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Married People are Insufferable

I am not here to complain.

I consider myself to be more of a truth-talker than anything.

I will tell it like it is. I don’t sugar-coat it.

Married people are insufferable.

Some of the married population never really knew what it was like to be single in the first place. I mean, come on. If you married your high school sweetheart, you have no idea what it’s like to be single because you have never had to do any part of what the kids these days call #adulting without someone else by your side. If you’ve never “#adulted independently of a romantic partner, you have never been single.

#SorryNotSorry

If you got married in college or before you had to start being responsible for your own finances, you probably don’t truly know what it’s like to be single either. College, for many people, is an extension of childhood during which a student still enjoys being on their parents’ insurance, Mom and Dad help figure out the finances and the car and some parents even do their college student’s laundry. I’m not saying this is bad or wrong. But if you fit in this category, you haven’t #adulted today. If you got married while you still had this level of support from your family, you don’t know what it’s like to be single.

People tend to forget what singleness is like the instant the engagement ring goes on the finger.

Some forget what it’s like to be single as soon as the relationship is defined as a bona fide relationship.

If the selective amnesia doesn’t kick in instantly, it does come eventually, most often by the time the wedding band slips into place. In some cases it lies dormant until the first big fight or until the monotony of having the same person waking up next to you morning after morning begins to set in.

It doesn’t much matter how long it takes. It comes eventually.

And it is insufferable.

They complain about how horrible it is to be married.

Or they sit with a single person and they chide said single person because they don’t love the “freedom” of being single.

A married person might listen to a single person, feigning great interest in their circumstances and when the single person stops talking, offer a condescending remark about how they need to get right with Jesus because they have a “horrible attitude” about their lives.

The previous example happened to me recently. Today, in fact.

Someone made the statement that the book Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers) is a wonderful book.

I contributed to the conversation by saying that it is a brilliantly written and excellent book, but it is extremely frustrating for single people who don’t love being single.

They told me that I didn’t understand the story.

I understand it completely. I have a degree in reading (in the words of my brother) and in the many, many literature classes I’ve taken, I learned to recognize symbolism and find meaning in places the average person wouldn’t find symbolism and meaning. I also know the Bible. I know it quite well. I am very familiar with the story of Hosea and how his life was a foretelling of the redeeming love of Jesus. I understand that both Hosea was and Jesus is a man who loves people regardless of what they have done. It is beautiful and I love the concept of redeeming love very, very much.

But the book is frustrating. It brings that story into a slightly more modern-day time period and presents the “love story” between a man who marries a prostitute because “God told him to” with the intention of having his love change her into a woman of grace and beauty.

It’s a lovely idea.

I’m going to let my inner cynical old hag out, for just a moment, and make the comment that in the time period and geographical area in which this story took place, there were many more men than women. If this were a true story, it wouldn’t have been so much about a man proving a point as it would have been about a man who desperately wanted to have legitimate sex and operated under the delusion that marrying a prostitute would both provide him with legitimate sex and with a godly wife who had no interest in other men, simply because he picked her. If I remember the details of the biblical story correctly, it didn’t work out that way for Hosea. It didn’t work out that way for Jesus. It probably wouldn’t work out that way for anyone else either.

The book frustrates me because I’ve followed all the Good Girl Formulas. Things like:

Go to Church + Don’t Kiss Boys = Wedded Bliss

Pray + Dress Modestly = All the Men Want to Date You

Don’t Have Sex + Behave Demurely = Engaged by Age 22

Read the Bible + Don’t Talk to Men = It’ll Happen Before You Have Time to Wonder What’s Taking So Long

All the formulas. All of them.

I’ve learned that they are all lies. There is no such thing as quid pro quo when it comes to these things. God doesn’t do “If you do this, then I’ll do that” when someone else’ free will is involved.

I’ve had Christian men refuse to date me because I was too innocent. Or too godly. Literally, if I had been a prostitute, I would have gotten somewhere with those (Christian) men.

As I read Redeeming Love, I thought to myself, “The formula is to become a prostitute. Being chaste doesn’t work. Being godly doesn’t work. No matter what I do, I’m not good enough. So I might as well try being a prostitute. It worked for Hosea’s wife. It worked for the prostitute in this book. Why wouldn’t it work for me?”

Of course, that’s not the kind of person I am and I’m not actually going to become a prostitute — which makes it even more frustrating because the only thing I haven’t tried is something that I wouldn’t try. It really makes me feel like a victim of my circumstances. A girl can’t win no matter what she does because there are limits.

The other person responded by chiding me for making the story about sex trafficking (um…. the story is about sex trafficking) and told me I was being disrespectful to women who are trafficked (???) and the cherry on top was when she asked for permission to add me to her prayer list because she didn’t want to argue about it with me anymore.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

For the record, I wasn’t arguing. But you want to not argue? Just patronize me. Talk to me with a condescending tone. I wasn’t arguing. But now that you mention it…. Now I feel like arguing.

* * * * *

My response to the person’s preposterous statement was promptly deleted.

Further proof that married people are completely clueless about how truly difficult it is to be single, especially among married church people.

One might ask what my point is. Why make a ruckus about it?

I don’t talk about singleness every day. I don’t even think about it every day.

But having people shut me down as soon as I start talking about it gets old.

It says that my experience is not relevant or important. It says that my feelings don’t matter. It says that I don’t matter.

I’m sorry my experience is hard for you to hear about and watch. I’m truly sorry. But if you think it’s hard to listen to or watch and you feel the need to shut it down because it just doesn’t fit with your expectations as a Christian person…. you should really try living it.

You should try doing everything alone.

You should try coming home to an empty house day in and day out.

You should try having people pat you on the head and tell you you’re cute when you talk about it.

You should try listening to people tell you to get over it.

You should try talking about your places of woundedness and having people shut you down and tell you it doesn’t matter.

You should try having people getting in your business all the time because you’re just a little (single) girl and they don’t think you can do life without their input.

You should try to be an adult woman in a community that doesn’t recognize women as adults unless a man comes along and validates their existence by choosing to marry them.

You should try to function as a minister as a single person. Let me tell you — that does not go over very well in many circles.

You should try to live in a way that you understand to be godly and also try to date. (Hint: They either don’t want a godly woman or you’re not godly enough. There’s no winning on this one.)

You should try being not good enough and too good, both at the same time, depending on who you’re talking to, and rejected by everyone because of things that you can’t begin to comprehend.

You should try talking to people who have no concept of your circumstances and try to get them to understand.

They won’t understand. It is a truly frustrating situation to be in. You feel very isolated and alone and the harder you try to help people to understand, the more alone you feel because they don’t get it and they don’t care enough to try to understand.

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Posted by on April 21, 2018 in Current Events, Rants

 

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The Presence of God

I’ve been to a lot of church services. I’ve been to many different churches and many different kinds of churches. You know — there’s your typical evangelical church and the charismatic church. There’s the go-with-the-flow kind of church where whatever happens, happens and there really isn’t a preplanned way that things are supposed to be. There are churches that are more liturgical and planned out.

Some churches that I’ve been to focus a lot on getting “more of God.” The idea is that if you pray more, fast more, read the Bible more…. basically, work harder, be more devout and sort of prove your seriousness about it, God will grace you with His presence.

I have never been a fan of the concept of striving for God. I have never really agreed that God responds to the formulas that we create. In fact, when I’ve been presented with that doctrine in church settings, I’ve been the person who was sort of “civilly disobedient.” They would say “God will come if we shout.” (Or dance, sing, speak in tongues, evangelize, raise our hands, turn around in circles 3 times and say boo, or any number of other things.) Most of the time I would not do it. These things didn’t feel “right” to me.

I recently came across this quote from Richard Rohr:

We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.

It’s true. God is omnipresent. That means that God is present everywhere at the same time. To say that you have to strive for God’s presence is to say that God left that place at some point and you have to do something to make Him come back.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there, your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say “surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:7-12

He is present everywhere. We can’t get more of Him. We can only become more aware of Him. All the striving is useless. Awareness comes with stillness.

Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2018 in Profundities

 

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A Moment of Epiphany (From 8 Years Ago)

Note: This is copied from something I wrote in 2010.

Yesterday, my head hurt so badly that I couldn’t think straight and everything looked funny because of pressure on my eyes. But, I needed to make an effort in spite of it all because my neighbor and her baby had stopped by. My neighbor was sweeping up the crumbs on the floor and I was getting ready to take the trash out. My neighbor is nice like that — she knew I didn’t feel good so she swept the floor so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I was gathering up the trash and having this inner monologue directed at God….

(Note from 8 years later: Please give me a little grace here — I’m not this childish and self-centered when I’m not sick — or else maybe I really did used to be this way and this incident really did have a profound impact. I don’t know. I don’t enjoy thinking about this portion of my life very much. All I know is I read this and shook my head at how self-centered this sounds.)

“You know, trash isn’t my thing. It’s cold and snowy and I’m a girl. I shouldn’t have to do this. Seriously…. I need a man here…. God, either You need to give me a man or You’ll need to do this for me cuz this is so not my thing.”

It was basically one of those “God, you have to do something” moments.

And He said, “Hold it right there, Missy.”

I knew it was God because everything — my brain, my eyes, my face — ached and I couldn’t put a philosophical thought together on my own if I had wanted to, which I didn’t want to. I just wanted to take the medicine my doctor prescribed and go to bed.

“Hold it right there, Missy,” He said. If you want my blessings, you have to submit to me and the things I put — or haven’t put — in your life.” Submission and passivity are not the same. Submission does not mean accepting things simply because you can’t change them. Submission is agreeing to not wallow in misery because your circumstances aren’t ideal.

*gulp*

“Submission is being open and honest enough to invite me into every area of your life,” He went on, “even the areas that hurt and don’t make sense and that you would give anything to be able to change.”

By this time, I had realized that what I had always thought submission to be — which was basically just sitting there and waiting for God to do something — was entirely wrong.

“Many people think they’ve submitted to me when they invite me into their lives. But I don’t make them submit. I prompt. ‘Hey, are you sure you really want to keep that part of your life in the dark away from the light of my love?’ The choice is yours. You can not experience me and my love completely until you allow me to permeate every area of your heart, mind and will. Even the broken and hurting parts.”

As far as I’m concerned, it’s so much easier to just let it lie and live the lie that everything is just fine. (I mean, except for the part where you lie in bed at night and think about how miserable you are because all that stuff is trapped inside and no one really understands because you’re afraid to even let God see it — as if He doesn’t already know, in spite of your amazing coping mechanisms.)

I guess God felt a little chatty, because He went on, “The key is in inviting. All of it — even the most hurtful and illogical parts — make sense to me. And as I walk through the pain and hardship and loneliness with you (after you invite me along on the journey), I will teach you the meaning and the purpose of it. I will teach you things you would never understand otherwise. As I walk through the valleys with you, joy will spring out of places of pain. I will draw you to myself, and as our hearts are cemented together, I will make you whole. This is what spiritual wholeness looks like.

“But, there’s a reason why that must happen. It’s easier to be emotionally whole when you’ve become spiritually whole first. It’s very hard to find emotional fulfillment — which is what you’re looking for when you ask for someone to take out the trash — if you’re not first spiritually fulfilled.”

That must be why Jesus said “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” I get it now.

And He concluded, “But it all starts with submission. It is a choice that involves being really honest. It’s praying stuff like ‘Lord, this is hard and I need You to walk with me or I just can’t do it. I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.’ It’s about asking me to be part of it, even though you hate it. There isn’t a valley in your life that is so dark that i don’t want to go there with you. If you invite me along, it will change and it will get better. I want to help.

With that, the garbage was bagged and ready to go and I felt like some of my internal garbage — some of the lies I had been believing about how dark and hopeless my life was — had been taken out too.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Old News, Uncategorized

 

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Being a Boat in a Storm

Now, when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:36-41

Sometimes we are like that boat.

Tossed about on uncontrollable and unpredictable waves.

Drowning in the Sea of The Unknown.

It’s easy to focus on the storm raging about us. Noise and chaos grab our attention and drown out any hope of sweet rest and peace.

But the Truth. Jesus dwells within my boat. He lives there. He is intimately acquainted with every minute detail of my boat. He knows exactly what kind of storm rages within and around me. He knows when to whisper “peace” and He knows when I need Him to shout “PEACE” at the chaos raging within. He knows the struggles. He knows the storms. The Prince of Peace, the One who made all that is with just the words from His mouth, calms it all with just one word. Peace. Be still.

Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:10-11

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Profundities

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 28

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#28. Visit at least one family member per month — unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Let’s say that the weather has been rather uncooperative.

Or, I could just tell the truth and say that since I work a lot of weekends, it’s hard to get out of town much these days.

That and the fact that I do live in South Dakota where it’s blustery, cold, rainy, snowy or icy about 8-9 months of the year and that doesn’t help matters much either.

When I wrote this goal, I thought it would be nice to have a family dinner once a month. They’re all in the same general area and I’d just have to drive 2 hours north, stop at that Pizza Ranch or one of my brothers’ houses, have dinner and chit-chat or play a game or something. Maybe I’d stay the weekend. Maybe I’d just stay the day.

It was a lovely idea, really.

Why did I not actually do this one?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 18

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s: Day 18

#18 As much as is possible, avoid sacrificing tact on the altar of truth.

What this means is that if it can’t be said kindly, it probably doesn’t need to be said.

This one comes and goes.

I stumbled across this article this evening and it explains beautifully how and why tact is sometimes absent in everyday conversations.

It’s because hurt people hurt people.

No, it’s not ok to hurt someone emotionally, physically, or any other way. It’s also not ok to use past (or present) pain as an excuse to inflict pain on someone else.

But, our own pain is the reason we speak and behave unkindly.

I suppose you could say that this goal could be reworded “deal with my pain so I can be a healer instead of a hurter.”

As I said before, it comes and goes.

Lately, things have been particularly painful and difficult and I’m sure I’ve been less than kind on several occasions.

And for that, to those I’ve hurt, I apologize.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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Broken Glass

In prayer this morning, the Lord reminded me of John 8:36, which talks about freedom. If the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you are free indeed.

Indeed. If you’re on Jesus’ team, you’re free of whatever obstacle, problem, past experience, other people’s opinions, fear — whatever stands in your way. Those things have already been absolutely shattered.

We see all those things as closed doors. But they aren’t. They are more like panes of glass that cross our paths. And because of grace, Jesus flung a giant stone labeled TRUTH at every pane of glass in our way and the past experiences, the problems, the lies we believe, our fear — all of it lies in a pile of shattered glass at our feet.

Sometimes we see something that we really want and we might lean over that pile of shattered glass and touch the dreams we treasure in our hearts.

I have always wanted to be a mommy. I’ve leaned over my pile of shattered fears and I’d pick up my friends’ babies and snuggle them and sing to them and play with them and I’d be the best second mommy to those babies I could possibly be.

I leaned over because I didn’t believe that Jesus had shattered my fears.

I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and I’m particularly interested in midwifery. I’ve leaned over my pile of shattered “I can’ts” and I’ve touched it.

But I haven’t pursued it fully because I didn’t believe that Jesus had shattered my “I can’ts.”

I’ve wanted lots of things and I’ve leaned over many piles of shattered glass to briefly touch things that I so desperately wanted but didn’t believe could ever be mine.

I wasn’t believing that Jesus had already broken the things that made it feel impossible.

In the past several months, after beginning to realize that I’m already free, I took some giant leaps, hoping and praying that I’d clear the pile of glass and avoid the cuts that seem inevitable if we land in the wrong spot. I bought a house so I’d have a safe place for sweet babies to sleep and play. I became a foster parent. I can do this. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:14) I can be a mommy and the lack of husband is only a pile of shattered glass on the road in front of me.

Those leaps are difficult. I know they are. But I want to leave you with this piece of encouragement:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

He’s given us tools to help us step over the piles of broken glass in our way. The belt of truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The gospel of peace. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

He’s broken the things that stand in our way and He’s given us the tools to move forward with courage.

My prayer for you is that you will stand firm in what He’s done and who you are because of it. My prayer for you is that the mountains you see in front of you would be transformed in your mind to what they truly are — pitiful piles of broken glass. My prayer for you is that you would know the grace and peace of Jesus as you walk your path.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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