Round 2

Approximately 10 years ago, I realized that I was in round 2 (sometimes round 3) of dating.  Meaning, a large percentage of the dating pool I am in has already been married.  And many of those people also have children.  As a result, I made the conscious decision that I was going to accept the fact that any relationship I end up in may also have kiddos.

And I have subsequently dated men who have children.

Personally, I love children.

But there is a dangerous and frustrating trend happening.

Instead of focusing on finding someone to build a relationship and life with, men are overwhelmed by single parenting, and focus more on finding a person that is willing to be a mother to their children.

Disclaimer, before you decent guys out there get your panties in a bunch: I understand that this is not ALL men.  But there are definitely men out there that fall into this category.  Trust me, I’ve dated them.

Disclaimer #2: I absolutely believe that the children in this equation are vitally important, and what is best for them should be considered.

Ok, now that we have those issues cleared up, let me get on with my point.

In any discipleship training I have been through, and relationships are truly and Biblically discussed, the order goes as such:

God.

Spouse.

Children.

Everyone else.

A wise friend (and if you tell him I called him that, I will flat out deny it) was once telling me about his explanation to his daughter on how to find an appropriate guy to date.

Find someone who loves God more than they love you, and you will never have to worry about being treated how you deserve to be treated.

This. Is. What. Everyone. Needs. To. Know.

The main issue I have personally had in dating is that I didn’t follow this rule.  Have I dated Christian men?  Absolutely.  Have I dated Christian men who followed this principle?  Absolutely not.

There is a difference.

There is a HUGE difference.

In the past, there are a couple misconceptions that I believed about dating.  First, that a man that truly loves God more than they love me doesn’t exist.  I do believe that those men are few and far between (in the dating range that I’m in, because many of those men are already married).  Second, that I didn’t deserve a man like that.

Both are false.

I know that now.

So here’s the thing…relationships are tough.  Building a relationship where children are involved are really tough.  And sometimes, the focus is out of place.  Putting children above trying to build a decent, God centered relationship is going to fail.  When you put children in place of God as the center, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

But when God is the center of your relationship, together we will build a relationship that will thrive.  And when the adults are focusing on God, and pursuing God’s path in their life, and in how they treat other people, the relationship will be solid.  And once that relationship is solid, the children won’t be an issue.  Why?  Because when a solid relationship is built with God at the center, I am going to treat you how God wants me to treat you, and I am also going to treat your children how God wants me to treat them.

Plain.  And.  Simple.

The Bucket List

I have had huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list ideas for many years.  But because they were so huge, outrageous and ridiculous, I never wanted to tell anyone about them.  I didn’t even want to admit that they were on my bucket list.  They seemed so incredibly impossible that I was embarrassed to admit that I even thought these things.

That being said, I have recently been reading several things that have brought forth the importance of writing down my goals, even if they’re outrageous and ridiculous.

I know that there is absolutely know way that I am going to be able to accomplish any of these things.  But God, God is pretty awesome, and He can make any of these things happen.  I have some work to do in there as well, but most of all, the willingness that I have to be faithful to God’s plan is the only way I could even come close to some of these things.

As I was sitting down to write out my bucket list, there are only a couple of things that I can think of that I have already accomplished that might be bucket list items.  But, I’m pretty sure many more things should be added to this list.

So, here we go.  Here’s my huge, outrageous, ridiculous bucket list…

  • Go to a Packer’s Game and Lambeau Field
  • Deposit $1,000,000 in my parents checking account
  • Visit all 50 states (9 more to go!)
  • Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Go on a mission trip to New Zealand
  • Go on a mission trip to Costa Rica
  • Support a mission partner for 1 year 
    • Multiple Times
  • Run a marathon
  • Buy all of the land that has been in my family since we settled in IL
  • Run the combine all on my own during harvest
  • Go ziplinig
  • Write and publish a book
  • Speak at a week long high school retreat
  • Be a camp counselor
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Get married
  • Have children – that don’t have 4 legs and fur
  • Give Lysa Terkeurst a hug
  • Have coffee with Mark Batterson
  • Take my dad to a Nascar race
  • Have a vacation home on the beach
  • Have a vacation home in the mountains
  • Weigh 142 pounds (half of the weight I was at my heaviest)
  • Speak at a women’s retreat

The items that have been struck through are the ones I have accomplished already.  And I promise you, God was absolutely with me running all 4 marathons.  Because there is absolutely no way that 285 pound me ever would have thought it possible to run a marathon in real life.  But now I have ran 4 of them.  And He was absolutely with me when I went ziplining.

So, truly, this isn’t my bucket list.  It’s God’s.  It just so happens that I get to go along for the ride.

How awesome is that?