Thursday, December 22, 2016

Not Ready for Mistletoe


Already there has been a flood of engagements surrounding December and the Christmas season, and I am not ready for them.

 I am not ready for all of the pictures- the guy on one knee surrounded by a beautiful country or glittering city landscape, her hands covering her mouth in surprise, an embrace, a kiss, a sparkling ring on her hand.

 I am not ready to have to click "like" on their life event on social media.

 I am not ready to tell the newly engaged couple congratulations when if I am honest with myself, though I am truly happy for them, I am slightly more jealous and sad that it is not me.

 I am not ready to feel alone during the season when everyone else seems to have a special someone.

 I am not ready for mistletoe dangling above me and only me.

 But I'm realizing that it's okay not to be ready.

 I'm not saying I am allowed to be bitter or that there aren't times when I need to get over myself and be thankful for what God has given me. That is true more often that I care to admit.

 However it is also true that this is hard, watching friends, old classmates, acquaintances, the younger people around me get engaged while I am still waiting for an eligible guy to notice my existence. 

 But despite the hardness, the engagements of others, and not me,  will come. They will come with the Christmas snow and New Year's confetti, and I can't avoid them.

 So these are to ways I am getting ready for mistletoe:

 1. Prayer

    Prayer is a powerful tool that I know I forget too often. In Matthew 26: 41, it says, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak." Though Jesus has saved me by grace and I am looking forward to spending eternity with Him, I am still a sinner with weak flesh. When I see couples holding hands walking down a snowy street decorated with Christmas lights, I get jealous. When another friend gets engaged I sometimes get angry that it's not me. But I can go before God and ask Him to help me with my struggles. This year I am asking Him to prepare me for the situations where I will be tempted to dwell in envy and self-pity and to instead give me an unexplainable joy for the couples He has decided to bless with marriage, as well as the current situation He has given me. 

2. Thanksgiving

 Though the holiday of Thanksgiving is over, I need to be continually counting my blessings. God has not me marriage or a boyfriend, but He has given me much more. Life, a loving family, wonderful friends, a good job, a warm place to live and food to eat, a desire to write, libraries of books waiting to be read, books to write... I could fill journals of all of the things God has given me! But even more than those things that are all amazing, He has given me eternal life. The Master and Creator of the universe has given me Himself- something I could never hope to deserve. So if He has given me this much, why dwell on the one thing He hasn't given me that is truly worthless compared to His gift of salvation?  So I list everything He has given me instead of being sad about what He has not.

 Heavenly Father, I pray that during this holiday season, I and my fellow single sisters in Christ will not dwell on the boyfriends and relationships we wish we had, but will instead be filled with joy and raise for the relationship we have with You forever. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Three Simple Principles for Single Young Women


 I have much to learn, especially in the area of singleness and living my singleness well, but here are three simple, big picture principles for single women that I have gleaned from reading books, watching other single women, and being single myself for my entire life. 

1. Take your singleness one day at a time.

    I wish I could remember where I read this, but is has been some of the best advice on singleness I have ever heard. Picturing myself single for the rest of my life is painful, so instead,  I live my singleness day by day through the strength I have in the Holy Spirit. There is a reason God has not told me how long I will remain single; if He had told me my freshman year of college that I would be single for the next four and a half years, I don't know how I would have survived college. So it is something he has wisely not burdened me with, and I praise Him for that and simply take my singleness one day at a time.

2. Do not compare yourself.

      I have met ladies that made me feel I couldn't possibly ever have a boyfriend or husband if they were the standard. They were more beautiful than me, more talented, and had a closer walk with God, and I thought because of that no man could ever want me, a girl who couldn't compare to them. I have met ladies I thought were not as beautiful or talented or spiritual as me who were happily married and I thought that surely meant I would get married too. Either way, playing the comparison game only harms me. It is a game I have played many times and it only leads to jealousy, self pity, and a strange combination of self loathing and pride. 

3. Do something with the life of singleness you have been given.

     Again, I do not say this from experience, but simply as a truth I am trying to faithfully live out. I wish I was better at focusing more on who I want to be as a godly young woman than the fact that I am single. The truth is that "single me" and "married me" both need to grow in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control. Whether I am a Miss or a Mrs., my first priority is becoming more like Jesus.  However "single me" has freedom and opportunities that "married me" would never have, and I hope to use this time (however long it is) to glorify God and take advantage of my singleness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sisters in Singleness // Jennifer's Story

 Throughout my singleness, one of the most encouraging things has been other single women who are walking this journey with me. I watch my older sisters in Christ to learn from them and like them be an example to single girls younger than me. I am energized, strengthened, and encouraged when I spend time with other single women of all ages and stages of life. So I hope that reading the stories of other single women, like Jennifer, today, and the many others I am planning, will encourage you as much as they have already encouraged me. 

  Once or twice a month I am hoping to share stories of single women and how God is working in their lives. Today, I want to introduce you to my friend, Jennifer. 

Jennifer's Story

  Jennifer is a 22 year old recent college graduate who double majored in Creative Writing and Bible. She is a writer, future published author, missionary kid, avid reader, imaginative, cheerful, and spunky as well as my former roommate.You can find her and some of her writing at her blog Midnight Moons

Can you share your story?

   The first games I remember playing were house. I was the Mom, I begged my older sister to be the dad... and we had babies- cute adorable dolls whose eyes were close when you laid them down. If anything, I was going to be a mom. I was going to have kids and a husband and... you get the idea: a white-picket-fence as my parents called it. I decided at like 15 that I wanted to get married at 20, and I may have ogled at boys in both middle and high school. Romances were my favorite.

   But I didn't meet anyone who wanted to sweep me off my feet in college, and that was probably a good thing. I learned so much about love and what it is, about friendship and accepting people as they are, about putting God first. I am 22 now, just out of college and getting over my bout of "how did I graduate college not even dating???" I am just over asking myself what's wrong with me as a person and settling into the struggles of adulthood (No one said it was THIS hard!). I get out of work with time to crash- regain health that seems to be almost sick but something wrong because I keep getting colds, etc. It's a stage of life that I suppose is also important, for I am again learning to be happy for others, to love myself where I'm at, to love people who are different and accept the distance of "work together" (which in reality is much further than the relationships you generally have with professors and fellow students by your senior year in a small college).

 How has being single been a blessing in your life?

  Being single taught me that my identity is not in being a wife. It is in God's love for me, and it is to God's love I must run, now and when I'm not single. Being single blessed me with real friendships that will last a lifetime and be a support if the day ever comes that a man slips a ring on my finger. It also taught me a balanced view of men, creating a deep respect for their skills and unique struggles that are often the same, but different than ours.

 What has been the hardest part about being single?

   The hardest part is not knowing what is coming. If I were already married, I would know not to pursue a graduate degree that would land me in debt. I would be content to work my current job or some such thing until motherhood interrupted (blessed) my life.

   Also, I just really want the physical touch and intimacy. I want to stop asking myself if there's something innately wrong with my womanhood that no man asks me out.

 Has there been a specific book (or maybe books) that have helped you the most through your journey as a single woman?

   Yes and no. It was a book, but it was only the first chapter and I don't remember it's name. I just remember what it said: If you can't be happy while you are single, then you won't be able to be satisfied while you are married. I wouldn't honor God, and none of the roots of the problem would be dealt with.

 What is one thing God has taught you that you wouldn't have learned if you were married?

   It's more like one thing I am thankful I learned before I was married. My husband is not my God. He will not swoop into my life and fix things. He will make my life wonderful, but he won't make my life "right". He won't save me from my craziness or my deep emotional needs. I instead have developed a new sense: a desire to love him. The knowledge that before I marry him I have to believe in him and he has to accept and believe in me.

 If you could go back in time, what words of advice or encouragement about singleness would you share with your younger self?

   I would tell my highschooler self that you can't replace that time you have with your parents. Enjoy the cuddling with your father and learn to respect him, really- not for the sake of learning to respect your future husband, but because Daddy needs that respect. Learn to believe in him- but also give him the space he needs to live his own life.  


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Marriage, Heaven, and FOMO

 I am a person who experiences a lot of FOMO. If you don't know, FOMO is the fear of missing out. When I am home I am afraid of what I am missing at school. When I am at school I am afraid of what is happening without me at home. If I go to the party, I am convinced my family or roommates will have a movie night including popcorn without me, but if I stay home I just think about all the fun I am missing. Mostly, I fear that I am missing out on what it means to really be in love, have a family, and be married. 

  During my junior year of college, I had a lit professor say he couldn't believe there wouldn't be marriage in heaven, despite what the Bible said. The conversation was a bunny trail from the start, and not wanting to cause problems, I didn't push the issue. I also recognized that this was not from a man who would generally disregard the Bible. Though I have a problem with how quickly he did disregard the Word of God, I realized that for my professor it may be more of an emotional response. He loved his wife so much he couldn't imagine heaven without being married to her. 

 But no matter how much my professor loves his wife, this does not change what the Bible says. In Mark 12, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question to try to trick him. They tell him a story about a woman who had seven different husbands before she too died and they ask Jesus whose wife she will be in the resurrection, for surely she couldn't belong to all of them in heaven. "Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures not the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven '" (Mark 12:18-25, ESV). 

 Likewise, in Matthew 22:30, it says, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (ESV).  

 There will be no marriage in heaven, and this was my light-bulb moment; somehow, between God given desires, the culture we live in, and my sinfulness, marriage became my biggest desire and most important goal and the only way I thought I could be happy. But how could it be the only thing that would make me happy if it wasn't even going to be a part of heaven? 

 An earthly marriage is not my hope. That is now clear to me. Not only is marriage simply a picture of Christ and the church, but it will not exist in heaven, or at least in the way it does on earth. We will be married to Jesus because He is everything that matters on heaven and on earth. Since marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, when we are finally with Him, we will not need our earthly marriages, and to this single young woman with FOMO, that is freeing. I am not missing out on marriage because someday, when I am in heaven for an eternity where the only marriage will be our relationship with Christ, I will not be missing out on anything. I will have everything. Really, the people who are missing out are those outside Christ and not those of us who are single. 

 The part of scripture my professor could not accept has become one of the sweetest truths for me. Though marriage is a wonderful gift from God, it is just a picture of Christ and His church, and the picture cannot become more important than what the picture is truly meant for us to see. I am not missing out on anything because in heaven I will have everything.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Choosing Joy

 I have been putting off writing this post. Between trying to think of a topic to write about (besides a book review on a book I read half a year ago and need to flip through again) and getting distracted with the other windows open on my computer, I realized I don't want to write anything, today. It's not the lazy "I don't feel like writing or thinking right now", but more like, "Oh yeah, I had kind of forgotten that I was single until I realized it was time for another post on my singleness blog." Because confession; part of me hates the fact that this blog exists.

 This blog exists because I am single. I don't want to be single.

 This blog exists because I thought that instead of feeling bitter about my singleness I should share my experiences with others, have a creative outlet for my struggles and experiences, and find the joy in my situation. It would be easier to be bitter.

 This blog exists to connect single Christian girls together so that we can encourage each other. If I'm honest, I'd rather meet single Christian guys. 

 If I'm honest, this blog is often just a reminder that most girls have a sweet, godly, young man that tells them they are beautiful and special and I don't, so I blog about it, hoping to sound at least some what intelligent, experienced, cheerful and joyful about my boy-friendless life. I'm often not. 

 I have been asking God to give me joy. He is teaching me that a big part of joy is choosing to be joyful instead of dwelling on what I feel. 

 I am single, and it stinks. I am going to be single for quite a while, and that stinks even more. I don't think God has called me to pretend to like it. But I know that He has called me to tell Him my struggles, fears, and sorrows, to ask Him to help me get through the day, then to stand up and do something, whether it is going to work, hanging out with a friend, or writing the next blog post. 

 So today I am choosing joy. May He give me the strength to choose joy tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What You Need to Know About Emotional Porn

 Nine months ago I didn't know what emotional porn was. In fact, I'm not sure how it even became the topic for my senior thesis. But I immersed myself in the subject for five months of the school year, discovering in the process how dangerous emotional porn is and how no one seems to know what it is or how to explain it to someone else.

 I hope after reading this you will have at least a basic understanding of what emotional pornography is, why it can be dangerous, and why we should be careful about the quality and quantity of romance novels we read.

 So what is emotional pornography?  

 Emotional porn is a kind of pornography that emphasizes the emotions and feelings within romance and sex versus the visual portrayal of sexual activity in pornography. 

 To put it another way, pornography can be considered "Men's Pornography" and emotional porn "Women's Pornography". Men's pornography, if you will, is what most of us think of when we see the word pornography. It is extremely visual and satisfies their physical longings. In contrast, women long for an emotional connection, which is why it's called emotional porn.*

 Men's physical needs are strong and they are visually stimulated, so they turn to visual pornography to satisfy that need. Women, however, have emotional needs, and are stimulated by words and emotions, so it makes sense that they would turn to emotional porn, which mainly manifests itself in romance novels.

 In Pulling Back the Shades, which I highly recommend for older readers who don't mind reading some more graphic material, the authors reveal the five longings of women and how many romance novels utilize those longings. Women long to escape, to be protected and cherished by a strong man, to be the only one he needs, and to feel sexually alive.

 These elements of emotional porn are mostly found in romance novels, and for my research I focused on Twilight. I didn't read Twilight until I was in college, and except for the mediocre writing, I was left with mixed feelings; I loved it and hated it at the same time.

 I loved the romance between Bella and Edward. I loved reading about this perfect guy who made Bella feel so loved. It filled a hole inside of me, but it also opened a wound. It made me feel discontent and left wondering where my Edward was and why I didn't have this fairy tale romance. 

 Think about it- the escape a novel brings, how you live vicariously through a character, how you keep going back to the parts of the book where he kisses her and tells her she is everything to him. You keep re-reading it and the only reason you can give is that it makes you happy; it makes you sigh contentedly like you got your needed dose of romance for the day. This is emotional porn at work. But the most important thing I wanted to tell you is that this can be sin.

 First, I'm sure most of us have all done this. Those of us that are romantics at heart as well as avid readers, or even avid chick flick watchers, have all turned back to that favorite romantic scene and sighed over it, wondering when that will be us, and I don't think that's a problem. But it can easily become a problem if it causes us to become discontent with our situation, lustful, or living our entire life in a fantasy. Essentially, it affects women in the same way that a pornographic photo affects men as far as sin is concerned. 

 I'm not saying you should burn every romance novel on your shelf, or that you are necessarily sinning because you read and enjoy romance novels. God wired women to enjoy those things, and so there needs to be a balance. 

 The key to finding that balance in facing the question of whether or not to read romance novels is first remembering that every woman is different in what will cause her to stumble, and second, realizing that it is not necessarily what we read, but where it takes us in our thoughts. It will be different for different people. For one woman, reading a romance novel may be a huge stumbling block, but another woman may not be bothered by them. We need to be in tune to the state of our soul and the feelings that arise from reading romance novels and set our own personal boundaries.  

 In conclusion, I write this not because I hate romance novels, but because I love them. I want to keep pure the greatest romance of all time when Jesus died for His bride, the church. I want to share with you what I have learned so you too know the subtle evils of emotional porn.

*Please note that while I do believe this is the general pattern for men and women, there are always exceptions. Men may find they are more drawn to the focus of feelings and the relationship connection of emotional porn and women may associate more with the visual pornography. It is also true that in all of us there is probably a good mix of desires not just for one aspect of intimacy, so I am not trying to put people in a box. However, men do tend to gravitate more to visual porn and women emotional porn and this is just the way God wired us.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I Don't Have to Get Married?

"Will your sister move back to Michigan?" she asks.

 The church is almost empty except for a few families still lingering in the hallway, including mine and the nine year old girl that has sat next to me, mimicking the way I am lounging on the chair.

 "Probably. She's definitely going back for school."

 "Will you move back to Michigan?"

 "I hope say," I say. "Eventually."

 "Will you move back when you're married?"

 I pause. Her question is like a few more rocks balanced precariously on a boulder. Eventually the stones will pile up and fall soon and I'll have to deal with the emotional break down.

 I try to laugh a little thinking about the lack of guys available let alone ones that would want to date me. "No, I'll definitely move back before I'm married."

 Distracted by her siblings, she suddenly runs off, and I am left wondering where her questions came from. Why would she assume I can't move away unless I'm married? Why does she think marriage is my only option? But then I realize that I think marriage is my only option.

 Actually, let me re-phrase that; the only option I have ever really wanted is marriage, and I want it so much I have convinced myself it is my only option.  

 I have other goals and desires- to write and publish books, to travel to places like Ireland and Japan- but they have never been as high, as important, or as idolized as marriage. 

 Before she left I wanted to say something to her, like, "We don't have to get married, you know," or "Marriage is a really wonderful and beautiful thing, but God doesn't give it to everyone." I even thought of joking, "I don't have to be married to move to a different state."

 But I think I need to tell it to myself more than her.

 You don't have to get married. You want to, oh how you want to, but you don't have to. It would not mean you are a failure. It would not mean a horrible life. It would mean you would be single like the Apostle Paul and lots of other people on this earth.

 God doesn't give marriage to everyone. You may be single for the next five years or the rest of your life. But however long it is God will provide strength each day to get through as well as give you everything your heart desires and more in Heaven when He gives us Himself, our true heart's desire.

 I pray God will give you and me power that only comes from Him to simply be the single women God has called us to be for at least this season. I pray for the power to be content and joyful and completely focused on loving and serving others and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ so that we do not focus on the few things He hasn't given us when He has already promised us an eternity with Him.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Art of Receiving Advice as a Single Girl

Pretty, Girls, Happy, Young, Smiling, Persons, People

Have you heard any of this advice before?

 "If you don't talk to the guy you like how will he ever get to know you?"

 "Be mysterious. Guys like a challenge."

 "Guys won't pursue you if they don't know you're at least a little bit interested in them. You gotta flirt a little!"

 "Be sure to always let the man initiate."

 Sometimes it feels like I am a puppet on a string being passed from person to person, each with their own idea of what I should do to change my single status. From well meaning friends to secular and Christian articles online, I feel bombarded with things I should be doing and things I should never do. 

 I always know what I want to say when people give me advice. I want to express my annoyance. I want to tell them to mind their own business. I feel like starting a rant where just because a girl has a boyfriend doesn't mean she is the queen of relationship advice, nor is she entitled to give me all of that advice.

 And then there's the awkward situation when your friend wants to set you up with someone. I always have competing emotions within myself when that happens. In a way I am genuinely happy that this friend or acquaintance would be willing to help me in that way, and also excited at the possibility of meeting a cute guy. But at the same time I feel offended. I feel like they are telling me that I am not enough, that I am missing something, that clearly because I am still single I am doing something wrong and need help finding a guy. 

 So how do we respond?

 First, no matter what advice your friend is trying to give you or what guy the older lady at your church wants you to meet, we must respond in love. Though it's hard, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I need to assume that my friends are trying to help me because they love me and not so they can fix me or because they think they are superior. Often, I'll just smile, then try to go on with my life. 

 Secondly, when people tell me something that I should be doing or something that I should change, I try to graciously thank them, but then I need to honestly and prayerfully consider their advice. Am I being too quiet? Should I be talking more to this guy, or is this just the way God made me? Sometimes they are right and I have gained new wisdom. Sometimes they are wrong and I need to forget what they said. If prayer and an inward search of my heart does not bring clarity, I should talk to my parents or an older believer that I respect and trust and ask their advice. 

 Third, I think it wise to simply forget what was said to me. Even if I decide to take their advice, I often start to think too much about why they gave me that advice, leading me to conclusions like, they must think of me as such a loser because I am single, leading to more discontent, worry, and fear. By not dwelling on their advice, I am more likely to be content with the single status God gave me as well as not assume they are thinking the worst of me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7th Days

Girl, Brave, Bravery, Independence, Solo, Believe 
 Sometimes, okay a lot of times, being a reluctant single person is hard. 

 Like, today. It's hard being single today simply because it is June 7th, the day I chose a long time ago as the perfect day to get married.

 My favorite number is seven. Not only is it the biblical number for perfection, but it has special meaning for me. I was born on February 7th, the same day as famous authors Laura Ingalls Wilder and Charles Dickens, I accepted Jesus as my Savior April 7, 1998, and I graduated this year on May 7th. I have always considered June the best month to get married, so what better day could I pick than June 7th?

 Except another June 7th is going by that I'm not married, and that is hard.

 You might be thinking I'm being overly dramatic. (Maybe). You may be thinking that I am only twenty-two and am still very young and have a whole life ahead of me to meet, fall in love with, and marry a wonderful guy. (You would be correct). 

 But that doesn't make it any easier. 

 I think on June 7th days, I need to mourn a little. I need to mourn what is not, but what I wish was. I need to mourn the passing of a day that I dreamed of in middle school but that is not here yet.

 And then, I need to go back to being happy for all the things that I do have.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

To Couples Making Out in Dorms

Couple In Love, Mountain Top, Love, Couple, Woman, Man
To the couples making out in the dorms,

  I get it. 

 You love her. She is the sweetest and lovliest person you have ever met. You love the way her eyes dance when she sees children playing in the park. You love her independence and fire.

 You love him. He is so strong and handsome but also a gentleman. You love his passion for God and the way he tries not to crack his knuckles around you so you won't cringe at the sound.

 I also get dorm situations. The opposite gender is only allowed in the dorms on certain nights. You need time together, and that usually means hanging out in the lounge. You also love each other and want to express that love with more than words.

 But now I need you to get something.

 I need you to understand why you making out in the dorms really bothers me.

 I don't mean the kiss goodbye when you walk him to the door. I don't mean the couple snuggled on the couch watching a movie, his arm around her shoulders.

 I mean the two of you facing each other on the couch, lips continually together. I mean the times when she finds herself on your lap, when you are entwined and it takes a moment for me to determine who is who. 

 This bothers me for a reason I just now understood. It is more than my own morals. I am willing to put my personal convictions aside, realizing that I have different standards than others. In Christ we have freedom and I need to follow my conscience and let others do the same, because often we will be different. But if it were only those things, I wouldn't be writing. 

 No, today I realized it is something more. 

 When I see you in the lounges kissing, snuggling, and your bodies entangled in ways that make me feel uncomfortable and look away, it causes me to stumble.

 I just now realized that when I see you seriously making out, my mind starts to wander to places it shouldn't. It wanders to fantasies in my head. Ultimately, it makes me discontent with my life and my lack of a relationship. It causes me to long for and imagine things that God has not given me.

 Yes, I need to look away. Yes, sometimes, I should even leave.

 But I am also asking you to be considerate of the people around you. Please help me not to stumble. Please see me as your sister in Christ who does not want those impure thoughts, who does not want to be discontent with the wonderful life God has given me.

"So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died."

~Romans 14:12-15, ESV

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Single Quilter

 My nana is an amazing seamstress. She made many of the clothes my mom and her sisters wore when they were growing up and also made many dresses for me and my sister, too.

 But her specialty is quilts. For my tenth birthday she made me a beautiful quilt that was mainly white with flowers many different colors of the rainbow, calling it "Allie's Secret Garden". When I graduated from high school she made me another quilt for my dorm room with my favorite hues of blues, greens, purples, and some yellow and pink. It is one of my greatest treasures.

 For a long time I have wanted to make quilts, especially baby quilts, but my writing has always been more important and fabric is expensive. 

 So instead, I began to dream of the time when I would have my own children and I would make them baby quilts. A gray and sea green pattern for my son. A floral quilt with many shades of pink and white for my little girl.

 But I began to wonder if I would ever have children.

 I am almost twenty-two and still very single. Though I am still young and I still have plenty of time, somewhere there is this fear that I will never have children and I will never make them quilts.

 But why do I have to wait for my own children? What if God wants me to fulfill that desire in another way?

 If five or ten years passes and I still find myself single, I could still make baby quilts. I could make them as baby shower gifts. I could donate them to crisis pregnancy centers. 

 I do not want my single years to be wasted pining for what I wanted my life to be like. Instead I want to be a woman who embraces the life God has given her.

 Whether it is for my own children or other babies in my church or community that I bless, I will make baby quilts someday.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Defeating the Taylor Swift Mentality

Though I was in denial for a long time, I love Taylor Swift's music as much as most young women do. My current favorites are "Safe and Sound" and "Bad Blood", and in a month when I turn 22 I will be humming her song "22" to myself all day. 

 However, as much as I love listening to Taylor Swift and other secular artists, I have noticed an attitude in many of her songs.

"Can't you see 
That I'm the one
Who understands you?
Been here all along
So, why can't you see
You belong with me?"

 ~ "You Belong with Me"

 Though it is a feeling I understand and have had before, I find it dangerous, especially in a song that seems harmless and can play in your brain and change your thinking without you even realizing it.

 Another song of Taylor Swift's tells the story of a girl who crashes the man she loves' wedding. When the minister asks if anyone knows of why this man and woman shouldn't be married, the girl speaks and says he should be marrying her.

"She floats down the aisle like a pageant queen
But I know you wish it was me,
You wish it was me,
Don't you?"

~ "Speak Now"

  At the end of the song, the guy sneaks out of the church with her and they live happily ever after.

 Whenever I hear this song, I sometimes get a certain attitude. This attitude is feeling like I have the right to have a certain guy to like me. That I deserve him.

 It is so easy for me to begin thinking this way, and listening to music with lyrics that heighten those feelings in me only makes it worse.

 I have to go back to what I really deserve: hell.

 "But you're a sweet girl," someone might say. "You deserve a great guy."

 This is where we have the juxtoposition of my worth in Christ along with the failure of my sin. Before I can see my worth in Christ, I have to see first my sin and wretchedness and evil filth.

 Sadly, a great guy is not what God has promised me and not what I deserve no matter how I feel or what anyone says.

 So Taylor Swift, though I love to listen to your music, there are some songs of yours that will not make it on my playlist.

 Disclaimer: Please note that I still love listening to Taylor Swift as well as other secular artists, and though I believe that as Christians we need to be careful with what we fill our minds with, I do not think that means we can never listen to secular music.