The Best is Yet to Come

There I sat waiting with nervous excitement over the unknown before me.


I had a date.

I had heard other’s opinions of him, but I was excited to meet him face to face! 


I was determined to not presume things about him (good or bad) but let my date speak for himself and let the Holy Spirit inside me confirm the truth!


I glanced at my watch.  I was early, but it seemed like it was taking an eternity for him to arrive!


I straightened my dress nervously as if that would take up some time.


Tick. Tock.  Tick Tock.  Tick Tock.


Then, right on time he appeared. (Insert my heart beating fast.)


He approached and suddenly all of me was flooded with hope.


We both smiled at each other.  His smile was so reassuring that I felt glad and grateful that I had gone on this date!

As we got to know each other, I started to deeply appreciate and admire all that made him who he was!  It suddenly seemed quite silly that I had hesitations before this moment. I wanted to know him more.


In the midst of our conversation, he said that things were looking bright!  I grinned and asked him how he could be sure.  


His answer intrigued me and blessed me: He said it was looking bright because he’d been there, and God was present.


I didn’t quite understand, but I believed him.  I had this incredible sense that I could trust him.

It’s such an adventure meeting someone you’ve never met before, but there was something so strange and wonderfully familiar about my date, that I was immediately at ease. He made me feel like I could be completely me.  

It was almost as if God had told him about me.

I sensed a belonging with him and it made me anticipate the road to come with much joy!


It might seem kind of cheesy, but it felt as though who was sitting right in front of me was what the dreams of my heart were made of.

Today, I had a date with The Future.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped, the evidence of things not seen!”

– Hebrews 11:1


Grin.  Did I have you guessing as you read that?!  

Although I would have loved to have been telling you of an actual date I went on like that – this truly is exciting for me to share!  

Today, you have a date with the future.  

Such a true statement!  

God gave me that phrase yesterday and it really made me excited! 

The future is bright because God is there!!!! 

God has designed life so that each today meets with such glorious potential for the future! 

It’s something to be excited about – to anticipate with joy! Also, God is the Ultimate romantic.  He created love – He IS Love! He delights in the desires of our hearts and isn’t bound by time.  

He is with us in our present and future and HE’s excited about both – so we should be too! 😉

Just a fun, short little back story:
I had a very fleeting thought yesterday that went something like, “I wish I could write something.”  Lol.


I had meant as in like a poem or some sort of lyrics.  

Probably not even an hour later, God gave me that phrase and then the story form of it came! 

He had heard that little almost non-existent desire of mine and it was His pleasure to fulfill it for His glory!  

That was yesterday.  Today, (in the future as He had planned) I’m typing it as a blog post and smiling because, with God, the present and the future, are incredible!

With God the best is yet to come – always! (And that’s a non-expiring promise!).

Life with Him is my favorite.

-Bri

*** You can read more about Bri on her blog www.insingleshoes.blogspot.com or find her on Instagram @asinglescoopwithbri

Does One Have to be the Loneliest Number?

 I love doing Zumba. As a Christian school teacher, I don’t get many opportunities to dance. Zumba, however, lets me unleash my inner salsa dancer and I can shake and shimmy to my heart’s content.

So when I saw that my library was hosting a Zumba class I was quick to sign up. On the appointed day I eagerly headed to the library’s basement, ready to swivel. The room, however, was empty except for the instructor.

No pulsing music.

No energetic women bouncing around.

Just an instructor sitting in a chair, checking her cellphone.

She looked up and said hello, telling me that it might just be her and me for the class.

Oh. Awkward. Do Zumba by yourself with the teacher watching you the whole time?

No, thank you.

I’m not proud of this, but I told her I’d left something in my car. Then I dashed out and drove away. I honestly didn’t know what else to do, but I sure as heck wasn’t Zumba-ing alone.

One is the loneliest number

In 1968, singer/ songwriter Harry Nilsson came out with the song, “One (Is the Loneliest Number).” The popularity of this song turned the first line into a catchphrase. More than fifty years later, people are still quick to remind each other, “One is the loneliest number.”

When you’re expected to Zumba in a large room by yourself that is absolutely true.  

One can feel very lonely.

But does one always have to feel like the loneliest number?

I did some internet research to see what other people had to say about this song and its famous phrase. For starters, there were a lot of really smart math people out there who went on about one not being lonely because it’s an integer in every number or something like that.

So not what I was looking for. You’re welcome to keep that information.

Here’s what I did find interesting- While the math people dealt with cold, hard facts, those who weren’t mathematicians all seemed to base their opinions on how they FELT.

The people who were struggling with being alone were the ones who felt lonely. They talked about how it felt to come home to an empty house, how it felt to eat dinner by themselves, and how it felt to attend social events on their own.

Their focus was entirely on their feelings, and I’m sure most of them would wholeheartedly agree that one is indeed the loneliest number.

Thoughts on loneliness have been rattling around in my head lately. See, I finished up school this week. I love teaching, but it eats up a lot of my time. I wake up at 5:30 and it’s pretty much “go, go, go” all day long. The busy days make it easy to stuff down feelings of loneliness.

Summer is different. I run a small day camp, but it’s a far more relaxed schedule, which means I have a lot more free time. Beautiful, glorious free time.

It’s great, but often the extra time seems to sing along with Harry Nilsson, “One is the loneliest number.”

I am frequently reminded- I am a “one.” As a single woman with no kids, there are a lot of summer activities that either pass me by or I have to do on my own.

It can be very easy to feel lonely and get down.

One doesn’t have to be the loneliest number!

Feelings are deceptive. They don’t tell us the truth. Instead, they feed off of our emotions and circumstances, and we all know how reliable our emotions are!

Single friends, we are not ruled by our emotions! This is something I need to remind myself of all the time, but it’s true! I do NOT have to base my point of view on how I feel, or on how others tell me I should feel.

I don’t want to waste my summer on feelings of sadness or loneliness. Instead, I want to continue to work on living with intentionality, to use my free time with purpose:

Reconnect with my neighbors

Spend more time on prayer and Scripture reading

Find ways to volunteer in my community

Work on getting healthier

Hang out with my nieces and nephews

Explore new places in my city

Finish the book that’s been sitting next to my chair since Christmas

I’ll probably avoid Zumba classes at the library, though.

It’s got the potential to be a great summer, and I’m looking forward to it. I hope you are, too. Don’t let your feelings dictate what you do or prevent you from having an exciting, meaningful summer. Talk truth to yourself instead and remember-  

One doesn’t have to be lonely at all.

This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of extra time. It does not have to feel lonely! Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

Embarrassed to be single? You shouldn’t be!

I’ve never understood those people who hem and haw when they’re asked about their most embarrassing moments. You know who they are- they shift around awkwardly until they finally admit they’ve never really found themselves in a truly embarrassing situation. 

I always tell them I’ll share one of mine, because I’ve got A LOT.

One of my most embarrassing moments occurred when I was teaching music in Illinois. We took most of the elementary school on a reward field trip to an adventure play land. Somehow, I ended up with a large group of students who wanted to play mini gold. All the other adults had mysteriously disappeared so off I went with twelve students trailing behind me, enthusiastically swinging clubs at stationary objects and each other.

I should have been the mature, wise one, the only one not attacking bushes with a tiny metal club, and it started out that way. However, as it tends to happen when I’m around, things went, um, sliding downhill when one of the girls knocked her ball into a little pond.

I confidently told the students to step back from the water; I would get the ball. Afterall, I was the teacher and the only one in full possession of her motor skills. No problem.

I crouched down next to the edge of the pond and leaned forward to get the ball. My sandals betrayed me. Suddenly, I was sliding down the algaed side of the pond with no way to stop. The next thing I knew, the mature, wise one was waist deep in really gross water.

The students stared at me in stunned silence. I could tell they all wanted to fall down laughing but were afraid to do it since I was a teacher. One girl, the one whose ball I “rescued,” took off running, shrieking that I’d fallen in a pool. The other adults reappeared, thinking that I was drowning.

Now there were more witnesses to my humiliation.

I squelched out of the hideous pond, golf ball in hand, and headed for the bathroom and an attempt at drying myself off with paper towels and a hand dryer. Now that they knew I wasn’t drowning, the students were howling with laughter and racing in all directions to tell others I’d fallen in a pond. One girl gleefully told me she’d remember that moment until she was a senior- it was going to be her senior memory at graduation.

Terrific.

 I’d like to tell you the pond incident was a one-time thing. While I’ve only fallen in one pond, there have been many other moments of humiliation. I’ve had my slip fall off in church, I’ve cried in the DMV, I’ve fallen down the stairs in college, I once destroyed the accompaniment to “Happy Birthday” when I tried to play it without sheet music, and… I could go on.

Here’s my point:

There are a lot of things in life to be embarrassed about. Being single doesn’t need to be one of them.

It shouldn’t be one of them.

Last week I realized how often I let other peoples’ views of singleness color my own. Popular music, movies, pastors, co-workers, grandmothers- they’re the ones who tell me I need (yes, need) to be married. They unanimously depict life with another person as good and life alone as bad.

The more I hear that message the more I start to believe it.

There have been many times when I’ve been embarrassed to tell someone I’m single and don’t have kids, usually because I know what’s going to follow- arm-patting, murmured sympathy, and then the assurance that I’ll find a really great guy “someday.”

Just like that, my life has been weighed, judged, and found wanting and I’m stuffing down the feelings of inferiority again.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  

Is being single really so bad? Should I feel embarrassed about it?

No, definitely not.

Why should I feel ashamed about it? If other people choose to demean, make assumptions, or feel sorry for me, that’s their choice. It doesn’t have to be mine.

Falling in a pond in front of a group of school children? Yeah, that’s embarrassing.

Doing life as a single woman? Not so much.

The next time someone asks you if you’re married, have a boyfriend, or anything else relational, hold you head up high, look them in the eye, and tell them the truth proudly.

Their responses don’t have to define you.

This week I’m thankful for the embarrassing moments in life. They keep us humble and remind us what we should and shouldn’t worry about. This week, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

Single and Dateless? That’s okay!

He turned and locked eyes with me, slowly leaning forward. To my shock he kissed me, right on the lips.

Horrified, I raised my hand to tattle on him, but the teacher had her back to me and led us out to recess without noticing my indignation.

Yes, my first kiss happened in kindergarten while standing in line to go outside. I had a little boyfriend that year. However, he wasn’t in my class the next year, so that was the end of our romance.

If I had known he would also be my last boyfriend and would give me my last kiss, I might not have tried to tell on him.

Single and Dateless

Whenever people ask what makes me unique, I always want to say, “I’ve never been on a date.” Not too many women can say that.

In the course of my life as a single woman, I’ve had one awkward set-up in college and one blind date a few years ago. I still cringe when I remember the college set-up. It was a dating outing (thank you conservative Christian college) and I told my friend if she asked out this guy who’d become an object of fascination for us, I’d go on the dating outing, too. With…someone.

She summoned up the courage to ask the guy out, which left me panicking. I was very shy and awkward with guys and there was NO WAY I could ask out one I actually knew. So a friend set me up her co-worker. It was perfect- she asked and he agreed. As for me, we only talked with each other once before the official dating outing. It was sooooo strange. Can I just say, eighteen years have passed since then and I still mentally shiver every time I think about it.

The blind date went better, I think, but he never called again.

And that’s it! My stunning roster of dating achievements.  

While I joke about it, it’s also probably the darkest, most painful aspect of my life-

Forget not having a boyfriend. I’ve never even been asked out. I’ve never been kissed (other than in kindergarten). Not one man, in the whole of my existence, has exhibited interest or attraction on any level.

That can be a hard truth to live with.

I’ve written about my dateless existence before, and I’m not sharing it now to make you feel sorry for me. Instead, I share in the hopes that some other woman will read this and say, “Me too. I’ve never dated either. I thought I was the only one.”

I also want you to know where I’m coming from when I make the following statement:

It’s okay not to date.  

Yes, that may sound radical, but it’s true.

We may feel like we’re walking alone, but don’t let that push you into making a dating mistake.

It’s okay not to date.

Singleness can wear on you. It can tear at you, drag you down, and make you feel so, so alone.

But we’re not alone. And even when it’s painful, we do not have to be defined by a dateless existence. 

What I mean is this: Just because you’re single, that doesn’t mean you have to run around endlessly trying to get men to notice you. You don’t have to stock up on books with the latest information on godly dating or developing more faith until you meet Mr. Right. You don’t need to post provocative pictures on social media or choose a church based on how many single men attend there.

You really don’t have to feel compelled to be online, trying every dating site available.

I’ve always said that I feel like people equate singleness with having a serious disease. They immediately want to “fix you.” These helpful people yank any available male out of the woodwork; they enthusiastically tell you about their third cousin who’s “really sweet” and then they pat your arm and say, “You can’t afford to be too picky. After all, you’re not getting any younger.”  Most helpful of all… everyone looks at you innocently and says, “Have you tried online dating?”

The message is always the same- you have to be dating! If you’re not, why aren’t you dating? You should have been dating yesterday!

You hear their message so much it starts to sink into your brain and impact your thinking until you begin to believe there is something wrong with you. But a man can fix it! Suddenly online dating seems like a great idea. There’s only one single guy at your church and he’s twenty, so it’s online or nothing, right?

When you do go online you immediately meet a guy who says women must only wear long dresses that go up to the collar bone with sleeves to the elbow and skirts down to the ankles (that’s a true story). You don’t agree with his position on dress, but hey, after all, you can’t be too picky, right?

And so you start dating a guy who’s totally wrong for you but you keep hearing everyone chanting that you’re not getting any younger so you decide to go for it.

I have seen this scenario played out with so many women. They attach to men they know aren’t right for them, but they are pressured into feeling like they have to be with SOMEONE.

(Side note: Please know, I am not saying online dating is bad in itself. I’m just saying it’s so easy to feel pushed into something you don’t necessarily want to do. Time and time again I’ve seen women go with the wrong guys simply because they think there won’t be anyone else.)

There are so many things worse than being single.

So I’ll say it one more time: It’s ok not to date. You don’t HAVE to be dating anyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being content where you are, looking to God to bring meaning and purpose to your life.

There is nothing wrong with you if you’re not dating.

That’s a hard-fought conclusion I’ve worked hard to arrive at. It’s a tough mental battle to believe singleness is God’s plan, and a good one, but it’s so true. Stop trying to “fix” your single life and learn to enjoy it. There are so many amazing opportunities available only to you.

And if you are dating, don’t let anyone push you into a relationship you’re not absolutely sure about. I don’t care how many times your grandmother sighs and wishes for great-grandchildren.  Don’t tie your value to your dating status and definitely don’t attach yourself to someone you know isn’t right.

You are worth more than that.

This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of a single life. It’s all right to be single! Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

Single Women who Dared to Live Boldly: Corrie and Betsie ten Boom

Corrie and Betsie Ten Boom were simple, unassuming women who allowed God to use their lives. They now stand as amazing examples of bold, faithful Christians.

Reading about Corrie and her sister Betsie was incredibly challenging for me because I operate in that mindset that single life needs to always look exciting. These two women changed my view of what a meaningful life should look like.

They were servants.

Their whole household was characterized by a servant mentality. From the time Corrie and Betsie were young, three of their aunts lived with them. The ten Boom house was already small, but rooms were made even tinier to accommodate these extra women.

The ten Boom’s deep faith also prompted them to serve their community. Mrs. ten Boom was chronically ill and weak; however she was still involved in social work, making food baskets and bringing them to the poor. She especially sought to help needy young mothers and new babies. Later on the ten Booms became foster parents, providing homes for numerous children.

In her book The Hiding Place Corrie writes about her sister Betsie’s love for others. Like her mother, Betsie was chronically ill and never had a job outside the house, but she made the care of the house her ministry. Betsie never seemed to view her role as an unmarried woman living at home degrading. Rather, she reveled in it and people were drawn to her. Betsie made their home a beautiful, safe place where all were welcomed and God’s Word was lived out.

Corrie, also unmarried, lived the life of a working woman. After finishing school she took over all of the accounting for her father’s watch shop. Seeking further challenges, she learned watchmaking, eventually becoming the first female watchmaker in Holland.

The ten Boom house was a place of music, laughter, and a strong faith in God. Two of Corrie’s other siblings married, bringing many children to the family. Their lives were full of peace and joy.

Until World War II.

Corrie and Betsie were already in their fifties when the persecution of the Jewish people began. They had many Jewish friends in their neighborhood, which they immediately began to help. Their brother Willem managed an old folks’ home and turned it into their first base of operation. Elderly Jewish friends were sent there and then were carefully removed to safe houses.

This activity became the foundation for other work. Even though Mr. ten Boom was in his eighties he believed it was their Christian duty to help God’s chosen people. Their watch shop was the front for almost constant underground activity, turning the quiet, peaceful ten Booms into players in a vast network, with Corrie in the middle of it all. She worked tirelessly, getting stolen ration cards, finding places of safety, biking in the middle of the night to meet contacts, and eventually overseeing the building of a tiny secret room behind the bookcase in her bedroom.     

The family managed to hide and aid close to 800 Jewish people and other refuges before they were betrayed. A man that frequently came into their watch shop as a customer was actually a spy. Their house was raided and Corrie, Betsie, and the rest of their family were arrested. Thanks to the hiding place in Corrie’s bedroom, six Jewish people remained undetected and were later rescued.

In a matter of days their father died in prison. While their brother and sister were released, Corrie and Betsie were kept in prison. Later, they were moved to the death camp Ravensbruck. Corrie’s account of their time there is one of the most moving things I have read. Instead of focusing on the violence and hardships of the experience, she turns praise back to God, over and over. While making little of herself, Corrie also draws attention to Betsie, sharing how she worked to make her prison cell a place of order and beauty.

Betsie viewed their imprisonment as an opportunity to share the gospel, even with the guards that treated them cruelly. Betsie saw the darkness in their hearts and pitied them. They had tiny copies of the Gospels, smuggled in on strings around their necks, and Betsie read hers each night. Corrie recounts how Betsie encouraged her to give thanks in all things, even the fleas crawling around their beds. While Corrie couldn’t find anything praiseworthy in biting fleas, it was later revealed that the guards wouldn’t come in their bunker because of the fleas. The horrible insects were a means of unprecedented freedom for the women, enabling Betsie time to read the Bible out loud each night.

Near the end of the war, Betsie’s weak body succumbed to illness. After she passed, Corrie was allowed to see her. I wept as I read Corrie’s account of the peace and joy on her sister’s face. Betsie had maintained her faith and testimony and lived a beautiful life for Jesus, even in a concentration camp.

Corrie was released not long after, due to a clerical error. She found out later that all the women her age were actually sent to the gas chamber soon after she left. God saved her for His special purpose- to tell others about her experiences and to proclaim Him.

It had actually been Betsie’s desire to help others after the war. She told Corrie about a recurringdream she had, where there was a big house full of people who came to recover from their wartime experiences. Betsie insisted that it was their job to tell others about God’s love and forgiveness. She believed people would listen because of what they had been through.

Betsie’s dream was fulfilled through Corrie. She established not one, but two safe houses for war victims. One of these was even in a former German prison camp.

In The Hiding Place Corrie shared how she struggled with feeling empty and purposeless after the war, in spite of the good she was doing. Eventually she realized God wanted her to do more- He wanted her to share His message of love and forgiveness with a world recovering from war.

And so she did.

Corrie travelled to more than sixty countries, sharing the message of God’s love and the importance of forgiveness. Like her sister Betsie, Corrie’s life shone as a bright light for God. She practiced what she preached, famously forgiving one of the Nazi guards from her prison camp. 

Her life is an example to us all- you don’t have to be extraordinary for God to do extraordinary things through you.

If you haven’t read Corrie’s autobiography, The Hiding Place, I strongly encourage you to find a copy!

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” –Corrie Ten Boom