Source: Ivester, Lanier. "Creativity: Spiritual Battle and Spiritual Discipline, Part One." Web log post. The Rabbit Room. N.p., 9 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2014. <www.rabbitroom.com>.
My Mom loved to cook for her family. She wasn't the kind of cook that, if she would have had a blog, all her recipes would be re-pinned 500,000 times. But to her family, her food was the kind that we could eat 500,000 times and it would never get old. Her food tasted like growing up in our home; like the sanctuary of loved ones after a long workday; like the kitchen radio playing softly in the background, and laughing together around the table, long after the plates had been licked clean.
I'm so happy that my Mom and Grandma did this, and that I can pass these down to my girls. You could even go so far as to interview family members about their favorite family recipes, and include those on the backs of the cards. If you have a Dad who is the family cook, encourage him to write his favorites down, too! Things like this will be treasured for generations, and make extra special Christmas gifts.
Andrew Swearingen is an aspiring writer and a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He currently lives in Carbondale, Illinois. For a "real job" he works in landscaping and occasionally works as a substitute teacher. He attends Vine Church in Carbondale where he serves in the kid's program as well as various other service areas.
I met Meghan by discovering her blog for writers, Every Good Word through a mutual friend. I quickly fell in love with the community she had created there & became a happy follower of her personal blog as well. Soon, I would learn that I would have the honor of joining her as a co-contributor for Meditations of His Love. As an aspiring novelist, Meghan has an immense love for written words and writing words. It's been a pleasure knowing such a beautiful person, and witnessing her love for Christ in her work.
The one who's looking for love in all the wrong places. The one who's settling for just a good enough guy. The one who's had her heart broken enough times to know better—but falls back into the same whirlwind thrill of romance while her heart aches for a breath of hope, surety and a love that places God first—while at the same time hoping this guy could be The One.
The one who's gotten her heart shattered—perhaps more than once. In spite of patience, following all the do's and don't's in your relationship. In spite of all the right signs, coincidences too big to be chance—it fell through and you were left to sweep up the pieces of a shattered dreams.
To all of us with no relationship status to speak of,
I hear your hearts. While it goes against it's own definition—the season of singleness was never meant to be walked alone. Don't think you're the only one going through this season—reach out beyond yourself and you will be sure to find others who not only will be blessed by you—but your heart will be touched by them.
Too often we can slowly but surely retreat inward lest we get hurt or dare hope only to have those hopes deferred or worse yet—our hearts broken. For some of us, myself included—it's easier to dive head first into being the best bridesmaid/friend/wedding planner combo package your engaged friend could ever ask for. And, though genuinely thrilled, live vicariously through them thinking, It'll never happen for me. I'm too—fill in the blank. Think Katherine Heigl in the movie, 27 Dresses.
Living in fear is what it boils down to, sisters. Regardless of what or who passed through your life to cause your heart to shrink back from living life to the fullest hope in this single season—living in fear is a direct affront to the Lord Who is the author and finisher ... of our love stories? Yes, but more importantly—our faith.
I'm a firm believer in the fact that these dreams of The One, marriage and children are God-given. They are not wrong—but beautiful! But God will make them beautiful in His time—not ours. Therein lies the struggle; how to we find the balance between contentment in living life to the fullest joy, yet with not mere confident, but expectant hope for the future God has planned for us? I'm coming to you here as one who's never had a guy express interest in me. My heart has never been broken, nor my hopes deferred ... nor have I been waiting on Mr. Right for years on end. I have however upheld friends in prayer who have gotten their hearts truly shattered. Some who have been in relationships a time or two—but for some reason or another despite all the very good signs, it hasn't worked out.
Being single is lonely—no matter how big a family you have or how busy of a social life you lead. That's just the fact of the matter—our hearts do not have a loneliness switch we can flip on and off. It's what we do with this relationship status and heart-state that matters, sisters. We can close off our hearts or chase after the first pair of pants we notice that just may happen to meet our criteria. We can pridefully lock up our heart and pretend to toss away the key to the Lord when in reality we want to be in control because we don't believe God will pull through. After all—if He is such a good God, why does He allow heartache/bad things happen to good people? Why does He not give us the desires of our hearts when we're ready?
To show how much He cherishes our reluctant, wondering, oh-so human hearts. To show us that His plans are better. In essence—to teach us that He is God and we are not. Whose love alone reaches the heavens in height, down to the bottom of the sea in depth. His is the only perfect love we will ever experience in our existence here on earth, all our days, whether we are single or married.
All He's ever wanted was our hearts. All the jagged pieces. All the deferred dreams still beating strong deep down. All the mess of our past. He longs for us to surrender every bit of our work in progress hearts to Him and Him alone. This does not mean giving up our dreams of marriage and children, sisters—but committing those hopes and dreams to the One who placed them in our hearts in the first place.
This Valentines Day—let us thank God for His abundant love and grace that colors every moment of our stories—past, present and future.
am I ruined?
ruined for marriage?
with all these expectations goodbaduglybeautiful
that I see mirrored in all of my friends relationships
in their marriages
broken and heart wrenchingly lovely
I want some things
I don't want others
I feel the safety in observing
in watching from afar
to put my own toes in?
to jump myself?
no no no no
what if he's like that?
what if it's not worth it?
what if it's too hard?
what if it requires too much of me?
more then I have?
more them I am?
is love marriage sex babies worth all the heartache?
to be the cross
to bear the cross
to wear the cross
to LOVE the cross
to walk across those coals
embrace those flames
drown in that pain
rise in those ecstasies
do I really want it?
Am I ruined?
I am ruined.
ruined for life here.
because I know there is more.
see the breath of more
feel the sunlight of more
touch the softness of more
hear the echo of the more
into the distance
the more of heaven
the more of perfection
of glory seen, touched, shown and adored.
there is no cure for this constant searching
this screaming voice inside saying
DO NOT SETTLE
do not be okay with this.
this imperfect. this hell. this bliss. this place.
DO NOT BE SATISFIED with here.
how can I reconcile the voice of heaven
the voice from ahead
to this life here?
to embrace the broken now.
the ruined places
full of ashes
but therein rise tendrils of hope.
pinpricks of light we call stars
those things shouting screaming whispering
of my Jesus
that his life abides here amongst the bones and blood
his love heals here in utter dying pain
his voice sooths the most angry and hurting of souls
his presence exists here
in the rubble of sin and humanity
his feet walk
his hands touch
his love fills
through joy unimaginable
screaming of the day to come
the moment when this is gone
and all is new.
when He comes in blazing glory
to take the ruined ones
the ones he calls
this is what my heart aches for. and will ache for.
till this ruined world, this ruined heart is made whole.
He's coming for the ruined ones. The ones he calls beloved.
I met John Gunter via his blog, when I come across his own extensive series on singleness. I was thrilled to see this subject tackled so honestly & candidly by a single man, which is a rare thing! He was gracious to allow me to repost the first writing in his series here, & I encourage you to travel over & read the rest of it. His posts A Theology of Singleness & Softening a Single Dude were two of my favorites. He is a sincere brother in Christ, & his blog & Twitter are worth the follow!
|I cherish my role as Uncle to my 8 nieces and nephews and an "uncle" to the kids here in Asia...|
Let me clear the air about where I am in life. I am a single male. I recently passed the dreaded precipice of 40. I live in Asia and have lived here for most of the past 12 years. My work does take me back to America a few times a year, but my adult life has largely been invested in a country far from my own, in cities and neighborhoods far different from my native Atlanta.