Monday, June 30, 2014

Online Dating for a Christian Girl, Part 2

Hullo!

I actually meant to write the second installment a week later, but life happened. Left my job, went to Paris, got a boyfriend, started my new job, all that jazz. And now, I'm back!
So, as advertised, this blog post will have some funny anecdotes and advice for Christian Guys With No Game (CGWNG).

Let me get this out there: Christian women who are dating online are definitely looking for a man who truly loves Jesus and walks with the Lord. But, the buck doesn't stop there.

So, I want to write this post to hopefully help some Christian brothers who are looking for love, but may be lacking know-how in online dating.

Let me introduce you to some CGWNGs.

1. Tunnel-vision Tony

Ding! You got a new message in your online dating inbox. Now, men, this is your initial chance to really gain the lady's interest. Make the most of it. I always read my messages to see what the dude had to say.

Tunnel-vision Tony is someone who I've encountered a few times. His entire profile is all about loving Jesus, which is great, but he sends me a message all about himself. No questions, just a big brick of text. 
"Hi, I'm Blahblah. I love Jesus and see that you do, too! We must be meant to be. Let me tell you about myself: adfj;ksjdfaskjdfjsdflkjsdlkfmdkkfjsdkf. I want a Christian woman. I want this. I want that. You seem like you fit what I want." The end.

Whether it's true or not, it just looks like you copied and pasted that message to any lady you found via the "Christian" filter in Advanced Search. 

My boyfriend actually got me, hook-line-and-sinker from his first message (don't tell him). He told me a little about himself and weaved in questions for me, that obviously showed that he read my profile and actually cared about what I wrote. He mentioned our shared love and fear of the Lord, but didn't make it seem like that fact alone meant that we were meant for each other. It was a simple, well-thought out message that could definitely not have been Ctrl+Ved, and with no grammatical errors. Hubba hubba.

Before, I introduce the next CGWNG, let me say that left and right I hear Christian guys say "I only date for marriage."
But I think this phrase idea gets so heavily misconstrued, that brothers start to excuse certain behaviors in the name of Dating For Marriage. IMHO, dating for marriage means that you don't just date whoever the heck lands up on your doorstep. You don't waste your time chasing the wind, you want something solid that can eventually turn into something serious later. You're picky, but hopefully don't people as incarnations of your future spouse laundry list.

2. Business Bob
Business Bob knows what he wants. He wants to date someone for 1 year, get married and then live the dream of having a house and 2.5 kids. What he needs to ask you before he can consider you as the mother of his children is:
"What's your 5 year plan?" (Does it fit with my vision?)
"How many other people have you dated?" (How much baggage do you have? Any exes I should be wary about?)
"How do you feel about kids?" (HAVE MY BABIES)

(Parentheses indicate what he's really asking, ha ha)

And Business Bob gets down to business. He has no qualms asking a girl these questions within the first 30 minutes of meeting her in-person.

Some chicks dig it (most do not).

My best gal pal S says that this shouldn't be a big no-no since this is the online dating scene and you both know that you're looking and don't want to waste time with someone who doesn't want what you want. This reasoning makes sense, but I'm just saying that, as a girl, it's just kind of scary to get into that kind of conversation when you first meet. I want to find out what your laugh sounds like, not how many kids you want us to have together.

3. Whiny Will
Whiny Will is usually past 30 and on your first date he will lament about how all of his friends are in relationships, married or already having kids. He will look at you with hopeful eyes that say: "Please jump up and down and say that you are in the same boat."

One guy actually told me this before we even got the menu to order for lunch. He literally said: "I know it's early, but... I want kids. I WANT IT." o_o

I get your feelings, Whiny Will, I'm looking for luv, too (that's why I'm on the dating site!). But, yea... Don't whine about how all your friends are getting married and having kids. It kind of feels like you just want to get a girlfriend so that you can join your friends, not because you actually like the girl.

Later, "I WANT IT" guy asked me if I changed my nephew's diapers and nodded approvingly when I said that I did. (Way to make me feel like I'm just a huge walking ovary!)

4. Eager Edgar
Oh, Eager Edgar. There is no question that he is interested. Which is nice, for a change. I've been on the sad end of more than a couple of unintentional Ambiguous Alans who ambivalently pursued some weird amorphous relationship-type thingie only to pull disappearing acts whenever convenient.
However, Eager Edgar is like Ambiguous Alan's polar opposite. Like, South Pole.
Eager Edgar didn't really do anything wrong. He just wears his heart on his sleeve... and doesn't read the mood. His favorite thing to do is to ask for a second date in the middle of the first date, without really thinking how his date feels.

I've been asked out on a second date in the middle of a first date that was really not going well. But I wonder if that was his trump card. And it kind of worked, because I was put on the spot and couldn't say 'no.' In my defense, I was in his car while he was driving and my choices were: 1) cringe and say 'yes,' 2) say 'no' and feel unsafe while in an enclosed moving space that was under his control, or 3) say nothing and jump out of the moving vehicle.

That's not all. And, I don't mean to make fun, and it was slightly flattering, but the guy asked me for the second date THREE times during the first date, and then text-confirmed with me right after we parted...

Eagerness can be cute. Over the top alacrity, not so much.

Calmeth downeth, Eager Edgar. (Or at least wait until the end of the date to ask.)

**Also, just a note, if a girl is interested, she won't make you initiate everything. After a couple days of not hearing from you, if a girl likes you, she will most definitely contact you.

And remember, these are just general guidelines heavily influenced by my own (hilarious and uncomfortable) experiences.

If it's meant to be, it'll happen! For realsies, There is a time for everything, including a time for learning. Trust in the Lord-- He's got it all it in His hands. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Online Dating for a Christian Girl, Part 1

Hello! Long time no write... mea culpa! I've been kind of avoiding this blog because I had major writer's block!
However, I am back, because I have a couple of friends who have requested that I write about my experience online dating. I think as a Christian woman looking for a Christian man on a dating site, it's not easy. I mean, you always have to weed out the weirdies and the creepies, but on top of that trying to discern who has legit faith? ::THROWING MY HANDS UP:: It's pretty darn hard.

Here are a couple of (REAL) messages that I received. (Note: My dating profile actually says "I'm serious about my faith, please only message me if you are a serious Christian.")

1) Do you believe a person can be Christian and be into BDSM?

.......................

2) I think you're really cute but I'm an Athiest. Is there wiggle room?
me: Sadly no, but best of luck!
him: And if I was a Christian..?
me: I'd be very happy for you!
him: And then we could date?
me: In principle, yes...
him: OH! I LOVE IN PRINCIPLE! Tell me what I need to do. Even if it's a long road, I'm a speed walker. ;)

This guy also stated in his profile that he loves virgins... 

3) Hi, I am not a Christian but I have a PhD in philosophy, so I understand the system of beliefs.

Great... 

To be fair, these guys at least acknowledged something about faith. At least. -____-

Aside from the Non-Christian Who Still Wants to Try, Jesus-lovin' ladies need to keep a good head on their shoulders for Christian Guys With No Game. Let's just say I've gone on my share of dates with CGWNGs. They are/seem/might be solid, but don't know how to date. Now, my pastor told me that character should be weighed above etiquette, so don't just nix a dude because he committed a dating faux pas. Nix him because he is a smooth-talking faker or emotionally unavailable, not because he wore your least favorite cologne.

I have a fun bunch of stories and advice for CGWNGs... and that will be in part 2.

Anyways, yea, it's a long road. But, my advice to the single sisters and brothers out there is to just keep on keeping on. For every 20 funny stories, there is 1 fairy tale. Or as my wise friend S says: It only takes one. :) Then the rest is history!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

blessed assurance

Life's events can force you to re-evaluate your beliefs and afford you an opportunity to renew/deepen your faith. Which, in my opinion, is always a good thing. It's good to remind yourself of why you believe in God and assess how it plays into your life. A fresh shot of perspective can do wonders- even if it doesn't come in the most gentle way.

The most recent event that rocked my life was the loss of my grandpa. I love him and miss him very much, and the event also made me face death one more time.

A dear friend of mine recently confided in me that she is afraid of death and the mystery of it all; "Is this it?"

For me, as a Christian, I know this is not "it," and that I am not afraid of death. Dying is something I don't like to think about it, but I'm sure of my salvation so it's not the scariest thing in the world to me.

I decided to put together a collection/poem-ish of recent verses in my Bible readings that have been a great comfort to me while dealing with the recent loss. The verses were a great reminder to me of my living hope in Christ for eternal life. Hopefully it can encourage you, give you food for thought, and/or show you how truly wonderful it is to be saved in Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is from John 14:27; the verse continues:
"I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil

For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 

So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 
We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. 
Death no longer has any power over him. 
When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. 
But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

God created this world and sent His Son to us. When Christ came he overcame death- he will never die again. (Ee, so cool!) And I know that my faith in him will grant me eternal life, so I am not afraid. Yay!

Praise God!

*I have all of the verse passages written down, so if you want to know where a certain verse is from and Google search isn't helping, just message me or leave a Comment! :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

my one and only harabuhji

It's been a couple of days since we received the news, but I wrote the bulk of the post right after I heard... And today is his funeral. I really wish I could be there, but need to be resigned to the fact that it just wasn't possible for different reasons. It's been hard for me to share this with many people- in fact, I feel awkward bringing it up at all. But, I would like to thank God and my family and friends for their hugs, prayers and overwhelming love and support. You have all been wonderful. 


God is so good.
[On the left] A super sweet & thoughtful sympathy card from J.
[On the right] Beautiful orchids from K that show me I'm loved.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

[2 Corinthians 1:3-5] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

2014.2.4

When I was born, my paternal grandfather had already passed away. So, I've really only ever had one person who fit the title "grandpa" or in Korean "할아버지" (harabuhji).

His name was 안심원 (An Shim Won) and our family lost that person today.

Someone asked me if the loss was unexpected, and I can't say it was, because his health had been failing during the past few years. So much so that each and every one of my family members had gone to Korea to visit him within the past 2 years. My visit was something I will never forget.

He had gotten so thin, but he was still the same old grandpa, still holding his utensils with his pinkies up. He scolded me a little for having flown all the way to Korea by myself to see him, but was smiling a little bit. I think he secretly liked that I was stubborn and did my own thing.
When I said 'goodbye' to him, I remember he looked so sad and said "You're leaving already? You came and went, just like a dream."

I think the same could be said of his presence in my life. But, I thank God for each and every one of those moments with him. Soli Deo Gloria.


진짜 보고싶어요, 할아버지. 고이 잠드소서.

Dear 할아버지,

Even more than for my parents, I wanted to do well in my studies so that I could tell you about my grades and projects and which university I got into. I think it was because ever since I was a kid, you would always tell me how important it was to study and how you hoped that I would go to Harvard. (You later told me that UCLA is just as good. ;) I think it's because you were a teacher and it was a natural part of who you were to tell young people to dream big and work hard. Thank you.

I remember how much you loved to take long walks and go for hikes. You would walk for hours to get drinking water from the mountains for you and grandma every other day, before your health waned. Unni went with you once- and I wish I had gone, too! I remember how you would always walk with your hands behind your back, with your lips set in a line and a baseball cap on your salt and pepper hair.

One of my funnier memories of you, was when you visited our home in California and really loved the pop-up birthday card I made for dad. You tried to take it with you!! Ha ha ha!! Even when I made you your own, you said you liked his better. Silly, grandpa. And you really loved eating pistachios, reading the newspaper and writing in your journal (and telling me to write in mine, lol). I miss trying to tickle you while you read the morning paper.

I miss holding your hands and bombarding you with kisses while you pretended to not like it. I miss your Japanese lessons to Unni (where I'd listen in and write everything down on a ghetto notepad I made). Not many people knew that you were a teacher during the Japanese occupation and that you were forced to learn the language and then teach in that language. I think not many people knew because you were so strong and didn't let it faze you- you just saw it as another opportunity to learn. (And you were so good at it! Jouzu desu!)

Thank you for your lovingkindness, your wisdom and for always cheering me on to do my best, in your own way. I miss you more than words can say.

할아버지, 너무 너무 너무 너무 너무 사랑해요. 영원히.

이진이올림

Saturday, February 1, 2014

turning point

Hello! Long time no post! >o<

I'll be honest-- I was in a bad life funk. I wanted to run away and not look back, but felt so icky inside that I couldn't even conjure up enough energy to follow through with my intricate escape plans. Boo.
But, praise God, I am feeling better! It's been a slow but sure journey towards more happy days and sunshine and all that pretty stuff. :)

What made me come back to write is that... I've been feeling compositionally constipated! (Yes, that's a thing, because I just made it up.) I haven't been writing much, except for reflections for my daily Bible readings, but those were like study notes at best. Nothing really personal. I've also felt like I've had nothing to share, because of all those messy dark feelings I described above.

But! Recently I read something that really made go "Hrmmm" and that I wanted to share :) Yay!

Lately, I feel like I haven't really been giving up what's in my heart to God. The heart is filled with some ugly things and I have just been letting them sit there, to fester. Of those things, I held judgment for people-- even my own brothers and sister in Christ. I was, as my friend Pearl would call it, "judgy wudgy." :(

I mean, yes, it's easy to judge and human, but the condition of my heart is what makes me so ashamed to admit this. When I proclaim that I am Christian, I am in effect saying, that I give my life to God-- including what's in my heart.

[Romans 2:29] And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

^Paul is talking about circumcision, because he's telling the Jews that just because they went ahead and did the actions of being circumcised, it means nothing if they don't truly follow the laws of God and, in effect, Christ.

So, whose praise was I seeking with my judgments? Obviously not God's, because God hates when we judge one another. As the sinful humans we are, we have no right to hypocritically turn our noses up at one another. In a way, I realized I was seeking my own praise.

I wanted things to be easy and by doing so, in my mind I cut down people in my mind who I thought were standing in my way. In that process, I forgot about God's love and His grace in my own life and just sought to have an easy peasy walk of faith for myself.

I confessed what's been on my heart to my small group ladies and immediately thereafter, I felt God washing away all the secret thoughts in my heart. Up until that point, I thought they were harmless thoughts and never even thought of saying "God, take them away, please!" But as soon as I voiced them, confessed them, I realized how deeply they had taken root and how they had been affecting my actions and the overall condition of my heart.

Life may have not been the kindest of late, but I believe that God is always good. And I believe from the darkness and ugliness of circumstances, God's glory shines all the brighter-- and He uses those times to show us how much we need Him.

All in all, please take some time to examine what's in your heart and see if there's anything you can give to Him. He can handle it- I promise.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Soli Deo Gloria for all the things!

They say our God is a jealous God. And it's true... He wants to have the solo center spot in our hearts. And while that may strike us as a bit funny, it shouldn't, because if we were God, the Creator of the Universe, it actually makes quite a lot of sense.

So, by God's grace, I've been keeping up with my one year Bible reading plan!! Whee! (I'm 1 day shy of the 5-month mark!) And, now I'm in the part of the Book of Judges where God commands Gideon to take an army to defeat the Midianite army. So Gideon rounds up all his peeps when God stops him and says that there are too many soldiers.

Hrm...?

God says: “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’"(Judges 7:2)

So, God dwindles down the army from 32,000 to 300.

That's how much God wants to be known in our victories. He can take away all the little things you can attribute your happies to, so that in the end it all comes down to Him.

I can see this in my own life, and especially just during the past few days. I had so many plans for this weekend, meeting up with my youth girls, a fun brunch, a beloved friend's bridal shower, lots of things to get done at work, etc etc... but nope. Evidently, I was destined to be SICK this weekend. Nyoooo! >o< It's the pits!!

So He took away my ability to maintain a steady body temperature, the strength to drive in a car longer than 10 minutes without feeling like I want to pass out and a healthy enough immune system that would allow me to hang out with people without fear of infecting them/coughing on them...

>:(

Usually, I just think that getting sick is a part of life, but this time, I was quite upset. I've literally been bed-ridden for 3 days now and I cannot wait to get back out and frolic with the rest of humanity.

But all of these missed opportunities may have been more chances for me to go about my business without being grateful to God. On a daily basis how thankful am I to God for getting a report done on time or for being able to meet up with my youthies?

I guess this time in bed was able to serve as a reboot to my attitude that seems to have been on auto-pilot lately. Also, for the past few weeks in my small group, I have been asking for more opportunities to pray. What better time than the present? :)

Yay! With God's help, even sicky-time can be a blessing! (But, please please please, God, let me get better... Amen!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

praying for the lonely

"Truth is, I've never felt so alone in my whole life."

He wore a tired smile but his eyes were filled with so much sadness. I had no idea what to say.

I was sitting with my coworker on a rooftop bar looking down into the Cardinals stadium. We were freezing cold, but stubborn, and huddled around the fire pit.

It's hard to tell, but I was shivering when I took this picture. Brrr.

A nice older gentleman was giving us the lowdown on the game since we arrived at the bar in the 3rd inning. He then proceeded to tell us his life story.

Which is when he dropped that sad bomb on me. I wanted to cry and maybe give him a hug.

He had moved to St. Louis (of all places) from the Philippines to find work and send money back home to his family. The man said if anything were to happen to him, like getting a flat tire or needing to go to the hospital, he didn't have anyone here to ask for help.

"Now that I'm in America, I can afford a phone. But, so what? I have a phone, but no one to call."

I was quiet as I absorbed his words. My coworker was quicker to respond and converse, which kept the dialogue flowing. Soon the man went back to talking about the game.

Even though I never got his name and missed my chance to offer some sort of encouraging word, I know I will remember his voice and the gravity of his words, and how he bared his soul to two strangers that chilly night.

I know lots of people, from all walks of life, who are struggling with feelings of loneliness-- physically and/or emotionally. It's impossible to bring each and every one of them out of their darkness; the one thing I can do is pray for them.

So, if you can and want to, please say a prayer for those who feel alone, who feel like they have no one to call, that they may know love. Only God can break the walls of loneliness and provide true comfort.

[Psalm 78:14] He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.

[Deuteronomy 31:6] Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Amen.