Tag Archives: God

How’s Your Love Life?

3 Feb
Image representing eHarmony as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The raw data:
o dates in December 2010
0 dates in January 2011

Since joining eharmony I reached the telephone stage with two highly possible matches. Things seemed to drag after we reached the telephone phase though. One of the men was quite reluctant to meet me. He wasn’t ready to commit to actually meeting in person on a specific date at a specific time, he said. (My brow is wrinkled again even as I think of this). Curiously, despite not wanting to meet, he continued to call me to talk. The other man whom I conversed with on the phone seemed distracted. That man lived in Philadelphia. He went home to Georgia for the holidays, where, he told me, his entire family and all his social connections live. On New Year’s Eve we talked. The conversation was pleasant. We were to speak again the next day. I never heard from him. And still haven’t. I have moved on from both of these matches, and am approaching the phone phase with a new set.

It seems to me that some men, particularly those who are over 35, use eharmony because they truly believe that they are open, seeking, and attempting to find a committed relationship, though really they aren’t. These men want to believe this of themselves, maybe, because it is easier to make ill-fated attempts to find a relationship than to actually be in a relationship. It’s easier to hang out online, than to tackle whatever issues that may be keeping them from participating in a committed relationship.

Case in point: a guy a know, who is a long-time eharmony member, told me recently that one woman that he met on the site last year was extremely appealing, and he regrets not moving forward in a relationship with her. He could have married her, he told me, but did not. Alas, one of her other matches proposed after knowing her for 3 months. It is many months later and the guy that I know still has not found anyone that he is willing to move forward with in a relationship. Another case in point: one of my girlfriends met her fiancé on eharmony and within a few months of meeting, her fiancé was ready to commit to her.

In my mind the men I am meeting are either ready, willing, and able to love, or they’re not.

Despite what I’m realizing about the men on this site, I am encouraged by my own responses and reactions, which are different from what they were when I first tried eharmony in 2009. This time around I do not feel so emotionally vulnerable to the process. I find that I am getting much less invested in the 100-word-profiles that I like. I feel much less troubled by acknowledged incompatibility between a match and me. Most importantly, though, I have noticed that this time around, I have shifted my focus with respect to men I want to date. Before, I was open to and willing to “work with” a man as long as he was a “Christian”. Happily, this time around my heart genuinely desires a man who loves the Lord and the church and who shows this love by how he lives. Before, I so wanted a relationship that I tended to downplay my relationship with Christ, allegedly out of sensitivity to my match’s spiritual position. Now, because I am not so afraid of rejection, or of being deemed too weird, I have no problem divulging the fact that my life revolves around the Lord and the church.

This new confidence to be myself, and to love God openly, means I’m growing, right? And if I am becoming healthier and more real, and if I am less willing to get stuck pursuing less healthy or compatible men, then, maybe, hopefully, God-willing, I’m on my way!

But enough about me. How is your dating life going?

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How Old Do I Look?

21 Nov

Today in church one of my new choir friends asked me, “Do you go to Transitions meetings?”

Transitions is the Young Adult group in the church. It’s a ministry designed for those aged 20-29.

I told her no, I do not go to Transitions meetings. She then continued to commiserate with me and explain why this group is not meeting her needs either.

While she was talking, my thought was, “Does she seriously think that I could be in Transitions?”

This reminded me of a case I was trying recently. My adversary was a younger guy. Very friendly. On our first day, during a break he asked if I wanted to come and hang out with him and his friend, who was also an attorney. I thought this was weird because opposing sides don’t generally lunch together. But I knew the other guy from around the courthouse, so I said sure. So the three of us went to lunch. It felt like a college outing. We snuck our food into an office space that was not in use at the time, and which we were not authorized to use. Like college pranksters, they told me that though we shouldn’t be in there, they eat in this space all the time, so I shouldn’t worry.

While we ate the guy who invited me asked me, “So is this your first job out of law school too?” After he’d told me that he’d graduated less than 2 years ago.

I was a little surprised at the question. I’ve been out of school for well over ten years. I told him no, this was not my first job. That I had been at this particular job for six years, and had worked at a couple of other places prior to this job. At which point he wrinkled his brow and asked, “How old are you?”

Which is when it occurred to me that he thought that I was one of them. A newbie. Just starting out. Twenty-something.

What a curious thing to think, it seemed to me.  I don’t look like a recent graduate.

But now I’m wondering if maybe I do.

I am feeling like God has invented a different and special metric of time just for me, alá Benjamin Button.  And it makes me SMILE.

Is My Husband Praying for Me?

6 Jun
prayer_wall

Image via jesuswalk.com, Unknown Artist, "Kneeling at Prayer Wall"

It’s Day Five of the 30 Day Prayer Challenge, which committed my friends and me to praying for our (future) husbands daily for 30 days.   What I am enjoying most, I think, is the praying itself.  This week the prayers that I have prayed have been focused and directed, more purposeful than usual.  I have missed this kind of intentionality in prayer.

Besides the actual praying, I’m enthralled by the unfolding of God’s grace.  The point of this prayer challenge is for me to pray for my husband—that he would become fully the husband that God would have him be.  What I perceive happening, though, is that I am being changed.  I am being led towards becoming fully the wife that God would have me be.  While I am praying for my husband, God is pointing me to the truth about where I stand relative to getting married (I am far, far away).  While I am praying for my husband, God is asking me to look at myself and observe my patterns, my history, my ways, my thoughts, my heart.  While I am praying for my husband, more and more as the days progress, I am running to God desperately asking Him to help me to change.

So I wonder.  What is happening in the spiritual realm?  Perhaps while I am praying for my husband, somewhere–near or far away–my husband is praying for me.

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31 Day Challenge–Day 1

2 Jun
Women praying in the Western Wall tunnels. Thi...

Women praying in the Western Wall tunnels by David Shankbone. Image via Wikipedia

The first day of the challenge went well for me.  God helped me to arise extra early and to have a good time of prayer.   Other friends joined in the Challenge later in the day.  I was blessed to see how enthusiastic my friends are to pray for their husbands.  It reminded me that often in church history the spirit of prayer precedes a great move of God.  I’m of the firm belief that there is a crisis in our land, even in the church, over the issue of marriage.  But as the Lord said in my devotional reading this week:

“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.  Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” 

II Chronicles 7:13-15(NIV)

God’s eyes are open and His ears attentive to every prayer that we are offering up to Him.

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Is My Father to Blame for My Singleness?

28 Apr

 

'Jacob blessing his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh, in the presence Joseph and their mother Asenath'

by Mattia Preti, 'Jacob blessing his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh, in the presence Joseph and their mother Asenath'

 How do we measure the impact of a father’s love? 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of my father’s death.  This year, finally, my grieving has ended.  Perhaps that explains why I’m able to come to God and receive new answers about what it is that is holding me back from becoming a bride.

 

Recently, memories of my childhood, of growing up as the least favored of three children, began to come to mind.   My brother was the eldest, and was referred to by my father as his “#1 son.”  My sister was the second child.  My father nicknamed her “Dolly Dolly,” which suited her beautiful countenance, and her pleasant and mild tempered nature.  By the time that I was born, my parents’ turbulent marriage was ending, and my personhood did not register with father in the same way that my siblings’ did.  Daddy nicknamed me “Piggy.”   My father loved me.  But he did not love me best.  From my relationship with my Dad, I learned that getting a second-place kind of love from a man was normal. 

 

As I was growing up, my guy friends would call me, take me out, talk to me and share their love story dramas, sparing no details.  I would listen, admonish, encourage and advise.   It felt perfectly natural to me to be a girl who was liked, but not a girlfriend. 

Settling into my career, I entered the beautiful season of my life.  Men began to find me desirable.  I, however, seemed compelled to emotionally connect with men who were married.  The love of these men came without ulterior motive, it seemed.  They just thought I was beautiful and wanted to love me, help me, pray for me, be there for me.  I’d never experienced such an outpouring of attentiveness and unearned affection.  The love of my wise, married, established friends, felt like a first-place kind of love.  It felt like being favored. 

After a while, though, all this love and affection from married men made me susceptible to the idea of becoming a mistress–a concept that hitherto was as foreign to me as the concept of becoming a terrorist.   It was the timong of it all, I think.  Right at the time that I was transforming into a swan, when I began to have to navigate men, love, and sex issues as they related to my own life, my mind latched onto the idea of me being a woman who shares the love of a man with his wife.  I believed that I could be a mistress; it could happen.  I wondered if I could be a wife; could it happen?   Some part of my mind was (is?) stuck on believing that a second-place love, like the love my father showed me, is normal.  

When these things came to mind recently, the little girl inside of me cried to the Lord.  “I wanted to be loved.  Not as a consolation prize, but as valued and wonderful just for being me.”     I cried, “I wanted my father’s eyes to light up when he saw me too.”  I let the tears fall.  “How come he didn’t love me?  How come I had to be Piggy?”

Immediately the thought that ‘He sees me’ arose.  My crying self responded, “No, Lord, it’s not enough that you are El-roi, the God who sees me.  I don’t want to just be seen.  I don’t want to be Hagar.  She wasn’t loved either.“

And the Word of God answered me.   “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb. “   Truth rushed at me.  All the while Leah lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister, while she sought after the love and favor of her husband, Leah overlooked  the obvious fact that she had the favor of the Lord.   Though she had weak eyes and was not loved, God provided a husband for her, six sons and a daughter.  Who in scripture bore more children than she?  Rachel, on the other hand, contended with barrenness.  Leah escaped famine and saw God’s rescue of her family into Egypt.  Rachel died on the journey while giving birth. It’s not clear that Rachel ever realized God’s faithfulness.  In the tomb of the patriarchs are buried Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah.  Rachel was buried in the desert.  Beyond her death, Leah is named in the lineage of Christ.   God saw Leah, and opened Leah’s womb because Leah was loved by God Himself!

And so am I.  God has given me so much, more than most, and most of all, Him.  I have birthed hope, and faith, and people into the kingdom.  It has yet to be seen what God will birth through me in seasons to come.

God saw me.  That I was unloved.  And He opened my womb.  Today I am like Leah.  Not because my earthly father didn’t love me, but because my heavenly Father did.

 

 

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How Do You Get Over Someone?

14 Apr
Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Image via Wikipedia

GOOD
A tried and true and much used method of getting over a man, is to fall in love with another.  There are a few drawbacks to this strategy, however. First, there seems to be a chronic shortage of men around with whom one is likely to fall in love.  Also, even assuming a plentiful supply of easily lovable men, it’s not everyone who can fall in love on demand.  Most importantly, more times than not, if you are able to transfer your love right away from man #1 to man #2, the relationship with man #2 is probably nothing more than a rebound relationship and doomed to fail.  The rebound with man #2 might not even last long enough to get you over man #1.  The rebound might even backfire, and, instead of getting you over man #1, make man #1 look better than ever by comparison.

BETTER
A different, more promising, approach to getting over a lost love was suggested to me twice last month by two different friends.  One friend had just broken up with her guy and was living out her advice to me in real time.  The other friend has been waiting , alternately with and without much hope, for years and years to be noticed by the man she loves.  She has great familiarity with the “how to get over him” process.  Their advice:  pray about it.  Ask God to help you to get over him.  Ask for help in letting go of someone whom God has already said no about for you.  This is a very sound strategy.  The only trouble with this strategy is that, in actual practice, it turns out that praying such a prayer, and believing God to do it, is quite difficult.  Believing God to help us to yield to His will and to stop loving, when the Spirit that lives inside of us is Love Itself, is not only quite difficult, but, now that I think of it, quite possibly irrational.

BEST
As good as it might be to fall in love with another man, that can only happen when it happens.  As right as it might be to pray to get over loving the one our heart loves, I haven’t, personally, been able to wholeheartedly pray that prayer yet.  When it comes to my feelings for WB, my head prays to be over him, but my heart loves on.  And this is how it is:

 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (AMP)

I am inclined to believe that, though there is room in my heart for me to love others, there will never be a time when my heart does not love WB.  I have loved him, I do love him, I will love him. Resistance is futile and I surrender.   That is my strategy.  The only problem with this strategy is that it requires learning how to experience and to express an irrepressible love in ways that are healthy.  Like, instead of thoughts of him leading to obsession over him, thinking of him might lead to praying for him (and not “Me and Him”!).  For me, love has to stop being an internalized, self-focused, perplexing and frustrating place.  Love has to be free to be loving, even and especially towards the one whose love I am denied.   This is God’s way of loving us, no?

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The Audacity of Hope

5 Nov

hope2

 African-American Barack Obama has won the Presidential election and will become the 44th President of the United States of America.  It is an historic moment.

 

On the news an email from an Italian national was read, “This means that anything is possible in America.  Welcome back American Dream!”

 

After his victory was announced, in my breast embers of hope that I believed long banked, glowed and became a burning flame.  And I want to cry.  Not because I am happy.  But because I did not ask to hope.  I did not call hope forth or seek it.  Hope, for me, really is the cruelest emotion of all.  It is the hardest to endure.  Such a great hope as this victory signifies terrifies me.

 

On Election Eve my dear friend DJ called me from Chicago.  We have not spoken in months.  Since she moved as a newlywed from New York, she and her husband have purchased a large, beautiful home and their family has grown to include four children.  Six or seven years ago we were prayer partners and would pray fervently for her family and for me.  That I would marry and become a mother.  Even when we stopped praying together, knowing how greatly I desire these things, DJ was a steady source of encouragement to me over the years. 

 

When we talked two days ago, she updated me on news about her and her family.  She told me of all the weddings that were taking place around her.  I updated her on what was going on for me, and told her of all our NY friends who have had babies.  At one point DJ mentioned something about a wedding and me and I did not engage her on the issue.  I distinctly recall stifling the part of me that tried to assert the thought, “Don’t patronize me with talk of my wedding.  We both know it’s not happening.  I’ll never have children like you and your husband.”  I made some pleasant, acceptable Christian responses to all she said, and ended the call.

 

That I don’t want to talk about getting married with DJ, my friend, who only wants to continue to believe God for my future, is a very bad sign.  After that call I faced the truth of my waning hope; my diminished faith in God to ever bring my desire for marriage to fruition. 

 

I used to hope.  There were years of hope, with nothing but disappointment following.  Hope deferred has made my heart sick unto death it seems.

 

Many will say that being single and over thirty is good.  It’s Oh.Kay.  They will say that they are content and that they enjoy their lives.  I say, being single and over thirty is like being in the school yard and never being picked to play on anybody’s team.  It’s knowing the game is challenging fun and wanting to play; gathering with all the other kids on the field where the captains will choose their teams.  It’s recess after recess after recess of being passed over while watching other kids get chosen. It’s watching the others run, and catch, and get tagged out, while sitting on the sidelines knowing you would play just as well as they if only you were given a chance.  After a while the ones who are never picked stop gathering with the other kids.  We pretend that we don’t really want to play anyway.

 

Because I am still single, and for dozens of other reasons, I have urged hope to die.  But with this election victory, instead of dying, hope has unilaterally determined that it will live and grow.  It urges me to live and grow.  It dares me to believe that anything is possible.  Even marriage.