The Best and Hardest Gift from God

This picture is the aftermath of 1.5 hours on stage at Delta Zeta’s Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference. I spoke on “Building Resilience” with over 400 sorority women who served as onlookers, learners, participants, and co-educators as we talked about the hard process of “bouncing back” and what it means to “stretch” and not “break”. As Brene Brown and Oprah spewed their wisdom on vulnerability being the cornerstone of confidence the necessity of “daring greatly” and the freedom that comes with brushing your critics off your shoulder. Whew!

aftermath

I literally float on a cloud when I’m giving a talk and then I have to work my way back to earth. Eventually I crash which is the view you see above and YES, I’m watching a 30 For 30 because these documentaries are my “Lifetime Movie”. The U: Part 1 & 2 give me life. As someone who is intrigued by topics like vulnerability, resiliency, and self-authorship–I find the tales of athletes to be riveting. Our athletes are our superheroes and to see all that they go through whether inflicted by self or others is always inspiring.

As I was deflating in this lovely hotel room while wrapped up in comfy hotel bedding thinking about this opportunity that God has given me to do what I feel I’ve been called to do, I got one of those pangs–you know, one of those single woman pangs. That feeling that’s been happening more and more lately that yes, I have a charmed life BUT I’m still missing elements that I thought by 32 would be present. At least, I thought I’d have a partner –perhaps not children, but a partner for certain, someone to share what’s happening in my life. Someone who would be excited for me, proud of me, and would be waiting for me when I got off the plane or would be there with me, in the moment, smiling at me from the audience.

Those pangs HURT. My appendix swelling was pretty painful and single woman pangs are a close second. Both are debilitating.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I stashed my Wholeheartedly Devotional in my travel bag before I departed for O-H-I-O. Because God is who He is the next devotional in the serious is called “receive”.

“Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” Matthew 19:11-12

The words jumped off the page and into my heart and soul. Natalie Matrejean, the author of Wholeheartedly expressed what she learned about being single from this scripture and I desperately needed to hear and understand this Word.

1. Singleness is a gift (let’s hope there’s a gift receipt). Some people are gifted with singleness. If you are one of those people He will help you.

2. Singleness is hard (YEP!). Even some who are called will not be able to accept it.

3. Singleness is better for the kingdom. Jesus is saying to receive and accept singleness  for His Kingdom’s sake if you have been called to it.

In that moment, in the hotel room and in many other moments throughout my life, I have to remember and accept these three things.

My singleness is a GIFT. For some reason He is calling me to it for a season or perhaps for the rest of my life. I often realize that the freedom that comes with being single is a huge gift from God. I have loads of FREEDOM to live and serve. I am blessed to know and understand that I have a God who helps me navigate my solo mission.

It is HARD. A lot of the time it’s hard because of what’s going on around me. It seems that everyone is married and having tons of babies. The world has found its other half and I’m that sock that lost its match in the dryer. It’s also hard because there are times when I just want someone to hug me. I want a partner in life because most things are better when you have a buddy. You know, a built in human support system. I’ve been in love and it feels great. I need some serotonin and oxytocin, you know? It’s hard to play against a team when you’re all alone.

It is BETTER? I don’t know. On a daily basis, my answer is a big resounding, NO!  Sometimes I feel it is  when I see people I love going through incredibly dramatic relationship matters. Divorce, infidelity, unhappy marriages, and difficult conversations. I don’t want those headaches. However, if its BETTER for God then I guess it is BETTER. If he sees fit to use me in a special way to serve Him then perhaps for me, at this time, or until I leave this earth, it is BETTER for me to be single.

In order to gain some peace during this current season of my life, I have to “receive” this message. I have to believe that it is a Gift, it is Hard, and it is Better. If this is my calling, and I receive it, then I shall be blessed by it.

It was also a wake up call to me that because I am ABLE to do more for His kingdom because I’m not occupied by a spouse or any dependents, that I need to do so and if I’m honest with you, I’m not doing enough for God at this moment in my life.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor. 7:34-35

Delving into this teacher helped the pangs subside and I was able to open myself back up to the happiness that was happening all around me. As I know but as I have to keep reminding myself at every turn, that God is in control. His plan, His timing, my obedience.

My life is too blessed and I’m doing what I said I wanted to do in life. I’m human and I have those valley moments and like I told the sorority women in the audience, we’ve all got to work our way back up from those black holes in our life. My resiliency is a factor of my faith and when I’m feeling those single woman pangs, God is the best at giving me the Word I need to get back to good. My joy comes from the Lord and if this is what He sees fit for me at this point in my life then I can’t let my singleness ruin all of the blessings he’s bestowed upon me. Because what I now understand is that it is too a blessing. Exhale.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

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Quiet As It’s Kept…

Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my perpetual state of being single. I’ve been in wondrous love once and crippling lust once and out of the two I’m praying for the former this next time around.

However, I just don’t do well with this whole thing. People always ask me, “Why are you still single?” That’s like asking saying to someone who’s lost, “Tell me exactly where you are.” If I knew the answer to this question, maybe I wouldn’t be single.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve conjured up or have been told to me by the gaggle of sages that inhabit my life (note the sarcasm):

  1. You’re surrounded by too many women. . You need to hang out in mixed groups.
  2. You should try online dating.
  3. You don’t leave any space in your life for another person. Start making room for that person to be in your life and he shall appear.
  4. You just seem really happy being single. It’s not easy to see that you want another person in your life.
  5. You’re too picky!
  6. Oh, and my favorite–You’re just really intimidating and have it all together. Men don’t really know how to handle that in a woman.

My single status only bothers me every now and then. There are days when I’m beyond the moon grateful that I don’t have a partner and children because of the freedom I have in my life, but then there are those days when I’m not sure that I can wake up AGAIN alone in my bed or go to one more event by myself. At 32, when I see all of these beautiful babies tottering around in the world, I feel like my uterus and heart are going to burst. Living in the South doesn’t help with these feelings.

I constantly ask myself, Why me? Why am I the single educated black woman stereotype? What did I do wrong? Hell, I worked really hard to do as much as I could in the manner I thought was “right”. Why can’t a male see that and want me to be a part of his life? Am I really that awful?

Over the past 32 years, I’ve dealt with confidence issues and  there was certainly a period of my life that rears its ugly head on my worst days, in which I thought that if I just lost weight, had longer hair, made myself less ugly, and dumbed myself down that I would be able to find him. Those days when I thought that if I just relaxed and let him control everything that I would be deemed less intimidating and more attractive. I’m not proud of those days and what I allowed to happen because of those poisonous thoughts. It’s still really difficult when I go out and don’t get any attention from men. It takes me a minute to not let myself fall back into that pit of worthlessness. Luckily, it takes me a shorter amount of time to bounce back then it did when I was 16.

I think this is one the reasons I enjoy social media because I certainly get positive affirmation from others in those areas in which I need it the most. On those days when I feel less than about who I am, a ‘Like’ can make a difference in my day. I know this isn’t healthy, but I think it’s a sickness many of us are dealing with in this world. The source of our approval should never be man and I’m working on that slowly but surely. The Krystal you see on Facebook is a real woman and in those moments, I am happy, but there are other layers to me –layers of sadness and imperfection—layers of wanting more and feeling like less more days than I’d like to admit. Those quotes I post are as much for me as they are for you. If I layer my day with hope, faith, and Beyonce-like motivation, I can get through just about anything.

What I know for sure is that I live a blessed life. The people, the places, my profession, my ability to wear bright colors, my intelligence, my large smile, and fun hair, the ways that I’m able to give back to others, etc. are all gifts. I mean, there are so many blessings on my doorstep that I’m constantly overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’ve got it so good…I just wonder more and more what it would be like to do my life in partnership with another person.

For the longest time I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I NEVER want to get married and I NEVER want to have kids.” I now know that a lot of that was fear. Fear that my marriage would turn out like my mother’s and fear that this was never in the cards for me. Sandbagging became my chosen defense mechanism. Maybe if I said it long enough, I’d come to believe it.

My conservative side is winning this battle and I want to be married and then have children. I want that good ‘ol nuclear family. I didn’t have this growing up and I’m not going to make the decision to be a single mother. My mother did a kickass job raising two unicorn children BUT that wasn’t her choice and a father is important in a child’s life. No one needs daddy issues. Believe me.

Say it and it shall be so. Well, I’m saying it out loud. I want at least to have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I don’t want this desire to completely consume me but I don’t want it to allude me either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the discotheques or start hiding out in Whole Foods playing ‘Spot the Wedding Ring’. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time winking, flirting, poking, and swiping folks on a screen. I’m also not going to become Eeyore. I shall be glad. It just means that I’m opening my mind and my heart. I’m going to stop denying what I want out of fear.

“You’re single not because you’re not good enough for one, it’s that you’re too good for the wrong one.”- Chris Burkmenn

God has given me this ever present season for a reason. He’s preparing me for greater. My first love and my crippling lust weren’t the end goal for me. While I’m waiting for His choice, I want to fully embrace this time in my life even more than I already do. I have great things to offer this world. I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want to press PAUSE on all the bright sides of life while I twiddle my thumbs hesitating to move forward until my Prince Charming appears. As I’m living and waiting with my heart, I want to cocoon myself in His word. My moments of loneliness and emptiness as I trick myself into believing that I’m not loved need to be filled with Him and His promises.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I found Natalie Metrejean and we’re sharing the same struggle. Wholeheartedly: A Devotional For Singles will be my new companion as I work through devotions focused on being a single woman and what God wants for us and from us during this season. Already, I have spent time thinking through lies that need to be confronted, so that I can move forward living based on God’s truth. Clearing out the junk including the negative self-talk that hurts me even more than others do on a daily basis. Follow Natalie Instagram @NATALIEMETREJEAN.

While I’m waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming, and certainly praying I think the Word is the best player to have on my team.

Pray with me and for me. Whatever God has for me I know is for my good. He hasn’t let me down yet and I know that He won’t start today.

Also, if you know of any bachelors, I’m more than willing to be set up. A girl’s got to eat and I might as well do it with another person ;).

Be Glad

 Thanks for reading.

Krystal