Tag Archives: relationships

It Takes a Village

This past weekend, I moved from my first “adult” apartment of two years into a new one. It’s a bit closer to my work, and it’s a fresh start. This week has been a lot of unpacking, donating, rearranging things to fit into a slightly smaller space, breaking down boxes, all while battling a stuffy nose.

There was a moment during the moving process when I sat in a half-circle with my friends, all of us with beers cracked open in our hands, when I realized these are my people–this is my village.

It takes a village to do anything well. “Well” is my operative definition. I will be the first to tell you, that we can do a lot of things on our own. We can shop by ourselves, and eat by ourselves (which is healthy independence). We can move homes by ourselves and refuse to ask for help. We can keep our own secrets, and we can keep our pain to ourselves (not so healthy). Ultimately, we, as humans, can survive on our own–but we are not living well.

But there is such a beautiful grace in vulnerability and asking for help.  I will also be the first to admit that asking for a helping hand is really hard. It reminds me of my shortcomings, and makes me realize that while I am a good survivor, I am still learning the art of living well. And the importance of creating a village is a topic I will probably write about later, but for now, the focus of this is recognizing your village.

This past weekend I had to move, and I had to ask for help. I had to trust that my friends would come to my aid when I asked–and they did. They came (one of them even showed up after three margaritas), and they drove (the one who drank didn’t drive), and they loaded and unloaded. They opened my bottle of beer, and sat and laughed with me and encouraged me when I felt the anxiety of relocating.

And that’s when I realized–when I took a moment to look up from survival mode to life-savoring mode–I had my village. My village of imperfect people, doing wonderful things.

village

I say imperfect because, ultimately, that’s what people are: imperfect. I can tell you some of the moments these people have hurt my feelings with their words, and in the same breath, I can tell you the moments their words made me feel like I could be irrevocably brave–and that’s what it is to have your village. Your village is the ones who are with you, growing you to be a better person and loving you each step of the way, even when it’s difficult.

Your village will be imperfect. They will be people full of faults, just like you. And they will be the people who will love you and help you when you give them a chance by giving yourself a chance to be vulnerable and asking for help.

It takes a village to do anything well. When you’re stressed, your village will hold you up, and when they’re stressed, maybe they’ll know they can turn to you, too.

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Filed under Mental Health, Relational, Uncategorized

Three Words

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This time of year has always been the most important time of year to me, even more so than New Year’s. The end of December/beginning of January never really felt like much of a transitional time. Growing up, it was a time to attend a ton of church services, having to say no to friend functions (for the church services), and family gatherings (that often followed stomach-clenching guilt–but that’s another story for another day). As an an adult, New Year’s is more of a time to see friends, drink something bubbly, and watch the ball drop more out of habit than excitement.

Instead, this odd window of time between Summer and Fall feels the most renewing, as if anything between now and next summer can happen.

Perhaps this feeling comes from the back-to-school rush, as I’ve always been excited by fresh school supplies and the new school year, because to me it mean relationships, learning, and new memories. Or maybe I started to love it when I left California for the first time and my mentor, over coffee on a hot San Diego day told me “you can go to Washington and get a fresh start and be whoever you want to be.”

Either way, the end of August, the window between Summer and Fall is as good as holy ground.

Three years ago, two very important people introduced me to the author Shauna Niequist who I highly admire and respect. Niequist, in a blog, penned the idea of four words that she hopes to focus on for her New Year (find that blog here). The idea would be that these words would guide her throughout her year.

As for me, my new year always starts in August. And, instead of four words, I have three:
Dare. Savor. Honest. 

1. Dare
This will be the first time in my academic career in which I will no longer be a student, as I finished up my Master’s Degree this July. Earning that degree was probably the hardest thing I have ever worked on or achieved. In doing so, I had to say “no” a lot. No to friends wanting to go out because I had to study. No to being with family for the holidays because of my tight school schedule that interfered with the days I could work. No to taking care of myself because my anxiety dictated that school mattered more than my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Also, my anxious tendencies often result in me saying no to the things I’d love to try.

So, for this year, my word is dare. Dare to say yes. Say yes to being a twenty-something with a new full-time job, but reconnecting with old friends. Dare to take the chance on a new job (which ironically keeps me on the August-June school calendar as I will be a school-based therapist!) and leave comfort behind. Dare to be honest about who I am and who I am not and sharing my heart. Dare to do the things I only dreamed about. Dare.

2. Savor.

The past two years of my life have been strictly scheduled because of Grad School. With that schedule, I operated in a fast-paced motion of “go, go, go”, constantly working on a new project, paper, study guide, or getting chapters read for the next class…on top of working full-time (year one of grad school), or work and internship (year two). Eating was done while catching up on paperwork, and meal prepping was done while reading a textbook, and unfortunately, life flew by.

So this year, I’m focusing on savoring the present moments. Of enjoying every last minute of this life I get to live by being around people I love and doing the things I love. And for the difficult times that I know will happen, because life isn’t gumdrops and rainbows, I still hope to slow down and allow myself to be present in the moment, wholly committed to living the life I have been given, because, as Gretchen Rubin one pointed out: the days are long, and the years are short. Too true, Gretchen, too true.

3. Honest.

I want to be honest with myself and my feelings. I hope to be courageous in facing my limitations and acknowledging the things I am gifted in. I hope to show the people I love that I love them with honest action instead of keeping the words rolling around in my heart. I want to be honest about my responsibilities as well as hold people accountable to their own responsibilities. This year, I hope for more honesty, both my own and the people around me.

This will be a very big year for me, and I hope to see the words dare, savor, and honest, play key themes in my story.

What words do you hope will inspire your year?

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Filed under Christian Life, Memoir, Personal, Post Grad, Relational

Catching the Bouquet

The sun set quite eloquently behind tall trees with changing leaves. The air was warm–almost unusually so at this time of year in the pacific Northwest. Sounds of merry laughter filled the courtyard as people hugged, took selfies, and hashtagged the joyous celebration. Glasses of white and red wines reflected off the light, making the deep purple tablecloths even more elegant.

There are few things more exciting to be a part of than a wedding.

My dear friend Danielle looked radiant in her sparkly off-white wedding gown, and Zack looked every bit the gentleman with his freshly trimmed beard and hair. It has been a beautiful journey watching Danielle grow into a wonderful woman of faith (I’ve known her longer than I have known Zack–by a couple months haha), and it was an even more wonderful memory to celebrate her marriage this past weekend. Of course I cried at the father-daughter dance, and of course I toasted with gusto at every speech and kiss.

As the formalities of the wedding trickled to a close and we would soon dance the night away, there was only one thing left to do: toss the bouquet. As Danielle glided across the courtyard, a vision of class, I jokingly told her, as I tell every bride, “remember to aim for me!”, as do all the other single ladies. I took my place amongst all the other eligible bachelorettes, somewhere in the middle, hiding behind very tall people (because I am fun-sized, even in heels), expecting not to catch the beautifully crafted (and heavy) bouquet.

One, two, three. Danielle flung the bouquet behind her back and all hands were in the air. Six pairs of hands reached for the bejeweled prize, and somehow, my hand was the one that gripped the tightest. For the first time, I had caught to bouquet.

IMG_0813

I stood there laughing with my friends as I held it up victoriously before I sent a picture to several other friends. For the remainder of the night I carried my prize with me, enthralled by the creativity put into it, and slightly afraid someone would steal it.

Which brings me to the main topic of this post. Though I jokingly tweeted “I caught the bouquet, you know what that means….” in the deepest corners of my heart, I am so tired of being single. Since I was 20, I have been invited to at least 10 weddings, and know countless more friends who have gotten married. I have been single for a very long time. I will not lie that my heart has been emotionally compromised many times since I’ve last kissed a boy.

And I am tired of being single.

There, I said it. Out in the open. I am tired of being single. I’m tired of my heart being mangled and bruised by countless infatuations, because I don’t know how to separate my heart from desire. I am simply tired of “waiting for God’s perfect timing”. Every winter and summer has looked the same since I turned 20. Couples getting engaged then getting married. Now, all of my married friends are starting to get pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled so see Jesus continuously weave the most amazing love stories, and I am excited to see where He takes all these beautiful people. But I cannot deny that part of my heart that breaks a little knowing that I still have to wait. Being in grad school right now, you’d think the wait would be easier–as I am working full-time and going to school full-time. In all honesty, I probably don’t have time for a significant other right now, because I barely have time to put on mascara in the morning before I have to rush to work or class.

Either way, I am tired of the wait. I know there are young women out there, many of which I get to call friends, who are honestly very happy with being single. While I cherish my time with my beloved girlfriends and living with a roommate, and learning more about myself, I want to do all these things with my plus one. Not just anyone else, mind you. But the someone to end “the someones” and nights when my heart is so heavy I swear I can hear the sound of my heart breaking.

Overall, this post is just me being honest. Because for a long time, I strongly believed it’s weak for a girl to want to be married so badly when she can be her own heroine. But I have come to learn it’s not weakness. It’s okay to desire marriage. If you’re like me, I want you to know it’s okay. I hope and I pray that I’ll one day get to embark on a journey to make Song of Solomon’s envious and raise a whole tribe of children, and I hope you do too. I really, strongly hope and pray I get that. Until then, I’m moving forward. I’m recognizing my wants, and I want to actively leave them at the feet of Jesus everyday, because I’m learning to be a heroine in my own story still. I’m learning to be brave and move forward and believe in the beauty of my dreams.

Also, for those of you curious, here is the happy couple, me, and a couple of our friends. <3

IMG_0812

 

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On Trust & Being Brave

costume

It is a general rule of mine to keep others at arm’s length. To erect my walls and let them down at a speed of zero miles an hour. We can sit here and analyze this all we want: my mom told me not to trust others, sour friendships and familial instances, emotional abuse, whatever. Maybe each blip of the aforementioned moments solidified my mistrust–the glue between the layers of my brick walls. Still, I am my own person, and although the ideas I have learned are firmly in place, I am my own person. My lack of trust should not come from the “trust lessons” others may or may not have have shown me.

I desired to keep this thought without analysis, but I digress, and I am a psychology major through and through. At the end, I believe my root is fear. The more I let others into me, my heart, my private thought process, my very being and crux of my soul little by little, there is fear. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past few years. Therefore the problem lies in me. Within me is an ugly ball of fear telling me I will drown even if I just wade in. Fear that keeps me from even learning how to swim (figuratively and literally).

And still. I find myself loving words pertaining to the idea of bravery. Brave. Courageous. Lionhearted. Dauntless. Sure. Gryffindor. Risk-taking. Change.

Both in my professional and personal life I can and do tell others to be these things, with hopes that others will be willing to take a step into freedom, believing I am these things too. Yet, the more I examine it, the more I find I am not brave. I am full of paralyzing fear that disallows me opportunities to let bravery shine.

All I want is to be brave without a second thought. To kick fear in the ass and never look back. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be afraid, it would just mean that finally…

…finally my stupid, strong walls will come crashing down once and for all. And, I will be brave.

And I will trust.

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Strawberries & Chocolate

#GPCFamily 2013-2014

#GPCFamily 2013-2014

For Lent this year I decided to give up sweets.  It was a spur of the moment decision (probably not the best way to do it), and sweets were the first thing I decided to give up.  It was stupid.  I love ice cream.  Tonight, I broke Lent.  Before I dive into why I gave it up, let me tell you what I learned about myself in these last few weeks:

  • I mindlessly eat sweets too much
  • My life without sweets isn’t that bad; it’s the knowing that I cannot have them which is the worst.
  • Lent, for me, had become a legalistic practice.

I have never participated in Lent before, and I wanted to do it just once.  However, somewhere between resisting a muffin and taking my first bite of delicious “Jesus-moment” chocolate, I realized Lent had become a legalistic practice for me–I was completing this more out of religious pride than reverence and remembrance of Jesus.

So tonight I broke Lent.  I ate wonderful, sweet, juicy strawberries (fruit didn’t count as “giving up sweets”) and a square of delightful milk chocolate. As I ate the chocolate, I looked around the room. I was surrounded by the sweet faces of my res life team–the people that have become so dear and familiar to me this past year.  These people, these friendships, these moments…all of these moments will be held dear to me for the rest of my life.

I saw their faces, enjoying the fine sweets before us, being totally present in the moment and laughing together.  In that moment, I felt Jesus.  He was in the faces of His followers that sat around me.

In that moment of breaking Lent I was reminded more of Jesus than I ever was during the weeks of Lent I participated in.  I don’t know if I’ll ever try to do Lent again, and if I do, I hope it will be for all the right reasons.  But I do know I want more moments like I had tonight.  Moments in which I will look around the room, breaking bread (or eating strawberries and chocolate) with the people I love so much, laughing, living, loving, and seeing Jesus.

chocolate

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Filed under Christian Life, Christianity, College Years, Food, Personal, Res Life, School

Tangled Lights

lights

I once read a quote that read: “you can tell a lot about a person by how they react to tangled Christmas lights and sudden rain”.  This is one of the truest quotes I have ever read.  What if we applied the same idea to people?

Earlier today I got to have one-on-one time in a loud Mexican restaurant with a friend I don’t get to see very often.  I don’t get to spend time with him because I’m in school and he’s busy being innovative.  So in the time I’m back in California, he’s one of the people I often try to spend time with at least once.

During our conversation, he said something that got my wheels thinking unseasonably about tangled Christmas lights.  He mentioned how at one time, people forgot to ask him “how are you”, and because of this, he forgot to ask himself how he was.

Do you ever find yourself hurrying along on a busy day and you pass someone you know.  You both nod at each other and say “hey, how are you”, and that person says “I’m well”.  As soon as the answer is out of their mouth you quickly respond “that’s great, have a good day!” and hurry along on your way?

I admit I’m guilty of this as I walk to and from class, to meetings, and from class to the quiet peace of my room behind a closed door.  In these passings, I am only thinking about myself and what I have to do.  In these instances I am missing the words that are unsaid and overlooking the emotions that clearly say that someone is feeling anything but “well”.

I know that life is busy and we can’t always stop and spend hours with a person delving into their life story.  But life is also messy, and there are minutes in a day that we are free to ask someone how they’re doing and really mean it.

When it comes to tangled Christmas lights, I go into the task of untangling them with dedication and determination.  After two minutes I give up and throw them away and wait for someone else to do it.

I clearly remember doing this last year in my apartment with my 3 roommates.  The stupid lights would not untangle and I got so frustrated that I left them on our living room floor and caught up on episodes of Downton Abbey instead.  My roommate came home and I told her my frustration.  After she put her stuff away she came to the living room the right the mess I had made.

I watched her as she patiently considered the lights before gently unworking the tangles without complaint.  Slowly but surely she got them done.

“I hate untangling lights,” she said as she carefully laid them to the side so we could decorate the tree later.

I hate untangling lights too, but what set my roommate and I apart were our levels of patience.  While I cursed in anger, she worked in silence only sighing in annoyance a few times.

People are a lot like tangled strands of lights, poetically speaking.  We are all a bunch of messy and jumbled hearts filled with knots that require patience to unravel. I know I am, and I know you probably are too.  And when someone takes the time to unravel us, to patiently regard us despite all of our twists, we are allowed to glow in the most beautiful of ways.

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Filed under Christian Life, Relational

Less Talk & More Walk

Take a moment to imagine your biggest dream. Close your eyes if you must. Think about that thing you want more than anything. Do you have that mental image? Do you see that dream so clearly that it’s almost tangible?

Now that you have that dream in your head, I want to tell you mine. If you know me even slightly well, you’ll know my biggest dream. I want to be married. I don’t dream of the wedding often but I dream of being in a marriage with a strong, passionate, spiritual leader who is benevolent and who loves Christ more than he loves me. In this marriage I see us working in some sort of ministry, usually youth. I see us working together as a team opening up our home and being a place of refuge for this kids who need an extra couple of people to love on them and be an example of a healthy Christ-centered love. Maybe this dream comes from my real life experience drawing from an important family that has been there for me since my senior year of high school, loving on me when my world fell apart. Either way, it’s always been my desire to be a wife. Sometimes I see him and I (side note: when I say “see him” I don’t actually picture anyone…weird how that works) dancing around our kitchen and being weird…but completely us.

With my heart now revealed you can make fun of my dreams all you like, but that’s okay. I want to be real with you.

Are you wondering why we’re talking about this? Let’s start at the beginning:

12 days ago I started a challenge along with many other NU students called the “Live Dead” challenge. It’s a 30 day devotional that consists of us tithing our time to God (spending 2.5 hours a day reading the Bible, praying, etc.). All the while, we are praying for the unreached Eastern African people groups. Did you know 40% of the world doesn’t know Christ?

40%

There are 7 billion people on this planet.

Let that idea sink in for a minute.

Before I started Live Dead I prayed that God would rip me to pieces. I prayed for my walls to crumble and for my heart to break and that I would come undone for the 30 days, that by the end I would be stitched back together with a new heart and new perspective. So far I have learned a few things, but these two ideas are sticking with me:

1. I need to let go of my dream.
If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably seen that my information has been changed to “single”. I was single before, but I just didn’t put it for people to see because I’m weird. While I’ve been praying I’ve come to the decision to live a year “truly single”. This means that I won’t be living in the singleness I’ve been living in for the past 4-5 years where I’ve been “waiting for my knight” or thinking “I’m not good enough for a man”. No, the “true singleness” I’m dedicating myself to for this next year is dedicating my life to the Lord. He will move me where He pleases. I’ll learn to be okay with that. In order for this to happen, I need to die to my biggest dream and stop idolizing it. I can accomplish so much while single. It’s time I stop talking about “what I could accomplish” and it’s time for me to start going out and living it! It is still my prayer to be married, but for the next year, that dream is going away in a box in a forgotten attic. It’s going to be hard, especially when friends get into relationships and I find interest in handsome men of God….My spirit is willing, but my body is weak. I rely on Christ for strength.

2. I will die to myself every day.
Around day 10, I had my breaking point. Until then, everyday there has been a slow tear in my heart as my seems slowly came undone. Day 10 was the day I was ripped in half when I was posed with the question: can I die for Christ and the faith? I’d like to say yes. For the most part, I can say it with confidence. I don’t fear physical death too much. I know physical pain will give way to joy. Instead, I fear death because I fear leaving loved ones behind. Especially those that don’t know Christ. I don’t want to leave them angry at God because I’m gone (I feel only my family would be angry…I’m not that popular!). Once I realized that I could be willing to die for Christ….I wondered….why am I not living for Christ?
Many of us, at least I know it’s true for myself, can say we’ll die for what we love, then why aren’t we/I living for it? Why does someone have to identify me as a Christian because of what I wear, or the things I write? Why does my walk and my talk not reflect the One who gave me life? I don’t know about you, but I can no longer live numb to the precious gift I’ve been given. Everyday I want to learn to live dead to myself and rise in life with Christ.

Well, there’s my heart for you.

Through Christ,

Serena

P.s. school’s great and stuff….yep. :)

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Round 2!

Being back in Kirkland is a bittersweet feeling. My time at home was wonderful, it was great seeing friends and family and seeing God move in them during my time away. While I’m excited for this new semester to begin, I once again, miss my San Diego home. I can’t wait to see everyone again, summer vacation, and my mission trip to Thailand!

Until then, I know that relatively soon I will get caught up in academics, work, my friends here–pretty much my Kirkland home will become my main focus again. However, I do have one important resolution for this next semester:

  • Keep in touch with everyone back home!! I did such a bad job last semester. This semester I want to be able to make phone calls to my brothers and sisters once a month, call my mom once a month, have skype sessions with friends who have skype, text/facebook friends often. I know it will be unfair to my best friend that I’m doing this because I should have done it last semester, but I don’t think I fully realized how bad I was until I really thought about it. -.-

Aside from that, I’ll be focusing more on my studies, growing closer to God, and maintaining friendships here…hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze sleep into this schedule as well!

One last note…For the month of February I think I’m going to start a fast…more on that later.

Through Christ,

Serena

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Boundaries

The day I left San Diego for Northwest University, I won’t forget. I was at the airport about 2 hours early. I made it through security without having to wait long, and near my terminal, I waited for the plane that would take me to a new life. As time ticked slowly away, and I stared blankly out the window, I began to cry. Hard. I think I even scared away a family sitting near me.

I cried for my mom, having to leave her behind.

I cried out of fear, going somewhere new. I would have to start over again.

I cried leaving behind friends, family and unfinished business.

I cried for what I know was the loss of a friendship that was raw on my heart. It was an emotional slap in my face. Everything from my heart to my pride hurt.

As I sat there, I decided to pull out my Bible and do something with that time instead of crying. I have since forgotten the verses I wrote down (I think I have them somewhere), but as I went through the Word, I was led to passages with similar messages: the Lord is my strength. The Lord is with me. There is nothing to fear.

With hope in my heart, I dried my eyes, and finally I was able to face my next step.

I’ve been at NU for a little over a month, I can’t even wrap my head around that! It seems like only yesterday I saw my best friends and my mom. In this time, I’ve made a good amount of new friends, both boys and girls. However, it was difficult for me to talk to guys at first. I was terrified, mostly because of that friendship I lost.

It left me frightened of even looking at other guys in case they got the wrong idea…which became a problem.

I was sick of it. I hated being afraid of joking around with guys, of introducing myself, of getting up and walking away as a (now) guy friend would come sit next to me. I was tired of this fear. I know that what happened the week before I left was a learning-process for me.

I always thought I was a master of my emotions to some extent, and my loss told me otherwise. I didn’t want to create the same problem here.

So in my first couple of weeks I read a book that I bought while at home called “The Divine Matchmaker” (Remember…Serena is a hopeless romantic!…but that’s not why I bought the book.). After reading that, after much prayer, and asking my roommate, and 2 other girls to keep me accountable with this particular area, I created a list of boundaries for me. Boundaries that I know will help me and has helped me (immensely)  thus far.

And I want to share them with you! So that whether you’re here at NU with me or at home, you can help keep me accountable! :)

1. Hello high-fives and goodbye hugging (The Physical)!

  • I am an EXTREMELY affectionate person. I LOVE hugs. I love touching people (that sounded creepy…). Touch might even be one of my love languages. Yet, I know that this is one of my “gateways to destruction”, I suppose one could say. I really love to hug guys. Especially when they’re much taller than me. There’s something warm and comforting about their hugs. I feel safe. Yet, I know it is a gateway because for me, especially here at NU, would be out of my loneliness and desire for touch of another…and that’s okay if it comes from girls. It’s not okay when it comes to guys because I will become dependent.
  • What IS allowed are high-fives in greeting, in awesome jokes, in whatever! Those are good!
  • On the occasions where a hug is just necessary (if going home for winter break and I have good guy friends, going home and seeing guy friends from there, or if I am hugged first…etc.(/whenever I deem the rule allowed to have an exception…), I will master the “Christian side-hug”, I know you know what those are. ;)
  • I can still touch. C’mon people, you know I’m a hitter. And in encouragement, I pat people on the shoulder.
  • Hugging family members are okay! Gotta love on my brothers and nephews!!

2. Time Management (The In-between)!

  • I really wanted to make a rule that I wouldn’t be in a car alone with a guy, but for practicalities, I had to abolish this rule (until next year…). However, the rule is to not spend time alone with a guy (one-on-one) in a secluded space (i.e. going off-campus). It’s not that I don’t trust them, but I don’t trust me. I don’t trust my emotions. Also, I don’t need rumors. In a “bridal college/ring by spring school”, rumors spread like butter.
  • It’s okay if I sit one-on-one in the Caf, or the Aerie, etc..as long as it’s public!
  • It’s okay if I’m the only girl in a group of guys. Sometimes I like this! Sometimes it’s just fun hanging out with the guys!

3. Holding Out for a Hero (The Emotional)!

  • Thus far, everything has been physical and situational, now it’s time for the emotional…my greatest obstacle.
  • “Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior without your consent.” I am a daughter of The King. I am made wonderfully. <—One day, maybe, some man will see that and he’s going to pursue me. So why worry until then?
  • Instead, I’m wrapping my life, my passions, and my desires around God. If you know me well, you know my deepest desire: I want to be married. Yet, in this time, I’ve sought God instead of my own selfish desires…that “big dream” of mine isn’t important anymore. PRAISE THE LORD.
  • I am emotionally dependent on God. I rely on my sisters in Christ to keep me accountable, and I grow with my brothers in Christ as a family. God is my rock, not the boy with the beautiful smile. Yes, my brother in Christ, my guy friend, cares about me, but I can’t become dependent on him. He won’t make my problems disappear.
  • Don’t make that boy my “go-to”. Don’t let him be the one I confide to. I have sisters in Christ for that. I won’t tell a guy friend something I’m not comfortable sharing in a group.
  • That “boy with the cute smile” or “the tall guy with the kind eyes”, whoever he is to me or to you…one day, he’s going to be someone else’s husband. Not mine. I will honor that.
  • Above all, I except my brothers in Christ to honor and respect me as a sister, as a human, as a friend. I’m going to do the same right back.

So this list may alter a little as I grow, as I become more comfortable with my emotions, or if (Heaven forbid…for now) I enter a relationship, but here it is in a nutshell. I know some of my ideas may seem…radical, but this is what works for me. Hugging isn’t bad, having a guy (if you’re a girl) be your ultimate “best friend” (or vice versa) isn’t bad. Being alone in cars or private settings aren’t bad either. It all depends on what works for YOU; and I highly suggest you make a concrete list like this! Tell a close girl friend and pray together over it!

Above all else, chase after God and guard your heart carefully. He’s the only One you and I should be pursuing in a season of singleness. Think about it: you have the rest of your life to be married. You only have a season to be single. Think of ALL the things you can do for the Lord in this time with nothing to hold you back. Spend this time growing in love with Christ, going on mission trips, doing well in school, discovering who you are, creating meaningful friendships. Spend this time learning and accepting that you are a worthy, beautiful masterpiece. When the time is right, God will bring the right boy man in your life. That man is going to fight for you. He’s going to pursue you. He’ll romance you, and you and I will have our love stories. Even then, he will never be more important than Him, the One who gave you ‘him’. :)

God bless!

Through Christ,

Serena.

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**We’re** Made for a Deeper Love

Of the 5 classes I’m in, 3 (maybe even 4) are all for my major, Psychology. As fun as that should sound, it’s not. Except for one class, all the others are soul-killers. What am I doing at 8 AM? Sleeping in? NOPE! I’m sitting in Physiological Psychology!

So maybe it’s not that bad, maybe I’m a bit of an over-exaggerator. Either way, the point I want to get across is that I’m weary.

I’m done.

I’m tired.

I’m ready to throw in the towel in more ways than one.

My brain is done learning this science.

My heart is done aching and feeling alone.

My soul has grown so weary, I’m just about ready to stop running the race.

I know what I’ve been called to do, but is there passion behind what I do? Some days, I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Like I’m not fully alive, just breathing and doing the bare minimum.

Then I was asked the question: “what do you want to bring to the table when it comes to youth ministry. What is your passion?”

After spending time with Jesus, praying on my words, and finally, listening to this sermon (from Evergreen Community Church), I know what I am passionate about.

My passion is community. My passion is family. When I start to volunteer at Evergreen as a youth leader, that’s one of the things I hope exudes from me (the others being a love for Christ and a willingness to serve Him). I want to build up the spirit of community, family and love! This is one of the reasons why I chose the picture you see. All these girls, 2 are commuters, and the rest of us are all on different floors. They’re my community, my sisters in Christ, each young woman lovely in her own unique way.

This walk that we are on is not meant to be alone. Christians, humanity in general was not meant to be alone. We are meant to be together! As one! One unit! WE are a body with Christ as Head. WE. US. TOGETHER.

I want love and unity to surround me, and I hope to share that with all the others I’m around. I want to be someone a person will feel safe talking to.

I know this is what I’m passionate about. Now, as for my calling (the youth)…how can I marry these two things?

I’m in psychology to eventually become a licensed counselor so that I can work with youth for a living. I want to be a mentor. I hope that I will always be in touch with youth ministry wherever I am so that as I get older, I can become a mentor students. That I can help create a safe haven.

I continually pray that this is what God has for me. This passion, and this calling, I hope this is how I can be used.

With this passion ignited, a flame that makes me draw continually closer to God…

…I’ll study harder.

…I’ll seek others out instead of dwelling on myself.

…I’ll run this race with endurance because Jesus is right beside me, always. And, obviously, through all of this, I cannot do it. I cannot do anything on my own. All that I hope to do is done in and for Christ Jesus, the One that sustains me.

I challenge you now. What are your passions? What is your calling?

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