Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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When You Say “I Do” – You Get Me Too

IMG_3064The pen scratched the paper in a smooth rhythm as I signed my name. It was official. Sarah and Eric were now legally married and my signature and presence witness that agreement. Sarah and Eric chose each other, and I chose to stand with them.

Being a Bridesmaid, or a Maid-of-Honor, is not just a wonderful excuse to wear a pretty dress, or even to enter in a couple’s joy with them. It is a silent commitment; a promise and a choice to stand with this couple and go the distance of life with them. I’m committing to walking out life with them, to honor them, support them, and hold them accountable. To encourage them in the Lord and be there with them no matter what life throws their way. My hope and prayer for them is to be healthy inviduals first, and then as a couple. When they say ‘I do’ to each other and they ask me to be there? Well, they get me too!

Why would I want to choose to run the distance with the couple’s whose weddings I’ve been in? Is it because I hold to the tradition of witnessing the marriage? In part, yes. But mostly I choose to go the distance with them, because Jesus chooses to go the distance with me. And therefore it’s an honor to be asked to go the distance with others.

““I choose you.” This is the foundation of true lasting relationships. It’ is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to is disciples, ‘ You did not choose Me, but I chose you…’ Jesus chose you.” – Danny Silk  from Keep Your Love On

Jesus chose you! He chose me. Chose to pursue me through the pain of the cross, through my joys, and my sorrows, through sickness and in health, Jesus has consistently pursued me in His love. He now leaves me with a choice – will I choose Him back? When I’m angry at Him, will I turn to Him, or from Him? Run to Him with my joys and sorrows, or try to hide what I’m feeling from Him?

Choice and commitment are not limited to physical marriage. They are the basis of every healthy relationship. Jesus chose you. Will you choose Him back? The Gospel does not limit commitment and choice to a physical marriage covenant. Jesus invites all of us to choose Him back, to commit to the marriage covenant of the Lamb. To be the bride of Christ. Being single and fully alive means that I am aware that every day I have chosen and committed to pursue intimacy, communication, and love with Jesus Christ.

It’s because Jesus has chosen to go the distance of life with me, that I can choose to do the same with the people and friendships I commit to and love. Sometimes this might look like being a  bridesmaid, but more often than not, it’s quietly choosing to love those around me the way Christ loves me.

Brides

Singles, you are not left out of a covenant of love. Jesus chose you, and is giving you opportunities to practice commitment every day. Will you choose Him back today?

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive “When You Say “I Do” You Get Me Too is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship

Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship – A Guest Post

When practicing any sort of self-defense, weaponry, etc. the goal is to practice so often that your movements are reflexive, instinctual. Since I was a kid, my dad taught me how to break out of someone’s grip. For around 10 years he had me practicing. He would hold my or my sibling’s wrist and have us break away by focusing our movement through their thumb – the weakest part of their grip. Now, if he or someone else did grab my wrist, I wouldn’t even think about what I was doing, I would automatically just do it.

So what am I getting at? There are situations when in the moment you may not be able to think clearly or fast enough to make a decision that could save yourself and others. In those times your decision already needs to be made. What are you going to do? What do you expect?

What I have to say comes from being that person who didn’t make the decision beforehand. I didn’t know I should have. So I want to share with you, why I didn’t decide and why it’s important.

In my romantic heart I believed in the soul mate, the “one”. I believed God write’s your love story. I really wanted to only be in a relationship with the man I would marry. I kissed dating goodbye. (I’m not here to knock any of those things; they can be debated at another time.)But even if I only believed in one of those things, I can still see my brain, and many others’ not making this one decision beforehand.

Plan to say, “No”.

See, in my mind, if I didn’t date, if I waited for a really great guy, if I got so close to God that the guy would have to pursue God to get my attention; why would I ever have to say, “no”? If I did all those things right, then he would take care of me, he would have my best at heart…he would love God enough that he wouldn’t do anything that I would have to protect myself against.

Ladies and gents, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not true. I did all of those things, and did not have saying “no” to him even in my mind…it wasn’t even a thought. I thought that we would talk about our boundaries and that would be that. We would agree on them and he would respect that.

It’s easy to lose the clear lines of who we (each of us as individuals) are, when in a relationship. But at the end of the day, or the end of the relationship, you are still you. You as an individual. A son or daughter of the King. A saint and citizen of heaven. Worthy of respect and respectful treatment. I encourage you, be a proactive, prepared individual. While you do deserve to be treated with respect, it is your job to communicate that to people. If you can’t treat yourself well, how do others know to? Do you respect yourself enough to look people in the eye? To speak clearly and express your thoughts to others? To learn how to become emotionally healthy? To put boundaries into place?

While we are redeemed as Christians, we still sin at times (commission and omission). Even if the guy or girl is a passionate Christ-follower, they will mess up at times.

It’s tempting to think that life somehow changes in a relationship, but life cannot be put into a box or formula. We absolutely cannot think that because we’re running through a field of daisies,  that everything will commence in an assumed way.  Gain all the wisdom and knowledge you can; but keep the recipe and box out of it.

I followed my recipe; I put my relationship and God in that box, and it turned out so very different than I thought. I really assumed that if I followed God’s leading to a guy, the guy would never hurt me *, or that I wouldn’t need to stand up for myself. But I did. He did hurt me, and I did need to stand up for myself – for the both of us. If I had done that from the beginning of the wrong, it would have changed the story line drastically. I would have been communicating honestly and drawing a firm boundary of how I expected to be treated. If he/she chooses not to respect that line, it is absolutely okay for you to end that relationship. I mean it. You mean business. If this is something that you have to take a stand on, don’t step down because someone doesn’t agree. (Disagreement comes in many ways: verbally, implied, etc.) *I did realize that he wouldn’t be perfect and would at times say something mean, etc. But I didn’t realize that he would do more harm than that.

I would also encourage you to tell an accountability partner, mentor, or friend what your decision is. It’s easy in the moment to want to please your counterpart and not rock the boat. But if you have made enough of a decision to verbally share it and tell someone else, you’ll be that much better off. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just pertain to the physical, but the emotional and spiritual as well. All three of those areas, boundaries need to be made and held. The physical is just the most prevalent and obvious area.

While Nancy Regan spoke in reference to drug use, “Just say no” works in this case just as well. What are those areas you will, “just say no”, to? Take this time as a single person to cover the areas that are important to you, and make your decisions. Pull someone alongside of you in this, they can temper and give advice.

In summary, please plan to say “no”. Not because you assume the worst of the other person, the failure of the relationship, or any other pessimistic thought path. But because there is a reality of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. Someday we will be walking our beautiful streets of our redeemed earth, but until then become a prepared realist. If you don’t get to the point where you have to say “no” there’s no harm done. But if you do have to say “no”, you are prepared to do it.

Being present and fully alive, doesn’t just stop at singlehood! ;) It continues into your future relationships, just tweaked to include another person in your life. As we choose to live life fully now, take this time to also choose life to the fullest in your future relationship.Planning for success, (even with a “no”), in a prepared and realistic way fosters more life!

-Guest Posted Anonymously

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship” is a guest post and part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Wedding pictures

I don’t really have words tonight ya’ll, but my heart is full and blessed.
My little sister is married and I cried tears of joy for her several times through out the day.
Today something really special happened: i gained a brother in law. He also happens to understand that coffee is my love language (and he works at Starbucks!) Shazam!
More incredible than that? Was the moment He whispered “I love you” to me as we stood in the receiving line. Not a man of many words this was incredibly precious to me. I also spent 3 hours getting to know my future sister in law (next months wedding).
Hearts truly do explained to hold more love.

Learned how to do Waterfall Braids on the spot.

Learned how to do Waterfall Braids on the spot.

Sisters - Bridesmaids

Sisters – Bridesmaids

 

Cutie

Cutie

IMG_4528

 

New to be sister-in-law  <3

New to be sister-in-law <3

IMG_4640

Wedding Cake - been a few years since I made one of these

Wedding Cake – Been a few years since I made one of these

Mr & Mrs.

Mr & Mrs.


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Catch Up Day

IMG_4459

Lovin my new t shirt!

Today my little sister gets married ya’ll! (Whooooo!) This week as been a little crazy and being single and fully alive means that I’m able to devote all of my time and energy blessing her. Pray with me that this day will be full of rejoicing and the sweetness of the Lord’s presence?

On Wednesday I posted a blog entitled “Uh…. Awkward” where we laughed at the awkwardness that singleness can bring. I had a funny song all picked out that illustrates in a humorous way how we can at times add to the awkwardness, or make things awkward….. what is it that I keep saying? Oh yes – Singleness is what you make of it ;). Well really, so is most of life :)

Please enjoy this hilarious video and laugh with me! Sometimes awkwardness needs to be laughed at (The couple is marvelously awkward too)! (email peeps – click here)

Well I’m back to ALL things wedding. I’ll hopefully be sharing some pics with you all  tomorrow. Incase you missed them and want a catch up day, these are some of the most poplar posts from this series:

- Replaced                                                      - What’s Wrong With Me?

-You’re Not Sick, You’re Single                  - Um….Awkward 

- Single Vision                                                

- Fully Alive {Explained} 

Live fully alive in whatever you are doing today. You are worth it! His very name is Immanuel (God with us) because of the value He places on being present. Be present and live fully todayToday's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive

“Catch Up Day” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Truth is Truth

Truth is truth.  What I have learned in singleness, others have learned in marriage, in infertility, in parenting. I’ve become irritated while writing this series because  I HATE putting people into two camps: Married or Single. For the sake of clarity in writing, I have had to differentiate, but when I look at a person, I see a person.

One of the reasons I hesitated to write this series was because I don’t think of myself as “single”. I mean sure, I’m aware I’m single, but it’s just a part of my life and not something I really focus on. I think of myself as “Katie”, a steady, passionate, and slightly stubborn person who hasn’t got life figured out, but is madly in love with Jesus, craves beauty, and is tenderly wooed by Him. That’s me. The facts and facets of my life include oldest of 12 kids, Costumer, Administrator, wedding coordinator, aspiring discipler, single lady, teacher, fashion conscious, and friend.

Outside of the label “single” or “married”, who are you as a person?

Peoples, single and married do mean something and they describe us to some extent, but they are not my identity, nor yours. They do not define who we are, any more than our skin color. We all learn, we all laugh, we all cry, feel pain and feel joy. Life brings us hopes, dreams, failure and heartbreak.

Romans 8:28 says that we are called according to His purpose. And in 1 Cor. 12, we are told that each member of the body has a specific purpose. You have a purpose and a value that extends beyond your relational status.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Cor. 12:27

You friend, are an individual.

You are a part of something bigger.

The larger reality is that the truth of the Gospel is not isolated nor segregated to a relational status.

The danger I face in writing this series is that is would be all to easy to down play or exalt both singleness and marriage. It’s Individual Memberseasy for us make an idol out of both or to disparate the other. We are not meant to do either. First and foremost we must see people as people, as individuals. And then we must see ourselves as part of something bigger – the body of Christ and also the human race.

The Lord may use singleness to teach me that my value is in Him. He may use marriage to teach someone else the same thing, as they chafe against being seen as so & so’s wife or husband.

What I have learned in singleness from struggling and wrestling with longings, my friend has learned through infertility.

Friends sometimes wonder how I can meet with and disciple couples, when I am not married myself – the answer is simple, we don’t talk strictly about experience, we talk about truth. There is only One who has the knowledge of all things (and btw – He was single – winks ;) ).

Truth is truth. We simply learn and live it in different ways. A reader commented to me this morning that she saw me first as ‘serving’ over ‘single’. That really blessed me! (Especially since I had already begun to draft this post).

As people we have a deep need to know and be known. I’ve heard from some of my married readers that they fear being left out by their single friends in the same way that the single peeps fear being replaced when their friends marry. Fear too is common to us all. When we marry we are still us.

I could keep calm and rant on, but in short my heart tonight is for us to see each other as people, and not miss the opportunities that will come from learning from each other in all camps of life.

I have a challenge for you (and me!) this week: to pray the Lord would show us Himself and the evidence of the work He has done in those around us – no matter how different from us they seem, or what season of life they are in. Because – at the end of the day we are all loved by Him.

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive “Truth is Truth” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Um…. Awkward

“She is with me, and they go together, and oh, he belongs to her, and uh, this is Katie, and she…. Pause….ah…”

I quickly stepped forward and interjected: “Hi!” I’m with me! That is, I’m Katie. Nice to meet you!”

Awkward.

We were at a friend reunion and it had been over a year an a half since we had all gotten together to hang out. In that time we all went from being single, to everyone married or engaged. That is everyone but me. When someone stopped by the party and the introductions began, it got awkward.

It got awkward as everyone took turns swapping first date, engagement and wedding stories. I listened to the banter back and forth, and interjected some questions to try to join the conversation. They didn’t want to leave me out, and I didn’t want to be left out. But it was blatantly obvious to me, and everyone in the room that I was single. Awkward for them, awkward for me.

Let’s face it, singleness can be straight up awkward at times. The number one is even called an ODD number, and sometimes you are just straight up the odd ball out, or the third wheel. In my case with this group it’s the 7th or 9th wheel out. At each progressive wedding we take a friend shot with the next one in the group to get married. One of the guys mentioned after the last wedding, “you will be next Katie”

Thoughts raced through my head laced with sarcasm: ‘Yes thank you. I kind of have to be next, I’m the only one left!’

1977298_10152343870089807_6313108706276733927_nI did not however, say that. 1. Because it would have been snarky and he was trying to be encouraging. And 2. Singleness is as awkward as you make it.To reply with what went through my head would have been to call attention to the fact that I was single, making it more awkward for both of us.

Singleness is what you make of it (can I say that enough?). Yes it can be awkward at times, but we have a choice each time it’s awkward:

  1. To make it more awkward

or

  1. To embrace the awkwardness

Have you ever had a pimple on your forehead or nose that you were really self-conscious about? Like one of those horribly embarrassing ones that make you feel like you have a target on your head or like Rudolph the red nose rain deer?

Funny thing – most people don’t notice it. That is until you point it out to them. ‘Gah, this thing is driving me crazy’ (points to nose). Well now everyone notices it and is looking at your nose. Awkward.

Singleness can kind of be like that.Some people might notice that you are single, but it doesn’t bother them until you bother them with it. Other people won’t notice it at all until you show it to them and then it glares at both of you.

Know what? You aren’t a pimple. You are a whole complete person. Just you. Yep that’s right. The Lord’s love and purpose for you isn’t different than the couple’s next to you.And get this – ya know what both married and single people will both do? Stand before God alone with the blood of Jesus. And so He loves us completely alone. You. Are. Valued For. You.

AwkwardSo don’t live like a pimple everyone is pointing too. God’s love is like a concealer. When we walk with it the awkwardness doesn’t need to bother us. Situations may be awkward, but we don’t have to be. 

Is there ever a time for us to embrace awkwardness? Yes there is! It’s time to embrace awkwardness, when not doing so will make it more awkward. This means laughing at situations and yourself to help others find the humor in it. Being ok with, and embracing the awkwardness is giving a gift of grace to the others in the situation.

For example when it came time to take our annual friend picture and all the couples put their arms around each other they turned and looked at me as we lined up. I had the choice to make it awkward and try to hide in the background, or I could laugh and jump in the front and striking a “here I am” pose. This gave everyone the grace to laugh and take our picture.

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive Being Single and Living Fully Alive means we can live life with Grace. It means that life will have awkward situations, but we always get the choice whether or not we are awkward too. All is grace, and when it’s not, His love conceals.
“Uh….Awkward” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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3 Books on Life that Every Single Should Read

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read”. – Charlie Jones

What a true statement! In our singleness we have been given the gift of flexibility and time. One of the ways I have been most intentional about living fully alive now is through the books I choose to read. Books and the truths we clean from them are a bit like bricks we can use to build the framework of our character. Through several short posts spread out through the remainder of this 31 Days Series, I’m going to try to share with you several of the books that have impacted my life the most. I could tell you why I like each of these books, but really, all my mini reviews will come out sounding mostly the same : They changed my life! So I’ve included a few quotes and ideas so you can taste them for yourself.

 Warning: If you want to live comfortably, don’t read these books. They are not for the faint of heart. In their pages I have wept more tears of repentance, change, and growth. But also have I found freedom, strength, and grace.

1. The Bait of Satan: Living Free From Offense – John Bevere

If forgiveness is a debt paid, than offense is a debt owed. What would it look like to Be led by the Spirit – not reaction?

“For many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.’ – Notice it does not say, “For as many as react to a difficult situations, these are the Sons of God”- Bevere

This spring I wrote a full review on this book. Check it out here.

2. Loneliness – Elizabeth Elliot

Elizabeth Elliot was single for five years while loving a man she did not know if she could ever marry. Over the years she was married three times loosing her first husband as martyr and the second to cancer. She knows a few things about loneliness can be found in every stage of life. You see loneliness isn’t something that just singles struggle with, singleness is just the best opportunity we have to learn how to handle it.

“… this acceptance  I speak of is not passivism, quietism, fatalism, or resignation. It is not capitulation to evil, or a refusal to do what can and ought to be done to change things. It is a distilled act of faith, a laying one’s will alongside God’s, a putting of oneself at one with His kingdom and His will… Acceptance is abandonment [of self], the great risk of great lovers, when an awesome power is given over – the power to hurt…. To love means to open ourselves up to suffering.” Elisabeth Elliot – Loneliness

 3. Keep Your Love On – Danny Silk

This book is about choice. About relationships. And single friends, ‘relationships’ is not a word for romantic couples, it’s for us too. Any person you see on a regular basis you have a relationship with. Therefore, this book is for you!

“I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” 1 Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.” – Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On

If you want to throw out this book after the first few chapters (I get it, and I almost did) But– keep reading! This book was so

Danny Silk

Danny Silk

foreign to the way I was used to doing relationships that it rankled me to no end. I was only rankled though because I was a powerless person. What’s a powerful/powerless person? Well guess you had better read to find out!

Live intentional and fully alive today – pick up some books and start building! What have been some of the most character building books for you? I’m always reading – Comment below? I would love to hear your suggestions.

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive “3 Books on Life, Every Single Should Read” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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