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The Proverbs 31 Spouse

“Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her; she shall have no lack of profit. 12 She does him good and not harm him all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax and works eagerly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar, 15 She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She arms her waist with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn’t go out by night; 19 She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes for herself carpets of tapestry, her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn’t eat the bread of laziness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed. her husband also praises her; 29 Many women do noble things, but you excel them all! 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates!” Proverbs 31:10-31.

Growing up in the church I saw very many young couples getting married. When I say young couples I mean early 20’s. This is so common in the Christian world, and so I have always been looking for my future spouse, wondering when I would meet them, who they would be, how we would begin our dating lives, and eventually begin our lives together. As a 20 year old single christian woman, sometimes this is difficult. I am such a strong headed and independent person that sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever meet someone and get married. Statistics say that I should already have met my future spouse, we should already be dating and maybe even be engaged. I am certain there a lot of young people out there that feel this way.

Single-ness is not something to despair about; it is something to revel in and work on yourself in. When I read the above passage from Proverbs 31, I sometimes think that I will never be that good, I will never be the perfect Proverbs woman, there is absolutely no way. But then I read it again, and there are deeper messages in everything. First and foremost every young christian should be focused on their relationship with God. God is the giver of all good things, and a spouse is a gift from him. We are not entitled to anything, and this is something God will grant us in his time. If we try to rush his timing, we may find ourselves in broken relationships, or in deep heartbreak. These are things that God does not want for us, his precious children. So wait, calm down, and let God lead you where he wants you to go. A worthy woman is more precious than rubies; a spouse is a jewel and a gift and they should be treated as such. I have seen many married couples who forget this truth and they neglect their partner and they stop putting in effort to be there, to be present and to be a team. This is something to work on in a time of single-ness. Work on being present in your job, in your classes and in your friendships. Being present is easier, the better you are at it, and the best way to get better at something is to practice it.

In dating relationships, again treat your partner as a gift, as something as precious as jewels, because the reality is they may not be your future spouse, they may be someone else’s future spouse. If that is true, you should respect them and their future relationships by taking care in not going too far, yes physically, but also in the words that you say. Do not be mean, and do not be controlling. Do not damage their trust of people, because that may effect not only them, but their future relationships.

Also in this passage from Proverbs, it talks about a worthy woman seeing a field and buying it. Husbands and wives need to trust each other with finances, and be fiscally responsible. This means working together as a team, but also trusting each other in the decisions they make, and this goes for both partners. One partner should not be the only person in charge of finances, because that can lead to a power trip and a manipulative relationship. Work together. We are all called to be stewards of the things of this earth, this includes finances, but it also includes time. As college students we may not have the most money, but do you have a plan to work on your student loans post graduation? Does the person you are dating have a plan? If not, that is something to consider. Back to being stewards of time. How does your partner spend their time? Do they work to balance it? Making time for you, and for work and studies, friends and family? Do they have God in their life and make him a priority? These are all things to consider when looking to date and looking to get married.

One final point I want to discuss is how reputation play’s a role in dating and in marriage. Are you ready for your reputation to be wrapped up in someone else’s? Are you ready to be introduced or thought of as someone’s wife, someone’s girlfriend, someone’s husband, someone’s boyfriend? Would you be proud to be known as one of those things, because you are proud of the person you are dating or the person you are married to? Consider this before dating or marriage. Two become one in marriage, so everything you do no longer only affects you; there is another person in the equation, and you need to be comfortable with this before entering into such a life-alerting phase.

Proverbs 31 is not the end all be all of a good spouse, because the truth is that we will all fall short. We are imperfect beings, and we make mistakes. However those are all things that we can strive for. We can work for financial responsibility, we can work for helping others, we work for planning, and taking care of those we love. We can practice being present, and we can practice being kind and showing love to people around us. We can ask for a relationship with God and we can become more committed to him in the words that we say, and the time we take to spend with him. These are all things we can do in a period of single-ness, and they are all things that we should continue to do in a marriage.

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Body Positivity

Over the last couple of years there has been a huge push for body positivity and body acceptance in the world and in the modeling world. I think that is absolutely amazing, because the reality is the average woman in the United States is not a size 2, which is pretty close the average model size. Making women think that the most desirable body type is the smallest they can possibly be is dangerous and damaging to many women’s and men’s psyche. I want there to be a push for even more body types to be represented in fashion and in media.

Now there are more and more plus-size models that are appearing in fashion, and again I think that is awesome. However there is still not enough representation for the women that are out there. The most common body types that we are now seeing represented in media or in the fashion industry are either very small, like what has often been in the lime-light, or we are seeing women who are larger with a lot of curves, yet they are still very soft and feminine. This is not bad, but what about women who are small, but strong and muscular? What about women who are larger, but they are also very strong and muscular? Why aren’t these body types represented more?

I know that many people will say that people should just stop paying attention to what models do and do not look like, because there is so much photo-shop involved as well, but that is just not how people work. We compare ourselves all the time, even if we don’t want to, or we avidly try not to, it’s just in our nature. If it is in our nature to compare ourselves, why don’t we try harder to create more equal representations of body types in fashion and media? There are some things about my body that I will never be able to physically change. For example, I have lost 30lbs, I’m still technically overweight, yet my lower ribs are now visible. This is because I physically cannot change the size of my ribcage, it is the size it is going to be because of my bone structure decided by my genetics.

I’ve mostly talked about women in this article, but the same goes for men. Many male models are very muscular and they have “washboard abs”. While some men do look like this, it is not a realistic representation of what average men look like. There again needs to be more body representation because the message that we are sending to men is that they need to be completely ripped to attract a woman, and we are sending a message to women that that body type is something we should expect, and that just simply isn’t always the case. This causes unrealistic expectations in women’s minds and unrealistic ideas for men. So much of body type comes down to genetics, so why aren’t we celebrating all the different body types that exist? We are all beautiful in our own way, and our creator did that on purpose. He does amazing things, and why are we only praising a few different models of his creation, instead of all of his creation? Just a little food for thought.

My Journey To A Healthier Me

Many of you may follow me on instagram, or you have seen me in person and have noticed that I have changed pretty drastically. I look back at photographs from a year ago, and two years ago, and I hardly recognize the girl in the photos. I’ve always been sassy, strong-headed, and stubborn, but for a while a lot of that fell away. I began to hide those strong aspects of my personality because I felt that those things were too abrasive or too brazen. I felt that I would never find a group of people outside of my family that would support me, and help me through this little thing called life. When I began to hide my personality, I stopped paying attention to myself. I didn’t exercise regularly, and I didn’t eat well. I ate whatever I wanted, worked out sometimes, but not really. This summer I reached the most I have ever weighed. 201lbs. I am 5’7″, and I never thought I would be over 200lbs. That was a huge wake-up call for me.

I have always believed that people can be beautiful, no matter what size they wear; people are beautiful because of how they connect to others, and how they spread joy, care and kindness in this broken world. Even though these are things I believed about others, I forgot to believe them about myself. This summer I watched a documentary about food, that terrified me, and that day I decided I would be vegan. I figured that I could do that, and I would probably feel better. After about 6 weeks being vegan, I decided to add eggs back into my diet. So now I am vegetarian and dairy-free (for the most part, I occasionally have milk products in desserts, because desserts don’t count.) I am also not advocating for one dietary lifestyle more than another. Every body is different and needs different nutrients to work as best as it can. For me, that means eating primarily plant based foods. After about 2 months I had lost 18lbs, and was pretty proud of myself and the hard work I had done, but I wanted to do more.

I am an exercise science major in school, and one of the biggest things I have learned, is how beneficial weight training is for everyone! I have always wanted to be someone who could weight lift, but I had no clue where to begin. That male-dominated weight room is terrifying. I did not want to be judged or looked down upon, or even objectified, all things my anxious heart considered as possibilities. I decided to ask one of my friends for help. He said he would help me, and we began to workout 4 days a week. That first day in the gym was my worst day in the gym. It was SO difficult, every muscle in my body cried for help, and everything ached for days. There were many times when I wanted to give up, and just not go to the gym, but I had someone waiting on me. He could go to the gym without me, but we had made plans and I rarely cancel or change plans with people. So I kept going to the gym. Every day was better than the one before, and each week I got stronger and stronger. I’ve now lost a total of 30lbs, which I never truly thought was possible. This journey was never about how much weight I would lose; it has always been about me feeling better and stronger.

I have found an amazing group of people who challenge me, and push me to better, but they also are always there to encourage me, support me and comfort me. I have noticed a definite change in myself, not only in my appearance but also in how I present myself to the world. I do not hold back anymore, and I am learning that is okay to be unapologetically myself. The people in my life love me for who I am, even with my downfalls. A healthy lifestyle is so much more than eating right and exercising. It is absolutely about that, but it is also about nurturing your heart and soul by surrounding yourself with the people who care about you and who will support you in all you do, and will love you through your difficult times and will celebrate with you in all your joys and successes. I’m so blessed to have found that, and thank God for the wonderful people he has so intentionally placed in my life.

How To “Keep The Faith”

As some of you may know, I am a devout Christian. If you don’t know this yet, here I am telling you! I love to hear people’s coming to Christ stories, because I think each one is beautiful and unique. My coming to Christ story is pretty safe and neat… I grew up in a very religious family, my mom is a “P.K.” or pastor’s kid, her mom was a choir director and pastor’s wife, my dad’s cousin and my godfather is a pastor, my dad’s grandfather and much of this side of my family are Catholic. I grew up in a very rural community so our church was small, but very tight-knit and supportive. I attend a church camp every summer where families gather with other families around the country and worship God, and learn about him and his son Jesus for one week, and it is one of the most beautiful experiences ever. I was baptized when I was 9 years old because I knew that Jesus died for my sins and I wanted to serve him for the rest of my life, and follow wherever his father God would lead me. Let me tell you, sometimes it’s really hard to follow someone else’s directions if you don’t always agree, but the life of a Christian is not meant to be easy, and that is what this post today is about.

As I’ve said, my family has been and continues to be a large influence on my faith, where it started and how I’ve “stuck with it”, and some of my favorite memories are worshipping with family, or singing prayer before dinner with my family. Another great memory, is every time I see my great-grandfather, he always says, “Keep The Faith.” It’s always been a great sentiment, and I’ve always kind of dismissed it or brushed the saying off, like “of course I’m going to keep the faith, I haven’t really strayed too far before.” I’m realizing that isn’t all too true. I have believed in God and his son Jesus for a long time now, I don’t remember a time not believing in God, but I have strayed, not in ways one might think though. I still do believe in God, and I know that Jesus died for my sins, and I know that I have hope for eternal life, and that I want to live for God and glorify him in what I do. That’s all the bible says about keeping the faith, right?

Wrong. It does say that, yes, however there is so much more to “Keeping the Faith” than just believing in God and his Son; there is so much more to it than committing your life to God; to be a Christian and to keep the faith, does not mean being alone in this. I’ve never been “alone” before going to college. Here in college, I live 4 hours away from my family, and 3-3.5 hours away from some of my closest friends. They all support me, and they are here for me and with technology it is so much easier to send people a text, or an email, or Facebook message, or pinterest message, or a phone call, but it still isn’t having someone right here, right next to me, on the same path.

You’re probably wondering how I’ve “strayed from the faith” seeing as I just told you faith in God and his son, and what I want to do for them has not wavered. I have strayed by not working for fellowship with other believers. I go to a weekly meeting every Thursday evening (unless I’m on duty for work, but I’m rarely on duty on a Thursday night.) and this weekly meeting is like a worship service with hundreds of other Christian students on campus, but just going to a service is not enough. This semester I have turned a new leaf and I am working harder to build better community and fellowship with other believers. I now attend an on-campus church on Sundays (that I am in town, which is most Sundays) and I have joined a bible study. This bible study is more than just a bible study though, it is a group of people who are willing to walk with me, and question with me, and study with me, and encourage me, and challenge me. This is a “revival” of my faith in a way, because I am being reminded that it is important to have fellowship with other believers.

We have been studying 2 Corinthians, and this book is a very interesting book, that truly does talk about the importance of fellowship. The very beginning talks about how God is there for us in our suffering, and he comforts us, so that we can comfort and support other Christians who are suffering. Living a life surrendered to God should not be easy, but God has lead other people into our lives who have gone through what we are going through, so that they can help us. This right here is the importance of fellowship, and I believe that fellowship is essential to “Keeping The Faith”.

So college Christians, if you feel alone in your walk with God, remember God is there, but also look around your campus for organizations to get involved in that will help you to strengthen your faith.

New Christians who feel alone, reach out on social media, or attend a local church and don’t just go to that church service, get involved and serve in the church.

Old Christians who feel alone, Get involved with the youth in a church. They are hungry for your experience and your advice- they might not always act like it, but your stories and the time you spend with them will be some of their most treasured memories when they reach your age.

Young Christians- younger than college age. Ask your parents or friends, or church leaders about local youth groups. If there isn’t one, ask about starting one, so that you can start building relationships now, that will help you in your journey.

I hope some of this impacts you in some way. As always, feel free to leave any comments, and don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂

God Bless,

~Focused Wanderer

A Little Bit About Focused Wanderer

Hello Everyone! So now that my blog has officially been around for over a week now I just wanted to give you all a little bit more background on myself, my mission, and how this blog has come about.

I am a college student who grew up in Mid-Michigan and moved to West Michigan during middle school. I have always been someone who enjoys writing, but I don’t really like following other people’s rules about how I should or shouldn’t write. I also grew up with an insatiable appetite for reading; my mom was in charge of our library branch in our little town, so I spent many hours of my life reading in that library.

In high school I played flute and piccolo for my marching band, and was in concert band as well. I also took part in various roles in theatre throughout my four years. I was a part of almost every aspect, from make-up crew, to cast member, to playing music in the pit orchestra. My senior year of high school I took 5 Advanced Placement (AP) classes. As you can tell, I was a busy bee, and that sure did not stop when I transitioned into college life.

In my first year of college I knew that I wanted to become a Resident Assistant, so I worked hard to achieve that dream. By the end of my freshman year I was offered a position for the following fall. By the way, I still love being a Resident Assistant.

During my 2nd year in school I was able to take part in an amazing project called, “Dear World”. This project asks people to write a message, or their story somewhere on their body, then they photograph them, and share their story. Mine is “Hope. Trust. Inspire”

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I have hope that this world can be a better place, and that there is something better in store for each of us. I have to trust in the plans for my life, and that God’s got my back. Finally, I want to be an inspiration to others, and I want to inspire others to be the best they can be in every aspect of their life.

I decided to create this blog, because I love to read what other people have to say, but I couldn’t quite identify with one single blog. I wanted something more tailored to what I would want to read, thus Focused Wanderer was born. I came up with the name Focused Wanderer, because I feel like these 2 words really sum me up pretty well. I am someone who is very focused and will work really hard until a specific goal is reached. I am also someone who gets very uneasy when there is no plan. However, I am a bit of a wanderer; I scour the internet for new bulletin board ideas, or door decoration ideas (part of my job). I wander through different playlists finding my favorite songs. Most of all I kind of wander from place to place. I spend time in various parts of Michigan with family and friends, I go to school in Indiana, and I also spend time in random places, visiting with friends.

I am hoping to grow this blog and that it can be a help, or an inspiration to any who read it. Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about me, and my journey to this moment. I hope you enjoy wandering through the rest of my blog.

~Focused Wanderer

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As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, leave a comment & remember to subscribe! 🙂