Advice for a Future College Student

As most know, I’m about to graduate college. And although this moment is bittersweet for me, I can look back on this experience, and I can tell you that I’ve learned more than I ever imagined possible. I learned more about myself, my relationship with God has been tested, and I”ve come out stronger thanks to my college experience. I could tell you a million things all future college students need to know before they pursue this adventure, but I’ll limit this to just 5 of the most important things I learned while I was in college.

5. You are now responsible for yourself. 

Yep, that’s right. You are now the one who decides when you go to bed, if you do homework or not, if you go out on a date with that cute individual that asked you out, and you are even the one that decides if you go to church on Sunday morning or not. I say this all to say that your parents are no longer responsible for the decisions you make or the consequences you face for making those decisions.

I say this knowing that most of you had many decisions made for you. And whatever decisions you made, regardless of if they were the right choice or the wrong one, you very rarely received the full consequences of those choices. Sure, you got grounded or maybe even had to pay to fix the bumper of your car, and some of you were probably forced to go to church on Sunday morning regardless of if you wanted to or not, but now all of those decisions are up to you. For the rest of your life, you can do whatever and whenever, and listen to me when I tell you, you will want to make God a priority in your life. I’m not saying you need to be in church every Sunday or you’ll be damned to hell by any means, but you will need God to help you navigate through this transition period of your life, and you can’t do that if you shut Him out.

4.  It is okay to not know it all.

I remember when I started college, I thought I knew everything plus some. And I soon came to realize that I didn’t know it all, and that it’s okay. I’m not just talking about school work either, but I’m talking about the big stuff, you know, like figuring out who you are. See, you think you know who you are, what you’re meant to do, and there are a few fortunate ones that know all of this exactly, but if you are anything like me, you have no idea. College was the time I took to learn who I truly am, and what all I stand for.

Living in my household, I won’t say that it was hard to have different opinions on different subjects such as political views, but it wasn’t easy. It’s hard to go against all you know. I lived in a small town with many people believing the same thing, and I didn’t know there were different kinds of people until I left home and went to college. I learned more about the differences of people within my college years than I ever did in my first 18 years of life. With that being said, there was a good bit of stuff I didn’t know, but college was the time for me to learn about them. And I still don’t know it all, but that’s okay. I’ll learn what I need to know in time.

3. Your parents still know a lot more than you think they do.

Most young high school seniors won’t admit that their parents know a lot, and back when I was a high school senior, I wouldn’t either. But as I started college I learned very quickly my parents knew better than I did most times. When I first moved out, I would call my mother for virtually everything from what kind of laundry detergent I should buy to random dating advice. And I can still say, my mother knows more than I do.

I learned throughout college, that although I didn’t need my mom’s financial help too often, I still needed her for other things. She helped me make important decisions just by listening to me, and giving me advice. And sometimes, I think this is why God gives us parents. They aren’t there just to give us embarrassing sex talks and show horrible baby photos to new boyfriends, but rather to help guide us on the next chapters of our lives. I know my mother will always know more than me, and for that, I will forever be grateful to have her.

2.  College is full of challenges; this is the time you either turn to God or run from Him.

Now this one is hard for me to discuss. I can say once I moved out of my mother’s home, away from her rules, I went a little crazy. I did not know what to do with the freedom. I went to parties, made new friends, and did many questionable things. For the first two years of my college career, I can say that I was less strict on myself about spending time with God, and I, in all honesty, threw God to the side. I always said I would work on my relationship with Him later. And this thinking caused the Lord and I to grow apart, for me to fall apart. When I started attending my university, living in an apartment on my own, I hit rock bottom.

Although I had great grades and amazing friends, I wasn’t happy. I was doing things that weren’t right. I was dating the wrong guys, and I knew I was slipping away and the devil was winning. I found myself faced with challenges that I had no idea how to deal with. I found myself in situations that I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be in, and it took me a while to realize that God was calling for me, but I was refusing Him. And it took me a while after I realized this to open the door God was knocking on.

But once I did, things got better. I was no longer placing myself in situations I didn’t want to be in. I wasn’t allowing myself to be unhappy with who I was, and that’s all because I chose to listen and work on my relationship with God. And let me tell you, if you one day find yourself in that situation, the Lord will and does fight for you, everyday. All you have to do is lean on Him and let Him help you.

1.It is okay if you have no idea what your purpose is when your college ride is over.

I’m fixing to graduate, and let me tell you, I have no idea what I’m called to do with my life. I started my studies in my degree for a career I thought I wanted to do, but throughout this last year in my college career, I’ve questioned if this is what I am called to do. And in all honesty, I still don’t know. And that’s okay.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. 

You will face many challenges, and you will sometimes wonder if you chose the right  career path for yourself, and it is okay to question it. Just remember, the Lord has a plan, and sometimes it may not be what you wish for, but it will be beautiful and wonderful for you.

Enjoy your college years, because they fly by fast. You will learn more about yourself than you imagined possible, and you’ll make memories that you’ll be thankful for. It will be an amazing journey, and just remember, God will always be with you.

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What All I Learned This Election Season

Well you guys, it is over.

The election has come to a close, and we have a new President-Elect, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

And before I continue on, let me just say that this is an election that will go down in history as one of the most shocking results ever.

And this won’t be recorded in history just because there were shocking results, but also because Donald Trump’s campaign manager is the first female to ever run a successful presidential campaign. So congrats to you, Mrs.  Kellyanne Conway.

So, I guess now it’s time for me to get the good food recipes back on my Facebook newsfeed. #hopefully

But throughout this election, I’ve seen people show their true colors. And to be honest, it’s a little sad. I’ve seen people be degraded, humiliated, attacked, etc. all because they support one candidate or another.

And no, this is not a post designed to tell you how you should have voted. Your vote is your right, and I would never tell anyone how to vote, but what I will say is that before you cast your vote, I hope you prayfully considered your choice.

But, as I’ve walked away from this election season, I’ve learned a thing or two.

#1: Honesty is always the best policy.

No matter if you’re a senior in college, a 30 year veteran, or running for the greatest office in the land, the truth matters. Lying covers things up for a little while…but the truth always comes out. Regardless of how you feel about it.

#2: Everyone loves a good scandal.

From Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails to Donald Trump’s All Access Hollywood Tapes, these campaign were full of scandal and mud slinging. And these scandals ruined the images of both candidates in my opinion. Donald is viewed as a racist pig, while Hillary is seen as an untrustworthy individual. Both are not good images we wanted the world to see as possibilities of our newest leader, but here we are.

#3: What we put on the Internet is something that lasts forever.

Yes, I’m talking to you, Donald Trump. I’ve seen your tweets. And Hillary, I’ve seen your shady communication skills…but it’s none of my business.

But in all seriousness, for my Facebook friends who have posted some crude, vile things as comments to someone who supported the candidate opposite of you, just know it’s there forever. Even with this cool thing called a delete button, it still manages to be somewhere on the Internet. Remember that next time you try to hit the ‘reply’ button on your Facebook page.

#4: Never underestimate the power of a good slogan.

Seriously, for days, all I’ve been thinking about is, “Make America Great Again,” and, “Stronger Together.” So, I know if you didn’t walk away from a night of politics with anything else, you at least knew a good slogan.

#5: Hate solves nothing.

I have seen more friendships destroyed in this election due to hatred. Trump supporters bashing Clinton supporters and vise versa has happened this whole election, and some of it has been the most crude crap I’ve ever read. That’s all I can say. But where did the hatred lead us? NOWHERE.

In fact, if I’m being honest here, I could say that people based their votes on which candidates they hated less. When is that EVER acceptable?

Bsut now, here we are: over half the nation pissed off because Mrs. Hillary R. Clinton is not our President-elect while the other half couldn’t be anymore thrilled that our President-elect is Mr. Donald J. Trump. And most of the ones who are happy with the President-elect are telling those that aren’t happy to pack their bags and move to a different country. And then the people who are pissed about the President-elect are saying they won’t respect our next President. But you guys….it’s not that serious.

And it may just be because I live in the South, but the amount of racist comments that have been stated since this election are ridiculous! Like, what happened to voting on policy? Or better yet, what happened to not discussing how you voted at all? I miss those times…and I’m young. Like young enough to not remember what it was like to not discuss who you voted for.

But anyway…

#6: Our role models sometimes forget they’re role models.

This is most definitely for Hillary and Donald. Both candidates exhibited vile, inappropriate, and inexcusable behavior. They’ve both demonstrated behavior of what not to do. And that, well, its just not a good role model. I hope and pray that as both move away from these campaign, they each find ways to become the role models these children deserve. And for the time being, both candidates have been humble since the results. And that’s a great thing.

#7: Life is always full of curveballs.

This whole election has been full of curveballs. If you would have asked me back in January who I thought would be the Republican nominee, I would have told you either Marco Rubio or Dr. Ben Carson. But never Donald Trump. And here goes the curveball. The curveball named Donald J. Trump. And now, he’s going to be the 45th President of the United States.

And to say that Donald J. Trump is our next President is a curveball in itself because if we were all honest, we’d say that we all thought Hillary R. Clinton had it in the bag. (And I’m not saying that you wanted her to win, but think long and hard for a second, most Republicans were nervous on election night.)

#8: No matter who is President, God is still in control of this country.

God has never left me or failed me, and He’s never left this nation. There is a reason why Donald J. Trump won the election. I have no clue what that is, but I know it will one day be revealed to us all. Like I’ve said time and time again, I have to trust the Lord and His plan because that plan is better than any plan I could have for myself. I believe the same goes for this nation. We have to trust the Lord’s plan for this nation even though it may be different than what some of us wanted.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”-Isaiah 43:2.

So I leave you with this, this election was one that will go down in history for my children and their children to learn about. I know most are not happy about the results, but we, as a nation, have to find peace in this and make the best of it. We cannot become unified if we refuse to work together. If Donald and Hillary can set aside their differences to work for the better of this country, we citizens should too.

Peace.

 

Feelings.

Facebook is the only way I keep up with people all around the country. I see political debates, photos of friends, statuses, memes about being a crazy cat lady, engagement and wedding announcements, and of course, baby announcements. You never know what you’ll get every time you open up Facebook. Will I burst out laughing, cry, or do the serious, almost left my eyes in the back of my head eye-roll? Just spin the wheel, you’ll get something.

But sometimes, Facebook can catch me off guard, like it did last night.

A photo. One photo of my best guy friend that I’ve wanted to be more than a friend for years. We’ve never had that friendship full of romantic undertones, but I’ve been in love for a while now.

But this photo had me at, let’s just say, my jaw is still on the floor. Feel me?

But I’ve given up on being with this guy after I got the beautiful you’re my very best friend and I’m so thankful we’re friends text message that just let’s you know you’re #friendzoned forever. So my feelings have been moved to the “will never happen” part of my brain right beside my thoughts of Martin Henderson and Patrick Dempsey.

And I’ve written about him a good bit, mainly of my hoping of wanting what can never be.

But this photo struck a longing in my heart…but before you get the wrong idea, it wasn’t that kind of longing.

But it’s a longing to have someone to love, or even more so someone to love me. I’ve come to the realization that I have a lot of love to give, and I want to give it to someone who can love me back with all of my dark and twisty being.

And I’m not one to cover up my feelings, but I’ve been hurt enough to know that I can’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I like to wear the strong face, and let people think that I have it all together, which to be quite frank, I don’t. But why not let people think I do?

But sometimes, when no one I know is around, while I’m swimming through the sea of humanity on the Ole Miss campus, I like to allow myself to just feel.

I turn on my jam (How to Save a Life by the Fray), run, and cry a little bit. And I can’t lie, it feels really good to just let go for a little bit.

But during my run last night, I came to some realizations in my own life.

I have a hard time trusting God’s timing. I can be open and honest about this one. And my doubts about God’s timing have become worse since my sister’s engagement. She’s getting married and about to start a family of her own, and I can’t even find the one my soul is supposed to love. And don’t get me wrong: I hate questioning God’s timing because I know I’m supposed to have faith in Him and His plan, but this is where I fall short in my faith.

But God has the right man for me out there somewhere. God has someone out there for me to love that can love me back. Every deep, dark and twisty flaw I possess. Someone who can love me the way love is spelled out in 1 Corinthians. For a while, I was in a dark place. Unable to truly love someone else, unable to let someone love me. But over this past year, I’ve grown. I’ve decided to spend my time working on me. I’ve been answering the question “Who am I, really?”

Because I began writing a blog, I’ve been able to work through a lot of things I’ve held on to. And I won’t say that I’m done, because I’m not, but I’m getting there.

Last year’s Jayme was no where near ready for love, but this year’s Jayme is, and God will send the right man to me in HIS time, not mine.

No man will solve the deep longing in my heart. The deep longing I have in my heart is for a spiritual connection, and the only person that can feel that longing is Jesus. 

An earthly man can provide satisfaction for my relational desires, but the only one who can feel my deep longing for love is Jesus. So while I am still impatient and want to show a man love and affection, get married and have all his children, the man I should give that love to first is Jesus. I need to spend my time as a single woman devoting my time working on my relationship with Jesus.

And I realized that it is okay for me to be angry with God and His timing. No, I can’t be mad everyday. But it is okay to cry for time to time. Acknowledge that these emotions exist, feel them, and move on.

And maybe, just maybe, I should keep away from Facebook and Instagram for a little while because let me just say that photo has me well…I’m still drooling.

It isn’t my job to rush God and His process. He is shaping me to make me able to accept love from someone else. It is my job to trust and to not get all carried away with the hottie that is on my newsfeed.

So for now, I will continue to work on me and my relationship in Christ. And wait on the love that I deserve. The love God has planned for me.

The Missionary Dater

I learned something about myself the other day.

Allow me to set the stage for you.

Thursday night aka Thirsty Thursday. I’m out with all my friends, because after a long week, who doesn’t love a good drink. With that being said, let me just say I’m not a drunk, but I am a social drinker, and I only have 3 drinks, whether its beer or a vodka/sprite. Because I know my limit…and well, I believe in maintaining my dignity.

As we are all enjoying our drinks, talking and laughing about the past week, I began discussing the guy I had met and gone out with within this past week. Of course, I thought this guy was pretty great. Except for the fact that he was not a Christian. But that was okay. I could help him find Jesus soon enough. Of course, as soon as I said this my good friends all look at me like I’m slightly off my rocker.

Then, one of my sweetest friends, announces that I’m a #missionarydater. I mean its even mentioned in our group text message. It’s become a running joke.

But anyway. I couldn’t believe I had said this. It was like uncontrollable word vomit. Word bullets as I call them. But why?

I had become one of those girls. You know the one. The girl who honestly believes that she can change a man.

Can I just say that once I made this realization, a facepalm moment occurred.

I mean seriously, Jayme. Like seriously.

And this thought has sat with me for a week now. The moment I became labeled as a #missionarydater has replayed like some horror movie in my head. Over and over.

It replayed in my head while I was sitting in church. Church, y’all! The time I should be paying attention to my Reverend and listening to the beautiful voices of the choir, I’m stuck in my own head listening to myself admit that I’m a missionary dater. Then, during the middle of the closing prayer, it dawned on me. Is this really what I want? That I want to date someone that is broken to fix them? 

And that afternoon, I spent a long afternoon taking a deep look at myself. Future spoiler alert: what I found was quite ugly.

I have always told myself that I do not deserve to be with anyone who is all “put together” because well, I’m simply not. I have no idea what I’ll being doing in a year. No idea where I’ll be living. No idea what kind of job I’ll be working. No idea if I’ll be in a Master’s Program at a university somewhere.

The uncertainty of all of this has made me question whether I should start a relationship with someone because who wants to start a relationship if I might have to move in a year?

But there’s a plot twist: I don’t want to be alone. I’ve always said I would be better off alone because if I fall in love with someone, and it all falls apart, I’m afraid I might not make it. It had nothing to do with my happiness. I just always thought it would be easier to be alone. (Yes, I can say that I sound so much like Meredith Grey it hurts sometimes. Meredith Grey= a fictional me.)

But that’s beside the point. I fed myself with these lies that love is something I cannot survive.  I also fed myself with the lie that I do not deserve someone who has it all together.

I learned that in order to stop the missionary dating and gain the love I deserve I have to stop feeding myself  these lies and replace them with the actual truth.

And of course everyone has a different truth, but my truth is simple: I deserve a “put together” guy who can love me for me, and that I can survive if things do not work out.

So let’s fast forward to Thursday, September 29, 2016, weeks later, and I’ve realized something- I’m a missionary dater because I do not believe that I deserve any better.

So, maybe its time for me to redefine my dating criteria. Maybe it’s time for me to stop settling.Or just maybe I need to realize that missionary dating will get you nowhere.

There are problems with missionary dating:

1) I cannot save people who do not want to be saved.

2) People will not change for you, they will only change for themselves.

Trying to convince someone to love Jesus just because they are in a relationship with me will never be okay. I know God said, “Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15) but I don’t think he meant to do this by being a serial dater. And I’m not telling non-Christians that they can’t date Christians. All I mean by this is dating someone in order to make them one day love Jesus will not work. It just won’t. People have to want to know Jesus in order for that to happen. And no one can do that for another person. It just can’t happen.

So today, I choose to be honest with myself. Thanks to my good friends and the realization they have offered me, I have to end things with McCutie. Which is for the best.

Anyway…I hope you all enjoy Thirsty Thursday as much as I do.

 

Desires vs. Needs

I remember as a child my mother would always fix my plate for supper. It wasn’t because I couldn’t fix it myself, but it was because I couldn’t reach the dishes on the counter. She would always say, “Say When!” to tell her that we had enough. Of course, a child’s eyes are almost always bigger than their stomach, and we always got too much. My mother would aways say as I was getting ready to put my plate away, “Why didn’t you tell me when to stop. You knew you weren’t going to eat all that.” I got to thinking about this every single time mother asked, and I came up with this answer. I wouldn’t say when because they’re something about the possibility of more. We always want more. More tequila on Tuesday nights, more love, more anything. More has always been seen as better. More gives us hope for something better. More gives us faith to believe in something.

But what is the meaning of life if we are never content? What is the point of living if all we want to do is find more? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking here lately, and I’ve realized, I’m not content. I haven’t been content with myself and who I am for a long time. I keep finding myself looking for more. I want to be more than what I am now. I want to have more than what I have now. And in some areas in my life, I believe that is okay. But in others, well not so much. I’ve been studying into my Bible more and more here lately as I’ve found myself looking for some direction to help find my way. I came across Proverbs 14:30 which says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots to the bones.” This verse has resonated with me for a couple of days now, and I believe that I can not be content in my life with who I am if I continue to envy other people. Yes, I have a dream of being a wife, mother, amazing officer, teacher, Ph.D. holder, but I cannot get there if I continue to be jealous of others and what they have.

I cannot be another person. I cannot live through another person. I mean, I guess I could try, but it would not be nearly as satisfying. The Lord gives us enough. It is hard for me to see right now, I will not lie about that, but I have to understand that right now I am enough. I have enough. I cannot find “the one my soul loves,” if I cannot learn to be content with myself and what God has provided for me right here, right now.

So I guess there is something to be said about the glass being half full. There is something about knowing when to say when. We have to know that our wants and desires may not be the things we NEED right now. Sometimes, what’s being poured is something that you need a taste of right now, maybe it is something that you need to enjoy a bottomless bottle of, or maybe, just maybe that bottle isn’t meant to be opened yet. All I know is that once we stop desiring more, we may learn to enjoy what’s in our glass now. And who knows, maybe the wine in the bottle is the best thing you’ve ever tasted.

Coming from a Broken Home

I was told when I was younger I came from a broken home. That what they used to call it when you had divorced parents, even though their divorce was the least broken thing they ever did for themselves and for their children. When I heard this as a seven-year-old, I wondered if a broken home was where broken people lived. I know it was a silly thought, after all, I was seven. But as I’ve grown, I can’t help but wonder.

What constitutes a home? I grew up with the misconception that a home and a house were the exact same thing, and by all definition, they both represent where a person lives. But a house, well that can be made out of anything. You can make it out of brick, logs, even mud if you want. You can make it as strong or weak as you want. Now a home, a home is much more fragile. A home is not some structure that keeps you safe at night. It’s so much bigger than that. A home is made by the people you feel it with. Of course, people can be broken, but any college student knows that what’s broken can be mended, I mean just look at my GPA. What’s hurt can be healed. It is not impossible, it just takes time.

Time…there’s that word again. I hear this word over and over, that my time to meet my soulmate is coming, that God’s timing is much better than my own, and I won’t deny that. I can’t deny that. I’ve seen God’s timing work wonders. I believe my mother knows exactly what I’m talking about as she met my J-Daddy in a Lowes while looking at lawn mowers. But time. Time heals almost any wound. Time helps mend the broken and heal the hurting. Time causes “broken homes” to become so much more than broken.

I’ve learned to resent that term, “broken home.” Adults used to apologize to me when I was younger when they realized I had divorced parents. But what about that is broken? Why is divorce seen as a dirty little word that no person should even think about? Why is divorce seen as the worst thing to ever happen in a child’s early life? I can honestly say that divorce is not some dirty word. Divorce is seen as a good decision and the start of the healing process in my family’s situation. I say this because my home was “broken” before the divorce process even started. Divorce helped my family heal.

So if a home is made by the people you feel it with, I can say my home is definitely not broken. My home is filled with 4 wonderful parents, 4 great siblings, a sister-in-law, and 2 beautiful little nieces. So I ask again, how is my home broken?

I won’t lie to you and say my home has always been peachy, but I’ve learned that no matter how dark a home gets, the sun is going to rise again. My home may not be conventional, heck, it’s probably 100 shades of weird, but the sun’s shining bright, and I know I am enjoying this sunlight.

Moments that Last a Lifetime

I had a conversation with my (step) daddy one time that has stuck with me and has been at the forefront of my mind for these past few weeks. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and we were discussing my life dreams, school plans, and random facts that he and I always shared. Many times my J-Daddy and I did not see eye to eye, but we had many heart to heart conversations that I will always cherish and hold on to.

J-Daddy and I began discussing my grades and how important it was to keep them up in order to have an opportunity to go to whatever school I wanted. I told him that Southern Miss was the school that I wanted to go to in order to pursue a degree in music education. Of course his response was simple, “Baby, I will not wear that nasty gold color for anyone else but you if you decide to go there, but I’m sure by the time you start applying to colleges, Ole Miss will be where you’ll want to go.” Of course, I laughed, knowing good and well it would take more convincing than he would want to do to get me to do anything he wanted. We talked more about school, and after a few minutes, I switched subjects from school to relationships.

At 14 years old, I was the definition of “boy crazy,” and J-Daddy knew that very well. I began discussing how I wanted my wedding to be, the kind of dress I wanted to wear, the ugly bridesmaids’ dresses I wanted to wear, who my bridesmaids and Maid of Honor would be, and who would walk me down the aisle on my big day. He listened as I told him every single detail of how I wanted my big day to be, and when I was done he said,

“Jayme, life will throw you curveballs. The friends you have now may not be the friends you have in the future, and that’s totally okay. But I hope that when the time comes and a man asks me for your hand in marriage, that he’s prepared to understand that in my eyes, he’ll never be enough for me. He’ll be a good man because you have a good head on your shoulders and you have good judgement. You will always be one of my babies, even though you are not biologically mine, you are mine.” I did not quite understand what he meant, and he knew that I had questions.

“You won’t understand now, but as you grow, you will. There will be times when your heart will be broken by some young man, and there will be times when you break a young man’s heart because you know he is not your one. It is a part of life, and one day, you’ll understand. Live your dreams, reach your goals, and the rest will fall into place after time. Just know that your mother and I will always be here for you, and that no matter what dumb crap you do, we will always love you,” he added. I just nodded my head and told him that I understood.

Today, he is no longer here to give me the great advice he always did back then. My dreams have changed as I now desire to be a law enforcement officer, and I did not attend Southern Miss, but I did attend Ole Miss (as my J-Daddy said I would). I only have a few of the same friends I had when I was a freshman in high school, and I appreciate them more than I ever imagined I would. My wedding day will never be the way that I pictured it to be when I was a freshman in high school, and that’s okay. My J-Daddy will not be there to walk me down the aisle in my beautiful white ballgown, but he will be there in spirit if it happens. I know that no matter how many mistakes I make, I have my amazing mother, sister, brother, and David behind me holding me up to make sure I don’t get lost in it all.

I have learned that life’s curveballs can make or break you at times. The curveballs teach you to enjoy every single aspect of life, to love God more, and to start loving more people better. I have come to understand what my J-Daddy meant within our conversation on that late October evening in 2009. That conversation has taught me more within this life than I could have ever imagined.

Dear All Single People

It’s no secret that I have been single for a while now, and it is no secret that I am a slight loner. I was in a relationship with the one I thought I’d marry for a year and a half, and I did enjoy the companionship I had with that person. I won’t lie to you, some days, I do miss it, while other days, I know it ended for the best. I will admit that I miss having someone to go on random road trips with and be silly with. But as I’ve said, I’ve been single for a while now, and I would like to share some of the amazing things I have learned with all of the single college girls and guys out there watching every other person fall in love/ get engaged/ have families/ whatever else it may be.

1.You Are Fine.

So many people believe that something is wrong with them because their relationship failed and they aren’t dating in college. First, the relationship not working out is not all your fault, and do not think it is. You are worthy of love, and many people just grow apart. It happens. Relationships end for all sorts of reasons, and it is okay if it doesn’t work out. It is okay if the one you felt was your future turned out to be your dead end. God had a plan for that relationship in your life, and trust me when I say all relationships teach you something about yourself. Relationships teach you to love another person for their imperfections, to make up with another person after a fight because you care more about them than being right, and it teaches you how to place another person’s wants and needs above your own. If you aren’t dating in college, that is no one’s business but your own. Date if you want, focus on school if you want. Just because you don’t date doesn’t mean you are messed up. It just means that you have your priorities in order, and you know your self worth.

2. Respect Yourself.

The worse thing you can do to yourself is not love yourself. Your body is yours to do what you want with it. Do not sell yourself short just to keep your guy around. If you have to give away pieces of yourself for someone to love you, then they will never love you. Remember that.

3. Do Not Settle

Waiting around for a guy that will love you for who you are and not what you look like in a little black dress may suck, but I can tell you when Mr. Right does pop into your life, you’ll be glad you didn’t settle. You will thank yourself for not wasting time on someone lower than the expectations you have set for yourself. Someone lower than your standards will not fill that void in your heart. They may be fun, but they are not forever, and in fact, they will cause you to lose yourself. You, are a smart individual, find someone who will push you to accomplish your goals and live your dreams with you. Trust me when I say you will be glad you did.

4. You Do Not Need Someone

You are independent, bold, and beautiful in every way. Do not believe you need someone else to live your life. You don’t need anyone but yourself. Remember that.

5. Your Time Will Come

God has an amazing plan for you. Whether it is marry an amazing person or live out his mission for your life, you will figure it out, and God is 100% behind you on whatever you do. God has your life planned out according to His plan. Until the time comes and you know what you are to do with your life, be patient. Enjoy life. And live your life.

6. Be Yourself

Make sure that you do not change who you are to impress another person. There is someone out there who will love you for who you are. Life is way too short to try to be someone that you just were not made to be. Personalities were made to  make us all different, so own who you are. And remember the words of the amazing Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

7. Enjoy This Time

Admit it, being single is not the worst thing that has ever happened to you. In fact, being single gives you time to heal from a previous relationship, focus on your goals, and find what you want in life. You have the time to improve yourself for you. You have the time to hang out with your core friends. You have time to find yourself and love yourself. Remember, no one else can love you if you do not love yourself.

8. You Are Loved

I know that you may have some days where you are in a room full of people and you feel totally alone, but know that so many people love you. You have a family that loves you, friends that love you and want the absolute best for you. You are loved by God. God wouldn’t have put you here, where you are right now, if He did not love you. And I know it is hard to see now, but know His love is real. Embrace it.

9. Let Them In

Let down your walls a little bit. Know that not all people are out to get you. There are so many people who would kill to get to know you. You are a strong, independent, confident, individual, and know you can read people better than you think. You can learn a person’s intentions in minutes. If a person is pursuing you in all the right ways, letting them in may not be so bad. Who knows what a simple hello could lead.

10. Stop Looking (For the Ladies)

Okay, ladies, I may sound like an old lady, but you are a woman. It is not your job to pursue a man. Sit back, and enjoy doing you for a while. Many people say that love will find you when you least expect it, and that is totally true. The right guy will have to find the courage to introduce himself to you in God’s time, which is the right time. The moment you put things into God’s hand is the moment that things start to go right for you. Let go, and let God handle it.

10. Start Pursuing (For the Guys)

Okay, guys, women love being pursued. If you find a woman super attractive, think she has a smile that can light up a room, and has an amazing personality, pursue her! Don’t think that she will pursue you. Most women won’t. Pray about it and go get her! Who knows what a simple introduction may do for you. And who knows, your overwhelming confidence may just be the one thing that makes you stand out among all of the other guys. Place all of it in God’s hands, and He will lead you in the right direction.

Be patient, be still. Be accepting of the plan God has for you. God will never fail you. Until God reveals His plan to you, know you can handle the world without a significant other.

It Is a Sin Problem

Today, the United States woke up forever changed. Yesterday, there was another mass shooting in Oregon, and I won’t go into the details of it, but I will tell you I’m praying for all involved and this nation as a whole.

And let me just add, I lost massive amounts of respect for President Obama because he took this tragedy and used it to push his political agenda called gun control. Dear Mr. President, this is not the time to push your political agenda. This is the time to stand behind the victims, make this all about the victims! This is not the time to say that gun control laws would have saved American’s lives that day. We don’t know that, nor will we ever know. I can tell you what all Americans know: The United States woke up with a heavy heart today. The United States will be forever changed. Everyone within that community college and that community had a life altering event happen to them. They will be forever changed due to the acts of one person…and all President Obama cares about is pushing his political agenda.

But Mr. President, how can you say gun control laws will stop mass shootings within our nation? I can tell you that taking away guns from good people will not prevent the bad people from getting guns. If a bad person wants a gun, they’ll go get one. So, I hate to tell you, but guns are NOT the problem at this point. The problem is sin. Man’s fallen heart causes people to do things such as this, and the only way to stop this is to go to God and ask him for His healing.

Over the last decade, God has been taken out of schools. As soon as a tragedy happens, school systems want to hold candlelight vigils, and people say, “Where’s God?” Maybe, if He wouldn’t have been pushed out and rejected, these violent acts wouldn’t happen again and again.

And I say this all because I know my God is the Ultimate Healer, Merciful Redeemer, God of Grace. He heals all things broken. And maybe, if they were not as many broken people within this world, mass destruction would not happen. So, I say let God back in. Let Him heal this country the way we need to be healed. I know God exists. I know God heals all wounds. Day in and day out, I find peace within my life due to God’s healing power. I pray daily for God’s hand to come over this country and heal us. And I will continue to pray for this country as long as I live.

Citizens of Roseburg, Oregon, and students of Umpqua Community College, people within this nation are continuously praying for you, and we will continue to pray for you with the coming days ahead. God is with you, and healing is coming.

The Dirty Truth

Every single person on Earth has something to hide. No one can just expose their secrets to the world. That’s how people get hurt. That’s how people hurt other people. Each individual has to make a decision on how much they share and what they keep as their secret. This can be hard to do. I’ve learned first hand the embarrassment that comes with sharing too much information, and I’ve also been on the other end where not enough information was shared and I got hurt by it.

It’s human nature to keep things from others if we know it is going to hurt them, and it is human nature to keep things from others if we know it is going to hurt ourselves. Its just how we’re wired. We want pleasure over pain. We’re happy to not reveal all of our secrets because maybe we’re in love with that person. Maybe we open our hearts up to be broken. Maybe it allows us to, “have our cake and eat it too.” Or just maybe, we don’t want to own up to doing people dirty.

At the end of the day, fear is what makes us hold our secrets back. I mean after all is that a bad thing? Is it bad to hold back? Probably so. But it helps to be a little sneaky, a little protective, right? No, it doesn’t. Because even though you are trying to protect yourself from the negative effects your dirty little secret has on you, it doesn’t protect them. It only protects you. It’s okay to be selfish at times, but when it comes to breaking people and trust between people? You should be the one to own up to your mistakes. People say that it’s not safe to blurt out all of your secrets. People can’t just lay all the truth out there and expose themselves to God and everybody. What we seem to forget time and time again is that the truth has a way of setting itself free, exposing itself to the world no matter how dirty it is.

And no matter how the truth is revealed, no matter if you tell it or if it tells itself, you have to face it. We have to deal with the raw emotions. We have to deal with the disaster it brings. But once the truth has been set free, once the disaster has been fixed, it won’t matter how it all came about. It will only matter who set the truth free. It will only matter if you were brave enough to be honest no matter how dirty your secret was. And who knows, once the truth is revealed, you may just be lucky and get a happy ending.