All the Single Ladies: Where have all the men gone?

Yesterday, one of my co-workers said she was doing ‘damage control’ as she voraciously poured over the dating book known as The Rules. She’s one of the MANY beautiful single twenty-something women I work with. And know.

Why does it feel like everywhere we go there are incredible, accomplished, & attractive single women-with no available or eligible men anywhere in sight? It makes me incredibly frustrated and I have probably asked Michael 100 times if we could ‘brainstorm’ and see if he knows any single guys we could set up with my friends as most of them are single. Anytime he mentions a new guy he’s met, I immediately ask “is he single?”

I read an article yesterday entitled, “Sex is Cheap: Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand, Even When They’re Failing in Life” and while unsettling, I do believe it to represent truth. The article says men’s income is down 20% since 1971. Last year, only 43% of America’s undergraduates were men. Also, more women have jobs than men.

“The market price of sex is cheap,” as women are giving away sex much more freely than we did in the past.  We aren’t in control in anymore. I’m each of you can name a couple who have been dating for 5+ years but the guy just won’t commit. Beyonce’s famous claim, “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” doesn’t seem to be the standard for the majority of women anymore. The standards have been drastically lowered, despite the explosion of male joblessness and the rise of deadbeats and players.

“If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we’d be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on.” The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health shows none of these things is occurring. Not one. No wonder I see so many beautiful, accomplished women dating losers.

One of the reasons women don’t have the upper hand is because of imbalance of men & women. 57% of women graduating college have to compete with other women at school for the 43% of men. The tables have turned in the workplace, whereas before there were always more men-now that is just not the case.

This post has probably been unsettling for most of my single readers. But I share it to encourage you that while the dating situation is harder than ever before… it is not impossible. It’s not hopeless. And I also share because maybe it will help you navigate your thoughts of “is there something wrong with me?” Because the answer is no. It’s not you, it’s them. (not in every case, but you get the point). I also suggest quoting something sassy from above next time you’re at a family gathering and you are answering the why are you still single question?

In case you might wondered a time or two : you don’t have 3 eyes no one has told you about. You don’t omit a pungent odor that everyone except you can smell. You aren’t pathetic. And you won’t be a cat lady. Hang in there until the right guy comes along. Don’t move in with your boyfriend-or even think about it-because he’s much less likely to commit after he’s getting all the perks of marriage without the hard part of ’til death do us part’ & ‘in sickness and in health’.

Their question: So why are you still single?

Your answer:Because I’m beautiful & accomplished and I’m not willing to giveaway sex to any guy who asks for it. Sure there are deadbeats, players, and boys still living in their parent’s basement on every corner-but I won’t settle for less than what I deserve.”

Say it to the mirror for practice. And flip your hair while you do.

You Also Might Enjoy:

Singleness, Settling, and Waiting for The One

It’s Time for a Breakup 

Dating Mistakes: I Can Change Him 

Thanksgiving | A New Family

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday, but this year I fell in love with an aspect I’d never before appreciated about the holiday: family time simply centered around slowing down from the busyness of life to be together.

I clearly married into the right family, because at 7:30 on Thanksgiving morning we were all up gearing up for the 5K Turkey Trot. Michael’s cousin, Max, won 1st place overall and Michael came in 2nd. I’m still a little dumbfounded that a lady wearing a ‘regular bra’, tight pink pajama pants, and HER HAIR DOWN won 1st. I crossed the finish line at 23:18 beating my high school Cross Country record. (But who said I was competitive?)

I love going to Charlotte because it feels like a vacation. Mr. and Mrs. Dean always make us feel right at home. Mr. Dean and I share a sweet tooth in common and he stocks the  pantry with candy, cookies, etc. Mrs. Dean is such a great cook and she makes it appear effortless. Michael and I love being married and his family is such an added bonus!

My sister and law, Jordan, & I are good at many things:

one being ironing…

And another CRAFTING!

Unfortunately…the grass behind the Deans is now a little silver…because apparently the point of the cardboard was to avoid staining the grass. Oops.

I love The Deans. We’re back in Nashville and I hung the joy sign I made above our mirror.

And now Christmas is coming! Joy!

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems | On Learning Generosity

Money and sex-the top reasons couples get divorced.

Michael and I returned from our honeymoon at the peak of marital bliss; only to look closely at the fact that our wedding drained both of our savings accounts and we probably couldn’t have chosen a worse time financially to get married. I was admittedly a little scared. All of a sudden I had a new last name, wifely duties, & a joint checking account?!

We made several ‘tough’ decisions early on that we believe will benefit our relationship long-term. One of the decisions was that no matter how much money we have or don’t have, we will give generously. The Bible teaches 10% and others argue more, so we decided to make that our minimum. Have you ever sat down and calculated how much 10% of your income is? It’s more than you think.

Why you might be wondering?! Shouldn’t we be saving for our dream house? What about future kids? I wondered if we could be exempt from giving because of our lack of funds.

Why should you give away your hard-earned money? Questions I’ve asked: Shouldn’t we be saving for our dream house? What about future kids? Can I be exempt from the 10% giving because we are ‘poor’?

Yes, there is a great need almost on every street corner. There are Compassion International children who need $38/month to go to school and eat and receive proper health care. There are many health clinics in around the world in desperate need of funding. There are prostitutes in China (Red Light Outreach) who need a chance to learn a trade to be able to support their families without selling their bodies.

Michael and I give 10% of our income  for yet another reason. We don’t want money to control us. We don’t want to hold so tightly onto our “hard-earned money” that it starts to define us. And we believe that by keeping an open hand on our money, we will grow, learn, and change into the people we were created to be. Do you know people who can never have enough? Who are always complaining about money no matter how much they have? Risking that type of attitude is not an option as far as we are concerned.

The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil. It doesn’t say money is the root of all evil (so you can be rich and rest easy)…but the love of money leads to evil. It also doesn’t say the love of sex is the root of all evil. There is something powerful in what we spend our money on-it shows where our hearts are.

Can I be honest? I love nice things. I love designer jeans. I would love to go to fancy dinners often and sip overpriced cocktails. It is really hard for me to not compare myself to others who have more (see Are You Satisfied | Dream Houses, Dream Spouses). I’m guessing many of you can relate.

Michael and I still occasionally argue about money and the first two months were hard trying to make ends meet. (Hear me that we are far from perfect). However, we believe that by starting our marriage with giving, serving, and loving hands-we won’t be as susceptible down the road. We won’t risk missing the important things in life because we’re so focused on our growing or diminishing bank account.

Why give generously? Because nothing you can buy or no amount in your savings account can beat getting a letter from a child you’ve sent to school in a country you can’t pronounce. Because you want your character to define you, not your paycheck or your 401K.

Remember in the movie The Blind Side-the story of an upper class white family who adopts a high school age orphan? One scene,Sandra Bullock is at a country club luncheon and a group of women in pearls tell her, “You are changing that boy’s life.”

She looks back at them shakes her head, and calmly responds. “No. He’s changing mine.”

Keep Fighting | Lessons from The Biggest Loser

As you may know, Michael and I don’t have a TV in our house because we wanted to start our marriage without the distraction. We both grew up in households where TV was either limited or non-existant.

Even though we don’t have a TV, we do make sure to catch the weekly episode of NBC’s Biggest Loser (on my little computer). We love it! We both enjoy the intense training and often say, “I wish I could have someone train me like that!” etc, etc.

But what I really love about the show is the redemption. If you’ve ever watched a season finale-everyone says some version of the same thing:


My all-time favorite contestant from last season.

The stories are different, but each contestant comes on the show broken. Most, not even realizing they are broken, but it usually only takes a few workouts to get the tears flowing. They use food as a way to cover up or numb pain. I’ve seen contestants with intense tragedy, sickness, abusive & neglectful parents, and injury. And they all start eating and just never stopped.

Until they come on the show.

But this post isn’t about losing weight or overeating. It’s about fighting. Fighting through the pain (we all have it) and not injecting ourselves with food, alcohol, busyness, sex, [insert coping mechanism here] when life gets hard.

Dolvette, one of the trainers, shared his story of growing up without a father and being taken away from his mother at a young age. He was talking to John, one of the contestants (who has already lost over 100 lbs this season) and looked him dead in the face and said :

I know pain, but you have to keep fighting.”

Whether you are in a smooth season or one filled with disappointment & loss-I pray you stand with me and KEEP FIGHTING. For the alternative is to lay down and allow our past to destroy us.

KEEP FIGHTING! I believe in you.

Rest and The Culture of Busyness

Lately…it’s been rough.

I could pinpoint several things that are hard, but it’s more a host of hard things in combination with a lack of sleep & not seeing my husband (he’s been traveling) & the busyness of modern life leaving me exhausted.

Saturday was the beginning of a what I hope will be a breakthrough. I got up at 5am to run the “I Run For The Party” Hard Rock half-marathon. The highlight? My co-worker Ashley braved the cold and came to cheer me on at an ungodly hour especially on a Saturday. I “PRed” or if you aren’t up on the running lingo-I set my “personal record”: 1.49.54. But it wasn’t running 13.1 miles that made me think.

It wasn’t until I returned home and found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor. As I knelt and scrubbed {my legs throbbing} a seemingly loud thought come over my mind. “I think there is something wrong with me. Is there something wrong with me?” I wanted to know. I put the towel down, sat on the wet floor, and began to process.

I ran 13 miles this morning and now am scouring the bathroom {and just before the kitchen}. But the bathroom is dirty…it needs to be cleaned. The kitchen was dirty and I vowed to be a good wife and keep a clean house. I thought about my days that often begin before 6am and don’t end until 9 or later. But that is just how life is…I’m like everyone else. And some people work way more hours in a week than I do and have commitments EVERY night of the week. No matter how I justified my busyness, something was unsettling.

“God or Jesus or an angelic messenger shows up, and those who should know better, who should be paying attention-priests, lawyers, teachers, apostles-typically miss it, while those least “deserving”-shepards, children, beggars, whores-typically grasp it, and immediately.”– The Rest of God

I read a chapter in The Rest of  God and prayed fervently-“I don’t want to miss out on what YOU have for me because I’m so damn busy with “good things”. These ‘good things’ are women’s group, community group, running, blogging, church activities, & work. How can I cut any of that out? All I know is I must because I cannot sustain this pace.  The Rest of God suggests that the culture of busyness is destructive and we will miss God’s voice and His leading if we don’t stop. Rest. Cease doing and pay attention. Author Buchanan even says, if we don’t choose to lie down, God sometimes makes us. He experienced this personally with his health breaking after decades of the busy life of pastoring a church.

Michael and I sat outside of the church service this morning and talked about ways to cut back, spend more time with each other, and learn to just BE. We aren’t quitting our jobs, he isn’t dropping out of school, and I’m still committed to blogging.

So how do we slow down? The first step is making a list of what we MUST DO vs. what we think we SHOULD DO. The things we must do are that which we feel called to, which God has spoken clearly about. For Michael: seminary and his job at the church. For me: working at Thomas Nelson and blogging.

Community group, service, extra church activities…all fall in the category of “good”, but not essential. Yes, one could argue that we SHOULD join the church next weekend, we SHOULD be in a weekly community group, we SHOULD serve those less fortunate…but I believe that oftentimes the enemy wins by getting Christians wrapped up in “good things”. And we miss what is most important. We miss the man on the side of the road because we are consumed with our important ‘to do list’. I don’t want to be the priest or the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan. I want to be the man who is paying attention and stops to help.

I’m on the journey to figuring out how to cut back in order to pay attention to God’s voice and leading. Michael and I hope to learn how to say “NO” & not feel guilty. No bows to wrap up this post, but I wanted to share with each of you…in case you might be in the middle of scrubbing the bathroom floor. And need some REST.

Is anyone with me? Do you think the culture of busyness is destructive? How have you found ways to find rest in God alone? {PLEASE COMMENT BELOW}.

Red Light Outreach | Bringing Hope to Chinese Prostitutes

Today’s post is by Shannon Wilson, a co-founder of The Red Light Outreach—a ministry in a major Chinese city to women trapped in prostitution.  I met Shannon when I lived in China and I am good friends with many of the women involved. Today, Shannon shares her story of her first encounter with the rampant prostitution in China and what she and others in her city are doing to bring Hope. You can read more about their ministry  and learn how to get involved at

I remember the first time I turned the corner to walk down her street so vividly. Darkness enveloped me to the point of leaving me gasping for breath. My eyes immediately filled with tears, I was so shocked by the brokenness of it all. I was so taken aback by the oppression, the dozens of women sitting on plastic stools outside what looked like mini garage doors. The street was filthy, with trash on the sidewalks, stray dogs wandering around and dozens of men walking in and out of these garage doors. Prostitution in Asia is a multi-billion dollar industry. You wouldn’t know it, hanging out with the women who are trapped in the shops on every street corner. Most shops are eerily dirty and dark, with yellowed walls from all the cigarette smoke and broken down facilities from the frequency of being used. We continued to walk down the street, crying out to the Redeemer of all things to redeem this filthy alley, to redeem the brokenness of the people who were blankly staring at us as we walked by. As we walked by we passed one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in the five years I’ve lived here. She was sitting alone, and we approached her and made small talk. She seemed hesitant to talk to us, looking around to see if anyone was watching her. Since then I’ve learned she’s anything but shy; she’s extremely feisty and can be fierce when customers come around.

She is one of an estimated 80,000 prostituted women in our average city of 12 million people. Her story is the same as many of the women we’ve met: she’s married, has a child and moved to the city out of the poverty stricken countryside in hopes of providing a better life for her family. Somewhere along the lines she was lured into prostitution. One time we met a woman on her first day on the job. She spoke candidly and with skepticism that the work would be worth the money promised her. She didn’t want to be there; she wanted to return to her family in the countryside but was fearful of what would happen if she left the brothel. Another time we met a girl who said she was eighteen but didn’t look a day over fifteen. She had been taken from her home province up north and brought here to be sold dozens of times a day. Every time we stopped by to say hi to her she would shamefully tug at her inappropriately short dress, trying to hide her “occupation” from us.

In January 2010 when God began to move

our hearts for these women we instinctively knew the best thing we could do for these women was to pray. We’ve spent countless hours walking the streets of red light districts praying for freedom from oppression, begging God to break the chains locking the women into this industry and worshiping the Creator of the broken people we so long to bring hope and new life to. As we worship God in these areas there is such immense, tangible power brought into this darkness. We’ve literally had women run out of brothels as we sing about the love and freedom of Jesus, asking to be our friends and offering to bring us into the brothel and introduce us to the 8-10 women working with them. When we invite Jesus to move and have His way in these places, we meet pimps who oversee hundreds of women prostituted in one single club, who then invite us to come back to hang out with the women. When we read scripture over the alleyways, God gives us opportunities to share the hope of the gospel with women, pimps and customers, sometimes all in one day!

When I think about 80,000 women outside my door selling their bodies daily for money, I am easily overwhelmed. There’s nothing I can do, an American entrepreneur, to help all 80,000 women. But I believe in a God who knows them by name and whose heart grieves for them to know True love and True peace. In response to a vision God has given us, we have opened an American style bakery in hopes of one day having a storefront where we can hire women out of the sex industry and provide honest employment for them. The bakery would not only provide them with opportunities to learn basic business skills, but would also allow women a safe environment to heal and learn how to have healthy relationships with one another and with people in society. We dream about having a safe house to provide safe living accommodations for women who previously lived in abusive brothels. With HIV and sexually transmitted diseases spreading rampantly across Asia, we desire to provide them with the medical care their bodies will need. We continue to pray for opportunities to love these women, the same way Jesus loves us.

We know God is working in our city and using Red Light Outreach to bring hope and new life to the streets of this place. These are His people and He longs to redeem their stories. We are currently praying for initial funding for the bakery and for a safe house, as well as a team of 8-10 people who will come work with us full-time in hopes of seeing our city transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus. Will you pray with us? Will you join us?

Site:   Contact: [email protected]

Please leave your comments at the bottom to encourage Shannon and others involved! Share this post with your friends! Do anything you can to raise awareness!

“Big Face” & Following Jesus | A Guest Post from Natalie Han

Today’s post is from my dear friend Natalie. She currently works as a post-doctorate at Stanford University in the radiology department. She happens to be the smartest person I know (and I know a lot of smart people) and I had the privilege of wading through her intellectual arguments against God and introducing her to Jesus Christ. Today, she writes an incredible piece on the idea of boasting in our weaknesses, so that Christ may be made strong from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. If you missed either part of her story you can read about her here and here.

I accomplished what I only dreamed of as a child.

When my professor walked out of the classroom in which I just presented my PhD dissertation and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Han” I could not contain my excitement (I acted poised until he left-then I cheered, jumped up and down with my friends, took 100 pictures, and eventually cried).  Everything I’d ever thought of accomplishing, came with his words. I  received my PhD in America and had job offers to Harvard & Stanford.

Chinese culture has a lot to do with “face”, as our society is based on the shame/honor dichotomy. Big house, good jobs, kids’ school performances, all bring “big face”, while anything embarrassing will make us lose face. We try to rise to the top, to out perform others, and do anything we can (right or wrong) to make ourselves & especially our families have face.

Before I knew Jesus, I didn’t care what it took for me to accomplish my dreams-all that mattered was my ‘big face’. I was prideful and living for myself. If you saw me then, you would think I was very happy & smart, but underneath appearances I lived in the dark.  My life was a mess, I was lost and totally didn’t know what is right and what is wrong. As long as I had good grades, came to the US, have publications, other things behind the scenes seemed to be not that important. After all, big faces are all that mattered. That was how people judge you. I arrived in America, accomplished my childhood dream and gave my parents ‘big face’, but the darkness still lingered.

The world has not changed, but I found Hope and ironically weakness. Five years ago, on Halloween, instead of dressing up like a sexy girl (we think all Americans dress too sexy on Halloween) to attend a consume party, an American girl Ruthie was crying with me and witnessing how I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Indeed, I was weak, I was broken, I was hopeless, I was sinful, I knew that I could not continue one more day without this hope and new life she has been sharing with me over the past two months. Of course, I didn’t have time to read the whole Bible, but I knew this Jesus she spoke of could forgive my sins. He could give me a new life when I accepted him, I could live differently. Ridiculous sounding from my communist party background, but I felt the peace and healing that I have never experienced before, overflowing in my trembling body in a little white car outside of Starbucks on 21st Avenue. This was real. This was not like I filling up a form and paying for the communist party membership fee. I felt the peace knowing Jesus has forgiven all my sins and my life is in his control. I was fragile (and admitted it for probably the first time in my life) but trusted God that this new life will go differently forevermore. For the first time, I couldn’t ‘fix’ my weakness or forgive my sins myself-I needed a Savior.

I like to joke with Ruthie that she “ruined my life” because after I accepted Christ as my Savior, I felt weaker than every before-because I wasn’t relying on my own abilities or seeking to bring praise to myself. My life would look so different if I had not met Jesus…

Truth is that I’m not perfect, the way I do things, things I say are not all constructive, ask my friends you will find out more how many times I’m “bengkui”, meaning “totally falling into pieces” over the past five years. But God never fails. God promised us to complete the work in us (Phil.1:6). We are not finished yet.

The Bible says Paul boasts in his weaknesses, so that Christ may be shown strong.  How different from what I grew up believing! But even after my accepting Jesus, I still try to hide my weakness and pretend to be a “good” Christian, because of my Chinese gene wishing to have “big” face. What a lie! If we could gain to go to heaven by what we do, Christ died for nothing (Gal 2:21).

Even the verse “when you are weak, you are strong” was hanging on my wall for years, but I still struggle to apply it. One of my weaknesses is I cannot take other people’s negative comments about me, no matter truths or lies. I hide. Though I’m not the person that I used to be, my tendency was to avoid losing face more by hiding. The spiritual journey is not a easy road-many struggles, tears, prayers it took to have even a little bit of change in each one’s life. But thanks God for His grace to change me, though I’m limping along the way, I’m not alone. I boast in my weakness in light of encouraging myself and you to boast in our weakness, stop pretending to live a perfect life, stop relying on our own strengths, embrace our weakness and let Jesus work in our lives. We should not be afraid, because “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Christ is strong and we want others to see His strength in us not get lost looking at our own “big face”.

What do you think about covering up your sins or struggles to make yourself look better? Do you find it difficult to rejoice in weaknesses?

Moving Abroad, Chicken Feet, & Life-Long Friendships

This post orginally appeared on bestselling author Beth Wiseman’s blog on Tuesday. She is one of the fiction authors I work with at Thomas Nelson & I feel incredibly blessed to know her. Today’s post is a great way to gear up for next week’s guest posts. My friend Natalie will post on Monday about strength and weakness in relation to Chinese culture & the Gospel; Wednesday you’ll hear about The Red Light Outreach-a ministry to Chinese women trapped in the sex industry-from one of the founders. Exciting week ahead!

I stepped off the plane, my head still spinning from the rough landing, as the smell of fried noodles and strong spices wafted over me; instantly taking note of what appeared to be thousands of black eyes staring at my differences. I nervously pulled my hair back behind my ears and bit my fingernails- just 14 hours ago I was sitting in the Atlanta airport speaking English. I felt as Lucy must have when she discovered Narnia. The wardrobe was behind me as I was standing in an unknown world of fascination and intrigue—one where everyone stared at me like I was a life-size doll and the words consisted of intricate pictures. I was certainly not in Kansas anymore. I arrived across the globe in what would be my new home for the next two years: China.

I moved to China to tell a primarily atheist nation about the one true God who sent His Son to die for them. I was there to be the hands and feet of Christ—in a city where brokenness and sorrow reigned because a recent earthquake buried thousands of children underneath their schools. Overwhelming does not even scratch the surface of the emotions I felt walking around my new city of 12 million. The most daunting task was to learn to communicate in their heart language.

The honeymoon phase with my new home ended rather quickly. I grew frustrated with the people staring at me on every street corner, some touching my hair and face as if I was an artifact. The general hurry of everyone in public seemed unjustified, especially when elbows would find their way into my sides or worse when I was pushed off a bus one time. Pushed! I didn’t understand why the Chinese stood in line touching each other or why people would cut me in line if I didn’t press my body against the person in front of me. And why the hurry at the train station? I have never before experienced such massive chaos and panic as the train doors opened and we were allowed to find our (assigned, mind you) seats. Grocery shopping in China on a Monday morning felt like Y2K was looming. And everywhere I went, people snapped pictures of me (without permission) and school children giggled and pointed.

The language came with great difficulty, many embarrassing moments—the word napkin and menstrual pad should not be confused, esp. in a crowded restaurant—and many tears over the frustration of the large communication barriers.  With time, I began to form deep friendships with Chinese women. The cultural barriers came down, brick by brick, as I was able to truly recognize that while they looked different, talked different, and had different customs, we were in essence the same in longing for love, acceptance, and belonging. They needed a Savior just as much as I did. My housekeeper Xiao Li and I loved to laugh and share a good meal with friends. My friend Zhou Qiu Yu and I both loved to sit up late and eat ‘snacks’ and watch a movie (however her ‘snack of choice’ was chicken feet). My friend Zhou Xin and I like to run together. Elengi and I liked to watch The Office together. One night, I invited my Chinese friends over for a sleepover. And guess what we did? Danced, sang, laughed, ate way too much candy, went to bed at 4am, and talked about boys. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Each day as I lived among the Chinese, spoke their language, and became closer friends with natives, the unfamiliar with the culture grew familiar. They laughed, desired acceptance, fought with their relatives, struggled with selfishness, loved deeply, had their hearts broken, wanted to be thinner, experienced anger, wanted more—just like us. While there will always be language & cultural barriers between me and the Chinese, my time in their midst was the most rewarding time in my life. Hard, yes. But richly blessed with friendships and experiences that forever change the way I view others.

Have you ever experienced life among people from a different culture or background? How did it challenge your faith?

He Chose Me | Fully Known & Fully Loved

I stood behind the closed French doors, the sweet notes of amazing grace telling me it was almost time. The wedding planner fluffed my satin dress & veil one more time.  Breath, I told myself.

The  doors opened and I knew the guests stood, the harp and violin grew louder, and the hot June breeze swept through the backyard.  But all I saw was him. My groom. He waited for me at the end of the aisle-tears welling up in his eyes-as he watched me make my way down the stone steps and closer towards him.

I can’t believe he chose me. I can’t believe he chose me. He chose me. He chose me!

I cried, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t. I was in disbelief that despite everything, Michael Dean chose me to be his wife.

The thoughts brought a feeling I’ll never fully be able to describe. Hundreds of eyes were on me, but all I saw was him. He knew the darkest places in my life-yet he chose me. The thought beckoned a deeper realization of the truth of the Gospel. Christ chose to endure death, that we may have life. He chose you and I, despite our shortcomings & promises to ‘get it right’—and the Bible says He calls us each by name. We are His.

On my drive back to Nashville yesterday, I talked with a friend about the ‘dark places’ in each of us—the areas we are often ashamed of and don’t share with even close friends. We both confessed a desire to be vulnerable with our friends, but we worry they won’t like us once they know who we really are. “You only love me, because you don’t know who I really am. You don’t know where I’ve been…” are the lies we often believe. Have you ever thought that once someone knew “the real you”, they wouldn’t love you anymore?

Michael is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life—and his love & daily choosing me reminds me of my Father’s love. He knows me fully and loves me completely. It is incredible. Our relationships with our spouses should echo the cry of the eternal God who choses us, despite the dark areas in our lives.

In the words of Joy from The Civil Wars, “The longer you know someone – and the longer you allow someone to know you – the more the light and shadows inside each person become more vivid. This song was our attempt at being as brutally honest about the dangerous and beautiful process of knowing and being known.”

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt fully known and fully loved? Have you ever taken a risk and shared something hard with a close friend or spouse?