Carlene’s Pen: “So Why Are You Still Single?”

22 Jun

“So…can I ask with as beautiful as you are, and as Godly as you are…how come no one’s snatched you up yet?”

CarleneThat question came up to me again tonight – as it has off and on throughout the last several years. It’s always interesting to me how it annoys me hearing it from some people, yet totally blesses me when asked by others. I think it’s because you can tell a person’s heart behind the question. Basically, I’ve seen that question come up with one of three motives behind it.

#1 – TRYING TO SEND ANOTHER MESSAGE – Some mean it in a way implying “there must be something wrong with you if you’re not married off yet” which of course stings a little when they’re passing judgment without even taking the time to get to know you.

#2 – THE INQUIRING BUSY BODY – Others ask out of prying curiosity, which is in essence more about them than it is about you. This also carries a sting because the motive is they want the answer to their question more than they want to consider how it may make me feel being on the receiving end of that inquiry. They have an itch, and they want it scratched – so they forge ahead not thinking how it may make me feel, or the impact on my heart it may bear to again be asked a question which carries the masked trace of “what’s wrong with you?”

#3 – A LOVING COMPLIMENT – But oh, how kind when you receive the 3rd possibility. There are those that speak it out as a true blessing of a compliment. You can hear a pure tone of them relaying by their question that you are unique, special, and set apart, and they find it hard to believe that no one has discovered the diamond that you are. They say it caring – wanting you to know that THEY see a treasure in you – and that you are worth being loved in a special way.

When asked this question, regardless of the motive in which it’s asked, it gets me thinking quickly about the hard time we have with contentment – whether in our lives, or in others’ lives. We don’t like it when anything in this world makes us scratch our head and say “this ought not be so.” We think all things should be the way WE want them to look – at all times, and we have a really hard time when they’re not falling into place.

When I’m asked why I’m still single, I often want to smile and respectfully say what to me is an obvious response: (more…)

Melissa’s Pen: When the Rain Comes

16 Jun

If you live in Texas, you have probably had all the rain you can stand. Creeks are now rivers. Ponds are now lakes. Lakes meare now overflowing into neighborhoods and parks.  Enough is enough.

I am no stranger to rainy seasons in life. A good marriage unexpectedly ended. I was let go from a job. I walked through cancer with my brother.  I have battled depression and anxiety. Enough is enough.

Maybe you are going through something. Maybe your life has unexpectedly changed in some unalterable way. Maybe you cry yourself to sleep in an empty bed after you tuck the kiddos in. Maybe your bank account is empty. I don’t know. What I DO know is that there is hope.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus knows your struggle. He doesn’t promise that the sun will always shine. He DOES say that He has your life under control. The key is to let go of your grip on your life, and let Him take over. In times of struggle, doubt, and the longest rainy season in my personal history—I ran to Him. When I run to my girlfriends via text or social media and whine and complain and tear down the person who hurt me, I find no hope in that. None. But when I run to the Lord, He is faithful to calm and shelter me through the storm.

My oldest daughter (of 3) graduates from High School on Friday. Last night I took a long look back at her life and realized that I got divorced when she was in Kindergarten and have been a single parent for the 12 years since. But not once in these 12 years have we missed a meal, been without clothing or shelter, or lacked for anything. With God in control, and with the help of my parents, my extended family, and my church family, we have not just survived—we have thrived!

The verse I have stood on for all these years is this: “Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Sweet friend, you are NOT alone.

The rain WILL end.

The sun WILL shine again.

And…

YOU. WILL. BE. OKAY.

Caitlyn’s First Steps

29 Apr

Caitlyn 9 bdayThe LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

—Exodus 34:6 NLT

April 22nd, 2015, marked a birthday for my daughter and an anniversary for me. Caitlyn turned nine-years-old. I have now been a mother for exactly nine years and nine months.

As I have watched both of my children grow through the years, a thought has played on repeat in my mind: I had no idea how much power I had over my mother and father.

It’s true. My children hold the power of my very well-being in their small hands; my heart is stretched out and woven through their little fingers. A goofy grin or tear-stained face can change my mood in an instant.

Some of the brightest mountain-top moments over the past nine years are framed as a “first:” first word, first crawl or the first day of school.

Recently I thought about Caitlyn’s first steps.

We were at a family gathering, celebrating the April and May birthdays. That’s when my daughter—who’s never met an audience she didn’t love—chose to make her walking debut.

The family was sitting in a circle around the living room and Caitlyn had all eyes on her. So far, she had done nothing more than stand-and-release. Pull herself up with a walker, let go, wobble a bit, and grab back onto the toy.

Suddenly, she got brave.

(more…)

Forgive Like Mo’

24 Mar

mone davis

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.”

—Matthew 18:21-22 HCSB

What were you doing at age thirteen?

I lived on Churchill Street in Shoreview, Minnesota. My best friends were Jenny Wagner, Molly Benson, and Nicole Sekeres. I loved Debbie Gibson, Bon Jovi, and Tiffany equally, and I wanted to be a singer.

My friend Dawn Kuechle had the VHS tape of Dirty Dancing, which we watched every time I spent the night at her house. When I was thirteen I liked a boy named Leon and rode my bike everywhere I went.

Life was simple.

Life is a little more complicated for a sweet thirteen-year-old girl named Mo’ne Davis.

The young Ms. Davis was thrust into the spotlight at age twelve when she led her baseball team to the Little League World Series, and as Wikipedia® states, “the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout in Little League World Series History.”[i]

Davis’ fastball is a whopping seventy-miles-per-hour—head and shoulders above her age group’s average. She excels at all things athletic, football and basketball included. Perhaps the most notable of her achievements is the cover of the August 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated, a first for a Little League player.

All that is nice, but all that is nothing compared to what she did on Monday, March 23rd, 2015. (more…)

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