Skip to main content

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 2


Today, I’m going to start with a confession. (I don’t like how hiding this information seems to hang over my head and form a knot in my stomach.)

I want to be married and I’m not.
There, I said it. (Deep breath out. Deep breath in. It’s OK. I can do this.)

Why I am telling you this? Well, this is the biggest thing in my life that God uses to tenderize my heart. So, if I am going to write about what it means to keep a tender heart, then I think that you have a right to know just what it is that pains my heart the most frequently.
Now, in the past, I have written about how my struggle with singleness can be likened to anyone else’s struggle with troubling circumstances like joblessness, infertility, a difficult marriage, chronic illness or crushing debt. And, this is true. The feelings are incredibly similar despite the differences in situations. However, generalizing my feelings to that which is a part of the normal human experience has also allowed me to hide the particulars of my specific story.

For the sake of my journey toward a heart of flesh in the place of my heart of stone and for the sake of authenticity with you, I want to focus more on my unique experience and how it’s been hard for me.
I should tell you, first, that getting married has been at the top of my to-do list since adolescence. I was sure that I would meet my husband in college or graduate school and be married with children by now. In my early 20’s, I just denied what was happening. Every time I met someone new, I would tell myself that he was the “One” and it was finally my turn. In my mid-20’s, I started to feel very angry. But, I wasn’t emotionally healthy enough to identify my feelings and express them appropriately, so I hid them deep within myself. I stuffed them down and I started pretending that I didn’t really care about getting married. I also started avoiding my married and dating friends because it was too painful to see them enjoy what I so desperately desired. Over time, my hurt, disappointed, and frustrated feelings built up into a volcano ready to explode at any time.

By 29, I was an angry and anxious wreck of a person. I was offended at God’s leadership in my life. Clearly, He had missed the main point of my existence and didn’t care about me. I had been stuffing anger and fear for so long that they started leaking out of me everywhere. I decided to enter counseling, which was incredibly helpful as I tried to figure out who I was, what had happened to me and what I was going to do with the life that I had, even though it wasn’t the life that I wanted. Toward the end of counseling, I decided to take some huge risks and leave my job as a school counselor, move back to Rockford and do an internship at IHOP-KC. I really wasn’t sure what my future held, but I realized that I had been living my life in a holding pattern, waiting to be married, and that I needed to develop some other life goals.
It was during internship that God began to really hack at my heart of stone. I didn’t even realize how hard it had gotten. Healing was painful. God would poke at some area and out of me would flow anger, accusation, offense, grief and disappointment. I cried almost every day in the prayer room. And, I yelled at God in anger on more than one occasion. God graciously lead me through this process where I recognized that I was angry with Him for not letting me get married sooner and where I was finally able to forgive Him for not doing things my way. After that, I was able to start seeing how God had protected me in not giving me my way and letting me marry early in life. I even started to feel genuine thankfulness toward God for how He has taken care of me all this time and given me a life that I didn’t even want, but is so much better than I ever could have hoped.

I wish I could say that this healing experience changed everything and I am now completely at peace with my singleness. If that was the case, then I would have nothing to write about for the next 30 days. In fact, though my old pain from singleness has been healed, I still experience new pain related to my singleness on a regular basis. And this is why I have been asking God to teach me how to steward my unfulfilled desire and the feelings attached to it well. I trust Him to show me how to keep a tender heart for as long as I remain single and continue to experience painful feelings because of it.
Still counting gifts:

·         #452: Saying goodnight to Patrick and Haley at 7:30 in the morning

·         #453: Fall colors in unexpected places

·         #454: Lentil soup at lunch

·         #455: Treating myself to coffee

·         #456: An emerging habit of spending Tuesday afternoons at the House of Prayer

·         #457: Remembering this time last year when I was adjusting to my internship at IHOP-KC and praying from midnight to 6 AM every day. What an incredible season of closeness with God and healing for my heart that was!

·         #458: Hopeful feelings for what God will do in me this fall

·         #459: Excited and scared feelings for this 31 day project of sharing my heart

·         #460: But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. Psalm 73:28

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What do I fix my eyes on?

Do you ever notice themes popping up in your daily life and wonder if God is saying something?

You read something that stands out to you and then you hear a song reinforcing the same message. You find this topic coming up in conversations throughout the day. Maybe you even see it appearing in your newsfeed on social media. Your heart moves a little bit every time you see or hear this theme.








This has been happening to me this week. The theme is actually a question: What are your eyes fixed on?

I'm preparing to lead See You At The Pole at my school tomorrow and the theme is Fix Your Eyes. It comes from Hebrews 12:2 which encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus and follow his example in how we handle difficulties and suffering.

Then, I read this amazing blog post this morning by Sharon Hodde Miller about how being a people-pleaser and addicted to approval ultimately causes you to become completely self-focused. (Check out When the Self-Help Gospel Isn't Helping You Anymore on www…

Heart Revival

Hey you guys,

It's been almost two years since my last post. What?!

I know some of you probably forgot that I even used to do this, but I hope that you're as excited as I am that I'm coming back to blogging. It's a new season and God has been stirring up lots of creativity and courage in me recently. I'm happy to tell you all about it.

In case you missed it, I became a mom to sweet Elias last summer. In fact, he is about to turn 1 year old on Monday and I can't believe it! Guys, he is absolutely the sweetest, calmest and most delightful baby you can ever imagine and I still tear up sometimes in gratitude when I remember that he is my little boy.

One of my life dreams to be a stay-at-home mama has been partially fulfilled in that I only work three days a week during the school year. I work 2 1/2 days at RCS Elementary School and it is an amazing place. Shortly after I got there, they put me in charge of the two chapel services that happen each week. Guess what? …

Transition, transition, transition

Wow, it's already the middle of September! This past month has flown by for me.









I just finished my fifth week of the new school year.

I am loving The Quiet Collection by Emily P Freeman to help me have a sane September. (This blog post appearing is a partial fruit from one of those devotions which encouraged me to stop overthinking things and create.)

I'm remembering how vital my crock pot is if we want to have a hot dinner on a work day.

I have completed 8 of my 21 days of working out goal for this month!

I have done some hard stops for prayer, gazing on beauty, snuggling one of my loves and remembering how to breathe deeply.

One of the discoveries in this season of transition is that I have believed that busy=bad. My sweet, slow-paced summer schedule has been swapped out for one that is much more highly charged with many responsibilities and activities that are looking for a place within my week. I have found myself feeling shame over how full my schedule is and afraid that …