Jump In

It's honestly hard to know where to begin with this post. It's been swirling around in my head and my heart for a little over a month now. It's come to me in pieces. And now that I'm here, literally on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a lake) it's all so overwhelming and I can't seem to organize all of the pieces. But here, I shall attempt. I guess the easiest way to do so is to walk you through my thought process.

The word caught my attention first when I was reading through the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter climbing out of the boat. That word, immediately, kept jumping off the page. The thought started out something like this:

Immediately. As soon as He was present, the wind was calm. The thing is. Jesus was there all along. It was a matter of their responses and their awareness. The wind calms and Peter is able to stand on the water the moment they acknowledge His presence NOT the moment He shows up. Of course Jesus can always fly in with a cape and put an end to whatever storm is raging around us, but that's not the point. The point is to find Him in the storm-recognize Him-call on Him-trust Him.

I tucked that thought away and looked forward to reading the story again while sitting on the shores of that very place. Fast forward just a little while and a lot of crazy and I'm here in Israel.

Our first night on the Sea of Galille, I raced to the shore to get all the daylight I could reading and allowing myself to envision the whole scene. I don't even think I ate dinner I was so excited! I decided to read this story (every Gosepl version of it to be exact) and then to read some others that happened in this same location. Let me tell you, context is magical. I had no idea what I was in for!

I went back and read the story of Jesus calling his first disciples. And again there was that word immediately. Immediately they dropped their nets-left everything-and followed him. And now I understand the magnitude of that more than ever. This place is hills upon hills and hotter than May in Mexico. Much. Following this Jesus guy was no joke. But they didn't hesitate for even a moment. And I think it's because His presence said it all (the same way it did during that storm out at sea). They saw Him and heard His voice and that was it. Take note of who was first...Simon who we know now as Peter. He was the first guy to leave behind his life and follow after Jesus.

I sat in the cool evening breeze, breathing in deeply the scents and the history all around. I wondered if I would have jumped in the water. I took one look at the water and knew without a doubt that if Jesus was in that water there wouldn't be anything that could keep me in that boat. But there was a storm! Don't care. I would rather be in that water with the wind howling around me and the waves crashing up against me where Jesus could IMMEDIATELY reach out and catch me than up in that boat far away from where He was. Absolutely.

And that's when it happened. This new connection with Peter that I'd never had before. I guess traditionally we're hard on Peter and we question His faith for looking away and sinking. But. The bottom line is, Peter is the only one who jumped into that water. Everyone else stayed in the boat. He might have struggled and stumbled a little….or a lot...but he was where Jesus was. And that was true of him all the time. Even in the garden when most of the disciples hid, Peter was right there next to Jesus trying to be a part of whatever He was doing.

I want to be that kind of disciple. I want to be the girl that Jesus can count on to always jump in. To be where He is, doing whatever He’s doing all of the time. Because in the end, that's the kind of disciples Jesus builds on. The ones that He trusts with His message and His sheep.

Forgive me for the length, but it's about to get cooler. A couple days ago we drove up into the mountains in the very northern parts of Israel. To a place called Caesarea Phillipi. The name doesn't matter that much, it's this statement that does. It's a very mountainous very rocky place. And in this place Jesus had a crucial conversation with His disciples.

Again Peter doesn't hesitate. He is so sure of this guy. So sure of Jesus. The man he immediately left

his life to follow. The man who helped him to walk on water. The man who rescued him from the storm. And again he's the first one to respond to Jesus.

Oh that I would never hesitate for even one fraction of a moment in my certainty that Jesus is exactly who He says He is. The Christ. The Son of God. My Savior.

I promise I'm about to close this out. Would you read just one more little chunk of story with me?

John 21. Jesus appears to many people after He has been crucified and buried and now resurrected. John tells us that they were out fishing and had been unable to catch anything all night. They see a guy in the distance calling to them from the shore. John realizes right away that it's Jesus. As soon as Peter realizes, take one guess where he was. In the water! He jumped right in and made His way to Jesus. I'll add here that this is now after He has denied Jesus three times. But none of that matters. Because Peter and Jesus are tight. They have a relationship and nothing can ever keep Peter away from Jesus. Not even his sin.

Immediately he is sorry.

Immediately he repents.

Immediately Jesus forgives him.

Immediately he regains the trust of Jesus.

Immediately Jesus restores.

And from there, Peter is a powerhouse for Jesus. He takes His message all over the world, sees thousands upon thousands come to believe, opens salvation to the Gentiles, and eventually is killed for jumping in.

Friends. Let's be followers of Jesus who jump in. Who don't care what we have to let go of or leave behind. Who endure the storm to be near Jesus and ignore fear knowing that He's near. Followers who never hesitate or stumble in our certainty of who He is. Who won't let anything keep us from being where Jesus is and doing whatever He's doing. Followers He can trust to carry His heart and His message to the world.

It's time to be present

“Be present” they said
“Really be in the moment”
“Soak up this season”

To be honest—there have been many moments in my life when I would have loved to throw those words across a football field. As if they were salt on a slow healing wound or something. Now that may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. I would commit to the Lord that I would dig my heels in and stay steadfast through the struggle, yet with my mouth I was complaining to Him about why I had to be committed to the process. When I moved back to my home state about a year ago, I committed to the Lord that I would enjoy this season of being home. Being close to family. Being near my closest friends (as it always feels as if they live light years away). Living in a culture that made sense to me. Living in a familiar area.

I have to admit that it has been the most healing season. For so long I felt as if life was just a constant struggle. I didn’t know who I was anymore. My joy was gone. I was tired of constantly fighting. Fighting with life. Fighting the urge to be angry. Fighting for my right to be heard. Fighting for truth. I was just simply tired.

But there’s just something about being. I’ve learned more from this season by just “being present” than I have from anything else and it has truly changed my life. I finally understand what it means to rest. Although in my core I struggle with the thought that I’ve been selfish in this quiet season, I also know this isn’t the truth anymore. There’s a reason that the Lord valued rest and the Sabbath. There’s a reason that Jesus would go away to spend time with His Father. To have His gaze aligned on Him and on His will.

For my 2017 New Years resolution, I committed to being present. No, I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know when I’ll be back in full-time vocational ministry. I don’t know when all of the dreams that God placed in my heart will come to pass. I don’t know when I’ll be married or have kids or if I will ever be able to say this. I don’t know when God will bring healing to people in my life that desperately need it. I don’t know when God will answer the questions that I whisper to Him in the darkest of night.. I don’t know…but I do know I can trust Him. If there’s one thing that God has shown me more than anything else in my short lived life, it’s that He is trustworthy. That He keeps His word. That He answers those cries. That He fulfills His promises. That, at the end of the day, He has my best interest in mind. And that right there brings so much relief to my easily wavering and fickle heart.

So I’m choosing to be present this year. Still. I’m choosing to enjoy the unknown. I’m choosing to say “yes” when my pride screams “why”. I’m choosing to trust that He is who He says He is. That He does love me. That He does love you. That He hasn’t forgotten. That His grace is sufficient. That He is more than enough.  

Watch what the Lord will do

I sat in my living room holding my almost 2-year-old in my lap as I tried to explain to him the loud boom noise he heard could not hurt him. If you’re a mom you have probably found yourself in the same situation during the week leading up to the Fourth of July. I tried everything in my power to soothe my child and remind him that the fireworks outside could not get him. But, I didn’t stop there. I wanted him to experience how pretty fireworks could be so I tried showing him how pretty they were out the window. He was not having it. The noise of those fireworks was enough to make him run for cover each time.

I began thinking about this scenario in my head a lot. You see, my little family is in a time of transition. And sometimes, transition can become messy and hard. That’s where I find us. As I have been praying and seeking God during this time, I have found myself asking him (sometimes begging) for answers. What do you have for us? Why aren’t you showing us right now? What are you doing?

And amid my own personal struggles I was taken back to the firework scene. The array of lights a firework makes is beautiful. The noise that it makes beforehand can be quite loud and sometimes scary (especially if you’re a little one). I can’t help to think our lives are a little like this sometimes.

We’ve had people in our lives recently tell us that God has big plans for our lives. And, in our hearts we feel that God has big plans. But, often doubt settles in and you began to question yourself and what God has called you to do. Especially when God doesn’t show you immediately what He is doing or where He is taking you. Often, we allow our doubts, fears, insecurities to cause us to run away and take cover. All the while missing what God is wanting to show us. You see, I find myself in this place right now. I’m being forced (quite literally) to trust God with every single detail of my life and I cannot see what He is doing. I have cried more times than I care to admit, I have felt despair, and I have even been angry. To the human eye, God isn’t doing anything on our behalf right now. It’s in these moments I want to take cover, run for security because it’s just too scary. But then God whispers to my soul, “Be still and watch what I am going to do.”

This season of my life is requiring more faith than I ever thought was possible in every aspect of our lives. From the very beginning, even when things seemed out of my control, I have felt this crazy confidence that God was going to take care of it all. And yet, even with this confidence, I find the enemy coming in at times making me doubt how big God is. I want to know every detail right now. I want to see that it’s all going to work out before I truly walk out in faith. But, God is calling us to do more than that. He’s asking us to trust Him, to not run and take cover. And just like I didn’t want my child to miss the beautiful sight a firework makes, God doesn’t want us to miss out on the great things He has for us. Friend, don’t let your circumstances keep you from trusting God to do what He has already told you He would do. Whatever situation you find yourself in right now just remember it hasn’t taken God by surprise. It may have taken you by surprise, but not God. He knows. And He cares. He is working on your behalf right now even when you can’t see it. (And no, you haven’t ruined His plans for your life. He is much bigger than you;)

The truth is, faith is easy when you can see what lies ahead. But then again, that wouldn’t call for much faith. Faith, the kind that moves mountains, requires this unshakeable confidence that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Not because of who we are, but because of who HE is. So today, if you’re like me and you feel like you’re in a hopeless situation I challenge you to stand firm on who God is and what He has promised to do. When you literally cannot see how things are going to work out and it seems impossible, remember He is the God who parted the seas. And when the enemy comes at you, remind him of the God who shut the mouths of lions. The God who walked on the water and calmed the raging seas. The God who can move the mountains. The God who is The Great I Am. The Jehovah Jireh. The Lord of Lords. King of Kings. There is no one like Him.

My friend, get ready. Because when you walk in faith, there is nothing, absolutely nothing our God cannot do. So, dear one, do not run and take cover. No…stand firm and watch what the Lord is going to do.


I’m one who loves to grow. Of course I don't always enjoy the growth process, but I deeply desire to further my relationship with the Lord. To be a more well rounded individual. To be constantly learning. To be aware of who I am and how I can be better.

That is until about two years ago when I began to crumble.

“No more reading for a while.”

These were the compassionate words of someone that I trusted. Words that I didn’t even know I desperately needed to hear. You see, growth is incredibly healthy and very encouraged. That is, until you take it too far and are tempted by this false idea and goal of perfection. This idea that maybe if you try enough, do enough, follow close enough, then maybe you will be enough. My schedule was consumed with meetings. I was only home long enough to essentially sleep and shower then go back at it again the next day. But this is the expectation that was brewing in my culture around me so I felt it was normal. I had also lived most of my life with two planners and a scheduled day so I didn’t see the trouble. If I could just work fast enough and long enough then maybe my worth will be enriched with deeper skill sets and extra responsibility. Constantly trying to prove myself to people, the Lord, or even to myself.

But the cycle didn’t ever stop. When it did then it felt as if I was missing something. That maybe I had dropped the ball and disappointment would be just around the corner. All the while, I was constantly judging myself while pretending that it was justifiably pursuit of growth. Now—there is a difference. There’s a difference between seeking to grow and seeking to prove your worth. As women, we are immersed in a culture that tells us to “be better” and “look better”. To be overextended in every area of our lives while making sure to always appear put together.
Friends,, my life was in pieces as I expressed all of these “feelings” to my counselor. Yes—counselor. (It was best thing I’ve ever done for myself). I sat there on that brown couch trying to make sense of it all. To make them understand the importance of all these “things” that I had filled my life with.  Trying to explain how I needed to be at everything,. How I needed to meet all of these unrealistic expectations. How I’d read all these books and how they’d open my eyes to new things…until the end of my session came.

“No more reading for a while. You judge yourself too harshly. You expect yourself to be able to carry the world on your shoulders. You’ve got to rest. How are you ever supposed to heal and move forward when you don’t even have enough time to create healthy boundaries in your life?”

In Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect, she puts it best: “The more I listen to myself, my body, my feelings, and the less I listen to the “should” and “must” and “to-do” voices, the more I realize my body and spirit have been whispering all along, but I couldn’t hear them over the chaos and noise of the life I’d created. I was addicted to this chaos, but like any addiction, it was damaging to me. Here’s what I know: I thought the busyness would keep me safe. They keep me numb. Which is not the same as safe.”

I was numb yet I kept on pretending to feel. I had this expectation that stopping to breathe for even  a little while was weak.  There was even a fear that if I stopped to look at my life long enough, that if I took the time to see who I really was….well then there would be no coming back from that disappointment. How could I ever be enough? When could I ever just stop and take a break for a while? Why did God have such a high expectation threshold over my life that He knew I was killing myself to meet?

One day, I did finally stop.
I stopped trying. Stopped criticizing. And the truth began to finally settle in. I slowly started saying “no” instead of “yes”. I started creating margins in my schedule. I started putting value on times of rest.

I’m not perfect and I never will be. I can’t fix everything. I can’t be everything for every person. But God never asked me to be. He never asked you to be either. When we finally have that revelation, we're free.

So I say to you, sister, stop.

Take a step back.

To you mommas, wives, daughters, grandmas, working women, stay-at-home moms, boss ladies—Those commitments that keep you from enjoying your life and soaking in the simple, little moments, let some of them go. I know you can't let them all go, but at least open your hands and start writing in pencil. I am begging you to take a breath! A long, deep one! We have one life to live so let's get to it! Let's actually live it!

One Step at a Time

Such a simple verse, honestly probably one of the first Bible verses you end up memorizing in Sunday school, yet it never ceases to amaze me how those simple childhood verses can hold such deep meaning when you finally stop and actually process what they are saying.

When I imagine God and His intervention in my life I envision a brightly lit road lined with streetlights. A road where the direction I am going is clear, and what lies ahead is clearly visible. I have time to prepare for what is coming.

Fortunately, that is not how God works.

He clearly states that He is “...a lamp unto my feet...”. Take a second to ponder that. My feet. That seems as worthless as trying to see by the light of your cell phone (way back when when they did not all come with built in flashlights). You know what kind of light I am talking about. The sort of light that illuminates about ten inches down around your feet and absolutely nothing beyond that. If you are lucky you can see your very next step, but there is literally no way you can see what is coming beyond that step. There is no preparation for stepping into that hole or tripping over that tree root until you are already upon it, and then you pretty much have to just have to trust that you won’t die in whatever comes next.

When you sit and think about it, that is exactly how God works. There is no road lined with street lights. There are no roadmaps, mile markers, or blinking neon signs. He is a faithful and magnificent guide. Of course He knows the course, but for the most part, He’s only ever going to guide you in that next step. He does not illuminate the road; He merely illuminates our feet.

Now, the control freak in me finds this endlessly frustrating. I want to know what is next. I NEED to prepare for what is coming. Having Him guide me day by day does not always feel helpful, it usually feels like walking in the dark with my RAZR phone.

In recent years though, I have slowly come to realize that maybe our omniscient and omnipotent Guide knew what He was doing when He chose to light just our feet. Maybe He knew that if we saw the road ahead, we would never choose to take it. If we knew what obstacles awaited, what hardships were to come, what tragedies were to befall us- we would take one look at that brightly lit road, crumple up that map, shield our eyes from those neon signs and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. I look back at my life, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I would not have chosen this path voluntarily. Not if I had seen the challenges that it held beneath those bright lights.

Now, for you to understand this I am going to give you a little background about myself. I really took that Robert Frost poem to heart. You know the one that says, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

My life has been nothing but the path less traveled by. I grew up the child of missionaries in northern Mexico. By middle school we had relocated to the United States, and I had lived 12 different places. This August I will be moving on to country number three, which brings my location total to 16. It has been a life of goodbyes, and for years now I have found myself longing for to live somewhere longer than a few years, for a place to call home. I always knew I wanted to go into missions myself, and when the opportunity arose for me to return to Mexico to teach at a Christian school in Guadalajara, I assumed I was coming back to stay. I had always been open to the idea of living internationally long term, and Mexico had always felt far more like home than the United States. I was in a culture I loved, doing my dream job (teaching middle school- abnormal dream job, I know), and involved in the most incredible church. When people asked me what my long term plans were, the answer was “staying here”. I was content in Mexico. I was happy.

The catch is though, that God does not call us to happiness; He calls us to Himself. Naturally, pursuing Him wholeheartedly leads to a different and deeper type of happiness and satisfaction, but it is not the same as simple contentment. One is rooted in God’s plans and desires, the other is rooted in being comfortable. I was comfortable. I wanted this to be home. I had done my share of moving, of relocating, of restarting on my own. I was ready to stay, but God had other plans. In September, God dropped a small school in Germany into my heart. He called me away from the balmy tropics of Mexico, where I know the language and culture, into the cold Black Forest of Germany, where my German knowledge can be fully encompassed in “nein” and pretzels. He led me from a salaried job to one that requires raising financial support. He took me away from a place I had made into a home into yet another fresh start on my own.I was not happy on pretty much every level. This was not my plan. I did not want to do this. I was content where I already was, but slowly God nudged me in this new direction and warmed my heart to the idea, so much so that I applied and accepted a position at Black Forest Academy for this coming fall.

Now I find myself in Mexico, teaching the most rambunctious bunch of sixth graders the world has ever seen (I have several dozen boys and a handful of girls. Every day we don’t burn the school down, I count as a success.), and as I am teaching this crew I am also trying to raise financial support to go to Germany via social media (which statistically has a 1% success rate). Because I am in Mexico I have no way to speak at churches, visit small groups, share at youth groups, etc. I have a two to three week turnaround time between leaving Mexico and moving to Germany, and only a few months to attempt to raise $2,400 a month in support.

Now, being honest, if I had seen this on my brightly lit road, I probably would not have chosen this path. I would’ve taken matters into my own hands and rewritten my own more convenient route. I would have chosen to have a year after Mexico based in the States to raise support in person, or I would have stayed in the States instead of coming to Mexico at all so I could prepare for Germany. Potentially, I would have said no to Germany, decided it is too complicated, and simply chosen to ignore what God was clearly telling me and stay in Mexico. But that was not what happened. Instead God revealed each step, each challenge, each leap of faith as it came upon my path, and in those moments He gave me the grace and strength I needed to pass. I find each day full of bountiful blessings as I watch Him provide in ways that only He can. If I had not taken this road, I never would have had the opportunity to learn what trust really is- what it looks like manifested in my day to day life.

In spite of the projected 1% success rate, I find myself nearing that 50% mark of my needed monthly support. In spite of the fact that I know no German, and I hate the cold. I find myself so indescribably excited to go serve at Black Forest Academy. Having grown up on the mission field, I have wanted to work with missionary kids for as long as I can remember, and in recent years I have found a passion for working with Middle Eastern refugees growing in me. Black Forest Academy with its ministry focus as a boarding school for missionary kids and its location in Germany guarantees both. In spite of the fact that I hate moving and am longing for one place to call home, I find my heart so thrilled at the prospect of what yet another fresh start may hold. In spite of the fact that I fell in love with Latin American culture and always anticipated pursuing long term ministry here, I am eagerly awaiting the chance for Germany to capture my heart in new and different ways.

Had I seen this path would I have chosen it? No. I would not choose a new country, new culture, and new language. I would not choose to start over on my own again. I would not walk away from a salaried job to attempt to raise support in a matter of months from a foreign country. I would not be thrilled at the prospect of going even further away from my family.

Yet here I am, walking forward down this path full of eager anticipation for what each next step will hold. Had I not walked down this path, had I looked at the map and seen the obstacles it would hold, I would have lost out on the magnificent new understanding I have of God. He truly is the most superb Guide, who is waiting to provide for us in the most unexpected and beautiful ways if we only step out in faith and allow Him too. When we walk through the dark, seeing only our feet, it allows Him to bridge the chasms, break down the walls, and fill in the holes. I praise God that He only lights my feet; because had He given me a streetlight I would have lost out on so many opportunities to know and trust Him more. Faith would lose its power, if we had streetlights, roadmaps, and neon signs.

If you want to know more about me, my life teaching middle school boys, my upcoming ministry in Germany, or how to partner with me in my ministry just hop on over to rebekahsharp.wordpress.com. Seriously, if you (or a church/small group/youth group/ Sunday school class) you know is interested in helping play a part in my upcoming ministry of serving missionary kids and refugees do not hesitate to contact me. Also if you had any more questions about my journey in trusting God, and how to survive when its just your feet being lit, I would love to talk more with you! Just send me an email at rebekah.sharp.2011@gmail.com.

Hope that conquers

Sometimes in the dead of night a memory of my past slips back into my conscience to haunt my waking moments.

Their purpose?  A curse to remind me of fleeting experience wrapped up in nights and days that I'd rather just forget all together.

Yet these ancient ghosts are stirred to life again. Maybe it's a smell or a feeling or a sound. Maybe it is the combination of a sight and a taste. Sometimes it's just a color, but when these aberrations strike they enslave me again locked in the memories of my past.

The guilt in these moments seems unbearable. I'm easily crippled--incapacitated--paralyzed in their glare. Escaping them is quite impossible. Running?  Futile. Forever frozen, just looking for the solution. 

But isn't that just the way of an enemy?  Attack with the most paralyzing of possible fears?
Perhaps so. In fact, I'm certain, yes.

The most paralyzing of possible fears.

To look at my past may stir my self doubt and my self hatred, but to look at the future I see only hope.  Where darkness once reigned now light, only, remains.

Oh, to live in the light of a new day...
of a new dawn...
of a new tomorrow...
of a new start
watching the past slip back into the bottomless hole of my memories and feeling the warmth of light eternal hold me in the stillness of precious silence.
His love surrounds me again.

Closing the Gap

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Overlooked? Left out?

Yeah, I think we all do from time to time. I have to admit I often feel these things. There are many times when I feel as if I don't fit in any category that we as human beings often sort people in. It's true, we have categories. You are in the married category, the parent category, the single category, the student category, the divorced category, the widowed category, and so on and so on. We have these distinctions. And they pretty much determine our friend groups and socializing habits. But what if you don't neatly fit into any one of those categories? And we are back to misunderstood, overlooked, and left out.

I am sure we all feel misunderstood. The stay at home mom feels as if everyone thinks they sit at home and watch daytime tv all day. Ha! They don't.

Homeschool parents may feel like everyone assumes they feed their kids granola and everyday is a field trip. It's not.

Married without children ladies may feel like everyone is having babies, except for them.

Single ladies.... well that's where I fit in. Hmmm... what do I feel? (Honesty moment ahead)
I feel like people assume I am desperate and upset about not being married at 27. I feel like people often speak in hushed tones in my absence about how they wish I could find a husband. I feel like I am looked at as a half rather than a whole. I feel like some people would take me more seriously if I were married. I feel like some people would be more comfortable around me if I were married. I feel like the topic of relationships is avoided in an effort to not make me feel bad. And worst of all, I feel isolated from friendship with ladies my age who aren't single. Misunderstood. Overlooked. Left out.

Now hear me out, my objective here is NOT to make you feel sorry for me or anyone else who is single, pointing out all the injustices we face and demanding EQUAL RIGHTS FOR SINGLE PEOPLE! (Hey, that's a new one.) We have enough of our society demanding that privileges be rights and rights become privileges. But let me just correct some of the misunderstandings that I stated above. 

I am not desperate and I am not upset about being single at 27. This isn't a fake smile I wear. I don't cry myself to sleep at night and ask God, "Why haven't I found him yet?" To be honest, I have never questioned it. Because I believe that as long as I am following God's lead, He will take care of the details and arrangements. I am totally good with that.

Yes, I do feel the whispers of people trying to think of someone, ANYONE, I may be a good match with. And that's fine if you need to problem solve in that way (grandma & grandpa), but you won't be solving my problem. Because I don't have one. You see, I don't see singleness as a problem. I don't see it as unfortunate. I don't see it as a shameful thing. Me being single says absolutely nothing bad about me; and if you are reading this and are single yourself, honey there is nothing wrong with you. As much as I don't consider singleness a curse, I also don't call it a gift as many self-help books may. I call it my location. You see I don't consider singleness my destination, if it was God would have laid that on my heart. But it is where I am at now, and I can enjoy the scenery from while I am here.

I, as I am sure other singles, feel as if I am looked at as a half rather than a whole. Even not taken as seriously as a married lady would be. Hear my heart in this, you do not need to feel sorry for me, because I don't feel sorry for myself. However, I could recount many stories from my own life of times when I wasn't given a job, wasn't invited to a get together, wasn't thought of because of where I am in life. I vividly remember being declined a job opportunity because, "I would hate to bring you on here without any potential man for you." I think you can understand why I am okay with not getting that position. 

I guess people would be more comfortable if I were married. I haven't quite figured out why yet, but if you do, let me know! A more recent example of this happened when I ran into a friend from college at a public venue with his wife. If you know anything about the college I went to you would know the notorious side hug. I mean, it's what you do! Upon greeting my old fellow classmate he emphatically stuck out his hand for a nice, friendly handshake. I could have cared less about shaking his hand, I enjoy a good ole handshake. But it was the clear, calculated and intentionality of it that made me realize, he was uncomfortable.

Finally, and most painful for me personally, is the feeling of isolation. I have found it difficult to sustain friendships, and even family relationships, that are important to me because I am in a different place in life. It breaks my heart when I have a better relationship with a friend's children than I do with my friend. (Just one of the wonders of kids. It doesn't matter who you are, if you will play with them and listen to them they're sold!) There have been many times when friends assume I am more interested in their children's lives than in their own. I really don't know what causes this gap. It could be the fact that I am not learning how to parent. It could be I don't have to deal with sustaining a marriage. It could be that I just don't get it. Whatever it is, I believe this gap that separates women needs to be closed.

This whole single thing is a topic I do prefer to avoid, not because I am uncomfortable or upset by it, but because I don't want to be misunderstood. But the truth is we all share the same feelings, just about different things. You may not be in the single category, but each category has it's own areas of isolation. Single, married, kids, no kids, widowed, young, old, we all face our fair share of insecurities. But all of those feelings of isolation and insecurities only widen the gap between us, when all the time God is calling us to close in those gaps.

Bear with each other. We all long for connection and community. Those are just trendy ways of saying, we all want friends. We all need friends. But instead of just looking for women who are just like you, why not look for women you can connect with. Look for women who build you up and who you can build up as well. Look for them regardless of what "category" they live in, and when you find them work on closing that gap. Maybe you don't have firsthand experience with whatever they may be living through, that's okay! We are called to bear with each other in love. And let's be honest, sometimes we get worn out with people telling us how they did something. We don't always need someone to tell us how to get through a situation, we just need them to get through it with us.

Forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Friend, maybe you have been hurt by someone who didn't understand you. Maybe you have been overlooked and left out. It hurts! I know it does. But we have got to forgive. I say we, because I have to too. There are people who have hurt me and they don't even know it! But how silly it is of me to walk around thinking about how they hurt me, getting hurt all over again. It doesn't change the way they have made you feel, and it may not change the way they will make you feel in the future. But it is the way that you can live in freedom and in love.

Can I give you a little challenge?
Find someone who is in a different stage of life than you are and love on them this week. Where ever they are at, spend time with them or just send them a message or text letting them know how loved they are and that you thought of them. Just knowing someone is thinking about you can be POWERFUL and make all the difference.