Today at work as I weighed out the coffee beans to make a large pot of coffee, I was struck by how beautiful the dark oval beans looked in the crisp white filter. The fluted edging of the coffee filter made the beans appear to look like the center of a flower. So simple and so beautiful.
The moments pause to notice the small thing of coffee beans in a filter stuck with me all day. Why? Why was I so drawn to a simple picture? I delighted in the beauty of those coffee beans. They were meaningless and about to be ground into powder with boiling water shot through them until they were a goopy mess. And yet, here I was excited about the way coffee beans looked in a filter.
To me purposeless, but maybe not to Him.
What if I’m drawn to the small things because He is? I’ve been praying to understand not just in my head, but in my heart, a Father who delights in me because I’m His, and not just in what I can do for Him. Perhaps I notice the small things and delight in them because He’s showing me the way He delights not just in my big wins, but in my small quiet moments too.
I do not understand the Father’s timing, nor what brings Him the most glory – but I’m learning to trust Him in the process.
“Nevertheless, Let us go to him…”
This one thing I do know – the Lord always comes. Always. How or when He comes is what grows our belief. He is worthy of our wait, and of our trust.
Have you heard of Sara Hagerty or “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”? She posts these delicious verses and graphics daily on Facebook and Instagram. Check her out!
‘Let us go to him’ is Day #4 of ‘In Deep’ – a 31 Days Series
On the weekends, I’m going to be practicing on my blog something we are all learning to do at the Discipleship House – rest. So even though I’ll still be publishing a blog each day, on Saturday and Sunday I’ll posting a simple quote or picture. Below is perhaps my favorite quote on honor. It’s from Danny Silk and it translates so well to the relational side of discipleship.
“The Heart of Honor” is Day #3 of “In Deep” A 31 Days Series
I dyed my hair this morning. I didn’t do it out of rebellion (at least not in the traditional sense), nor did I do it for any spiritual reason. I wasn’t even going to post about it on social media for a bit until I saw this week’s Friday writing prompt was “Blue”. The same color I had just highlighted through my long brunette hair. Thoughts chased each other through the tangles in my mind much longer than my wavy tresses.
I deeply love color. Differing hues and shades or bright contrasts have a way of making my heart sing. Color and beauty are the hidden treasures of life for me. But somehow in my love of color I still want God to be black and white.
Something I can easily understand, grasp, and define. And –gulps – Something/Someone I can control. As much as I want Him to be all or nothing on a topic, the Father often embodies both. Jesus didn’t come just in grace, or just in truth. He came in both grace and truth (John 1). There is free will and He is also Sovereign. Scripture tells me to earnestly seek answers and wisdom, and yet I’m also asked to trust Him in the unknown. These concepts tangle my mind in such knots and if my hair knotted that intensely I would cut it off!
I think of black and white as opposite ends of the spectrum – they almost stand alone. Perhaps a more accurate description of them is that they are the boundaries and stability for the whole pallet of colors that lie between them. Black and white are where color begins and ends. They aren’t meant to be stand alone colors (or lack of color), but backdrops so that the other colors are seen more clearly.
Life is messy and I haven’t found a way around that. But maybe I’m not supposed to. Beautiful colors are created in the mess of two different and opposite colors being smashed together. How much beauty do I miss when I insist that that the Lord be only one way or another? (And who am I to tell Him how it should be?) In my stubbornness I’m trying to limit Him to only painting the scenes of my life with black and white because I can understand them. Yet how boring a life and a painting that would be! Trying to limit the Father’s color pallet is like trying to put a rainbow in box. (Have you ever tried to put a rainbow in a box !?)
I serve a God who is clothed in rainbows of color and depths of mystery. And at the end of the day I wouldn’t trade that for a God I could control. I love color too much. Perhaps, just perhaps, the messiness of life is His invitation to know more of Him – beauty in different depths of color.
And so the Lord can use random writing prompts and even blue strands of hair to remind me that I do love His crazy and unpredictable side. And that He loves mine too.
I’ve honestly lost count of how many weddings I’ve been involved in! Cake, flowers, coordinating, serving/catering, bridesmaid – I even played piano once! (I’ve gotta be close to 27 Dresses!) In all of these weddings I’ve only had a date once. Once, ya’ll. And that date was a blast! But the other weddings were fun too. I’m not knocking that dates aren’t wonderful – they are. But going solo can also be wonderful. I’ve cried my fair share of tears over the years at going to yet another wedding alone, so I’m not here to condemn you friend, or tell you to buck up. Bring the tissues and I’ll cry with you.
My heart for this post is to offer you some hope and practical keys that have helped turn RSVPing to weddings from dread to joy for me.
Check. # in party? 1.
- Buy a new dress (or suit). Seriously. Going to a wedding in your old stand bys might be economical, but if you are able to- buy, thrift, or borrow a new outfit. Do something a little new to feel beautiful/handsome and boost your own confidence a little. Showing up at a wedding feeling drab, will only make you feel more gloomy. It is not a sin to feel good about yourself, and singleness is not a punishment! If you go feeling confident and on top of the world, your whole perspective will change.
- Look around for someone else who is alone. Maybe standing in the corner watching, or eating cake at the table alone. I love dancing with a passion, but it can get real painful, real quick, to watch the floor fill up with couples. Rather than moaning at the lack of single guys at weddings, or guys with the courage to ask girls to dance, I’ve taken to going over and asking another single gal to dance. I promise them I’ll be the cutest guy they will dance with all night. The joy on their face as I clumsily twirl them around brings me incredible joy. And in a flash we are having to much fun to think about being alone!
- Leave if you need too. Yep, there is this thing called grace friends. If we are having a hard time, give yourself the grace to leave. I wouldn’t advise that this become a habit, because there is joy to be found, but taking a walk during the slow dances, or bouquet toss is ok. 🙂 It’s also ok to cry. I give you permission!
- Find a way to serve. Busy hands create camaraderie, and a sense of belonging and joy in giving to others. As a wedding coordinator, I always need help – esp a clean up crew! Ask whomever is in charge what you can do, or offer to help the bride ahead of time.
- Keep a moldable heart before the Lord. He may want to change your perspective, or to comfort you. Either way, He will show you Himself. One of the perspective changes I needed to have was to realize that this day was not about me. It was about learning to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’. Spend time in the word and with the Lord before you leave for the wedding.
- Use the flexibility of resources (time/money) that you have as a single to do or give something creative to the couple. Invest in them and the excitement will grow (Esp if your love language is gifts or acts of service.)
- Last but not least – ignore the grey hairs. Yep. The thing I hate the most about singleness? – Grey hairs. I always wanted to be a young bride but these days the silver wisdom of life is starting to streak through my long ebony hair. Trying to pluck them all out before a wedding is not a good idea. Ahheem I’ won’t say how I know this, but I’ll leave you to laugh at that mental picture. (It hurt!)
Solo does not mean less than. It means solo. It means you have been given an incredible opportunity to bless others, and in the process be blessed. I’ve been given incredible chances to minister and impact people for the Kingdom because I’ve gone to events solo. Chances I would not have had if I had a date. It’s worth it, if you make it worth it.
Being Single and Fully Alive today means that I do not wait to enjoy weddings. I’ve wanted to have a choreographed dance at my own wedding someday for years. And maybe I still will, but for now? Why not have a choreographed dance now? The time to live is today. So my real life example of # 6 was doing this dance at my sister’s wedding in lue of a toast. White Christmas fans, you will appreciate it. 🙂 (Email subscribers – view it here)
“7 Tips to Thriving Solo at Weddings“ 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.
Just because you won’t date him, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t valiDATE him, honoring him in your heart and with your speech. <—- Click to Tweet. I’d be a millionaire if I got $1 for every time I’ve heard a girl say “there are just no good guys around here”. I used to say it myself until the day I saw the destruction it caused. Defeat, anger, and pain flashed across my friend’s face, as I watched him react to the knife this woman’s careless, lamenting words had driven through him.
He was a good guy, a godly guy, he just wasn’t her guy, nor did he want to be. At almost 27 and not dating, I’m aware of the dating issues in our culture caused by both men and women not stepping up. At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter who is or isn’t stepping up, or if we feel there are no good “guys or gals” left around. Christ calls us to love and respect each other – in EVERY kind of relationship and interaction.
We love, respect, honor, and are gentle with each other because we love Jesus and He loves us. That’s it. Honor, love and respect have little to do with other person’s merit. The way we treat each other should be based on the Kingdom of God, not on how we feel about the other person.
There are good guys out there. I’m honored to know quite a few of them. When a guy is told that there are “no good guys” left, it can crush their desire to become more of a godly man. It dismisses who they are now, and the potential they have in Christ.*
Ladies, even if we never say “there are no good guys left” out loud, thinking it WILL effect the way we relate to the guys around us. Thinking there are no good guys left might seem like a natural response to hurt we have received, or to the lack of dating activity in our lives, but quite frankly, it’s sin.
This sin is something the Lord has convicted me so strongly of in the past few years. It’s sin, because it does not encourage or build up our brothers in Christ, and in our minds, it puts us as above the guys around us. We would be terribly hurt if our worthiness as a women or wife potential was constantly belittled to others. Scripture is clear about how we should treat each other:
“encourage one another and build one another up…” 1 Thess. 5:11
Thinking there are no good guys left, keeps us seeing guys for what they are not, rather than who they are. They are redeemed sinners, loved, heirs of Christ – WITH US! Critiquing guys in general because we do not have one sets us in a place of judgment. To judge another man’s servant is not for us to do. If we know at least one Christian* guy, than there are good guys left.
I realize that when we as women, say that there “are no good guys left” what we are really trying to say is that we do not know anyone right now whom we would consider dating or marrying. Well that’s ok, because there are different stokes for different folks. There are a lot of good men, and we will most likely only marry one. So let’s honor all of them? Because the rest are other people’s future husbands, brothers, sons, and fathers. And most importantly, lets honor and validate them in our thoughts and speech because that is how Jesus does it. All of our relationships and interactions should be about one thing – The Kingdom of God.
For practical tips on how to validate the guys around us, continue reading