Build the Cities

Have you ever read something many times and then something suddenly jumps out at you? And changes the way you think about things? I began reading a Beth Moore book this last week and the main passage is Isaiah 61:1-4. I wrote it out and highlighted the parts (italics here)  that she pointed out were part of Jesus job description, thinking that would be key to focus on, the things that God is going to do for me.

 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the LORD

for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:1–4

 

I taped it to my mirror and started reading it. But after several times through what jumped out at me were not the highlighted portions, it was the plain black section at the bottom. The parts that start with “they,” meaning, our part, not Gods. It doesn’t say God will rebuild the ruins, it doesn’t say he will restore the devastation. It says we will.

God’s part is to comfort and heal our broken hearts. God’s part is to set us free. God’s part is to give us joy instead of sadness. Once he has built us up, it is OUR job to build up the rest. We will be the ones to take the ruins and rebuild something new and full of life. We will be the ones to change the generational devastation. This is our job, not God’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, God plays a part. Obviously. He frees, and heals and strengthens us, without Him we would not be able to do a single thing. But once he has done his work in us, in our hearts, it is then our job to go out and do the work in our lives, in our families, in our world. To build the cities and bring him glory.

As this just hit me while reading the passage this week, I am still working out what exactly this means for me. What it is God is trying to teach me. But it seems, on the surface, that I should do less waiting for God to drop the perfect life in my lap and more creating of a life that will bring glory to Him who healed my heart and set me free.

 

 

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Alone

I have heard this sentiment so many times and in so many ways. I think it is wise and totally true and something everyone should learn. I thought this was a good version, and the painting is hauntingly beautiful.

10151416_675032745883776_2157172414783979823_nHowever, it makes me want to scream.

So much of this type of advice is presented as a formula: Learn how to be happy alone AND THEN you will find someone. When you don’t NEED someone anymore, THEN it will be the right time. When you stop looking THEN someone will come along. Well guess what? I am happy, I am not needy, and I have stopped looking multiple times…and NEWSFLASH: I am still single.

I have learned HOW to be happy alone. But it doesn’t mean I WANT to be alone. I WANT a companion. I want someone to go on adventures with, to share the wonder, someone to be the second driver on awesome weekend trips, someone to talk to at the end of the day, someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, someone to be honest with, someone to do the dishes at the end of the day when I have nothing left.

In the past 7 years I have been in one relationship and gone on 4 first dates, and exactly zero second dates. From each one I have learned something new about myself, or about what I want. Being divorced makes you realize idea of “The One” is ridiculous. I believe there are multiple people out there with whom I could have a happy successful marriage. And with each of those people life would probably look very different. I am not picky, but there are certain qualities that have to be there. I know what I want, and maybe that is the trouble. I don’t see the point in “dating” for fun when I don’t see it going anywhere. As a single mom my time is precious.

Somewhere near the top of the hard and awkward list is being a divorced, single mom and tying to date. The number one issue is time, how do I carve out time for myself? And when I can, do I really want to spend it awkwardly talking to someone I don’t know over coffee? But wait, I have to meet someone first. How am I supposed to meet people? And where? And with whom? My friends are mostly married with kids, so they don’t go out anymore. I don’t really have many single friends, because, you know, I have a kid. And on the rare occasion that I do go out I want to have fun, not spend my time figuring out how to meet people. And on top of all that I am just naturally awkward and probably would have no idea how to respond if someone was actually interested in me…much less know how to show that I was interested.

Everyone tells me I should do online dating. But I just can’t bring myself to do that. There is too much personal history relating to my divorce to make meeting people online seem ok for me. Someday I might be able to work past that, but not today.

So where does that leave me? Alone. Happy, self sufficient, and not looking too hard…but very much alone.