So much has happened since the year started. The flu came and grabbed me within the first few days of the year and I’m just starting to feel 98% myself. My son suffered as well (but thankfully we were able to avoid the worst via TamiFlu). Now it’s February! I am thankful that I’m still here, and that we are getting better. There is so much to look forward to in 2018.
One thing that has gotten me excited over the past few days is this movement that’s building to get us all free from cyclical patterns that can hinder us from moving ahead into all that we desire. That movement is the #BreakTheCycle Challenge led by Married & Young’s founders, Jamal & Natasha Miller. I have been a follower of the M&Y ministry for a few years now, so my excitement stems from that place where I’ve watched them grow and develop into amazing leaders. This note is my invitation for you to join us, starting TOMORROW, Monday Feb 5 as we go through this process of preparing our hearts to destroy thoughts, patterns, habits and histories that are like weights and hindrances in our lives. Divorce, abuse, neglect, abortion, overeating, pornography, abandonment, and so on…let’s pray, fast, learn, cry and be strengthened in our journey so that we become stronger, healthier, wiser and more equipped for our future.
Click HERE to join us; we’re already over 20,000 strong and we can’t wait for tomorrow morning to get here!
It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted here. Running to and fro, hither and yon…..so much has been happening.
So I’d like to update you on two things that mean a lot to me right now.
First, my 4th book has been released: The Single Truth: Written By Singles For Singles.
It’s a book collaboration of 10 single authors – 2 men and 8 women. We are different ages, backgrounds, personalities and experiences and we came together to bring this book to you. If you are single, you may relate to some of the chapters we shared. We talked about single parenting, loving yourself while single, financial security and 11 other important and interesting topics. We were real and open with our submissions.
If you are married, getting a copy of this book would help you relate to today’s singles. (Consider gifting it to someone you know who is unmarried.) The chapters and submissions were kept short on purpose so that readers would glean the lessons without it being long-winded. We are expecting conversations to come out of this book – panel discussions, workshops, relationship events, etc. The book is available on Amazon. After you get your copy, leave us a review on Amazon and consider extending an invitation to us to your event or consider ordering bulk copies for your singles group or book club by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, New Jersey Singles Empowerment is BACK! We are hosting our 2nd event on Friday, November 10 at 6:30pm at Hilton Garden Inn-Edison, in Edison NJ. We are hosting The Flowers of Redefined TV, The Smiths of MEET THE SMITHS, Joel Parrish and Khristi Adams. These wonderful people will comprise our panel, and will discuss briefly the topic “Relationships vs Situationships: The Conversation Continues” followed by questions from the audience. We’re excited, and I am extending the invitation to you too! Please join us by getting your ticket HERE.
Thanks again for reading, and I’d love to meet you in person on November 10!
Recently, one of my Facebook friends hosted a FB Live session to speak about singleness. He’s a young, unmarried man (in his late 20’s) who is also a licensed minister at his local church. His concerns about the struggles that singles face, and how much being single may have affected his position in ministry were palpable.
Here are some thoughts from my video(s), in no particular order:
- Singleness seems to be a bigger challenge when you are in church leadership (I’m a minister), since you are held to higher standards. This is especially true for me as a mom, because I want to set the right example for my son.
- Divorcees are treated like the “black sheep” of the family in many churches. I think widows/widowers are treated better, since their spouses died. Overall, being single again sometimes feels like being ostracized.
- Once a young person in the church hits puberty, they are typically chased around about staying pure (i.e. no sex) and focusing on God until they graduate from college. Then, in many cases, they are dropped off to manage the single arena alone without support or guidance. Many singles then feel lost once they get to that stage.
- Churches and church leaders seem afraid to discuss topics that apply to their local singles. They seem hesitant to help us navigate the world of singleness. I believe it could be because they cannot relate to our struggles, since most church leaders are married.
- Spiritualizing everything that singles are feeling and handling doesn’t work, nor is it necessary.
- We may need to come up with our own solutions to help us manage the frustrations in being single.
Several of us expressed interest in following up on this important discussion. My Facebook friend suggested focus groups, but the participants must be willing to be transparent for them to be effective.
I will share updates to this discussion as soon as they are available.
All of us have had expectations of others, and we’ve had others place expectations on us. I remember that when I was younger, I was fascinated with doctors. I would ask my doctors a lot of questions. I thought for some time that I would one day become an MD. After working at a nursing home one summer, and after not doing as well in college as I’d hoped, I came to the sad reality that becoming a doctor wasn’t something I had the stomach to do. My less than stellar grades were a part of it, but I always felt helpless as people got very ill or passed away. I would grieve the deaths of my nursing home patients as if they were family members, so I knew it would be too much for me to continue in that field.
When I broke the news to my family, they did not take it very well at first. The disappointment was palpable, and with no clear Plan B, I was uncertain of what the future held for me. I tried to find other ways to earn approval, since what they had hoped for would not become a reality. I tried to be the model daughter and granddaughter. I tried to be patient, respectful and responsible. The pressure started affecting me, and I could feel the weight on my shoulders.
This heavy weight of expectations spilled over into my romantic relationships, where certain criteria was expected to be displayed by my suitors. I cried for a very long time after letting go of someone who meant everything to me.
Do you realize the significance of the role that expectations plays in our lives? Our decision-making process typically includes, “What would my children think?” or “Would Mommy approve?” or “Would my boys laugh at me if I did this?” There are moments when we feel the desire to get away from the litany of expectations, spoken or unspoken. Things like, “We value education here. Everyone MUST have at least a Bachelor’s degree in this house.” Or, “No babies before a wedding.” Or, “Don’t you know what our name means in this family and in this community?” Those who don’t fit in are left floundering and struggling. Many times, the misfits are so uncomfortable that eventually they leave the nest to start their own lives, separated from people whom they’ve loved but who now struggle to love them in return.
Many have gone to tremendous measures to “keep the peace” or to preserve the family name, or to minimize ridicule from friends, even when their hearts were beating to a different drum. Joining in on a bullying session with friends so they don’t turn on you. Or, agreeing to an abortion because of the family rule: no children without a wedding ring. Or, hiding secret passions or pursuits that you know your crowd wouldn’t understand.
Well…..It’s been years since I had to break the news to my family that I wouldn’t become a doctor, and I believe that was the best decision I had ever made. I had the ability to pursue whatever career path I wanted, but I was not passionate enough about medicine to continue. Now, all these years later, I’ve found my voice. My keyboard has been my passion outlet, whether it’s through blogging, posting on social media, editing books, writing books, or encouraging a friend. My keyboard has helped me meet people I would not have met otherwise, and has open doors for me. My passionate writings and posts have inspired many people around the world. I’ve received inbox messages and phone calls that testify to this.
So here’s my advice: Don’t allow anyone to take away your voice because of expectations. Our lives aren’t meant to be lived in cookie-cutter mode. We are meant to live like snowflakes, as no two flakes are alike. We are uniquely created to live out our purpose. And, if you are unsure of your purpose or where to begin that journey, I wrote a short book that can help you. Visit HERE to order your copy. Then get a pen and a notepad, settle down, and begin the journey.
It’s never too early or too late to shrug off the expectations of others and pursue who you were created to be.
See you “there!”
If you saw my earlier blog, you realized that something special was on its way for unmarried people in or near New Jersey. Here it is!!!
Come and join us for honest, open conversation (you can ask questions), with a Mix & Mingle segment on Friday, November 11, 2016 at First Baptist Church of Hillside NJ! The Mix & Mingle starts at 6:45pm with free refreshments, followed by the main event at 8pm. We will open with Praise & Worship from Seth Nix & Genuine Praise (videos & Facebook). The conversations will be real……our guests keep it real when they share.
Our guest panelists will be:
All the speakers are focused on helping us who want marriage to be better prepared.
Click HERE to register. The entire event is only $20!!! I’d love to see you there!
Are you unmarried? Save the date: 11.11.2016!
It’s been a while since I posted something new, so I think it’s time to stop in and share.
I’ve been quite busy; you may have seen my flyer to “Save The Date: 11.11.2016” for New Jersey Christian Singles. My heart has been stirred significantly over the past 3 + years to help unmarried individuals take their lives off “pause” and live full, free and energetic lives. I’ve come across several people who are just existing, and who will go from work, to home, to church, to the nearest Starbucks, to the gym, and then back home – every week, every month, and every year. When your schedule is always the same, and when you aren’t open to trying something different or new, then it’s possible to fall into a rut that may leave you dissatisfied and, frankly, bored. And…if you’re hoping to meet a compatible partner, he or she won’t notice you if you aren’t out there, actively involved and doing things you enjoy.
The organization I’m now a part of (name announcement is coming!) will help us to come together periodically to network, laugh, learn and grow. If your church or group is in or around New Jersey and has an active singles ministry/network, consider inviting them to save the date as well. Pay attention, because the details will be released shortly and you’ll be glad you reserved the date on your calendar!