

 Those articles have good points, being single can feel sad at times, especially for us girls because it’s normal for us to have a need to be needed, that’s natural. God created us to be helpmeets, that desire in itself isn’t wrong. God did look at Adam and say: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”(Genesis 2:18). It isn’t a sin to hope and pray for something good that God created for a reason.

But, let’s talk about the flip side of that desire… Let’s talk about desperation and making sure that we don’t give into that.

No one is perfect, as the twitter quote I read once so beautifully put: “everyone is a mess, pick your favorite train wreck and roll with it.”

However, sometimes I see girls following this advice too much, and with valentines coming up, I’m here to give you my “Don’t Lower Your Standards, RAISE THEM” Ted Talk (I wrote a whole post about my standards that you can read here).

Yes, no one is perfect, I’m not talking about turning someone down because of a quirk or two, a different hair color than what you dreamed of at twelve, or any other superficial thing, but I am talking about the important things.

Things that should be an immediate deal breaker.

Look, I get it. I was single for eighteen years, and you start to feel some pressure to find “the one”. I watched some of my friends meet their “prince charming” even if he only stayed charming for a few months.

It gets lonely at times, and sometimes you wonder if you’ll be alone forever.

You’re watching other couples get married and settle down, you’re watching other people live the dream you’ve had since forever, and now you’re wondering if it will ever come true for you.

Then, you meet a guy.

Finally! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Ok, maybe he’s not Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Okish or he’s Mr. Potential, and he’s promising you that he’ll get better, he’s promising you that he’ll make you happy. That’s honestly all you really want, you just want to drop the tough act and throw yourself into someone’s arms.

And sometimes, you do just that, against better judgment that you honestly should have had.

Especially if they weren’t a Christian, and I know I just stepped on a few toes, maybe even stomped on some of yours, but here’s the thing:

If he isn’t a man of God, he also isn’t your man.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”-2 Corinthians 6:14

I’ve listened to enough people vent and cry to me after their breakups, and I can tell you that they all say the same thing when it comes to this:

“But Grace, they were perfect. They were everything I wanted and needed. The only thing was that they weren’t a Christian, but they were so close. They told me they wanted to convert. They were going to…”

No.

Stop clinging onto the examples of couples that were unequally yoked at the beginning that made it through.

Listen to me: we really only hear about the success stories in life.

No one wants to tell you that they failed. No one wants to let you know that they tried something which crashed and burned. You won’t be hearing all of the stories about how painful and terrible it was, but that’s what the majority of these relationships are. I know because I’ve watched it.

Get someone who can stand beside you on your beliefs, you want a partner that can fight with you for the Lord, not against you and the Lord.

The real question is: why would you want to date someone who is not running the race you are running? How discouraging would that be?

I’d rather be alone forever. I’ll invest in ten cats.

Wait, dear sister. Don’t settle for a man that isn’t a man of God.

Also, don’t settle for someone if:

  • He’s where you’re searching for your identity

You won’t find it in him.

One time, I told my dad about a compliment a guy had given me and he told me to next time congratulate them on having working eyes.

My dad had a good point, that compliment was superficial and meant nothing because any random guy can look at you and call you pretty, but as the quote, I saw on Pinterest the other day said, “Art is still art even when someone stops admiring it.”

Imagine what it would look like if everyone just dated the first random person that validated them, things would get messy fast.

Girl, that boy is not God. He’s not even your husband. Stop searching for purpose in other flawed humans. You won’t find it. Another insecure and imperfect person isn’t going to fill the void in your heart.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”-Ephesians 2:10

Seek God first and foremost, that’s where your purpose and identity has always been.

I have a few more posts going more in-depth on this if you care to read them:

You Might Not Get Married, and That’s Ok

Two Truths About Your Worth

Waiting for a Relationship

(this post is funny to me because right after I wrote it, I faced a new obstacle: having options but still choosing to wait because they weren’t good options).

I Know You Just Want To Be Somebody This Holiday Season and I’m Here to Tell You That You Are

  • He’s not transparent

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
-Proverbs 10:9

Something was sketchy about one guy I was talking to last summer… I did some digging and found some unsavory things. When I confronted him about what I found, one of the first things he told me was: “I’m so sorry you had to find out that way.”

After a long discussion and a very tearful evening, I ended things because of a still present sin in his life. He told me that he was going to focus on getting his life back together and I pray he’s doing just that.

Trust me, sister, you don’t want a guy to say the words: “I’m sorry you had to find out that way.” to you.

If someone has a past or something they’re struggling with, you don’t want to find out after stalking their social media, running into their ex, their old friends, or when they have a breakdown about it months into your relationship.

A relationship takes teamwork, and teammates need to communicate, and if this guy you’re talking to isn’t doing that and isn’t willing to improve, that’s something you need to rethink.

Before I was dating my now-boyfriend, my mom asked me why I was interested in him, and one of the things I told her was that he is transparent. From the get-go, he’s never wavered from being open and having harder conversations with me. It was one of the first things I noticed and appreciated about him. Truthfully, it would have been easy for him to omit some things when we were talking, and I probably wouldn’t have been any wiser, but he didn’t, even though I know it was very nerve-wracking and hard for him at times to put himself out there like that.

I know that’s the type of guy I want to be with, and that’s the type of person we all should be. Don’t date someone who won’t be transparent and honest with you.

  • He’s not seeking to guard your heart

I am reminded of the woman in Proverbs 7 who gets a man to commit adultery with her. What struck me when I got to the end in verse 27 when it describes how her house is a way to hell and her bedroom to is leading him to death, is how this woman did not care for this man’s soul, only her selfish desires.

This should be a lesson for us too. Girls, not only do we not want to be like that woman, but we don’t want to date a male version of her. We do not want to give our hearts to someone who is going to be selfish and who isn’t going to care about your soul, your relationship with Christ, or your purity. The right guy is going to help you guard your heart. He knows the value you hold as a child of God and because he wants to honor God as much as you do. He will know the preciousness of your heart. Wait for that guy, don’t date guys who are going to try to manipulate you and ask or pressure you to compromise.

  • He’s never wrong

Have you ever met a person who never says “sorry”? That person, who, even if Google says they’re wrong, they’ll call every article on there false? Don’t date him. There’s something to be said for humility and the ability to reevaluate your past beliefs and decisions and admit that you were wrong. That’s how we grow.

A man who is never wrong is also never learning.

  • He’s not headed in the same direction as you

This one can go back to number one on this list especially, but it also applies to many other things. The other day, I was listening to a random YouTube video where they had compiled all these answers that people had given when the question “what do you regret not talking to your partner about before marriage?” was asked. The fact that so many people never talked about children, parenting style, money management, etc. was crazy to me.

In the same way, I would even say getting into an official relationship with anyone before you know what they want in life and what some of their top priorities are isn’t wise. If you’re not dating to get married, you’re simply dating to break up.

I could go on and on, and we’d be here all day.

Girl, you want someone who is going to love you, cherish you, protect you, be honest with you, be dependable, someone who will grow with you, and someone who is already on the same path to heaven with you.

I’d rather you and I spend Valentine’s day and every other day for the rest of our lives alone than with someone who falls short of those things.

It’s not worth it.

Please, don’t settle.

There’s no such thing as the perfect man, but there are godly ones, there are ones who are true.

He’ll make mistakes. You might meet him and discover that he’s made a ton of mistakes in the past, maybe even some that still haunt him. Yet, he will have the character, the strength, and the love for the Lord in him to admit when he’s been wrong and to move forward, and to keep striving to be the man of God he was made to be.

You won’t be left wondering if he loves the Lord or if he’s sincere, he will easily prove it to you with everything he does.

The right guy is going to treat you with honor and with respect. He will protect you because he knows your value as a woman of God, and he’ll want to help you reach your full potential. He won’t pull you down. The right guy will help lead you to Christ daily.

This is a guy worth waiting for, don’t you dare settle for any less.

He’s Never Told Me That I’m Not Worth the Pain of Loving

Hi to whoever reads this blog, with my recent anniversary of becoming a Christian, my birthday, and then New Years coming up, I wanted to write something profound.

Unfortunately, I’m really not a profound or deep kind of person.

A while back, someone told me that my blog posts were pretty basic and surface level, and that they were just Facebook posts in disguise. At the time, that really bothered me. I know I’m not a scholar, a philosopher, or even a writer, but I do try in my own way to do some good, even if it’s as small as a five hundred word ramble on prayer. It took me some time to realize that I don’t want this blog to be formal, I don’t want to seem like I know everything when I don’t. I’m not a preacher, these are not my sermons. I’m not a teacher, these are not my lessons.

I need to stop trying to be something I’m not.

I’m a person who believes that sharing your heart with others and being genuine is powerful, even if it’s what others call simple.

I am simple, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want this to be a space for the few who find it and want to stay, a place where I not only share my thoughts but a spot on the internet where others can read them and know they’re not alone.

I don’t want this blog to make me seem perfect and put-together, I am a seventeen-year-old girl, you’re not going to get that, and I’m not going to pretend to be that.

So, here I am with my surface level thoughts in the form of Facebook posts, take me or leave me.

Now, since that’s out of the way, here’s what I want to write today because all this talk of growing up and moving has made me think about my family and my relationship with my siblings:

As much as I hate to admit it, I have learned that to love is to be vulnerable. Loving is opening your arms again and again, even though you have been stabbed in the chest before. To love is to understand the inevitability of a person hurting you and still pulling them close because it’s worth it, they’re worth it.

When I was younger, one of my biggest fears was that my siblings would stop loving me. I would worry that one day I would say something so mean in anger that when I apologized they wouldn’t forgive me, that one day they would realize that I was a terrible older sister and that they deserved someone so much better than I could ever be.

“Do you want his boots under your table in the future?”

My mom always asks me this when my little brother and I bicker, “Do you want him to be in your life in the future, Grace?

I always feared that my siblings would stand up from their spots at my future table and walk out my front door, never to return, leaving nothing but the ghosts of their absence and what should have been. I still fear that.

Thankfully, I think my brother and my other siblings are some of the most forgiving people, because they always welcome me back with open arms, even though we all know that it’s only a matter of time before we hurt each other again and repeat the process. I pray that never changes for both sides. I pray that love is always winning over hurt and bitterness.

As strange as it may seem, I see God’s relationship with us reflected so much in my relationship with my siblings.

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”-Isaiah 43:25

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence…”-Ephesians 1:7-8

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”-1 John 1:9

Just like with my siblings, I’m so glad that God always welcomes us back with open arms.

I’m so glad He is good and loving, unlike I would be if I were Him.

“I’m sorry, but I see a pattern with you and these kind of mistakes…”

“You’re constantly getting your priorities mixed up in some way again, how do you expect me to believe that you’re more than just talk?”

“You always let me down and disappoint me, I can’t do this 24/7.”

“You’re toxic. All you do is bring me down.”

“It’s over, leave. You can’t be that sorry when you keep making similar mistakes.”

“I can’t forgive this, and I certainly can’t forget it.”

“I can’t believe that I let my only son suffer and die for you.”

“Grace, I’m sorry, but I can’t do this anymore. You are not worth the pain of loving.”

I’m grateful that God isn’t like that. No matter how much I deserve death, He has gifted me with life.

Because God doesn’t just want “His boots under my table now and in the future”, He wants me at His for eternity.

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself a ransom for all…”-1 Timothy 2:3-6

I am constantly brought to my knees emotionally at the thought that God looked at us and the price He would have to pay to save us from our sins and thought we were worth it.

Two days ago, I hit the two-year mark for when I was baptized into Christ, and still, I feel so humbled at the fact that I am here and can call myself a child of God.

The Creator of the world knows me, even better than my parents and siblings who have been around me every day for my whole life and for years. He knows me and all of my shortcomings and all of my past mistakes. He’s seen the ugliest parts of me, He knew about them before they even developed, and yet, He loves me.

I would understand if He saw me as a constant disappointment, but He sees me as chosen, worthy, capable of bringing glory to Him, and He makes me want to work even harder to be all those things and more.

He continues to forgive me and welcome me back.

I thank God for that, just like I thank Him that my loved ones are more like Him than I would probably be in their shoes.