He Destroyed Me!

“The more I grow in my faith the higher my standards grow,” said my good friend, Michelle. I have realized this is true in my life as well. I think if I got married at 19 or 20 when my girlish heart had wanted to, I would have made a stupid wife. I would have gone for any guy who was, first taller than me, then a Christian. Sure he lives at home, doesn’t own a car, keeps dropping out of college because they make you write papers (what did you expect?) and the only job he can get is selling knives for Cutco. But he says he loves Jesus and me! He has potential. Let’s get married someday and hope that he grows into the man that he could be. Thankfully that relationship didn’t work out!

I’m thankful now. But when that relationship ended, I was destroyed. He hurt me so badly. He’s words are burned into my brain. The events that led to our break up where ugly and he did some things that I don’t understand how someone who says that they love you could do. When I asked him about his actions he said, “I wanted to hurt you and I knew that would get to you.” Wanted to hurt me? But you love me. Those two things cannot coexist. I was destroyed. My body felt so much pain I questions how it was even able to support life. Time moved slowly. It seemed that I would hurt forever. These new wounds trigged old wounds that I had never dealt with. I hated it. I had not felt that pain in such a long time and it stacked on top of my current pain. I was frustrated that I was feeling so many things that I did not want to feel or even felt capable of dealing with. I would cry at night. My sister could hear me down the hall into her room. She was worried. I would go on drives just to scream in my car where no one could hear me (praise God I didn’t crash!).

I prayed to God while lying flat on my floor. I prayed that God would make me into the “Alina” he wanted me to be. That I would grow into a godly woman. Slowly I healed. The moments of pain slowly faded. Slowly I became okay. Then I became grateful that the relationship ended. I went to Bible College. I lived out of state. I kept praying to grow into the “Alina” that God wanted me to be. He must have been pleased with that prayer. He answered it and continues to grow me. I’m thankful for the woman that God is making me to be and all that I have learned about myself and life in the last ten years. My standards are higher.

At times it feels like a curse to have high standard about what kind of man I want. That kind of man just doesn’t seem to exist or is already taken. The leftovers at this point seem to be creepy men who go for any pretty face that they see. I know that it’s not true. There are good men out there. I just don’t know where out there.

Kindness is something that I have greatly grown to value in a man. I have known too many mean men. The man I described about is one example. I want someone who will be kind to me, kind to everyone! Flattery is not a form of kindness. That has been used by men who just want me to be their girlfriend because they like my face or maybe just my butt. Being back in Reno I have observed something. I think it was always there but my increase of value of kindness has heightened my awareness of kind people. I have observed my dad and my new brother-in-law. They are kind. I love watching how they treat other people. I love how they treat my mom and my sister and everyone else. Good men still exist! My standards are still high. I won’t marry potential. Patiently, I wait for a kind man of God who is hopefully taller than me (can’t let that one go).

He Just Wants a Girlfriend, Not Me!

Sometimes, when creepy men hit on me, I don’t always know what they mean to say. Example, I was on a walk and an older man came up to me and said, “Excuse me but that sign says that the path is for pedestrians only. I see nothing pedestrian about you.” I chuckled and kept on walking. Nothing pedestrian about me? Huh? I’m walking on the path. I’m clearly a pedestrian. What else could I be? Creep! He couldn’t think of anything else to say? What about, “You’re the best looking walker this pedestrian path has ever seen!”

I realize that I am single by choice. There have definitely been many suiters who have asked me out or who have fiercely tried to convince me to be their girlfriend. If I really wanted to be in a relationship with someone I could have willingly entered into a committed relationship with any of these guys. However, I don’t want to change my relationship status just for the sake of changing it. I don’t want a boyfriend just to have one. That is the vibe that I get from some of these guys. They want to be in a relationship so badly that any pretty face they see, they try to get to be their girlfriend. I don’t want that. I want a guy to look at me and go, “Wow! Her character, passions, and love for the Lord are want I want. I want her despite whatever other options there may be.” I don’t want to be just a convenient option because maybe the other pretty girls didn’t go for them and therefore they want to see if I will.

This recently happened to me when I moved back to Reno. Actually, it started before I moved back. While I was still living in Washington and even before the plan to move was there, a guy from my church in Reno started messaging me on Facebook. I hadn’t really known him or every really had much to do with him. So, when he started talking to me, I was confused. Why would he want to talk to me? I live in Washington. I feel like my first inclination is not to think, “Oh! Maybe he likes me,” but to find it weird. I was right. He did like me or at least thought I was cute. Therefore, a prime candidate to potentially be his girlfriend. When I moved back he pursued hard and asked me questions about what kind of rings I like, how I feel about short engagements and if I would ever elope. He also was constantly pressuring me to commit to being his girlfriend. When I first moved back I thought sure, I’ll go out with you and give you a chance. However, usually the potential of a relationship brings about feelings of excitement in someone. Not me, this was annoying. He gave up when I didn’t fit his timeline. That’s okay with me. I think if it was really me that he wanted then he would have held out a little longer than 2 months. He just wanted a girlfriend. He has found someone else to like and so far he hasn’t persuaded her to be his girlfriend either. I hope she is smart.

My heart is not at all hurt that he moved on. I was relieved. It spared me from having the hard conversation of telling him that it wasn’t going to work. In this season of my life I do enjoy being single. I don’t sit around doing nothing. I have interest and things that I am pursuing. Like running. I am training to run a half marathon that will take place at the end of August. Sometimes, it feels like I am dating my running schedule. I invest in it what I would a relationship, time, energy, money, and sometimes emotions. I do want someone. But just because a guy likes me doesn’t mean that he’s “the one” or that I even must like him back. Patience in this area is required. I’m waiting. God is moving. I can confidently hope in Him and trust that He knows what He is doing.37283373_1867201806675560_9018433239919886336_n

When You Get Locked Out… Wearing Justice League Jammies!

I could not get to sleep last night. It was windy, and the wind was blowing the bush outside my window around. The bush kept scratching the glass of the window. It was driving me nuts. I prayed to God that it would stop. It didn’t. So, in my Wonder Woman nighty I darted outside to break that nasty branch off from the rest of the bush! Finally, relief!

This incident reminded me of the Tuesday after I moved back to Reno. I had not yet started my new job. I was enjoying a day at home unpacking. It was nice to have a slow pace morning. I hadn’t even changed out of my pajamas yet. That is really unlike me. I am usually up hours before to go to the gym. Still sporting my Justice League P. J’s, I went outside to take care of the trash. When I went to go back inside I realized that I was locked out! My keys were inside and my phone was in the kitchen playing the Pandora app. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to. Getting locked out of the house was one of those moments. No problem, I decided to walk to where my sister works (only a couple of miles away). I could get the house key from her and drive it back to her after I got back in. So, off I went. I bet I looked cute in my night gown with Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman on the front of it. I also was wearing slippers, but my adventure got even better when I ran into a guy, that in the past had wanted to date me. I was never interested in him. He looked at me and laughed. Then he asked what I was doing. I simply explained that I was getting the keys from my sister. This was not how I planned my morning. I got the keys and her boss kindly drove me back home.

Currently my life feels like I’m locked outside. I feel stuck. As I am now adjusting to life after my sister’s wedding, it is weird. I live with my parents and my sister is a married woman. I live here when I’d rather be in Washington. I want to be doing something else with my life. I feel like I am wasting the days that I have been given. I feel frustrated. Where is my joy? It’s not fair to fake it. I’m not one to complain. I don’t want to complain about my life. When I really think about it, out of the things that I don’t like are many blessings. Living with my parents isn’t bad. It’s just not what I want. My job isn’t bad. It’s just not what I want. I want God to do something about my life. I want to have joy in all of this. It’s hard. I’m sitting thinking, “Wait! This isn’t what my life was supposed to look like at this point.” Something must be wrong!

There are just times in life that don’t make sense. This is a broken world. We are broken people. Hence, the situations in life that we face are marked with brokenness. That does not mean that joy within them is impossible. I currently can’t say that I’m super joyful about any of this. My favorite word is “Joy!” That is what I am known as, as a joyful person. When people describe me that is a word that is often used. I want to continue to be identified with joy but struggle is real. I don’t want to dismiss it and act like I’m happy with things when I am not. A friend used the word wrestle to describe where she is at. I realized that word fits my plight as well. I have been learning about the value of wrestling with where I’m at. It’s a place where God can teach me and help me through. It’s hard work, but good work. It hopefully will bring maturity in my life. This attitude has brought joy into my struggle.

5’11” and can’t add an Inch to My Height

My sister’s wedding is this Saturday. In preparation for the big day, My twin and I had a sister date last night and got our nails done. I’m not in the habit of getting my nails done. I’m too cheap to pay for that service but this seemed like an appropriate occasion to get my nails polished. The lady who did my nails was excited to hear that we are twins. However, almost as soon as she expressed her excitement, the statement about our size difference came out of her mouth. “You’re twins! But you’re bigger than she is?” Yes, I am, and I have spent my whole life being asked why that is the case. Well, there is a God who created me in my mother’s womb and before time began determined how I would be formed. I did not tell her that but just smiled and nodded. God did not ask me how I would feel about being the bigger twin. I trust that he knew what he was doing when he set my growth chart into motion. I trust that there is a reason for why he made me the way he did (haven’t figured out why yet but trusting that there is a reason).

Matthew 6:27 tells me that worrying can not add a single inch to my height. I say, “Praise God, because I don’t need any more inches.” I am 5’11” and with the right shoes I might as well be 6’. The notion that worrying could make one taller is absurd. Of course, a person has little control over how tall they will be. This statement points out how ridiculous it is to worry about things that you can’t control. Its unproductive. What does it accomplish? Nothing!

As I think about this, I realize that worry also shows a lack of trust. Sometimes, it feels like there ae bigger things that God would be concerned about other than the areas of my life that I don’t understand. Things like the job that I have right now even though I’m educated in the Bible and Early Childhood Education or my living situation when I’d rather be in Washington. These are details of my life. The God who created me must also care about these details. It mattered enough to him and his plan for me to include how tall I would be. It seems like a small detail but having spent my whole life with my sister and my height being a topic for conversation from even strangers, leads me to think that it is important God and there is a reason. Likewise, the different directions that our lives are taking right now are also part of the plan that the God who created me has for me. So, worrying about this stuff will prove to be unproductive. It’s not always easy to do but I am going to trust that God is working in my life. I’m here for his service and I am certainly god created me with plan for my life and he knows every aspect of my life.

Be Brave! Choose Joy!

“Be Brave! Choose Joy!” Those are the words that are written inside of a red baseball cap that my good friend from Washington gave me as going away gift. In smaller print she also wrote “You are braver and stronger than you think.” On the outside of the hat it says, “Washington” with a pine tree in place of the “t” in the word. I love this hat. I wear it all the time and am convinced that it is one accessory that goes with everything. I tell me sister that I am going to wear it with my bridesmaid dress at her wedding. She just gives me a look that communicates her lack of belief in that statement. Oh! But I’m serious (maybe)! This hat is my crown and constant reminder to be brave and to choose joy. Joy is my favorite word but lately in this season of my life it seems hard to have joy when I do not like so many of the things that are happening in my life. But I made my choices. Was it not me that decided to move to Washington and me that decided to move back. It is also me that is choosing to move back into my parent’s house. All these decisions I took my time making and committed them to prayer. Sometimes we do things not because they are easy but because they are the right thing to do. I can find joy in my choices by knowing that I am doing the right thing.

However, doing the right thing does not always take away the pain that the reality of the situation brings. This weekend especially was difficult. I completed moving all my things and my furniture over to my parent’s house. My sister’s soon to be husband was so good and used his truck to move my stuff. I told him that in exchange for his help that I will not live with the two of them after they are married. He appreciates that. After everything was moved, I looked at my empty room and said goodbye to the life I knew with my sissy. A life that we shared in that house for many years together. Goodbyes are hard. I do not like the way this feels. Be brave and choose joy! I remind myself of that.

Though my choices were made due to things that were out of my control, my choices were my own. My attitude should not be one of bitterness or self-pity. Moving forward, I want to be brave even though I do not know how long this season will be or what is instore for me. I want to have joy in my grief even though goodbyes are hard I know that my joy comes from God and He is with me. I’m waiting and asking that His hand moves in life. He has been faithful and will continue to be. I know this. In that there is joy and in Him I am brave.32247289_1786188551443553_2288034842148864000_n

Questions about My Calling

I’m currently reading Billy Graham’s autobiography. I’m impressed by how sure he was of his calling to be an evangelist and how God used events and people in his life to live out this calling. I’m amazed and encouraged by how Billy Graham was used by God in a great way, probably in a bigger way than he ever expected or could have imagined himself. Reading his story reminds me that God is faithful in my life. He is working even when I can’t see. At church the other Sunday the pastor said a quote that hit home for me, “Sometimes the teacher doesn’t talk during the test.” Lately I feel stuck in my life. I can’t see what God is doing. It feels like a test and I just want God to say something. However, in little ways such as Billy Grahams autobiography I am reminded that there is a bigger plan. The way that life looks today does not mean that it will be that way tomorrow. Life can change so quickly.

When I think about what I am called to do, I know what I feel like I was made to do and that is teach small children and somehow use my Bible and Theology degree. However, I gave that up when I moved back to Nevada from Washington. Its not like I can’t return to it. My issue is that I am a single adult that needs to be able to provide for myself. A job in a preschool, though its what I am passionate about is not very sustainable to live on. My current job is a great job and provides me with things such as health insurance, retirement, and other benefits but is far from what I feel called to do. I trust that this is just a season and that God will provide me with a job that is a perfect fit for me and all the aspects of my life.

Pondering these things causes me to wonder if there is a lack of trust on my part by choosing to stay where I’m at because it provides for my needs. Have I forgotten that it is God who takes care of me? It is also God who made me and gave me my passion for teaching young children. Am I not being a good steward by setting that those things aside at this time? But I moved back to help my family and this job was a means to do that. What then is my ministry to be? What I am passionate about or my family. I feel called to one vocation but at them same time I feel called to honor my family and help them. Daily I am trying to serve God in all that I do while I wait for him to move in my life. I pray that it would be like this for long. He knows where I’m at today and where I will be tomorrow.

She gets the House and the Husband and I get…

I don’t like what is happening. I came to the realization the other day as I was talking to a friend about my moving plans, that I’ll be living for the first time in my old room without my sister. I’m moving back in with my parents and depending on the day, depends on how I feel about it. I grew up in that house, in that room since the time we moved in when I was 2 until I moved out at 21. That whole time I shared the space with Alona, my twinny! That was our room! I don’t want to live that space without her! I have started moving boxes over. It was weird looking in the empty closet and thinking about what I am going to fill it with. I remember when the shelves held boxes of Barbies and dress-ups. The walls of the room had pink strips and a doll board at the ceiling that my mom painted. The walls are now a beige color. The carpet is new. No longer is the carpet that we played on and held wedding ceremonies for our Barbies there. My sister gets to live in a house with her husband and I am returning to this space. This empty space that is very familiar but at the same time has changed.

I don’t understand what is happening. A year ago I graduated with my bachelors and I was living in Washington. I pursued Bible college not knowing what life at the end of it would be like or what God would have me do with my degree. This is not what I thought would be my reality. I trust that God is working even though I do not see it. I trust that my current state will not be forever. I hope that I do not have to wait long. I’m praying that God helps me do my best in every area of my life. I want to encourage others and glorify God.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like I am being punished! Did I expect some kind of reward or grand opportunity when I finished school, and this just isn’t measuring up to that? Maybe! I sometimes think that I can be proud of the fact that I paid my way through school without debt, graduated with honors, and am the only one in my whole family that has a four-year degree. But I did not do this on my own. By the grace of God that was accomplished, and it will be through his grace that I use my degree. He has a plan. This is not a punishment. It is just another part of his plan.