What Singles Won’t Tell Married People

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It finally has arrived—the first part in a two-part series designed to delve into the “behind the scenes” thoughts that go on between two categories of people.

No matter your age, gender, or race…you will be in one of two categories- married or single.  It’s so easy to get so caught up in your own “category” of life that you overlook or forget what others are experiencing.  This series is to help us “walk a mile in each others’ shoes”.

Not everything applies to all singles or marrieds, but usually the things mentioned are a tendency for a lot of people in general.  Please do not be offended in any way; instead take what is said and use it to understand what other people are going through so you know how to reach into their lives!

Next Monday will hopefully be Part 2: Things Married People Won’t Tell Singles.  Stay tuned!  There’s still time to add in advice for Part 2.  You can email at marj@larosabooks.com or through the blog contact page with what you wish to tell singles.

Thanks to all that took the time and shared such wonderful tid-bits of honesty and wisdom.  You will find names after some of the shared comments; my thoughts are marked afterwards by “MarJ”; and “A” stands for friends that wanted to share their nuggets of gold anonymously.

Part 1:  What Singles Won’t Tell Married People

FRIENDSHIP

1.  It really hurts when you drop our friendship after marriage in exchange for other married people’s friendships.  We are glad you can expand your social circle and relate with people in the same place of life as you, but we feel unimportant and forgotten when we are dropped.  -A

2.  Our friendship will have new dynamics because your marriage has changed us both, but don’t be scared to keep our friendship.  And no, we don’t mind hanging out with you and your spouse together.  It’s not as awkward as you think it may feel for us.  We actually enjoy it!  -MarJ

3.  Don’t be exclusive and only hang out with your married friends.  Still do stuff with your single friends.  – A Guy’s Perspective

4.  Singleness is not a disgusting spot in life.  We are not of less importance or value than you.  Actually at one time, you were single too.  So do not act like we are embarrassing, there is something wrong with us, or we are too low on the social scale to continue a relationship with us.  -A

5.  Please do not be offended if we pull away at first after your marriage.  We feel like we lost a  close friend to an outsider and wonder how we fit into this new way of life.  We have been hurt too often and left behind before; so we separate ourselves to spare more pain.  We want to keep our friendship, but we question if you do.  All it takes is an email, a coffee date, or a party invite from you to us to say that our friendship will continue….and we will be back to our old selves=D  -MarJ

CONVERSATION

1.  People often laugh at how singles have all the answers on children and marriage until they are married and raising a family.  But sometimes we can see things from our viewpoint on the outside that can’t be seen from the inside.  Don’t be afraid to ask for our advice at times.  -A

2.  We love to hear about your kids’ nosebleeds and husband’s snoring problems, but not all of the time.  Ask us about our life once in awhile (and truly listen).  MarJ

3.  We detest when you are talking with other married people about marriage-related things and then pause, look at us, and say with a smirk, “I’m sorry.  I forgot, you wouldn’t know anything about that.”  Kudos to making us feel like the oddball.  -A

4.  What is the reason behind comments such as, “If you had a husband, you wouldn’t be doing things like that.”?  It is often said in the tone of ….”Well, I’m married.  The things I do are so important compared to your trivial hobbies, pursuits, and jobs because I’m taking care of a husband and family.  If you were married, you wouldn’t be doing such unimportant things.”  -A

5.  Stop asking us if we’re dating yet!  You most likely will know if we are.  Especially as women, we really can’t do anything about getting a boyfriend; all that comment does is make us feel like we still aren’t “good” enough to achieve to your standard.  -A

6.  Marriage doesn’t make you suddenly all-knowing and wise.  It’s okay to be human and ask for help, advice, and counsel from your single friends.  -A Guy’s Perspective

PARTIES AND EVENTS

1.  It means so much for me to have married friends who let me sit with them at weddings and funerals and other places I don’t enjoy going to alone as a single woman!  -R.

2.  Please invite us when you invite other families. We need and long for that family environment and the interaction with both male and female. Pursue us! Invite us on a special event when you go somewhere without your children. It meant more than words can say when my brother and his wife invited me to a concert with them one Sunday afternoon.  -R.

3.  You don’t always have to have parties and do stuff as a married couple.  Sometimes it’s fun to have a night where the guys hang out and the girls do their own thing.  -A Guy’s Perspective

HOW YOU CAN HELP US

1.  Do not assume that we enjoy your matchmaking antics—-BUT do not assume that we don’t!  Everyone has a different personality.  Some of us love “blind dates” and getting to meet new people; yet some of us detest them and find it awkward.  Just ask us if you don’t know how we feel about your help in our social affairs.  We will honestly tell you if we appreciate it or don’t.  You may know two of your friends that would go well together, but you have been too afraid to try getting them acquainted.  It never hurts to ask what they think of the idea.  -A

2.  Be respectful.  Don’t be lovey-dovey all the time; because it is extremely awkward to be near a situation like that.  -A Guy’s Perspective

3.  Thank you to those of you who are honest about the struggles of married life. It helps us realize that we are all in the same boat as far as disappointment, loneliness, and needing God. Validate our loneliness and longings as singles. I’ve had a married friend shrug off my longing for a daily hug, by saying that when you are married, hugs becomes so routine it really doesn’t do much for you. But I wanted to say, “What if your husband or wife dies, and you suddenly don’t have that anymore? Would you miss it?” Even if something is routine, it is doing more for you than you realize. And those of us who don’t have that are missing something. One of the most comforting things my married friends/families do is to validate my feelings in times of loneliness and longing. Don’t brush it off by telling us what a nice life we have. Although reminding us of our worth in Christ and pointing out the impact we are having on others is a big encouragement. I love my married friends and feel so blessed to be accepted as one of them. I love that we are all one in Christ, and in many ways singles and marrieds are more alike than different. We struggle with the same things just in a different environment.   -R.

4.  Please don’t view us single people as incomplete. We are not any less of a person without a spouse. We are not irresponsible youths just because we are single. We may not be able to relate to the marital part of your lives, but we are going through the same things in life as pertains to growing up. We have struggles, we have victories, we have insight, we have life. It is different than yours but it is not less in meaning. In fact Apostle Paul said it would be better to be single to serve God more effectively. So please allow us some respect and value while we are traveling alone.  -Monica Yoder (http://wingedfaith.wordpress.com)

A LOOK INTO OUR LIVES

1.  When the only time you contact us is when you need a babysitter, it makes us feel taken advantage of and questioning our worth. Please don’t think we have all the time and energy in the world because we don’t have families. Often the Lord calls singles to special ministries that take a lot of energy, besides needing to support ourselves through full time jobs. Remember that we have limitations just like you do!  R.

2.  We love to be your kids’ adopted aunts and uncles, but make sure they are good kids!  It is stressful on us to have to pretend that your hair-pulling, skin-pinching, house-wrecking, obnoxious and awkward-question-asking, disobedient child is our favorite angel.  -A

3.  Please do not assume that our reason for singleness is to serve you.  We will gladly babysit, clean house, mow lawn…; but do not expect it.  Also be willing to pay (most likely we won’t take anything or much of anything, but it makes us feel like you appreciate our work).  Remember that we have a life and job too; so don’t call on us to help you out every day of the week (remember that it was your choice to get married and accept those responsibilities).  -A

4.  Don’t act like your problems are of more importance than our “trivial life”.  We may not have dirty diapers to change and a family to support, but we have mortgages or rent to pay, parents and family to care for, cars that need repairs, jobs that are demanding and tiring, and big decisions to make—-plus we are doing this all on our own.  -MarJ

5.  Yes, we know you miss your husband when he is on stay-away, but please don’t whine about it to us. It’s okay to miss him and we certainly don’t mind you telling us so, but remember that some of us dream of being in your shoes. Be thankful that you have a husband.  -A

6.  Many of us wish to be married and not have to face things alone, and we realize our singleness with each wedding, each birth announcement, each major decision we have to decide upon; so be considerate.  No, you don’t have to tip-toe around us and pull away because of being afraid that you may offend us; but don’t purposely try to belittle or remind us of our singleness.  Focus on the good that we do through our singleness.  Often times, we accomplish great things for God and have a lot of potential; but it is never recognized by married people because all they see is our single status.  -A

ADVICE FOR YOU

1.  We are glad that you and your spouse have such a cozy relationship, but great shows of affection are slightly awkward.  While you are massaging, whispering, kissing, etc…we fidget, try to find someone to talk with, and can’t help but wonder if you are always this affectionate to each other or if it is only to say, “Attention, please, notice that we’re married.”  That is probably not your intent, but we can easily come to that conclusion.  -A

2.  You and your spouse do become one, but you can still be yourself.  When we talk directly to you, please do not look at your spouse and have them answer or reply for you.  -MarJ

3.  When you and your spouse are at parties and events together- please mingle and talk to other people.  When you cling only to your spouse as if he/she would vanish if you left his/her side, we feel really bad for you.  You are missing out on making new friends and renewing old ones, and people often judge your actions as insecure, snobbish, or proud.  We hate to see people think the worst of you!  -MarJ

4.  Accept your responsibility.  You made the choice to take on a wife and family (or for girls, you made the decision to say, “I do”); so now grow-up.  Nothing bothers me more than when a man or woman makes a commitment, but then does not accept the responsibility.  I feel very bad for your husband or wife that is relying upon you.  There are a lot of struggling marriages because the husband or wife focused so much on marriage that they never matured themselves (in Christ and in general life responsibilities) before taking their vows.  -A Guy’s Perspective

 

 

Thanks for reading!  Remember to check back next week for Part 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Help, Please!

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Ladies and Gentlemen—-I would LOVE your help! I’m doing a blog series on “Things Singles won’t tell Married People” and “Things Married People won’t tell Singles”….just stuff that we see in each other that we wish we could talk about, but can’t (kinda like the articles Reader’s Digest writes on what waitresses and flight attendants see and know, but won’t say).

Example—- To Tell Married People- “We love to hear about your kid’s nosebleeds and husband’s snoring problems, but not all the time. Ask us about our life once in awhile (and truly listen).”

Message me your input…labeled as either -to tell singles- or -to tell married people-; include your name at the end if you want me to include your name in the blog with your input!

Please be open and honest cuz’ I want this to be an encouraging, insightful, and beneficial series. Pass this on as well to your friends…they can email answers to marj@larosabooks.com (you can also use this email if you want to stay anonymous); or you can go through the contact page at www.marjanitalarosa.wordpress.com …..Thanks for your help; couldn’t do it without you!!!

Dancing Through The Pages

Fictional Intruder

Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?

 

I felt my eyelids growing heavier and heavier.  It had been a long day, but I was determined to stay up and finish the last chapter.  “It is such a captivating story,” I thought as I stifled a yawn.  Maybe just a bit of shut-eye would do the trick of reawakening my concentration to finish the last two pages.  “I’ll close my eyes for only five minutes,” I whispered to my half-conscious brain as I set my alarm clock.

I looked down at my book, and these few last words caught my eyes before I drifted off completely into dreamland, ” ‘Step into the pages, Child, for you will discover all that did not make sense during the story.  You will truly taste tears, joy, pain, fear, happiness, and love as never experienced before.  You will dance and waltz across the lines that were only read in times past.  You, dear Josette, will embark on an adventure’ ” (A Story Never Written).

Dreamland was as usual- pink cotton-candy clouds, fluffy puppy dogs, rippling streams, smiling stars…except this time there were large houses scattered across the landscape.  That is not unusual you may say, but it is…because these were not ordinary houses.  These houses were gigantic books that could be entered through a front door.  I looked up at the house in front of me.  The words, The Cat in the Hat, were scrawled across the front.  Children leaned out of upstairs windows laughing, and I was sure that I saw a cat wearing a hat pass by an open kitchen window.

I scratched my head in puzzlement at this strange addition to my dreamland.  Was it possible?  Could I really step into any book and meet the characters and join in on the adventures?

There was only one way to find out.  I quickly set off in the direction of a blue bouse (that was the terms the locals used for the strange book houses) entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  A sign on the door stating 221b Baker Street told me that I had indeed located the right place.  I rang the doorbell and waited, unsure if one just enters a bouse or waits to be admitted.  As I waited, I watched the bouse next to me on the right.  I heard sounds of oinking coming from inside, and a rope of hair extended out the attic window until it reached the ground.  “It could only be the fairy-tale house,” I reasoned.

“Yes, hello, Dearie, may I help you?”

I was startled by a voice at the door.  I turned around and came face to face with Mrs. Hudson.  “Yes,” I answered, “I would like to meet Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, if you please.”

Mrs. Hudson winked with a knowing smile, “Why, yes, of course- they are investigating ‘The Hound of the Baskerville’ case.  I’m sure you could watch them at work if that type of thing interests you.”

————–

I exited as I waved goodbye to Dr. Watson.  He was a jolly ole’ gent and quite glad for my company.  Sherlock simply nodded his head and then turned to go back upstairs.  “That really was remarkable, Mr. Holmes.  Thank you for allowing me to shadow you and Dr. Watson,” I said as he left.

He waved his hand backwards over his shoulder at me, “Elementary, my dear girl, elementary.”

———————————

I was shown into the house by a maid dressed in the formal black and white servant attire.

I walked in just as Emma was saying, “And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess? I pity you. I thought you cleverer; for depend upon it, a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it.”― Jane Austen, Emma

I nearly skipped with joy as I realized that I had indeed danced into the pages of one of Jane Austen’s creations.  Emma and I would have such a grand time together.

————————————-

My heart was quite light after the adventures I had experienced so far and now felt brave enough to tackle a more unsettled bouse.  I finally found the one I was looking for- after crossing quite a few streams and hills to get there.  On the way I had asked the Mad Hatter for directions, but he was of little help to this particular quest; so I had to settle for my woman’s intuition.  That God-given gift didn’t fail me -even in dreamland, and I arrived at last.  I didn’t bother with the doorbell this time, and instead opened the door by myself.  I pushed aside the furry darkness that enclosed around me until I fell out upon the wet, cold snow of winter.  I had stepped through the wardrobe and into the land of Narnia.

——————–

I sat feasting with Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy, Aslan, and the many other Narnians in celebration of our victory, when a sudden beeping sounded.  “What is that?” I asked aloud as I looked around for the cause of the irritating noise.

Aslan softly patted my hand with his paw, “…Come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land.  But you shall meet me (in your own world), dear one.  There I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Suddenly I was pulled by a whirlwind further and further from the bouses.  I flew up above the moon and looked down at the fading dreamland.  I soared over the planets until I awoke back on earth in my little room.  I rubbed my pasty eyes and looked around to see if Emma, Sherlock, and the Pevensies had joined me.  But they hadn’t; all I saw was my beeping alarm clock, my book that had fallen to the floor in my sleep, and the normal bedroom furniture.  I sighed sadly as I realized that my time in dreamland had indeed been short, but then a smile slowly spread across my face as I realized the privilege of experiencing the great adventures inside the dreamland bouses.

 

 

postaday, http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fictional-intruder/

 

 

 

Rainbow Hues

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Frame of Mind…..If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?

 

I’m not one of those people who are lucky enough to have a steady, stable mood.  Those people have one or two colors on their canvases; they are predictable and easily figured out.

My canvas is never just one color.  It is like a kaleidoscope, constantly shifting and moving.

If I could paint a canvas for my current mood- it would be one of rainbow hues.

red flowersThere would be red flowers for the love I feel for the people around me.

yellow sunA bright yellow sun would be shining for the excitement and anticipation of the future.

brown treesThere would be brown trees for the dread I feel concerning the garage I am about to clean and organize!

grey skiesGray sky and clouds would be off in the one corner for the uncertainty that the next week holds.

pink dressA little girl in a pink dress picking flowers would represent sensitivity and femininity.

blue streamA blue stream would tell of my prayer to be a constantly flowing channel of God’s love.

green sailboatBy the stream, a boy would be floating a green sailboat to tell of joy- joy that I find in the fact that even though I am a little sailboat, tossing around in the waves, I can rest assured that my Captain will never let me go.

black and white cowsBlack and white cows would be grazing in the pasture as they portray contentment.

orange and purple polka dotsAnd orange and purple polka dots would be randomly scattered across the canvas background to speak of the little casual things that happen throughout the day that I look forward to as they break up the monotony.

                                                                           This would be my canvas for today!

 

 

 

postaday, http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/frame-of-mind/,

Finally Home

Reviving Bricks

You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?

 

Whenever my friends and I would go to the Poconos for camping, we would pass a beautiful old house.  We tried to obtain permission to look inside, but never found the right person to ask; so we could only imagine what the house held.  I’m fairly certain it was a magnificent proud house in its time- fireplaces in each room, red shutters on the outside, manicured flowerbeds surrounding it, victorian-style wallpaper, hard-wood floors, wall-to-wall bookshelves, and a piano in the drawing room.  There were probably summer parties on the lawn, which included croquet and fresh-squeezed lemonade. 

We often dreamed of magically turning that house into a home for children who are lost in the foster care and have no where to go.

That has been a dream of mine ever since I myself was a child (not turning that specific house into a children’s home, but having a safe place for children to visit and spend time–even if only through weekly clubs or summer camps).  I remember traveling through New York when I was about twelve or thirteen, and as we drove through the back streets, I looked at the children’s faces.  My heart completely broke in half for them.  They never had the chance to be raised in a good home with parents that loved each other and their children.  Their eyes portrayed hopelessness, and their mouths had barely ever laughed or smiled.  God had told me at that moment that I was supposed to be there for hurting kids, no matter where or when.  I was supposed to always have open arms and a tender heart so that I could be the love of God to them. 

So if I inherited a grand mansion in the countryside with endless money supply, that dream would finally come true.

It sounds crazy and big, I know; but just imagine the possibilities!  It would be turned into a safe place for children.  A place where there was no belittlement, abuse, hatred, screaming…  A place where they were given a chance to be part of a family.  A place where they could come for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or however much time was needed.  There would be cozy carpet on the family-room floor for a homey feel.  There would be a place to sit and talk with each other.  There would be a nice big room to fill with Christmas presents, popcorn garlands, and evergreens over the holidays.  There would be a library filled to the brim with adventures and imaginary destinations.  There would be a kitchen where everyone could help with the meals and learn how to cook.  The bedrooms would have a personal feeling, a feeling like they belonged to the child and weren’t just another random place along the way.  Of course, the one room would be turned into a music room, full of instruments and music. 

There would be bedtime stories and Saturday night pizza parties.  There would be a lovely outside full of gardens and flowerbeds where the children could learn to work, enjoy the outdoors, and watch things grow.  There would be animals, lots and lots of animals…..dogs, horses, chickens, cats, cows….

We would look for crocuses and fill the house with daffodils and buds from tree branches in the springtime.  We would splash in the stream, go fishing, walk barefoot in the garden, catch lightning bugs, make iced tea, play games, and swing during the summer.  Over fall, we would rake leaves and jump into the piles, and we would finish out the gardens and canning that needed completed.  We would have hayrides and campfires, complete with s’mores, singing, and hot chocolate.  In the winter, we would have opportunity to go sledding and build snowmen. 

The house would be called “Finally Home”, and a plaque on the front porch would read, “You are welcome here.  God has filled this house with so much love that as you enter through these doors, you will feel safe, loved, and important.  This is your home as you live here.”

And in the evenings, as we sat on the porch and watched the sun set, the children would see that plaque and know that it was true- they were finally home!

 

postaday, daily wordpress, http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/reviving-bricks/

Lightbulbs and Dilated Pupils

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On Saturday evening, I was invited to be part of hide and seek in the dark.  It was at the Meadows of Hope house (which was perfect since it is quite large and fairly empty right now because the girls have not arrived yet).

Bunny Trail—  I definitely think you should check out the Meadows of Hope website if you do not know about their vision and mission already.  https://www.facebook.com/meadowsofhope/info.  They will be reaching teen girls with the love of Jesus and teaching important life skills.  There will also be some equine therapy as well!

Now, that I’m done with that bunny trail….

Anyways, hide and seek was a lot of fun.  There were quite a few laughs and even some stubbed toes, and I could not help thinking how much a simple little game related to life.

When the lights went out and everything was pitch dark, my vision disappeared.  Nothing was clear; direction was jumbled.  I groped along the walls, feeling my way as best I could.  I bumped into things and had to imagine where I was and what surrounded me.  I longed for light to make everything clear.  I often thought, “If only i could see; If only this room was clear to my sight!”  I tried my best to get where I needed to go, but success was hard and sometimes a fail.  I stumbled along behind the black, fuzzy shapes of others; but they too banged their shins on furniture and ran their hands along the wall for a guide.

One time, towards the end of the game, the longed-for light came on.  The switch was flipped and darkness was dispelled by a light bulb.  “Turn it off,” we cried as we frantically covered our eyes in agony.  Oh, it hurt!  Our pupils had enlarged (dilated) to adjust to the darkness over the past few hours; so when light burst upon them, they were shocked.  The light went off once more, but we were even worse off than before.  Our eyes were extremely confused as they tried to switch between darkness, light, and darkness.  Now, I could not even see what I had been able to faintly see earlier.  All I saw was a swimming mass of muck in front of my eyes.  Not even shapes and faint moonlight through the windows could be seen. 

Then the light came back on, to stay on, for good…..because we WANTED it.  We wanted it enough to endure the pain it caused our eyes.  There were groans around me (and yes, I was making my own sounds of misery) as we waited for the light to reveal what surrounded us. 

It seemed like such a long wait; but finally, our pupils adjusted.  Believe me, we had to want the light, really, really badly for that to happen. 

Then I looked around me once the pain had subsided.  I could actually see people’s faces, where before I saw only unnamed shadows.  I could walk confidently, because I saw where the chairs were placed and the desks sat.  I was quite surprised to see the room that I was in…it was quite different from what I had pictured in my darkened state.

Doesn’t life feel like the light is off?  Everything is disorienting.  We doubt and question where we are, which way to go, and what stands in our way.  We try to follow someone older and wiser than us, but they too take faltering steps and feel their way through the hallways.  We long for light to show us truth and reveal the answers.  We want to see the hearts of those that surround us; but when the light comes on, we turn from it.  We ask to be returned to the black void because it is more comfortable there.  We may not see, but at least we don’t hurt nearly as much.  So the light goes away, but it is not like we thought it would be.  We had a glimpse of the light but returned to the dark, and now we see NOTHING.  Now we have truth mixed with lies in our head.  The few things we could depend upon (the moonlight through the windows) have even clouded over into a blurry muck. 

We need to WANT THE LIGHT, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.  It’s not easy; the light requires lots of effort on our part.  It requires sacrifice.  It will be painful.  We have to be willing to see things in the light, even if it is different from what we imagined in the dark. 

God’s Spirit is that Light.  He longs to open our eyes and show us truth and the way to go.  He wants to let us see into the shapes around us so that we can look into their faces and know their hearts.  However, we have to want His Spirit to reveal.  It will require prayer, fasting, and searching….all of which is not easy.  It may cause us to groan in agony as our hearts are opened from darkness into light.  There may be friends around us who prefer to stay in the dark—which is sad and frustrating to us.  There may be steps we have to take after the path is shown.  But when we ask for the Light, it will be given.  It may take lots and lots of time.  The Holy Spirit may still not answer all of our questions, but we can walk confidently because He has revealed what we need to know for the present time.

It only takes a light bulb to see in the dark; it only takes God’s Spirit and an open heart to see in life.

WANT THE LIGHT!  WANT THE LIGHT NO MATTER WHAT THE COST, TIME, OR SACRIFICE MAY BE!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

Date Times With Jesus

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Last night I had the privilege to spend time with a very Special Someone.  When you live with your family and your life is quite hectic…times like this do not happen very often.  My one-on-one time with Jesus is usually spent in devotions or in quick prayers during the day.  But there is something very special about getting away, quieting your life, and talking with and listening to the Bridegroom.

Anyone knows that successful relationships take work, time, and communication.  My parents go on a “date” every week just so they can spend time with one another without distractions.  We can’t expect to have a thriving relationship with Christ if we only squeeze in time with Him once in a while.

I think it is quite sad that “dates with Jesus” are associated as a single woman’s thing to do so she feels special and loved since she does not have that boyfriend or husband to “date”.

Maybe this will shock you, but I whole-heartedly believe that everyone, whether male or female – whether married or single, should have special times alone with their Savior.

Don’t look so shocked.  Where did we get the idea that men are too tough to do such things and married woman no longer need to worry about that stuff?

No, men, you don’t have to hang lanterns in the trees and eat off of china plates…but I challenge you to do more than just a quick Bible reading and prayer time.  Set apart some time to focus on Christ because He is just as much your Beloved, Savior, and Messiah as He is to us, females.  Get out in the wilderness, pitch a tent, gaze at the stars, make your food over a campfire—-that gives excellent time to talk to Christ and ask Him for His leading, cleansing, and refinement in your heart.  Go on a scenic drive and pour out your heart to God while the miles roll by.  Put away the phone, business problems, church questions….It does not make you any less of a man to ask Christ for help, direction, and wisdom.  It does not make you emotional or wimpy to have “dates with Jesus”.

Maybe you argue that you have a family you should not leave.  No, I am not saying to neglect them, but your children will admire a father who truly cares about his relationship with Christ.  You don’t have to have a “date” every week; it could be once every few months.  Hire a babysitter and get away with your wife to a cabin somewhere for the weekend.  You get great “date time” in with your wife; but if you both set aside a half a day of alone time with Christ, you get in great “date time” with Him as well.

This should not take the place of personal devotions, family devotions, and husband/wife devotions…it is an additional time set apart to say, “I love You, Jesus; and I want to get to know You even better!”

Let me explain something I see that happens quite often with married women.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I think 1 Corinthians 7:34 has a lot to do with the mind set we often get when it comes to the married and single women’s relationship with Christ.  “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (1 Cor. 7:34).  We see this passage as a right to transfer our affection and time from Christ to our husband once we say “I do”.

It is true that we suddenly have other responsibilities and are intent on pleasing, serving, and loving our partners once we become married….but NEVER should that make Christ second place.  No where in the Bible does it say that our first love should be our husband instead of God.  No where can I find that being married holds us exempt from deepening our relationship with Jesus.  Too often, husbands are used as a wife’s identity and channel to God.  May I challenge you to still keep Christ as your first love and work on pursuing Him???

You are rolling your eyes, I’m sure, as you think that I obviously am not married with children to raise or I would not even think of suggesting “date times” with Jesus.  Perhaps you do not have the time to do something elaborate and spend hour upon hours alone, but do really work on carving out a “date time”.  Try the cabin thing with your husband and get off by yourselves for a bit.  If your husband is not willing to do that, then make a chai latte and cozy up with a journal and Bible while the children are napping.  Buy an ice-cream cone and find a neat place at the park to talk with Christ while the kids are at school.  Each person will have different ways of spending their “dates”, but each one will be special to Christ.  I guarantee that you won’t regret your time with Him!

Of course, single girls—-you will absolutely love “date times” with Jesus if you don’t have them already.  It’s a time to talk with the One Who chose us and thinks we are pretty SPECIAL!  It also gives us a great reason to dress up and have candlelit dinners;)

I’ll post “date” ideas once in awhile….

This was how I spent time with my True Love last evening.

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Lanterns, Picnic Basket, Pillows, Bible, Journal, Finger Food…such a cozy little spot.

 

You would dress up for a regular date; so why not for “dates with Jesus” =)—–

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Special Little Things to make the evening lovely—-

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Lanterns in our beautiful walnut tree.

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Candles, Picnic Basket, Bible, Journal.

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Words TRUST and JOY—I had claimed Joy as my word last year, and Trust is the word for this year.  I like to claim a word for the year that I want Jesus to instill in me.

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Cozy Pillows!

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Love candles!!!

 

I keep a charm necklace in my room with charms that have important meaning or reminders to me—-

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Jesus holds the key to my heart

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Purity ring

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I’m a Princess/Daughter of The King

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Dreams, music, family—things I need to hold out to God with an open hand.

 

 

Yummy Finger Foods—–

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Dove Chocolates (because every girl needs chocolate!).

 

 

Readings, Prayers, Journaling—–

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Write your “date night” on a special journal card with highlights of the evening to keep forever in your Bible.

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His Princess Bride: Love Letters from your Prince – Sheri Rose Shepherd

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A special promise for me right now!

 

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Beautiful!!!!

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“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – CS Lewis

 

The evening ended with watching the stars, lightening bugs, fireworks, and lanterns blowing in the night breeze—

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Jesus sent a chorus of birds to add music to the evening; He sent a breeze to kiss my face; He sent the stars to show that even though He holds the planets and galaxies in His hand-  He still cares about me and enjoys our times together!

 

May you have a beautiful “date” with your Beloved— because you will not regret the time spent together!

-MarJanita

Gems in Brittle Pages

Awhile ago, I found a gorgeous collection of poems in a lonely little book at a thrift store.  It is called Poems That Touch the Heart, and is personally autographed by the compiler, A.L. Alexander.  Its pages are brown and brittle, but the poems inside have meant so much to me and have been such lovely jewels for the day.  Today, I thought I would share a few of my favorites….and maybe I’ll share some of the other gems at a later time.  Hopefully you enjoy these as much as I do!

 

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Faith (my absolute favorite poem from this book)

“I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea

Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;

I shall believe the Hand which never fails,

From seeming evil worketh good to me;

And, though I weep because those sails are battered,

Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,

‘I trust in Thee’.

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return

Unanswered from the still, white realm above;

I shall believe it is an all-wise Love

Which has refused those things for which I yearn;

And though, at times, I cannot keep from grieving,

Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing

Undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,

And troubles swarm like bees about a hive;

I shall believe the heights for which I strive,

Are only reached by anguish and by pain;

And, though I groan and tremble with my crosses,

I yet shall see, through my severest losses,

The greater gain.

I will not doubt; well anchored in the faith,

Like some stanch ship, my soul braves every gale,

So strong its courage that it will not fail

To breast the mighty, unknown sea of death.

Oh, may I cry when body parts with spirit,

‘I do not doubt’, so listening worlds my hear it

With my last breath.” -Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

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‘Tis a Little Journey

” ‘Tis a little journey

This we walk;

Hardly time for murmurs-

Time for talk.

Yet we learn to quarrel

And to hate;

Afterward regret it

When too late.

Now and then ’tis sunshine-

Sometimes dark;

Sometimes care and sorrow

Leave their mark.

Yet we walk the pathway

Side by side;

Where so many others

Lived and died.

We can see the moral,

Understand;

Yet we walk not always

Hand in hand.

Why must there be hatred?

Greed and strife?

Do we need such shadows

Here in life?” – Author Unknown

 

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A Prayer For Every Day

“Make me too brave to lie or be unkind.

Make me too understanding, too, to mind

The little hurts companions give, and friends,

The careless hurts that no one quite intends.

Make me too thoughtful to hurt others so.

Help me to know

The inmost hearts of those for whom I care,

Their secret wishes, all the loads they bear,

That I may add my courage to their own.

May I make lonely folks feel less alone,

And happier ones a little happier yet.

May I forget

What ought to be forgotten; and recall,

Unfailing, all

That ought to be recalled, each kindly thing,

Forgetting what might sting.

To all upon my way,

Day after day,

Let me be joy, be hope!  Let my life sing!” -Mary Carolyn Davies

 

 

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Three Gates of Gold

“If you are tempted to reveal

A tale to you someone has told

About another, make it pass,

Before you speak, three gates of gold;

Theses narrow gates.  First, ‘Is it true?’

Then, ‘Is it needful?’  In your mind

Give truthful answer.  And the next

Is last and narrowest, ‘Is it kind?’

And if to reach your lips at last

It passes through these gateways three,

Then you may tell the tale, nor fear

What the result of speech may be.” -Beth Day

 

Valleys, Teddy Bears, and Rivers in the Desert

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Does it ever feel like everything is turning upside down?- like everything you found secure and comfortable is being taken and shaken?- like you are in a valley that will never end?- like the rain will never stop?

That has been some of my feelings lately…and I know quite a few of my friends are facing even worse clouds than the ones that are hovering over me.

Last night, I poured out my heart to God.  I told my Father that nothing makes sense.  I told Him that I feel like I am suffocating.  I told Him that I just want Him to hear me, and I just want to hear Him.  I cried that I don’t understand why my dad is still suffering and had a relapse and the doctors can’t figure out what is wrong, why the place where I had finally felt accepted and at home is being dealt blows, why my future looks so uncertain and unsure, why things can’t just work out for the good once in awhile.

Then I started reading—-and this is what my Father said to me.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it” (Is. 41:17-20).

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mineWhen thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Is. 43:1-2) .

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosenThis people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Is. 43:19-21).

 

He didn’t tell me why all this stuff is happening right now.  He didn’t tell me what the outcome will be, but He did tell me that He will be right beside me through the darkest and most trying times.  He told me that He is the way through the wilderness and the fountain in the valley.  He went through valleys darker than mine so that He could help me through the ones that I face on my journey.  No, it doesn’t answer my questions.  It doesn’t make everything all better and rosy, but it does make it bearable to know that I am not alone.

There is a picture that I have been seeing on Facebook, it is of Jesus asking a little girl to give up her precious teddy bear so that He can give her an even better gift.  I love this picture, but I see something slightly confusing about it.  When we give up, we do not usually get back greater physical things.  We will be rewarded; but it isn’t always immediate, and sometimes it is through other means like peace and joy bubbling as springs within our hearts…not a larger teddy bear.

Sometimes though, I get the mentality that by living a good life for Christ I will have things easy.  I think that by holding family, friends, church, and future with an open hand out to my Father, I will be rewarded with huge physical blessings.  The fact is sometimes I am even tested harder after that.

I often wonder if Satan approaches God about us, Christians, as he did about Job.  Can’t you see him laughing as he looks at my doubt, worry, and complaints.  “Ha,” he says, “She says she loves You, but it doesn’t last long when she has to give up what is precious to her.  Look how she questions when her good is not rewarded and life gets even harder and the giant teddy bear is never given.  What a wimpy little Jesus girl You have in Your Kingdom, God.  She will never last until the end.”

I know that you, no matter how old or young, are facing something.  Everyone is traveling this bumpy road of life…each of us will come across different obstacles and valleys.  You may not understand what is going on in your own life right now.  You may feel tempted to give up, but remember that the “waters shall not overflow thee or the flame kindle upon thee”.  Be okay with letting Jesus have that teddy bear, no matter how much you love it.  You can trust Him with it, and one day you will be rewarded…even if it’s not here on earth or in the form you think.  Christ never promised us a “healthy and wealthy” Christian life, but He did promise to be with us, even unto the very end of the world (Math. 28:20).  Now that’s a gift that we can hold unto and stick into our suitcase for the valley ahead!