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Tis the season for transition. For moving. For meeting new people. God is opening my heart. He is opening me like a flower that is blooming. The season is changing. There are lots of prophecies coming forth. Lots of confirming words. Lots of things to look forward to. I share my struggles with my sisters. With my roommate. With our cat. I’m going to miss him when I leave, but I’m grateful they will not be too far way.
After five years I’ll be saying goodbye to my landlords. The same ones who came to my 30th Zumba party and my first book release party and gave me a job when I was laid off. Such love. Such favor. Such family.
I’ll be saying hello to the woman who raised me. The woman who needs me in this hour. The tables have turned. I am honored to be there for her. I recognize the sacrifice that is shown on my part.
Sacrifice displays love.
There is a sacrifice of another sort in my belly. It has been there for quite a while. He has been there for quite a while. And even in the messy way I have responded to the sacrifice, He, like a loving Father moves towards and not away.
At His nudging, I practice opening my heart. I practice having conversations and being open and letting new people in. I do this because I realize the only way we can receive a gift is to open our hands to receive it. Open our hearts to receive it.
It is almost June. It is almost summer. The season for blooming is here…
Father give us grace and courage to be open. Give us grace to bloom.
In just 2 months I’ll be moving back in with my mom. Whew. To say that I am shocked by this prospect is an understatement. The shock is probably only slightly overshadowed by my pushing my mid 30s and life looking exactly the opposite of what I pictured. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. My roomie has the same shock and she is 6 years my junior. My besties have the same shock and we are all the same age.
This weekend I drove around the new neighborhood which is not too far from the old one. I talked to old friends I have reconnected with in this season. So much of the new resembles the old. It’s weird.
I am reminded of a revelation God gave me a few years ago after a big test. He said my life was like a helix. It wasn’t that I was walking in circles over and over the way I felt I was. Instead, I was moving forward in a circular motion. It seems living with my mom again is a part of that same pattern. No matter how hard I tried to make choices that would position me in a certain place at this point in my life (husband, 2.5 kids and dog), I still ended up here. Back to the beginning.
We went to church for Easter (mom and I). I know this is a new beginning for her and I’m blessed to be a part of it, I just wish it hadn’t cost me so much.
On Easter I was reminded of why it costs. It costs us because it cost Him. We are not above the teacher. We are not above our Master. If He sacrificed, we too shall sacrifice.
My roommate gave me a card on Easter which read, “Nicole, just as Christ died and resurrected, I look forward to seeing the resurrection in your life”. That is what I too am desiring. To see the resurrection from all the death. To see the fruit from all the pruning. To see if the wait was really worth it…
The mother and daughter sat across from each other in the small diner. Both adults but as with every child-parent relationship the child is still the child to the parent–no matter how old they get. The daughter took a sip of her latte and typed feverishly at her keyboard. She had brought her laptop so both could handle some unfinished business. The mother took her turn typing (although a little more slowly and a little less confidently) and was pleased with the outcome. They discussed their future plans to move in together. They compared the properties they had looked at; some good, some not. The deadline for moving was drawing to a close and both were walking by faith. The daughter had been down this path many times so panic had not yet kicked in. It would take a little longer for that to happen, if it did at all. Though their meeting was about the future they reflected on the now.
“Can you believe I’m this old?” the daughter said. The mother responded in equal amazement, “No. It’s crazy! I remember when you were in the womb…” and then as was their custom she reminisced about that time of pregnancy 30+ years ago. Her eyes glazed over and she held a far off daze. There were family members who had passed and many who were distant. “I never thought I would lose my whole immediate family”, the mother said. “Well, you have me” I replied. We sat in silence for a moment. It was just us. I never wanted it to be that way. I always wanted a family. I told her just as much that day. I told her how grateful I was for a spiritual family, these spiritual sisters that keep multiplying, but how I still desired blood relatives. “I wanted that for you too” she said.
I ran into a brother that day and teased him about being alone. He explained his wife and children were at a party and he had just gotten off his 2nd job. I was reminded of how different our lives were–his full with mouths to feed–my mouth sipping a latte. It’s easy to covet what one doesn’t have, to see the gift each season holds. Still, some seasons last too long…I told him about a writer’s class that I’m enjoying. “It’s finishing up soon but I’ll keep you in mind for the next one!” “Please do!” he said. Then I teased him about not having room in his schedule. He assured me he will make room. Funny, even with all the things I have going on in this season, I always seem to have room…
For the first time in my life I literally feel “older”. I’ve been thinking about the past and wondering about the future. I don’t have any goals set or big ticket items to check off my checklist. There are responsibilities to carry out and finances to build. There are a few trips I want to take and people I want to see. But no goals.
I think reality is setting in. Maybe that’s what happens in your mid 30’s. You realize though you have much ahead you have a good chunk that is behind and for the first time I have found myself second guessing past choices. My dad assured me on my birthday I had made the right choices. Then why do I not have what I want? I thought to myself. I wrestled with that question for a while.
I’m still wrestling.
The past cannot be changed, only our present. Our now choices will create our future. And as I told my friend last night, all we can do is walk in the light and understanding that we have today. I believe we are only held accountable for that much.
People have been asking me what I’m planning for the big 3-4. I honestly have no plans. My emotions have been up and down (ok, mostly down) about the upcoming event and I don’t know how I will feel when it gets here. Will I have a series of bursts of energy and strength that I’ve often experienced when the enemy has tried to come up against me? Or, will I give in to the quiet stillness of my soul that has marked this season with Christ?
I told my friend recently that I’m allowing myself to experience both. I’m allowing myself to be grateful for the ground the Father and I have gained together, the victories and the wholeness He has created. And also, I’m allowing myself the disappointment, confusion and frustration at the waiting. I’m a numbers person and I do believe I am supposed to be, working in Accounting and all. I believe numbers mean a lot to God as well. He taught me a lot a few years ago just how important they were. What I learned then was that His ways are not our ways. His view is not ours and often He wants us to come up higher to see things from His perspective. For a while there I was seeing but then the darkness came and I found myself lost, questioning very foundational truths that had guided me these 15 years. I was tormented with fear and anxiety and I didn’t have time to think about singleness, I was just trying to choose life. But I did choose and one day at a time I made it to where I am now: more soundness of mind. More peace. More grace. Now that I’m here, singleness is a focus again. I honestly never thought it would be this long. I don’t disagree with the Master’s hand and plan. I know without a shadow of a doubt His way, His timing is best. But I need to process the fact that his timing is longer than I imagined.
For most of my journey I felt a security in my future. I felt confident of His path. Much of that confidence stemmed from my emotions and feelings; the perks of being less mature in the faith I suppose. But now He has said I am more mature and He has treated me as such. Instead of doing things for me He is teaching me to do them for myself. That’s been a paradigm shift. One I haven’t welcomed freely.
The Father has been faithful in all things. He has made promises and I have no doubt He will deliver. But there is a process involved before the manifestation of those promises.
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
Like Joseph my friends and I know this testing. We have each encountered our own paths of being formed by the Master’s hand and we have overcome many things. But it seems no matter how many victories I’ve experienced, the next level is even more fierce than the last. I believe this to be true with marriage. I believe the tests will get more difficult and that is why the process in singleness is so needed, to create a sturdy foundation.
I am a blessed woman. God is faithful and my cup runs over. But I am still waiting and I did not know the wait would be this long.
The process this thorough.
The mountain this steep.
Hi guys! Please check out my latest guest blog post on Single Roots called “Single & Pushing My Mid 30s”. Thanks!
Last night I had a good conversation with a dear friend. We talked about one of our most frequented topics: singleness. We reminisced about the times spent walking out this path we never thought we’d face and how much we’ve grown since those early days. Where had the time gone? We wondered. I remembered an old video on black women finding love after 40 and some who never “found love” at all. My friend had also watched that video way back when and shared her sentiments on it. “It’s depressing” she said. I can see why she would feel that way though I don’t remember having that perspective as a 20- something watching it. I only remember thinking, “That won’t be me!” Even if I didn’t verbally say those words, I feel that message was ingrained deeply in my heart. You see at that time in my spiritual walk I didn’t understand that God could (and would) use time to work out some stuff that would hinder purpose and identity from being manifested through me. I certainly didn’t see the stuff I needed working out at that point so of course I didn’t think He would need to do too much work on me. Ah, to be young and naïve again😆. My timeline was that of the culture’s timeline and even now I struggle against that mindset. But what I have learned in the time that has occurred between then and now is this: Father knows best. I now understand that when God says, “no” it is in my best interest whereas back then I only saw one side of the coin (when God said “no” He was just being mean). So watching that video back then I interpreted it through that lens. The one-sided coin lens.
Since I’m a little older now and am actually closer to the age of the women who were interviewed, I decided to re-watch it through these new-more mature lenses. When I did, I felt grieved for the women who wanted love and for one reason or another did not find it. I did relate to how they cultivated a full joyful life outside of a relationship. And I did understand their desire to please God in a life of celibacy that they never envisioned in their future. But there was one subtle question my heart was asking as the statistics of single, black-educated women rolled on the screen. How healthy are these women? I wondered. You see in the last few years I’ve had a lot of revelations as to why I needed singleness and everyone of them had to do with the fact that I myself was very unhealthy. I wouldn’t have known a healthy relationship if it hit me in the face. And I’m sure there were good men around me who avoided me like the plague because of my red flags. Thankfully I had the Holy Spirit who guided me and pruned me and created something a little better than what existed before. So I watched half of the video and felt their pain and empathized with their cup that I myself am also drinking from, but I also know that we can be limited in our understanding of God’s ways…
Statistics are statistics and I can’t say that I am exempt from them. Maybe some of the reason I am single is because black men are incarcerated and gay and not educated. Maybe I am affected by these facts. But my experience trumps statistics. And my experience is that I am chosen and God has been very intentional with me to deliver me and heal me and restore me (He is such a good Dad). He has been very intentional with me to set me apart, teach me and grow me.
I don’t know my future, but I do know my past. He is my past. He is Father and Maker and Friend. And most importantly He is trustworthy.
Job 13:15 (KJV)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him…
I hate that we are called to very difficult things. That sometimes we don’t have the answers this side of heaven.
But sometimes we do have the answers.
I have found many answers hidden within the crevices of my heart (Ephesians 3:11). And often, almost too many times, He has confirmed those answers through dreams and prophecy. I have lived my life this way for the last 15 years, and I am encouraged by the Spirit of the Lord within my heart that no matter what the statistics say, no matter what another person’s story is or perspective is, I need to stay true to what I know inside.
He has intentionally set me apart for such a time as this and for my own good. And He will give me the desires of my heart as I have first delighted in Him.