Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

Seasons

DSC_0004The leaves on the tree in front of my house are turning yellow. They dry up and float down on the winds of the changing seasons. I love the changing of summer into fall. It’s one of my favorite times of year.

This year the fall brings with it other changes. A few months ago, I received a promotion at work. It has been a great thing. Just another sign of life marching on, never static and never boring.

Life has been crazy busy with these changes. For the last few months, I’ve been deep in learning Key Performance Indicators and how to help my people meet theirs. I’ve had to get up to speed on what’s expected in the weekly leadership meetings. Navigating the time clock system so that people are paid has been a learning curve. An important one because, you know, people like to be paid.

At the end of the day, I go home tired. It’s not as if I’m running marathons. I sit behind a desk. I go to meetings. I analyze trends. But it’s all new and it’s challenging me. When I drop into bed at night, I feel exhausted but in a good way. I love my new job.

It haDSC_0010s interfered with my day-to-day life. I’ve had to rearrange my world and am still trying to get into a groove. So, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, and I haven’t been here on Girls Night In for several weeks.

Sharyn and I talked a few weeks ago. I let her know I’d been struggling and we decided that I’d post here as I could for the next few months. I’m trying to get here at least once a month. So, I’m still here, just not as often.

 

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The Great Marriage Eligibility Test

Test

Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday was my birthday, so today I thought I’d share a favorite article I wrote way back when we first started this blog in 2013. Have a great Friday, friends!

***

You know how they say a man will come along as soon as you stop looking and you think, “Well, I guess no man will ever come along because I’ll never stop looking,” but then, one day, you discuss with some friends how you don’t know what the next year will bring and one says, “Yeah, you might be married by then” and, for the first time in your life, you think that might not be what you want anymore and you freak out, just a little, since you’re no longer sure you want to get married because of the direction God’s leading your ministry, and piggy-backing on that thought is this:

“Wait, so if I’m no longer certain I want to get married does that mean I’m finally not looking so now God will bring me a man?”

Then you think, “I guess I’m still looking after all.”

So you sigh and shrug and figure you failed once again. After all, God will bring you a man when you stop looking. That’s what everyone says, right?

They also say your singleness implies you still need to work on your relationship with God. Or you need to lose weight. Or get out of debt. Or ________________ (fill in the blank).

Bottom line: You’re a mess. And who wants to marry a mess?

All of which sets up this underlying idea that we’re single because we haven’t figured out The Secret yet. We still haven’t passed The Great Marriage Eligibility Test. And every five minutes or so you meet some cute, young thing who’s married but definitely does not have her act together and you think, “She passed the test?! How did she pass but I didn’t?”

Well, I’m going to say something you might not like, but hang in there with me: It IS a test. But not a test to see if you’re ready for marriage or not. It’s a test to see if you will trust God, whatever happens.

Here’s the good news: This kind of testing is part of the whole faith experience. Paul even encouraged us in how to handle it:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
                                                                         ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Not everyone is strong enough to handle such a test, but God knew you could. I’m not saying this is the only reason you’re single. I am saying, though, that the next time someone tells you you’re single because you haven’t stopped looking or your relationship with God needs work or they throw some new and improved test question at you, just smile serenely and tell them:

“That’s not the test I’m working on.”

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Meeting the New Guy

New Guy by imagerymajestic

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net.

Don’t you love it when a new GWP (Guy With Potential) enters your social circle? It’s been a while for me, but I certainly remember what it feels like. That twinge of attraction when your eyes meet, the beat of hope the first time he makes you laugh, and all those little moments that whisper, Maybe … just maybe. . . .

I suppose those are just a few of the reasons this is one of my favorite scenes in Spinstered the Novel. Here, Uli meets the latest GWP to show up at her church. Enjoy!

***

Sunday morning dawns crisp and clear. It’s late September, and the aspens outside my bedroom window twinkle gold in the early sunlight. Hope filters through me. It’s like what Anne of Green Gables said: “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” I’m ready for something wonderful to happen.

I’m so ready.

Squeezing into my black jeans, I choose not to stress about the thirty pounds I need to lose. Maybe today I’ll take a walk instead of opening a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. The dark chocolate ones. Stop it, Uli. It’s a new day, and anything is possible. I pull eight sweaters and five shirts out of the closet and try them all on before finally knocking on Jolene’s bedroom door and getting her opinion on my final three options.

“This one, definitely,” she says, pointing to a white cardigan covered in big black and gray flowers. It’s lightweight, which is good because fall afternoons in Colorado can still simmer on the warm side. I wear a simple, white tank underneath and wrap a red scarf around my neck for color.

After spending thirty minutes trying to get my hair to do something even remotely cute, I finally pull it back with some black clips, leaving a few curly tendrils free to frame my face. Dangling, silver earrings; strappy, black sandals; a hint of Charlie Red, and I’m ready to go. Since Jolene has been yelling at me to hurry up for the last ten minutes, I grab my purse and chase her out to the car. She streaks ahead of me like a ray of sunshine in her bright, happy outfit. Or like a big, yellow chicken. Brian will definitely notice her. And I’ll make a nice, neutral backdrop.

I have a tough time paying attention to the service. It’s hard to listen to a sermon about the power of grace when you’re craning your neck for a glimpse of the new guy. Especially when you’re trying to look without looking like you’re looking.

Jolene elbows me and whispers, “Can’t you wait another thirty minutes?”

“No.” I grin at her and glance behind me … right into the clear, silver-fox eyes of Brian Kemper. Wow, he actually has an up-to-date Facebook photo, except his dark hair is shorter and there’s some gray at the temples. His eyes are a little close together, and he has a rather large, hooked nose, but it works for him. Especially when he smiles, which he does, and I realize I’m staring. Then he nods at me. One of those polite, “what’s up” nods. Like we work in the same building and, every once in a while, have to wait for the elevator together. What a disappointingly unromantic meeting! I can’t tell our kids that. “Our eyes met across a crowded room … and he nodded at me.” Blah.

I want a do-over.

Though it’s too late now, I look away, feeling the heat crawl up my face. Well, that’s that. Then I make the mistake of glancing at Jolene. She has a serene, perfect, speak-to-me-Lord expression on her face. Good grief, the woman knows exactly where Brian Kemper is sitting. She’s probably known since we walked into the sanctuary.

Jolene: one; Uli: zero.

Catie, however, seems completely oblivious. She’s sitting on the other side of Jolene, scribbling notes faster than Pastor Owens can get the words out. I shouldn’t say “scribbling” because her writing is neat, bulleted, and laid out in columns. It looks like an Excel spreadsheet. But her short, cropped, red-gold hair frames her perky but somewhat plain face just right and, though I’m not fond of business suits personally, her striking blue one makes her seem taller and, somehow, adds a few curves.

“What did he just say?” Tess, to my right, leans closer. Well, he didn’t say anything, he’s— Oh, wait. The sermon. She means the pastor, not Brian. Right. I shrug my shoulders. “Sorry. I missed it too.” She gives me a crooked, behave-yourself smile. Boy, do I wish my friends couldn’t read me like a book. Not all the time, anyway.

So, I turn my attention completely to the pastor until the last amen is uttered. We stand for the closing song, and as the final strains of “Your Grace Is Enough” echo through the sanctuary, the music morphs into the chatter of several hundred voices.

I do not fight my way through the crowd or hurry to our class meeting room but wander around, greeting acquaintances and chatting with whomever I happen to run into. On occasion, I catch a glimpse of Brian. He’s surrounded by people. What could he have done to be such a favorite already? He’s definitely an extrovert. And he’s cute in an older-guy-with-laugh-lines-and-no-sense-of-style kind of way. The group around him seems completely captivated. They laugh at almost anything he says. Hope simmers through me like that first sip of hot chocolate.

Please, God. Please let something happen.

Eventually, I make my way to the classroom where our group leader, Scott, greets everyone with a Squiggy-like “hello” and hands out his weekly list of discussion questions. Thirty-one-year-old Scott Jones works at Home Depot and treats every girl like a sister. Which would be fine if he didn’t see himself as the annoying little brother who pulls your hair and drops ice cubes down the back of your shirt. Okay, he’s not that bad, but I’m pretty sure the thought has crossed his mind. To his credit, though, he does an adequate job keeping our small group on track.

I set my Bible and notebook on a chair before turning to dash back through the door, heading to the restroom for one last, quick check in the mirror. But I take the corner too fast and run smack-dab into Mr. GWP himself. I don’t just run into him; I practically bowl him over, stumbling like a drunken sailor, knocking a cup of coffee out of his hands and to the floor, where it splatters all over our shoes. Strong fingers grab my arms, helping me get my balance. With a deep breath, I look up into gray eyes that flicker startled, then amused.

“Steady there,” he says.

I laugh. What else can I do? This meet-cute might be more interesting than a nod but only if it leads to something. If he never asks me out, it will forever be merely an embarrassing memory. So, of course, my imagination jumps to a happier outcome. One where I tell our kids about how I ran into their father … literally.

Once I’m no longer tilting, he drops his hands away. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” I pick up the now empty Styrofoam cup and hand it to him. “How about you?”

He smiles. “I’ve survived worse. So,” he says, looking around, “are you running to something or away from it?”

To something. Definitely. But I say, “The restroom,” like a ditz. I’m always so much more clever in my mind.

We gaze into each other’s eyes for a suspended-in-air moment. Then he says, “Where can I get something to clean this up?”

“What?”

“The coffee.”

Shake it off. “Right. Of course. I’ll take care of it. You go on. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Where’s that?”

“Oh, um …” Good grief, Uli. You sound like a stalker. “Hello, stranger. I know we only met a minute ago, but I know exactly where you’re going.” Out loud I say,

“I meant … aren’t you …” I point pathetically toward the door I just lurched through.

He looks past me. “Is that where the single professional class meets?”

I nod and am, I’m sure, about to say something completely not brilliant, when Jolene sashays out into the hall.

“Well, hello there!” She flicks her head my direction and flashes a smile that actually outshines her dress. “Uli, are you gonna introduce me to your friend?”

Jolene: two.

Once again I stammer out something nonsensical as Brian steps forward, hand outstretched.

“Hi, I’m Brian. Your friend—Uli?—and I just … ran into each other.” He grins back at me and suddenly hope springs up again like a jack-in-the-box, shocking me with its sudden reappearance. Two minutes after meeting and the new guy and I already have a past, a history, an inside joke.

Uli: one.

My friend and roommate takes his hand. “Jolene. Nice to meet you.” Then, instead of letting go, she practically pulls him into the classroom. “Let me introduce you to the rest of the crew.”

I look down at the puddle of coffee soaking into the carpet, tempted to just leave it. It’s old carpet, anyway. That would be wrong, though, so I hurry to get some paper towels from the kitchen.

It would be unwise to leave Brian in Jolene’s grasp too long. If all’s fair in love and war, then I need to prepare for battle. My roommate, after all, is a seasoned campaigner.

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Commitment Phobia

image courtesy of bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

I’m moving back to Cape Town, South Africa. In three months.

There, I’ve said it.

But I have yet to buy my plane ticket, even though the price is at an epic low. I have been studying the airfares for about a month–since September. When I had four months until I was set to leave.

Why have I not made this purchase?

Am I afraid? Being a person who is afraid of everything, the answer to that question is obvious. Of course I am afraid. But that does not explain my ticket-less state. The real question is, “Why?” Why am I afraid of a plane ticket?

What I have concluded is that buying that plane ticket represents commitment. It is commitment to a new life that is 8,000 miles away from the old, that is financially insecure, that is culturally challenging in profound and disturbing ways. None of this is the scary part, though.

What scares me is that in addition to all the known perils, I am committing to a great unknown void of “What if…?”

The scary part is committing to the ways that God is at work in my life. Ways which I know are always good, but which are not always pleasant.

Most scary of all is committing to the part about love. I am still hoping, still waiting, still expecting. It feels like all the energy and desire I have to love and to be loved in return is aimed in the direction of Cape Town. Yet all the while, for the sake of the watching world, I have to not make the love thing the main thing. I have to remember the love thing is incidental to all the other “important” things. For my own sake, I have to be in a letting go frame of mind so that if love does not finally come around for me, all continues to be well with my soul.

Buying the plane ticket means committing to my fondest hopes and to totally releasing my hope all at the same time.

A long time ago three Hebrew boys who were moved to a foreign country boldly declared, “Our God can deliver us and will deliver us! But even if God does not deliver us, we will not bow down.” Then they willingly went forward into death.

My prayer is to be able to say the same thing. “My God can and will lead me into love. But even if God does not, I am still standing tall.” And, as I am whispering these words to myself, to also be hitting the button on my laptop to buy my plane ticket.

What has happened for you when you’ve prayed this kind of prayer?

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Love Comes Around

image by StuartMiles/freedigitalphotos.net

image by StuartMiles/freedigitalphotos.net

This has been an eventful week in the lives of my friends.

One friend, a 40-something who started dating very late in life, has been seeing her guy for two years. This week they sent out the Save the Dates. She met him at church. He is older, a young Christian, physically not “her type,” and generally not anything like what she thought she might be looking for. But he gives her the kind of good love for which we have spent years praying.

Another friend, who is closing in on 40, has been dating her guy for a month.  After a very sweet and thoughtful thing he did, she realized she has found the man who may be the man she will spend the rest of her life with here on earth.  Bonus–he feels the same. She met him on Tinder (which, it turns out, is not just for hookups), after a series of dates with other people that were duds. He’s a couple of years older than she is, has never been married and has no children. He’s not single because he’s got a ton of issues, but rather because he took extended time to not date while he worked on his issues. My friend had no idea such a man existed.

A different friend in her late-40s came to the realization that the guy she has been seeing–who does things like drive down from Richmond to Durham on the weekends and sleep at her friends’ home to safeguard her reputation–is a keeper. She is afraid of the finality of marriage but wants to love him more than she wants to remain in her zone of safety. After much patience on his part, she is letting him know she is ready to commit. They met on Christian Mingle and have been together for three years. In age, temperament and education, he is totally different than the man she imagined God might have for her.

My roommate, who is in her early 30s, has never been on an official date. Naturally, I have been her biggest encourager to break that habit sooner rather than later. She’s been feeling confident and beautiful lately and this week decided to join an online dating site for the first time ever–which she previously swore was not for her. Within one day she had made contact with a suitable man who immediately locked in a date with her five days in the future. I assured her it was very rare indeed for an online suitor to be that direct and intentional about getting together. In a matter of hours now, she will have crossed the dating line and begun life’s great adventure–the search for a healthy loving relationship with another.

Being a woman who loves love, I am elated by all the love blossoming around me. It encourages me to live with expectancy. Love is there to be found in many different places, on many different websites and in many different guises. Oh, for the openness, courage and resilience to continue to look for it.

What love stories have encouraged you most recently?

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Fighting Amongst Myself

Fighting by photostock

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net.

Maybe my double-mindedness shouldn’t surprise me. James said a double-minded man is unstable (1:8) and, of course, there’s Paul’s frustrated discourse about the whole thing in Romans. If one of the founders of our faith struggled with it, why shouldn’t I?

I am of two minds—one is the-me-I-want-to-be and the other is the-me-in-the-moment. It’s why I consistently fail at losing weight. It doesn’t matter that I don’t like what I see in the mirror or in a photo or how out of breath I am after climbing a flight of stairs, the moment I crave a gummy peach ring or decide fried chicken sounds good for dinner, it’s over. The-me-in-the-moment doesn’t care.

Perhaps it’s a problem with long-term goals. I think about what is instead of what could be. I often say, “Do this for the you in five months—the you who’ll be glad you turned down that donut and only had one slice of pizza and exercised regularly. Do it for her.”

So … do I?

No, I do not.

Double-minded. Unstable. Doing what I hate. I’d think there was something seriously wrong with me if not for dear Apostle Paul*:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

I know exactly how he feels. I know how quickly you can get to that point where you want to tear out your hair in frustration. But here’s the truth of the matter: We all fail. We all let God down.

But, hallelujah, that isn’t the end of the story. Paul adds: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Once again we see that God rescues us, this time from ourselves. Yet we are still trapped by our sinful flesh. We don’t give up, though, because, by God’s grace, Paul then comes to a grand conclusion as he continues in chapter eight:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

In other words, on our own we are completely helpless. Of course we fail because the-me-in-the-moment is the-me-in-the-flesh. Only by truly accepting that Jesus has set me free can I actually be free.

Have you been set free from the law of sin and death?

*Romans 7:15 – 8:2

 

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How to Make the Best Chicken and Noodles

For many, many years, chicken & noodles was a rare treat. I didn’t think I could make it and C&N done right can be hard to find. Especially since I grew up eating my grandma’s homemade noodles every Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, yes, I’m a C&N snob. To me, it’s the height of comfort food so it must be perfect.

I’m delighted to report that I now make it all the time and it’s really easy. Here’s what I do:

First, I buy a rotisserie chicken—why do all the work myself? These chickens are tasty and, usually, I can get two meals for myself PLUS a pot of C&N to share with my family from one $6-$7 bird.

Next, fill a good-sized pot about half full with chicken broth and bring it to a boil. You can use some water, if needed, but broth is the best way to go.

While the broth is heating up, pull the meat off the bones and shred it. I suggest doing this when the chicken’s at room temperature or close to it. Your fingers will thank you.

Once the broth comes to a boil, add noodles. I recommend homemade Amish ones like this, if at all possible:

Amish Noodles

Let the noodles cook for about 15-20 minutes, then add the chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Also, at the bottom of the chicken container you should find juices that came from the meat as it cooked—throw that in too for more flavor.

The last thing I include is a can of cream of chicken soup. I only discovered the beauty of this addition a few years ago, but it really takes it up a notch.

To provide a vegetable as well as a little color, I like shredded carrots. Any form of carrot is fine, of course, but the shredded cooks faster and, I think, is easier. Peas are good as well. I would add the veggies about an hour before you plan to eat.

Go ahead and let it simmer on low for a while. The longer it cooks, the more broth it will need so make sure you have an extra can or carton you can use. Keep checking and stirring—for several hours if you have the time. That’s how you end up with something like this:

Chicken & Noodles

Yum! Let me tell you, my family loves it when I show up with a pot of C&N. And if you don’t want to share it, only make half a bag of noodles and store the leftovers in those freezer-to-microwave plastic containers I mentioned a few months ago.

Do you have a favorite meal you wish you knew how to make?

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Changing Seasons

image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/freedigitalphotos.net

Usually, I look forward to the late year change of seasons. Everything was something to anticipate. From autumn’s cooler weather to creation’s flamboyant autumn display of rich, changing colors, to the memory of autumn school days and the new television season.

This year, however, I did not look forward to the arrival of fall. Indeed, I am still not ready for the change.

I have not made the dietary shift. In the supermarket, I have been shocked these last few weeks to see that the price of berries has doubled, and the plentiful variety of melons that were prominently displayed all summer have gone. We are in the days of squash and pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

I have not made the fashion shift. I’m still reaching for t-shirts, and breezy white dresses beckon to me from my closet to give them one more wear. But navy slacks and caramel sweaters are the order of the day.

I have not made the mental shift. I spent this summer enjoying driving vacations to New York, to Ohio, and to Western North Carolina. On my list of places to visit, also, were Colorado and Houston. I never managed to get to either one. Now the days of travel and visiting have given way to days of mundane routine.

But this is how life is, right? No matter what is happening during one season, whether delightful or dreadful, that season will not last.

Sometimes it seems as if the season of singleness refuses to come to an end. But perhaps, singleness, for we older, perpetual singles, is less like a season and more like a climate. Perhaps within the climate of unpartnered life, we experience many different seasons. Fledgling careers, renting and roommates, getting “out there,” nesting in here, grieving losses. Our seasons have changed and are still changing.

What season are you in in your singleness?

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I Have Never …

Have you ever played that game? It’s a great icebreaker. You fill in the blank: I have never ________________________. To keep it simple, just go around the room, having each person share something they’ve never done. Or you can make an actual contest out of it. Everyone gets a predetermined number of tokens—like M&Ms. When someone says, for instance, “I have never been on an airplane,” you have to sacrifice a candy if you have, in fact, been on an airplane.

Lawnmower by foto76

Image courtesy of foto76/freedigitalphotos.net.

This week I was reminded that I have never mowed a lawn. I grew up with a dad and two brothers so I wasn’t needed for that task. The same can be said with every place I’ve lived since … and there’ve been dozens. Yet each time my house or apartment had a yard, there was someone else who was more than willing to take care of cutting the grass.

Anyway, this week one of my sisters moved her belongings into my garage while she house hunts. Including her lawnmower. Up till now, I’ve typically hired local kids to mow for me and didn’t own a machine myself. As we unloaded Kris’s stuff, my other sister, Susie, said, “I’ll mow your yard while I’m here.”

Well, I thought, here’s my chance. She’ll show me what to do and I’ll take care of my own lawn and it will no longer be on my “never” list. So, Susie gave me a quick tutorial, then I grabbed the handle and gave it a push. The machine went two inches—maybe—and coughed to a halt. It just died. No matter what we did, the thing refused to come back to life.

And so, I have still never mowed a lawn. We all had a good laugh over it, although Kris will certainly feel better once her lawnmower is working again.

Still, other things on my “I have never …” list aren’t so funny, and some are hard to admit, even to myself.

  • For instance, I have never been “in love.” Oh, I have liked and wanted and romanticized about a few good men and even thought I was in love with one of them. But he didn’t want me, so I’ve decided it must not have been true love. My romantic heart can’t bear the thought of unrequited love, which means it was merely a case of heavy duty “like.”
  • I have never had a child. This one is closely related to the last but, in several ways, more devastating. Falling in love will always be possible. Having a baby gets more and more unlikely each day. Doctors would say that, at my age, it’s not going to happen, but I stubbornly cling to what little dregs of hope I have left.
  • And, adding insult to injury, having children hasn’t been possible because I have never participated in the act required for pregnancy. Yes, I mean sex. Never. Never, ever, ever. Each passing year this becomes harder to admit because it’s like a neon sign flashing my undesirability.

We don’t plan to have these “nevers” in our lives. In fact, up until a few years ago, I saw these desires as “somedays.” The dream was possible. “I will … in God’s timing.” It’s like I was climbing the Mountain of Wish Fulfillment, expecting to, eventually, reach the top. But now I feel as if I missed it somehow on the way up and am standing here, looking back, saying, “I have never …”

It’s a negative way of looking at my life. And I don’t like it.

How would you complete the phrase “I have never ________________”? Are you disappointed by the things you feel are missing, especially as a single woman? If so, how do you handle it?

For more on the topic of dealing with the struggles of singleness, I hope you’ll check out my book Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40, which is available on Amazon.

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What the Devil?

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

I heard Priscilla Shirer say something about fear recently that has helped me tremendously. The general idea was that whenever she is afraid of doing something, she recognizes the fear as a signal to run toward the thing she is afraid of. God does not give us a spirit of fear, she reasoned. So if fear arises it must come from the enemy. If the enemy is interested in blocking her from something, then it may be that God is involved in that very thing, which turns out usually to be the case.

“Fear not,” the Lord instructs us over and over and over again in Scripture. Probably He keeps telling us this because we need to be instructed to be fearless over and over and over again. Not just because we are hapless humans, but because our enemy is crafty and shrewd and lies to us without ceasing.

A huge door of opportunity just swung open for me. While the door was closed I stood in front of it and prayed and prayed it would open; I was terrified it would not. Now that the door has opened, I should be elated. Instead, I am more afraid than ever. What if I walk through the door, and right over the threshold is a pit that I fall into and can’t get out of? What if there are monsters on the other side of the door? What if all the sunshine and light I thought I saw on the other side of that door turns out to be stage lighting, totally fake, and the place is actually darker and gloomier than I can bear?

What a lying wonder the devil is! He lies and tells me I have no hope of the door opening, that I should give up hoping and spare myself the disappointment. Then, when the door opens, he immediately switches lies and tells me I must not, under any circumstances, go through the open door or dire consequences will follow.

“Fear not,” says the Lord.

Run toward the feared thing, says Priscilla Shirer.

I am putting my right foot in front of my left, and I am moving forward.

What lies has the enemy used to lead you astray?

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