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    Being a Third Wheel

    Thursday, October 8, 2020

     


    Being a third wheel works - if it’s a TRYcycle. And what I mean is you have to TRY and put forth the effort. It doesn’t come naturally. It takes work, communication, and acknowledgement that things are different. 

     

    I love being a third wheel! Currently, I’m a third wheel girl to a dating friend, an engaged friend, and several married friends. I love having their significant others as friends! I mean, who doesn’t want more awesome guy friends in their lives? 

     

    Here are some tips that have helped me:

     

    > When your friend gets a boyfriend, acknowledge to yourself that things will be different. False expectations lead to disappointment, so just expect that your friendship with your girlfriend will change slightly. Change is not always a bad thing! Maybe you gain a new guy friend or learn new things from being around them. 

     

    > Allow for adjustments in how much time you expect to spend with your friend. She will be spending time with her boyfriend. This is a good thing and an exciting thing! They need time to get to know each other and to be together. If their relationship is headed towards marriage, their time together needs to be a priority. Give grace as your friend is trying to figure out a new normal. 

     

    > Become friends with their boyfriend/fiancĂ©/husband. What does your friend love about him? Find out who he is, what he loves, when his birthday is, etc. Take interest in getting to know him. 

     

    > Hang out with them as a couple. Get to know them as “them.” Don’t just focus on your friend; make her significant other feel comfortable and welcome too. 

     

    > Schedule solo time with your friend. It probably won’t be as regular as it used to be. You might have to schedule it way in advance, but be intentional about nurturing the relationship. 

     

    > Communicate and be honest with your friend about how you feel. When I was dating, I had three or four friends tell me they felt neglected in our friendship because I was spending all my time with my boyfriend. I literally did not see it (hello infatuation stage of dating!). But I listened and tried to make adjustments. Sometimes your friend just isn’t aware. 

     

    > Learn from their relationship. What do they do that makes you comfortable or uncomfortable? Take note for your future relationship. 

     

    > Embrace the awkward. Couples are awkward and weird at times. It’s a fact. So have fun with the awkward. 

     

    > Know when to give them space. When you are hanging out for extended amounts of time, see the signs of when they need a chance to talk together and just take a moment to walk away. 

     

    > Pray. Pray God’s blessing and direction for the couple. Pray away jealousy from your own heart. 

     

    > Take this time to be comfortable being alone, exploring new hobbies, or making new friends. 

     

    > HAVE FUN! There is always going to be a learning curve when your friends start dating, but look for the positives and have fun with this season of life. 

     

    What advice do you have for being a third wheel? What is hard? What is easy?


    Taking Yourself Out On a Date

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

    Grab a cup of coffee and join me and my friend, Cassidy Jo, as she shares about taking yourself out on a date.


    When you're in a relationship with someone you love, date nights quickly become the highlight of the week. You think about it for the days leading up, you plan an elegant outfit, and ultimately you know, you're going to get to spend undivided time with your favorite person. It's pretty much every girl's dream.


    But what if you're a single girl and date night hasn't been an activity on the calendar in quite a while. Thinking about your perfectly planned night with your perfect Prince Charming, tends to feel like a dream that's way too out of reach. 

     

    Let me offer you a little idea of hope: maybe date night or a day date, isn't only for boyfriends and girlfriends or married folks. Maybe it's for YOU too.

     

    One of the dictionary's definitions for the word [Date] is: a social or romantic appointment or engagement. 

     

    Here's the thing, I happen to be one of those single girls I talked about above. I've actually been one of those single girls for about 4 years now. But the difference is this — being forced into a season of change, allowed me to change my perspective. What I found was, my singleness was actually a chance to engage life, to engage my independence, and most importantly, it helped me to engage with Jesus so much more than I ever had. 

     

    Why do I say all this? It's because "date nights" & "day dates" have become one of my most favorite pastimes. Going to brunch and diving into my favorite bible study, book, or devotional over a warm cup of coffee and a pancake - it doesn't get much sweeter than that. Spending the afternoon shopping with girl friends or strolling a small town square by myself, brings so much light, laughter, and lots of cute new clothes to my closet. And sometimes date night is with a cute new guy I met, but usually it looks more like coffee shops and writing in my journal or oftentimes it’s curled up in my bed watching a movie and talking to God about the future.

     

    Spending time alone with myself and with Jesus really is a lot like what I mentioned in the first paragraph: I look forward to it throughout the week, it's undivided time with the One who loves me most, and the outfit selection is way more comfy. {Oversized sweatshirt and leggings anyone?}

     

    Sweet girl, I want you to still look forward to that date night that WILL be with your Prince Charming -- but until then, I want you to know you are not alone, that treating yourself to a walk in the park/ a pumpkin spice latte/ or a stroll through target really is a lot of fun, and most importantly - that you will never live a day that you are not pursued and loved by GOD.


    Cassidy Jo, is a 31-year-old Christian Blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Her passion for Jesus & encouraging women that there is ‘Purpose for their Pain & Healing in Him’ is what led her to start her Blog “Still She Laughs” — Proverbs 31:25. Cassidy Jo loves Fruit tea, Shopping, and Spending time with her closest friends!


    Stop Calling Me Beautiful Book Review

    Thursday, July 23, 2020

    Stop Calling Me Beautiful: Finding Soul-Deep Strength in a Skin-Deep World by Phylicia Masonheimer is a much-needed wake-up call in today’s perfectly-Instagrammed, Bible-study-and-coffee world. It is a challenge to a deeper walk with Jesus and gives a greater understanding of the Christian journey.
    Phylicia recounts when she realized that “Christianity wasn’t just about me — my faith, my study, my growth, my self — but was ultimately about God . . . Until then, I’d been seeking Jesus to learn more about myself . . . When I began searching for God for God’s sake, I discovered the kind of spiritual walk Jesus came to initiate. I discovered what He meant by His promise that He had come to give us abundant life.”
    Phylicia, much like us, often found herself bound in addiction and stagnant spiritual growth. The “You are beautiful in Christ” messages she kept running into only put a band-aid on her problems. Once she started seriously devoting herself to reading God’s Word and to prayer, she realized that “the beauty of God’s people is not the point of the gospel. The goal of the gospel is to unite us in relationship with our holy, loving God, and to invite others to have that relationship through our witness in this world . . . We need to hear less about us, and more about Him.”
    Stop Calling Me Beautiful is relatable to all women. The book covers topics such as legalism, anxiety, grief, broken sexuality, community, fear of man, overcoming shame, and making a difference in the world around us.
    I read Stop Calling Me Beautiful while also reading A.W. Tozer’s Pursuit of God, and I saw that Phylicia’s heart and passion behind her book reflect that of 20th century Tozer. They both call us beyond just going to church on Sunday and living a powerless Christian life. They challenge us to dig into God’s Word and to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to truly change our lives. We were meant to experience God’s presence in our lives, to know Him intimately, and to live a life for His glory.
    Yes, you are beautiful, my friend. But you were also made for so much more.

    If the Lord Wills

    Tuesday, July 21, 2020

    How should women who are single talk about the future when marriage is desired, yet it is never guaranteed? God never promises marriage for his daughters. He never guarantees a husband, so it can be difficult to plan for and talk about the future when it is unknown.
    One reader says, “There seem to be two systems of thought: The first where you don’t mention husband/kids (outside of deep talks with a select few) because there is a possibility that it may never happen. The second being to talk about husband/kids with expectancy (as a part of life, not what you’re solely living for) because that is what you truly desire.”
    I don’t pretend to have the right answer here. This is something that I am still processing and trying to figure out myself, and I may never know the perfect way to handle this. But I know that this quandary is not limited solely to single women longing for marriage. I think of my married friends longing for a child. Or those working odd jobs so they can hopefully pursue their passion as a career. We all have areas of our lives that feel vulnerable to talk about because we just don’t know the future.
    And sometimes, honestly, it is hard to know how to allow yourself to hope for the future. But one thing I know to be true: We can safely hope in Jesus because a future with Him is secure. It’s important to acknowledge this truth first and foremost because it is the rock on which our beliefs stand. If this foundation is not there, all other areas in life will crumble. I also know that God wants me to pray and ask for what I desire. So I will ask. But then I must daily lay down my desires and future plans in surrender at Jesus’ feet. I must trust that He knows what is best for me, and even if my dreams never come true, I must purpose in my heart to believe His goodness and kindness.
    That brings us back to the question that brought us here today: How do we talk about the unknown future with others?
    I think it is good to be honest with your hopes and desires. In my early 20s, I ignored my desire for marriage because I felt a sense of shame. Why am I desiring something that God hasn’t given me yet? It must be wrong. But a desire for marriage is not wrong, and there is never shame in wanting something God designed.
    Don’t shy away from being honest about your feelings with yourself and with others. But do so acknowledging the fact that it is “if the Lord wills.” James 4:15 says, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
    I personally have embraced talking about my desire for a husband and children “if the Lord wills.” I believe it is good to be vulnerable and honest. But my decisions today will reflect what God has laid before me today. Though I desire marriage, I won’t wait around for a spouse before I make decisions. I have decided to live my life today based on the known.
    Believe that the Lord has a good timeline for you and that His story for you may look different. You could get married later in life. You could be married within the next year. Adoption may be your story. Perhaps you may have a quiver full of children. Or maybe you will have a spiritual lineage of children-in-Christ. Let go of expectations of how your life should look and allow God to write a beautiful story while being honest and real with yourself and others about your desires.
    (Note: In regard to God promising marriage, He actually does promise a spiritual marriage one day between Christ and the church. This post, however, is solely referring to earthly marriage which is never guaranteed by God.)

    Imprisoned in Your 20s

    Monday, July 20, 2020

    Joseph’s 20s were not how he imagined them to be.

    In fact, Joseph spent this entire decade of his life (plus three years) in prison. He did the right thing - fleeing Potipher’s wife - and spent thirteen years paying for something he never did.

    His time in prison was not easy. Psalm 105:17b-18 gives a glimpse into his time: “Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron.” I’m sure as he sat in prison, he remembered the dreams God had given him as a seventeen-year-old boy and was confused. “I thought the Lord had a great destiny for me? This is not what I envisioned.”

    But you know what never failed during that time? The Lord’s kindness and the Lord’s presence. “So Joseph was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him” (Genesis 39:20b-21a).

    I hope your 20s aren’t spent in a jail serving time for something you never did, but maybe you are locked into a cell of discontent and anger. You can’t enjoy the freedom of where you are because you are behind the bars of “My life is not supposed to look this way.”

    What I take away from Joseph’s story is that just because my life doesn’t look like what I dreamed or hoped for, does not mean that God has left me or abandoned me. God is working out His plan - for my good and for His glory.

    Joseph’s story takes a turn when he was 30. “Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Genesis 41:46). But all those years spent in prison? God had a purpose and a reason for that time.

    He has a purpose for you too, friend. You may be experiencing an unwanted or difficult season. You may be where you never wanted to be. But God has not forgotten you.

    Pastor Nick said in yesterday’s sermon that Joseph knew that “when we feel forgotten we must shift our focus.” Shift your focus from your circumstances to your God. Trust God’s truth: He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is with us. He cares. He is kind. He has a good plan.

    Don’t allow the enemy to imprison you in a prison of lies. Free yourself to believe and trust the Word of God.

    A High Calling

    Monday, July 6, 2020


    “You’re going to be a mighty woman of God.”

    I have been pondering this topic of calling since a recent conversation with a dear friend. She comes from a large family and has always been told since she was a little girl what a good mom she would be. Now, at 32, she is struggling with infertility and feeling like a failure since she isn’t living up to her “calling”. She is realizing the lies she has believed and thought her whole life. “If God isn’t giving me what I had been told was right and good - what I have been wanting since I was little - then what’s the point of life? Am I lesser? Am I forgotten?”

    Then one day, she came across a book on her bookshelf entitled, “A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ.” She looked at the title with tears in her eyes, laughed sadly to herself, and threw it in the trash. She is thankful for God’s work in her life, despite all the pain, in showing her the lies that seemingly directed her path for many years. This “calling” had become a type of bondage in her life. She was no longer able to enjoy the holy callings she had in her life at the moment - loving her husband, faithfully serving her church, encouraging her friends, and wholeheartedly doing her job. Truly though, she has been living out a heavenly calling of being a great woman of God. But an earthly calling that was spoken over her has had a hold on her life. And maybe it does for you too?

    I remember times growing up when I would be fun or funny and I would be told, “You are going to be such a fun wife.” When I showed compassion to others, I was told that I would make a great mom. Will I be a mom one day? I really hope so. Will I be a fun wife? I desire to be. But if I let these sayings take hold of me, I can allow them to become an idol and then possibly miss out on my heavenly calling.

    It’s time to instill a high calling in one another. Let’s start speaking bold claims over the future generation. We need to begin praying heavenly things for each other - things we can live out despite the season.

    When I see compassion in my niece as she grows up, I can encourage her to use it to help the widows and the orphans. When I see boldness in my friend, I can call her to use it to proclaim the Gospel. When I see hospitality in my mom, I can encourage her to continue to faithfully use her gifts to edify the Body.

    Let’s call each other to Kingdom work. Let’s look at our nieces, our friends, our sisters, our mothers, and say, “You are called to a holy calling of loving and knowing Christ.” This is a calling that can be lived out no matter the season we find ourselves in.

    (To clarify, being a wife is a holy calling. It shows a picture of Christ and the Church. Being a parent is a holy calling. It shows the love of a Father to us as His children. Being single is also a holy calling. We have sole devotion to the things of the Lord. But labeled callings can often distract us from our main calling - and that is to know God and to glorify Him forever. Also - let’s remember the sincerity and love that were rooted in many of the things said over us. We can extend grace, but let’s be instruments of change for the next generation.)

    He’s Not Your Husband

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

    There are many struggles and temptations that can arise in a season of singleness. Some are more common and easier to talk about, while others can be difficult to share. My unmarried friend, who has chosen to remain anonymous, shares her heart on a temptation that arose in her life seemingly out of nowhere.

    I don’t know who I’m writing this article for . . . but I know this: I needed to hear this advice earlier this year, and I couldn’t find it. There was this man in my life. He was funny, godly, and intelligent. He made me laugh. He complimented my intellect. He told me how much he enjoyed my company. He even leaned on me for emotional support and advice.

    Just one glaring issue: he was another woman’s husband.

    No one looks to crush on a married man, but it can happen. If it does, how do we deal with it as Christian women?

    The advice I found online ranged from harsh articles from married women yelling at homewreckers to Christians calling for public confessions of your feelings to the church. Some recommended women quit their jobs and leave town to avoid any potential snare. Certain articles took the opposing view and encouraged girls who really loved their man to go for it, just know that the road ahead is difficult! As Christians obviously, we know that it’s wrong (Ex. 20:17, Matt.5:28), but how should we handle this sin? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as flipping off a switch. I, by no means, have all of the answers, but these are a few practical steps that have helped me along the way.

    Guard Friendships

    Every crush starts somewhere. Work, church, and various ministries require us to interact with men. This is not a bad thing! I grew up with a brother, and I’ve always felt comfortable with guys. Unfortunately, that presents unique challenges. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having male friendships, but you must guard these friendships from becoming too intimate. I have had different men in my life open up about personal struggles, and it feels good to be trusted with that information. But if they’re married, they should be sharing their fears, insecurities and ambitions with their wives. If you truly want to be a good friend, keep them accountable in this way. Try to direct conversations with “what does your wife think about that?” Tell him that you’ll pray for him (just like you would any friend), but don’t delve into his feelings or other personal details. (Side note: it is absolutely never healthy to serve as a sounding board when a man complains to you about his wife! Never.)

    The reverse is also true. Be careful in sharing personal matters with these men in your life. As fellow Christians, we should be able to bear one another’s burdens. They are our brothers in Christ. However, share some of the more intimate requests with your Bible study group or small group, your girlfriends, and your family. You don’t need to lay out your heartaches and vulnerabilities in a one-on-one conversation with your married friend. I’m not saying that it’s sin, but it may not be wise.

    Call Sin, Sin, and Confess It

    Maybe you’ve already let a friendship get a little too close. You are extremely emotionally invested. Everything he says is hilarious. Every time he smiles at you, you’re melting. Your mind wanders to him constantly. Deep down, you know that you’re in trouble.  Once you begin fantasizing, it’s sin. “But, I don’t fantasize about anything sexual just that his wife will leave him.” If you need me, I’m here to tell you . . .that’s also sin! Own it as sin, so that you can fight it as sin. “I only flirt a little.” “I’d never actually do anything.” Stop giving yourself excuses. Sin can be conquered; excuses grow into license.

    Fight Sin with Scripture

    Luckily for us, now that we know that it’s sin, we know how to fight it. I am not armed with sheer willpower but with the strength and power of the Lord (Eph. 6:10). I can pour out my heart to God and let Him know exactly what I am experiencing. I don’t have to be ashamed, but I can experience his peace which promises to guard my mind (Phil. 4:6-8). This sin doesn’t forever mar and disqualify me from serving God. I can confess the sin and with a pure conscience continue to serve the living God (Heb. 9:13). I am not the only Christian woman to experience this, and God will provide a way of escape for me (I Cor. 10:13). Don’t expect an instant victory, but by dwelling on Scripture God will transform your mind and heart.

    Get Accountability

    Nothing makes this more real than speaking it out loud to someone. Fear of judgment was almost insurmountable for me, but I finally shared with an older wiser Christian woman and one very close Christian friend. Thankfully, I was met with understanding, verses, prayer and accountability. This is so important! This godly woman I greatly admired shared a similar experience from her days as a single woman in her twenties. God was still using her past sin struggle to encourage others. My close friend kept me accountable in some of the more practical ways listed below. Both were extremely helpful for me, but please choose your counsel wisely.

    Take Practical Actions

    Don’t text him.
    This is one simple step to resetting boundaries. Take it.
    - You’re shopping and that sign makes you think of this hilarious joke you were talking about earlier. Don’t send him that picture or GIF.
    - You really should ask him this question now; it’s important. It’s 9 PM at night; it can wait until tomorrow when you see him at work.
    - He just wants to know how I am. Responding to him is harmless. Maybe for him, but right now it’s not harmless for you.

    Don’t talk about him.
    You may not even realize how much he permeates your conversations until you try this exercise.

    Don’t be alone together.
    Maybe you can’t totally avoid contact with him, but one-one-one lunches or coffees, need to stop. Don’t carpool for work or other events. Avoid situations where you are the only two in the room. This may require creativity, but please make it happen.

    Do think of him as a brother-in-Christ.
    Some articles recommend picking apart your crush’s character or focusing on annoying habits that make him less attractive. This presents two problems if he is a Christian man. One, you may actually be very attracted to his character. Two, as Christians, we are not called to tear each other down in this way.

    I would encourage you to pray specifically for your crush and his family. Practice treating him as a brother in Christ from afar while you get your thought life and feelings in check. Eventually, your relationship may normalize. God can transform your mind and emotions!

    Maybe you’re in this situation, but this man has already progressed to more than a crush. Maybe he’s pursuing you with everything he has. Maybe you’ve already sinned not only emotionally with your thought life but physically. There is still hope in Christ. The principles of fighting sin are still true. Christ still offers a clean conscience when we confess our sins to him. He is the only one who can truly change us. Call your sin, sin and confess it. Fight sin with scripture; get accountability; and experience the joy of freedom in Christ.

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