Hey there I am Esther! The author and editor (and photographer!) at Home Sweet Homemaking! I hope I can be a blessing as I sharing my life as a homemaker for God's glory! I am a friend, daughter, lover, listener, talker, and most of all, Daughter of God!
Looking out the window we have our farm property pillowed in snow. There are two types of snow covering outside when it snows. We have the newly laid snow, where everything look so beautiful and white. The other type is not so magnificent, at least not if you are still imagining that white fluffy stuff that comes from the sky. The other type is the brown and muddy, where all the animals have left their marks; also add in the muddy boot prints from us humans. We are keeping these animals warm with fresh warm straw, as well as giving them fresh water and food.
I have never been a fan of snow or the cold. When you live in Pennsylvania you obviously have winter and snow, so you need to find some way to enjoy it. I like the beauty of the snow. Having everything that is brown and dreary covering in bright whiteness is a blessing if you really think about it.
I am sitting all here typing on my laptop sitting on our blue couch given to us by a now close friend. It is warm in here thanks to our kerosene heaters. We used to heat with oil or even the wood stove. My favorite memories have been us using the wood stove. I don’t think there are much better smells than the one of wood burning. Our clothes and us would always have an amazing smell. We used to also cook on top of the wood stove. Wrapping salmon in tin foil with some wine, butter, with pepper and salt, made it turn out amazing! If you have a way to cook like that, at least once, do so and come back telling me how it went. But, I am still thankful for the kerosene heaters, but sometimes I under-appreciate them.
Many times in life we look out our window dreaming about what “could be” or what we want, dreaming about whatever comes to mind. Maybe we aren’t focused on anything in particular, but just staring straight ahead not in the present. We need to pause to be thankful and content where God has us. This is not to say to ignore an actually issue with abuse of some kind or anything that actually really needs to change, mind you. I am talking about the general topic of wanting something different because we are bored or forgetting what we need to focus on.
We have a lot to be thankful outside our windows as we look out and inside our homes around us. The point of my window analogy, is showing that what we have around us we need to appreciate. It is easy to see the clutter from your family and children, see the stress of daily life, the dirty dishes and laundry piling up. We can find a lot of what we don’t like and want to see different; and we lose sight of why we wake up each morning. Obviously, our goal in life needs to be to glorify God and that needs to be our foundation of the joy we have, of the inspiration to “keep going”, to “wake up”, and the phrase “You do you, boo”.
We need to take care of ourselves, before we can care for others. I suppose we hear that a lot, but what should we take from that? How can we help ourselves? Isn’t life about helping others? Well, we need to help ourselves, first by putting everything in perspective. When we help ourselves, we help to see the good in our lives.
Help Yourself Spiritually
Helping yourself spiritually means a lot of things. This means the obvious of reading the Bible and praying to God. It also means to go to church or at least listen to sermons online. Get good Christian fellowship on a regular bases. Feed you soul. This is important, albeit is hard. I know this. If you need or want encouragement in these aspects, please feel free to contact me and we can work together on growing in grace. This is another way to get fellowship, to ask for help in the spiritual side. We Christians don’t claim to know everything or be able to help you through everything, but we want to be here for you the best we can be. So, please don’t hesitate to get help in this aspect.
Help Yourself Mentally
This is a tricky subject and I am not going to go too much into those being diagnosed with mental illnesses. I am not going to sit and write here that everything is going to be fine, but only that we can make our lives a little better if we change our mindset. We tend to also look outside our window hoping for something for different. The sad thing is, that many times where we are isn’t so bad after all. In a sense our life is what we make of it. When we have our foundation correct, we can understand that we can be sad and confused in life without hating our life. It is okay to feel things, but we have to be careful to not sin in doing so. As we learn from Job in the Bible, he was hurt and confused, but he did not curse, hate God, or sin. “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” ~Job 1:22 Again, I am not saying we need to be perfect, but we need to strive and work towards being better people and this all starts in the mind, mentally.
Help Yourself Generally
I could go on and on about how you can help yourself and what has/ is helping me to help myself, but specifics are for you to figure out. You need to figure out what helps you to see the beauty in your own life.
When you look out your window are you dreaming about what could be instead of what you have all around you? Do you see the beauty that God has blessed you with out the window and around you inside your warm home. I understand there are those who have it worse than I have it, than you have it, but that doesn’t mean we should discredit our own feelings. If you want something to change in your life for the better, then do what you can to make it happen. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19
Be content to what God’s will is. Although it is hard, sometimes God’s will is not what we expect or want. This is a hard pill to swallow, but it is all for the better. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9
What are you thankful for today?
What helps you to remember what you are blessed with and what advice do you wish to share?
There is a reason Scripture states, “ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~Proverbs 3: 5-6
This is a reminder to not trust ourselves , but realize that God is in control, that God controls our lives, and that we need to stop leaning on our own wisdom and what we think we want to happen.
We want something, but God says no.
God says no?! But, isn’t God a loving God? Won’t be want me to be happy? If He wants me to be happy then he will have or Will this thing (that I want) to be so. Sadly, God doesn’t work this way. He doesn’t just give us something because we think it will make us happy. He does what is best for us as we walk our Christian walk. What will grow us stronger in Him? What will have us to lean more on him and not on ourselves or those around us? Sometimes we think what we want will make us better people and then it is taken away… only to leave us blindsided, hurt, and confused.
God said no. Now what?
We could sit around and wallow in self pity, which for a prolonged time, can lead to bitterness if this isn’t the heart issue in the first place. I think there is a healthy amount of greif when things don’t go they way we think they will.
Let yourself feel and communicate.
We of course need to have a better attitude with how we deal when things don’t go our way, but we also ha e to recognize that what we feel is real. The sadness and anger is real. It is not wrong to feel these emotions, but we have to be careful in feeling them. So, cry or scream and let yourself let feel the emotions, but keep in mind that you will have to toughen up and deal with it all still. Initially, let out how you feel, don’t bottle it all up inside. Talk to trusted friends, family, and church members. Communication is so important when your life has changed a lot.
Although, this period shouldn’t last a long time and we need to balance it in realizing that’s God is good and He has reason for predestinating these things to be different. So, after you finish crying and eating your ice cream get up and wash your face. Get in the Scripture and pray.
Pray for Guidance.
Now that things are different we need to focus on what is important. Although, I want to state that even if things are going how we want them to that this still applies. What is important? Well, God is. We need to pray for guidance on how to live our life by focusing on Him, not ourselves and what we want that we don’t have. We need to pray for guidance in reacting to disappointment better. God created us and so He certainly has our future planned out as He feels best.
Get in the Scriptures.
As with praying, it is important to focus on what is important. God is. I can not stress this enough. God is most important. Glorifying God is most important. This is so easy to write yet so hard to live out. Praying is talking to God. Reading Scripture is another way to spend time with God. Through the Scripture He speaks to us! Isn’t that wonderful? This being said, we still tend to get distracted when we try to focus on God… the dishes need cleaned, a child needs to use the potty, I am tired, I need to make a to-do list, I need to plan this, on and on. Our minds wonder. When we have a stressful situation we think a lot about that. God’s Word is for every time in our lives and when times are good or bad we need to get in or remain in Scipture. Focusing on God and His goodness is a way to help ease our minds of ourselves and our self pity.
Listen to Music.
This doesn’t sound very inspiring perhaps, but music really does help me when I am feeling overwhelmed with how my life is different than I expected. Some people listen to depressing music when they are feeling sad and for some reason it helps them to process how they feel. I have done that, although it only ended up making me even more depressed. So, I personally recommend listening to happy and encouraging music, something with no or positive lyrics. Listen to something that will cheer you.
One simple word. Write. I love writing! Writing has been one of the best things in helping me process life’s changes. You can write an outline, which you can turn into a blog post like this one. You can write a list of words that you are feeling. You can write poems or just brain-dump whatever comes to your mind. You can write a novel or even a book. You can use paper and pencil or pen, or type it out. Writing helps to move internal thoughts and feeling to outward, helping you to better process what you are dealing with in life.
Find out what works for you.
Find out what helps you when God changes what you thought was your life and future. Maybe you like to draw, maybe you like lettering, painting, playing an instrument, singing, vlogging, photography, washing dishes, cleaning, organizing, cuddling your dog or your humans, caring for others, etc. Find what works for you and stick to it. Make it interesting and different if you need to.
It is hard, but you are going to make it.
I could debate what “make it” means, but I won’t. I am simply saying that life it hard, life is never always easy or simple. We have to remember this, that you are worth it! You are more than the pain and confusion you are facing right now.
So, Friend, keep your chin up. Work on improving yourself in the Lord and understand that we need to make the right steps when we realize that our plan doesn’t end up the be God’s plan.
What steps have worked for you when life hasn’t gone as you had planned?
How have you improved yourself in the Lord from something hard that has happened in your life?
“I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” ~Psalm 142
“In the worst of life’s troubles, God is only a prayer away from us and if we turn to Him, He will make known to us His power and comfort. Remember, God is a present help in times of trouble. It is a relief to realize that God knows our path and feels concern and sympathy for us in this state. Furthermore, knowing exactly where and how we are, He will draw near to help. Friends may let us down; but God will never fail those who trust in Him. Christ understands exactly how it feels to be alone (Matt. 26:31,56), and in His sympathy He helps all who come to God through Him (Heb. 4:15–16). How will hoping in God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises affect the attitude of our prayers?” ~The Reformation Heritage Study Bible on Psalm 142
I am daily being reminded that my joy, trust, and hope can not be on mere man. This is a hard thing for me. I love people, but I can’t hang on to people so tight. Only through Christ does that True Joy come from!
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” ~Psalm 146:1-3
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” ~Psalm 118:8
John Calvin writes on Psalm 118:8 that:
“It is better to trust in Jehovah. He appears to state nothing but what is common-place, it being unanimously admitted, that when God and men come into comparison, he must be viewed as infinitely exalted above them, and therefore it is best to trust in him for the aid which he has promised to his own people.
All make this acknowledgment, and yet there is scarcely one among a hundred who is fully persuaded that God alone can afford him sufficient help. That man has attained a high rank among the faithful, who, resting satisfied in God, never ceases to entertain a lively hope, even when he finds no help upon earth. The comparison, however, is improper, inasmuch as we are not allowed to transfer to men even the smallest portion of our confidence, which must be placed in God alone. The meaning is by no means ambiguous; the Psalmist is ridiculing the illusory hopes of men by which they are tossed hither and thither; and declares, that when the world smiles upon them they wax proud, and either forsake God or despise him.
Some are of opinion that David bitterly reproaches his enemies with their being deceived in depending upon the favor of Saul. This appears to me to be too limited a view of the passage; and I question not that David here proposes himself as an example to all the faithful; in that he had reaped the full fruit of his hope, when, depending solely upon God, he had patiently borne the loss of all earthly succor.“
Whatever kind of tribulation we may suffer, this should always be our goal: to learn contempt for the present life, and thus to be led to meditate on the life to come. Because the Lord well knows our readiness to embrace the world with blind and even brutish love, he uses the very best means to part us from it and to rouse us from our lethargy, so as to free our hearts from so foolish an attachment. All of us, in the course of our lives, like to be seen as people who long for immortality in heaven, and who are trying very hard to attain it. The thought that we are no better than the brute beasts, and that their lot is in no way inferior to ours, would be humiliating were we not left with some hope of eternity after death. If, however, we think hard of the schemes we all devise, the plans we lay, the things we do and undertake, we will find them to be mere dust! Our folly comes from the fact that our minds are more or less dazzled by the false glitter of wealth, honour, and power, which are superficially attractive and which stop uslooking further ahead. By the same token our heart is taken by greed, ambition, and other evil desires, and is held so fast by them that it cannot look higher up. Lastly, our entire soul seeks its happiness here on earth, because it is wrapped and entangled in the pleasures of the flesh. To remedy this evil, the Lord teaches his servants to recognize the vanity of this present life, carefully training them by means of various afflictions. Lest they look forward in this life to peace and tranquillity, he allows war, turmoil, theft, and other evils to upset and trouble them. Lest they thirst too much for ephemeral wealth or trust too fondly in the wealth they have, he reduces them to poverty, sometimes by sending barrenness upon the earth, sometimes by fire, sometimes by other means; or else he condemns them to bare sufficiency. Lest they delight too much in marriage, he gives them difficult or headstrong wives who torment them, or wayward children to humble them, or else afflicts them with the loss of spouse and children. If, however, in all these things he treats them kindly, to stop them from becoming proud in their conceit and complacent through excessive confidence, he warns them by means of sickness or peril, and gives them as it were visible proof of how fragile and fleeting are the goods we enjoy, since they are subject to decay. Thus the discipline of the cross is of great benefit to us when we understand that the present life, judged in itself, is full or worry, trouble and much misfortune. It is never completely happy at any time, and all the blessings we hold dear are transitory and uncertain, trifling and tinged with endless misery. The conclusion we draw, then, is that here we must expect nothing but conflict. If we would seek our crown, it is to heaven that we must look. We may be sure that our heart will never really learn to want the life to come, and to meditate on it, without first feeling disdain for this earthly life.
I remember the very moment it happened. It was a moment I never expected to face. A moment I had hoped and prayed wouldn’t become my future.
Around the 24 year mark, I found myself in one of the most daunting seasons of my entire life. I found myself heartbroken, lonely and facing a future of singleness that I seriously did not want to face. I didn’t feel like God was being good to me during that season. I felt like He was a good God to others but maybe wasn’t such a good God to me.
I wondered if maybe God had forgotten me.
Being a single woman in my mid-twenties was a hard season for me. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it wasn’t. It was painfully hard and often times very lonely. I absolutely cried my fair share of tears asking God to change my circumstances and bring me a man. A husband. Someone I could team up with and serve with!
I often couldn’t understand why God wanted to deprive me of such a good thing.
Instead of staying in that lonely state of fearful singleness, I decided to get serious about my future. I didn’t want to be the “old single” who sat around doing nothing because she was waiting for her prince charming to come along. I wanted to trust God so fully that He would help me to thrive in this season. I wanted to enjoy and fully embrace whatever God had in store for my future.
Do you find yourself in a season of feeling alone or feeling extremely single? Do you wonder if God’s forgotten you?
Maybe you wonder if you’ll be single forever!
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but what I do know, I want to share with you. If it’s been helpful for me, I figure it might be helpful for you as well. If you desire to trust God so deeply, that your future seems bright and your singleness doesn’t feel like “the worst thing on earth,” I challenge you to get serious about one thing. I want you to get serious about the word TRUST.
Truly trusting in God will transform your single years.
It was around the 24/25 year mark that I realized I needed to make some radical decisions. I couldn’t stay lonely and discontent. I couldn’t continue to doubt God’s goodness towards me. I had to get to know my God on a deeper level and learn to trust Him with my future. To be totally honest, I do not know where I’d be today if TRUST hadn’t become such a huge part of my life.
Thankfully, God brought me to a point of understanding a few important realities.
1. I’m not guaranteed a husband.
God never promises that we, as singles, will get married. Yes, He upholds it as a wonderful thing but, He doesn’t promise it to us. Instead of getting upset at God for not giving you a husband, ask Him to forgive you for blaming Him for your wrong expectations.
2. God is a good God (despite how I may feel).
It doesn’t matter if you think God is good to you or not, He is good because His nature is good. Not just good, but perfect. He wants you as His child and He is preparing a place for His children in Heaven right now. He sent Jesus so that each one of us could have a personal relationship with Him. He truly is like no other god in that way.
3. He is trustworthy and He is always the same.
Stop and think about Who God was in the past and who He promises to be in the future. He created us, saved us, wants a relationship with us, has a future for us, and desires to be with us forever. Think of David, Daniel, Esther, Ruth and so many others. He truly is for us. He is for you. Just because your life doesn’t look like you’d expect, doesn’t change who God is.
4. Truly trusting in God has the power to transform your single years.
A woman who learns to truly trust in God will have the ability to thrive in this season. If you can make Proverbs 3:5-6 the cry of your heart and the compass for your life, it will transform you into a content and joy-filled woman.
What do you want the next year, two years, or five years of your life to look like. If God continues to have singleness in your future, what do you want those single years to be filled with? Personally, I chose to thrive. I didn’t want to be a miserable old maid who hated life and hated everyone’s happy lives around me. I wanted to live life to the fullest and I wanted to serve God with all that I had in me.
It doesn’t matter if your 14, 19, 27 or 49, you can make a change today!
You can choose to begin the journey towards truly trusting in God. You don’t have to wait another year. You can begin that new journey today.
The foundational struggle for most single women typically boils down to one thing: a lack of trust. A lack of trust in the goodness of God. A lack of trust in the power of God. A lack of trust in the love of God. A lack of trust in the sovereignty of God. And a lack of trust in the plans of God. The moment we take our eyes off of Christ is the moment our hearts will begin to worry and doubt. If our trust in Christ is secure, our worries and concerns about getting married will quickly fade into the background.
I challenge you to open up your Bible to Proverbs 3.Read the passage and specifically focus on verses 5-6. Cry out to God and ask Him to help you. Ask Him to help you trust in Him more fully. Memorize those verses, write them down, and pin them around your bedroom.
Make those verses the meditation of your heart.
Those verses have been a guiding focus for me over the past 6 or so years. They’ve given me hope and have truly helped me to become to content and thriving woman I am today.
What about you?
Is your singleness dreadful or enjoyable?
What needs to change in order for you to thrive during this season?
“When Christians abate their fervency in private devotions, God abates their peace. If you slacken the strings of the violin, the music is spoiled; so, if a Christian is slack in duty, they spoil the sweet music of peace in their souls. As the fire decays, the cold increases; so, as fervency in duty abates, our peace cools.” ~Thomas Watson- A Body of Divinity