She’s 32 and Single. There Must Be Something Wrong With Her.

I recently saw a video on social media where a man stated, “My father has a rule. And I am not saying that this rule is accurate. But just look at your life and apply it, and see if it is accurate, gentlemen. My father told me that if a woman is over 32, has never been married, never had any kids, there is something wrong with her.” The room went into an uproar at his words. “I am not saying it’s right and I am not saying it’s incorrect… every time I have applied this rule, it has been accurate.”

If you are a single woman, in your early 30s, and love the Lord— like me— then you have probably heard, at least once, that when you are happy being single and need no one else but Jesus in your life, that’s when the man of your dreams will show up. Just when you weren’t looking for him.

I don’t think my girlfriends, because yes I have heard this multiple times, meant to imply that for the past 13 years (since my last serious boyfriend) I haven’t been happy. They were sharing their story. For them, this was their reality. For them, this was their truth. But just because it is true for one single lady who meets a man when she is least expecting it just after she is at peace with being single, doesn’t mean it will happen for everyone. Can I be real? I wish people would stop perpetuating the lie that there is something wrong with being single in your thirties. Especially, in the church. Because when you hear a lie often enough, you start to believe it.

The video went on with a reply from an older woman. She took the microphone with authority, looked directly at the man and said, “Tell your daddy (loud cheers from the crowd) that if you find a woman that is 32 years old, doesn’t have any kids, never been married… Tell your daddy, that she’s educated and that she is planning to make financial decisions so that she can afford the children that she has and send them to college. Instead of having them standing at the bus stop, she can drive a Lexus to work. Tell your daddy, that the woman is a boss.”

I smiled after I saw watched this video. And then I watched it again. I think it gave me a longer pause, made me stop and reflect, because I am 32 years old. I thought about my life and immediately began composing a paragraph in my head of what I would write in response to this video if I was the commenting type. It went something like this:

I am debt free. No student loans. No credit card debt. I have my masters in Education. I’ve taught children all over the world on two different continents outside my homeland. I have lived in four different countries. I’ve traveled to 25 countries. I have built friendships with people across the world and kept those friendships going strong even after years of living in different places. I have learned how to ask for forgiveness and help and how to share my faith again and again and again. But oh… right. There must be something wrong with me because I am not married.

I’ve been thinking about this even more lately because a friend of mine recently moved to a different country and is feeling lonely. She shared with me that when she feels lonely she usually thinks that if she just had a boyfriend she would be happier. She wouldn’t be lonely. She quickly stops these thoughts because she knows it’s not true. And she has people in her life to tell her that those thoughts are not true.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been many, many times over the years when I have wanted nothing more than the man of my dreams to just walk through the freaking door already. I have felt that same loneliness and thought that the only solution is a husband. I desire to get married. I do. I have come to the point though, where I am so satisfied with where God has placed me that when I feel lonely I don’t immediately think, “If only I had a man.” I think, what can I do to enjoy this life I have been given? Who can I spend time with? Who can I encourage and who can I ask for encouragement from?

Please, don’t hear what I am not saying and get it all twisted. There are times when I am more actively pursuing a relationship and there are times when I am too busy to care. I am open to a relationship. I just don’t need one to be fulfilled. I want one. I just don’t want it to make me happy. Because I already am happy.

As a single, Christian woman in my early thirties, I am not an anomaly. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.

I know because my daddy says…

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April: Compelled by LOVE by Heidi Baker

“Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them.”

Mother Teresa

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In Heidi Baker’s book, Compelled by Love, she shares a LOT of Mother Teresa quotes. Now, I have heard of Mother Teresa (I mean, in case you were wondering), but it wasn’t until reading this book— written someone who respected her very much, that I feel like I know more of who Mother Teresa was as a person. But that is just a side note… (I like side notes.)

Heidi Baker uses this book to talk about how God called her to love people. To love the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich, and EVERYONE in between. But mostly, she loves those who have no material possessions, lack food, shelter, and people in their lives to tell them they have value. Her stories in this book blow my mind. The amount of times she has seen a small amount of food feed hundreds, thousands, more than it should is so COOL. The number of people who were blind and now see, who were deaf and now hear, who were DEAD, and are now alive— I mean, what?!

But what tugged on my heart string the hardest were the stories of the children, orphaned, who learned to find worth in themselves because someone reached out and loved them. Loved them through their diseases, their fleas, their fifth, their anger, their violence, their hopelessness.

Love is powerful. Love changes lives. Love changes whole countries.

I am not sure how this book came into my hands (Jee Young?), but I am glad that it was on my bookshelf.

March: Become a Better You by Joel Osteen

As I mentioned in my February book post, this month’s book was Become a Better You with a delightful smiling Joel Osteen on the front cover. It’s cheesy, and I love cheese.

I was warned that this book was long. I was told that this book might be hard to get through. I was also informed that this book is amazing. I found all three to be true. Joel Osteen is a man of examples, and giving situation after situation. After read the meat, and skimming through a few examples, I realized something. Out of all the people reading this book, one of those examples is going to set someone free. It might not be the first one, or the fifth, or the seventh. But ONE of them will. So, I say— write those examples Mr. Osteen, write away! I know how to skim.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, “The world does not need to hear another sermon nearly as much as it needs to see one.” Amen.

Another thing he says that really “set me free” so to say is, “Tremendous freedom results when you accept the fact that not everyone is going to like you.” WHOA. I really want everyone to like me, it’s just my personality. Writing that down makes me feel vulnerable, but there it is. And you know what? It’s not going to happen, and I need to accept it. Okay. I think I have accepted it. Maybe.

“Faith doesn’t instantly deliver you, but it always carries you through.” That Joel Osteen is a WISE MAN.

Summarizing this book is easy. To become a better you, you need to be better, and surround yourself with people who will build you up (aka, make you better!). And smile often. Okay, well that is what I got from it…

And to do that you need to “keep your eyes off of your problems and onto your God.” You also should not let “other people determine your potential” and “often, out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest rejection.” Because “what happened in the past is not nearly as important as what is in your future” and “your destiny is not determined by your critics.”

“We attract what we continually think about” so think about things that are true, things that are good, things that are pure, and righteous, and HAPPY.

Okay, I basically just strung a bunch of quotes from the book together, but it’s good right? Now I just need to apply it all (I am trying to smile more often, and it’s fun).

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Any suggestions of what book I should read for the month of April (or May or June)? Sound off in the comments! Oh my, I have always wanted to say that.

the outfits

If you are an adjumma or ahjussi living in Korea and it is the weekend (or any day of the week really…) you are most likely doing one of three things:

Hiking

Biking

Golfing

Amongst these popular Korean pastimes I have noticed one MAIN THING they all have in common (besides ending in ING): the outfits. If you make the sad mistake of showing up to a mountain for a morning hike in your shorts and t-shirt while holding a water bottle that does not go with your get-up at all you can be sure that you will get stares/glares/looks of confusion as the Koreans think, “Where is this silly foreigner’s hiking outfit? Why doesn’t their shirt match their water bottle? Do they even have a color scheme?”

From head to toe Koreans dress for success in whatever activity they choose. From the helmets to the shoes, the clubs to the gloves, the backpack to the walking stick, Koreans show up prepared. They love outfits. They have style. They mean business.

I was thinking about this on my way home from work today because I saw several bikers (in full gear, obviously) and as I was admiring one man’s shiny (I like shiny things okay?) aeronautical looking helmet a thought popped into my head.

Koreans have the right idea. They pick an activity and commit, like really commit. They don’t just settle for the gloves when they head to the golf club, or wear the helmet and forego the biking shorts, or EVER leave home without their adjumma visor.

As a Christian my biggest activity is to walk with God, continue to practice my faith, and renew myself daily in understanding His love for me/ HOW MUCH He loves me (which I never will grasp fully but can still try!). When I leave the house do I always fully commit to this? Do I have my entire outfit set out and ready to put on? Where do I find this outfit? I think some of you know where I am going with this.

Yes. Koreans and their outfits reminded me of Ephesians 6, where it clearly describes what our outfit of choice should be. Helmet? Check. Shoes? Check. Belt? Check. Breastplate? (a bit harder to make stylish, but still a necessity) Check. Shield? (our outfits are serious, okay) Check. Sword? (no, not for Starcraft) Check.

Honestly, for maybe the first time I say: do as the koreans do! and I am NOT referring to spitting on the street (don’t do that). Put on your outfit, fully commit, wear those skin-tight biking body suits with pride.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14-17

 

I borrowed/took this picture from Mary Charles's fb album as I am very, very sad to admit that after living here for over a year, I have yet to go hiking. I don't even want to say that aloud... That must be wrong...