Category Archives: GUEST POSTS

Tell Me Thursday: My adorable nephew wants to know…

…a bunch of stuff! He couldn’t decide on ONE question to ask, so he asked three! Introducing my final guest blogger for the week, Tristan:

Your answers, please! :)

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Everybody has a different story. (A guest post by Owie Burns)

I am almost embarrassed to admit that as I type this, I cannot remember how I first met today’s guest blogger, Owie Burns. But make no mistake, Owie is one of my favorite people, and one of my closest and dearest friends. In the last couple of years, we have seen each other through laughter and tears,  trials and victories, heartbreaks and joyful days…you get the point. :)

Owie and Kristo

When I thought of asking Owie to write a blog post, the topic to came to mind was exactly this one: Everybody has a different story. The reason behind this is that I felt that Owie’s life proved this statement to be true. As a single mom (to an adorable boy named Kristo) and a media missionary, she is no ordinary single woman. I’ll let her tell you her story:

Everybody has a different story.

I know, it isn’t rocket science and you’ve probably heard that line a gazillion times, but reality is – we always need to be reminded. Otherwise, we tend to look at other people’s stories and oh-so-wish that our story would be a like a fairy tale just like as theirs OR we tend to look at a list of the usual steps or procedures or formulas that most people say work – and we stick to them as if they were THE ultimate rules of life.

For instance, we try to put the whole dating process in a box, following step 1 through step 94 before we can really say it’s God’s will. We’ve gotten so used to formulas when it comes to relationships – even our relationship with the Lord! We see the lives of those who’ve walked ahead of us, and we so try our best (even if we don’t admit it) to follow the exact same path they’ve taken and we’ve dreamt for their stories to be our own.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against processes and formulas and steps and all that. I’m also not saying that you should just go for it, do whatever feels right, etc. It’s just that sometimes we’re too focused on getting from one point to another according to other peoples’ standards and rules and we don’t give God enough room to move anymore in our lives – because, well, we’ve put everything (even God) in a box.

One of the books I’ve recently read and thoroughly enjoyed is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Now that’s a book that clearly shows you that everyone has a different story. Period.  Here’s one of the parts that struck me most:

Ravi Zacharias says that what the heart is really longing to do is worship, to stand in awe of a God we don’t understand and can’t explain.

It comforts me to think that if we are created beings, the thing that created us would have to be greater than us, so much greater, in fact, that we would not be able to understand it. It would have to be greater than the facts of our reality, and so it would seem to us, looking out from within our reality, that it would contradict reason. But reason itself would suggest it would have to be greater than reality, or it would not be reasonable.

When we worship God we worship a Being our life experience does not give us the tools with which to understand. If we could, God would not inspire awe.

If I may add to that, if our stories are so predictable, it robs us the chance of being in awe of God.

To explain my point, allow me to share a bit of my story.

I thought my story would be something like: I meet ‘the one’ and we become friends, we go out on a bunch of group dates, then when my friends have gotten to know him well enough, he’ll tell me he likes me, and we’ll finally go out exclusively. After some time he’ll propose, and then eventually we’ll get married and have our first kiss at the altar. It sounded so right, but…

…it isn’t my story.

My fairy tale didn’t turn out that way. I went to a gig and bumped into someone I’ve casually known for six years. We ended up talking all night and he said we should grab coffee some time the week after. Four days later we went out for dinner, and after dinner I just knew he was “the one”. And by the time we were having dessert he said it out of the blue, he said “This is it. You’re the one!” and just like that, we knew and we decided to commit to love each other according to the Bible’s standards.

My son who wasn’t at all open to me having a relationship instantly fell in love with my boyfriend! Eighteen days later he proposed and in about two months we’re getting married! So it’s nothing like what I thought it would be, but since the day we decided, God’s been confirming and reminding us both that these were those secret wishes we individually asked for. And when we talked about it, we realized that our story fits our personalities perfectly. Allowing God to move just left us and everyone around us in awe.

Everyone has a different story because we are all different. The one thing that remains constant is this: as long as God writes the story, you can expect it to be beautiful and full of surprises!

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Note from Liz: When Owie called me to say that she and Rommel were getting married, I was beyond thrilled! God had given her a good man who loves her and her son, and above all, loves God. Whenever I see them together, I marvel at this match that God had created. She’s so right…every story is different, but every story written by God is awesome indeed!

Owie Burns is a Media Missionary for The Edge Media, where she constantly bugs their volunteer graphic artists and writers about their deadlines for the youth devotional Word 4U Today. She is mom to ultra-inquisitive Kristo who’s 5 years old, and in a little over two months, she will be Mrs. Owie dela Cruz! She normally posts stories about her son at http://mommyowie.wordpress.com but since she got engaged, she’s also been posting on their love story-wedding site http://www.owiebarns.com.

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Strong-armed Weakness (A guest post by Hilary Isaac)

This is a guest post by Hilary Isaac, who happens to be one of the brightest people I know. By that, I mean two things: 1) she is super smart, and 2) she is simply radiant. She has a wonderful way with words–not only is she great on talk radio, but she is a deep and thought-provoking writer as well. For this post, she wrote a piece that is perfect for a Thinking Tuesday. :) If you ever feel weak (it’s a familiar feeling for me!), this one’s for you:

Strong-armed Weakness
by Hilary Isaac

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s so easy to quote that whenever we feel inadequate, insufficient and unqualified; as though by merely quoting the passage itself will cause such an earth-shaking power to come over you. Sure, the glory of our Lord will break and go beyond any Richter scale, but it’s not as if we go through a Hollywood B-movie acting type of convulsing whenever the Holy Spirit’s power comes upon us. Gosh. This topic on weakness is so apropos that I don’t know where to begin.

The previous months have been an uphill-downhill-uphill again kind of journey. I think you’d be able to relate. But in the recent weeks I was skimming over the whitewash of life with a new zest, a spring in my steps—I was on a natural high. I felt so filled by the Spirit that I was about to burst in fresh fruit flavor! I felt unstoppable as I rested in the shadow of His wings. But you know, while the supernatural highs are great, we cannot expect to be riding that wave consistently for long. Our lives consist of ups and downs and the major difference our lives have from the lives of those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, is that we can go celebrate the “ups” with a grateful heart, while enduring the “downs” with a peace and joy knowing Christ will see us through. So as predicted, the enemy who relentlessly is on the prowl to steal our hope, kill our dreams and destroy our faith lies in wait, lurking in the shrubs and bushes of unpredictability. Sometimes his attacks are obvious, other times it’s subtle and slick. Usually, it’s the subtle and slick that get us.

I’ve been battling with my mind and heart about my own self-worth. To begin with, I know that the only thing makes me worthy is the truth that God loves me. Nothing in and of myself is capable of good apart from God. I know that Christ died for my sins both past and future. But how come I still feel unworthy? Why do I feel inadequate? In the wake of my sins, why does the weight of my error seem greater than the weight of His glory? It’s because I choose to deny my weakness. Sure, in my mind I know I’m a weak and fallen human being. But there is a trace of pride that tries to fool me into thinking that a self-pity party and a deep form of penance will atone for my sins better than what’s already been done on the cross.

I try to pray a little longer, read a little further into the Bible, and quiet myself a little more. While these acts are all good tools to deepen a relationship with Jesus, they are also all nullified by the wrong motives: a motive that attempts to atone for one’s own wrongdoing. You might ask, “Come on Hilary, how can you call it pride when you’re already feeling bad for yourself? You’re always telling yourself you’re not good enough—surely that’s not pride is it?” Well my friend, when your sorrow is an earthly sorrow that causes you to spiral further into a relationship that’s distant from Christ because you’re so overridden with guilt, and then you try to “make up for it” by being good, then that’s pride telling you that your own wavering, fickle and indecisive actions can make up for such a cost. You cheapen the cross and everything it stands for when you fail to understand, realize and live in the truth of what the cross is about: the propitiation of our sins through the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In situations where I feel I have sinned greatly (well, all sin is the same in God’s eyes, but I guess to us humans, we can’t help but have a certain “ranking” for different sins—but you know what I mean), it is usually followed by a sulking of sorts. I drag my steps, my eyes get droopy, I slump my shoulders and walk defeated. I cry myself to sleep and ask God for even the strength to get out of bed. Yes, I do have a flair for melodrama (remembering King David’s life and picturing his gold, his castle and silken things in my mind just has that effect on me. He he). I forget that this was precisely the weakness that David felt when he was being chastised for his sinful act with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11). We all make mistakes and bad decisions—sometimes we even do them willingly and after we have sinned, we kneel at the cross in shame and guilt that we allowed ourselves to be so weak. But again, this is precisely why we need God. This is the thorn on our side that even Paul himself was not spared from. Our human fallibility makes us need God consistently and frequently.

I know it may sound cliché to many of you to hear someone say that truly to live a righteous life, you must have a strong prayer life. Prayer is a great tool to communicate with God and find out what He wants for you in your life. But it’s only with a renewed mind that our lives can begin to transform. It is only when we understand the true nature of God (that He is loving, caring, just, righteous and able to set us free from sin, forgive us of it and redeem us from all our mistakes) that we can begin to understand His word as well. And when we read that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, we can only begin to understand that this means He will champion you in your situation IF you know His true nature as a sovereign God—one who is in total control of everything and who will not abandon you or change on you (Mal. 3:3) Really I can go on and on but that would be preaching to the choir because I believe in your mind you know that already.

But has that knowledge made the distance from our mind to our heart? In my most recent moment of weakness, I found that the only thing I could do—the best thing really, was to admit my weakness, to own up to my helplessness, cry out to God the very aching of my heart, and just know that as I crumble to pieces, I crumble in the palm of His hands so that when the breaking is done, He is able to piece me back together and cause a new breakthrough in my life. It sounds so emo I know, but really, that’s the kind of intimacy and honesty that God desires from us. That we shouldn’t put on any formalities or pretense when we come to Him for help. He wants us to come as we are: battered, broken and bruised by the disappointments in life and the failure of others as well as ourselves. The first step to gaining strength in weakness lies in the first step we take in entering His rest.

When you’re feeling condemned and weighed down by your sins and shortcomings, I encourage you to immediately have a heart-cry about it to God. Don’t waste your time sulking and moping and telling your friends about it just yet. Our initial response to failure, weakness and disappointment must be to run to God and get on our knees about it—only He can sort us out. When we have prayed and read His word and sought Him about our situation, another helpful thing to do is to call your support system or accountability partner/s. Get together with your small group or your mentor and seek counsel. Don’t give up on meeting and fellowshipping with our brethren in Christ because it is through those relationships that we are covered in a mantle of prayer. Don’t let the weight of your sin chain you to slavery, instead let the weight of His glory and unfailing love rescue you from the pit of despair and raise you up again.

If the Creator of the universe Himself is validating you, no condemnation on earth can overturn that.

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Hilary Isaac is an events host, preschool teacher and a radio DJ on Jam 88.3. She has a blog called From the Swingset where she writes with a biting honesty about the triumphs and travails of her life. Visit her blog at http://hilaryisaac.wordpress.com/

7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher (A guest post by Carisse Escueta)

Carisse & me on our unforgettable Napa Valley adventure (circa 2008)!

There are few people I know who can match the patient, calm, and quirky nature of my dear friend, Carisse Escueta, which explains why people (especially children) are instantly drawn to her. In many ways, she can be likened to Mary Poppins, because she is pleasant, charismatic, talented, and without a doubt, one of the most incredible visionaries and dream-igniters that I know.

Carisse also happens to be the catalyst and leader behind our non-profit organization, RepubLIKHA, which was created to empower the next generation through music. Prior to starting RepubLIKHA, Carisse spent several years working as a preschool teacher. In honor of Children’s Month, she shares with us some precious insights (with cute photos!) that she picked up while working with kids:

7 Important Lessons I Learned as a Preschool Teacher
by Carisse Escueta

Teaching very young children is supposedly no easy feat, and teaching over 30 of them for three hours is close to impossible. Somehow I was able to do it for 5 years with my sanity intact! At the end of my teaching career I realized that I learned quite a few things myself. We are not as different from children as we think. Here are some of the lessons my students taught me.

  1. "Teacher I want to read!"

    Learning is relative. Children will pick up on the strangest things. You might be trying your darndest to teach their letters and numbers, then they’ll start asking you about cupcakes and spaceships. Let them be excited about it and go with their flow. It reminds me that we are all unique and have different views of the world.

  2. Be very specific in your praise. Children are still discovering what they are good at. It helps to tell them EXACTLY what they did well, and why it is praise worthy. It could be how they put their things away neatly or how they played a game really well despite losing. Whatever it is, be specific! We all need to know the good we are able to do in this world no matter what age we are. That being said…
  3. Don’t be afraid to show that you are upset. We all need to learn how to voice our concerns and handle someone’s disappointment in us. We mustn’t raise a generation of people-pleasers but children who are unafraid to speak up against things that are not right. They learn how to do that from us.
  4. Playing is necessary. The job of a child is to play. Let them explore, get mud on their feet, and stink up a room with their sweat. Playing is what helps them understand their world better, relate to others, solve problems, and discover who they are. It’s okay, let them play! When I find myself stuck in a rut, I go out and play too. There is a joy in knowing you are able to be yourself regardless of the circumstance.
  5. Talking is necessary too. Kids live in a lonely world; many activities don’t need human interaction (gadgets, tv). I take it as a good sign when a classroom is noisy; it shows that children are engaged. Most of the time we don’t let children talk enough. I have learned to be quiet and let them speak. Interesting results!
  6. Laugh. Have a sense of humor and don’t be afraid to look silly. Kids are champions at laughter. No wonder they’re so happy! Laugh. It’ll make everything better, you’ll see.
  7. Patience is a miracle worker. Sometimes I receive kids who cannot even spell their name, but by the end of the school year are reading and writing non-stop. Never give up on someone just because they aren’t moving at the same pace as you (or the rest). My kids taught me to focus on the eventual good that comes with determination. Don’t give up on yourself!

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Carisse is grateful for the opportunity to guest on Lizzo’s awesome blog. You can find her (alone) lost in bookstores, zoning out while listening to music, or finding ways to make P100 stretch over a week. She would also love it if you visited www.republikha.org. You can also email her at carisse [at] gmail [dot] com :)

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Tell Me Thursday: A question about your mission (A guest post by Linny Lareza)

Today’s Tell Me Thursday question comes from Linny Lareza. She is one of the wisest, most gentle, and most creative people who I know. She has a way of asking just the right question at the right time, so I knew she was the perfect person to ask today’s Tell Me Thursday question…in her own unique way, of course. :) Look at it, think about it, then share what comes to mind in the comments below!

Linny Lareza paints pictures with words and writes stories with pictures. She is an artist, a teacher, a writer, a listener, a speaker, and a friend.

Never Say Never (A guest post by David Bonifacio)

This is a guest post by David Bonifacio. I am constantly amazed at how David balances all the things that he has on his plate. But companies and job titles aside, I know this to be consistently true: he is a gifted writer and artist, and he composes music, too. He’s one of my favorite bloggers, so I’m grateful that he gamely agreed to write a guest post for this blog while I’m offline. This post is classic David: it’ll reel you in and make you think. I’m glad to share it with you:

Most of the people who know me know that I spend my Saturday mornings at the Real LIFE Foundation’s feeding program where we feed and play games with kids every week at our eco-friendly facility in Pasig. Despite usually having only 3 staff members there, Real LIFE is able to pull this off with a lot of help from volunteers and the LIFE Scholars, young men and women of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence whose educations are sponsored by Real LIFE.

While at I was at last Saturday’s feeding, I was talking with one of the LIFE Scholars when, while talking about how much we both loved kids, he asked me a question from my personal FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Scholar: Planning to have some of your own soon?

Me (sidestepping the question): You? Haha!

Scholar: I never want to have any.

Me: You don’t? But you’re good with kids.

Scholar: I’ve thought about it, and I don’t want my children to experience what happened to me because of my dad. I don’t want to make them go through what my dad made me go through.

When I heard him say this I really felt something inside drop, not so much because he didn’t want to have kids, but more because of his reason: “I don’t want my children to experience what happened to me because of my dad. I don’t want to make them go through what my dad made me go through.” Here was this wonderful young man, smart, hardworking, determined, can run 5k in 15 minutes (that’s fast by the way), telling me that his reason for not wanting to have children was his fear of following in his father’s footsteps.

And many of us have similar fears.

Fears that we’ll become like our predecessors.

Fears that we won’t.

Fears that we’ll make the same mistakes.

Fears that we won’t reach the same heights.

Fears of never being able to break the limitations they’ve lived with and passed on to you.

Fears that we will drop the baton when it’s our turn.

We have our own versions that have trapped us Never-land–not the one from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, but a lie cooked-up in hell–that we will never fulfill a dream because it’s too big, that we will never make a wish since it won’t come true anyway, or that we will never break through because no one has.

But as I said, that’s a lie–a lie that has no power over us unless we let it capture our hearts and minds.

So let me tell you the truth, and this is what I told my young friend earlier: Never say never. Because the things we call impossible today will be reality tomorrow, just like the things once declared impossible. Here are some examples:

  1. “Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.” — The Boston Post, 1865
  2. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidised item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.” — Steve Ballmer, USA Today, 2007
  3. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” –Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  4. “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” –New York Times, 1936.
  5. “We will never make a 32-bit operating system.” — Bill Gates, speaking at the launch of MSX in 1983

These statements seem dumb today but these were made by respected experts who knew what they were talking about–or so they thought.

Sometimes the world seems like an impossible place to realize the dreams and imaginations of our hearts and minds, but never say never. Never say you’ll never make it, because you don’t know what breakthrough is waiting for you. Never say you’ll never be successful; you don’t know what great thing has been prepared for you to achieve. Just because no one can see it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean you won’t discover. And just because you never have, doesn’t mean you never will.

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David Bonifacio is the president of Issho Genki International and founder of naturalhealth.ph. When he’s not working he spends his time serving with Habitat for Humanity, Real LIFE Foundation, and the Center for Community Transformation. You can read more of his work at davidbonifacio.blogspot.com and thoughtsofalostboy.blogspot.com.

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Missing Melody Gersbach… (A guest post by Joyce Burton Titular)

This is a guest post by one of the women that I look up to: Joyce Burton Titular. Her wisdom, her genuine care for others, and her ability to empower and motivate people are just some of the reasons why I totally love her. She took the time from her busy schedule to write this beautiful blog post, and I am honored to share it with you today.

It’s been a month since the death of Melody Gersbach, Bb. Pilipinas International 2009, but I still feel the sorrow. And I confess that I am having a hard time understanding why she was taken so soon and in such a violent way: her car had a head-on collision with a bus; an accident that left half of her baby-doll face smashed in.

The other day, I found a magazine (the bridal issue of Hair Asia) with Melody Gersbach on the cover dressed as a bride. Seeing her so alive on the bookstore shelves just broke my heart. This was apparently one of her last modeling stints before the accident. The Hair Asia magazine was, for me, a stark reminder of how life and beauty can be cut short at any moment and in the worst way possible. I wanted to cry.

Why do things like this happen? Don’t beauty queens get an extra guardian angel or two from God? Apparently not. So, what gives; what went wrong?

While I struggle with these questions, my former pastor comes to mind. He once said at Sunday service that there are questions in life which only God can answer. The one thing he DOESN’T do is expect people to answer them. What he DOES instead, is he writes them down in his list of “Questions-to-Ask-God-When-I-Get-to-Heaven“.

Great advice! If only it would clear away the web of confusion in my head.

But God is gracious because even if I stumble over questions that can never be answered on earth, He picks me up and gives me comfort. Here are three things God has whispered to my heart as I try to make sense out of the death of Melody Gersbach:

1) Jesus Wept.

John 11:35 owns the distinction of being the most economic Bible verse with only two words: “Jesus wept.” If you read the entire chapter of John 11 you’ll see that Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus who was one of his good friends. Short as John 11:35 may be, it sums up the entire heart of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t just love us from a distance. He loves us (com)passionately. He cries WITH us and FOR us. I find comfort in knowing that the King of Kings cries tears of love for Melody Gersbach and her family.

2) Jesus Lives.

1 Peter 1:3b-4 says: “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you…”

God helps me focus my eyes on heaven when the goings-on on earth become too painful to look at. I remember attending a talk by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and she said something I will never forget: “Life. Is. Hard. And that’s why,” she says, “we need to hang on to Jesus and pin our eyes on heaven.”

With that reminder, I am believing that I’ll be seeing Melody Gersbach when it’s my turn to face the pearly gates of eternity.

3) Jesus is our First Love.

At the end of the Hair Asia bridal issue interview with Melody Gersbach, she talks about how much she loved the wedding gowns she wore for the cover shoot saying:

“Feel ko na siya – yung mga gowns and jewelry and hair and make-up. The whole package. I know I’m definitely going to be a bride but I have yet to meet my groom.”

But this is never going to happen. Melody Gersbach is never going to know what it is like to stand before the altar and promise herself to a man. She will never feel the pangs of birth nor the joy of hearing her baby’s first cry. The gown she dreamed of wearing will never be sewn.

While it is tempting for me to simmer in these sad thoughts, God is gracious enough to remind me that Jesus is our first love. And we belong to him. Jesus says it himself in Revelation 2:4. So I comfort myself with the thought that Melody Gersbach HAS met her Groom, not on earth, but in heaven. She walks in a white flowing wedding gown, carrying a bouquet of lavenders with Jesus, her first love, by her side.

I guess she doesn’t need an extra angel or two anymore to keep her safe.

Bye Melody, til next time!

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Joyce Ann Burton, now Joyce Burton Titular, is a former Bb. Pilipinas Universe winner. She is now married with two grown children and is currently the news anchor for RPN News Watch. She keeps a blog called Adventures of a Beauty Queen and in it she features Filipina beauty queens. Her blog’s goal is to showcase the best in Filipina beauty–and she does an awesome job at it! Show her some love by visiting her blog at http://adventuresofabeautyqueen.com.

Joyce had the chance to interview Melody Gersbach before she flew to the Miss International beauty pageant where she made it as one of the Semi-Finalists. You can read more about Melody Gersbach’s story here: http://adventuresofabeautyqueen.com/2009/11/12/melody-gersbach-dedicates-miss-international-2009-bid-to-late-aunt/

Joyce Titular’s photo is by Ree Soria

Things I wish I learned when I was single (A guest post by Samantha Johnson)

Is singleness a blessing or a curse?

A lot of single people think of singleness as a curse. I’m not even going to pretend that the thought never crossed my mind before. Just like a lot of the single people I know, I’ve battled with loneliness, disappointment, and frustration.

But as the years have gone by, I’ve come to realize that I am really grateful, because I’ve learned that every day that I’m single is a day that I’m learning and growing in ways that are molding me into the person God created me to be: someone who will be better prepared for deeper relationships and bigger responsibilities. And I’ll be the first to admit that I could always use the help!

One of the ways that I get to learn is through the married couples around me. Take Robert and Samantha Johnson, for example. Individually, Rob and Sam are two of the kindest and coolest people you’ll ever meet. Together, their awesomeness is magnified. Both of them add so much value to every person and every experience they encounter. I also love that they’re always more than happy to open up their lives to their single friends like me!

Sam is one of the women I look up to because of many reasons, but especially because of the way she exudes joy and hope. I  get to learn a lot from her, and I thought it would be great if other people who read this blog could learn from her too! So I asked her to share her insights by listing some things she wished she learned when she was single. I’m glad that she wholeheartedly agreed! Without further ado, here’s her list:

Things I Wish I Learned When I Was Single by Sam Johnson

1) It is okay not to do what every other “looking” single people do. Don’t get me wrong. If singles want to be seen where other single people mingle, I don’t have a problem with that choice. Except I clearly knew that it wasn’t my scene then and it never will be. But I felt I had to do it because I might miss out on meeting “the one.” Result? A lot of money wasted on drinks I couldn’t stand and a lot of meaningless conversation over really loud music. Today, I realize that it is absolutely OKAY to chill and stay at home and do the things I really find joy in.

2) You can’t “force” chemistry or a genuine connection with someone. I never really got the “I can LEARN to love him” kind of deal. A meaningful relationship with someone is easy, sincere, leaves you smiling all the time, no worries on what the next move should be because, yes, it is THAT easy. And the only time I felt that kind of ease is with my husband.

3) Be intentional about pursuing your passion, no matter how busy you are. I took on jobs that did not interest me at all, and sometimes that’s okay when you are starting out. But boy, how I wish I made time for the activities that I truly enjoyed and those that nurtured my soul.

4) Celebrate the moments of “loneliness.” Trust me, when you start having a serious and committed relationship, and you begin a family and take on other things on the side — that alone time can be a luxury.

5) Physical intimacy with someone who is not your husband is overrated. People have different takes on this but to me, there is just something so beautiful about a man who loves Jesus so much that he RESPECTS and GUARDS a woman’s body because it is the Holy Spirit’s temple and he would not do anything to taint her testimony. There is something so attractive about a man who knows his place when God entrusts a woman to him. A man who has this kind of leadership says a lot on how he will guard your home and your family. It also says a lot on his faithfulness to God and to you, as his wife.

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Thanks for the wise words, Sam! If you want to read more from Sam, check out her blog here. Her recent post features an interview with a friend of ours, Ali Smith, who recently released a book called Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting, which I’ll also be blogging about soon!

Are you single? What are you most grateful for in this season? Are you married? What do you wish you learned when you were single?

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