Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Steps of Faith: Kathryn

I'm Kathryn, and I blog at Hand Me Down Style. I want to share how God is growing my faith through singleness and church.


Early last year, I met with a counselor after getting back together with my on again off again boyfriend, to discuss getting married--how to know if we should get married and what I could do to improve our relationship. One of the things she suggested for us was visiting churches to find one that we could join together. Since we were living in our hometown, we were attending our respective home churches. I fell in love with the first church we visited and a few months later, broke things off with the boyfriend.

A year ago, I longed for community and a place to serve and was unsure what to do about church. Things had been comfortable at my home church, where all I knew almost everyone and only had to introduce myself by my last name to find a connection with anyone else. But I loved my new church. After prayer and a pinch of wise counsel, I chose to stay at my new church. The Lord led me in this step of faith when I really only knew one other person there. I had a friend look up small groups for me and jumped at the chance to join an all women small group close by my house. As a newly single gal, an all women group was 100% appealing to me.

I met new friends. It took time, but I began to serve alongside those new friends in kids ministry. In the fall, as we studied Acts, I felt convicted about baptism. I had been baptized as a young child, but my real, growing relationship with Jesus began after that. This Easter, I was baptized by my good friend and small group leader, and I joined my church. My family even attended my "rock and roll church" to witness my baptism.

In the spring, our small group combined with several others to hear from Ashley Gorman about signs you are not dating God's way. I am the poster child for not cutting ties with an ex *two hands raised*. I am very experienced in break ups and almost as much in getting back together. Early this year, I misled someone (I thought) I was casually seeing and knew that I needed to make more of a clear boundary. It's not fair to date someone who's looking for a real relationship when I'm still hanging onto an ex. So as an almost 27 year old who wants a marriage and a family, I committed to being single. That takes faith. Now please understand that I don't mean faith that God will give me a husband. That's not biblical (side note: stop telling your single friends that they will get married). I mean faith that God will use me to work out his plans even and especially if I spend time being intentionally single. I prayed and felt God telling me to set August as my time line. That would mean six months single. It took a few months for me to realize that timeline would also put me at one year after breaking up with my long term boyfriend.

The Lord has protected me during this time. I usually can't go a week being single, but He's kept the boys away, both new and old. I've only had to straight up say "no" to a date once. I read Ashley Gorman and Alvin Reid's Book of Matches. I recommend it for singles, especially those of us who know we're doing it all wrong. They give an enlightening description of how marriage is like the relationship between Christ and the church. Isn't that something we often hear but don't understand? The book also helped reveal ways in which I hadn't been the best partner in the past and how I can be a better partner in the future. He also kept me busy during this time--at home, at church, at work, with friends, with my family, and now with my dog. (If getting a dog doesn't say "I'm single and staying that way," what does?!  I also cut my hair short.)

I have faith that God will direct my path, wherever that leads, for His glory (Romans 8:28, Proverbs 16:9). While studying No Other Gods by Kelly Minter, I realized what an idol marriage and even that one particular person have been in my life. Ultimately, I have to repent of my idols and let God take control. I can't defeat an idol on my own. One step in getting rid of the hold the idol has on me is just plain getting rid of the idol. Six months single--with no one waiting in the wings, no dates scheduled for August, no close male friends--is what my attempt at getting rid of that particular idol have looked like. The Lord is still working on me, and I have many steps to take toward trusting Him in my relationships.

Nearing the end of the study, last week we chose from a list of Psalms to meditate on, and I turned to Psalm 37. I was so glad to finally change my focus--to look at the Lord. My favorite passage is below.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Psalm 37: 3-7a

I'm tired of dwelling on singleness and overthinking it. It's time to look to the Lord. It's always time to look to the Lord. I will dwell in the land. Pursue faithfulness. Delight myself in the Lord. Commit my way to Him. Trust Him and go forth as a single woman.

As my six months of intentional singleness comes to a close, I joke that I'll be transitioning to a time of unintentional singleness. Not much will significantly change on the outside, but I know that I have been obedient in this endeavor. Step by step, as we obey in the little things, He is training us to obey in the big things (Luke 16:10). My prayer is that He continues to untangle my heart from my idols, that I acknowledge his ways are better than my ways (Isaiah 55:8,9), that I will be open to singleness or open to whomever He has for me to date, that I give Him control, and most of all that I would spend time and energy turning my eyes upward, drinking Him in, being grateful for where I am, and serving Him with all that I have. Which includes a lot of "free" time and flexibility without a partner.

3 comments:

  1. I am crying reading this! It's so similar to my story!!! I love these posts!

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  2. Getting teary eyed too!!!! This is so good!!! So proud of the commitment you've made and what an example you are to me. Love that we've gotten to explore a new church together & build new friendships along the way. So thankful for your sweet friendship!!

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