Solitary Bee

The Solitary Bee

Quietly, faithfully, and silently

Is the solitary bee.

Little notice, little know

Where this bee will go.

His rhythm is one of his own

No colony, no hive, no home.

Just the solitary bee.

What do I see in this lonely bee?

A creature small, simple, free.

A heart searching for community

A hope that this scarcity is only momentarily.

I see me in the solitary bee. 

Praying patiently

Praying carefully

Praying hopefully

Praying for words like honey

A message of hope for days bright and sunny.

When the flowers bloom

And a place where my heart finds room

The father sees 

He knows the bees!

My hearts is free

As I rest in thy!

My love of bees and my interest in how vital they are to our world really became a passion of mine as I have used bees as a theme in my classroom. I teach kindergarten and my name is hard to pronounce, Bjerre. No one ever knows how to say Bjerre but it is pronounced like this, “bee-air”. So, to make it easier on the families at my school I had adopted the bee theme for my room. This perpetuated a mass collection of bee things as I now given anything with a bee on it as a gift. It also set in motion an interest in bees in my own personal life. I love bees. They are responsible for, I believe, 90% of the pollination of the crops needed for our food supply. They are a necessary part of our world and our lives. These little creatures are feared by many but really are harmless. They don’t sting if left alone. When left alone, their hard work allows beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies to grow.

In my classroom I have found that there are many positive ways to use bees in giving instructions and lessons for my students. We talk about how we can “bee” kind, “bee” patient, “bee” happy, and “bee” humble. We want to listen and “bee”have. We “bee”-long together. We want to work hard like the bees. We use many more puns in class too. You better “bee”lieve it! I can’t even read a book to the class without them noticing a bee in an illustration and pointing it out to me. “Ms. Bjerre! I see a bee. It’s your favorite!” I hear that almost daily. I have bee bulletin boards, t-shirts, pens, coffee cups, and posters. Enough to make my head “buzz”! 

As I have taken an interest in the bees, I have discovered that there are two major differences in the kinds of bees. There are bees that live in colonies and there are solitary bees. In my work life, I relate to the queen bee. Though, I haven’t always liked the attitude that is so often associated with the queen bee. I think a queen bee is often looked at as having a negative attitude or being a diva. That is not something that I want to be. But really she is a strong leader and spends her days doing what is best for her hive. When she leaves her hive to start a new one, her bees follow her. In many ways I can see parallels in this with my role as the teacher in my classroom. My days are spent with one focus, the students. 

In my personal life, I’m a solitary bee. My poem is a reflection of that. I spend a great amount of time alone outside of work. My only other social circle is church and right now that feels lonely. There are not many 30ish, single, women or men there. I’m a breed of my own. Due to social distancing rules, I sit on a chair 6 feet from everyone else. I’m sitting on an island. Others are gathered together because they are sitting with their family group. I have no family here. I am alone. I am always alone. It even feels this way at work. Adult interaction is passing. I see other teachers and staff in the halls or when I pop into the office but a majority of my day is spent in a room with 5 and 6 years. And… I don’t plan on baring my soul onto their little shoulders. I live alone. My free time is spent going on walks, reading, or cooking, all mostly isolated activities. 

I find myself in this place of loneliness. I see myself as a little solitary bee. But I believe that this bee is content and is made to live this way. I am not meant to be alone. I will rest in the Lord and be content on this day in the place where I find myself. But I pray that this is not my lot in life. That I can be surrounded by a community of believers and drink in the fellowship that we are meant to share. I pray that I will have a home where there will be human companionship through the love of a spouse. I wait. Quietly I wait. I hope for one day and ask what does the Lord want of me today. This is what I have been given. May I handle it well.

Hormones, Moving, and Condos

Sorrow stacked upon sorrow is how I describe the last month. They are small grievances compared to some of the circumstances and heartaches that many find themselves experiencing. Though, one cannot compare the pain the heart experiences. Sometimes the world feels heavy and small things can break the camel’s back. Along with some of the major changes that I experienced recently, surgery on my tongue, a disappointing ending to a dating relationship and needing to move, there has also been a hormonal shift too. I believe there is no denying that the chemical changes that take place with hormones drastically impacts how one experiences the events that take place in his or her life. Be prepared for some TMI. Due to my excessive running and dietary restrictions, I had stopped having a regular menstrual cycle about a year ago. I actively worked on correcting that at the beginning of this year. Having surgery created a much needed sabbatical from running while I was recovering. Therefore, aiding in the return of my cycle. However, when it returned, it came with vengeance. I went from no cycle to too much of a cycle and all the hormones and emotions that come with that shift. So, the events that were taking place in my life during normal circumstances may have been easier to handle but all of these things together created the perfect storm. My world felt heavy and I was nearly despondent over the changes that were taking place. My sorrows were stacked and continued to stack.

I always knew the day would come when I would have to move out of the home I was living in. But when it did, I did not feel prepared to handle the grief that I was experiencing over leaving what had become my home. I moved out 2 days ago and that now makes 6 moves within 5 years. Most of these moves took place in a short time frame. However, I had been living in this house for 2 years, making it the most consistent living situation I had in a long time. The whole situation was miraculous and I give God full credit for his work in my life and in that living situation. I originally moved in to be the roommate of an older lady who was experiencing mental decline. It was rent free. I was anxious about entering into this living situation. Who moves in with a lady that they don’t know, with a mind is going, in a house that is dirty and full of her stuff because she’s a hoarder, oh and with a mice problem? I did. I was terrified and really had no idea how it was going to work out. But okay, they were not going to change me rent, so I did it. Everything worked out. The mice problem was resolved, slowly her stuff was cleaned out, and 3 months after I moved in, she moved out. Sadly, she declined quicker than expected and needed to move into a home. They said I could stay until they sold the house. Then COVID hit. The selling of the house was perpetually postponed. Two years later I was still living there, alone and rent free. It was miraculous and God’s provision. I don’t know how many times I was on my knees praying over the situation and thanking him for his goodness. He gave me a home of my own for that season. I had space. I was comfortable. In the past, I have been a live-in-nanny and have rented a room in someone’s house. Both of those situations caused so much anxiety. I felt suffocated and watched all the time. I felt shame over cooking and eating food. I have a variety of deity restrictions and allergies. People don’t always understand the special needs of my diet and that makes certain living situations harder to adapt to. But in that house the Lord not only allowed me to save money to pay for the schooling I was pursuing and money for a downpayment (I’m in the market to buy my own place right now), he also gave me freedom to live and teach in Washington and to cook and eat in peace. 

Aside from the joys of the kitchen, I loved sitting in the backyard with a book or just watching the sky, caring for the home as though it was my own, enjoying walks in the neighborhood, watching a movie, having a friend over, and getting to know my neighbors. I felt rooted there. The neighborhood became mine. The stores in the community became part of my regular routine. I had a rhythm. I had a life there of my own. Though in the back of my mind I knew that it would end. Though it didn’t feel real. The dialog was constantly, “We need to put the house on the market. Our plans to sell have been postponed.” I stopped feeling like it was actually going to happen. Then the dialog changed. “We are going to have a realtor come to the house. We need you to move out by this day ___.” I was given notice. That sounds cold but it wasn’t. It was reality. A reality I knew would come. They expressed their thankfulness in my willingness to live in her house for all that time. No one could have known how this situation would have turned out. I didn’t and everything that I feared upon entering it, became non-issues. God was good. He was good to me. 

The need to move caused me much stress and anxiety. The plan was that I was going to leave this house and move into the upstairs of a house belonging to a 90 year old lady from church. The house is 100 years old and full of a lifetime of things. She was not going to charge me much to live there. The plan was to stay until I found something more suitable. I was willing to do it because the cost was low but I really did not know how it would work with my stuff moving upstairs or with her packed kitchen and my desire to cook everything that I eat. Also, she lives in Portland, 17 miles from where I work in Vancouver. Moving day was approaching quickly. As it came closer, my anxiety and stress over it grew higher. I was almost despondent over everything, praying that God would carry me through the day as I would be near tears 10 minutes before my students would arrive for school. This was what I was going to enter in and I didn’t see any other options. I was a wreck. I was manless, felt homeless, and had raging hormones. My sorrows were stacked!

Then about a week before moving day the plan changed. Through a friend of a friend another option came up, a studio apartment. It’s an attached unit on the side of this couple’s house that they rent out. The rent was more than I would have paid at the house in Portland but I felt so much better about this arrangement. They usually have tenants sign a year long lease but in my case they let me sign a 6 month lease. I had explained that I was in the market to buy a condo and was afraid that I would find something but be locked into a year lease. I really didn’t know how the timeline would work and was trusting that God would work out the details surrounding the timing, the finances and my next home. 

The crazy thing was, on the day I met the owner and saw the apartment, I also made an offer on a condo. I was a little conflicted, “Do I want to enter into this agreement? What if I get the condo? I’ll be out a few thousand dollars.” I could not know how things would turn out. So, I was going to go for it. This was on a Friday and Monday was when I was going to sign the lease. Well, my offer on the condo was not accepted. I felt better about signing the lease. I did and moved in on Wednesday. Thursday, my first day in my new place, I got a call from my realtor. The condo I put an offer on, the other buyer’s offer fell through, it was mine if I wanted it. I was losing my mind. I was just praying over everything and wondering what I was going to do and how long I would end up in the apartment. Instead, I got an immediate answer. I was going to be a homeowner. Now I’m feeling a bit stressed about the upcoming cost of things, the down payment, the closing cost, the home inspection, a new washer and dryer, and my rent for the next 6 months. I pray and trust! I know that God knows every aspect of my life. The timeline of these events I find baffling. Why couldn’t I have known on Friday before signing the lease that I would get the condo? Why did God give it to me after I signed? He keeps me in a state of constant reliance on him. He knows my daily needs and I know he will provide. In the meantime, I think I need to start looking at appliances and my sorrows don’t feel as stacked up against me anymore.

Does God have the “One” for me?

I love living alone. I love my space. I love having the ability to cook and meal prep without anyone around to wonder why I eat sweet potatoes and ground turkey for breakfast nearly every day. I’m delighted to sit in the back yard and watch the hummer birds hover by the flowers. Another simple pleasure, such as not having to close the door when I am in the bathroom, is a perk to living alone. However, the current state of things with COVID-19 can cause anyone who enjoys living alone to feel isolated. Living alone is great when I have my regular job to go to and a social life but there isn’t much to spice up the week when social distancing has become everyone’s new normal. Also, now the hopes of meeting someone seem to rest solely in the possibility that the Amazon delivery guy is single and serious about Jesus.

I still regret not going for online guy, Nathan, when I had the chance. As I process my feelings about Nathan, I believe part of the struggle I’m having is due to the isolation that I’m in and wishing things were different. Friends of mine try to encourage me with statements like, “If God wanted you to marry him you would have”. I am not so sure that is so. It’s hard to know in this what is God’s sovereignty and what is human responsibility. Nowhere in scripture does he promise that he has the “one” for us. He wants us to be wise and equally yoked but Christians can still end up choosing bad spouses. In my life I could encounter many godly men and any of them could be an honorable choice. If I marry one God could bless that but if I chose a different one that too could also be blessed. I don’t know what to think about Nathan. Did I make a mistake and now the Lord is allowing me to live in the consequences of that mistake? He is getting married. So then, I could think that surely the two of them must have been God’s plan all along and I have to suffer the heartache. God is sovereign and it would be wrong of me to think that there was anything that I could do to mess up his plan. His plan is to bring redemption and restoration to his people and all his created things. In life I’m given choices. I don’t always make the best ones. That doesn’t mess up God’s plan. He uses it. He even knew it would happen. The sovereignty of God is not something that I can even pretend to understand. All of these things are concepts too lofty for the human mind but I am grateful that God is so great. I don’t want a God that is on my level. That would diminish his power.

 I believe God is in control. I know that he can take all the broken places in my life and turn them into something that is redeemed and beautiful. There are many scriptures in the Bible that speak of the future hope we have in Christ. I read those and think eternally. There is hope, God will make things right, and he promises that it will be good. However, in life Christians don’t always get it right. I don’t always get it right! Relationships get broken. The promises of God stand true but I may not see the fulfillment of those promises while I’m still here on earth. I have hope that God will make this right, any mistake I made with Nathan will be fixed. However, that may not happen until Jesus comes back to rule and reign. In the mean time, I’m forgiven and God is good but my choices are still impacting me today. Maybe I’m just afraid that I will not be given another chance or opportunity to meet someone. But two things I can do now, trust and obey. Mulling over in mind the past doesn’t change it. Therefore, I’m left with the choice to move forward in trust and obedience to the Lord. There is hope! As I move forward, I will no longer dwell on what I cannot change but focus on the one who can change me and change my life, my situations, and my future.

I’m a Fox without a Hole!

I’m a fox without a hole. At least, I joke that I am. It’s partly true. Since the first time that I moved to Washington until now I have had 4 temporary living situations. Even my current one I would consider temporary (though I may be here longer than the others). I was a live in nanny. I knew I wasn’t going to do that forever. Then I moved back in with my sister who at the time was planning her wedding. The good Lord knew that I wasn’t going to live with her after she was married. She, her man, nor I would have wanted that! After she was married I moved in with my parents. That was a humbling experience. I love them but after living on my own for 8 years and not only on my own but out of state it felt like a set back to my life. Now I live back in Washington. I love my living arrangement. I rent a room in the home of a very kind couple. There is another girl, a friend of mine that also rents a room there too. The four of us get along fabulously; we respect each other’s space and have a system that works when it comes to sharing the kitchen and getting our laundry done. But once again this is a temporary arrangement. I’m going to be 30 this year and help me please if I’m here more than 3 years. See! Still, I’m a fox without a hole. I don’t have my own home. As I consider these facts about my life the goal setter in me starts scheming.

Somewhere along the way as I’ve gotten old, remained single and pursued my interest, I made a conscious decision to live as though I will always be single. Living 600 miles from my family has also shaped my independence. That was almost by force. When one is removed from their source of support they are put in a position where they just have to figure things out. For example, first time I got a flat tire in Portland and daddy couldn’t just come help me; I learned how to change a tire after that. Now that my 20’s are ending and I am approaching 30 I have a plan regarding a home for this foxy lady. I spent my 20’s focusing on becoming who God wants me to be, getting myself through school, figuring out my career path, prioritizing my health, developing healthy friendships, remaining debt free, and doing some traveling. These are all great things for someone in their 20’s to work on and then maintain through their 30’s and onward.

I’ve decided that my next goal will be to save to buy a house. For some reason I was thinking that would come when I have a man (either he’ll have one or we’ll save and plan together). I didn’t think that I could do it by myself but then I realized why not? I put myself through school. What I paid in tuition could have been a down payment on a house. I’m a young, ambition, smart girl who can and has done more than I ever thought I would (by the grace of God). My plan in the next 3 years is to save enough for a 25% down payment on a house. Hopefully the housing market will be better by then. So, as I think of my current situation. It doesn’t feel as endless with a goal in mind. 3 years! I can do. And if a man comes along he can jump on board with my plan or we can revaluate the plan and set our own goal. Here’s to the future! I don’t know what God has in store for my life but I’m going to take it one day at a time. I have my plans but he determines my steps.

Running Forward!

Running is a way that I deal with life. God and I have the best conversations when I am running. I solve all of my life problems on my runs (or at least I feel better about them after the endorphins are flowing through my body). I started running about 7 years ago after my boyfriend and I broke up. Emotions are excellent fuel for a good run. After he and I broke up, I was hurt, sad and angry. Sometimes, one does not know what to do with all of those feelings. I could run on my treadmill and work out what I was feeling in my mind and sometimes vocally (it’s a good thing no one was watching me talk to myself). Afterwards, I’d feel so much better. It was at this time that I set a goal. I wanted to run a marathon. Haven’t done that yet, but running the half marathon is a good start. I remember when I got on my treadmill with the intentions to run a mile without stopping. I was running at a 5 mile per hour pace and finished that first mile in 12 minutes. Not very fast, I know! I was very proud of that mile! I went into the house (the treadmill was located in the garage) and bragged to my sister how I just ran a mile without stopping. This is very impressive! Well, looking back at those early running days and contrasting them with what I can now do, it’s really not impressive at all. That is one of the beautiful things about looking back. One can see all that has taken place, the growth that has happened and the cause and effect of decisions. Along with the sudden desire to run a marathon another thing that I resolved at that time was to thrive and not just survive (I’m sure someone else came up with that but at the time I felt very cleaver with my little rhyme). I prayed that God would make me into the “Alina” that he wanted me to be. The next 7 years up to this point were filled with transitions and were transformational and continue to be.

After my heart started to heal, I started to evaluate my life and where I thought it was going. Without my boyfriend my dream of getting married was put on hold. I was working a part-time job at a preschool and though I loved the job, I felt like that was all I was ever going to do. I could not see any opportunities in my futures. But I had a dream, a dream that I had buried. It started to resurface. Before this point there were times when I would hear about people who had gone to Bible College and I would think it would be amazing to go too. But I didn’t pursue it. I had planned on getting married young and working at the preschool. That was going to be my life. Or at least what I thought it should be. I remember this day very well. I was in my classroom sweeping the floor and I had a thought. I told myself, “I want to go to Bible College.” At that moment I started to pursue it.

That decision brought more growth and opportunities, more than I could have imagined. I started at Multnomah University in Reno in the Fall of 2013. Being that the main campus was located in Portland OR, my interest in the Pacific Northwest was born. I made my first visit to Portland during my first semester with my close friend, Kaysi. I remember as I was preparing to head home from that trip feeling so sad. I fell in love with that place. It was weird because I had visited other places but none of them captured my heart like Portland Oregon did. I knew I would come back and I did. I visited 5 times within a 3 year period before I moved to Washington in 2016.

I am so grateful that I did not marry my boyfriend. I am still single. If I ever do get married it will definitely be at an older age than I ever expected. But my life has been full. I have sought the Lord. He has turned to me and heard my prayers. He continues to grow me more into the “Alina” that he wants me to be. He has blessed me with the opportunity to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I also get to teach kindergarten. Fun fact! When I first looked into Multnomah in Reno, I wanted to pursue Elementary Education but the Reno campus does not offer that major. However, God did not forget that desire of mine. I graduated with a degree in Bible and Theology and I get to use it in a Christian school teaching kindergarten.

I run daily. I want to train for another half marathon. Someday I will run a full marathon. Running has gotten easier through much perseverance. Running is still hard but it gets easier as I get stronger. My strength has grown and I have also grown more into the version of “Alina” that I should be. I am thriving! 40089434_1935359259859814_3424165949501079552_n

My Plan to get a Husband… Do Nothing!

Things like pursuing a career or working towards a college degree are all things that I can plan, save and make happen. I can set five year plans and chart out my course for reaching these goals. Having a husband could be a goal but I cannot pursue it the same way I would other big goals. Hhhmmm let’s see… how about I just be married before I turn 30. Well, it looks like that is not going to happen. I could be but that would require me to lower my standards and settle for any creeper that asks for my phone number. For me, that is not an option, so I remain single. I would rather be single than be married to some of the guys who have asked me out. As flattering as it is to be the center of attention, it is also discouraging because I rather it be with the right guy and not the cult member who can’t get anything done, only eats pizza, is allergic to the outdoors and church, and hasn’t talked to his family in 10 years. It makes a girl wonder how she can attract such creepy men. I am convinced that the creepy ones lack any awareness of how awkward they are and have no fear of pretty girls. The descent men see the pretty face of a nice girl and think that she will bit their heads off if they say hi. Because really, my face screams, “talk to me and I will bit your head off.” Try me!

In the past when I have liked a guy, I think I tried too hard to make things happen. It didn’t work. Relationships are not like trying to get good grades. They do take work but one person cannot make them happen.  Manipulating things such as walking down the hall at the same time as he does or signing up to play on the same soft ball team never made any man fall for me. Actually, when I was most successful at getting the attention of a man was when I did nothing. Men that were never on my radar would ask me out. Of course, they were not on my radar because I did not like them. So, I was just myself and did my thing (which I guess they found attractive). However, their attention always did come as a shock. I would wonder why they were talking to me. I wanted them to leave me alone.

In this new season of my life and now that I am back in Washington, my new plan of action is to do nothing, nothing in the area of a relationship with the opposite sex. I will do my thing. I will keep running every morning, I will keep working hard to be the best kindergarten teacher I can be, I will continue to grow healthy friendships and in all of these things I will seek God. If a guy that I like comes around, I will not message him, try to manipulate situations or do anything to try and get his attention. If he wants to talk to me, he will. If he wants to message me, he will. If he wants to make something happen, he will. If the creepy men have taught me anything, it’s that being myself is enough. This of course takes patience. It can be frustrating too. At times I wonder why I am still single and other people are getting married. As I approach 30, I am thankful that I did not waste my 20’s. I went to school and finished. I traveled. I lived in new places. I discovered what I believe and stand for. I grew and so did my standard (which narrow my choices in men). I get to teach kindergarten and live in the Pacific Northwest. All these things I thank God for. Through all these things there have been many joys and struggles but I have seen the faithfulness of God. If he has been faithful in all the areas of my life up to this point, then he will continue to be. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes, the area of finding a husband feels like God doesn’t care. He clearly has the whole world and starving children to be more concerned about. However, my mind is not capable to grasp all the cares of the world but God is big enough to care for the whole world AND the little cares that burden my heart. If I believed that God was incapable of caring for the world and my cares than I would be making him smaller than he is. God does not fit in any human box. He is big and his was we cannot grasp his ways. He can move mountains and has in my life. So, I will patiently wait and continue moving forward doing what I believe God has called me to. If he brings me a husband (and I hope he does) that will be great and if not, God will continue to be great and good and loving.

Returning to Washington

My goal in starting a blog, was to write a new one once a week. I am strongly driven by goals. I love having something that I am working towards (like training for the half marathon that I just ran). It motivates me. However, like the name of this blog, for the last 2 months I was unavailable to even keep up with my own blog. Life has been a whirlwind. At the end of August I moved back to Washington. I had almost given up on that dream. With all my efforts, it started to look like that just was not what God had in mind for me.

But one day in the middle of August, I was lying on my couch praying. I was in a bit of a mental fog because I was fasting from food and water for the ultrasound on stomach that I was going to have that morning. God says fast and pray. I wonder, does fasting for medical reasons count? It must but I don’t even know if you could count my prayer as a prayer. It was more of a half a thought. I asked God to move mountains on my behalf. Later that day I got a message from the Principle at the school in Washington that I worked at when I lived there. She asked me if I could teach anything what it would be. That was easy! I immediately told her kindergarten! Ding! Ding Ding! Apparently that was the right answer. She had me in mind for a kindergarten teacher position that opened up at the school. Why she didn’t say that first, I don’t know.

There were other applicants and people who she interviewed. She told me that they had the education and would probably make great teacher but she wanted me because she had seen my attitude and character. She told me that when I worked at the preschool, she saw me come into work every day with joy because I was doing what I believed I was made to be doing. To some, they may not consider it that great of a job but to me it was. When you are doing what God makes you for, how could it be anything but a high calling? I had to abandon my calling for a time while my family, their health, and my sister’s wedding was my ministry. God must have honored my obedience because he blessed me with the kindergarten teacher position.

So, the Principle offered me the job. I gave my notice at my job in Reno and in less than 2 weeks I was packed up and moving back to Washington. It was so fast and there was little time. The weekend before the move I was out of town running my first half marathon. That alone was an amazing experience and deserves its own blog entry. However, being away the weekend before moving contributed to the rushed feelings.

It has been two months since my return to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Nevada will always be home but this place is the home that I made for myself. God has blessed me more than I asked for with my new job. I have more than I asked for. I rent a room. I don’t have much in way of things but I have much in that I am blessed to live here, live out the “Alina” shaped job that I have and I am surrounded by people who are family to me. God has been so good. He is faithful! In this new season of my life I have a thankful spirit that is completely overwhelmed but what God has done. God created me with a purpose and I knew that he would work to bring about that purpose. If I ever forget that God sees me or hears my prayer, I will remember that even when there appears to be a lack of movement, doesn’t not mean things are not happening out of my view.

I Became Friends With A Homeless Woman…

The other day Facebook reminded me of an event that happened while I was living in Washington. This was one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. God’s hand in my life and His amazing ability to orchestrate time and space is the only way I can explain this.

I posted on Facebook on July 26, 2017 about how I saw a homeless woman in Vancouver, Washington on my way to work. However, the significance of this woman was I knew her when I was still in Reno. I never thought that I would see her again and yet while driving on 78th street in Vancouver, Washington, I see her on the side of the road with the same bags of luggage that she always carried. I could not believe it! I pulled over and ran to her. She was so startled to see me. I think that she must have thought that I was stalking her. She asked me what I was doing here. I asked her the same. The answer was the same, we both had moved. However, the reasons why and how were different. I was finishing school, living as a live-in nanny, and working. She hitched hiked, took the bus and ended up there. Of all the places that she could have ended up, she lands in the same corner of the world that I was residing in.

Let me further explain my history with this woman. My heart for the homeless has not been as tender as it is now. A big shift in my feelings took place after taking a class on the prophets while I was in Bible College. I realized more than before that God has a heart for the oppressed and outcast of society. My heart became sensitive to the homeless people I saw on the side of road. On my route to and from home, I consistently would see the same homeless woman standing at the intersection with a sign asking for help. Not being content with just giving her a hand out and wanting her to know that she is valuable because she is created by God, I stopped to talk to her. I approached her and asked if she was hungry and wanted to go to the Taco Bell that was right there. She stared at me. At first, I thought maybe she couldn’t speak. She probably was stunned by the offer? She asked me why I wanted to spend time with her. I told her that I believe that she is created by God and therefore should be treated with dignity and that I wanted to get to know her because I love her. With that, she agreed to dinner but only if I was hungry (I wasn’t but didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So, I lied and said I was.) Our time at Taco Bell was educational for me and moved my heart to care more for the homeless. I learned about her life, the events that lead to her becoming homeless and what it is like to be homeless. My heart broke over the stories she shared. Especially, about how she is treated now. People spit at her, call her names, and steel her stuff while she sleeps. She buys body spray at the Dollar Store because she doesn’t want to stink. I didn’t know that a homeless person would care about that. I was wrong. She is human and wants to gain some dignity for herself by not smelling.

After our first Taco Bell date it became a thing. Every Monday and Wednesday at 6 pm I would meet her at the intersection for dinner. I loved it. I loved her. One day, she stopped showing up. It broke my heart. For a while it discouraged me from trying to reach out to the homeless community. Why? You love them, and they leave. However, we are called to love whether it is returned or whether we think it is deserved. God gave me the gift of seeing her again on that beautiful Summer day as I drove to work 600 miles away from where I first met her. To me this seems impossible that we were to ever cross paths again. But God moved!

As I am in this place in my life, where I am sorting things out and trying to figure out where I belong, I am encouraged by this. God has me right where he wants me for a greater purpose than I can see or understand. He is moving in my life and I will be in the place that he calls me to at the time that he wants me there. That may be here, and in the future, it may be Washington. I’m hoping for the later. In the mean time I will continue to wait. There are moving parts that haven’t settled yet and questions unanswered. There are hurting and oppressed people who need love. While I am not always content with where I am currently at in my life, I’m blessed with a home, friends, family, daily food, and more than I deserve. I have received more love from God, far from what I deserve. Hopefully, I’m sharing that same kind of unconditional love to all wherever I’m at.

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.