Tag Archives: Christian dating

Adventures in Online Dating Part I

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Before I post, I wanted to let you know that I am trying to play some concerts and/or house shows for my new CD, which contains all songs in which God is speaking. All inspired by scriptures where God is speaking truth and hope over us. I can also lead worship at churches. I can also teach and put on great retreats for women, worship teams, singles groups, youth groups, anything you’d like! I AM ESPECIALLY LOOKING FOR POSSIBILITIES IN THE SEATTLE PORTLAND AREA AND IN NORTH CAROLINA. If you are interested, please go to my website and shoot me a message! Ok here goes the post!

You knew that the topic of this post was coming. It has been lurking behind the scenes for months, ready to pounce on all of my readers like a whitewashed vampire in a haunted house.

It’s inevitable. I am in my thirties and single and it is the 21st century. It had to happen.

That’s right folks, I am stooping down to the lowest of the low points. I am going to try online dating.

It all started yesterday. My friend Rosie was going on a date with a guy she met on okay cupid. I started scrolling through some of the people on the front page. One guy in particular looked intriguing. Christian. Handsome. Career oriented. In my mind, his name was Ramon, since that is the name of the imaginary boyfriend that I talk about occasionally. “Maybe I’d try this some time,” I thought out loud.

Before I knew what was happening,  Rosie slyly asked me what my email address was and what password I often use, copied some of my pictures on facebook, and voila!  The whole world now has physical proof that I am desperate, like a girl on a desert Island who finally decides to eat snails.

I will admit this is not my first time on the exhausting online dating treadmill. I tried eharmony once. I gathered up the courage to go on one date. The guy was wearing an over sized blue suit, didn’t ask me one question in over an hour, and had created an ap that helped you hit on people in bars. I am not joking. It would tell you if there was someone your type in the bar who had the same ap. It didn’t work out, but that guy is probably a millionaire now.

For some reason, that date didn’t seem worth the sixty dollars I spent for the first few months, along with the sixty dollars I spent when they automatically renewed my subscription without my permission.

Awesome.

Okaycupid is a website that is even further down the already low low ladder rungs of online dating. It is worse than eharmony in that it is free. That is dangerous. Any guy who says “hey you know, I really want to find a broad to go on a nice date with, maybe even get hitched, but I don’t really want to pay any money to do that stuff” is not going to buy me dinner. No way.

This particular website started out by asking you a whole lot of questions, which I actually like. You need to weed people out somehow. They literally have hundreds of questions you can answer.

When the question was asked “Which is bigger, the sun or the earth?” I knew that I might be in for a rude awakening of how stupid some of my potential dates would be. I marked that question as “very important” to me, meaning that it was very important that my potential date got this question right. My reasoning being that someone who doesn’t know if the sun is bigger than the earth is definitely not going to be able to figure out how to change a diaper.

One of the next questions said, “if you were to turn your left glove inside out, would it fit on your left hand or your right hand?” I was too lazy to get up and try a glove on. There was no option that said “It can go on either hand, especially if you are good at putting your hand in a awkward position,” which is obviously the right answer. I skipped that question, knowing full well that it was not a good indication of whether I would make a quality life partner or not.

I finished a hundred questions. Within 2.5 minutes, I had three messages.

Message #1 was from a guy that asked me if I was into younger guys. Occasionally, I wanted to say, but not one that looks like you.

Message #2 was from a guy that said, “for you, beautiful girl” that had a link on it to a youtube video of a Melissa Etheridge song from 1988. If you listened carefully to the words, you realized that Melissa was actually talking about breaking up with someone. Winner.

Message #3 was from a charming man that had a picture of himself standing in front of his house with no shirt on. You’d think that might be a good idea if you have a six pack, but not if you have a beer belly.

In that 2.5 minutes, I also got matched with a friend of mine. Great. He will be the first one to know that I am willing to eat snails.

The only thing I was excited about was searching for Ramon. I searched and searched for him. I searched for words that I remembered being in his profile. I searched for his profile name. He was nowhere. You know why? Because Ramon is not real. The Okaycupid people made him up so that I would be intrigued and try it out. Oh Ramon, come back to me!

Now that Ramon is out of the picture, I have several legitimate excuses explaining why this is not a good idea. I will have to lower my standards. I will have to shave my legs. And my best and most holy excuse? If I do this, it would bring into question my trust in of the sovereignty of God. How could I think God was sovereign if I was forcing my love life to happen? Good one, Kate. Good one.

We’ll see if the excuses win out. You might be hearing more about this topic, friends. Even if you don’t want to.

Okay. Let the comment games begin. Your worst online matches. Your worst online dates. Ready, go.

Marriage Counseling With God

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I was talking to my friend Tom the other day. He is married to one of my best friends, Kate. He was forty years old when he got married. He is pretty shy and has not dated a lot. He had gotten to the point where he thought marriage was not in the cards for him. He decided to start going to a coffee shop just to have more community. Kate worked there and to his surprise, she slipped him her number one day.

At their wedding, he tearfully told us that he had never expected God to give him someone so beautiful, someone who would open his eyes to life in ways he had never imagined. It was very special. They are one of the happiest couples I know.

Last weekend we were talking about my book, and the conversation turned, as it often does, to hearing the phrase if you just let go, your spouse will come (as I discussed in the post What Single People Wish Married People Knew) and how that kind of formulaic thinking can be frustrating at times, especially in your thirties.

Tom said, “you know, I did go through a process of letting go during the season just before I met Kate. It would look like that formula worked for me. But I wasn’t letting go of the desire to get married. I was letting go of my anger at God because I wasn’t married. That is one of the best things I could have done, because it made me a more whole person. That wall being torn down in my life helped draw Kate to me.”

This really struck me, and I’ve been thinking about it all week. I have to admit, I have had to work through a lot of feelings of anger towards God over the singleness issue. More than any other issue in my life by far. I have even had a few yelling matches with him.

To look that anger in the face and deal with it seems more fruitful than saying I let go of my desire to be married. I personally have never felt called to life long celibacy, and to tell God that I am fine with it doesn’t seem to be the best answer to my frustration.

Rather than letting go of being married, I believe it would be better to focus on working through this anger that I have struggled with towards God.

I don’t want to go through this process because it is a formula that will get me a man. I want to go through it because I love God and don’t want walls up between us. God is the most important person in my life. He has walked with me during every trial and joy I have ever gone through. He has been more faithful than any lover could be. He has loved me through all circumstances, even when I have not been faithful. As II Timothy 2:13 says, if we are faithless, he remains faithful.

Sometimes I forget this fierce, relentless love. I know that God is good, but in my limited perception it is sometimes hard to believe in his goodness. I say that I trust him, but do I really?  Do I secretly tell him that I will trust him once I have a family, because it is then that I will know he loves me?

That is not trust at all. Trusting is believing in his goodness even when our lives don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

It might be wise for me to do a little marriage counseling with God. I may even have to forgive him. Forgiving God seems like a weird concept, because he is God. By his very nature, he hasn’t done anything wrong. But we have to admit that in our limited perception of him we haven’t always been able to understand his goodness.  To understand why life is not what we thought it would be. We need to “forgive” him for that.

Working through this anger could tear down walls that will draw people to us, just like in Tom’s situation. I’m not saying that this is a formula for finding your spouse. It just doesn’t work that way. But I do believe that healthy people are often attracted to healthy people, while broken people are often attracted to broken people. We all have some level of brokenness, but we can work hard to be as healthy as possible.

If you have done the hard work of being emotionally  healthy, especially in your relationship with God,  you will most likely attract other people that have also done that work. They will see the strong, trusting, peaceful person that is a result of that work, and they will want to walk alongside someone that beautiful.

What has your process of trust looked like? Have you ever been angry at God? How has the emotional work you have done changed the way that people are drawn to you?

Thirty, Flirty, and Fertile (Part II)

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As I stated in Part I of this series, when people tell me that age doesn’t matter, I respond with “tell that to my uterus.”

My uterus and I have had quite a few problems in our relationship as of late. In truth, my uterus is pretty frustrated with me.

The argument she has with me all the time sounds like this: “Kate, what am I good for if I don’t house a little baby for nine months? I’ve been sitting down here for over thirty years with nothing to do! I need a job, Kate! Go out there! Find yourself a man! Get married and get these eggs fertilized.”

I feel sheepish and guilty every time my uterus and I talk. Because she’s right. I do need to get “out there.” But it’s more complicated than it seems. I try to tell her that, and she says, “Why didn’t you go out with all those guys who liked you ten years ago? Why were you so picky?”

“I don’t know, Uterus. Life only makes sense in the rear view mirror.” That’s what I always say. Or maybe that’s a country song. Either way, it’s true.

According to the social norms, my uterus and I have exactly three years, eight months, and eight days to get ourselves pregnant.

That is the day that I turn forty. The day that my eggs shrivel up and die. Forever.

If they do by some monumental miracle of God get fertilized after that day, my babies will look like a cross between Jay Leno and Steven Tyler.

At least that’s what the people around me and society have told me.

I joke about my uterus and about roller skating parties, but the truth is, my ticking biological clock is a serious matter. If I can’t sleep at night, I am often thinking about the fact that I am getting older and might never do all the things I dream of doing, especially having a family.

Lately I am realizing how much this is culture induced, though, and that if we didn’t have such a thing as the label of age, I wouldn’t be so scared. Think of the countless references to turning forty that plant fear in all of us. Forty seems to be the marker in which we need to figure out whether our lives are meaningful or not in our culture. My friend who is a midwife in Portland says that half of her clients are in their forties. From the way our culture talks, you would never think that was the truth.

Often when I date someone, I will start out the relationship lightly, but then my fear kicks in. I try desperately not to be desperate. If I am not careful, I end up wearing my biological clock on my sleeve. I all but stand up on the table during a date and do an interpretive dance of the old DC Talk song “Time is Ticking Away” complete with my arms moving to the rhythm like a clock.

I am realizing that this is one of the biggest fears I have dealt with in the last decade. I have let it run my life sometimes, and I am tired of it. If I wasn’t so fearful of this age thing, if I were not so aware of the social label of age, I might be able to date someone without them feeling unnecessary amounts of pressure, without them inevitably taking on some of my own fear. I could date them for a good while so that we are sure about the decision and wouldn’t rush into anything simply because of how many years I’ve lived. It is something I need to work hard to overcome.

The only way that I can possibly get over this fear is to trust God. If God wants me to have a family, I will have a family. He has no time constraints. Nothing is too difficult for him. If I don’t have a family, it will be very hard for me to understand, as it is something that I believe God has promised to me. But I will be okay. I can choose to be a mother in other ways if that is what the Lord has for me.

In Ecclesiasties 3:10-11 Solomon gives us these words.

“I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. “

Let’s look at this verse a little closer. You read the first part -”I have seen the burden God has laid on man”- and you wonder. . .what is this mysterious burden that God has laid on men? To have to work to provide food and shelter for your family? The evil in the world? Mosquitos? Joan Rivers?

The next sentence that identifies the “great burden” that God has laid on us is very surprising.

Here is the burden: he makes all things beautiful. 

Why would God making something beautiful be a burden? That sounds much more like a blessing doesn’t it?

Read on and you might understand.

“He makes all things beautiful in its time. “

This great burden is not that he makes all things beautiful. It is that he makes all things beautiful in his time. In ways that are beyond our limited perception.

Some of us get angry at his timing. We do not like getting older. We don’t like that “Only Be With You” by Hootie and the Blowfish was written in 1995. (How can it possibly be that long ago?) We “cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Standing within the walls of time, we don’t understand.

Maybe we need a different perspective.

My friend Sam said to me the other day, “Kate, do you realize that if you had a child a few years ago, your baby would most like have had Lyme disease? (Lyme can be passed onto children in the womb.) Maybe it was not God withholding from you when he didn’t let you have a baby at that age. Maybe it was His grace. Maybe He wanted to wait for you to be healthy to let you have a child.” It had never occurred to me before that my having to wait might not have been God stealing something, but him waiting to give me something much better.

We can’t often see things clearly from our limited perception of life. Perhaps God stands above us, above time, as if we are in a parade, and he throws down love on us, like floating ticker tapes. He throws down love from that lofty window, seeing the bigger picture, and we don’t understand what he is doing from beginning to end. But the love still falls down on us, surrounding us as we march on, unaware.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for your grace. Whether I have a husband or not, whether I have children or not, even when I don’t understand your timing or my disappointments, I can trust this one thing.

You make all things beautiful.

I Think I’m Beautiful- What Do You Think?

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I once heard of a social experiment in which there were two billboards placed in two different cities. On each billboard was the exact same picture of a lovely woman who also happened to be full figured.  The first billboard said “I think I’m beautiful, what do you think?” The second said “I think I’m fat, what do you think?”

The researchers did a survey of people who drove frequently past the billboards. The results? Something like seventy five percent of the people who saw the “I think I’m beautiful” billboard  thought she was beautiful. And something like seventy five percent of the people who saw the “I think I’m fat” billboard thought that she was fat.

The way you see yourself is perhaps the most influential factor of the way that other people see you.

If there were a billboard of me filling the New York skyline 5 years ago, it would have read like this: “I think that no one loves me once they get to know me well. I think that my talent is the only reason people like me. I think that people abandon me,  that I am a victim, and that I get lost really easily. What do you think?”

But God has really redeemed my self image the last few years. He has allowed me to see that covering up my face is not humility. Jesus has commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. Not more than myself. As myself. Which means that just as much as I am commanded to love others, I am commanded to learn to love myself. He commanded us to “be made whole” more times than any other command. Is that surprising to you? It is to me. But I want to do it. I want to follow his commands. So I have learned, day by day, to love myself.

If  you were to read that billboard now, it would say “I think that people really like me, and that I like myself. I think the more they get to know me, the more they love me. I think that I am fun, loving, and valuable, and that I get lost really easily. What do you think?”

Believe me, some days it can be a battle to think like this. When I lose my keys, when I procrastinate, when I am confused about my next steps, when my sister in law has to give me directions to her house for the 14th time because I always get lost, I get mad at myself. I still have weakness’, and I still notice them. But I don’t focus on them as much as I used to.  Even in seasons like this, when I am not doing great financially, when I feel alone at times, I am kind to myself, just as Jesus has been kind to me. Just like I would be kind to a friend.

Five years ago, I thought that the day someone asked me to marry them would be the day that  I would know I was valuable. Having a mate that loved me would be a good reason to love myself.

Yeah, right. Today I am valuable. Period. God made me: that is more than enough reason to love myself.

In fact, now I know that it can be even harder with a mate in the picture to overcome self esteem issues, because you have a constant mirror in front of you. So I am not hoping for a man to tell me that I am valuable any more. I am praying that I can see myself as valuable today. The more whole I am, the more I will attract someone who is whole. The more whole we are as a couple, the less we will depend on each other for our value. That makes for a much healthier marriage.

And even if I never get married, if I learn to love myself, I will still get to live with someone I really enjoy being around:

Me.

I have a unique DNA of Jesus in me that no one else in the world has. Every day I live that out and am confident in it is another day that He is glorified.

I want to remember every day that I am beautiful, no matter what the circumstances are. I want to focus on my strengths instead of my weakness’ because that is the way that He looks at me.

I want to read the billboard that He puts in front of me every day, the billboard that says

“I think you’re beautiful. What do you think?”

(What billboard have you put up that is not always true? What billboard do you want to put up? What journeys have you been on with your own self esteem?)

God Is

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God is not a tablet of commandments
Measuring and correcting and punishing.
He is a sunset so breathtaking
That for just a moment you forget
All your failings and your tragedies
Because all you can see is the beauty.
And somehow, some of the light floods inside of you
And chases some of the darkness away
Effortlessly…
All you to do is look.

God is not a magic lamp
That gives you all your desires
If you search for Him hard enough and
Rub Him the right way.
He is the friend
That spins you around with joy
When you are falling in love
Laughs at your jokes even when they’re
Not that funny
And cries harder than you do when you feel
Alone.
All you have to do is open up your arms.

God is not Mr. Rogers
Giving cookies when you are good
And putting you in the corner when you don’t listen.
He is a lover
That throws open the floodgates of passion
Inviting you to let go of your own world and
Risk drowning
For even one moment of being surrounded
By all encompassing, drenching,
Unquenchable, unfathomable LOVE…
All you have to do is jump.

Because, in the end
We don’t really want the magic lamps and the cookies
And the comfort of being hemmed up in our easy, predictable worlds.
We want a person that loves us completely.
That loves the beautiful parts of us
That loves the ugly parts of us.
That loves without boundaries, without excuses
Without expectations of getting anything in return.
He’s there.
He’s waiting.
He died to love you like that.
All you have to do is believe.

(This painting is from my friend Betony Coons….see more of her beautiful artwork at http://graysparrow.com/)

What Single People Wish Married People Knew

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My friend Jess is a beautiful, single blonde girl who has been a missionary in Italy for 10 years and is 37. One day, an Italian woman, let’s call her Mamma Carmen, came up to her with a little charm necklace that had a picture of a saint on it.

“What’s this?” asked Jess.
(Cue in accent of Italian mama who doesn’t speak much English)
“A necklace for you. A picture of Saint Anthony. “
“Who is Saint Anthony?”
“Is-a- the patron saint of lost-a things.”
“And what have I lost, Mama Carmen?”
“Oh, you know sveetie. “
“No I don’t know. What is that I have lost?”
“You lost-a your husband.”
“Mama Carmen, isn’t that usually the saint you pray to for a lost sock or car keys-things like that?”
“Yes, but not for you. For you, pray to him for husband. More important than sock.”

Mama Carmen’s Formula:

“Lost Husband + Praying to Patron Saint of Lost Things + Ten Hail Marys= 1 wedding, 5 socks, 2 spoons, and 1 bracelet you thought you gave to your friend Jill.”

I had my own formula concocting conversation with a ministry leader of mine a few years back. Let’s call her Emily. The conversation looked like this:

“Kate, do you remember our babysitter Joann? Well, she  went through a season of really struggling with being single like you are going through.  She cried and battled  and finally brought her burden to the Lord. She let go.

Two weeks later, she met her husband. And he looks just like Ryan Gosling. “

I said,”Emily, I am really happy for Joann.  But she is twenty freaking years old.”

“So? What does that have to do with anything?”

I respected and loved this leader, but I just couldn’t brush the comment off this time.

I said “I have had a decade longer than her of wrestling with God over this issue.  In all my wrestling,  I have had several seasons where I have been content as a single person, embracing the thought of God as my husband. But often, those seasons fade, and I’m struggling again. It is a cycle that happens.  I don’t think God laughs at my cycles of frustration. I think he understands. I think He wants to meet me there. “

Emily continued to argue with me, saying that I  just needed to let go, insinuating that it was  my own fault that I was still single.

I said, “Em, please understand me here. If you had a friend who was not getting pregnant or who was having multiple miscarriages, someone who had been struggling with barrenness for fifteen years, would you say to her ‘If you just trusted the Lord more with your barrenness, he would give you a baby?’ You would never say that! You recognize how much she is mourning that loss, and so you careful with her words. You don’t want to hurt her even more by making her feel like it might be her own fault.

Well at times, I feel barren. Not only barren in my childbearing, but barren as a lover as well. I don’t have children or a husband, and so I really have no immediate blood family. Please, please, be sensitive to this barrenness in me. Please don’t tell me that I have done something wrong in not letting go, and the result of that shortcoming is my barrenness.”

I know that sounds pretty heavy, but it is how many of us feel at times.

In the very thick book of popular theology that is not actually in the Bible, a book I like to call “First Assumptions” , we have this formula:

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married. “

Most singles I have talked to have had this formula given to them in one way or another. Many of them dozens of times. Almost every time I mention writing my book on singleness, single people give me some kind of version of this story.

Most of us, when we first heard this formula as a young person, grabbed our journal and bible and went to a quiet place. We turned our sweet young faces to heaven with tears in our eyes and said “Lord, I let go. I give my husband to you.”

Do you know why we were saying this? Because we wanted a husband. And according to the formula, if you wanted a husband, you had to let go of him first. So we were letting go of him in order to get him.

Quite ironic, isn’t it?

But as years passed, when that formula didn’t work, we started cringing when someone told us we just needed to let go. We couldn’t put our finger on why it irked something deep inside of us, but it did.

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right. Married people, I know you probably never meant to make us feel that way, but it is the nature of that formula.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Job. Here is the formula we can get out of his story.

“Tragically losing everything+wife that is pissed+hideous boils all over your body+annoying friends telling you that you must have done something wrong to deserve this+being totally frustrated and not getting why you’re going through this+God’s booming voice telling  us humans that we don’t know nothing and He doesn’t fit in our formulas and boxes+ praising God even through horrible circumstances and singing “Blessed Be Your Name” = even more stuff than you had before.”

Sound familiar? (Except for the boils part, hopefully.) That story is one of the oldest in the bible. One of it’s lessons? Don’t make formulas. Meet Him, wrestle with Him, praise Him even when you don’t understand, but never, ever, put Him in a box.

As Donald Miller said, “As much as we want to believe we can fix out lives in about as many steps as it takes to make a peanut-butter sandwich, I don’t believe we can.”

My married friend Becca, who is incredibly dear to me, explained to me that married people don’t often have bad motives in their formula making. She said that when human beings don’t understand something, they make formulas. They want to feel like they are giving their friend some control over the situation. They even make their own life journeys into formulas. Sometimes we singles cling to the formulas given to us because we want some control over the situation as well.

I really appreciate that we had this conversation because it reminded me that  married people are not the enemy. They love us.

But out of love, I want our married friends to understand why these formulas are so hard for us to hear.

These formulas makes us feel like our being single has nothing to do with God’s will or our choices or the enemy or any other theory you have on why hard things happen.

It has to do with our lack.

We already struggle with feeling like we lack when we wonder why we haven’t been chosen. Please don’t cut that wound deeper.

This formula also makes us feel like our not being married  has to do with our relationship with the Lord, which evidently is wanting.

For most of us, our relationship with the Lord is the most sacred one that we have. Please, please, don’t criticize that relationship as well. Don’t tear down the one relationship where we feel loved and accepted. Even if you mean well, just don’t do it.

I think a good rule of thumb for both parties is to do less formula making and pat- answering and do more listening. Listening to what the Lord has to say, and listening to each others journeys with compassion.

Restrain yourselves from formulas. But don’t restrain yourselves from giving each other a hug. We probably both need one.

Be encouraged that we all have our own journey, and that all of our journeys our valid.

Christmas: The Great Reminder

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I thought I’d repost my token Christmas blog from last year. It is bittersweet reading this now because my dad has passed away this year. Even if Christmas was difficult at times like I mention, I really wish I could still spend it with him this year. Remember this when you are with family…even when it is hard, at least they are with you breathing and alive. That is a gift.

I have two days left of my campaign for my book. I don’t think I’m going to make my goal of 5,000 dollars, but I am only $300 away from $3,000. That would cover a lot of my costs and at least get the book into your hands. Preorder the book now! It will really help me out!

http://www.indiegogo.com/gettingnakedlater/x/1824239

Here is the post:

I really really want to like Christmas.

I try. I close my eyes and say “I have a good life, I have a good life, I have a good life. I like Christmas.”

But it is really really hard to be single at Christmas time. (I am so temped to make some kind of comment about being a “round young virgin.” but that is totally tasteless. And yet, I still had to sneak it in there.)

Did you know that Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children? Of course he is. Children make Christmas come alive. And so Christmas is often a reminder that I don’t have any. Christmas, for many of us, is the Great Reminder.

For the most part, I like the season of Christmas. I know, I know, Christmas trees came from some pagan tradition and Santa Clause was an invention of controlling money hungry co-ops, but whatever. God is the father of lights. He made those trees and he inspired those lights, and they are lovely.  Santa Clause was inspired originally by Saint Nicholas, a man who took very good care of the poor. In a way,  he inspired the whole world to give gifts to each other.  And so I like the beautiful trees lining Pearl Street where I live. I like that big jolly man that makes children full of anticipation and laughter and reminds us to give to each other.

I love people walking around and singing songs outside of your door. I mean, when does that happen? I would be shocked if a group of strangers came to my door in June and started singing Barry Manilow songs. But no one is shocked this time of year. Because this is the time of year where even strangers are supposed to be kind to each other. And I love that.

And yet, I often don’t like the day of Christmas. That day is the Great Reminder more than any other day of the year.  Sometimes I don’t know where to go. I don’t have my own tree or my own presents under them, because I don’t have my own children and husband to give those presents to. I could put up a Christmas tree just for myself, but that would be pretty depressing.

I used to go to my Dad’s house for Christmas. I love my dad, I really do. But he has never really liked Christmas. At all.  I am the kind of person that always wants to make holidays special. I really, really want to feel like a family. Because they’re all I’ve got.

Now, I usually go to my brother and sister in law’s house. I am very close to them, and I love their children to pieces. So I do have that. That is more than a lot of people have.

A few years ago. my sister in law’s fire dancing troupe needed to practice on Christmas Eve. We went in the backyard with a bunch of hand drums and played the most hippie dancing Christmas carols you can imagine. (We’re all wanna be hippies.) Our very own Christmas fire dancers swung their fire balls and fire batons against the crisp night sky with snow all around us.

That was a high point.

I mean, who gets fire dancers as a Christmas tradition? I do.  In fact, if I ever do have my own family, I’m going to keep that tradition up. “Come on kids, it’s time to wave flaming sticks at each other!”

I am reminded this season that I have a lot and I have a little. If I don’t focus on the a lot, I will be overwhelmed by the little.

I don’t want to end this post with a pat formula saying “if you just remember how wonderful Jesus is, you will forget your loneliness.” That’s not true. Those feelings of loneliness are real and they are difficult. God understands how hard it is. He knows that as of now he is not with us in the flesh. He understands that in this season of remembering the ones you love, sometimes you just want someone to hold you. To actually physically hold you. You want children to open the presents you gave them.  But there is no one to hold you. There is not the laughter of children that makes Christmas come alive.

And it hurts.

But I do want to end with this thought, something I have been thinking about a lot this season.

The chorus of a song I wrote a long time ago goes like this:

“Tell me the story again for the first time

A babe in a manger, who’s really the Savior of all mankind

Tell me the story again for the first time

The passionate God who would live and would die

All because of your love for me.”

Tell me the story again for the first time: The God who could not be contained by the universe came down to be confined to a little baby so that we could hold him close to our heart.

That is more than a story. It is the deepest story. The God who spoke the stars into place lived in that baby.  And he grew up in that confined space to be near to us. He died to be near to us.

That is the most beautiful love story there is. How could it get more beautiful?

It is the story that every other story comes from.

And on Christmas day, just for a while, I want to remember that story instead of how lonely I am. I want Christmas to be the Great Reminder that despite how hard this season is for me, I live in a story that is deeper than any other story.

And I am covered by love that is greater than any other love.

If You Can’t Marry ‘Em, Blog About ‘Em

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I have been in thirty three weddings.

I am not talking about how many I’ve been to, but  how many I’ve been in. I was a bridesmaid in some. I am a full time singer songwriter so I have sang and played in many more. Unfortunately, my job in these weddings has never been to walk down the aisle in a white dress. But I tell you what, if I ever get married, I will have lots of ideas to choose from.

Let’s just look at one wedding that I went to a few years ago that is a snapshot of my single life

Two of my dearest friends were getting married. It was a beautiful backyard wedding. Before the wedding started  I was talking to my friend Shannon, a very feisty, happily married 40 year old. This is what Shannon said to me that day, as she gestured towards my curled hair and perfect makeup  and my eggplant colored sleeveless dress that showed off my shoulders

“Kate, you look smoking hot. Too bad it’s just wasted. “

Most of you that are single are shaking the heads, putting this comment in the mental file called “insensitive things that married people say to single people.” Believe me, that mental file is chock full of comments people have made to me over the years , but this was not one of them. I  was not offended by this remark, because I knew that Shannon meant it as a compliment. What she was saying is “What the heck, Kate? You are wonderful person. I don’t understand why you’re still single. ” People say this to me often.

It is kind of a mystery to all of us.

During the wedding, I sang a love song that I wrote. My married friend Seth came up to me and said “Kate, in that dress, singing that song, any single guy here would want to dance with you. ” I felt very flattered. At the reception, thinking about those two comments as I was eating my chicken a la king, I started to feel very confident, brazen even. I was beautiful. Someone would want to dance with me.

I began to anticipate the dancing that was about to begin. One of those handsome single groomsmen would see me across the room and think “that was the girl who sang her song during the wedding. She fascinates me. I want to dance with her. ” He would walk up shyly and  ask me.  We would step out onto the dance floor and he would gently take my hand. Even that would give me butterflies, since no one has touched my hand in a long time. And then we would move together. Two peopled with different personalities, different weakness’, different strengths, moving as if they were one.

Maybe I would even fall in love.

The time came for the single men to ask the single women to dance.  I stood at the edge of the floor in anticipation like Cinderella at the ball.

No one asked me to dance.

Instead of feeling like the intriguing girl everyone wanted to dance with, I felt more like the Old Maid in that children’s card game- standing alone while everyone else paired up. I could have pulled out my knitting needles and my rocking chair right then and there. I wanted to say “Hey! Single guys! Over here! According to my married friends, this dress makes me look smoking hot! Doesn’t anyone want to dance with me?” I waited, hoping for a falling-in-love-worthy  song. Surely all those groomsmen were just being shy.

Sadly, the next song was anything but romantic. Can you guess what it was? I’ll give you one hint: it has nothing to do with wedded bliss and everything to do with an athletic club.

That’s right folks, the YMCA.

The YMCA seems to be a dance designed for people who can’t dance. A dance that you could do even if you were in a wheelchair.  If you are unable to learn the incredibly complicated 80′s dance that involves hopping up and down alone, you can at least fling your arms out to spell things. “Look at us!” we say. ” Who says we can’t dance? We are so coordinated! We can all spell out the letters for the Young Men’s Christian Association in perfect unison! “

I was annoyed, but I still I went out there and “danced” with all the other bad dancers.  More accurately I “spelled.” But I wasn’t in perfect unison with them. Instead of YMCA, I was spelling WPCD. A little secret joke between me and myself. White People Can’t Dance.  This has been a tradition for me at weddings ever since then. *

In the songs that followed, I participated in all of the traditional dances performed at caucasian majority weddings. You know, like the squat, the point and squat, the clap point point clap point point point clap point and squat, the hip breaker, the caucasian clap, the point to the Lord, and the fat rebel.

And finally, towards the end of the wedding came the dance I really wanted to participate in, even if it was reminiscent of awkward middle school moments;  slow dancing whities. **

But there would be no slow dancing for me. Not even in my smoking hot dress.

I wanted love, and instead, I got the white man’s overbite.

Seriously God? Seriously?

That night was kind of a snapshot of my life.  The reception started out with me eating at a table with dear friends and loving life.  I laughed. I felt accepted.  I was thankful. But then the dancing came and everyone took their partner . Another pair and another pair and another pair. I sat at the table and slowly ate my wedding cake, an important stance when you don’t want to look like you have nothing to do while everyone is dancing.  I tried really hard not to cry.

I don’t want this to be difficult for me. I want to be satisfied in who I am as a single woman. But when I look at those pairs dancing, no matter how hard I try to fight it,  I don’t feel smoking hot. I feel alone.

Married or single, it is one of our biggest fears to be alone. In a 2005 gallup poll on what people fear the most, the top fears were terrorist attacks, death, failure, nuclear war, and, you guessed it; being alone. All of desire three basic things: To be loved for who we are, to feel like we’re valuable, and to know that we’re not alone. And for some mysterious reason, all of us, married or single, have a really hard time knowing how to give and receive those things.

How do we find hope that is still hope even if it doesn’t end in a wedding dress? How can we prepare ourselves if we do get married? How can we be thankful for where we are today?  What can singles and married people learn from each other to help us cope with this journey? Is a life that has no intimate witness still valuable? If a traditional family never comes to us, are we doomed to loneliness, or can we build our own family?   Does God see me alone at my table, eating my wedding cake? Does He care? Does He feel the same way at times?

These are some of the questions that I want to explore in this blog. I love the thought of you going on this journey with me. Let’s walk fully clothed along this road together.

*I looked up YMCA and wedding on the internet as “research” and found this in Yahoo Answers:

Question: “Do fundamentalist Christians do the YMCA dance at weddings? It just seems like it would be the dance of the devil. Which village people singer do they like the most?”

Best Answer- chosen by asker “The Village People are a creation of Fundamentalist Christians, so yes. They like the construction worker best because the Lord likes hard work. “

Another not so popular answer was “Fundamental Christians prefer the Hokey Pokey, while pentacostals are hot for the electric slide.”  This is what happens when you do research on the internet.

**All of these moves and more can be seen on the youtube video “How To Dance Like A White Guy.”  Very scientific, incredibly accurate internet research.