Trusting

Trustworthy people are vital to us. Think of the relationships you have and what you feel around someone you trust. I know that when I’m around my loved ones, I feel comfortable, secure, safe, and open. Ideally every relationship would look this way, family, friends, co-workers, and significant others. The reality is, many people can’t be trusted. Too many of us, especially young women, lie, gossip, and manipulate. Are these the actions of a trustworthy person? Are these the actions of a good wife?

Out of the three things listed above (lying, gossiping, and manipulating), lying is the easiest to recognize, understand, and stop. It’s the other two we re going to go more in depth with. Shall we start with gossip? I used to be a huge gossip girl, it was one of my worst character flaws. What made it even worse, was that I didn’t care I was hurting others, nor did I realize I was gossiping. There are often sins we don’t realize we are committing because we do them all the time. This is when a well formed conscience is vital. Gossip is always wrong and should be avoided because it not only damages our relationships with others, but also with God. Here are few tips to help you stop gossiping:

  • Pray: Ask God for his grace to show you when you are gossiping. Recognizing when you are doing something wrong is the first step toward making a change in behavior. Because this behavior has been part of your life for so long, you need the Lord’s gift of self-awareness and humility to recognize when you may be saying something unnecessarily.
  • T.H.I.N.K.: I’ve always been told to think before I speak. Unfortunately I’m not very good at that. I’m a bit of a talker and tend to ramble about non-sense. I also never really considered what I should be thinking about until I started working with children. I saw a picture on Pinterest that a preschool teacher was using to help the kids be nice to each other. It works with adults too: Before you speak, T.H.I.N.K.
    Truthful: is it truthful?
    Helpful: is it helpful?
    Intelligent: is what you are about to say smart and appropriate at this time?
    Necessary: is this comment essential?
    Kind: is this story kind to all the people involved (the speaker, the listener, and any third parties)?

When we take the time to run through this list, I found I talk a lot less about other people. Generally the Lord tugs at my heart when it comes to the necessary and kind. Try using this next time you want to talk about someone.

Now let’s talk about manipulation. It comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This is one I continue to struggle with. A few of the ways I tend to manipulate others is through puppy dog eyes, a soft smile, and baked goods. Because I have a history of unchecked manipulation, I may become one of those wives that withholds sex because my husband won’t take out the trash. 1 Corinthians 7 would strongly object to that. The thing of it is, what we practice as single women is what we will practice as married women. I praise God that he has shown me that I can be a manipulator now so I have time to correct my behavior before he chooses to bless me with a a husband. The biggest problem with manipulation is that it is extreme pride at its core. It is the thought that I need something from the other person so I’m going to do something to get it. I’m using people as objects for my own personal gain which is completely against God and neighbor. The love Christ calls us to cannot be found when we manipulate people. How do we combat manipulation? Here are a couple tips:

  • See God in others: We are all made in the image of God so search for him in the people around you.
  • Humble yourself: Before you do or say something, consider how you would feel in that situation. How would you feel if you knew you were being manipulated by someone, and used for their own personal gain, not to help you?

A man must be able to trust his wife in all things. He needs to know she won’t blab his personal information to the neighbors, she won’t spend all the money on new shoes, and that she isn’t trying to trick him. People often divorce because trust has somehow been broken. As single women, we have the privilege of growing more trustworthy before we present ourselves to a husband on our wedding day.

  1. Would your friends and family call  you trustworthy?
  2. Are you good with money and secrets?
  3. What can you do to become a more trustworthy person?

Challenge: Today, try THINKing before you speak.

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He’s Not Your Savior

One of the things I have observed in the relationships around me are unrealistic expectations. This can be said of both men and women but based on my position, I’m going to speak to women. We all have a God shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Him. The trouble with today’s culture is that we try to stuff that hole with other things, including guys around us. He isn’t your savior, Christ alone is your Savior. Don’t put pressure on him to do things he just can’t do or become someone he isn’t meant to become. He also isn’t a superhero. He will make mistakes, be selfish, and drive you nuts but all from a place of love. Therefore, out of love you should respect and honor him.

Now for my single sisters, if you are in a bad situation, don’t expect to find someone to rescue you. One of the reasons I have written several posts about being content is that I have seen the girls around me dissatisfied with certain areas of life so they are just waiting for Prince Charming to carry them away. I’m not throwing stones here, because I have done the same thing. God has placed a desire to marry on my heart so I can just wait for my husband, right? No! If I’m not happy with some aspect of my life, I need to change it, not wait for some guy to pull me out of it. He’s not God and he can’t work miracles unless he is being used by God.

Poor men have these dreams of salvation trust upon them. We expect Prince Charming to carry us away on a unicorn to our castle on a private island. That doesn’t exist. The truth is, we have to take responsibility for ourselves by trusting God and working hard. We have to support and love the men the Lord has placed in our lives and not discourage or belittle them when they make mistakes. God alone is God and men are men. Never get the two confused.

A Rare Treasure

When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad used to tell the boys, “There are girls you date and there are girls you marry. Never get the two confused.” It’s a pretty funny statement that rings very true. The woman worthy of marriage is hard to find, she is a rare treasure. The girls you date, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. There are plenty of those fish in the sea. I don’t think most of us think like this in our relationships. A woman of worth does not sleep with her boyfriends. A woman of worth dresses with modesty. A woman of worth, finds that worth in Jesus, not her dad, the culture, or her boyfriend. Do you see your worth through the eyes of God?

We, as women of faith desiring marriage, should conduct ourselves accordingly. Later we will see this woman who has worth beyond jewels is wise, compassionate, and steadfast. During this blessed time of singleness we should grow in virtue, diligence, and develop in our relationship with the Lord. To Christ, your worth is already beyond jewels, so throughout the next few weeks, let’s start viewing ourselves the same way. When we can see how Jesus sees we will live in a way that honors him and the people around us.

  1. Are you a diamond in the rough?
  2. Are you the kind of girl to date or marry?
  3. How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus and in virtue to prepare yourself for marriage?

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The Glue

During the consecration at Mass this morning, the Lord sparked a thought in my head: He is the glue in a marriage. I’ve seen pictures and posts online about godly marriages having Christ at the center. I knew this was a good thing, what should be the goal of all marriages. If Jesus is supposed to be the center of our lives, then of course he should be the center of the marriage. But today he spoke to my heart. He isn’t supposed to just be the center, he’s the glue.

It is through Christ that our relationships are successful. We are incapable of the true, deep, authentic love that is required in marriage while we are in our fallen state. But Jesus shares his love with us and through us. It is only in him that spouses are capable of the complete self-sacrifice that he displayed for us on the cross. The example is a vital component for teaching us to love, but the fullness of that love is found in Eucharist.

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross 2,000 years ago. He makes present for us that sacrifice at every Mass. I wonder how often couples who receive communion regularly get divorced. The Blessed Sacrament is the glue in our marriages. It is in it that we see love, sacrifice, joy, and peace. Frequent reception of Holy Communion should be at the heart of our relationships. We receive the graces necessary to live like Jesus when we receive him sacramentally.

I have noticed that some couples put other things between them. A lot put the kids in the middle. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is, eventually the kids grow up  and if the only thing Mom and Dad have connected on over the past 20 years is the children, then they’re going to have some trouble when the birds fly the nest. Some put TV, work, or the house in the center of their marriages but this probably leads to a lot of strife. Jesus is the only thing that should be between a husband and his wife. Only Jesus can pull them closer to one another rather than drive a wedge. Jesus will help couples move past their struggles while everything else will cover up, at best. Eucharist is like spiritual medicine, not just for our souls, but also for our relationships.

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Show Me Your Friends, I’ll Show You Your Future

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My spiritual journey started when I was in college. I observed people drinking, smoking weed, and having sex. I reached out to a Christian friend of mine that basically told me I need Jesus. That was the jumping off point that led me to the Church.

Recently I had been spending time with a nice young man. He is kind, compassionate, and sensitive. Our time together was precious to me because he was always so gentle and understanding, but also challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. Like most young women, I tried to take part in his life and connect with his social group. Now that the Lord has called the two of us to part ways, I’ve realized when the young man and his friends were together, they are like the friends I had in college.

In my opinion, drinking to drunkenness is a waste of time and engaging in erroneous bedroom activities is inconsiderate of one’s future spouse. I want to grow spiritually, intellectually, and physically through dialogue, books, movies, hikes, trips to museums and the theatre. These were not the folks for that; not to say they never did any of those things, it’s just what they did most of the time.

I am someone who wants to be married and have a family. I often look to the future (more than I should), and it impacts the choices I make in the present. I like to be around people that understand the long term implications of the decisions they make rather than only temporary distractions or satisfactions. I would like to be around people who know how to have healthy, productive fun most of the time. I am conscious of saying, “most of the time,” because I know people like to celebrate birthdays, holidays, bachelor parties, etc.

These behaviors were not fun or cool to me when I was 18, they aren’t fun or cool to me at 24. Although our time alone was spent doing things I enjoyed like hearing stories of his travels, walking in the woods with his dog, or going bowling, when he moved in with a friend, the chance of him partaking in activities that I didn’t enjoy, went up.

Now, I don’t think this was the reason we stopped spending time together, but hindsight is 20/20. I pray for him and his friends, that each of them lead happy, healthy, peaceful lives. I want nothing but the best for each of them, but I don’t think we are meant to be the best of friends. I don’t know what the future holds for any of us, but I want to work toward my dreams of traveling and goals of having a family. To do that, I must surround myself with people who feel the same way.

Have a sparkly day!

Safe With Me

For the past few months I’ve been seeing someone. Like all super cool millennials, we never identified what we were. I certainly got more attached than I should have, we are unevenly yoked. Every time we spent time together, I prayed our time together would be focused on good things, not sinful things. I am tremendously grateful to the Lord for keeping us from sinning against our own bodies.

One day I went into contemplative prayer about this young man. The Lord said to me, He is safe with you. It is hard for me know exactly what he meant, but I think about it a lot, especially since the young man and I have stopped seeing each other. I think I am/was close to true Christian love for him, closer than I’ve been to anyone else. To love someone is for them to be safe with you. So I thought I’d share some practical things about living in Christian love:

  1. I will pray for him. The definition of love is to will the highest good for another person. The highest good for all of us is perfect union with the one who created us. Above all other things I want for and from him, I wish he becomes the man God has made him to be and to develop a relationship with our Lord.
  2. I will keep his secretes. Sharing your heart with another person is far from easy. Trust is one of the most difficult and complicated aspects of human relationships. I am grateful he felt safe enough with me to share things with me. I will hold those secrets in my heart, just as I hold my own.
  3. I respect him. Although I don’t agree with everything he does, and there are times my selfish desires get the better of me, I will respect him. God loves us truly and part of that love is respect for us and the freedom to make our own choices. This is the reason bad things happen, the freewill of people. Well that’s a whole other post. Back to the point, I respect him and his choices, even if those choices are not my ideal scenario.
  4. I will tell him the truth. Love isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, contrary to what Hallmark movies and RomComs want us to think. There are times when the person we love makes poor choices or hurts our feelings. For this, I will tell him when he is wrong. We can only be held accountable for the things we know. If he doesn’t know how his choices can impact another person, he is likely to hurt someone else in the same way. Therefore, I will tell him when he is wrong. Whether or not he listens, is another story and goes to point number three.
  5. I will defend him. If I’m honest, he’s a pain in the butt sometimes. But contrary to what he wants people to think, he’s not a bad person. Many people say negative things about him  (including myself), but not anymore. I will defend him against anyone who says an ill, misinformed word against him. I know he is a truly beautiful person inside and out.

I am only human and there are times when my selfish desires to be with him get in the way of Christian love. Luckily, God gives me the grace to love truly and completely. When my moments of weakness arise, I pray and remember these things that make us capable of love.

3 Components of Courtship: God

The purpose of a courtship is to determine if the Lord is calling two people into the vocation of marriage with one another. So obviously, God has to be at the center of the relationship. Keeping the Lord at the heart of your courtship allows for greater discernment, trust, and appreciation for the other person. If Jesus is at the center of your life, and he is at the center of a young man’s life, then Christ will also be in the center of your courtship, and more importantly at the center of a marriage. Relationships and marriages today are tough to maintain and only by the grace of God can lasting marriages be made. You both need to know that your strength comes form the Lord and that it is he who brings two people together.
So what exactly does this look like in a courtship? Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith so attending Mass together would be a good opportunity to allow Christ into the heart of your relationship. Sitting next to each other and enjoying the Sacrifice of the Mass can bring two people together spiritually in a way that nothing else can. Not to mention, you can also discuss Father’s homily on your next date. Holy hours are also a great way to place Eucharist at the center of your life. Although, there is no talking in Chapel, there is an intimacy to be shared between the two of you and the Lord in quiet prayer.
Try going to church events together and reading spiritual books. These events can draw you guys into deep conversation about how the Lord is working in your lives as individuals and as a couple. Bible study I think is another great way to connect hearts. I have written a courtship bible study for you guys to get to know one another better. The link is below. Studying God’s word can reveal to both of you the importance God puts on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
You need to pray separately, with your families, and as a couple. Always remember that it is God who brings two people together, not family, not mutual friends, not common interest, Christ alone. And by his grace, the two of you will be able to discern his will in your lives and, if it is in his will, for the two of you to be together for the rest of your lives.

 

In the comments below, let me know what you think about courtship and God. Also, subscribe because tomorrow I will be hosting a linkup for all you bloggers. Thanks for stopping by and have a sparkly day!