Reaching your Goals – like, actually reaching them

stephan-gHello my Friends,

Today I’m thrilled to introduce to you our first male guest blogger on Unescorted! This is my good friend, Stephan Gregoire, who I grew up with back in Austin, Texas. He is now a full time missionary in Mexico and is doing amazing things for the glory of God! I’m proud to know him and I’m honored that he would take the time to share his heart with us on Unescorted. He’s single and thriving in what God has called him to, so he fits in nicely with the Unescorted crew!! I pray you all enjoy the powerful, yet practical truths he shares with us today!  Love y’all! – Rae. xx

 

As a young adult you may find yourself in a period of reinventing or rediscovering your life. If you’re in your twenties and feel like you’re having a quarter-life crisis, don’t fret; tons of famous inventors, performers, and entrepreneurs didn’t start until their thirties or later.

I want to talk about a recent discovery that turned my life around. I’ve always been a pretty idealistic guy with big hopes and dreams, but I’ve also been the kind of guy not to finish what he started. Let me give you five tips that turned me from someone who didn’t reach the goals he set, to someone who consistently accomplishes them.

Step 1 – Understand what you honestly want.

This is the first and biggest major key, for me anyways. As a young man I was the type who was happy to do what parents, pastors, and teachers told me. This isn’t a bad thing, it made sense to me, and it worked out towards a lot of my success. However, if you never learn to think and decide for yourself, you may find yourself where I was: Doing everything right, but extremely frustrated and unhappy in life.

I was pressuring myself with desires that others wanted for me – not my own.

If you’re not reaching your goals, it may be because you’re imposing goals on yourself that you feel you should want. (Quick pro life tip: never live by “should”). It can be a few things causing this. Well-meaning leaders pressuring you, or you’re comparing yourself to others, or you misunderstand God’s plan for your life.

Look – God wired you with your own internal deep desires. When something is connected to your destiny, there’s an inexplicable magnetic feeling that just feels “right”. When something is not God’s plan for you, something will just feel “off.” This is hard to describe, so the best thing I can say is test it out by trial and error to learn what your gut is telling you.

Do this: stop and take an account of what you actually want in life.

Write a list down on a piece of paper or a note on your phone. Be honest with yourself. Resist the urge to put things you should want, and resist the feeling that what you’re writing down may seem selfish. This should be a short list – maybe two or three items even. For example, here’s what mine ended up looking like:

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…now we have something to work with.

Step 2 – Visualize the result.

Now that you’ve got an honest inventory of your biggest desires, this is the part where they turn into dreams. The cheesy saying is true, that if you can imagine it, you can create it.

Let’s use my “be fit” item for an easy example. I had dabbled in the gym but never took it seriously, even though it was a big part of what I wanted to accomplish. The “eureka” moment came when I took an honest account of where I was at, and imagined what I would look like in a year with consistent training. Because of this image I invested in the gym like never before.

Pick one of your desires and let your mind wander as you picture it in your head.

Say you want to be a conference speaker. Can you imagine the stage design? How big the crowd is? The demographic of the audience? The number of spotlights? Can you see yourself saying the types of things you want to say?

This is what people are talking about when they say they have a vision. This picture in your head can give you focus and motivation.

Step 3 – Set an amount, and set a deadline.

The Bible says in Habakkuk, “write the vision down, make it plain.” Making your vision plain – here’s where your dreams turn into actual goals.

Option 1: Start with an amount

To begin saving up to travel the world, first I had to get out of debt. This was an easy amount to figure out – whatever amount I needed to pay off to get back to $0! I figured out how much extra I could pay off each month by cutting back my spending. Then I counted how many months it would take to reach zero. It wasn’t as hopeless as I thought, and within a year I was debt-free.

Option 2: Start with a deadline

Another idea is to come up with a time frame first, and then figure out a realistic amount to be reached by that time. For fitness, I gave myself a timeline of one year, then researched how much muscle strength could be gained in that time. I was pleasantly surprised when I surpassed it at the year’s mark.

Whether you start by picking an amount or a deadline, your goal needs both (otherwise it’s not a goal!)

Note, not all goals can be quantified into an amount so obviously. Maybe your desire is to learn something. You can translate that into a goal such as “take 10 classes in this field of study.”

One last thing. For now, only focus on one goal, and one with a time frame in less than one year. Once you’re making progress, then you can begin working on another goal at the same time, or thinking about goals that have longer time frames.

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Step 4 – Google a plan.

You know the what, the when, and the how much. Now it’s time for the how.

Notice I don’t want you to come up with a plan. There are a hundred experts who have already laid out the steps to do what you want. Consult Professor Google or visit the University of YouTube and find someone who seems like they know what they’re talking about. It’s literally as easy as typing “how to get x amount of y in z months” into the search bar.

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps were a great resource for getting out of debt. Plenty of bodybuilding websites have proven workout routines. eHow has steps for basically anything you can imagine.

Don’t worry about finding the best plan for now. Just find anything that gives you steps that you can start working on. If you find a new plan later on that works better for you, then by all means, switch to that.

Following these steps is how you’re going to realize the goal. Now there’s just one more thing you need to do.

Step 5 – Make a lifestyle decision.

Smart people know that diets don’t work. You lost weight, but once you stop the diet, you just gain the weight right back. If you want a lasting change, then you need to make an actual change that will last forever.

A lifestyle decision is basically this: what will you say no to from now on?

Working out with a busy schedule meant waking earlier to get to the gym. Waking earlier meant going to bed earlier. That meant no more “falling asleep” to Netflix.

Cutting back spending by not going out with friends was harder. You don’t want to let them down, but they keep inviting you. Having consciously decided ahead of time that, “no, I’m not going to go to movies or restaurants” made it easier to stand my ground. Eventually, we came up with better, more fun, and cheaper things to do.

When this gets difficult, go back to that mental image of your goal fulfilled, and remind yourself that there are bigger things than how you feel right now.

Congratulations – you’re on your way to what you’ve always wanted. And you’ll find the results will come much quicker than you expected. You’re no longer sitting around hoping it to arrive someday. I don’t profess to be some guru, heck, I’m in the same early adulthood singleness as the rest of you. But I can say that these 5 tips have worked wonders for me.

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Bonus Round – What to expect.

Expect setbacks. You might get sick, things come up, priorities change. It’s not a big deal. Just recalculate.

Expect criticism. Other people aren’t gonna get it. I don’t know why some people feel the need to talk you down when your priorities don’t line up with theirs, but they do. Listen to what they have to say, smile and say thanks, but if it doesn’t help you, throw their bad advice away. Also, don’t talk about your goals unless someone asks. It can feel frustrating when someone else isn’t passionate about something like you are, but that’s normal.

Expect your wants to change over time. After a while pursuing something you might realize it just wasn’t for you. Depending on the time invested, it may feel devastating. But take all the good that you learned from it and adjust. You didn’t waste a thing. Life is a forever adventure of discovering the world and discovering yourself. Change, even in yourself, is a part of it.

Most importantly, expect results. Expect your hard work to pay off, and expect people to notice.

Thanks for reading!

– Stephan G.

 

Trust Issues

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When you think of the phrase “trust issues” what comes to your mind? What are the typical scenarios that cause such issues? An unfaithful partner, a friend who stabbed you in the back, or maybe someone you highly admired that disappointed you. We live in a world full of humans that are well…human. We let each other down constantly and all people in some way or another have reservations when it comes to trusting other people.  This is a topic that has more than earned the right of an entire blog post because we can all relate to it. However, PLOT TWIST, those aren’t the trust issues being discussed today. Instead, let’s talk about YOU! (Isn’t that so much more fun??)

On a scale of 1 – 10 how much would you say you trust yourself? (Dramatic pause so you can stop and actually rate yourself…) If you’re having a hard time coming up with a number think about it like this. When you have to make a really tough decision for your life– can you come up with a solution on your own and be ok with that, or do you have to call anyone willing to listen to help validate the conclusion you THINK you’ve come to? If something happens to make you feel a little insecure– do you look yourself in the mirror and determine to walk confidently, or do you search high and low for someone or something that can help you to feel secure again? I’d say you’re at a pretty solid 10 if you would do the “right thing” in either of those scenarios! However, if you’re thinking your life mirrors more of the “wrong thing” to do, JOIN THE CLUB……WELCOME! Haha! Let’s get real, if I’m being honest I would have to give myself a whopping 4 in the being able to trust myself department. I HAVE TRUST ISSUES! There have been so many times where I’m confident and feel good about something God has told me to do or I simply wanted to do, then one person asks a question or says something negative and my confidence flies out of the window. I can’t live life this way and neither can you! If we do we will always be taking two steps forward then five steps back. There’s no way progress can be made in our lives if our decisions reflect a seesaw, constantly going up then crashing back down because we don’t trust ourselves enough to boldly move forward.

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In beginning to trust ourselves we will see growth and change in our lives. The first two things that come to my mind are confidence and clarity. The first of the two seems pretty obvious; the very reason we can’t seem to trust ourselves is because we lack the confidence to do it!  The more we live life not giving one care in the world about what others will think, the more a bold and unshakable confidence will grow within us. Every single time you take that huge risk and rock that Pinterest outfit you’ve always wanted to WITHOUT face timing your bestie for a last minute boost of confidence, the more your confidence to wear whatever in the world you want to wear will grow!! I know, so freeing!! It’s almost humorous to think that the people in our lives that let us down at times are the very ones we turn to when we are in need of security and confidence. Don’t misunderstand, I LOVE people and people in our lives are needed and God- given, but they aren’t God. We will never find in them what can only be found in HIM. He loves us deeper than we could imagine (Romans 8:39) and when everyone in our life takes off, He never will (Deuteronomy 31:8).  Let your confidence rest in HIM and who He has created you to be!!

Number two, clarity or we could say, a clear vision for life. Growing up it wasn’t hard for me to be a “good girl” because I thrived off of making everyone happy. My fuel for life was making my parents proud. As I began to get older and even today this bleeds over into trying to “please” everyone. (I use quotations because this is absolutely impossible!!) It wasn’t until I began to ask myself, “What do YOU want to do?” that I began to make sense of my life. I had clarity and a vision for what I wanted my life to look like and then began to develop a plan in how to make that happen. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” If we feel stuck in a rut and lack a clear plan just MAYBE it’s due to a lack of confidence. Could it be that you really do know what to do but refuse to do it because of the fear of what others may think? Maybe your “plan or purpose” doesn’t look as grand as the person next to you so you feel inferior. Roy T. Bennett once said this, “The more you believed in yourself, the more you could trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the less you compare yourself to others.” It is impossible to successfully move forward if we make a habit of looking back or to the side.

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Find YOU, do YOU BOO, and then be confident and never waiver because God made you amazing just the way you are. YOU are brilliant, YOU are beautiful, YOU are significant, YOU are a world-changer; and no opinion, insecurity, past decision, or dirty look will ever change that!! Be the beautiful you that only you can be. Accomplish the things that you and only you can accomplish by trusting yourself and most importantly trusting God to lead and guide you every step of the way. You do that and for you to fail is absolutely impossible!

 

I love y’all!!

Until next time,

Rae.xx

Guest Blogger: Brooke Hoss

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Hello Everyone!

Meet Brooke. Brooke and her husband, Andrew are the Young Adult Leaders at my church, Refuge. She is a wonderful friend of mine and is someone that you can’t help but love! Brooke is an amazing example of someone who made the most out of her season of singleness. I trust you will be encouraged by this blog post, as I absolutely was!

Enjoy!

-MJ

Making the Most of Your Season

I was never the little girl that always dreamed of being married or being a mom someday. I don’t remember it hardly ever crossing my mind. I mean, I knew I would get married and wanted to, but it wasn’t this overwhelming desire. And now, here I am, married for almost 4 years with 2 kids. I honestly never thought I would be the “stay at home mom” or that girl who looked like she was half-crazy chasing a toddler around with a baby on her hip and a husband by her side. It was never me. But now it is! I tell you that to say that I loved being single. I didn’t have a strong desire to get married. But that wasn’t always a good thing.

During high school, I was single until my junior year. And I loved it for all the wrong reasons. I partied and hung out with lots of different guys and I took pride in the fact that I wasn’t “tied down.” Then, I dated someone for almost 3 years, and as I left home and went to college, I met other guys and didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t hang out with them. So in my attempt to be “free” I broke up with him and moved on. Shortly after trying all there was to try, I found myself empty whether I was with a guy or not.I finally gave up running and sprinted back to the only One who truly made me happy, Jesus! And this is the part where I was finally single for the right reasons.

I went to Bible school in Arkansas, all by myself, not knowing anyone else and I was single and loving it! For the whole next year and a half, I had the time of my life. You could say I was so in love with Jesus that I didn’t have a strong desire to date, let alone be married, and it was great! I studied, traveled, went on missions trips, and made new friends.

Although a year and half doesn’t sound like a very long time, in my spiritual life it seemed like forever. It was a time that God used to grow me and mature me in my faith like never before. Now don’t get me wrong, I did think about guys and wonder what my future husband would look like, what his name would be, where he was, or if maybe I had met him already. And I’ll admit I probably flirted with guys more than I should have and I had a couple guys that were interested in dating me. They were cute and loved God just like I did, but for some reason, God protected me from desiring any of them. It’s like I couldn’t quite see past my relationship with Jesus and I know now that God did that for a reason – because my future husband was already waiting for me back home in Wisconsin, I just didn’t know it yet!

As I was thinking about what that single season of life was like for me, I was reminded of some things I wish I would have known or done differently and also some things that really helped me and I hope they can encourage you no matter where you are at right now.

1. Let God work on you NOW.

The struggles you have when you’re single, don’t just “go away” when you get married, it’s actually the opposite – they get magnified. Oh, how I wish I knew this when I was single! I wish I would have talked through some of the things I struggled with from my past. Things like purity, handling my emotions, hurts from other people, or caring too much about what I looked like or my body image. Or even just questions I had: questions about men, sex, God, and doubts or fears I had. Those things didn’t just go away when I got married, in fact, they all came out! So, talk to God about anything you struggle with or have questions about and let Him root them out of you and sort them out during this season of life before you involve another person in them.

I like to think of God as The Great Surgeon; we all need open heart surgery to fix some of the things that are wrong inside of us and if you let Him he will do it and you’ll be a better, healthier person afterwards, better equipped to do His work on this earth. If you have doubts or fears or questions, talk to someone about them and be honest and real. Talk to God about them, too. Begin to let Him search the deepest parts of you. Sometimes that can be scary because only we know the deepest secrets we hold. But He knows too and He is always gentle, loving, and kind when we give them up to Him.

2. Don’t label yourself as a “single” person.

What? Aren’t we talking about being single? Yes, but let me explain. Sometimes constantly viewing yourself as “single” brings along with it an underlying feeling of incompleteness or waiting. Like you’re in some phase of life that is not quite good enough. Or you’re in some season that is somehow incomplete or lacking…until you get married. And eventually that will become your identity.

The truth is you are not waiting for anything. You are not lacking anything. When or if you get married someday, you still will not have finally arrived and if you have trained yourself to feel incomplete in this season of life, what makes you think you won’t feel that way once you are finally married? Don’t view your season of singleness as incomplete until you find “the one.” It is completely possible for you to be totally fulfilled, happy, purposeful, and content right now just as when you are married someday. In fact, that’s what God has called you to. You are not in some phase of life where you are waiting for something greater to come along.

The key is to finding that in Christ you are completely and totally fulfilled RIGHT now no matter what season of life you are in. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to desire a guy, desire to be married, talk about, and pray about your future husband. But those thoughts, words, and prayers should come from a foundation of contentment and peace. Ultimately, His will is that you desire Him more than anyone or anything else and marriage will only be another tool to draw you closer to Himself.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking: “That’s easier said than done, Brooke! Or, I know, I’ve heard that all before,” or, “that’s easy for you to say now that you’re married.” And it’s true. It is easier for me to say now that I’m not going through it. But, the part I didn’t know is that God could give me the grace (power and ability) to actually walk it out. To be completely fulfilled and content where I was at. He will give you that if you ask Him. I think it’s a great lesson for every human being to learn and one I had to learn the hard way after I got married. But you can grab a hold of it now!

3. Have fun!

This is the part that I excelled at and I have no regrets. I was adventurous. I went on road trips, mission trips, and I traveled a lot. I traveled to Peru, Nicaragua, and several southern states in the US. I saw things that helped me grow in my faith and my worldview. I studied the Bible like crazy. I volunteered at different places. I did a marathon and an iron man and I learned how to swim laps the right way. Sounds silly, I know. But for me, it was adventure. I also met lots of new friends, guys and girls. I made some amazing best friends that I still keep in touch with today. We stayed up late, laughed, encouraged and challenged each other, went to movies, dinner, the beach, and whatever else you can think of. Doing all these things helped me to not be so self-focused while I was single.

I encourage you to take risks, be bold, and find a new adventure! Maybe you can’t go on a mission trip or move somewhere new, but you can find something new to try right where you’re at – you just have to do it!

No matter what season of life you are in, it is a journey where we are always walking with The One, holding His hand, and finding true love in Him. Even after being married and all the times I have run to other things looking for satisfaction, I have still come to find that He is everything I will ever need and nothing satisfies like He does, whether single or not. I hope you are encouraged and challenged to make the most of your life, exactly right where you are at!

-Brooke

5 Things I Learned My First Year Away From Home

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Moving away from home at age 18 has drastically changed how I see the world. Learning that life is not always about YOU – it’s about the impact you have on those around you. It was far from easy, but I learned from every moment, and I am forever grateful for that.

I know many different age-groups read our blog, and that’s what I love about it! If you’re a senior in high-school getting ready to make the big move next fall, you can learn something. Even if you’ve been out of our house for years, I encourage you to remember that first time you moved away from home – and maybe you’ll find something new to appreciate about your life now. Remember all the feelings, the emotions and fear, but knowing your adventure was just beginning. Hindsight is always 20/20!

I learned so much from this past year, and I am so excited to share it with you!

1. Homesickness is real, and it sucks.

From the moment I decided to move to Tulsa, most of the reactions from people had to do with the distance from Wisconsin to Oklahoma, but I tried to ignore it most of the time. I went into this knowing that I couldn’t just drive down the street to visit my parents, or have them with me on hard days. Homesickness didn’t actually hit me until a couple weeks after saying goodbye to my parents. The moment we said goodbye, I was completely fine. It was actually a very anti-climatic moment. Honestly, I feel like that’s how most “goodbye’s” are, which seems like an oxymoron. I emotionally built myself up to that moment, and in my mind I thought it was going to be a tear-jerking, non-stop-crying ordeal, but it was quite the opposite. I hugged them, and I didn’t even feel sad (I am a horrible daughter, I know). The moment it hit me was one month in. It was such a bad day, and I missed home so much. I needed to let out my emotions but for some reason I couldn’t, so I watched a really sad movie and the tears fell, and they fell some more, and some more. If you know me, you know I am not a super emotional person, but the moment I start crying, I couldn’t stop. Side note: I have the ugliest cry-face ever (if you ever have the privilege of seeing me cry, you’ll agree). I was so sad and I felt so alone even though I knew they were only a FaceTime or a text message away, but it just wasn’t the same. Home-sickness came and went kind of like any other feeling or emotion. Some days were worse than others, but it made me appreciate the time I had at home so much more.

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2. Be thankful for your parents.

I cannot stress this enough! I gained so much respect for my parents, knowing all they have done for me. I was especially thankful for my mom’s cooking. I can only cook about 5 different meals, and I have trouble navigating my way through kitchen (If there are any guys out there who can cook, hit me up). I would have fought someone for a home-cooked meal, seriously. I learned to cherish and appreciate all the times I had with my parents. Looking back at my childhood, I took all those moments for granted – the nights where I had my mom there with me to talk and to laugh, the daddy-daughter dates, the silly family-bickering, and just simply being with them.

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3. “Adulting” is expensive.

I remember the first time I bought groceries. I was like “Hold up, is anyone else seeing these prices?” I had no idea food actually cost that much money. I know, I am so childish, but I was so surprised. When it came to food, rent, books, and other necessities, there were many month’s and weeks where I didn’t know how I was going to make it, but I learned to trust God more this year than I ever have. He always provided! Whether it was in the little things, like an encouraging letter from someone back home, or my gas tank somehow lasting weeks longer than it should have, God always came through, and my faith was strengthened that much more.

 4. Meeting People.

Meeting people has always been a struggle for me, being an introvert and socially, just.. awkward. This was my biggest fear going into this year, and although I didn’t have the most friends in the world, the ones I had were enough for like.. 50 people, because they were just THAT awesome. My fellow bloggers, Sonia and Cyrae, and I always look back at the first time we met. We can’t help but laugh because we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into (in the best way, of course)! I know that we will be friends until we are grannies, and I can’t say that about all the friendships I’ve had! Going through drastic changes alone is not fun: and without my friends this experience would have been so much different and probably not as exciting or hilarious for me.

5. It was all worth it.

The good times far outweighed the bad, and every challenge was an opportunity to learn and grow. I am a completely different person now than I was when I moved out. I am far from being an expert on this, but I know that this year has shaped who I am as a person. I had to grow up and it taught me that every moment matters, even the small insignificant moments. They all play a part in the end-result. I made life-long friends, my relationship with God grew, and I got to experience a new city and new people that I will never forget.

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I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, and I will move on to the next chapter of my life as a new-and-improved version of my already pretty cool self (humility at its finest). But FurrRulll (as Cyrae likes to pronounce “for real”), I am SO thankful! I couldn’t have done it without the prayers, encouragement, and help from my friends and family. You are all wonderful people.

We would love to hear about your experience moving away from home, or starting a new chapter of your life. Join the conversation! Leave a comment and let us know!

-MJ

Peace out 23!

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Hi Friends!!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog and I’m so excited to share what’s been on my heart with you! I recently celebrated my 24th birthday and it caused me to do a lot of thinking and reflecting. My very first thought was, “When in the world did this happen?” I can’t believe that I’m 24 and officially living an adult-ish life!!

My next few thoughts are where the reflecting came in. There have been so many lessons that I’ve learned in this past year. Every day I’m learning something new, discovering a small part of life I’ve never noticed before, or simply making a mistake and taking note of how I could make a better choice in the future. It’s an exciting and intense time in life! It would be nearly impossible to share every lesson learned, however, I wanted to share a few that have forever changed my perspective about this crazy thing we call life.

So, here we go…

Lesson number one: “Skip the drama, stay with mama!”

While I don’t mean this literally (please move out of your mama’s house eventually) the statement is so true and makes me chuckle to myself every time this quote comes to mind. As a teenager I often thought I had this whole thing figured out and when I hit twenty my stupidity only worsened!! I was without a doubt a victim of the “I’m grown” syndrome and secretly thought I was such a boss.  Then finally, at the great age of 23, I moved out of mama’s house and let me tell you, my parents are now some of the smartest people I know! It’s amazing how the things they taught me throughout my life are now a reliable road map to help guide me through the difficult moments in my life. So many times I wish I would’ve just simply trusted and obeyed their loving advice, but of course I had to figure it out on my own.  The hard work and love they put into being my parents has never been more obvious than it is to me right now.

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Lesson number two:  Create goals, not expectations.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a dreamer and a planner.  I have a huge imagination, because of this imagination I’m so quick to set extremely high expectations for my life and how I think everything should happen. For example, I’ve always had high expectations for my husband, when I would be married to him, when I should have kids, how many kids I should have, where I would live, what my house would look like … you get the point. Unfortunately, I’ve quickly learned that when it comes to life it just doesn’t work that way. Things don’t ever happen the way you expect them to. I never would have guessed that as a 23 year old I would be moving out to Tulsa, Oklahoma, single, and going back to school. Based on my expectations, my life was way off track and nothing close to how I imagined it would be at this point.  After throwing an extraordinary pity party for myself one day I went to class and one of my professors said something that would forever change my point of view. “You can’t control the events that happen in your life, but you can determine the outcome based on your response to them.”  I may not ever fully understand why things happen when they do or why I plan to go one direction and life seems to take me the opposite way.  But instead of sitting around and wishing things were different I must learn to respond positively and with the determination that no matter what road it takes to get there, I will arrive to my goals and dreams. I’ve learned to make goals in life not create expectations. When I have a goal that I am focused on it doesn’t matter what circumstances are thrown my way or how long it takes, I’m determined to reach that goal. When I create an expectation I only put pressure on myself to make things happen just perfectly, and in the end will be disappointed when it doesn’t look how I imagined it would or happen when I expected it should happen.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Once I’ve determined what God has called me to do my only job is to trust Him and pursue that calling with everything I have. His plans for me are good, His timing is perfect, and it’s not my job to create superficial expectations for my life based on what I think it should look like!

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Last but not least…Lesson number three:  Embrace vulnerability

In Genesis 2:18 God says, “It is not good for man to be alone…” I can already see all the singles pulling out their white hankies like, “Yessss GOD!” Today, I want to present a slightly different perspective then what we typically understand from this Scripture.  More than speaking solely of marriage I think God was also saying that we as human beings were not created to be alone. He created Eve to be a helper for Adam and in the same way He places people in our lives to be a support and a help to us.

Many times this year I learned this lesson the hard way. My natural tendency when I’m going through something is to push it down and not let anyone know. I immediately resort to isolation and don’t feel I should “bother” anyone with the struggles I’m facing. This is so wrong! Life is all about community and being there to hold each other in the difficult moments of our lives. By keeping things to myself I was only making the feelings and emotions worse.  There is so much freedom in vulnerability and openness. We never know how someone else can help or encourage us if we would be willing to lay down pride and embarrassment and simply ask for help. Vulnerability isn’t easy, it shows others that we are actually human and sometimes exposes our weaknesses. It’s never easy to admit to someone an area where we are flawed, or an area that’s open and sensitive like a bleeding wound in our hearts. However, it never ceases to amaze me that when I choose to be open and honest I get the perfect encouragement and boost I need to keep going. Simply sending a text that says, “ I need a friend…” has been such a lifeline for me. We live in a generation that tends to be staged to perfection. We look on social media and compare our inner insecurities to someone else’s highlight reel. I don’t know about you, but sometimes this causes me to try and pull myself together, pretending I’m ok, instead of admitting that something is wrong and I need help.  Embrace vulnerability and embrace the people that God has placed in your life, you are never alone!

As I said before I could go on and on. What a year it has been! I’m so thankful for the good things, the amazing new relationships, the tests, and the character building moments that have come my way. I know they are only preparing me and shaping into to the person God has called and purposed for me to be. I hope that these lessons I’ve shared can encourage you in some way and maybe show you that you’re not alone. We all struggle and walk through things, but the important part is being able to look back and learn from each and every moment, the good and the bad.

I’m excited for all that 24 has to offer me and I’m looking forward to continuing in this journey God has me on. Let the adventures continue!

Peace out 23!!

Until next time,

RAE. xx

Together 2016

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WOW, what a year it has been! When the three of us met back in August of 2015 we had no idea that we were in for the ride of our lives. This year has been one of many up, downs, twists, and turns but God was so gracious to give us the gift of each other. Our personalities are so different, yet they’re just the perfect blend to keep life interesting. There is never a dull moment when we are all together! We’d like to think that we are funny enough for our own reality T.V. show, but what group of friends doesn’t think that about themselves? Ok, maybe it’s just us!

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A couple weeks ago we were in a quaint little donut shop celebrating the last day of school. Randomly during our conversation Sonia says, “Let’s go around the table and all share the most important lesson we’ve learned this year.”  Mikayla and Cyrae looked at each other and just chuckled because this was such a typical Sonia moment, she’s the deep thinker of the group. Without hesitation Cyrae quickly jumped out there and shared the most valuable lesson she could think of at the moment, there’s been many many lessons learned this year. Then, it was Mikayla’s turn. She smiled that shy little smile she always does, looked down trying to hide behind her bangs, then said, “umm…I just…you’ll have to come back to me!” We laughed because once again, this was a typical Mikayla moment. Lastly, it was Sonia’s turn, anyone who knows Sonia can picture this moment with no problem at all. She slammed her hands down on the table, jumped up and stood on her chair, as if she was speaking to a crowd of thousands, then began quoting her favorite Scripture of the year! And yes, you guessed it; this is a very typical Sonia moment. There’s never a moment where we can guess what she’ll do next. This one instance is the perfect example of our personalities and as you all can see, Cyrae is the normal one of the group, wink wink!  

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The truth is it wouldn’t be possible to list all of the amazing lessons we’ve learned this year. We’ve loved every moment the good, the bad, the moods, the adventures, the lessons, and most importantly getting to know our Daddy God more intimately. We can all say without hesitation that this year has forever changed our lives. It has birthed dreams, given us the courage to chase them, and built a firm foundation of unshakable faith to stand on. 

A couple of the highlights from our year have been traveling to five different states together, making amazing friends at school (our SQUAD), going to our young adult group called 3D on Tuesday nights, going on random adventures downtown, photoshoots, last minute homework cram sessions, discovering new coffee shops, trying to force Cyrae to enjoy coffee, attempting to get in shape, random dance parties that annoy all the neighbors, meeting each other’s families, and last but not least starting a blog together! We could go on and on but you get the idea, it was a great year!

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Although we experienced many great moments we had our fair share of difficult ones. There were months the finances were low and we didn’t know how bills would be paid. We woke up to mornings when we didn’t feel we had the strength to get up and face the problems that seemed to be staring us in the face. No one enjoys moments like these, but it is in these moments where we find strength. These are the moments our faith is tested and these are the moments that cause exponential growth in our lives. While we don’t welcome them with open arms, we are deeply thankful for them because they have shaped us into who we are today. By no means have any of us arrived, but we are more determined than ever to continue taking one step at a time towards the dreams we are passionately chasing after. We will never quit!

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The school year is over, summer is here and we are all headed down different paths. As sad and hard as this is for us we are excited to see what the next season in life has in store. Unescorted will continue and be just as strong as ever. Our passion to see singles become strong, independent individuals who trust God whole – heartedly will never change no matter what state we live in.

We love you all and thank you for continuing in this journey with us! We hope we are encouraging you to never give up, keep your standards high, and fight to find the beauty in every single moment of this beautiful life we have been given.

 

Until next time,

Rae, Sonia Dee, & MJ     

Be Creative

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Wow guys, I am SO excited for you to read my Moms blog post! I am probably most excited because she can personally speak from experience to all of the single women who are doing this with babies on their hips! My mom is the definition of resilience and I am just so thankful for the wisdom she has poured out. For this wisdom is given to y’all for free but it came at a high price to her. I love you mom! Hope you guys enjoy.

– Sonia Dee

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A Word From Laura:

First of all, I am dying to read the other mother’s blog. I have waited so I would not be influenced from what they have to say. I have made fast friends with these two mom’s through the friendships of our daughters and we all have many common threads that have linked us together. Our common personality traits are strength of character, confidence, and mad mom skills. They are two very amazing, strong women that have raised beautiful young women that are making an impact on this world.

When I first heard about this concept the girls had, I was excited to see what teachings they had in store. This subject is very near and dear to my heart and I’m not talking about just being single. I am talking about making yourself whole –  doing it while you are single is a great time. A great time to get to know God and build that relationship with him. A great time to get to know yourself even, expose your weaknesses and get to know your strengths. Acknowledge your downfalls but magnify your strengths and build from them. It is a great time to become the best woman that you can be.

Sonia, Cyrae and MiKayla talk about the season of being single and some of their adventures but they have not mentioned what I consider to be really important. These young women have started businesses, took up new hobbies like photography, piano, singing, drove through 5 new states, tried new foods that are way out of their normal pallet and blogging. Most importantly these women are PAYING for their OWN education. Yes, it can happen and if you are worried about how to pay for school, then you just do it. You work and study hard. This does not mean give up all your personal life. Look what these girls are uncovering about themselves and still getting it done. You can do it too! I believe in women and I believe in their strengths. We are an amazing creation. Did you hear me? We are an amazing creation. You are an amazing creation.

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I’m going to begin this article with my thoughts on these young women and the message they are delivering. I am the single mother here and I’m going to provide you with my thoughts on being a single mother and how to gain courage, inspire you  to be great, be you, and be the woman you are meant to be during this single season. You do not need a man to complete you! You need one that compliments who you are already. My message is if you feel co-dependent on a man or you are always worried about getting one then hunny you need to get single or stay single and start living. LIVE, grow, strengthen yourself and everything else will come into place.

Let me be clear. I had/have every confidence in myself and I still struggled. Actually I had a moment that I broke. I have been a single mom for a dozen years. In the beginning after my divorce I chose to be single because my children were so young and the changes were many. Eventually my ex turned to the tides of revenge and drug me to court to a tune of 98 times. He did not supply child support and had become a master to find ways to try to break my children. I spent a whole lot of time praying for strength, bare necessities, sleep, money, and sometimes on occasion someone to rescue me.

I did not have to suffer this alone and not all of it was suffering. I loved being a mom and was pretty alive most of the time. I have an amazing family, and even though they do not live close they were always there when I needed them. I had friends – lots of them – one cannot have too many. And they offered support, love and on occasion would slip money into an unmarked envelop and leave in my mail box never to revel themselves. I had church friends that prayed and provided the means for Christmas one year. I had co-workers provided it for another. It was years of turmoil that came and went but now it has gone and I HAVE A VOICE. I will use it to encourage you that NOTHING is too great for you to survive. God is good and sometimes I just prayed for him to grant me rest. I just needed rest to get back up all over again and face the next day.

Now let’s talk briefly about when I broke. I had enough, I had e-n-o-u-g-h. I was convinced God had given me more than I could handle. I cursed his very name and turned my back from him. I had to be single and alone for me to realize how dark it was without him. It was my children that provided the encouragement to return to him. They provided the encouragement to pull myself back together and come back from the living dead. My hormones flat lined and I was making less than a menopausal woman – at age 38. Anger and hatred had taken hold of me and I was tired!  The days came and went and I survived. For the most part I have gotten to a point that only the good memories surface when I recall this time in my life. I clawed my way back and you can too if you are broken and lost. You can interpret broken and lost how you wish as we all have a version of it.

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If I had one bucket to give you from my pool of wisdom is just be creative. Some of our best traditions came out of being broke. Our electricity got turned off one year on Valentine’s Day, but my oven still worked so I made a spaghetti dinner and put it on pretty plates. I made a multi-course meal with what I  had and followed it with dessert. I lit candles and I had the most romantic dinner with my children. It has become a tradition we still have. We have countless other traditions that have come out of being creative since we simply did not have the funds to do anything else. Seriously, I have two grown adult daughters who hold me to so many of these traditions! But when they do, it makes me smile. All children want is your attention anyway so it would be a picnic in a park with PB&J’s for all they care. They want you to laugh and joke and love them. We would play hours of tag or rock skipping on the lake or just hanging out together. Cash is not needed for that. Although sometimes it didn’t seem like it, looking back we always had provisions. God always provided at just the right time. We may not have had a lot, but we had enough. To this day any one of my children will tell you, when they call with a problem I tell them two words: BE CREATIVE. You will gain confidence in yourself and how resourceful you really are. No matter what you are going through or how old you are it’s easy to focus on what you don’t have in a season; but when you start being creative with what you do have – and you might have to try really hard – you will find fulfillment.

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As for me I am loving life again. God has proven himself faithful in my life and I believe this is only the beginning stages of the Joy and fulfillment God has for me – the best really is yet to come! So do what you need to build yourself up. Reach out to others and ask for help. Do what needs to be done to get where you want to be. That will mean something different to every person reading this. Be single, be alive, be you and please be creative! Explore, grow, and be happy where you are. A man will come if that is what you want but make sure he is what will compliment you. You are beautiful. Let you light shine ladies!

If you want to reach out I am available to you, you can message me here.

Until Next time peeps.

Laura.

A Not-So-Typical Love Story

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Hey everyone!

I am SO excited to introduce you to my mom! Her name is Deborah and she is an absolutely beautiful person who’s life and ministry I admire so much. I want to be like her when I grow up. I am who I am because she is who she is.

Every love story is unique, and this one is no different! I’m a sucker for a good love story and this one will keep you on the edge of your seat! So without further ado – Here it is!

-MJ

A Word from Mama Deb:

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A Not-So-Typical Love Story.

There was this young lady, she was going about life. Totally engrossed in her present and not giving much thought of the future. She had so many friends, was involved in recreational sports which was her way of meeting new people and connecting with friends. Softball and volleyball adult leagues, the socializing after, just to start it all over again the next day.

The routine of “fun” and “parties,” became just that … a routine. The “fun” wasn’t “fun” anymore. The parties, weren’t eventful but became an everyday thing. It never was meant to form deep, meaningful relationships. Oh, there were lots of “friends”, but none that would be like that “closer than a brother” kind that the Bible talks about.

As the years passed, from 18 years old to 20 to 21 and 23, not much changed. The years changed, the faces changed, but the “routine” stayed the same. Amidst the seasons of life, watching friends graduating college, getting married, starting families, moving on with life. This girl found herself stuck in the same “ho hum” routine. Nothing changing, nothing fulfilling.

Wasn’t it the same girl, growing up in rural America in a family where it seemed everyone was married by the time they were 21, and if they weren’t, well… they were probably going to be an “old maid”, and will have missed their opportunity of the rest of their life.

So, 21 years old came and went. No Prince Charming, no “man of her dreams”, no “prince riding in on a white horse.” No prospects at all. Marriage was the furthest thing from her mind.

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Then, one day, when she was 23, a friend of hers wanted to go to church. They went together to a service later that week. It was a special service at this church and although she was nervous about it because she’d never been to a church like it, she went with.

The first thing she experienced was how friendly everyone was to her. So many people talked with her, greeted her and seemed to be interested in her life. That service began and the awkward out of place feeling that was there when she first walked in, quickly disappeared as she was enamored with the sense of experiencing how much love these people seemed to have for the Jesus that she grew up knowing, but in a different, far off and distant kind of way.

She was impressed with the friendliness of the people, and how welcoming the pastor was. Not only welcoming, but really young! He was 27. A pastor that young? She was accustomed to older, more mature pastors.

That night, this girl gave her heart to the Lord. She accepted Him as her Lord and Savior, her life changing forever.

Fast forward a few months. This church had a vision to begin a child care. The girl went to school for early childhood education and shared with the pastor that she’d be interested in helping out with the child care, once it got started. The young pastor was so excited because he said that they had been praying for someone to begin attending that had a background in early childhood. This girl, was apparently what he had thought as that answer to prayer. She reluctantly agreed to begin helping the church find out what would be involved in opening a chid care.

In a little over a year, this girl’s life changed, doing a 180 from where she was in life. She no longer lived life with an emphasis on the present, but she knew that the future was something she could look forward to. She knew that her future was not only hers, but now had meaning and she believed she was created for something greater. Something that was bigger than her. Something that would make a difference in the lives of others and not just focussed on herself.

This young lady moved from being escorted by things that didn’t fulfill her life, led nowhere fast and was self-fulfilling, to escorted by what or Who is the most important in life. Having an awareness that our Heavenly Father, God, the creator of all the universe was her newfound love. The void that she felt in her heart, was no longer there. But wait, she still wasn’t married and she certainly passed the 21 year old unspoken age limit that ushers in the title of “Old Maid”! But, it didn’t matter because Jesus Christ came into her heart and became the Lord of her life. She no longer lived without purpose, but with vision and passion for the future.

As the years proceeded to pass, the concern of marriage became more prevalent. Now, 30 was right around the corner! 30 years old and not married yet! That just couldn’t be possible. By this time, she should almost been completing her family because remember, she was married by 21, in her traditional mindset.

Remember that pastor, that young pastor at the church she went to? Well, he not only became her boss because she accepted the position as the child care director, but he also became one of her very best friends in life. So much of what they did together focused on the same things, growing the child care, serving at the church and just devoting their lives to others. The friendship took on a new dimension from “just friends” to “maybe God has more for us.”

Lives intertwined in so many areas, yet friendship was the label their relationship had. People around them started questioning their relationship status. Things like “You two get along so good, why don’t you get married?” or “No one has the heart and vision for the ministry like you do, you should really consider marrying her.” Unfortunately, no matter how much people talked to them about marriage, that’s just not something you can be told to do.

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As the pastor and this young lady talked more and more, they both agreed that they would commit a season to seeking the Lord as to what He had for their relationship. That was about April that year. The year she was 31. That’s right, 31, not 21! Not “her” plan, remember?

Side-note: The young lady also worked at a nursing home. There was a lovely older lady named Katherine who would take with her each night as she assisted Katherine with her night time routine. One night, as they were talking, Katherine comforted the young lady telling her that she would be married. One day, she would know that it was time and she was going to pray that she would be married before she was 32 years old. No reason, only that Katherine was married at 32 years old and she thought it would be good for me to be married before she was to prove that God does answer prayer and gives us the desires of our heart.

Getting back to the prayer. One day, the pastor who had to walk past the young lady’s office to get to his, let her know that he was going to a piece of property that he had recently purchased to build a home to spend some time in prayer.

About an hour later, the pastor came back. He stopped at the young lady’s desk and said, “I have my answer.” The young lady said, “What do you mean you have your answer? Answer to what?” He said, “I have my answer about us.” He broke down crying and went to his office.

Well, that was awkward, unnerving, uncomfortable, confusing, and a little scary! What did he mean? What answer? She waited patiently but admittedly was one of those times that she couldn’t wait to hear what he was going to say, but on the other hand, didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

A second time, the handsome, young pastor returned to her office, stood by her desk and said, “I have my answer!” He broke down again, went to his office again and left the young lady sit there in wonder, nervousness and so very confused!

A few minutes later, he returned to her desk and said, “I have my answer. My answer about you and I.” “As I went to the piece of proprty to pray, I asked the Lord what he had for the land. He felt like the Lord spoke to his heart, “Without Deb, there is no future!” Sharing with freshly wiped tears from his eyes, he said, “Let’s go looking for rings!”

“What???!!! Rings?!! What are you talking about?”, is all that was screaming through this young lady’s mind. But, an overwhelming peace enveloped each of them. This was the answer that they were seeking the Lord about.

Well, that afternoon, they left the office, but they didn’t look for rings, instead, they went shopping for appliances for the home they were building, now building together. How romantic, right?

The next morning, after a local artisan jeweler opened his doors, the couple went and were shopping for the perfect ring. Several years prior, the single pastor went to Israel where he purchased a diamond that one day would be set into the perfect ring setting for his future bride. As the couple looked through the glass display cases of what seemed to be a sea of rings, just one stood out to them. It was one that was surrounded with smaller diamonds but the main setting was empty. Like it was patiently waiting for that diamond from Israel to be a perfect fit for the beautiful shimmering 14K gold ring that would be used as a symbol of their eternal love for one another.

Even though the ring was there, the diamond had to be set. That would take some time. The couple knew they wanted a special time that would be his proposal. But, when would that time be? When would the rest of this story continue?

That evening, we had our weekly corporate prayer meeting. It was a time that 15-20 people

gathered for prayer for others. The pastor always felt like that group of people had the heart for the church he pastored. To him, they were some of the most faithful and dedicated people not only to him as a pastor, but more importantly in their heart for the Lord and the church he pastored. We would walk around the sanctuary and building to pray, then at the end of prayer we would gather together and share words of encouragement and prayers with each other.

As the people gathered, the pastor was quietly sitting, watching as each of the people entered the room and took their seat. Then, he said, “This is going to be one of the most unique prayer meetings you have ever been at. This meeting will be one that you will remember forever and you will never be at another one like it.” Oh my goodness! The young lady knew what was about to take place. There was this feeling like she wanted to run and not do this in public and she wanted to jump for joy at the same time, but … she did nothing. She sat quietly, listening to the pastor like all of the other faithful and dedicated people sitting and wondering what in the world this pastor was doing!

He stood in front of the young girl, then, bent to get on one knee taking what seemed to be slow motion taking much, much longer than it should have. He gently lifted her left hand and placing that shimmering gold and diamond ring, as he shared how much she meant to him and that his life would be incomplete without her, he couldn’t imagine his life without her and he would be honored for her to be his bride. With a million thoughts running through her mind and yet only one answer, she said, “I would be honored to be your wife, yes I will marry you!”

They stood and embraced as others around the room were jumping for joy and clapping and rejoicing together. Then, saying, “Kiss, you have to kiss!” But, mind you this young pastor and his new fiancé had only known one another as best friends up to this point. There had been no romantic relationship. So, the kiss waited ’til a few weeks prior to their wedding day.

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Tuesday, June 23 was the day of their engagement. They were married six-weeks later on August 9, 1992, when the bride was 31 years old. The next day was her birthday, and she turned 32 on August 10. Katherine was right! She would be married before she was 32… barely!

We walk through life. We make choices. We sometimes let God make choices for us. Those are the best! We want to be escorted by our choices. We want to have what we want, date who we want, become what we want to become in life. We make decisions that stay with us far longer than they should sometimes because they are the wrong choices.

Yet, when we are in Christ. When we know the Lord, choosing to be escorted by Him, is the best way to live our life. Being unescorted by the wrong choice is the best way to be escorted! Being intentional about our purpose on this earth, knowing that as His word says, that he will meet and supply our every need. Our need, not all of our wants. He knows what we need before we realize it.

This young lady, you’ve probably guessed by now is me. And the handsome pastor is my amazing husband of almost 24 years. Knowing I wasn’t filling the mold of tradition, but choosing the plan that wasn’t always the easiest, became the easiest because it was right in the center of God’s will. The problem is that I didn’t know that the journey I was on was exactly the one God wanted me to be on because I was so young in my faith. My walk with the Lord was new and being established. The maturity I gained from the time I came to know the Lord to the time that marriage happened in my life was what was needed for the role of pastor’s wife that would be my future.

I felt alone sometimes, but it was only when I was focussing on what I wanted, or what I thought should be that those emotions ran rampant. When I focused on all the Lord had for me and putting my mind on His plan, is the only time I had that overwhelming peace.

You can be in a marriage and very alone. Marriage isn’t what fills the void that only our Jesus can. Enjoy your season. No matter what that season is because although you might be living single, unescorted by a man, you are never alone, escorted by the BEST man there is!

Remember… your 32 is on the horizon! And it might not be waiting until you are 32, but if it is… then it’s the best God has for you all along! Enjoy the ride!

Escorted by ONE

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Hello, Beautiful People!

I’m so excited to introduce my sweet mama, Cynthia McGee, to you all! This month in honor of Mother’s Day each of our moms will be writing a guest blog for Unescorted. My mom is such an inspiration and an amazing example to me. I pray you all enjoy her blog as she encourages us to be escorted by God and God alone. Her genuine heart and beautiful spirit are clearly shown in this blog!

I love you so much mama, thank you for being a  believer in me and my dreams. Thank you for being a part of Unescorted!

Love,

Rae.xx

A WORD FROM MAMA CYNTHIA:

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I’m extremely blessed by my daughter and her two friends as they journey through their “single” season of life by sharing how God is uniquely ministering to them during this time.

Although I’m a proud mom I must be honest and share. After my initial excitement about the blog, a negative thought crept into my mind. The thought that some people that are in relationships or married might think; “Poor girls, they have to write this blog because they don’t have a boyfriend and they are trying to be spiritual about it. It’s how they are choosing to cope.”

Then all of sudden, God spoke to my heart and said, “Cynthia, if someone thinks that, they’d be right.”

I chuckled to myself as I realized that God ever so gently was bringing to my attention that there is much to be learned from this; for singles and those in relationships alike.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12

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God’s grace works best in our lives when we admit we are weak. When we say, “I admit it, I’m weak” His grace, which entails His love, power, mercy, forgiveness and every aspect of Him that we need to help us in each area of weakness, comes flooding into our lives to help us.

Years ago when my best friend was single she had set the standard for herself that when she began courting she would not allow the man to come into her home unless others were there. The two of them would never be left alone. There were people who questioned this and felt that she was trying to be “too” spiritual but what they didn’t understand is that she had decided to be honest with herself and admit that she was weak in the area of physical affection. She knew herself and decisions she’d made in the past in moments of weakness and she didn’t want to participate in any level of physical affection until she KNEW he’d be totally committed to her and not walk away; it was not about trying to appear “HOLY” as some of the haters around her gossiped about; but rather her standards to protect herself.

SIDE NOTE: (said with my best sister girl voice) “There ain’t no guarantee he ain’t walking until he puts the SECOND ring on your finger at the altar and says I do!”  So, be cautious about the intimacy you get involved in; it’s your greatest gift to your husband!

The authors of Unescorted are admitting, “God, I’m weak during this season of singleness,” and rather than connecting to the wrong guy for the sake of having someone in their life; they’d rather be honest with themselves and others.  They’re allowing God’s grace to move through them connecting them to the path of destiny for their life. Reaching people, fulfilling dreams and learning to be ESCORTED by the ONE that really matters not only for their single season but for their entire life. Rather than feeling lonely and sad they are embracing this season of life and living it to the fullest.

The definition of “escorted” from dictionary.com follows:

Escorted (noun) a group of persons, or a single person, accompanying another or others for protection, guidance, or courtesy

Dictionary.com defines what God showed me that although the authors are “Unescorted” by a huMAN they are being ESCORTED in the most beautiful of ways by their heavenly Father. I can only speak of testimonies in my daughter’s life but during her first year away from home God has supernaturally brought her money from sources where the well should have been dry, brought her a FREE computer, sent people to help her with her car, paid bills she didn’t have the money to pay, kept her safe when she was in danger, renewed friendships with people from her past and brought new friendships with beautiful women that have shown their love in more ways than she’s ever known, opened doors that she thought were shut and provided overall for her beyond what she imagined He would, she’s watching Him fulfill her dreams, and she’s sensing His peace and enjoying His presence at new levels. In essence, He’s accompanying her in life for her protection, to give guidance, as a courtesy because He loves her and dictionary.com left out one; His PROVIDING her every need. Many of the things He’s done for her in this one year a man couldn’t / wouldn’t have done.

Allowing God to minister to them during this season and sharing with other young ladies has also brought a true level of contentment that many of us need to learn. If you are not content with who you are and what you have and in your relationship with God being connected to a man won’t bring the inner contentment that He wants you to have and describes in 1 Timothy 6:6 (Amp) “…godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.”

Having been married at age 20 to a man I met at age 13 I can honestly say that if you are not content with life before you are married you won’t be content once you are married even if you are with the right man. My husband is an amazing godly man who is a great father. He takes care of me in many ways; treating me like a modern day queen.

SIDE NOTE: There are women who think some of the things he does for me like pump my gas is ridiculous; my point married or single “Haters gonna hate hate hate” it’s true! Single or married; people ALWAYS have something to say which is why you must be content with your life so you are moved only by God’s voice and not theirs.

Although my husband is amazing in many ways; there are also times when He’s not there to ESCORT me. It could be because he’s just not where I am at the moment, or that he is there but just doesn’t get how I need him to help me at the time. I need a hug; he only offers words. I’d like a shoulder to cry on, and he offers a militant marching order encouraging me to be strong and so forth. The point; there are times in marriage when you want and need to be ESCORTED and it’s not humanly possible for your man to do so. Those are the times that having practice in the years of being ESCORTED by God alone will come in handy for you beautiful ladies that write this blog and read it.

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Yes, it’s true that you are UNESCORTED from the sense that you don’t yet have a man to provide the definition of being ESCORTED yet, but you truly have something greater; the time of your life to dance with, be courted by and ESCORTED by God alone! Oh, what the two of you will do together! And at whatever point you are ready God will allow the right man to grab your other arm and walk along with the two of you; you WILL be glad that you embraced this season of being “UNESCORTED”.

I love you all! Thanking God for the season you are in until the appointed time.

With Love,

Cynthia McGee

 

 

A Word from Kristian

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GUEST BLOGGER KRISTIAN KELLY:

This week we are so excited to introduce to you, Kristian Kelly. We met Kristian through IIID Tulsa, the young adult ministry we are a part of. Although we have not known Kristian very long she quickly made a lasting impression in all of our hearts. Kristian is an amazing woman of God and someone who has so much wisdom and insight for this season of life.  She is a beautiful example in how to successfully live life Unescorted!

Along with traveling the world for her travel website, www.travelchicks.tv, Kristian is a TV producer, a speaker, and lover of all things coffee. She believes in living a fearlessly, beautiful, extraordinary life. Check out her book, Sparkle, on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sparkle-Kristian-Kelly/dp/1495140628 and start living your own extraordinary life!

Learn more about Kristian at:   thekristiankelly@facebook.com

XOXO,

Rae, MJ, & Sonia Dee

A WORD FROM KRISTIAN:

France was amazing. Everything I dreamed it would be. Full of life, fragrance, and beauty. In Paris we walked along the River Seine, passing stands where artists and bookseller offered up little tokens of their city to put on our shelves back home as a reminder of our journey to the city of love.

The cafes were filled with the most delicious pastries stuffed with chocolate, almonds, and even pistachio. A macchiato came in a tiny porcelain cup instead  of the venti size we get at our local Starbucks  (although I admit I did stop in at the local Starbucks one particulary chilly morning for a Venti). And in this leisurely city, they don’t bring you your check until you absolutely need it, and even then, seem surprised that you would be leaving so soon.

And yet, one particular night, as I sat in the hotel living room waiting for my friends to go to dinner, I found myself feeling despondent. You know, that feeling when the world feels amiss and your place in it? I was scrolling through one of my social media pages and noticed friend after friend who were newly “In a relationship,” “Married,” or had just had a baby.  

Hold up! I was being left behind! What was I doing with my life? Where was my man? Why wasn’t I “in a relationship”? Shouldn’t I be married by now? Why didn’t I have a family yet? My mind was spinning with all the opportunities I may have missed, things I could have done differently, and paths I could have taken.   

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Then suddenly, like the loving father He is, I heard my Heavenly Father say, “Kristian, stop! Look around you. You are right where you are supposed to be. This is the season I have you in and it’s a beautiful season.”

And he was right. While I was looking at my friends getting married and starting families, they were looking at me traveling through Europe with friends. I was in my own unique and beautiful season of life. I put my phone away and went out to enjoy a delicious Parisian dinner under the stars.

It’s funny, though, that no matter what season of life you are in, the lie is almost always the same…

“You aren’t where you should be.”

“I should be with the right guy at this point.”

“I should be married by now.”

“I should be completing my degree already.”

“I should be in that dream job I’ve been working towards.”

“I should be the one having a baby shower.”

Or…

“I should have stayed single longer.”

“I should have waited to have kids.”

“I should have stayed at my other job longer.”

“I should…I should…I should…”

But who decides where you “should” be in life?

Society?

Friends?

Family?

You?

When we measure where we are in life by those standards, there are a lot of differing opinions. But when we measure where we are by God’s standards, there is only One.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Psalm 31:15 “My times are in His hands.”

When I remind myself of this, I am able to find joy in each season. God has a plan and I can trust his plan. He promises that it’s a good one (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He will finish what he started (Philippians 1:6). I won’t let the thought of where I “should be” steal my joy of the present. Today is beautiful. And for all the other things that I am hoping for, I have to trust that He knows exactly what He’s doing. I am exactly where I should be – in HIS timing.

Our next and last day in Paris I headed off to the Eiffel Tower with a renewed excitement and joy! To some, it may seem like just another piece of architecture in a touristy city, but to me it represented the desire I always had of coming to France. It represented hope, adventure and a dream fulfilled.

As I stood looking out over the city, I realized, “I’ve done it! I actually did it.” The thing I have been dreaming about for so long actually happened. I came to France, ate pastries, drank coffee in the cafes, spoke broken French, saw the paintings, walked the river and climbed the Eiffel Tower. I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in my life.”

Maybe I’m not married yet.

Maybe I’m still working towards my dream job.

Maybe there are many more dreams in my heart just bursting to come to life.

But I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower.

And if I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower then everything else is just as possible, or as the French say, “uhn poss-ee-blah.”

It’s only a matter of timing.