Treasure in Singleness <3

Treasures in Singleness

dreaming with God &lt;3

dreaming with God <3

 

I remember, like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 2000 and I was praying to God, making a promise to save myself until that very special day: my wedding day. This became a dream of mine at twelve years old. It was at this age that I started to pray for my future husband and I have not stopped praying since, even though my prayers sound a lot different now than they did then.

FUN FACT:

I have only been in two relationships and have accepted a date with only five different guys. And when I say a date I mean ONE date, the exception being my two serious boyfriends (at different times, don’t worry ;) ). Can I also mention that I had my first boyfriend at the age of nineteen?! So yes I waited– well kind of waited. 

 

My relationships didn’t work out, and even though I am grateful that the second relationship ended at the time it did, I was devastated since I really believed it was going to end in marriage. For different reasons things didn’t work out. It didn’t go as planned. One of the reason why I mention all this is because during my last breakup I realized many things that are so crucial for you to know. Relationships had one goal to me: marriage– and it still does. The difference is that marriage had a completely different meaning for me back then. It meant finally being happy, finally being complete, finally being whole, finally being loved, finally feeling secure, finally pursuing my dreams, finally living in the fullness of life and finally being content. My thoughts were more like “Oh when I get married then I can do this or that, or be this or that.” My way of thinking was so wrong! I realized then that I had not been in a place where I was actually living single, meaning that despite that my relationship status was single my heart and mind were not.

After the end of the second relationship I had a conversation with God about not wanting to jump into liking another guy right away. From what I had experienced, I had the idea that it was impossible for me to be at a place where I did not like a guy in a romantic way. So I asked God if it was possible to not like anyone and to be completely single. I asked if He could show me and teach me how to live a content, satisfying, thankful, whole life in Him, being SINGLE in every aspect of the word. Well guess what?! He sure answered my prayer! God revealed so many things to me. He opened my spiritual eyes to see that I had a wrong idea of what marriage is and helped me see that the expectation I was putting on relationships and marriage were things that my future husband could never meet simply because those were expectations that only God could meet! God was so good, faithful, gentle and loving as He led me in this process. By God’s grace through this time of heartache, I was able to focus on the one who could meet all my expectations: JESUS CHRIST!

The treasures that I began to discover were treasures that no one could steal from me. These treasures were how God looked at me and what God thought of me. I found myself in Him. I found my identity in Him. I found my value in Him and I found my beauty in Him. I discovered the beauty of being romanced by God. All this happened in moments of constant surrender to God, in moments of intimacy with God, in moments of going deep into the word with God, searching for who He said that I am. It was in the moments of going on “dates” with God.

Slowly, God became my whole reason for living. He became my reason to smile and to look forward to live each day. He became my identity. I became aware that I belonged to Him and that I am called His. He became the reason and inspiration for my dreams. He became my purpose. He became the lover of my soul. His sweet love became sufficient to my needs. He became more than ENOUGH to me!

The outcome of discovering treasures in the process is that I was able to live in freedom to live out dreams I never dared to dream before. I became brave enough to walk in faith and chase God’s dreams for my life. I became bold enough to share with others about His love. I became secure enough in Him to obey in the midst of chaos. I became courageous enough to love out of the love I received from Him. I became whole enough in Him to accept people who might not be easy to accept in the sight of others. I became free enough to live in the will of my Heavenly Father and care about the growth of my character. Faith became my strength to hope for the best and trust God with my future.


I no longer desire to be married in order to be complete or whole. I desire to be married to be a gift to my husband. I want to do life together with him with the purpose of glorifying, honoring and loving God through our marriage. Yes, the desire is still present. It’s not gone, but it is no longer an obsession or a need to reach true happiness or contentment. I have discovered genuine contentment in my singleness and I am grateful. I no longer have the need of a guy to look at me or to tell me that I am beautiful, special or important because God constantly does. He constantly shows me love– unconditional love. His love has completely transformed the way I view myself, life, dating and marriage. Now I enjoy every moment I have in this single season. (don’t take me wrong I still do have moments when doubt creeps in but then I run again to the arms of God, my source of everything I need). I have become in a way jealous of my relationship with God. And though I am still in the process of learning and growing to have God as Lord of my life in every season and every area, my heart, mind and soul have been transformed by God’s passionate love for me.

Also I’d love to share with you is that there is a benefit to being single that I constantly observe and I treasure: I am free to go for any door God opens according to His perfect will for my life without any hesitation at all. My only responsibility right now is to hear God speak and then do what He says. I am available and flexible to His call. It is so easy to say yes to Him because together we are on an adventure.

My heart is filled with so much compassion and it hurts me to see girls and women stuck in singleness waiting to be married who are suffering and depressed at their relationship status instead of using every S I N G LE moment they have to live in God’s fullness and to discover the beauty in the single season. & I totally get it because I was there too, that is one of the main reasons why I can write this novel today ha ha and since I have discovered freedom in this area of my life I long for women to discover it too and dare to walk by faith in this area of life. It’s an adventure and I encourage you to wait on God for your significant other while celebrating the season that you are in, knowing that He knows and cares about the desires of your heart for His timing is perfect.


As I pray for my future husband I enjoy and treasure my single moments by being romanced by God. I work on my character. I am intentional about my growth in my relationship with God and I choose to love my future husband by staying faithful in the season God has entrusted me with today. I have faith that one day that amazing godly man, my husband, will walk into my life and will pursue me and romance me. I cannot wait for that day, but mean while I will continue to choose to have faith and trust that God wants only the best for both of us.

side note:

I am as cheesy as it can get, I am total romantic who strongly believes that God is the best match maker and writes the best love stories, SO girlfriend don’t be discourage trust God, the maker of Heaven and Earth, with your love story. You are not alone; I am with you in this.

hey, you are beautiful and you are a dream come true who was born in the heart of God.

my prayer is for you to be encouraged and that hope would rise within you.

Lizbeth <3

a day in hong kong

a day in hong kong

counting my blessing, living my dreams

counting my blessing, living my dreams

Luke and Val Forever

by Abby Eastman

If you haven't heard Luke Wilson and Valerie Ely are in love. 

Young but far from reckless, this happy couple will tie the knot in less than a month in Val's home state of Oregon.  I expect their wedding to be nothing short of a "grand ol' time" (both of them crave adventure and have a deep desire to have fun in every situation). Their wedding marks the very beginning of their lifetime together as a family, but in someways it also marks an ending of sorts; like a fairy tale it is their "and they lived happily ever after." 

So where did their story begin? Flashback to Los Angeles, fall 2013, Luke and Val met while attending separate Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) at Youth With A Mission Los Angeles. During DTS it is asked of the students that they do not try and pursue any new type of romantic relationship, which you can imagine definitely played a huge role in the development of their story. The couple saw each other only once a week for 3 months when their DTSs would worship and have class together. Their conversations were minimal throughout these short interactions, barely even establishing a friendship. But it was clear from the beginning that there was something there and for Luke there definitely was.

L: "I think for me it was love at first sight. I don't think I was in love with her but I knew I wanted to be with her. I would have married her--and this is so dramatic -- I think I would have on the first day. I knew that up until the day that she told me to never to talk to her again, I was going to pursue her."

DTS breezed by with no texting, no messaging and nothing but small talk to their name. Not to mention they also spent three months apart while doing their DTS overseas outreaches. It seemed incredibly unlikely that Luke and Val would even speak after their schools, due to the lack of relationship they had built and the distance between their home states (Luke hails from Illinois). Luke had also left DTS a couple days early without getting a chance to say goodbye, but thankfully with a room full of  giddy, wide eyed DTS girls on their last night together, Luke and Val beat the odds.

V: "On graduation night I messaged Luke saying we should stay in touch! It wasn't even me it was my friend Paris. It was so embarrassing! We were all screaming when we saw that he had started to type back!"

If somethings really meant to be, it'll happen regardless.

L: "I was going to wait until the next day to message Valerie-- the morning after graduation. I didn't want to seem too eager, but when I got the message from her it was like the craziest thing. We had never expressed feelings. We had never even really talked, but when she messaged me it just felt right. It was 2 in the morning and I couldn't go back to sleep until 5.


Thus began their official courtship. Text messages were passed between them, eventually moving into face time calls (which hilariously often included Val's entire family). As they began to get to know each other as well as express feelings, they decided to reconnect at a YWAM leadership school held in Kona, Hawaii 3 months later. A magical time but also a serious time of growth and discovery for the both of them.

V: "We had face timed and texted for 3 months but then seeing each other in Kona that first day was like the weirdest thing ever! We already knew we liked each other but it was honestly such a fun season of getting to know each other in real life and getting to see how [Luke] was with other people and during ministry times. We went on our first date in Hawaii! He took me on a surprise moped ride which was like my dream and then we had a picnic on the beach. Hawaii was also when I realized I had fears. On the plane ride there God basically told me that I had so many fears in my heart that I didn't even know about. It was the unfolding of all of the crap and fears I had with being in a relationship and falling in love. It was really bitter sweet for me.
L: "Hawaii was the most perfect time of my whole life. I was having fun with great people and I was falling in love. During that time Val had all these issues come up and normally in the past if a girl said things like "I don't know if this is right" or "I don't have peace" or something like that, I would have been really insecure and that would usually make me think "oh I'm done". The thing is none of those things affected me as it should have. I was just so secure--. The Lord did a lot in my heart in making me confident in who I was."

It was also a time where Luke knew without a doubt that he was in love.

L: "There was this specific night in Hawaii where we were sitting outside on the pier and I was thinking "I love this girl, what the heck?" I took a picture of us and I told her to remember that night because I wanted her to believe me when the time was right, because it was still so early."


After Hawaii, Valerie's parents had gotten a hold of Luke asking him to surprise her in Oregon as she was flying back from Kona. They went on a camping trip with her family, and a week later decided to make things official.

L:" Her dad just randomly took me to his man cave one day and he said 'you can date Valerie, she's ready'. Because of all her fears, I never knew when I could ask her to be my girlfriend."
V: "We went to this park and I knew he had been wanting to date for so long. I was so nervous but I told him 'I think I'm ready to date you' and he got so excited. We had gotten ice cream and he threw his ice cream cone across the park and he was like "Can i ask you now?!!" 

A month long visit in Oregon eventually came to an end, but the couple were soon reunited when Val went to Illinois to spend time with Luke and his family (it was there that they finally said "I love you). Soon after they were long distance for 4 months, until Luke quit his job, packed up all his things, and moved to Oregon to continue to pursue the girl of his dreams.

V: "It was like a weird change having Luke there because he was living with my family, so we were always together. It was hard in that sense because it felt like we were married without the benefits of marriage but at the same time it was really good for us because we learned so much about each other just by being around one another so much. I think it was the way the Lord wanted it for us. We learned so much."

Living together in the same place proved to be an incredibly sweet time for their relationship as they got to grow together side by side. In August of 2015, Luke's family flew out for the Ely annual camping trip which Luke had gone on the year before when the couple had just started dating. It was there in the Oregon mountains that he proposed, giving them what may very well be called a "chance at forever".

So us singles, or dating, or married people, what can we learn from them and their model of love and relationships?

What have you learned from each other?

V: "I think early on when I was really struggling with my fears and doubting my relationship as well as feeling like I was messing up, Luke was so committed to me and never took it personally. He was always on my side fighting for me and believing in me that I would overcome this. I think that takes such a huge amount of patience and commitment to stick by my side. I think if it had been the other way around I wouldn't have been the same way. I remember thinking 'oh my gosh this is how Christ loves me'. He fights for me even when I'm treating him horribly. He still loves me so much and is committed to my life. His patience and the grace he has for me--  I'm still learning how to have that for him.
L: "Since I've met Valerie I've learned to have fun all the time and to communicate better. I feel like I want to know what she's thinking whenever something's going on. Its made me want to hear every single thing that goes through her head. Its made me better at speaking with her and working through things. She's also shown me how to enjoy the little things and to not overthink."

Favorite quality about the other?

L: "Her laugh and how caring she is. She always cares about everybody and it makes me mad in a way. She will care about someone that I don't want to care about which then will actually make me want to care! Or whenever I don't feel like doing something right, she wants to. It's a very good quality and it makes me a better person. She also calls me out all the time. I like that: someone who wants to make me better and not just say "well that's how he is"
V:  "His diligence. He's so diligent and I'm so unmotivated! He keeps me motivated to do things.

Advice?

V: "I would say have fun and be lighthearted because that's something I feel I was robbed of because I was so worked up about 'am I doing this right?', 'am I pleasing the Lord?', or 'is He proud of me?' for every little thing to the point where I didn't get to enjoy as much as the Lord wanted me to. Obviously stay close to Jesus and make sure your heart is in line with him, but then trust that he's going to open and close doors. Don't over spiritualize things and have fun. Remember that He loves love and he wants us to be in love and to enjoy ourselves. Soak it in, because it is a season: it's not always going to be fresh and new.
L: "If you're a guy-- or a girl-- and you want to pursue someone, you pursue them fully. If you like someone obviously be listening to the Lord because there are certain things you cant do, but what I'm saying is don't ever be scared of looking dumb. Pursue them with everything you have because down the road if you guys get married you can be so happy with how you pursued them and that you did everything you wanted to do. You won't be like 'oh I wish I just wouldn't have been so shy or been so afraid of being rejected'. The Lord told me to pursue Val with everything I had and if it didn't work out then I could be confident in the end that I did everything I could, or I could be married to her down the road and I wouldn't regret not doing certain things. Like telling her I love her and not caring if she doesn't say it back, or holding her hand in front of her parents, holding her hand in front of the people she's nervous to be seen with me. Do all these things and don't care about what she's thinking because she's going to look back one day and be really glad I wasn't too scared to do them.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love,

Abby