You Are No One’s Number One

A few weeks ago my long time friend, Rachel Storey, asked me if she could write for my blog still. I believe I asked her a while back and because she is incredible (teaching full time, studying to get her masters, and very involved at her church) she didn’t have much free time. I said yes. One thing I admire about Rachel is that she is always striving to do and be better- wherever she is. She also has had a few tough blows and she keeps pressing on. She is one of my dearest friend and I’m grateful for her writing this blog. ______________________________________

You are no one’s number one. 

I can remember the exact moment this was whispered to me, by me, probably fact checked by Satan. My mother, my sister and I had just found out my father had died after being struck by a car. Within minutes, maybe seconds, of hearing the news I knew I would need to take care of my mom and sister and be strong for them. So that’s what I did. I hugged them, I prayed, and I began planning for our trip to South Florida for my father’s memorial service. All the while, this thought was nagging me at any open moment. 
You are no one’s first priority.
 The truth is, I’m not. I don’t have someone to share the journey of life with. I am single and I always have been. I’ve never been married, I’ve never had a boyfriend, I have never dated anyone, I’ve never been asked out on a date, and I have never been kissed. Seriously. Nothing. Did I mention I am 30? I’ve been waiting for quite some time now. All of this isn’t for lack of trying. I have tried my best to be available and give chosen men the greenlight, but they didn’t move forward. Some made a right or left at the intersection where we met and were polite and declined with kind words. The worst ones made illegal u-turn’s into the opposite direction and didn’t bother to respond at all. Even if the greenlight was in their face and people behind them were honking to let them know it was there. I have even tried online dating but nothing happened there as well. It didn’t seem natural and I received messages from creepy older men who I am not sure how they found my street at all.
This constant state of rejection leads me to thinking something must be wrong with me. Is it my weight? If so, how shallow are these men? Is my past of being sexually abused written on my forehead? If so, don’t they know it wasn’t my fault and God actually protected me and that I am not damaged because He is the one who redeems? Is it because no one would describe me as being meek and mild? If it is that last one, y’all need to read the Bible some more and discover all the loud and powerful women in it.
I write all of this because I need to show some vulnerability and be truthful for you to truly understand that my interests, feelings, concerns, hopes, dreams, good days and bad days are not on the thoughts of any man. This is most evident when various struggles enter my life. It has become more and more evident over this past year since my father died.

I struggled with my grief a lot in the following months after his death. I was reminded of a lot of things my father wouldn’t have the opportunity to do like attending a possible wedding and husband or grandchildren to meet. I don’t express my emotions outwardly often, but experiencing a death so close to me changed that for a while. I found myself bothered by things that didn’t usually bother me and crying at the oddest moments in front of people I didn’t want to cry in front of. I joined a Grief Share recovery group to help with this but I was constantly reminded everywhere I went that I had no one who looked out for my needs or knew me so intimately the way a husband would. I had never felt so alone before, and Satan took advantage of that. He led me to believe I was unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.
On top of all of these emotions, I was dealing with what I have always dealt with. Desiring to be married and have a spouse is often seen as a selfish and desperate desire, especially in the Christian world. It is okay to desire a promotion, a new career, pregnancy, a baby, etc. It is not wrong or easier to desire those things. It is not wrong to desire anything God meant as good for your life. But when you say you desire marriage and the intimacy that comes with it, people often see you as weak and desperate and selfish and unsatisfied with your life. All because of the desire for something God designed and created. God is the one who decided that it was not good for man to be alone. And when Adam had seen Eve he proclaimed that she was the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh. God had given him what he may not even be sure he desired. It is not wrong for me or for any other person to desire a marriage designed by God. But when I share this desire, I am met with these usual phrases:

 

“Oh trust me, marriage isn’t easy.” Well, duh.

 

“You’d want to be alone if you were married someone like my husband.” Did you really just say that?

 

“You’re better off single, trust me.” Why are you married?

 

“It will happen for you someday.” You should stop telling people that because you can’t guarantee it.

 

“Singleness is a gift from God.” Sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

 

Marriage isn’t for everyone. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul talks about what I like to call “Single Life Swag.” He advises the singles and widows to stay unmarried as he is because life is simpler that way. He also expresses that the same way marriage isn’t for everyone, single life swag isn’t for everyone as well. I have often wondered and prayed about if I have single life swag. I do know that being single makes life simpler. In fact, I remind myself of this when I begin to feel lonely or hyper focused on the fact that I am not married. Because I am single, I can spend all day Sunday serving the youth at my church. Because I am single, I don’t have to run any vacation or trip ideas by another person. Because I am single, I can devote a lot of time to students at work. Because I am single, I get to choose how to spend my days and devote many of them to learning more about God.

 

I have an amazing life as a single person, a life that I love. But because I am a human who can feel many things at once; those amazing things don’t negate my desire for marriage. I am not sure that I am destined for single life swag. God gave me this heart and He designed me to be romantic (I think I enjoy Christian romance novels and Jane Austen period pieces too much to be left single. I’m also writing this as I watch Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South for the 100th time. Oh that train scene at the end).

 

But I have to be patient and wait. Thankfully, I am in good company and I just blew my own mind thinking of these similarities. Guess who else never married and never dated at the age of 30? Guess who spent their single life pursuing the purpose and work God designed them for? Guess who else was able to travel? Guess who else was able to devote time to their students?

 

Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus has walked where I am walking, waited where I am waiting, and prayed where I am praying. I may not be a man’s number one, but Jesus has been and will always be MY number one. He is the One that matters most and He is no ordinary man. My interests, concerns, feelings, hopes, and dreams are always on His mind. He knows my heart and knows my desires. He has taken care of me and protected me in ways a husband never could. I just have to wait.

 

So what do I do while I wait? The same thing I have been doing. I pray and worship. I serve God in the ways He designed me to serve. I do my best to prepare myself for marriage by observing it in action (Trust me, if I know you personally and you are married, I have watched you and your spouse interact and I have taken notes. You have files. Just kidding. Maybe). All of these things have taught me not to settle and to keep my standards high.

 

I can know all of this and still desire marriage. I can be satisfied in and thankful for my single life and still desire marriage. I’m human and humans are sometimes contradictory. God is constant, even when I am not. I am not ashamed of wanting what God has created to be good. I am not ashamed of being single and inexperienced at 30. I am not ashamed of making Christ my number one. He has a plan for my life and I will follow that plan. He is mine and I am His forever – forever longer than any marriage made on earth.

 

“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20 (NKJV)

 

P.S. If you happen to know a guy willing to be the number two in my life, feel free to tell him to holler at your girl. I feel like I already have an army of more experienced women and mentors either praying for me or searching for me and more join the party whenever I share this part of my heart. Pray for your other single friends too. So much better than online dating :o)

 

Song of the week:  Not For A Moment, by Meredith Andrews 

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Is Jesus Really Enough?

Today’s post is brought you by Stephanie Perry Brock. Over the past few years, although we have different lives, we’ve shared similar situations. We are very different from each other in personality and giftings, but we compliment each other. She’s always teaching me something new. She is an amazing mom to four beautiful children, and a wonderful wife to her husband Justin (who I call my twin 😆). I am so proud of her. She has not had an easy road to walk with having HG with ebery pregnancy and having big life changes every year. She is a gift to me and I am grateful for her writing this post… To follow more from her please check out her site: http://www.storiesofhisgrace.com

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The room was dark, just illuminated emergency exit sign. All you could hear was the gentle hum of the engines as the ship gently rocked from side to side. I felt devastated, alone, and scared.

I was about to leave my floating home. I had 48 hours then I’d be traveling back stateside. I just lost my grandfather. The ship was docked in Libya and my departure was time sensitive. Leave now… or stay through till your commitment ended (another 8months). 

Before I even had the chance to decide the personnel leaders on board decided for me. I was going home. I was about to leave my new comfort zone and community of over 400 friends and believers. I‘d been in a serious relationship but we were no longer together. I sat there wondering why God was stripping me of everything. Then the lord spoke to my heart. “Steph, I am enough” I made a commitment right there that whatever came my way, good or bad I knew Jesus was enough.

That took place seven years ago. Since then the Lord has immensely blessed me and gave me a second chance at the relationship. We’ve been married five years now and have four beautiful kids. All under four. We have vehicles to drive, a house, and a wonderful community where we live. But life is changing, shifting and Lord is again taking things away and I’ve been questioning…

You see seven weeks ago today, my dad was in a serious car crash. And 6 weeks ago today he passed into eternity. My husband had already signed up for a certificate course for aviation at a school just down the road from my parents. Long stories short… We put our house on the market, we’ve sold and donated more than 50% of all our belongings and are relocating to Florida from Delaware. Again all very sudden. But now it’s different, it’s harder. We’re giving up our home to move back into my mom’s house. My husband’s last day of work is in three weeks. We have family up here and a wonderful church community. The house hasn’t sold. Work isn’t lined up. Is Jesus enough?

Hebrew 1 shares the supremacy of God’s Son. Here are verses 1-4:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the work of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

Did you get all that? God the Father gave us Jesus to be his messenger directly to us! Jesus is:

  1. The heir of all things!
  2. The one whom God created the word
  3. The radiance of the glory of God
  4. The exact imprint of God the Father
  5. He upholds the universe by his power!
  6. He is the purification of sin
  7. He’s seated at the right hand of the Father
  8. He is superior than angels
  9. His name is more excellent than the angels

This passage just blows me away. I get so consumed by the here at now, so attached to my earthly relationships and possessions I lose sight of how awesome our God really is. Earthly possessions are not wrong, they are a blessing, but when they become what defines us, makes us feel safe, and start to replace the God who holds the universe, that is very wrong. It’ll make us scared, lonely and devastated. If I choose to fix my eyes on who Christ is, and no what I’m going through. Jesus is so much more than enough!
“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never parish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:3-4

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


 

Sitting In Silence

I’m back in the state where I lost my Dad. My family and I had to drive passed where my Dad’s accident was as we evacuated our home. We had time to board up our house, but we left everything behind except a few belongings. We have no idea what hurricane Irma will do. 
But, to be honest, I feel like I’ve already been hit by a category 5 storm. I feel like my family has been hit by a category 5 storm. 
I see that storm and I cry because that “catastrophic damage” is how my heart feels. Our family lost our rock, our leader, our protector and provider. Yes, God is all those things, but my Dad was our human representations of those things. 

 

I know already that this storm will change everyone’s life in South Florida. For some it may be a few weeks for other it could be forever, but it will not be the same. 
The same is true for my family. Our lives will never be the same. 
I used to think, wow we are really fortunate, nothing really bad has happened to our family. It was always someone else. All that changed on July 16th when my Dad loses control of his car and then passed on July 23rd.
When I hear of what Harvey and Irma have taken and destroyed, I think of the pain of losing my Dad. But these hurricanes remind me that’s a “fatality” is not just any fatality any more. That fatality is someone’s family member. Their tears are my tears. That new life change is my new life change. It’s not just “those people” anymore, it’s me. 

What I mean to express is that I feel their pain. I hurt for them. Those “Islands in the Caribbean” are my island. My heart is so heavy on so many levels. I feel crushed beneath the weight of grief. I am hurting for those who are hurting and I am hurting myself. 
Maybe that’s what is supposed to happen in life. I keep having to remind myself of what Jesus went through. I once heard a man say something a long the lines of “Had God not sent His son to suffer, I don’t know that I could ever resonate with God the Father” 


This life will bring troubles. It will break your heart time and time again. It will crush you. It will make you want to give up. It will shake you. It will come with gusts that rip away precious things and precious people from your life. 
Yet, God is not a cookie cutter God. In a world of billions with different languages, different personalities, different gifting, God knows each one of us. He knows you. He knows me. He knows our pain. He doesn’t have an automated reply. He relates with pain, loss, devastation and grief. He’s been through it. He doesn’t give you cookie cutter responses like: “Count it all joy”, or “All things work together for good”. I know those words are inspired by God, and I do believe we hold on to that, but in the midst of the storm, I believe that often God sits with us in silence, until we are ready to wrestle through our questions, hurts and doubts. 
There are times life leaves us speechless. Staring at the storms approaching leaves one mesmerized and frightened- in silence. In the same way, staring at my Dad in a coma, whose body was so healthy and strong, left me with no words- only tears. 
But in the speechless times of life, I believe God is sitting right beside us. People who know pain, know that sometimes all a hurting person needs is to know that someone is with us. 
I had an amazing roommate for a period of time. When we were both home, it wouldn’t be uncommon to sit in the same room in silence. We didn’t need to talk, but we wanted each other’s company. It was comforting. When my Dad was in the hospital a family friend came and sat with us. He didn’t say much but he was there. It brought comfort. In the same way, I imagine God sitting beside me and those hurting. 
To be honest, most of the time, I don’t know how to pray or what to say. 
I recently came across Job 2:13, “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was”

 

So although I don’t understand so much of what is happening, I was reminded of Isaiah 53 (NLT). Which helps me remember that although my vision feels blurred by grief (Ps 6:7), Jesus knows. Jesus understands. He lived it. He suffered through life, and He is with me. And He is with each person who is hurting. 
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?

2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!

5  But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

7  He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

8  Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.

9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Maybe we are made for suffering because suffering brings compassion, when surrender it to God. 
Time and time again it says Jesus was moved to compassion. And in Psalm 46:10 It says, “Be still and know that I am God” it doesn’t say be still and talk. It just says be still… Maybe suffering is the tool God allows to help us be still…

***These are just some of my thoughts. Writing helps me process… Thank you for letting me have an outlet to process…