Finding Love in an Unexpected Place | Journal

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:20-21

I would categorize myself as a hopeless romantic – one who believed that someday my prince would come. I know I sound like a Disney princess movie, but that was my view. Those movies had a very large impact on my life, okay? Yet reality is so much different than a fairytale. Throughout the years of never having a boyfriend or never holding someone’s hand in a romantic way it had an effect on me. Every single Christian girl can vouch for me when I say I’ve heard all the remarks from older generations on marriage and “the one” and I was sick of it. I was immensely tired of hearing that my time will come, or that there are plenty of fish in the sea, or something along those lines. Well, he wasn’t really coming in my timeline at all. I was supposed to be married three years ago with at least a little one on the way by now. Reality had a cruel way of showing you that life isn’t a movie, and social media also has a way of letting people pretend that they’re perfect and happy, giving you the feeling of loneliness that amplifies into untruths. I have a love-hate relationship with social media.

I wanted a relationship so bad for so long, I eventually gave up hope if I’m being completely honest. In January of 2017, I threw in the towel and wrote a letter to my future husband and to God, saying that I was done looking. I was fed up with my own failed timeline creating doubt and disappointment. I was finished with feeling sorry for myself and painting false ideas on myself that I wasn’t pretty enough, or outgoing enough, or just plain likable. If I claimed to be a child of God, it was time for me to start acting like one.

I did a lot of soul searching, and found that I was not ready for a relationship with someone when I wasn’t strong in my relationship with God or myself. I leaned on what God said I was, and started to finally place my worth in what He said versus what the world said a young twenty-something girl should be. (I could go on about how social media is a blessing and a curse to society, but that’s another soap box that I need to not step on, otherwise I could go on forever.) Let me tell you, it’s hard changing your mindset. The beauty of serving a mighty God is that it didn’t take very long for me to be free of those untruths. It starts with talking to God and telling him your fears, your concerns, your failures, and just giving them up. It also means finally being okay with HIS timeline.

I wrote a post on here a few years ago proclaiming that I was done with dating (I’ll link it here if you’d like) and while for the most part I stuck to this, words are easier said than done, because after that I still struggled. Just being completely honest. Yet who knew that I would meet my husband eight months after truly declaring, by myself at night in my room, that I was handing it to the Lord. Also, who knew that the internet/social media was the way I would meet him. I know, I just went on a little tangent about social media, but remember I said I have a love/hate relationship with it? Well I found him on none other than ChristianMingle. Yes, you read that right. At first, I was skeptical of trying it. I thought and prayed hard before I started and during the whole process. I kept my mindset pure and on God. At first, I felt like it wasn’t right for me to give my dating life to God and then turn around a few months later and look for him myself on an internet dating site of all places. However, I prayed a simple prayer, “I’m going to try this for a little while, and if it’s not what you have for me, God, then shut the door.” Surprisingly, he didn’t shut it.

I want let this phrase sink in, because it is so true: God’s timing is PERFECT. All those years of wishing and crying and wanting someone taught me to trust in God’s plan. If I didn’t, I would have never met my husband, because all this time he was 1,000 miles away from me until he moved to Michigan in June of that same year I gave it all up to God. In August, we had our first date and talked for hours. By our third date, we both knew that this was it. We had found our soulmates. In December, he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. In August of the next year (two months ago) we made the most important covenant between a man and a woman official. I’m telling you, when God is in the mix, things just happen. I look back at all those “wasted” years of being single as a lesson. I put the word “wasted” in quotations because they were not wasted at all. All those years of saving myself and growing into the person God wanted me to be paid off. We each other’s firsts in everything. And that is something truly special that I thank God every day for. When we do relationships and marriage God’s way, it is truly beautiful and the most romantic love story of all.

I want to say this as a sort of disclaimer – God’s timeline for everyone is different. I know I would read these types of posts and say to myself, “Okay, if that’s how it worked for them, I’ll try the same things and see if they work for me!” It never did. If you’re struggling with singleness and all the other issues that come with that, I understand your pain. I was right there with you for many years. Remember this: a girl should be so lost in God that a guy needs to seek him to find her. That way the struggle is easier, and the waiting doesn’t seem like an eternity. I hope my story resonates with someone, and if it does, then my goal is made. I will see you next week with another blog post (I’m determined to keep this thing going)!

With love,

Emily

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Dealing with Anxiety | Journal

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Being a Christian and dealing with anxiety attacks can be difficult. It’s like your body is doing one thing while your brain is telling you otherwise. Let me explain to you what I’m talking about (for those who have no idea what an anxiety attack is).

For me, when I get nervous about a situation or an event that I’m not entirely confident with, I will start to have anxiety and dread it. My heart will pound really fast and there will be a sick feeling in my stomach that won’t go away. My body will literally shut down and I can’t think of anything or talk to anyone while this is happening. I usually have to calm myself down in my head and try to distract myself with doing things like watching TV or that require me to think about something else entirely.

I wish I didn’t have anxiety about certain things. I hate it.

It prevents me from doing things that I love because my mind can’t handle it emotionally and my body physically. It stinks. Also, it’s not something that you can make “go away,” either. I can’t force myself to not be nervous (I’ve tried, it only makes it worse if you push it down). Another thing about anxiety is that you fear having another attack and avoid places that can trigger an attack. For example, I am on the worship team for my church and I had stage fright – so much so that I got off stage and threw up. Ever since then, every Sunday morning my body woke me up at an unreasonably early hour and I would be nauseous all morning and dread going on stage because I feared I would have another anxiety attack and throw up. It lasted until church was over.

I didn’t know what to do. They became more frequent until I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally cried out to God. I know, you’re probably saying, “Well that’s what you should’ve done in the first place!” And you’re right. I should have. Yet I’m human and I thought, even though being a Christian, that I could handle this and control it on my own. Without God, though, it’s next to impossible to handle on my own, and I learned that the hard way.

I don’t think I’ll ever not have anxiety. I’ve accepted that. Yet I do know that whenever I feel anxious about anything, I go to God. Of course, I’m not perfect and I let my fears get the best of me; which happened recently and that’s what triggered me to write about it. This is a reminder to myself and to anyone reading this that God is bigger than anything we worry about. He understands everything and takes care of us. Every time I talk to God, about anything really, I get this comfort that no human could ever give. My spirit is calm, my heart isn’t palpitating out of my chest, and I know that everything is going to be okay. I encourage you – anyone who is dealing/has dealt with anxiety –  acknowledge that you have worries and fears. Crack open your Bible and start reading it. Memorize scriptures and recite them. Talk to God – He’s always there and will help you through anything. I can tell you right now that He’s better than any therapist or doctor or medication.

Anyway, there’s my little rant. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged anything in a long time. I’ll try and get better.

Em

The Dating Game – Why I Don’t Play | Journal

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Ahhh…dating. Relationships. Boyfriends. It’s what every young adult Christian girl has on her mind. It’s been on my mind too many times to count. I constantly dream about my future wedding and what color my flowers and napkins are going to be. I imagine what my future husband is going to look like, or what he’s actually doing right now as I’m writing this. God created us for relationships; it’s why He created a companion for Adam. We are alive so we can be in a relationship with our Creator. I believe that’s why He thought of marriage, because it is symbolic to our relationship with Jesus. The church is His bride, and He is the bridegroom. Yet in order to get married, you have to find a husband first (for us girls, of course). That’s where dating comes in.

I’ve heard both sides of the spectrum when it comes to being a Christian and dating. “If you really trust in God, you will know that He will bring the right guy to you,” or, “How do you know if he’s ‘the one’ if you’ve haven’t figured out what you like and dislike yet?” I’ve literally heard it all. Some of my friends have dated multiple guys, and some have dated one and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this particular guy is in fact “the one”. Everyone has their opinion on the matter, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this one is mine.

I will admit I did actually go on a few dates with a guy and I knew from the get-go that he wasn’t for me. I was tired of waiting for the one God had for me, he liked me, I thought he was a cutie, so I said, “Why not?” I was tired of being twenty and never being on a date with a guy. Everyone (and by everyone I mean mostly) my age was either in a relationship or engaged or getting married or having kids already. My heart sinks a little every time I see a Facebook post saying someone is in a relationship or is engaged. I felt that I was missing out. So I just did it. I started dating a guy for the wrong reasons. I kept telling myself I’ll never know what I like or dislike if I never date anyone. Just going on a few dates or having a boyfriend or two never harmed anyone, right?

After a month and a half, I broke up with him. I knew I wasn’t going to marry him, so I felt that it wasn’t fair to him for me to keep having him pay for all of my delicious dinners (or my Starbucks). After that whole experience, I want to wait and not date until my future hubby comes into my life. I want to save myself for him, and by myself I mean everything. I’m twenty-one and I haven’t even kissed a boy or even held a boy’s hand romantically. I’m okay with being the rare unicorn as my friends call me. I know that when I share those moments with the one God has intended for me, it will be the most magical and sacred moments of my life. I know this is 2014 and it’s normal for a girl to have kissed multiple boys or do other things. I don’t believe in that. If I lasted twenty-one years without even holding a guy’s hand (and before you ask, I didn’t do anything with the guy I dated – I put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around my shoulders for less than fifteen seconds and that was it) I think I can hold out a little longer for my future husband. Also, I don’t believe you have to date around to know whether or not you’ve found “the one”. When you’re seeking God with everything you have, He will bring him to you just in the nick of time, and you’ll know. Even though I’ve heard that phrase a million times, I never understood it until I experienced dating. It’s so important that you don’t give yourself (and not just sex) to every guy willy-nilly. Maybe you’ll have to experience dating a few guys for you to finally understand, and that’s okay. To each their own.

The whole point of this is that you need to guard your heart and keep yourself pure. Even if you’ve messed up, God will give you a clean slate and you can start now and be pure until your husband comes into the picture. These are my opinions on dating. And although I should be in a museum in a glass box, I know it’ll be worth it. Remember – a girl should be so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her. To be so lost in God that you don’t have time for a man. The waiting game; however, is for another post.

Em.