Tag Archives: singleness

Who Should I Disappoint Today?

6 Mar

I’m pretty sure I disappointed my best friend today.

She asked for a status update on my relationship. I told her I had decided I was single at heart and needed to tell him that. She asked, “What happened?” I told her honestly that nothing had happened, I had just realized I don’t like romantic relationships.

Cue radio silence.

Now this is just speculation, but I think she was staring at her phone with a complete lack of response. Lost for words, unable to think of how to respond to me. Of course, she might have been sitting there cussing me out in her head, or throwing her hands up in the air. I strongly suspect she decided today that I’m a lost cause.

My best friend is married, and happily so, for which I thank God. I adore her husband, and I adore them together. They’re approaching their 10th anniversary, if I’m doing the math right, and I am constantly grateful that he came into her life. A couple of years ago she told me that marriage is “the most amazing thing in the world”.

I’m happy that she is happy. But her brand of happiness is not my brand of happiness, and I worry that when we get together in person next, I’m going to be subjected to a long lecture (or possibly a rant) about how my standards are too high, or I need to get over this fear of relationships, or that I am going to end up an old maid. As much as I love my best friend, I don’t think she understands what it means to be single at heart.

Of course, I do test her patience from time to time. I tried that dating thing a few years ago for about three days, which was when she told me how amazing marriage is. Then I did it again this year. I’m going to promise this was the last time, unless he literally shows up with a string of thirsty camels and a nose ring, but I’m not sure even that will convince her that I’m not just holding out for something better.

I call myself a writer. I claim I can put into words what other people can’t. And yet I haven’t figured out a way to explain my lifelong singleness to someone who has known me for more than half my life.

I don’t know who I’m more disappointed in right now, me or her. She didn’t respond to my statement that I don’t want romance, which makes me think she doesn’t understand my desire to be single. But I can’t make myself understood, which makes me think I’m worse at this writing thing than I thought.

I’m a huge fan of the show Chicago Fire. A few episodes back, a character facing a possibly life-changing decision was talking to his father. This character, Severide, was thinking about leaving Rescue Squad, and he was worried about what the other people in his life would think. His father gave him a piece of advice that has been resounding in my head ever since. He told Severide to disappoint his girlfriend, to disappoint the other firefighters, even to disappoint his father–but never to disappoint himself.

I’m not saying that a single person has no responsibilities except to herself. As a single person, I have responsibilities to my friends. I have responsibilities to my coworkers. I have responsibilities to my parents. I have responsibilities to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have responsibilities to the rest of society, to a certain degree. But as a single person, I have only one person to live with–me.

Today, I think I disappointed my best friend. And her opinion means a lot to me. But in the end, it’s about living with myself.

And I can do that.

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Having Your Heart In It

22 Feb

I have a confession to make. I’ve been seeing someone.

It feels weird. I reconnected with an old friend recently, and he happened to be unattached. We used to have a Thing, way back when, which we never acted on. He suggested we give it a go, and I said sure.

Thing is…I’m not the same person I was back then. He isn’t, either, but I’ve changed in one significant way that he hasn’t–I no longer feel the need or, generally, the desire for romantic companionship.

This doesn’t bode well for the relationship.

I’ve said before that singleness isn’t a gift, at least not in the way so many Christians assume. But through this most recent experience, I’ve come to realize that God does call certain people to be single, insofar as He grants certain people the particular grace and strength to face life without a helpmeet. And I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people.

I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. I don’t want to imply that people who need romantic partners are weak, needy, or less spiritual. People who need romantic partners are just different from people who don’t need them. And I certainly don’t mean I don’t need anyone in my life. I do. I have my family of parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have my single-style family (we need an official term for that) of my close friends, sisters of my heart. And there’s definitely a place in my life for this old friend/would-be-boyfriend, if he wants it. But that place, I regret to say, isn’t as my partner or spouse.

I love the time we spend together. I enjoy talking to him and bouncing ideas off him. I enjoy listening to his perspective on things (which is often, but not always, a lot different from mine). I like just hanging out and being around him. But I don’t want to take it any further than this. I don’t want hugs or kisses, hand-holding or flowers, and I definitely don’t want to go home with him every night.

Not that I’m not attracted to him. I am. But…

Well, I just don’t have my heart in it.

I’m not looking forward to having this conversation with him. The line, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is so trite and over-used no one believes it anymore. But it’s true in this case. Telling him, “I believe God has called me to singleness,” sounds too holier-than-thou and, frankly, like a cop-out. The one good thing about this is how open I was with him from the beginning. I told him I hadn’t dated in a long time and hadn’t had any desire to date. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be in a relationship of this type. I told him I need a lot of me time and my own space. And he was good enough to listen, and he took me at my word. But I suspect he got his hopes up a little more than he should have.

For now, I’ll keep praying about it and see what guidance God grants me the next time we’re together.

Any thoughts, friends? What would you do in my situation? What would you want to hear in his place?

Doesn’t take a mindreader if you’ve experienced it…

27 Dec

Dear single friends and married ones,

Run, do not walk, to read this article on HuffPost: Single and Childless: I Know What You’re Thinking.

Some of the comments are killing me. People are telling this happy, confident single woman to “get over yourself” or telling her no one assumes she is defective because she’s still single.

Give me a break, people. Just because you married at 20 and never had anyone assume you were defective doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Just because you’ve never been asked, “So when are you going to settle down and get married?” doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Just because no one has ever told you you’re too picky or too self-sufficient or too shy doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

I’ve had people say such things to me and assume such things about me. It gets tiresome. It can also be hurtful. No matter how happy and confident you are, no matter how much you generally enjoy being single, you can still have your feelings hurt when so many people assume something’s wrong with you.

You tell it, Melanie Notkin.

We’re All More Than We First Appear

19 Nov

My blog name makes me uncomfortable. It didn’t start out that way, but in the time since Passover, when I started this blog, I’ve had various people comment on the name. I’ve had someone ask me if I’m a racist because of my blog name. I’ve had someone else tell me the “white” part seemed weird. And I find myself, more and more often, talking about SWC instead of Single White Christian.

So why Single White Christian?

I was trying to accomplish two things with my blog name. I wanted to be 1) funny and 2) honest.

Funny, because it’s like a personal ad, right? SWF seeking SWM, GWM seeking GWM, SWM seeking SWF for FWB LOL. Except, of course, it isn’t funny if I have to explain it.

Honest, because I need to acknowledge upfront that, while I feel my life has known hardship, I am still speaking from a place of privilege. I can’t pretend to speak from any other point of view than a single, white, Christian woman. I can’t speak for gay people or black people. I can’t speak for men. I can’t speak for Asians or Frenchmen or Australians, for that matter, but I thought Single White Straight Lower-Middle-Class USian Christian might be too hard to remember.

I want to open a dialogue with people of other backgrounds and worldviews. I want to ask questions and learn from people, and maybe find something I can teach others. And if I start off by using language that is off-putting to others, I’ve already put myself at a disadvantage.

After my last conversation about the name of this blog, I started thinking about renaming the blog. I talked it over with a good friend who’s been super supportive of this effort…and who finally admitted that she felt a little weird about the white part. Rather than renaming, though, she suggested a redefining.

SWC means Single White Christian, yes. But what else can SWC mean?

  • Seeking Welcoming Church
  • Saved With Christ
  • Sharing Wonderful Companions
  • Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  • Sleep/Wake Cycle
  • Single Without Children
  • Snarky While Charming?

What do you guys think? Did the name confuse you? Make you angry? Make you ask questions? Would it be better if I found something else to call this blog? (And if you say yes to that, you’d better have some clever suggestions!)

Or do I own this name? Do I inhabit this name? Do I say, “Yes, I called it this. Yes, I realize now that it makes people uncomfortable. Yes, I know better now. But no, I’m not covering up this mistake?”

Or do you think it wasn’t a mistake at all? Do you actually (gasp) like the name? Did you see the blog name and think, “Yeah, I can identify with this chick?”

Let me know!

Can I Get a Vaccine for the Season of Singleness?

15 Nov 'INFLIGHT' photo (c) 2011, Person of Interest - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Today I want to discuss a phrase that, to me, is like nails on a chalkboard. It’s one I see thrown around all the time on blogs about singleness, marriage, family, and loneliness. Yes, it’s the dreaded season of singleness.

I have a lot of problems with this phrase. For one thing, it implies something temporary. This too shall pass. April showers bring May bridal showers. That sort of thing.

For another thing, it sounds awfully close to something nasty and unwanted. Flu season. Fever season. Singleness season. Yech!

The thing about implying that singleness is temporary is…well, sometimes it’s not. Some people are going to be lifelong singles. Happy or sad, content or kicking-and-screaming, some people will not get married. Take me for instance: I know thirty-six isn’t old, and I know I may someday still get married if that’s what God wants for me, but trust me–my singleness hasn’t been a season, it’s been an epoch.

Another good reason to avoid implying singleness is temporary is the accompanying implication that everyone should desire to end their singleness. When I hear season of singleness, I hear, just a phase, she’ll grow out of it. It comes across as misunderstanding at best and condescending at worst.

Statistically, maybe a lot of people will end up marrying. But then again, we’re at an all-time high ratio of singles-to-marrieds. Almost half the population is single. Sure, some of them have been married before. Some of them are in long-term dating relationships, or have some sort of committed partnership that, for one reason or another, they haven’t formalized. But the fact is, people are waiting longer to marry, and more people are not marrying at all.

Implying that singleness is temporary, or a state to leave behind, is not necessarily honest and not necessarily helpful. If I view singleness as a transitory state, I’m more likely to:

  • put off embracing adulthood
  • be less responsible with my finances
  • spend all my time craving an end to this “season”
  • focus on my relationship with men instead of my relationship with God
  • require dating and/or marriage to validate my self-worth

This is where the real danger of viewing singleness as a season comes in. If I don’t view myself as a real person until I’ve survived my season of singleness, I’ve missed out on a huge opportunity.

Single people have to make a choice to fully inhabit our present lives. 

We can’t live our lives in a constant holding pattern. We have to seek out God’s will for our lives. We have to learn to build others up, regardless of whether those others are parents, significant others, or friends. We have to leave our future in God’s hands and concentrate on what He’s doing in our present.

Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35,

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs–how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world–how he can please his wife–and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Read that last sentence again. Do you get that? Singleness is not a restriction.

'INFLIGHT' photo (c) 2011, Person of Interest - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

INFLIGHT

Singleness is freedom. Freedom to be devoted to the Lord. Freedom to live in a right way. Freedom from the affairs of this world. Freedom from pleasing anyone but the Lord.

Paul reframes singleness in such an amazing way here. Rather than saying we’re worth less than those who have married and had children, he says we’re free! He says we should have fewer concerns than married people!

Isn’t that an amazing feeling?

So let’s stop looking at singleness as a season, as something to be escaped or inoculated against. Let’s stop acting as if singleness is temporary, something we’ll outgrow. Let’s take a look at where we are right now and vow to thrive here.

We are single adults, and we are free.

Married People, Help Me Out

12 Nov

Dear Married People,'Begin Two Way' photo (c) 2011, niXerKG - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

What do you get tired of hearing from singles? What misconceptions do we singles have about your married life? What would you like to tell us about yourselves? How can we, as single people, be encouraging to you? How can we better understand you? What should we learn from you? What can we teach you?

I do a lot of talking about what it’s like to be single and how you married folks can better relate to us and encourage us. But this shouldn’t be a one-way street. I’m interested in a dialogue.

Please chime in and address issues you want us to talk about. Better yet, if you’re interested in writing a guest post for Single White Christian, let me know! I would love to listen to what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Single White Christian

4 Things To Say to Parents of a Single Adult

8 Nov

On Monday I posted 7 Things Not to Say to Parents of a Single Adult. But I try to follow up my “negative” posts with something more positive and affirming. So today I’m going to present four suggestions of things you can and should say to parents of a single adult.

  1. You must be very proud of your son/daughter. Finding a mate and procreating is something that happens at almost every level of biology. It isn’t really something unique to homo sapiens. So let’s stop acting like marriage and parenthood are the only accomplishments in life. Every adult, single, married, or in-between, has done something to be proud of. Instead of focusing on marital status, look at the other things. Maybe she’s published a book. Maybe he just sealed a major business deal. Maybe she heads up a charity that impacts lives. Maybe he leads a Bible study in his home. Those are all things to be proud of. Celebrate those.
  2. It must be nice not having to share your child with inlaws during the holidays. Growing up, we rarely had this problem, because one set of my grandparents lived in Florida, while the other set lived fifteen miles away, so Dad didn’t see his folks for the holiday. But occasionally we spent the week of Christmas in Florida…and then my mom didn’t get to spend Christmas with her parents. As a single adult, I don’t have this problem. I celebrate Christmas with my parents the way we always have–we read the Christmas story, then open presents on Christmas Eve (it used to be at midnight, but as we all get older, this starts earlier and earlier in the evening). There are almost always bookish presents for everyone, so we stay up late reading our new books, and sleep in late Christmas morning. I don’t have to compromise on Christmas plans, and my parents don’t have to share me.
  3. (When a child moves back home) Aren’t you glad they aren’t married and bringing their spouse and children back home to live with you! Because yes, I actually know a couple of people who moved back in with their parents, with a husband, two kids, and a dog in tow. At least when I moved back, my parents were getting what amounted to an adult boarder in the upstairs. I contributed financially as much as I was able, and in labor, and I didn’t wake them up for midnight feedings or early morning walks.
  4. How has your relationship changed as your child has grown older? Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your friend with single adult offspring. Just don’t focus those questions on the marital or parental status of said offspring. If your friend wants to talk about her kid’s marital status, let her bring it up first.

Single readers, what do you wish people would say to your parents? Parents of singles, what do you wish people would say to you? Chime in!

7 Things Not to Say to Parents of a Single Adult

5 Nov

'SHHHHHH.....DON`T SAY A WORD!' photo (c) 2006, andrea silva - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I’ll be the first person to admit I’m incredibly blessed when it comes to my parents. They don’t believe I’m defective just because I don’t have a spouse. My mom has had plenty of bachelors and bachelorettes in her family. My dad’s brother didn’t marry until he was in his 40s. So my parents have never put pressure on me to get married and raise children. My mother has known since I was very young that I would probably never have kids, and she’s fine with it.

Unfortunately, other people don’t seem to understand my parents’ attitudes about being parents of a single adult any more than they understand my own attitudes about being a single adult. To help those people out, I’ve compiled a list of things not to say to parents of a single adult.

  1. Why don’t you just tell them to grow up and settle down?  Excuse me? “Grow up and settle down?” As if we aren’t grown up if we haven’t decided to get married? Do you realize how patronizing that sounds? Single adults pay their own bills, have their own relationships, and make huge contributions to society, church, charitable organizations, and businesses. Sure, some of them are also perpetual kids, but I know plenty of married people who act much less grown up than me and my single friends.
  2. You haven’t really lived until you’ve held your first grandchild.  Yes, people have actually said that to the parents of a friend of mine. My friend is in her 30s and is content as a single woman serving the Lord. She doesn’t have children, and doesn’t currently anticipate having children. And somehow that invalidates all the experiences her parents have been through? They have grown up, married, raised two wonderful, godly daughters, served God for decades, but they haven’t really lived? Please.
  3. You should introduce your daughter/son to a nice single person.  Okay, I’ve always wanted my parents to like the guys I have dated. I even dated a guy my mom introduced me to once, though Mom honestly didn’t have any ulterior motives, since he wasn’t available at the time anyway. But this statement doesn’t take into account the fact that the single adult may not wish to meet someone. The single adult may have no desire to be married. And if the single adult does wish to be married, is it really going to make them feel better to get pressure from their parents along with everyone else in society?
  4. You should kick her out of the house.  Yep, this one was aimed at my mom. I moved back in with my folks after a catastrophic job loss many years ago. When Mom asked her friends to pray about the situation–meaning me having no money and no job and being depressed about it–her friend said they shouldn’t be supporting me. This infuriated me, because I was doing my part around the house–housework, lawncare, running errands for my folks in my free time, etc. It also infuriated my mom, because my parents actually liked having me back home with them, and they were concerned for me, not about me.
  5. Why don’t you tell him to get a place of his own?  This one goes hand-in-hand with #4. An increasingly large number of my fellow Gen-Xers, as well as Gen-Y, have graduated from college into a crappy economy, or have experienced job loss because of said crappy economy. Maybe the situation isn’t ideal for anyone, but let’s look back a mere 150 years ago, and we’ll realize that for centuries upon centuries, the common practice in family life was to have several generations living together. Many single adults lived with their parents all their lives, and the only stigma they faced was that of “spinster.” There’s nothing wrong with single adults living with their parents.
  6. Maybe she’s gay.  When I asked my mom for input on this blog post, this was one of her suggestions. Which tells me that at least one of my mom’s friends thinks I’m a lesbian (possibly the one who says only lesbians get tattoos, or maybe that one who says women who wear flannel shirts are all gay). I told her next time, she has my permission to say, “I don’t care if she’s gay or straight, and what business is it of yours, anyway?” Because…seriously, what business is it of yours, anyway?
  7. Oh, she’ll change her mind and have kids someday. First of all, you don’t know my mind. My mind has been firmly anti-having-children since I was a very young kid and refused to be the mom ever while playing house. Secondly, you don’t know just how grossed out I get by the idea of growing an alien life form inside my body for ten months. Thirdly, my mom knows me better than you do, and if she is certain I won’t change my mind, who are you to question her? Or me, for that matter?

Here’s the thing–you can’t automatically assume that a single adult is defective somehow. And you can’t automatically assume that the parents of a single adult believe their child is defective somehow.

Next time, I’ll talk about some things you can and should say to parents of a single adult. But for now, are there any real doozies I missed in this post? Weigh in with a comment!

BOOK REVIEW: A Year of Biblical Womahood

2 Nov Year Of Biblical Womanhood Cover

I know I’m not the first person to review Rachel Held Evans‘ new (and apparently controversial) book A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”. But I might be the first person to emphasize that this is a singles-friendly book.

Let me admit this right up front: my first reaction, when I see a book written for Christian women, is to turn up my nose. Oh, look, another book about how to be a great wife and mother, I think. I bet it talks about praying for your spouse or, if you aren’t married yet, your future spouse.

Year Of Biblical Womanhood Cover

Year Of Biblical Womanhood Cover

And no, Rachel doesn’t write a great deal specifically about singles, and she does write a great deal specifically about marriage. She is, after all, married. But she is clearly a married woman who is aware of the concerns of single women.

The premise of the book, for those of you who are male or have been living in a media vacuum, is this: Rachel Held Evans spent a year trying to imitate, as literally as possible, various Biblical depictions of women. A lot of people have disparaged the book as mockery of the Bible, while a lot of people at the opposite end of the spectrum have disparaged the book as old-fashioned or unnecessary. But if you’ve truly read the book, it should be obvious that for Rachel, this was a labor of love.

She didn’t set out to mock or disprove the Bible. She set out to wrestle with it. She set out to live in the tension. She set out to surrender to God’s stories.

And in the end, she didn’t come away with a blueprint or job description of a Biblical woman. She found plenty of descriptions of women in the Bible, though, and she found that the Biblical concept of womanhood is simply too complex and varied to be summed up as a to-do list.

Case in point: the chapter on the Proverbs 31 Woman. Did you know that in Jewish culture, it isn’t the women who memorize Proverbs 31? The men do! It isn’t a recipe for how to be a great woman, it’s an example of how men should praise their wives. The Hebrew phrase used in Proverbs 31, eshet chayil, is best translated as “valorous woman”, which means a lot more to me, as a single woman, than “a wife of good character”.

What really made me, as a single woman, love Rachel’s approach, however, was when I reached page 178 and saw this quote

Growing up in the Church, I must have heard a thousand times that my highest calling as a woman was to bear and bring up children. While men could honor God in varying capacities through work, family, and ministry, a woman’s spiritual aptitude was measured primarily by her ability to procreate. Even as a child I noticed that the church deaconesses hosted dozens of wedding and baby showers each year, but never a housewarming party for a single woman or a celebration dinner for a woman who passed the bar or graduated from medical school.

That passage told me two things: Rachel Held Evans understands how single people are overlooked in the church, and Rachel Held Evans doesn’t view me, as a single woman, as someone who’s worth less than a married woman with children.

I could go on and on about what a great book this is, but frankly, there are lots of people who’ve done a better job than I could–Ben Witherington, for one. I could talk more about the controversy that has grown up around the book, but Rachel Marie Stone has done a great job of discussing that.

I just want to recommend that single women not pass this book over thinking, “Oh, it won’t address single women.” I want to recommend that men not pass this book over thinking, “Oh, it won’t address men.” It does both.

And I, for one, am living for the day someone calls me eshet chayil.

9 Literary Figures Who Wish They’d Stayed Single

1 Nov

Art by http://www.flickr.com/photos/nihonjin/ used under Creative Commons license

I’m feeling whimsical today, so without further ado, I present to you nine figures in literature for whom marriage truly did cause, as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 7, “distress in this life”:

  1. MacBeth – How much trouble would he have gotten into if it hadn’t been for that wife of his? After all, he was content to sit around waiting for destiny to happen to him. It was Lady MacBeth who insisted they had to kill the king to make destiny come true. I bet he wished he’d just ditched his wife and waited on fate.
  2. Samson – Okay, maybe he wasn’t actually married to Delilah, but I think long-term monogamous relationships count as no longer single. *G* And you know he really regretted being with her, right about the time they put out his eyes. Sure, God redeemed that situation. God can redeem any situation. But I bet Samson would have preferred to keep his eyesight and his bulging biceps.
  3. Arwen Undomiel – She was like a thousand years older than her husband, not to mention immortal. He lived to be 210, but they were only married for about 140 of those years, and to a woman who’s supposed to live forever, dying after only 140 years together had to be a bitter pill to swallow.
  4. King Arthur – I have to think if Arthur had known all the trouble he was going to have with his wife, he probably would have skipped marrying Guinevere and stuck with the tried-and-true bromance he had with Lancelot.
  5. Penelope – You know, the lady who was stuck at home weaving for ten years while her husband fought a war, and another ten years while he tried to find his way home? Odysseus got to kill people, build big wooden horses, see his men turned into pigs, and sleep with a nymph, and what did she get? All her hubby’s boorish friends got home ahead of him and harassed her to forget about him and marry one of them. All the bad points of being single, with none of the benefits.
  6. Romeo Montague and/or Juliet Capulet – I’m not sure which of them got the worst end of the deal. They fell in love, they played some elaborate tricks on their friends and family, saw family members killed, and eventually ended up committing suicide. Then again, imagine if they’d lived–they would probably have bred some seriously messed-up, impulsive, devious little kids.
  7. Hosea – Don’t you guys ever feel bad for poor Hosea son of Beeri? God told him to take a “wife of harlotry” and name his kids things that translate to “not my people” and “not pitied.” Then Gomer runs away and Hosea has to go find her and bring her home again, because God tells him to. I mean, I know artists suffer for their art, and prophets suffer for their faith, but really, Hosea might have been happier as a bachelor.
  8. Eddard Stark – Yeah, I went there. How much trouble could Ned have avoided if he hadn’t left behind a woman more protective than a mother bear and clearly out of her mind with grief? Come on, if Catelyn hadn’t been dead set on revenge …er, justice, how many of her family members would have come through everything safely. Then again…
  9. Catelyn Tully Stark – …the case could be made that, without Ned’s somewhat naive sense of honor, she wouldn’t have had to deal with 1) a bastard to raise, 2) a beheaded husband, 3) a betrayed son, 4) a back-stabbing ex-lover, 5) a bargain-breaking sister… Okay, I’ll stop there.

Of course, I’m being flippant in this list. After all, for the two Biblical figures mentioned in the list, God redeemed their situation. After Delilah’s betrayal, anyone would have been justified in thinking Samson’s life was ruined, finished, kaput. Samson’s buddies probably sat around and said, “Man, that woman destroyed him. It would have been better if he’d never met her.” But in Samson’s weakest moments, blinded, chained up, captive, he was finally humbled enough to cry out to God, asking for one last moment of strength. And in that moment, he destroyed his enemies.

Similarly, Hosea was stuck with a bum deal. An unfaithful wife who probably didn’t really want him to begin with, and certainly didn’t want him after she’d born him three kids. Unable to see what a good deal she had, she ran away from him, only to be pursued by him, because he loved her. And through Hosea and Gomer’s stories, God illustrated His own relationship with Israel–and His relationship today with us. Even though we didn’t know we needed Him, He chose us; even when we turned away from Him, He pursued us; even when we shamed Him, He loved us.

It makes you wonder what God could do with the lives of Ned and Catelyn Stark.

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