Why do bad things happen to good people? (Part 1)

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I feel like you can’t have a discussion about God without this question coming up. And I feel like you can’t have this question without someone responding with “sometimes God tests us…” I have always hated that response. “…sometimes God tests us…” That statement always conjures up, in me, this image of a God sitting on his throne in heaven playing chess and we are the pieces. I think one of the reasons why I’ve hated that statement is because it tends to get thrown around too much. And it tends to get thrown around by people who don’t fully understand that sentence any more than I do. It is a response they’ve heard, it sounded pretty good, and it filled a gap. But a God that lets bad things to happen, then sits back to watch how I react, is a God I want nothing to do with.

But you, reader, are in luck. I don’t believe that I am a chess piece and I don’t believe that God sits back.  Continue reading

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Want To Know How I Budget My Income?

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Since my last two posts were long and wordy, I’m going to attempt a short and sweet post today about budgeting. Like all discussions about money, this is not a one size fits all kind of post. This is a skeletal break down of how I have been budgeting my regular income since my first real job out of college. I’ve been able to adapt it to every level of income bracket I’ve found myself in and I totally foresee myself using this one day when i’m married and running a house with two incomes.

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Do You Know Who You Are?

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In celebration of international women’s day, which was on March the 8th, I’d like to talk about identity. When I think of identity I think of three things: who the world says that you should be, who you think you are, and who God says that you are. Identity is so important to us as humans. If we have no idea who we are then it is hard to have any kind of direction in life. Identity is all about connection. From the very beginning of life we can see how important human connection is. Babies need to connect with their parents, if they are neglected it can have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. Our parents are the first ones to contribute to the formation of our identity (that we are consciously aware of). This is part of the “who I think I am” part of identity. Later on we get our identity from friends, gender, culture, hobbies, experiences, habits, society…etc. Some of this is also part of the “who I think I am” part of our identity but most of it falls under “who the world says that you should be”.

I mentioned before that identity and connection are closely related. In order to form an identity, we need to connect with something. This is what we are all searching for. We need to feel something click inside. We need something to fill a void, to give us direction so that we can find meaning in our lives. Ultimately what we are looking for is to connect with God. The need to connect with something comes from God. God created us to be social beings and he also created us with a need to be close to him. Our souls long for him.

“My soul yearns, even faints,
  for the courts of the Lord;
 my heart and my flesh cry out
  for the living God.”

Psalms 84:2 (NIV)

This is what I really want to talk about. This is what I struggle with the most. How to you figure out who you are when there are a thousand voices seeking your attention? Trying to tell you who you are? How can you find God’s voice? The one that tells you who you are…

I’ve had a life long battle with trying figuring out who I am. We all change a little bit with every season of our life…hopefully for the best but sometimes for the worst. It is hard for me to figure myself out and when bad seasons come into my life I feel like I have to start from ground zero. I feel like I know who I am and then something happens that turns my world upside down. Instead of trying to figure out who I am on my own and who I need to become after encountering storms in my life. I feel that God is telling me to stop fighting. Give up and give in to him and let him mold me and tell me who I need to be. I’m definitely going through one of those crossroads in my life when I know everything is about to change. The way I see the world and view God are about to change. It has to…because I’m telling God that I am ready to move forward and to become someone new. I want to embrace a new identity in Christ…an identity that is ever-changing and always moving forward.

 

How are you going to change and move forward from the struggles in your life?

 

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The Book of Ruth

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This month we celebrated Valentine’s day so I thought I’d talk about my favorite love story of all time. The Book of Ruth.

It is a short book, consisting of only 4 chapters (in comparison, the book of Isaiah has 66 chapters) but I like to think of them as 4 Acts. While chapters in other books of the bible seem to start and stop at will, each chapter in the book of Ruth leads into the next -much like the acts of a play. Each act is created the same way. You find out everything you need to know about the characters and events within the first four scriptures, then watch the event unfold, with a turning point located at the midway mark. These events then set you up for the next act and then the cycle repeats.

I guess you can call this post a “book review” or “study guide” of the Book of Ruth. I’m going to call it a “hodgepodge of my favorite tidbits and reoccurring themes” -like the commentary in the special features section of a DVD. I will try to stay cohesive, but I will not apologize for the amount of parenthesis that are in this post.

Oh by the way, this is an interactive post, so go get your bible.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Singles Seeking First! Holly, Roune, and I wanted show you some lovin’ so we made you a Playlist of our all time favorite love songs.

You can listen via Spotify here.

Or watch it via YouTube here.

– I Will Be Here – Steven Curtis Chapman
– My Funny Valentine – Frank Sinatra
– A Thousand Years Part 2 – Christina Perri (feat. Steve Kazee)
– So This Is Love – Ilene Woods
– L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
– God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You – N’Sync
– Good Good Father – HOUSEFIRES II
– Budapest – George Ezra
– I’ll Never Break Your Heart – Backstreet Boys
– Angel Of Mine – Monica
– All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo
– I Found Love – Sarah Shannon and Styrofoam
– When You Say Nothing At All – Ronan Keating
– I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
– Times – Tenth Avenue North

 

 

 

Standing on God’s Promises

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I love to hear stories about people who have this amazing, larger than life faith in God. These people never seem to doubt that God will come through for them. They always believe that everything will work out. They believe that not only will everything work out…. but that there will be baskets and baskets of bread and fish left over from the miracle that God is about to unleash in their life and the lives of those around them. I feel like my faith is this little tiny grain of sand next to their faith which is this crazy, super power faith. God has been using the only thing in my life that I thought that I was certain about to teach me what real faith is.

Real faith began for me when I felt that everything had been stripped away from me. Everything that I used to identify myself with had failed me. When I no longer knew who I was or what my purpose was. When every truth sounded like a lie and every lie sounded like the truth. Nothing made sense anymore. I couldn’t feel God’s presence and I felt like he had abandoned me. This was the perfect place for God to begin to teach me what real faith is. There was only one thing left for me to do when I was this broken. I had to stand on the promises of God. In this place It is all the more important to remember the promises and truths that God has told you and to remember that God never lies. You can either stand on the Devil’s lies or stand on God’s truths and promises.

Have you ever been here? In a place where you felt like you are on the edge of a cliff and you can’t stop yourself from falling over and when you did, it felt like you fell deeper and deeper into darkness. You didn’t know how to stop…and you didn’t know what was going to happen when you got to the bottom. It is tough when you feel like this to believe that God will catch you but he told us that he would in his Word and he never lies.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

Psalms 145: 18-19 (NIV)

He promises to save us and all we have to do is cry out to him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

He promises that even if we do not understand the direction that our life has taken or what his plan is for us, that if we trust in him then he will guide our steps.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

God has not forgotten about your needs or the desires that he has put on your heart but God’s timing is different than our timing. Hold on!

Those are just a few promises that God has shown me in tough times. I heard someone say once that our time here on earth is not meant to be easy. The tough times are the times when we are given the biggest opportunity for growth. It is in these times that we really begin to grow into the people that God has called us to be.

 

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You’ve Started Your Health Insurance. Now What?

Hi All,

Annette here. With the start of a new year comes the start of new health care plans. Some of you reading this may have coverage through your employer, some of you may be proactive and have already purchased a plan through the market place, and some of you may still be cringing at the very though of health insurance. So, I have decided to kick off this new blog with a break down of some health insurance terminology and, hopefully, shed some light on this topic.

Starting with some terms that may help you:

I signed on to the government marketplace at Healthcare.gov, just to see what type of plans were available to a 29 year old single woman with no dependents. The average premium was $120 a month, the average deductible was 5000, the average co-insurance was 70/30 and the average out of pocket was 7000 and the average copay was $50.

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2016-The Year of God

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I am so excited for my first blog post with Singles Seeking First (SSF). My name is Roune’ and I want to share a little about why I want to blog in the first place. I’m not the kind of blogger who is an expert on anything but this is my journey in discovering myself, God, and learning how to express myself in this new way. I hope that this blog leads to bigger and better things for SSF and I’m looking forward to what 2016 will bring.

While I have high hopes for 2016 I have to admit that 2015 was a rough year for me. I honestly felt kind of let down by how it ended. I really let it get me down, because I felt like such a failure but through this God has showed me a lot. I thought that 2015 was going to be my year. I had a lot of big expectations. I’m sure that you all had some too. None of my wishes for the year came true but I believe that God taught me more through this than if all of my prayers for the year had come true.

I am a chronic worrier. It is SERIOUSLY a problem. I worry that I am not enough. I worry that I am too much. I worry that I will never be what others consider successful. I worry that I will never find my purpose in life or realize my passion. I had to get to the point that I was so fed up with being miserable before I listened to God. I was too obsessed with expectations that I had for myself and worried about expectations that others had for my life. I am 28 years old and I am not where I thought that I would be in life. I had to let all of this go. I realized that worrying does not change anything and it does not help me. It only hurts me. I’m beginning to learn how to adapt and change. I have to be ok with whatever happens in life and I have to find a way to move forward. This song kind of embodies what I’ve learned these past few months.

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

-Horatio Spafford, It is Well with My Soul.

 

I never knew how powerful that song was until this year. Being content, no matter what, is really really hard but in this place God can do miracles in your life. Not by giving you the job, car, house, or spouse that you’ve always wanted. The miracle is that God frees you to be totally and completely dependent on him to survive. This is the place where we find true contentment and true peace. My resolutions for last year were all about me. I want my prayers (instead of resolutions) to be about God. I want this to be God’s year and not my year. So…this year I hope to have a renewed passion for God’s word. I want to read it like It’s the first time that I’ve ever read it. I want to understand and see truths in the Bible that I’ve never seen before. I also want God to take me places that I have never been in him and to use me in unexpected ways.

What are your prayers for the new year?

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

-Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)