“We Met Online”

17973931_10212995270139141_1678998254431073646_o.jpgI’m wonderfully in love.

I’m dating a man that is charmingly masculine, full of character, godly, gentle, quirky in the best sorts of ways, smart, and haaandsome!

I love talking about him and our compatibility and our relationship. I am very happy, and God is very good 🙂

However, I do feel like there is a little bit of a stigma when I mention to people that we met online. Maybe it’s just me-but I feel like there is an unsaid “weirdness” of this way of finding love.

I know I felt weird about signing up online late last year. It felt like “the last resort”. There were no men at my church, at work, in my friend group, or community-that caught my eye, and so I had to bite the bullet and go online. I heard that nearly 60% of relationships now start online, and since I believe God’s rule and authority touches even something like eHarmony, I gave it a shot!

AND I AM SO GLAD I DID!

I actually really liked online dating! It was a joy to be able to “refine” my search to men that are x,y, & z. The rejections I both handed out and received were easy to bear. And as someone who loves to communicate through written word, who is introspective, and a conversationalist-being known by someone through an online profile and subsequent dialogue wasn’t difficult.

My boyfriend and my communication is probably one of my favorite thing about our relationship. I feel magnificently understood and steadfastly pursued. I’m thankful for the foundation of communication and intentionality that meeting online aided us in establishing.

What about you? Thoughts on online dating? Experiences? Questions?

Much Love,

Betty

If You Bake It, They Will Come

Perhaps you know that allusion to the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” when the whispered phrase “if you build it, they will come” motivates a farmer baseball fan to plow his corn over in order to build a baseball field. If you don’t know the allusion-now you do 🙂

In inviting teens to events (which I do often in my job as a Youth Center Director at The Factory Ministries)-I often effectively get these awesome teens to come out to stuff when there is FREE FOOD. Who doesn’t love free food, right?! This morning, I have two teens coming to church with me that I promised breakfast to before we head into the service. It’s a joy for me to tell friends, students, co-workers, etc. “Hey! How about you come over to my place (or meet at IHOP) for breakfast (I’m thinking blueberry pancakes!) and then we’ll go to church together, you game?” Breakfast gives a casual, peaceful time to connect or relax their nerves if their anxious about church for whatever reason. It can be a time they ask questions, or a time just to laugh together-mark the day with joy-before heading into the service.

Consider these statistics from a 2014 article in Christianity Today:

  • 67% of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
  • 63% of Americans say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
  • 63% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member.
  • 56% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a friend or neighbor.

Even though this is a couple years old, I think the message is clear and still accurate. You’ve got a pretty good chance of getting a positive reaction to inviting someone to church! Many people long for community, are curious about the gospel and its effect in people’s lives, and miss going to church but are overwhelmed by the prospect of finding one and being the “new person”. God can use you to alleviate some of their fears and misconceptions!

Maybe baking scones isn’t your thing–find something that is! Inviting them to church is AWESOME, but inviting them into a friendship relationship is an imperative piece of the puzzle. Maybe you and your co-worker bond over tennis, or movies, or your kids–so maybe incorporate that into a Sunday after church activity that gives you the opportunity to be with them at church, and then process the service together over lunch, or time on a court, or while your kids swim, etc. etc. etc.

Bottom Lines:

  • Lovingly and kindly invite people to church-they often will come!
    • You have to know the difference church and the gospel makes in your life, so that this is a natural outpouring of the change in you
  • Don’t JUST invite them-be with them every step of the way
    • Things like: park here, I’ll be in the foyer, my family sits here you can too–can make the morning so comfortable and stressless for your visitor
  • Build a relationship with them through doing something else together
    • “Don’t invite people to church, until you’ve invited them into your home” can be a powerful line to help you remember that it’s not about church attendance- but about your investment in their lives.

The gospel travels best over bridges of relationship ❤ I encourage you to pray that THIS WEEK God puts someone in your life and on your heart to continue building a relationship with and invite them to church. Let me know how it goes 🙂

Love,

Betty

Ask Them Questions

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Last night, I had the opportunity to go over to a couple’s house for dinner. I provided a “Mistake Cake” Dessert (what was supposed to be a bundt cake, that turned into a trifle) they provided a delicious dinner , and we just chatted about life.

The conversation was delightful-topics including marriage, exegetical preaching, current readings, and the like filled our evening. Before we sat down to eat, I asked the Mrs. about how she was feeling about life right now.  I asked what she found most difficult, how each member of her family is dealing/processing with the current situations, and just listened to her story.

I didn’t think it strange to ask her those questions, because I care about her! I want to know how she is doing! But later in the evening, her husband said something about how rare it is that someone ask how SHE is doing. They have been in ministry for many, many years, and she has mentored many people. They have found that most of the time, the conversations circle around how the other person is doing. Far too infrequently, he said, is her life and struggles addressed and talked about.

Honestly, I was surprised by that.

But then I thought, perhaps that is normal for people in ministry, or who have a counseling heart. Perhaps they listen SO often, and give advice SO frequently, that others simply forget to ask how THEY are. And they deeply need ministered too as well!

So I guess all this to say, that when you are sharing your life and burdens with others, do not forget to also care for their burdens. Remember that their shoulders that help bear your pain, through strong, could certainly use a friend to bear their pains as well. 

This quote has been steadfastly on my heart and mind these last few months:

Loving

Listen. Love. Ask. Care.

Thanks for reading 🙂

When They are Hard to Love

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For the family member that purposefully pushes each of your buttons.

For the broken friend that speaks harshly in every circumstance.

For the co-worker who irks you.

For the neighbor you try to ignore.

For the person you struggle to love.

Pray.

Pray for them over and over and over again. Pray for their day and their heart and their circumstance.  Pray for their joy, their holiness, their faith. Pray for God to give you His eyes to see them, and His heart to love them.

Prayer may change them, but it will absolutely change you.

Checking Jesus Out at the Door

Don’t you hate it when you realize that you just checked Jesus out at the door?

No I don’t mean “oh hey Christ-looking good”-that’s just weird,

I mean when you ignore him-thinking something else will satisfy you more.

 

You talk to him, cry with him, learn of his goodness while sitting at his feet,

And then all of a sudden your cell phone rings, it’s time to go

There’s someone more important to meet.

 

And though you know He is the only one who truly knows you, and time ignoring him is a waste

You’ll spend hours of your day, living and thinking as if he doesn’t exist

Only when it’s convenient actually seeking his face.

 

And I hate this about me, and I’m sure you hate it about you.

Why can’t I embrace and live the reality of a relational omnipresent God

Instead of just being who I want to be and doing what I want to do.

 

I don’t want hours to go by when I don’t even think of Him.

I don’t want to make decisions or have conversations without His input

Thinking that my own worldly wisdom can do on a whim.

 

Because frankly, I’m an idiot. Forgetful, sluggish, weak-just to name a few.

And so when I depend on my own strength and understanding

I just make a mess of things or can never follow things through.

 

And every time I do that, every time he isn’t a part of my convo, evening, or plan

I know I’ve just squandered an opportunity to experience true delight and flourishment

Instead wasting heart and effort on what? The approval of sinful, mortal man?

 

So I have to constantly realign my sin-soaked, selfish heart, my wandering focus and  my gaze

And when I’m in the word, I have to plead to the Holy Spirit

to help me keep His glory and majesty present every minute of every day.

 

Because the truth is that the best, happiest, fulfilled we’ll ever be the side of glory

Is when we are steadfast in knowing, showing, devoting, delighting, proselytizing, obeying, appreciating, consecrating,

and resting in the beauty of our God and the grace of his gospel story.

 

(This poem started as a rap because I have a secret desire to be a rapper for  a day…but it is much harder than I originally anticipated! Also, I am rhythmically challenged so this little poem is just going to have to do!)