Taking Flight, Writing

A Letter to the Woman Who is 19-going-on-20

candace||kpp-5.jpg

(photo by Kathryn Patterson Photography)

It’s been almost a year since I turned twenty. A lot of people said to get ready. That it would be hard and that the struggle would be so very real. People told me that this would be the hardest time in my life. But despite all the warnings and ill-tidings people would proffer, I looked at twenty and I saw hope. I saw joy. I saw new beginnings and unlimited possibility. I saw a chance to reevaluate the direction my life was going and reinvent who I was. So here is a heart to heart I offer to the woman who is about to leave her teenage years behind because ready or not, here twenty comes:

Sweet child,

You’re no longer a child anymore and I’m sure you’ve felt that way for quite some time. All of a sudden the number 20 is thrust upon you. You’ve longed for freedom and for independence. You’ve wrestled with this idea of womanhood – wondering what that exactly means and when exactly you entered that season. You’ve grappled with what a woman lives her life like and how you will live the life before you with strength and dignity and determination, but now you have to live it.

Twenty. It’s a very confusing number with so many implications, so many expectations. Your twenties are scary and ominous. There is so much uncertainty. For what might be the first time in your life you see the things in which you once put your hope for what they are. Meaningless. A vapor in the wind. Up until now you’ve had dreams – big dreams – but in the context of twenty they seem far off and unlikely.

I wish I could tell you all that there is to living out your twenties and living them fully, but I’m still learning just like you. But let me start here.

I hope that you will not lose hope.

I pray that you love life. I pray that you will seek adventure. I pray that you will not lose faith but instead find God in the most amazing and unlikely places simply because you took the time to look. I pray that you will not get caught up in the rat race of life, but that you will charge full speed ahead in the race God has called you to run.

I pray that you know that everything in this next decade of life and in every other decade is very much a choice. I pray that you choose joy even when that seems like the hard thing, the awkward thing. I pray that you choose love even when you don’t have a man in your life to love. I pray that you choose peace when the storm seems too big for you to weather. I pray that you choose kindness. I pray that you choose compassion. I pray that you choose grace. I pray that you choose beauty because, yes, even beauty is a choice. And I’m not talking about the beauty that comes from powder and paint.

I pray that you see the future as opportunity for God to be glorified and to make much of Jesus. I pray that you see the coming years as a blank canvas for Him to create a beautiful masterpiece. I pray that you look past the uncertainty and the unknowns and see all that the Master Artist could do in the coming years – that He can and will make beautiful things from nothing or even bad and horrible things.

I hope you take a chance. I hope you travel all over the world and leave worry behind because He is bigger than your worry. He is bigger than your fears because turning twenty is kind of scary.

But more than anything.

I hope you dream wildly and live adventurously.

In Him,

Candace

(Originally published to my former site, thetakingflightblog.com, on March 11, 2016.)

 

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Taking Flight, The Single Life

Singleness

What I’m about to say might sound very satirical and sarcastic. That’s what I was going for, but if that’s not your thing, if you have a hard time understanding sarcasm or taking it, then you might want to stop reading now.

What I’m about to say might sound like it comes from bitterness and resentment toward all things love and relationships, but I beg of you to keep reading because that is not my motivation at all.

So, allow me to paint a picture for you.

What if single people posted as much about being single as some dating, engaged, newlywed or married people posted about their relationships? No, if we did that, the sky might fall on top of us and humanity would cease to exist as we know it.

What if instead of Mancrush Monday and Womencrush Wednesday, we had Single’s Sunday? Or even Saturday…yeah, I think we would settle for Saturday.

Or better yet, what if one day out of the whole year, we had a day were singles could genuinely celebrate their singleness? They could post pictures of the single life and all the couples would just have to sit there thinking, “You know it’s cool you all have your day, but we couples still exist and we would like some recognition, too.”

All of this sounds ridiculous and obnoxious, right? At least that’s what I’m hoping you think.

A couple of times on Taking Flight I’ve talk about Christianity and the Christian community’s approach to singleness and dating, but this isn’t just a Christian problem, it’s a world problem. But the fact of the matter is relationships are celebrated while singleness is left high and dry.

So much is dedicated to and set aside for the dating/married community. Annual holidays; twice weekly social media days; one week, one month, six month and one year anniversaries; annual holidays for those who have taken their relationship to the next level and added a child to the mix. Congratulations. You can reproduce. What an accomplishment. Bacteria does that multiple times a day, but ya know…it’s cool.

Sarcasm aside…in the midst of all these special days we’re recognizing parents who really aren’t that great at being parents. We’re celebrating relationships that are on the rocks except in the perfectly posed, beautifully written captions of Instagram photos. We’re elevating husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, dads and moms who are so bad at it that all of us single people can’t even.

This isn’t to deny those who are great parents, spouses and significant others the credit due them. After all, if I were in that position, I think I would like to get a pat on the back every once in awhile if I were doing a decent job at it, but where are the flowers and chocolates for the single peeps? Or a plane ticket to some place really cool (because it’s really all the same)?

I mean we’d like to think we’re killin’ it at this whole single thing, but it’s kind of hard when the things being celebrated are not singleness and making the most of this season of life. There’s no special day for singles. There’s only sad sideways glances, pity and well meaning (but actually insulting) “it will come” comments.

So, as my call-to-action, in the moments when you’re celebrating your relationships and the blessings that come with them this Valentine’s season, also take a moment to celebrate the single in your life in whatever way you possibly can.


 

Join the Taking Flight community during the month of February for this month long series, Single Life!

Single Life

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