Category: faith

Are You Having a Blue Christmas?

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In this season of cheer, are you facing a life-altering hardship or major disappointment?

Despite the revelry, parties, and goodwill, are you facing a storm in your life that casts a shadow over all the celebration?

If so, you’re not alone. Dealing with grief can make you feel alone, even when others are grieving the same event.

In acknowledgement of everyone who will have a Blue Christmas this year, here’s a recap of some books I’ve reviewed that give an appropriate acknowledgement to how heavy and life-changing grief can be. You’ll see on the original post for each review that I received a free copy of each book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. (I’m receiving no kickbacks or any perks for mentioning these books again.)

Grief From a Break-Up: Kingdom Single by Tony Evans

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For those making a way forward after a broken relationship, Kingdom Single by Tony Evans could be of help. This book does not focus on how to find a new partner, but on how everyone has great individual worth. This isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but for singles who need to learn how to be alone, it could inspire them to develop themselves even without a partner. This book is appropriate for the younger, never-been-married crowd, not those who have been through a death or divorce of spouse.

Grief Over Anything: The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson

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This is an excellent book about grief because the writer has clearly been through it.  The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson doesn’t offer any fast solutions to grief, because there are no fast solutions to grief. This would be an appropriate grief book if you’ve suffered a career setback, job loss, illness, or illness of a child. She does not tell you what to do, but explains her own journey.

Grief Over Anything: Braving Sorrow Together by Ashleigh Slater 

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This is another great book from someone who shares her own grief journey. Slater also shares the grief journeys of others.

Grief After Widowhood: Where Do I Go From Here? Bold Living After Unwanted Change by Miriam Neff

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If anyone is an expert at grieving, it is someone who has survived becoming a widow. Miriam Neff turned her grief into a ministry for others that, like herself, lost a spouse. Where Do I Go From Here? Bold Living After Unwanted Change provides practical advice for those in grief.

Singles, How to Make the Most of the Time

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Have you ever thought about what it means to “redeem the time”? In Ephesians 5:16, we’re told to “redeem the time” (or, as some versions read, “make the most of the time”). Have you ever thought about how this could apply to your life if you’re a Christian single with a desire for marriage?

Waiting is hard. It can be painful, filled with hurt and discomfort. It can be filled with ambiguity. There can be tension in waiting. As Christians, we’re encouraged to “trust in the LORD” with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6), yet nowhere in the Bible are we given the promise of a future spouse. So, with confident expectation, we can do our part, and we can pray, but there’s that other part – the faith part- that means we have to hand over the reins and trust God that He will help with all the other parts in the process that we can’t control.

So what’s that got to do with our time, with redeeming the time or making the most of the time?

It’s my opinion that there’s a lot we can do while we’re waiting. If you’re praying and asking God to bring you a husband or a wife, or you’re asking God to heal your broken heart, I can’t make your prayers come true or fix your broken heart. However, I do think that waiting can be viewed as a time of preparation, rather than desperation. This can give us hope.

Waiting can be viewed as a chance to prepare for what we want – a future season of marriage. If you hope and want for marriage, you can take the opportunities now for making your single life the best that it can be. Don’t settle for dating people who don’t respect you, just because you’re alone. Don’t buy the idea that you are “less than” because you’re not in a relationship. Don’t accept the idea that you have to be in a relationship – you don’t.

You can give yourself some power if you feel uncomfortable with the unknown. I think that being single can give great opportunities for positive change. Focusing on these things while you’re single can allow you to experience blessings in your own life. And, if you get the marriage you’re praying for, the results of these changes could bless your future spouse as well. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Redeeming the Time Financially

If you’re single, why not consider the state of your financial house? If you don’t have financial goals that you’ve thought about, now’s the time to think on it and go for it! Big goals like saving for a house, paying down student debt, building an emergency fund, or being able to give to a charity you have a soft spot for – these are all things you can enjoy doing while you’re single. While you don’t have to stop these things when you get married, being solo means that you’re number one with no one else to answer to. Since I’m single, I expect that if I ever get married, that kind of “Me Only” mentality that I have with my finances would not make for a successful partnership. Having a husband would mean the game would have to change from “me” to “we”.

Redeeming the Time, At Work

Some girls have only one goal in life: get married, have kids, and be a stay-at-home mom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having that goal. Motherhood is a high and noble calling. Partnerships of families where the mother is home with her young kids, and the kids feel safe and secure – these partnerships can create good kids who grow up to be good people. If this is your goal as a woman – to find a partner, get married, and be a homemaker – how can you redeem the time to that end? I don’t think that eliminates doing your best at a job outside the home. Being able to contribute financially can be an asset to your future household. Ruth, in the Bible, is an excellent example of this. Her second husband, Boaz, would never have met her had he not seen her work ethic displayed when she was gathering food.

Being single can be a great time to accomplish goals and acquire skills that can serve your family, regardless of your parenting plans. I probably never would have been able to finish my college education had I not been single when I was going to school. If I was a working mother with kids to care for, it would have been impossible. I couldn’t have done it; it would have been too much.

For men and women, being single is the perfect time to tackle time-consuming goals. What might you accomplish? Have you been thinking about going back to school, getting an extra certification, learning a new language, or going for a promotion at work? Being single gives you more time to take the steps you might need in order to advance your career before your family needs more of your attention.

Redeeming the Time, Just for Fun

Not everything has to be serious! Some things can be just for fun. Have you thought about starting a side hustle, going mountain biking, starting a website, or learning how to cook? Have you binge watched anything stupid lately, ate breakfast in bed, or re-decorated your bedroom? Would you enjoy doing a service project or clearing out some clutter, Kon-Mari style? Not everything has to have a goal – some things can be just for fun – and when you’re single, you get to be the boss!

I hope that wherever you are in your life, you can find a way to make the most of the time and enjoy it! You’re worth it!

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How to Study the Bible When You Don’t Have Time to Study the Bible

Do you study the Bible on your own? Maybe you’ve been told at church that you need to have Bible study as a family, or that you need to read the Bible on your own, or that it’s good to be able to read through the Bible in a year, but honestly, just between you and me, are you on a plan of studying the Bible?

I won’t lecture you here because I know how things are.  Some seasons of life are more…