Table for One…

How many of you dread those words? Married or single, “table for one” has such a stigma attached to it:

  • I’m lonely, alone, or single…
  • I don’t have anyone in my life- I’m not loved.
  • Unworthy, sad, or embarrassed.

None of these are positive descriptions but they may be the words we tell ourselves. They imply there is something wrong with us. 

I wonder how often we don’t do something because we are single? Do you skip movies, shows, or sports events because you don’t have anyone to go with you? Are you recently single after the loss of a spouse or the end of a relationship and going it alone is painful? Do you feel out of place because you think it’s a couple’s world? Did you know that nearly half the population in America is NOT married??

I took a step myself today and went into my favorite fast food joint for a bite to eat. Usually I would go through the drive through and just take it home. But lately I have  been forcing myself out into the coffee shops and restaurants I enjoy–all by myself. As I looked around the restaurant Today I realized that about half the people were sitting alone. Some were on their phones. Some were reading. And one was even just sitting there eating. Go figure!! 

It is time we change the perception that there is something wrong with being single and being out in public alone. It is time we tell ourselves that there is nothing to be embarrassed about–we are half the population after all!! And it is time we call other singles to join us, especially if you know someone who might not be getting out.

Take a first step. Do something simple. Don’t bury your head in your phone because there is a lot of world out there for us to discover. Be bold. Smile when you nod and say “yes” to a table for one! 

Advertisements

The Empty Arms of Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be a painful day for many women.

  • It is a reminder of a child lost.
  • It is a reminder of a child given up in adoption.
  • It is a reminder of a child never born.
  • It is a reminder of broken relationships between a child and a mother.
  • it is a reminder for some couples of the child they are desperate to have.
  • it is a reminder for some singles of the life they have without loving their own child.

And for some it is a  day of defending their choice not to have children.

For all the joy that Mother’s Day may bring to many women, some find themselves in a sad spot today. They may not look forward to walking into church and seeing others around them sitting with their children and celebrating the day. They may feel uncomfortable when someone wishes them a Happy Mother’s Day when they don’t feel happy at all.

If you are one of these women, I want to remind you that you are loved by a Father who understands your pain. He too lost a child. He has a plan for your life regardless of your status as a mother. Perhaps he is calling you to come along side other women and encourage them in their sadness. Maybe he is calling you to walk with other singles and encourage them of their value as a woman.. Maybe he is calling you to work with children and fill the void you believe you have by sharing his love with them.

God does not leave us in our circumstances without purpose. You are a strong woman made in God’s image and you have value and worth in this life.

You may carry the memory of loving a child gone and that is a precious gift to give to others.

You may not be at the point of having children yet and can use this time to support others in a way God is nudging you.

You may have children living apart from you and today you can reach out and remind them that you love them, no matter what has happened in the past.

I want to encourage you today as you run into women who you know are in these circumstances to love on them. Genuinely love on them. Maybe pick up a little bunch of flowers on your way out and give them to a special lady and remind her that  she is special and is a beloved child of God herself. Let us use the love God has given to us to lift up others in sharing that love today.

Happy Lovely Wonderfully Made Women’s Day!!

Living Single

Living single is not always easy. Single, no matter if you are there because you never married, divorced, or lost a spouse, has challenges that most marrieds don’t appreciate. Sure, we have freedom to do what we want to do when we want to do it, but we live in a world  that focuses on married or coupled people and often we can feel excluded.

Single means making our own decisions. It means not having that spouse to turn to and discuss an upcoming surgery. Single means asking all our friends for their advice and then making a decision. It often means nursing ourselves when we are ill and suffering alone because we don’t want to burden our friends.

Living single has its challenges and it has its blessings.

We have so much to offer. We have so many opportunities to live a life of giving and community. We have the ability to step out of our homes and develop new relationships with other singles just for the purpose of being friends linked through a passion. We are not a sorry bunch but a blessed bunch and we need to start living the lives that God has given us.

Singles need each other. We need to hear each other’s stories and to encourage one another during those dark days. We need to speak strength into our circumstances and embrace all that we can do because of our situation.  We need to look for opportunities to meet other singles and forge new uplifting relationships.

So get out their friends. Look for ministries in your religious organizations where you heart leads you to serve. Look for sporting events where you can meet other singles. Look around you and when you see another single sitting alone, go sit with them. When you hear of a sick single, call and offer help. When someone goes through a divorce or the loss of a spouse, walk with them until they are stronger.

We all have purpose no matter our circumstances. God can use us if we are willing to get over the notion that we are of less value than coupled people because we live alone. Be willing friends, be willing.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead (James 2)

 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 1Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,  and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless

 

Grappling with Oneness

It has been a few years now since I was married. I have grown accustomed to picking which side of the bed I want to sleep on because there is no one on the other side. I have gone through the phase of curling up with a body pillow or laying long-ways across the bed so it doesn’t feel so empty. I have nearly forgotten what it is like to nudge someone in their sleep because they are snoring or to curl up with them when I get cold. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it at times. It means I have adapted to sleeping alone and I am more comfortable with it today than I was some ten years ago.

I have spoken with many people about the dramatic change in their lives when a spouse dies or they find themselves alone after a divorce. Even those who have never married have that sense of longing for an intimate relationship with someone. So we find ways to fill the hours of our day with work, friends, family, and busy things. But there can be so much more if we look.

I am a firm believer in seeking our mission and living out a life of purpose. I am also aware that for many of us singles, a purpose-filled life doesn’t always eliminate the sense of aloneness we have at the end of the day. It doesn’t replace the sense that we are home alone reading a book or watching TV. More importantly, I also know that living with purpose changes everything and makes my time alone more palatable.

Purposeful living brings a sense of joy and peace and in some cases, a reason for getting out of bed. There is nothing worse than a day of emptiness that leads to a night alone and the anxiety of a gloomy morning. James wrote that in the midst of our troubles we have the opportunity to find joy. (James 1:2) I believe that opportunity comes in the shape of service to others. The psalmist cried out in his distress and emptiness in Psalm 102 and in the midst of his sadness he realized that God is with him. He is never truly alone. No matter what happens, he can find peace in that promise. When we can identify our mission and turn our attention to the needs of others, we can experience God’s love in a profound way. We can change our perspective from the sadness of what we don’t have to one of joy in knowing that we are living for God—even if we are living alone.

Now we can close our eyes at night, comfortable in knowing that God is watching us and that we will waken in the morning with a sense of celebration that God has given us another day to worship and serve him. While the bed may still be empty, I believe our hearts can be full. Even as we grab our extra pillow at night, we can quietly end our day in conversation with God about his reason for our circumstance and ask that the morning bring new purpose and a greater sense of belonging. It is the same conversation we should have every night, regardless of our marital situation. You see, my fellow singles, this relationship is far better than any other relationship for which we could ever wish to have and we are fortunate that we can give all our attention to enriching our relationship with the Lord.

Get on Out There: Overcoming the Third Wheel Syndrome

We’ve all been there. Friends ask us to join them for dinner along with another couple and there is that awkward moment when you both realize something is just off. Maybe you all walk into a restaurant and low and behold, most of the tables easily sit four but with five, well now we have to wait. Or we are invited to come over for a game night and there are only couples and you wonder how you will even out the sides since you are the extra person. Let’s face it, society, including our churches, is couples-focused and some days we feel as if we don’t have a place at the table.

I have lived through all the experiences above. I been around the edges when my friends are planning a weekend at the beach and they are hoping that I won’t overhear because they are only going with other couples. I know what it is like to walk into a gathering at church and look around for a seat only to see that there are two seats and someone is holding them for another couple. I try to search out another single or someone who came without their spouse so I can partner up and at least give the appearance that I didn’t come alone.

This yearning to belong and getting out there to become a part of a community can be difficult waters to wade into if we hold onto the thought that we don’t belong or fit in. You do. If God is nudging you into an area, go there. Trust that he will smooth the waters and that you will find your place. We can easily be our own worst enemy if we wait to fit into the couples’ world, because for the most part, we don’t. That isn’t a bad thing; it is a different thing.

Seek out other singles or individuals whose spouses may not be fully engaged in their lives and activities. Call the person who just lost a spouse and invite them to go with you. Ask the person whose partner is hospitalized or in nursing care to be your partner in an adventure. We singles are a strong community if we are willing to bond together and strengthen each other. So the next time you are going to an event, invite someone, even if you have to pay for them to go. Together you can walk into the room and take those last two seats. Together you can find the person standing alone and invite them to be your third person.

And, if you are going as the third wheel, be a tricycle that you propel forward! You are getting out there and doing what God is asking you to do. Be the strong thread in that threesome and bring the best you out for the occasion. Live and laugh and love every moment of being the single one because for this part of the journey, it is how God is shaping your life. Roll on into your purpose friends.

“If a man prevails against one who is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 World English Bible

Grief Life

We planned for our future.

We had a vision for our lives.

Together we would do this.

Then one day;

You were gone.

The future we planned no more.

The vision detached,

Distrupting my life.

No more together adventures.

Me alone

The world turned upside down.

New plans to imagine.

New routines to make.

New life to find;

With others.

Stuck between what was,

What is, and yet to come.

Pulling myself forward,

Out of the dark;

Into the unknown.

Looking for his plan in this.

Holding onto faith.

Yearning for love.

Hiding from tears.

Praying for me.

Resting in his will.

Trusting in his love.

Shattered pieces healing.

New life emerging;

Breathing…living

Finding new purpose.

Walking a new path.

Willingly restored.

Stepping forward.

From grief to life.

Mom Guilt

So we are at the beginning of another week of school and we moms have begun to beat ourselves up for all we did and didn’t do or feel these past few days. Mom Guilt has raised its ugly head and we are claiming it ours!! Maybe you cried when the bus came or when you dropped off your child to their first day of pre-school or kindergarten. Maybe you sat in your car and wiped the tears as you dropped your child off to high school. Or even better, your child has gone off to college and you cried all the way home.

Mom Guilt. Who invented all this guilt anyway?? Continue reading