Being Single: How it Feels

Today kicks off what started as one blog, but has turned into three. So if at the end of today’s, you feel like I’m still cynical, it’s because I probably am, but also because it continues. Will you stay with me?

I sat alone at church a couple of weeks ago. The friends I usually sit with weren’t there, so it was just me. This doesn’t happen often, but it seems to happen on the hard weeks, the weeks when I’m feeling particularly lonely, like everyone in the world has someone but me.

I’m single. No, it’s not the defining characteristic of my life. I’m also blonde, 5’5, 25 years old, a runner, an adoption advocate, a verbal processor, an avid reader, a margarita lover, a daughter, a sister and a friend. But, if those who are married define themselves as married before most other things that are also true of themselves, then we can’t expect anything else from those who are single. It’s how we’ve been conditioned, inside and outside of the church.

I’m pretty vocal about the difficulties of being single. Because it is hard. And yet sometimes when I share these difficulties, married people dismiss them. The dismissal may be harder than the initial feelings of loneliness.

 “Well marriage isn’t easy either.”

Believe me, as if I haven’t heard this from every single married friend, it is also published weekly on Christian websites. In fact, maybe none of us should get married since it’s so hard.

“Getting married wouldn’t fix all your problems.”

I’ve walked with God long enough to know that marriage, alcohol, food, and shopping wouldn’t fix my problems.

“You just need to put yourself out there.”

Out where? By going to bars? Online dating? Are there other ways to meet people? How about I tell others what they need to do. Do we think that will go over well? I am open for suggestions on how to meet other single Christians, is there a secret place where they all hang out?

“But you have so much freedom; enjoy it while you can.”

I sometimes feel like this one takes married people off the hook. It’s like marriage makes people busy and lessens the responsibility for shouldering kingdom work. I do have freedom, but I still work 40 hours a week, have friends and responsibilities.

“You’ll make a great wife someday.”

Real life, no one has ever told me this, but my best friend who is amazing in the kitchen gets it all the time. What does that say about the qualities we think a wife should have or not have?

“You just need to content in singleness, then God will bring you a spouse.”

Can we agree this should never come out of a person’s mouth? It is not beneficial, and it also assumes that the single person isn’t content and that all married people are. Additionally, this is NOT one of God’s promises to His Beloved.

If I sound snippy, maybe I am. But, I also know how hearing these comments have affected my heart, and the way I view singleness. When our words are dismissed because maybe we’re overreacting or maybe it’s not really as bad as other think it is, that dismissal of words feels like a dismissal of our experience. And when my experience has been dismissed, I lean out of the vulnerability.

For example, I’ve been told these things often enough that sometimes, even when I’m in a safe space, I don’t know how to talk about what’s going on in my heart. So, I feed these lines back to people.

“I’m just thankful that I was able to travel so much this spring, it’s the freedom that comes with singleness.”

“Marriage must be so hard, I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”

“I’m grateful for the ways that God is trying to teach me contentment deep down in my soul.” (“Because if I was content, I’d be married, right?” Is the second, unspoken part of that statement.)

But here’s the thing:

I’m not single because of unrepentant sin of discontentment.

I’m not single because there’s something terribly wrong with me.

I’m not single because God wants to teach me a lesson.

I’m not single because life ends when you get married, and God wants me to soak up all the freedom before He brings someone into my life.

I’m single because I’m single. And it’s hard.

It feels lonely. And in the midst of the loneliness I start to feel misunderstood or that there’s something wrong with me. As a woman with big feelings, it’s dangerous to feel the feelings without having someone speak truth right over them; if I’m not careful, I start to believe that I am misunderstood or that there is something wrong with me. Here’s the truth: there’s nothing wrong with me that hasn’t already been paid in full on the cross.

But it doesn’t change the feelings.



About two months ago, I received a promotion at work. The role was something I had already started to do part-time, but now it was to become my full-time title. As is normal when working at a small business or organization, roles take their shape over time. Yes, I now had a new job description, but I knew, to some degree, that this new position would evolve as we hired a new person and our organization’s needs changed. I signed my new job description, and wrote one for our new hire as we posted the job and took steps forward.

I never really thought about what I was giving up, just that I was gaining new responsibilities.

A couple weeks ago, our new-hire started. We have been flushing out responsibilities so that all of us are operating out of strengths; working in areas we enjoy, when it’s possible.

As we have transitioned, my boss graciously asked me to make a list of what responsibilities I wanted to keep. I was so tempted to keep all the responsibilities, regardless of if I enjoy them or if it’s in the best interest of the organization.

It is so easy for me to say, “Give me all the tasks,” for several reasons:

  1. I know how to do them.
  2. I am afraid that someone can do them better than me.
  3. The organization may realize that I’m not valuable.

Giving up aspects of my job have brought out insecurities. Insecurities are ugly. Insecurity makes me defensive. Insecurity is rooted in fear.

Instead of rushing through the list right before the end of the day, I set aside time, at home, to think through my strengths, what I enjoy and where I want to grow. I work at an organization committed to my growth. I work at an organization that wants to use my strengths. I work at an organization that wants me to take on new responsibilities, which is why I was promoted. Even more than what my boss and organization believe about me and want for me, I have nothing to prove in the eyes of the Lord. I’ve been given every spiritual blessing and believe with confidence that God is working all things for my good, because He’s madly in love with me.

Because of these things, I can operate out of security, not insecurity. Instead of allowing fear to motivate my decisions, I can allow faith to be the determining factor.

As I transition into a new role and train someone else as our Administrative Assistant, that does not mean I cannot do my previous responsibilities well. I was a good Administrative Assistant, but that does not mean that someone new will not also be good. There is no scarcity in the Kingdom; me being good at something does not mean that someone else cannot also be good. God does not operate based on human limitations.

With any new position, even in the same business, there are growing pains, but with them come opportunities for growth. I have to be secure to believe these truths. As I default back to operating out of insecurity, competition takes root, and my defenses go up. I must train my mind and my heart to operated out of security — in my own skills, in how my boss views me, and most importantly, security in Christ.

As responsibilities are reassigned, we may see that our new hire is better than I was at completing some tasks, that means that we did a great job hiring, training and empowering someone new. We also hope that in a new role, we’ll be able to develop and utilize some strengths of mine that were previously unknown or underutilized. But, I will only be able to explore that through a place of security.



Half-marathon training is prime character development for me. I have two hours every Saturday devoted to nothing but running; running a stupid long distance. This past Saturday, it was ten miles. Thankfully the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the forties, a huge relief from the frigid wind chills throughout the entire month of February. But even in optimal conditions, there is a reason why Paul uses the metaphor of racing to help his audiences understand faith throughout the New Testament. Because it is all hard, because it takes commitment, and because at some point throughout the training or a faith journey, you are going to want to give up.

Starting can be easy. You know where you are headed and the tank is full of gas. In fact, the first half can feel like a piece of cake, but then the excitement wears off, the fatigue sets in and the wind is in your face. Will you press on? Will you keep running? Will you honor the commitment? What if no one is watching? Endurance. It is a word that my roommate and I have been talking a lot about this year. It is becoming a theme, and a lesson. The Lord is truly pressing it into me in order to cultivate it in me. Developing a mature and complete faith and walking closely with Jesus for a lifetime – these are the goals. While I will never fully attain them this side of heaven, endurance is the way to cultivate these things. Endurance is a way of the Kingdom.

I’ve written previously about how badly I want to quit when things get tough. I just want to throw in the towel, and be done. I have a flair for the dramatic, so I don’t just bow out gracefully, I go kicking and screaming. However, God faithfully provides strength to endure, whether it is to the finish or just the next mile marker where motivation is in greater supply. Sometimes the strength is encouragement from a close friend, or a well-timed bonus, or a sudden burst of energy, but when it comes, it is a good and perfect gift from above.

Usually when the resistance feels the greatest, you’re the closest to a breakthrough.

Right before I hit my rhythm on a long run is when I want to quit. My muscles are starting to burn and I can’t get in my groove, maybe I’ll just go a shorter distance, or maybe I’ll just slow down. But then I put one foot in front of another, keep on keeping on and then the breakthrough hits.  I remember why I’m running, what the goal is, and I recount the ways that God has been faithful in the past. His commitment to me enables me to renew my commitment to the task in front of me.

When you want to give up, it is commitment that keeps you going. For me, the commitment is not just a half-marathon on the calendar, but it’s the commitment to the spirit of endurance that the Lord is cultivating in me. I am confident that He has called me to persevere even when it is hard, even when it hurts, even when the finish line is not in sight. So I press on.


The Holy Dance

I have a signature dance move. It has become well-known in my circle of friends. I should trademark it, except Taio Cruz may consider that copyright infringement.

Yes, I have been known to, “throw my hands up in the air, sometimes.” I’ve tried to learn to love other dance moves, but my lack of coordination has made that very difficult. However, I love watching people dance. It’s not just the passion with which they do it, but more so the emotions they invoke in my heart. To me, that’s the moving part about art – the feelings it brings out in me.

As Lent kicked off yesterday, I’m reminded of a holy dance, the dance of the Christian, and the one that we remember

as we pass through this time of year and reflect on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross 2.000 years ago.

At the foot of the cross, life and death meet each other in a sacred dance. It is here where death and life are but one, occurring simultaneously. Death leading life and then life leading death. The boundary between the two is so thin it is almost non-existent, as two bodies hold themselves closely while keeping with perfect rhythm. Here where glory and humility intertwine. Here where you can lose yourself in Him and where His spirit comes alive in you.

I must tether myself to the foot of the cross. If I start to go too far, I hear the whisper calling me, “Come back, Beloved, don’t wander too far. Here is where you belong.” It is here where the distance between my head and my heart seems to be non-existent. It is here where His glory is what I’m focused on, and not my own. It is here where I find myself wanting to myself humble as I fix my eyes on His humility. It is here where His death and resurrection remind me of the need of death to myself so I can live in Him. It is here where truth and grace balance each other perfectly. It is here that I remember that grace is both costly and freely given to those who believe. It is here where surrender and submission are all He wants of me.

It is at the foot of the cross where I can confidently say, “Your scars will bring my healing, Lord. Your suffering has become my freedom. I will obey and I will follow.” Because as I fix my eyes upon the marvelous cross, I cannot bring myself to do anything to surrender it all – fears, failures, hopes and dreams. Here it isn’t about me, but about Him.

My temptation is to wander. Sometimes I wander so far that I start to believe it is about me, about my success, about my reputation and my selfish desires. As soon as I start to wander, I try to prove myself worthy of grace and fear that one misstep and I’m out, fallen, and forgotten. Thankfully, when I wander, I am not forgotten, and instead, His love, mercy and grace beckon me back. Back to the foot of the cross. Back to where I belong.

And there, at the foot of the cross, instead of throwing my hands up in the air and saying, “Ayo,” I lift my hands in surrender to a God whose humility brings glory, and I marvel at the holy dance of death and life.


The Unfinished


In the eighth grade, I started a book that I could not bring myself to finish. It bored me and I set it aside. There was nothing wrong with the book; I just wasn’t feeling it. I really wanted to like it and I kept reading it in hopes of it getting better. But about halfway through, I stopped. I shared this with my English teacher and she said, “Life is too short to read a book you don’t enjoy. There are too many good ones.” However, it is not in my nature to leave books unfinished, in fact it is so rare that I can remember when it happens.

On the Myers-Briggs Test, I usually score as a very high J. I like to check things off a to-do list. Unresolved conflict nags at me. I long to complete tasks before starting something new. Closure is the name of my game. Sixty days into my job, I confessed to my boss that my new position felt very unnatural to me at times because I don’t thrive on doing a hundred things at once. I like to start and complete one thing. In the 18 months since then, my job has greatly enhanced my ability to work on lots of things all at the same time. You can’t work as an administrative assistant at a small business without learning the art of juggling a hundred things over the course of one day, and maybe not quite completing each of them. Some days my coveted to do list and I are worst enemies because nothing is done enough to cross off. The unfinished feels a little less unsettling. Case in point, there are currently four books on my nightstand; I’m at least 100 pages into each of them.

I am not proud to be seemingly unable to finish reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, but I don’t feel shame about it either. I just haven’t quite reached the end. I intend to keep reading; I want to put it on my bookshelf of “Books Read in 2015.” It just isn’t there yet. Neither are the other three other books sitting right next to my bed.

I often write about how has God been faithful when I have stayed in difficult seasons. He is. He will continue to be. There are going to be times when leaving something unfinished is disobedient, but staying in something that God is calling you out of is also disobedient. Walking away before it’s over does not always make you a quitter.

I am growing more comfortable with the unfinished, with allowing God to press pause on something so I can switch gears to something else. It’s as if I’ve quit trying to solve the formula of God’s plan for my life and I’m letting it ebb and flow. The equation isn’t always going to balance. There isn’t always a beginning and an end to the storylines, and some are abandoned before you even get to the good part. Some things are good for a season and then they’re not, so we’re forced to abandon them and to leave them unfinished.

Leaving something unfinished isn’t always a discipline issue, as I used to believe. With unfinished stories, there are just parts that are not yet written. Some will complete themselves with time and others will not. There’s beauty in the unfinished and incomplete.

Fighting for Freedom

For as along as I can remember, food and I have had an unhealthy relationship. Like middle school dating when the couple lovingly bickers about who should hang up first, food and I couldn’t quite figure out how to quit each other. Unlike the middle school relationship where they breakup when one realizes that the fit isn’t quite right, my emotionally dependent relationship with food followed me into adulthood. Some seasons have been worse than others, but until recently it felt like the boyfriend I could not quite stay away from even though the relationship wasn’t good for me.

My unhealthy relationship with food looked something like this: purposely leaving my sorority house during the dinner hour because I was stressed and “didn’t feel like eating”; binging on sweets after a hard day of classes only to feel guilty and workout during dinner instead of eating real food; writing my weight on my calendar daily. As a girl who tends to live a jam-packed, one may say, overpacked, schedule, when I started to feel overwhelmed, I longed for something to control. Manipulating food was a coping mechanism. While some turn to alcohol or sex, at my absolute lowest, being hungry gave me a high that made me thrive. Weight loss was not the primary goal, control was, but somewhere along the way, they became interconnected. I was so lost in this unhealthy relationship that I did not know my way out.

Unlike an unhealthy relationship with a person, I need food to survive. It’s necessary to function. It not as simple as cutting off communication with someone who may be toxic; its something I have needed to wrestle with every day.

In the spring of 2014, I trained for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon and during my training I started to lose weight. Instead of my brain recognizing that I needed to eat more food to compensate for the 1,000 calories I would burn on my long runs, my mind traveled down the well-worn path of unhealthiness. “I wonder if I could eat less and lose more weight?” Thankfully, I heard a voice louder than the unhealthy whisper. This louder voice said, “Caitlin, we’re not doing this again, you’ve fought too hard against this, we can’t go there again.” Praise be to God.

I had several “come to Jesus” moments when I knew I needed to get well. This is not an issue I wanted to watch my daughters deal with. I longed to be healthy, to love my body and to develop productive coping mechanisms. I longed to be free. I wish I could remember exactly what worked, but over two years later, I’m still learning and growing. It helps to remember just how much freedom I’ve experienced from something that held me captive for so long. It is healing to tell my story.

In the past year, I have made several commitments to my body and mind.

  • I will feed it good food. Food that nourishes and fuels. I will feed it enough food for what I expect it to do. Key in this food issue is a nutritional rebalancing system that I’ve been on since August. It has solidified healthy habits that I was trying to establish, and has prevented me from using busyness as an excuse to skip a meal, thus triggering more unhealthiness.
  • I will workout. Ironically, running has become a safe guard for me. I love to run, I love to get faster. In order to get faster and train at a high level, I have to make sure that I eat the right things. Working out on a regular basis encourages me to fuel my body with the right food.
  • I will make sure it gets adequate rest – not just hours of sleep, but recovery time. I will listen to it when it is hurting. Pain as gain is not always the case. Especially when I’ve seen how pain and discomfort can mess with my mind.
  • I will recognize my triggers. As I said above, control and food/weight loss are interconnected in my mind. Even though my unhealthy relationship with food is not always related to a desire to be skinnier, hearing about fad diets or listening to someone say, “I haven’t eaten all day,” can tempt me into controling food in an unhealthy way.
  • I will view it as strong. Instead of getting frustrated that I can’t run faster or that instead of running 7 miles, I had to stop and walk a couple times, I will remember how thankful I am for a body that lets me run. My legs work the way they are supposed to. My athletic muscles allowed me to enjoy a decade of soccer and how they’re enabling to me healthily cope with stress and giving me a great hobby through running.

Today after my weekly Wednesday workout, I stepped off the treadmill (2.5 miles in 20:10 thank you very much), I silently thanked my body and I silently said a prayer of thanks to God. I ate a good dinner and packed my lunch for tomorrow. I’m learning not to take my body for granted. I want to be healthy, mind, body and soul. I want to look at myself as one who is made in the image of God, giving Him the glory for everything. Just like we have to set good boundaries in relationships with others, I have to set good boundaries in my relationship with my body. I’m learning and growing and being patient along the way.


Note: This is my story regarding food and control issues. It is just that – my story. The ways that I’ve processed through unhealthy behavior are not what I would recommend for anyone and everyone. I know that this is a controversial topic. I also know sharing my story is part of my own healing.



Sinking In: Thoughts on Turning 24

It was only fitting to celebrate my birthday in Bloomington, Indiana. To me, celebrating birthdays is an opportunity to recognize the thousands of small moments that took place throughout the year and to reflect on the goodness of God over the course of a person’s life. As I drove the sixty miles south on Saturday with the sun was high in the afternoon sky, I was overcome with thankfulness of God’s faithfulness. There is not a single second in the past twenty-four years of my life that God has not been faithful. He has ordained every breath I breathe; I am not and never have been hidden from His sight. The truth of those words started to sink in when I was eighteen and a student at IU. Six years later, the words have sunk a little bit deeper, but I long to live as one who believes God for great and mighty things. In making the drive down 37, I was able to return to where the most significant part of my story started and celebrate everything that God has continued to do since then.

The past year has been one of incredible highs, some low lows, but truly the theme as been “sinking in.” Like trying to get comfortable in your bed at the end of the night, sometimes you’re a little restless before finding the right combination of sleep position, pillow fluffiness and temperature; this year I’ve worked through restlessness, fighting to find combinations that work. Combining alone time and spending time with friends, eating well and working out appropriately, time in Indianapolis and time other places, paying off student loans and saving for the future, working towards a worthy cause at work and rest, reading for fun and reading to learn, writing as a life-giving practice and fighting against guilt for not doing it enough, and maintaining old friendships and cultivating new ones. When the combinations are not quite right, I can feel exhausted, unfulfilled, or a mixture of both. I have not yet found the perfect combination, if it exists, but I’m sinking into the life I’m building in Indianapolis.

As I sink in, trying to find the right combination and get comfortable, I am reminded that things are not as they should be. There is a gap between how I want things to be and how they are. I work in international adoption, so I deal with this reality on a daily basis. But daily, I hear God telling me to continue to sink in, to lean into the tension that is being created. Stop fighting the tension and accept it. I have to let it mold me and change me because the gap will always be there. There will always be miscarriages, failed marriages, kids born with special needs, and lives taken from us far too soon. The gap is there for a reason – to draw my eyes upward and forward, towards a time and place where it will all be made right.

In the midst of the tension, I attempt to sink in; I try different combinations, learning more about myself every step of the way.

Friends Through Marriage

The summer of 2013 was my summer of weddings. After being in 3 weddings within six months of each other, I was invited to six weddings in one summer. Whew! It was a lot. I had just graduated from college and had moved back in with my parents while I continued to look for a job in both Cincinnati and Indianapolis. I was in a holding pattern, waiting for the next thing to happen.

As I drove to the second wedding of the summer, I checked my email while stopping for gas on I-75 somewhere between Dayton and Fort Wayne. I read the disappointing news that my number one choice of job had fallen through and I was back to square one, well not completely, but a temporary retail management position in Cincinnati is not what I wanted to be doing.

I wanted to celebrate with my friends as they started new chapters with their husbands and wives, and yet I could not shake the feeling that I was being left behind. It was as if marriage was an exclusive club and my invitation had been left in the mail. I felt left out and left behind.

I wish I could say I handled these feeling like an adult, and turned to the Lord, delighting in the story He was writing for my life, but like every other time I’ve felt left out and left behind, I stomped my feet and cried.

It hit me though, the gift of marriage is so special, not just to those who get married, but to their friends, too. I opened a thank you note from that summer and it said, “We’re so thankful for your friendship.” As my friends have gotten married, I’ve gained friends. Each time a friend gets married, and since that summer, I’ve been to plenty more weddings, another friend joins my corner. It’s one more person encouraging me, praying for me, and someone new to make memories with.

I could write a sad story about how not being married and not having a boyfriend is lonely with over half of my best friends married. I could share that I get left out of double dates because I don’t have a plus one. But, then I remember how many friends I’ve gained and the ways my life has been enriched because of my friends marriages and suddenly those feelings of being left out and left behind were unfounded. I’m reminded that we are all invited to see and participate in the celebration of marriage.

I see the character of God in the way He has created marriage not just as a gift to those who enter into the covenant, but also to those who bear witness to it. As for me, I’ll all for having more friends!


I’ve been responsible for merchandising Crewcuts at my J.Crew store officially since August, but unofficially for a little longer than that. At least once a month, I sit down with our concept book, which corporate mails to us, I review which product we are due to receive during the week and I come up with a plan. This plan is based on the concept book, but I adjust it to work for our specific store based on what clothes we have in store, what we will be receiving and how our store is set up. I’m starting to get the hang of it. I like how the organization leaves space for creativity. And yet, once the plan is made and I have to start moving things around, I stand in the middle of my Crewcuts room at the back of the store, start feeling very overwhelmed and I want to quit. In a dramatic fashion complete with a temper tantrum.

The task at hand suddenly seems impossible and not worth dealing with.

I spend about five minutes huffing and puffing, unsure where to begin, and even if I want to. Without even beginning, it’s like the clothes win.

Somewhere along the way, at the beginning of a large task, I’ve adopted the mindset that it’s easier to quit before I even start. I sabotage my own success by convincing myself that I’m not capable. There’s a small voice in my head saying, “Caitlin, you’ll never be great at this, so why even try? Just walk away.”

Unfortunately, this voice is not just in my head oncea month during rollout week at J.Crew. This voice, which I’ve identified as fear, rears its ugly head almost daily. It’s there when I follow-up with prospective adoptive families, it’s there when I write our monthly newsletter, it’s there when ask a co-worker a spiritual question, it’s there when I want to reach out to a friend who I haven’t talked with in a while, it’s there when I step on the treadmill, and when I sit down to write a blog. I can’t seem to fully escape the voice in my head encouraging me to stay on familiar, well-worn paths instead of taking a step into the uncomfortable. This voice justifies the decision to stay good, instead of reaching for great. Fear fights to maintain the mundane and mediocre.

Thankfully, I am able to take the first step in merchandising and move one item of clothing. Once it is moved, there is no going back, and ten minutes later three or four things are in their new locations and my confidence is back. I start to realize the vision and my heart gets excited. I send the email and receive a response; I start the formatting on the monthly newsletter and hit save. If I’m feeling particularly brave, I text a friend I haven’t spoken with in a while, step on the treadmill, or shut my door, sit down at my desk and let my fingers move across the keyboard. And I find my rhythm.

Suddenly, being great doesn’t matter near as much as trying to be better. Fear is powerful, it can paralyze me, but it does not have to. There’s a split second decision that I can make to either let fear win or try. It is always going to be easier to quit at the beginning, and since I have a flair for the dramatic, the tempter tantrum may be fun, but then fear wins. The stakes are too high to quit without trying.

When fear says, “Why does it matter? Why even try?” It suddenly isn’t about the task anymore. Whatever the task at hand, it matters because I matter; my voice and my experiences matter. If I let fear win, even it it’s clothes, fear begins to move into the bigger things. The high stakes things. Fear has the ability to restrain me; to hold me back from the things I’ve dreamed my whole life of doing, the things God has hardwired me to do. If I’m not careful, I will end my life with a long list of good intentions and tasks I was too scared to try.

When I step out in confidence and faith in the small, seemingly unimportant tasks, I’m practicing for when the task is writing a book, telling a story, teaching about Christ or casting vision for serving orphans. If I learn to let fear win, it will gain momentum, hold me back and I may never experience the fullness that God has called me to. I don’t doubt the power of fear. I also don’t doubt the power of faith.

When fear yells at me, questioning my capabilities, preparedness or importance, I whisper back my belief in God, and therefore belief in myself. Belief in a God who has called me to take baby-steps even when they are uncomfortable. Those baby-steps are paving the way for big steps, but if I’m not careful, fear will win, and I’ll never know the greatness of the life that God has in store for me.


Grace and Unmet Expectations

Yesterday, I ate my feelings. Three cookies and a couple pieces of chocolate later I realized what I was doing. I was upset and thought that a copious amount of sugar was somehow going to solve that. Note to self: too much sugar will give you a stomach ache, not fix any big problems, but you will be frustrated by the stomach ache and you may forget about the other problems momentarily.

But not for long. Because then the phone rings or another email comes in. It’s the reminder that over a year later, families still are not allowed to bring their children home from Congo.

I have a feeling I may be consuming a lot of chocolate this week. Or maybe I can convince my boss to take some walks with me. There’s nothing particularly worse about this week except that the Department of State issued an official statement saying that adoptive parents without referrals should cease pursuing their adoptions from Congo. Let me pause for a moment and explain. The Department of State is essentialling telling families to give up hope that they will bring a child home from Congo if they have not already received a referral for this child.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of families sit heartbroken, mourning the loss of a child they never met, but had pictured in their family for years. Their expectations, along with their hearts, are crushed.

I’ve spent many a drive home crying out to the Lord on behalf of these families and these kids. My heart breaks for them. Frankly, I’m a little pissed, my human brain screams at the Lord, “Aren’t you supposed to be great and mighty, God? You called these families to care for the orphan and this is what you give them?” My flesh just barely resists the urge to add a, “You suck!” on the end of the previous statement.

These families seeking to adopt from Congo are not alone. I’m reminded daily of heartbreak. Childhood cancer, miscarriages, abortions, failed adoptions, called-off engagements, divorces and even death. The reality is, we hope for, pray for and plan for things that may not come to fruition. We start to dream and picture how and when God is going to show up. We think through bridesmaids, baby names, adoption announcements, put down payments on houses and pay into retirement funds only to have our plans fall through. I wish I could say, “Let’s stop hoping, praying, planning and expecting,” but I don’t think that’s the answer either.

Today I stand with those who lives aren’t what they thought they would be. Today, I lift up those experiencing heartbreak and unmet expectations. In the gap between what we think things should look like and reality, Lord, would you meet us with your grace? Jesus, would we be reminded through clenched fists, tear stained cheeks and middle fingers that You meet all of our needs, that everything is a loss compared to knowing you? Would you speak to our broken hearts, into the darkness of our souls and remind us of your grace, love and compassion? And when all else fails, if it can’t fall together today, can you at least make sure we’re surrounded by lots of chocolate?