“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story” Psalm 107:2
Arrival. In my pride I walked into this new season of post-grad feeling some false sense of arrival. I have walked in faith and obedience to the Lord for the past four years. I landed a job where I can trace it to my first step of obedience the Lord called me to four years ago. I came into a new city, a new job, and a new community asking the Lord for humility and meekness. Asking the Lord for good questions to ask people, the strength to live presently, and to always have the desire to continue to learn and heed wisdom. But I felt a sense that I had ‘arrived’ or ‘mastered’ what it looked like to walk in obedience to the Lord. This kind of thinking only hindered me from growing in my walk with the Lord. We will never ‘arrive’ to some particular level of sanctification with the Lord which is honestly such a beautiful space to live in. As someone who really enjoys learning something new, I enjoy this about walking in step daily with Him. On the other hand, I am someone who puts a lot of pressure on themselves, so I can get into an unhealthy and unbiblical mindset of, “Okay let’s check this sin off the list and work on nixing the next one out of my life. & okay observing a sabbath? Got it. Walking in a humble & joyful dependence and obedience to God? I have tasted and seen it is good, so I don’t need to ‘work on that’ in this new season.”
I arrived to Louisiana and something beautiful that Satan had turned into something to haunt me returned. Baptism and I have had a four year long journey. I was baptized when I was thirteen, fully knowing I was saved by the blood of Jesus and that I was publicly declaring this to my church congregation. But it wasn’t until I was nineteen and a freshman at Liberty University when Jesus became my Savior and the Lord of my life. I handed over control to Him. I handed over my own desires and plans. This life isn’t our own and Jesus’ ways are always higher. I learned it was obvious 1 John 5:3 was spot on: obedience isn’t burdensome. And it isn’t because my obedience ended in a positive outcome every time, but it is because God was with me the whole time and He is the promise we need. I learned where there is surrender there is the fullness of His promise of freedom and joy.
The church I attended for four years in Virginia was very vocal about surrendering the fear of man when it came to baptism. I remember the first month being there and seeing people getting baptized & thinking to myself, “There is something different in my life about following Jesus. Maybe I should get rebaptized.” I thought about it more and concluded for myself that it wasn’t necessary. I knew what I was doing when I was thirteen; it was enough. And for four years I had the same conversation with myself which always ended in frustration. Baptism became wrapped up in shame, fear of man, and confusion.
There were so many things that held me back from baptism. I kept ‘coming to a peace’ about not doing it when in reality, I was ashamed. I thought if I got up in front of my church after being some kind of “leader” and got baptized everyone would think I was fake and I had just accepted Jesus. Of course, this would not have been the case for them to think this. Another reason I experienced the four year wrestle was checking my motivation of getting in the water to get baptized. I didn’t want it to be out of fear. I was fearful of walking in disobedience, so if I were to get in there it would not be out of a joyful surrender but it would be, “OK let’s get this over with so that way God can use me.” But as the title of this blog spoils the story, I fully realized baptism isn’t about me. It’s not about justifying who I am to my community. It’s about publicly proclaiming the best news that has ever been told. It’s about Jesus & I had made it about me.
During the four year wrestle I opened up fully to three different people, trusted people. All three pointed me to Him as I trusted they would and I kept ‘coming to a peace’ to not go through with it. But every time I thought I had put it to bed it would come back. Something beautiful the Lord intended for us, the enemy turned into a haunting of some sort. I know that sounds weird, but that’s how it felt. When it would return it would turn my cherished and protected time with Him in the mornings distant and bitter. It would make me sad, discouraged, and question over and over if I knew the Lord’s voice. One of the friends I turned to about all this said that I did know His voice. She said it was our inheritance that as a believer we get to hear His voice as we pray with authority given by Him. When you surrender and let go of the things in life you love more than Him or you think about more than Him [that’s an idol, friend] you are able to experience the fullness of the promise of Who God is. His abundance, His goodness, His faithfulness, His daily bread. Baptism had turned into an idol, and it wasn’t good.
A couple weeks before I moved to LA I was on my way to style a friend of mine and her husband’s closets. The idea of baptism came back in a rush, and I became discouraged. The Holy Spirit prompted me to stop talking to my God about my problems and start talking to my enemy about my God. I prayed with authority that in Jesus’ name Satan no longer had a hold on something so beautiful and sacred. I immediately felt better, texted my community, & I knew if it came back, which I doubted it would, I knew what to do. I went to church the next morning and held it loosely before the Lord telling Him I would do it if He wanted me to, and I didn’t feel a prompting to get baptized. I moved to LA and the third day I’m there it hits me like a ton of bricks and now I’m angry. My whole life was new and different. The only thing that didn’t change was my God and now? My parents were gone, the people I had done life with were gone, I wasn’t fully seen or known by anyone in the state, and the baptism issue was back? It was tough because I knew if He asked me to do it I would be mad at myself for not obeying four years ago, so my people could be there for such a joyous occasion. But God covers all our bases y’all. I’ll get there.
I called a friend I had kept the whole, detailed story from on purpose because I knew what her answer would be: get up and get baptized – shoutout to her! I told her the entire story and she met me with such clarity, edification, and truth all wrapped up in one reply: “I am not the voice of the Lord, but I know for a fact that the enemy would never ever prompt you to get baptized. Baptism is the obedient step and I think the Lord is calling you to it, and Anna Grace it is such a joyous thing. Getting in the pool to get baptized to fight for your intimacy with the Lord is not a shameful or sinful thing. That’s an incredible reason to get in that pool and declare before a brand-new set of believers in your life that this is where you stand and this is Who you are committed to. I wish I could be there. I wish your people could be there who have walked with you for the past four years in your obedience to the Lord.” I broke down weeping and replied, “This has been so hard. It didn’t need to be this hard. I need to stop looking back on the past four years and punching myself in the face for not being obedient. It’s keeping me from obedience. I need to do this ASAP & I don’t care what people think anymore.”
I knelt before my Father the next morning and was filled with a feeling that when, not if, I went through with the baptism, would it nix the past four years that I knew I had walked with the Lord in. I knew I had devoted my life to Him. Would all of that go out the window? Literally a question that went through my head was, “Have I been living a lie because I haven’t been baptized since Jesus became the Lord of my life?” I heard Him so clearly say in my room, “This is you simply taking an obedient step with me today. This is you simply taking one step closer to your relationship with me today.” Why would I say no to that? I also know this was the Lord because for the past season He has taught me so much of what it looks like to daily trust in Him [Galatians 5:16]. He has taught me that He is a daily God, holding my hand as I walk step by step with His Word as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This sounded like my God.
It was my first Monday on the job, my fourth day of my literal first full time job, and as we met for our weekly meeting I shared with my team for accountability and celebration purposes that I needed to get rebaptized. The joy that came over the team was unmatched. They asked if I wanted to wait to do it at the church or do it sooner, and I said I wanted to do it ASAP. So the plan was made that after work we would drive to a swimming pool and do it there. On a Monday. With a team of women I had met less than a week ago who were way more than willing to cheer me on. I called my parents and grandmother at lunch prefacing my story with, “I hope you meet this with grace.” I had let them into my story before I moved to LA, and I felt ashamed that I was finally going through with it without them there. They were thrilled and asked for a video.
After work we gathered and a teammate brought me a change of clothes. They all asked me to share my testimony. It was the most messy, under prepared, unplanned “speech” I had ever given. I was a Communication major so this was tough to swallow, but it was another moment to exercise the muscle of selflessness. God is in every single detail haha! Baptism wasn’t about me. It was about my God. To share your entire story with a team of godly women you look up to but had just met was scary. But it wasn’t scary because the really big part of my story was that it wasn’t my story. It was His. Baptism is all about Him. And what He did for me. What did He do? He took on all my sin so I could live life in a broken world free and live eternally with Him in heaven. He also gave me the strength to kick Satan in the face. I was over the shame, I was over the fear of man, and I didn’t care what these women thought about my delayed obedience or about the legitimacy of my walk with my God because I knew that obedience isn’t burdensome. I knew that I was so over being bogged down by this one thing.
One of the women there after I had shared my story told me that she knows a lot of people that think that if they are baptized then everything in the past that had to do with them and Jesus was for nothing, but she ensured me that this was me taking one step closer today with the Lord. I was floored as I shared with the group that’s exactly what God had told me that morning. It was such a full circle moment for me because that was one of the biggest things that scared me about going through with this.
I genuinely thought that God had saturated my whole entire life – that he had every single key to my heart. But he didn’t. I held tightly onto the key for baptism’s door. And so with faith I handed him the key and I was baptized in front of my team. The men and women that had grown me up in my faith the past four years were not there. But I knew this was exactly what God wanted me to do.
After I was baptized I went home and I made dinner. I texted my grandparents, my parents, and my girls the video and I went to bed. I do feel a peace today that that was the obedient step. I feel relieved actually. I write this without shaming myself: but if Jesus did this himself, “Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (New International Version, Matthew 3:15-17). So why did I delay?
I wanted to give you a lot of this detail because the enemy is super personal. But Jesus holds the authority and Jesus holds the truth and Jesus holds the victory. I know in my spirit that somebody needed to hear my story because it is really specific, but I don’t think it’s rare. Like I mentioned before my church in Virginia talked nonstop about the fear of man as it pertains to baptism. But I still refused to let God into that. In that refusal I wrestled with confusion, shame, and fear of man. But I thought that it was OK. I write this today for the purposes of kicking Satan in the face, because he does not have a hold on my relationship with my God. He does not have a hold on my image. He does not have a hold on my reputation. This life is but a mist [James 4:14]. Who am I to think that I need to preserve some type of image to my community? The only true thing that I must preserve is the gospel of Jesus Christ because that is the sustenance. That is the good stuff. That is what is truly healing and truly meaningful.
Remember when I mentioned God covered all my bases? I have shared my story with only a few people so far but every time I share it, the joy of the Lord is my strength. & my people are not disappointed in my delay, but they are thrilled with my day by day seeking His face. Also every time I write ‘came to a peace’ I write it in quotes because today I do not understand what that peace was. It was clear I was supposed to be baptized but it was a wrestle. I still am choosing to share that detail with y’all because I don’t believe we deserve privy to each and every detail in how God works. I may never know what the ‘peace’ was to not go through with baptism but the point is that I have chosen to not sit and dwell on it. To punch myself in the face for it. To be angry with God about it. I am not looking backward. To quote one of my favorite songs right now, “I’m not who I was. I’m who you’re making me” (Grace by Mosaic MSC). Every day I want Him to make me look more like Him. Who I was when I was fully surrendered to Jesus three months ago, three years ago, or three days ago is not who I am today. I am who He is making me to be daily.
Arrival. It’s a myth; a tactic from the enemy to blindside you. Abiding. That’s the truth. That’s the good stuff.
AG is a member of Team LO and a recent grad of Liberty University. She is a massive Atlanta Braves fan [her hometown ayo!], never says no to an estate sale, & loves to style her friends outfits from their own closets.
Dear single girl,
Let’s talk about #couplegoals. This idea of the cutest love stories. The love of your life and you finally meet him and he’s everything – you get along, you make each other laugh, you have the same favorite restaurant and the same favorite hobbies and he likes dogs just as much as you do! You can’t wait for a lifetime of ice cream dates and movie nights and exploring new places and starting a family and serving God with the man of your dreams.
This is my story, with my husband, Zack. I met the guy who just made me SO happy, who I felt like I could be fully myself around, who I have so much fun with. We met in high school, we take cute-sy photos and put them on instagram, and sometimes people comment #couplegoals.
You’ll find that person someday, too. But in the meantime, let’s break down #couplegoals. I always laugh when I see someone comment something like this on one of our photos. One time one of our photos even got used in a viral #couplegoals tiktok. But here’s the facts: we are not perfect, at all.
Recently I received a message from a college girl asking for advice in relationships, saying she looks up to Zack and I’s relationship and wants what we have, but has trouble trusting the timing of when she will find that person and was just feeling a little lost.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Zack and I have a great marriage now, but it wasn’t always this easy. We grew up together. Like, since we were 16. That leaves a lot of room for growing and maturing and making mistakes and hurting each other along the way. Maybe people see us now and think “goals” but here’s the reality: every relationship on this side of heaven has flaws, pain, and messiness. We need Jesus in our lives, his grace, his forgiveness to be a model for us as we pursue great relationships on earth.
10 years with Zack has taught me this: Your relationship with your spouse/BF can never replace your relationship with God. Why? Because God loves you perfectly, and no matter how hard your spouse might try, they can’t.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He loves you with a perfect, reckless love that we as followers of Christ are called to emulate (“we also ought to love one another”) but we aren’t God, we aren’t perfect. We mess up.
It’s been the times that I put Zack in the number 1 position in my life that things have been off. Every time he did something that hurt my feelings the pain was deeper, every disagreement felt worse. Too much of my need for perfect love and acceptance was falling on an imperfect person. Friend, it isn’t good for you, and it’s unfair to put that pressure on someone else as well.
At one point, about 7 years in, I had to face my biggest fear: which was losing Zack. We hit a really rough patch in our relationship. There were lots of tears and lots of nights where I felt so alone, rejected, confused and heartbroken. I thought this was the man of my dreams. I thought he was who God had for me. We were best friends but now everything seemed to be falling apart. I had given 7 years of my life to this man and I wanted desperately with everything in me to be his wife one day, but the path he was on and our future was looking increasingly bleak.
This went on for a few months, and it was one of the most emotionally crushing few months I’ve ever experienced. I clung to God and prayed. I asked for him please please please to let me and Zack work things out. I asked him to bring Zack back to him. Nothing seemed to work. Was God ignoring my prayers? I thought he wanted me to be with Zack, but now he seemed so silent.
Here’s where the breakthrough came: A few months in, I surrendered. I said to God, “Lord I want this. Near as much as I want to breathe I want to be with Zack. But, God you are more important to me that he is. You love me more perfectly. My life is yours. If Zack isn’t who you have for me, I will walk away right now. I pray you give me the bravery to do so. I surrender this desire to you. I am done trying, I am just going to listen to you. Whatever you tell me to do, I will do it. I trust you to bring me into the life you have for me.”
Sometimes I think God wants to give us what we want, but he knows that first we need a lesson in who is our #1 and who is our #2.
God is your #1 and your spouse is your #2. When I surrendered this desire to God, I finally could live my day to day in freedom. I felt a peace wash over me because I didn’t have to strive and try to get what I wanted through my own power. I had a peace knowing that God was directing my steps, and as long as I followed him, I would be ok.
After I surrendered, Zack and I’s relationship started improving. The life he was leading started to change. He grew just as much as I did in this season, but in other ways. This season of hardship was preparing him to be a husband as much as it was preparing me to be a wife. I HAD to learn that lesson. God knew I couldn’t enter into marriage looking at Zack as my #1. It wasn’t fair to him to expect him to love me perfectly. Only God can do that.
In a season of singleness you might feel the same kind of desperation. The “why, God, why?!” the “all my friends are finding boyfriends, what is wrong with me?!” Friend, nothing is wrong with you! But what if God is trying to save you from the heartache that I experienced that comes with putting your boyfriend in the number one spot in your life. What if God is waiting for you to surrender that desire to him and let him be your number one. So that way he knows you’re ready.
Surrender is hard. But God loves you perfectly. He knows your desire for a spouse. He sees that. If you’re in a season of waiting, you have to know that his goodness is all over that. He knows that He needs to be your number 1 first before you meet that person for that relationship to be as good and sweet as possible.
So, single girls, the best thing you can do right now is seek your 1. Pursue God. Spend time in the word, try to grasp and wrap your mind around his perfect love (Ephesians 3:18). Pray for your future spouse. How sweet is it to think you are storing up prayers for them to benefit from in the future. This is the best way to love them before you know them. When God’s timing is right, you will meet them. And when you do, you will be right where you need to be with God to avoid the heartache that comes with placing them in the number 1 spot in your life.
You will be in the perfect place to seek your 1 with your 2. And that is #couplegoals.
Sarah Bross is a fashion + faith blogger from St. Louis, Missouri currently living in Long Island, New York with her husband, Zack. She loves seeking out the joyful parts of life, making things fun, watching sunsets, going on ice cream dates and finding adventure – even at Target. Say hi on instagram @sarahkbross
What’s up, fam! I’m so excited to share this Whoa That’s Good episode with you featuring my favorite person! Christian and I got to sit down to answer your DMs a couple weeks ago and I just HAD to share it on the blog! Here are a few of our best pieces of advice for some of the questions that you guys asked. Let’s dive in!
- “My boyfriend and I have been dating for several years. We’ve done devotionals together and several Bible studies, but he’s decided he no longer wants to do those things. We still go to church together. How do I navigate this situation without seeming controlling since I want to go deeper with my relationship with Christ?”
Christian kicked off his response by reminding us that anyone can pretend to be someone for the first six months. Whether it’s going to church or actually a personality thing, once you filter through that and reach an extended period of time, it’s possible that a person’s true colors will show and reveal that they might have been faking it all along. A lot of people say, “He was so great at the beginning. If we could just get back to that point we’d be good.” Unfortunately, who he acts like now is probably who he really is and he was just faking who he wanted to present himself as in the beginning. This could also be the same circumstances with a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.
The truth is, anyone can go to church. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Christian. I think in a relationship, you want Christ to be your 24/7. I want Christ to be that in my relationship with Christian. Jesus shouldn’t just be something you bond over on Sundays. He should be a point of conversation in our everyday because He is the number one person in both of our lives. That’s when your relationship is truly centered on God, and not just an afterthought.
- “What is the best advice you could give for a newly engaged couple?”
I think the best advice, especially in the engagement season, is just to know that you are not preparing just for a wedding – you’re preparing for a marriage. I’m so glad Christian and I received that advice and lived that way throughout our engagement season. It allowed me to not really stress about the details of the wedding because that wasn’t where I was placing value during that season. Value was placed on what our marriage would be like. This was shown through marriage counseling and asking all the questions of “how were you raised?”, “what are our expectations?”, etc.
So, I put so much of my thought process into preparing for our actual marriage and not just a wedding. Does that mean that everything went perfectly on our wedding day? HA, no. My hair literally turned pink the day before. But it was still awesome! And we felt so ready for marriage because we used our engagement season to prepare. Your wedding is one day, but you’re married for the rest of your life.
- “Is it okay to spend time with the opposite gender when you’re in a relationship?”
So, for instance, would it be acceptable for Christian to spend time alone with another woman if he and I were dating? Christian and I have always had a boundary of never spending time alone with the opposite gender, even to this day. Or if someone of the opposite gender DMs me, I’ll likely bring it up to Christian in casual conversation. Of course, not necessarily if it’s a super close friend or something of that sort. You know, you look at people and think, “They’ll never cheat.” And that’s not always the case. It’s not that people necessarily set out with the intention to hurt the other person, but one thing can lead to another. So, we set pretty strict boundaries because we don’t want the door to ever be open to that.
I heard somewhere that Billy Graham wouldn’t even get on an elevator if there was just a woman on it. Strict boundaries can be set without being crazy and controlling or jealous and envious. I was in a relationship previously where we didn’t trust each other at all. But with Christian, I fully trust him and he fully trusts me. It’s not that we think we would do anything. We just don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we would have to make a tough decision or make a moment awkward that doesn’t have to be. There’s so much room for the enemy to feed when you’re alone with the opposite gender, especially when you’re in a relationship.
- “What would you tell your younger self who felt like they were never going to find the right one for them?”
I would tell my younger self to chill. I was so obsessed with who was going to be my future husband, which is fun to think about. But thinking about it from the context of if God has created someone to be my husband, he will come at the perfect timing. And Christian did. But I wish I had enjoyed my seasons beforehand more than I did. I wish I’d focused more on where I was at in the moment rather than everything that would come. Christian chimed in by mentioning that he was a big rom-com fan growing up. So, he always pictured his story would play out a certain way and never really stressed too much about it. He said we really are living out the rom-com he always pictured!
- “How do you respectfully co-exist with people in your life who believe differently with you?”
I had to get out my phone for this one because I was rereading my journal I started last year on my birthday and finished on my birthday this year. It’s basically a compilation of things that I experienced, prayed for, etc. Last year I wrote this in my journal and I thought this was really reflective of many of my prayers last year. This is what it said:
“I feel like I’m sitting about watching the world lose their mind. The hard thing is knowing how can I help. Proverbs 14:12 is so present in our generation right now. ‘There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end, it leads to death.’ The seriousness of this makes me want to speak out, but I know the culture will cancel me the minute that I do. It’s hard to navigate.”
I watched this video of this girl from North Korea who said that she knew speaking the truth was a risk, but not speaking it was even worse. So, then I went on to say, “If I don’t speak the truth, who am I really helping? If I do, am I causing too much harm that limits me helping. God, I’m genuinely asking. It feels like a wrestle, and I don’t know if I’m just comforting myself in my excuses or using wisdom. God, I know Jesus reclined with the sinners and how did He speak truth and yet keep the sinners at the table?”
I wrote that and I remember praying that prayer so much last year. This prayer of “I want to help, but if this helping is hurting then I won’t help.” Then I remembered that Jesus was fully love and fully truth. And I just asked “How it was possible to sit at the table with people who think so differently than me and they stay at the table because they know that I love them and genuinely care about them?” Then I thought about it. Jesus spoke truth into people’s lives while also loving them well, and not everyone DID stay at the table. Not everyone did believe He was the Son of God or even liked Him. So, the risk of standing on the Word of God is that some people will think you’re crazy and that’s just a part of it. He even said that if the world hates us, just remember that it hated Him first.
But just to answer this question in one sentence, be as much like Jesus as you possibly can be. That doesn’t mean shy away from the truth. Jesus is the truth. But while Jesus was fully truth, He was fully love. So, show people love, truth, and grace all at the same time. I think when you come in to a situation and you’re there to love instead of judge, it creates space for co-existing. It’s okay to co-exist without conforming to the pattern of the world. You can stand on the Word of God fully and still love people well.
- “How do I start my own ministry?”
My best advice is that if you want to do ministry, then do ministry where you’re at. Ministry is loving God and people well. If you can’t do that in your community with your people, I hate to say it, but you’ll never be able to do that on a huge platform. Having a platform and doing ministry is a huge blessing to reach so many people, but it is not for the faint of heart. It is definitely hard and there are so many aspects of it that you don’t see. That’s why I would say to not just wish for a platform to do ministry. Do ministry well where you’re at. Essentially, we should all be doing ministry. If you are a believer, you should consider yourself a minister of the Gospel because that’s what we’re called to do. God’s not going to ask you to do something that’s outside of your capability or ability to do. If He’s calling you to ministry, then He’s already equipped you to do that ministry. Look in your hands and see what you have. How can you serve in your church? How can you serve in your community?
I think so many of us want to have our own ministry and one of the reasons I decided to give Live Original the name it has is because I didn’t want it to be about Sadie. I wanted it to be bigger than me and I’m thankful to say that I’m trying to build something that will really outlive me. So, my prayer is that when I die, this message will still be going and people won’t be talking about Sadie, they’ll be talking about the message of the Gospel. I think when you’re trying to build a platform, you try to build it for yourself. But when you build the Kingdom, it’s actually not about you, it’s about the world around you. Ask yourself how he has called and equipped you. Christian reminded us to start with our family, friends, and the people we work with. It all starts with having conversations about faith and asking people how they’re really doing.
- “How do you balance dressing cute and staying modest?”
We’re certainly in a culture right now where it’s the norm to show more skin. I remember in high school it seemed like the guys only noticed the girls who showed more. And I would think, “No guy will ever notice me if I cover up all the time.” But the right guy and right people will actually treasure you for the modesty that you have. Christian’s actually probably stricter than I am with what I wear because he has so much respect for me. And I’m truly so appreciative of that. I think modesty ultimately boils down to respect for yourself and for other people.
Personally, when I workout, I can usually wear whatever I want, since I go to an all-girls gym. But if I go to a different gym, I’m cautious about what I wear because I want to respect the guys around me and I want to respect myself. God made you beautifully and wonderfully and gave you a body to steward well. You were made more than enough. So, you don’t have to go flaunt your body to be more than enough.
- “How do you get over a person who made you believe they liked you, then they ghosted you? Would it be wise to wait on them or move on?”
Christian said it plain and simple: “Move on girl.”
But really though, it goes back to respect. You’re worth more than someone just ghosting you. They better have a pretty dang good reason when they get back from their little ghosthood. Christian said that most “ghostings” he’s seen have just been manipulation. It’s different if there’s a logical reason for it, such as someone’s phone breaking. But Christian said he feels like a lot of time it’s linked with manipulation and a need to keep you on the hook type of thing.
I mean, let’s be honest. If we’re actually trying to figure out who the one is for us, what’s the point in playing games? Just respect yourself enough to not wait around for this guy or girl to come back around every so many months. I remember when a friend of mine walked through this. A certain guy would text her every three weeks or so, and she would just hang on to that. She’d talk about it and read into it so much. One time when he ghosted her, we looked at Instagram and saw that he was ENGAGED. Like what?! She was so crushed because she was always hanging on to that next text. You don’t want to get in a position where someone is just stringing you along as if you’re a plan b. Someone will come along and treasure you so much that they’ll respond in a timely manner because they care about you. Christian did such a great job of that when he pursued me. There was never the question of whether or not I’d hear from him. Wait for that person, sis!
Wow, these were all great questions! I hope that these questions don’t just stay between me, you, and Christian. I hope they extend to conversations with your family, friends, significant other, or whoever it may be for you. Just to throw this out there, if something we said doesn’t align with what you believe is true, throw it out the window. But if it aligns with the Word of God, I hope that you know you can apply some of this truth to your life. Have the BEST day, friend!
I’m single. Never married. As such, I’m a self-proclaimed expert at being a single woman — though no one’s ever given me any awards for this.
Christmas is around the corner, and as any of us singleness ninjas will tell you, knowing how to navigate the Christmas season as a single is a must. By “Christmas season,” I really mean Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day — because if you’re single, these three holidays combined are a trifecta of potential holiday horribleness.
Admittedly, there’s a bit to overcome. Every store shelf, selfie, and social media post seems to not-so-subtly say: Lisa, Christmas is for happy couples and families in matching pajamas — not for you. You don’t have a husband. You don’t have kids. You don’t have anyone to match PJs with. Um, you don’t even have cute Christmas PJs. But it doesn’t matter because you’ll just sit at home alone, eating takeout and watching Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas. So don’t bother.
OK, a simple ad or Insta post can’t say all that, but sometimes it sure feels like it.
It’s easy for a single girl to feel left behind at Christmas. Mass marketing aside, it hurts to be reminded that I don’t have a plus-one for holiday parties. No one’s buying me a ring or planning a killer marriage proposal on a snowy hillside. I’m no one’s gift-buying priority; in fact, I’m no one’s priority at all. And when Christmas is over, I’ll be staring down a new year with just as few relationship prospects as the one before.
If you’re feeling everything I’m saying, hang on. Because here’s the truth: Christmas doesn’t define you. Your social calendar doesn’t define you. Your relationship status doesn’t define you. God defines you.
That’s a whole other post. But in the meantime, with a little preparation, prayer, and perspective, you can ditch the pity party and tub of peppermint stick ice cream (well, maybe keep the ice cream) and rock the holidays like the confident, carefree girl God made you to be. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Chart your game plan. Christmas is easier to handle when you tell it who’s boss. Don’t let it hit you like the flu; instead, decide now what you want your holiday to look like. Will you visit family? Host others in your home? Are you going to attend that work party, small group party, neighborhood open house?
Take out a calendar and map out the next few weeks. Don’t overcommit and run yourself ragged, but don’t shrink back, either. Decide who and what is important to you, and let the rest go. Balance fun stuff with restful stuff, party plans with times for renewal and reflection. If it’s critical that you’re not alone on Christmas, make sure you aren’t. Even if you can’t get to family this year, find a friend and share the day together. Make new memories. Maybe even be a friend to someone who needs one. I’m looking forward to spending time with my 96-year-old neighbor who is grieving the recent loss of her only brother. He was her hero, and she especially needs a friend right now.
Prepare your conversation comebacks. You know it’s gonna happen. You’re at the office party and your irritating coworker asks in front of everyone: “Hey, where’s your date?” Or you’re with extended family, your cousin is showing off her new engagement ring, and your in-everyone’s-business aunt looks at you and pipes in with: “Aww, when will it be your turn?” Awkward questions are inevitable, but awkward responses aren’t. Be ready. Your strategy can be to use humor, change the subject, address the question head-on, walk away, or a combination of the above. Once, when asked why I didn’t have a boyfriend, I quipped: “Oh, I do, I just haven’t met him yet.” Another time, a married friend asked, “How’s your love life?” I felt like responding with, “Not great. How’s yours?” (Don’t worry; I didn’t.)
Realize that some people are just awkward, clueless, or self-absorbed. Most mean well. Smile and move on. Change the subject. Get another cup of eggnog. You’ll be OK. If a question-asker genuinely cares about you and your future, ask them to pray for you. Prayer is something we all, married or single, need in any season. Give as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable sharing and thank them for their kindness.
Put your singleness in perspective. I’m not sure when we started believing that singleness is a second-class status. It’s not — at least if Jesus and Paul (two world-class single dudes) had anything to say about it. Being single is hard, but so is being married. When you get married, you’ll trade some hard things for some new hard things. You’ll also trade great things for new great things.
Why are you single? Is it because you have a horrible personality? Give off a desperate vibe? Own 12 cats? Are in a 500-mile radius of only three single men? Maybe. But it could also be because God has decided it’s just not your time. He may be saving you from something terrible and saving you for something amazing. He’s not limited in his resources. He’s not withholding a husband from you in order to give one to someone else. When God wants you married, he’ll get you married. In the meantime, lean into him, love and serve others, and be willing to grow. Admit your desire to be married. Be open to dates with quality guys, even the ones that aren’t your “type.” And if you still can’t seem to get out of the comparison trap, get off social media for the holidays (hey, there’s a gift you can give yourself).
Plan something fun in the new year. A great way to get through a hard season is to have something to look forward to. What’s something you can put on that list? In January, a friend and I are going on a cruise. We’ve had it planned for six months. It’s our way to ditch winter and say, “Hello, 2022! What do you have for us?” You don’t have to plan something big. Do a weekend getaway or even a day-long personal retreat. Put dinner with a friend on the calendar. Book a mani-pedi. Host a game night with your favorite people. Anticipation is sometimes even better than the event itself. Let yourself look ahead at good things to come.
Celebrate Jesus. It’s his birthday, after all. Why are we making it about us? We’ve hijacked it for our own selfish purposes — and doing that always leaves us disappointed. The cool thing is, even though everything in creation is about God and his glory, God still gives us a gift in the midst of it all. He gives us the exact thing we need to save us from our sin and even our very selves — God gives us his Son. Jesus’ death on the cross plus his perfect record in life is a two-part gift that sets us right with God, gives us eternal life with him, and secures us a place in his forever family. God really is the best gift-giver.
I’m not going to give you some lame kind of “Jesus is your boyfriend” pseudo-encouragement. No diamond rings from Jesus this year. No snowball fights followed by hot chocolate. But you’d better believe Jesus wants to spend time with you. You too, married ladies. Because even if your husband is the bees’ knees, he can’t fix your heart. He can’t fill the empty places. He can’t redeem your past. He can’t take away your fears. For that, you need Jesus. Our universal need of a Savior levels the playing field, married or single. Start with the book of John and remind yourself who Jesus is. (Add Luke 2 if you need to keep it really Christmas-y.) Then read Romans 1-8 for a practical picture of what Jesus accomplished on your behalf and who you are now as a result. It’s big stuff. Take your time. You may cry. Finish with singing my favorite Christmas carol: “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!” If you sing all three verses, it’s a tidy but glorious telling of the gospel. I’ll leave you with verse three:
Hail! the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Merry Christmas, everyone. But a special shout to the single girls.
Lisa Anderson is the director of young adults at Focus on the Family where she manages Boundless and hosts “The Boundless Show,” a popular weekly podcast and radio show. She’s the author of The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage With Purpose.
DEFINITION: The act of being in a relationship that brings out the best version of you while also learning selflessness, humility, and love.
Your girl Sadie Rob sharing here. The two biggest aspects to entering into a relationship is knowing when you are ready to date and being able to identify when it is the right relationship.
How do you know when you are ready to date?
This answer is coming from a humble place, because had I known this when I was 16, I would have saved people and myself from a lot of heartache. Looking back, I am truly sad to say that out of my brokenness, I would get into relationships because I “needed” something. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize my impure motives. I never intentionally thought, going into a relationship, that I was trying to “get something” out of anyone, but I can see now that I was searching for something.
I needed self-confidence, reassurance, affirmation, healing, someone to make me feel less lonely, someone to redeem the past. I went into every relationship needing something that only Jesus could give me. When it ended it left me feeling emptier than when I started. I think you are ready to date when you find contentment in Christ and don’t actually “need anything from anyone.” You have to realize that they cannot and will not give you what only Jesus can give you.
How do you know when it is the right relationship?
First off, I want to touch on how you can know you’re in a WRONG relationship. One good clue is to look at who you have become since dating that person. If you have lost your personality, your peace, your joy, your confidence, your purity and the desires inside of you, then it’s probably time to lose the relationship and find yourself again in Christ. The wrong relationship will produce the wrong fruit. If you have to change who you are, it’s not the right relationship.
The right relationship will produce the right fruit in you and through you. It will bless you, not take from you.
Ask yourself questions like: “Since the beginning of this relationship, have I seen the fruit of Jesus in my life?” No one is going to be perfect, so don’t look for perfect, but you can be and should be HEALTHY!
The other thing is when you realize the one you are dating is really “the one”, it won’t be some magical moment with bells ringing and pixie dust falling from the sky and seven shooting stars flashing across the sky like a July 4th celebration. You won’t get a “sign” written by the universe that he is the one. I think so many times we get caught up in looking for a sign.
The looking causes us to miss the actual magic of how God brings two people together. How he creates one to complete the other. Stop looking for crazy signs around you and look in front of you. That way you can see that what you prayed for is standing right there. Look inside of you and realize who you have become by the power and blessing of partnering with who God has created.
If you happen to find this right relationship in college, what a blessing! If not, God is preparing you for something that only a season of singleness can bring about. Those years are sweet if you can have the eyes to see it through that lens. Don’t wish it away.
TRUTH: Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
How can you apply this scripture to your perspective of dating?1. What are you looking for in a dating relationship?
2. What could God be wanting to show you in your season of singleness or dating?
3. What are some ways you could start preparing for the person God has for you?
I hope this encourages you today, friend! If it did, be sure to check out the rest of the Confidence In College workshop here
inside LO sister 🙂
When I was 16 I dreamed of owning a brand new Kia Optima. Don’t ask me why, but I thought it was the greatest car ever. When I had finally saved enough money to go buy my first car, it was number one on my list. Out of my price range, I didn’t even torture myself by test driving it. Instead, I left the owner of a 2006 KIA Spectra named Grace Kelley with 100,000 miles under her belt, and a mild feeling of defeat. I told myself one day I would own the car I actually wanted. I knew if I could just have this car, then I would be happy.
Fast forward five years and I was at a dealership car shopping. The first car on my list? A Kia Optima. I was so excited. I got in the car, I buckled my seatbelt, and I started the test drive. Guess what? I HATED IT. I absolutely hated this car. It wasn’t comfortable, I didn’t like the way it drove, I didn’t like the way it felt, and I didn’t like the features it had or the way it was laid out. This car that I had dreamed of owning for years was absolutely nothing that I had made it in my mind to be.
I did this with my whole life. I had these wild expectations and fantasies of how things would go and what they would be, of how they would fulfill me, quench my desires, and make me happy. I often found myself with the same sting of defeat as I did leaving the dealership realizing what I thought I wanted didn’t fulfil the expectations I had placed on it, but more than that, that it didn’t fulfill me.
Expectation is a slippery slope. It becomes an idol if we’re not careful. How do we know when something is an idol? It becomes our hope. It becomes the center of our fulfillment. It replaces the rightful place of God. It becomes an “if I have this, get this, do this, look like this, make this much money, gain this status, THEN I’ll be happy, THEN I’ll be satisfied.” And the biggest idol I had? Relationships.
I sought my worth, value and all my identity in relationships. How guys viewed, treated, and pursued me directly influenced how good or bad I felt about myself. I was a slave to the opinions of the men I looked to for validation. When those opinions were negative, I would do everything I could to manipulate every situation to control every outcome. I did whatever it took to swing the pendulum in my favor.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3
My desire to be loved at any cost took everything from me over and over and over again. I didn’t care what I had to do to get it. Even at the expense of myself, and even worse, other people. Relationships were for my consumption in order to feel good about myself. This is the furthest thing from love, and this isn’t what relationships were created for. So what were they created for?
Ephesians 5:21-33 lays out the perfect foundation of the purpose of marriage. It says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
To make her holy, cleansed, radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, blameless. Paul repeats holy twice. The purpose of relationship is sanctification. To present one another as holy before the Lord. To die to yourself, to love one another as yourself, to take up your cross, to commit to total humility, total self sacrifice, to love without expectation or even a return of love, to be Christ to your spouse and to make their holiness your highest value. If we valued the purpose of marriage as much as we valued the idea of marriage, our relationships would look a lot different, a lot healthier, a lot happier, a lot more fulfilling, a lot more successful.
It’s not what can I get, but what can I give? Not how can I control, but how can I serve? Not love me, but how can I love you best? How can I do relationship with you in a way that my highest goal is to present you holy and blameless before the Lord. How can I love you in such a way that when you stand face to face with Jesus, he will say, “well done my good and faithful servant” because I partnered with you in running the race well? Caring about someone else’s eternity and relationship with the Lord over them pleasing you or fulfilling your every desire, THAT is real love.
Two years ago today, with no sense of identity, with a love for the idea of marriage instead of the purpose of marriage, with no preparation or wisdom about what the covenant of marriage really meant, I walked onto Alys Beach and a man got down on one knee in front of me and asked me to marry him. I said yes. I will never forget looking out into the ocean with a lump in my throat and the same sting of defeat deep in my soul.
The sting of disappointment wasn’t because the man asking me to spend my life with him wasn’t an amazing man of God. It was because I finally had everything I thought I had ever wanted, someone loved me, someone chose me, I finally had it all, and I stood there feeling the most empty I had ever felt. It didn’t fill me up. It didn’t make me feel secure. I didn’t feel whole because of it. I just felt like the same insecure, broken me. A marriage about me is empty, already dead and gone, over before it even starts, and that’s where I was. Six months later, after a lot of heartbreak, that engagement ended.
My broken engagement was the greatest gift that the Lord has ever given me, because it forced me to look in the mirror and face the fact that I was a selfish, sinful human being. It forced me to face the fact that I had consumed people and relationships for my own benefit and it wasn’t working. It forced me to true repentance. It forced me to face the lies I believed about myself head on, and it taught me the true source of my identity. Him.
So this isn’t a blog post on how to find the perfect husband, or how to be patient to wait for God to bring you one, or even how to be what a Godly man wants, but a (hopefully encouraging) cautionary tale for every girl that reads it. Marriage isn’t going to fulfill you and it’s not created to. Marriage isn’t for our consumption, but for our sanctification. And most of all, marriage isn’t going to take away the dark parts of your heart or give you true identity. Only Christ can do that. So when God calls us to seek him first above all things, he really means it for our own good. Marriage is the closest parallel to how Christ loves us and it is an incredible gift, but all gifts of God are best enjoyed within the confines of his boundary lines.
If I leave you with one thing, I hope it’s that the Lord loves you so much. He created you, chose you, says you are worthy, cherished, valuable. You don’t have to give yourself away in order to receive it because he gave himself away for you to. I pray that we all get to live in the fullness of Christ’s love for us first, so when and if we do get the privilege of a spouse, we would come alongside them and run after the Kingdom together, and that Heaven on earth would start between us.
Samantha Coyle is the writer and encourager behind @heytheresam and HeythereSam.com. Her mission is to share the heart of God and what He’s done for us by bringing real, raw honesty to the table, encouraging vulnerable community rooted in Truth and grace. While normal days look pretty mundane, i.e. drinking matcha, laughing a lot at her own jokes, jamming worship in her car, doing a LOT of laundry and cooking for the family she works for, and hanging with her friends in Nashville, she has big dreams to share the gospel with women all over the world!
Follow her personal account on Insta @heytheresam and also find her on Sadie’s app, LO sister, as an ambassador where she shares even more encouragement and fun!