Category Archives: Growing Pains

faith to believe

“People should not judge failed love affairs as failed experiences but as part of the growth process. Something does not have to end well for it to have been one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime.” – Ethel Person

2013 has been a year full of ups and downs; a year filled with moments of happiness and moments of sadness and several moments where I floundered as I treaded unknown waters in my search for joy again.

…the pain of a butterfly earning its wings.

This last summer, I experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done: I said goodbye to a relationship that had meant a lot to me; a relationship I probably shouldn’t have pursued in the first place.

It was Independence Day weekend and even though I had made plans to watch the fireworks with that particular someone, one thing had led to another and I found myself standing in the doorway of those circumstances, looking in and wondering what had happened. Did I do something wrong? The other shoe was finally dropping, just as it always did (or so it always seems) and here I had thought, on some level at least, that this thing was a good thing.

Maybe it was at one point, in and of itself at least, but at that moment, it wasn’t.

I left, taking the back roads – a stretch of winding highway and beautiful scenery – back to the Twin Cities. I needed time to think and process; driving does that for me. That may be why I enjoy it so much.

I prayed and screamed at God, questioning Him and doubting His goodness in that moment. I called my mom and one of my best friends and although I knew the kind words and support they were offering were done out of love, I didn’t feel loved.

And when my vision started swimming due to the intensity of my tears and I couldn’t stand my thoughts any longer, I cranked the music streaming from my iPod and let the words of several songs – words penned by Christian artists – words given to them by God – wash over me.

Songs by The Afters  – Broken Hallelujah, Find Your Way, Believe, This Life;

Song by Sidewalk Prophets – It’s Good and Help Me Find It;

Songs by Hillsong – Glorious Ruins

Just to name a few…

But it was this song, Faith to Believe, by one of my favorite duos – probably more so due to their tight harmonies and the lyrics, o those lyrics, that really hit me.

Give me the faith to believe You
When I’m stuck here in my fear
Give me the strength to trust You
When my vision’s blurred by tears
Give me a hope for tomorrow
Cause today has gone so wrong
I’m on my knees
Give me the faith to believe

Even when I cannot see You
You’re still shining, You’re still shining
Even when I cannot hear You
You’re still calling out my name
Even when I cannot feel You
Your arms are open
Always holding on to me
Give me the faith to believe

You say You’ll never leave me
That Your love will conquer fear
You say Your day is coming
When You’ll wipe away my tears
Give me a hope for tomorrow
Cause today has gone so wrong
I’m on my knees
Give me the faith to believe

Won’t You give me the faith to see the invisible
Give me the faith to believe the impossible
Give me the faith to receive the incredible
O, give me the faith to believe it

To read about the story behind this song, click here.

In a moment where I was struggling, realizing I had been adrift for quite some time and trying to swim against the current to get back to where I was, I stopped.

I took a moment to breathe and prayed:

Give me the faith to believe You when I’m stuck here in my fear…
I was afraid in that moment, and in those that followed – afraid of the unknown, afraid that I had done something wrong, afraid that love would never find me (the romantic kind folks…if you’ve ever experienced a broken heart, you know what I’m talking about), afraid of what life would be like without what I had just lost, and more. How could I believe God in that moment? I was struggling to trust in His goodness; struggling to believe that He had my back when it seemed no one else did.

Give me the strength to trust You when my vision’s blurred by tears
My vision was definitely blurred by tears – both physically and figuratively. It was quite some time before I surfaced again, feeling restored and one step closer to my future, glorious self – who I was made to be.

Give me a hope for tomorrow cause today has gone so wrong
Those words couldn’t have rung any truer than they did that day…a day that had started out great but had taken an unexpected turn. It’s funny how it is when we plan things one way and God takes it another way, isn’t it? And while I don’t understand it all just yet, I know that He has something better, richer and far more amazing destined for me than I could ever plan for myself.

I’m on my knees give me the faith to believe…

He’s answered that prayer more than once since then.

You see, even though my circumstances had changed, my relationship with Him didn’t. I could trust and fall into His goodness. I could allow myself to feel His love and achingly, tender mercy wash over me.

Everything in life is a learning experience, mistakes and successes – all of it.

Mandy Hale, an advocate for us fabulous, single women, writes “Sometimes a ‘mistake’ can end up being the best decision you ever make.”

Am I sorry about my decision to give it a chance? No. I’m not. I don’t regret a single moment.

Sure, it sucked going through it, but that pales in comparison to what I’ve learned and am still learning. It may be one of those epic “mistakes” that may turn into one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has played a part in helping me become the person I’m supposed to be.

For instance, before, I was the girl who lived life waiting for it to happen. I’ve tried taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and tried doing things my way by posting online profiles on multiple dating sites and screaming BINGO! when something finally happened.

And although that one thing had been short-lived, I’ve learned that I don’t need to live life according to what the world says during this season of singleness; as if it were a prequel to an amazing life. My life is amazing as is.

“Happily Single” is recognizing that you don’t need or want to be rescued from your life by a handsome prince because your life is pretty awesome, as is. – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love and a Dash of Sass

I’m learning to live life at its fullest now. I’m embracing the freedom I have to do what I want, when I want and how I want without having to apologize for any mistakes I make along the way (unless they directly affect another). I can choose to learn from them.

I’m learning to actually like myself (I am my own worst critic, after all). I actually like being able to spend money on myself without have to ask anyone’s permission (within reason, of course). I like being able to take myself out on a weekly date – whether that be out to Barnes & Noble, to the coffee shop down the street, out to some fancy restaurant or even to a movie and spend time in my own company. I like staying in my pajamas for an entire Saturday, watching an entire TV season on Netflix while eating an entire box of Oreos (or my current stash of holiday treats) and not feel guilty about it. I enjoy taking weekend trips on a whim, not having to shave my legs in the months that have an “R” in their name, and blasting music while singing into the end of my broom handle while I’m cleaning my apartment. I like the freedom that comes with belonging to me and only me, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do us part (that last bit was borrowed from Mandy Hale. I couldn’t have said it any better).

Sure, I’d love to share my journey in this life with someone at some point, but I’m okay with not doing that today. I don’t have to spend my life “waiting” – staying in because I have no one to go out with or waiting to take that trip to Europe (or across the border to Canada) because I don’t have anyone to share it with. Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I have to be incomplete.

My Father makes me complete.

Jesus makes me complete.

And that, my friends, is enough reason for me to turn any frown upside down and celebrate my fabulous life for what it is: fabulous.

Society, family or that married friend may define me one way but I don’t have to live by their definition. That is not my identity.

Jesus is my identity; the only one I need. It doesn’t even matter what I personally think of myself and as long as I choose to stand on His foundation, I will not easily be shaken.

You may be asking why I’m sharing all of this with you.

Why?

Because I can…

It is a part of my story and perhaps God will use it to encourage you in your own walk with Christ.

…and because I care.

I care about every other heart that’s been broken and battered by this world.

I care about every other single woman who has faced, is facing and will face the same things I’ve endured.

I care about you.

And, like Mandy Hale, I want to be a voice that goes against the grain of the other voices in this world and take a stand for the beauty that being single is.

I’m choosing to celebrate it.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – Jesus, John 10.10

And while I do so, I’m choosing to let God write my story whether or not my earthly Prince RSVPs. I’m choosing to not settle for less than His best. He’s shown me through this what I deserve and what He wants to bring me. I’m simply not letting go of Him and releasing to Him that which holds me back. I’ll say my goodbyes and move on, by His grace alone.

I’m choosing to deal.

And through it all, I know I’ll have the faith to believe – in God’s goodness, in His perfect timing, in His ultimate plan for my life and how it falls perfectly in line with His – no matter what my current circumstance, as long as I continue to intentionally choose Jesus and in doing so, chose Life.

“Your circumstances cannot control you as long as you choose [to pursue joy] on the inside, regardless of what’s happening on the outside.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman

© Anita J. Brands. 2013. Website: https://authentictruthseeker.wordpress.com/

For more information on Mandy Hale and her ministry: click here and here.

b55a0ea4d3ea809d6186a2ba7d25d5a2