One of my favorite sayings in my season of singleness has been "date yourself." I took this very seriously in the early stages of recovery from my divorce: I hiked waterfalls. I tried Ethiopian food. I rode a mechanical bull.
I also got injured doing a couple of those things but hey– the memories are epic.
In dating myself, I've re-learned my likes and dislikes. I've discovered interests and abilities I never realized I had before (uh, furniture refurbishment?!). And I've gotten real comfortable with that quirky girl who had never fully come into her own.
(She gets me into a lot of "situations." All good, clean fun though.)
The journey of self-rediscovery has been absolutely priceless. And for my money, I'd say everyone should go through some kind of self-dating process if you're ever going to bring much more than a scarred up, broken heart into a new relationship.
During one of my recent "self-dates," the most surprising thing happened. It completely transformed the way I look at this season of singleness, and my value in the eyes of the Father.
Get the popcorn, girl. This is good.
God: The Lover of My Soul
Okay, so actually, it wasn't a self-date. I was grocery shopping. But that's why what happened was so surprising.
One Saturday, I was home without my kids and a little bit of a funk set in (a day of laundry and floor mopping can do that to a person). I was desperately hoping I could get in some kind of spontaneous adventure before they returned home from the weekend, but the Mother Hubbard-ness of my cupboards was an undeniable priority.
After a considerable amount of delaying (thank you Instagram), I finally mustered up enough energy to get going. As I rummaged around my bottomless-pit-of-a-purse for my keys, suddenly I felt it–
I felt the nudge to go to a different grocery store.
Okay, okay– so not exactly most people's idea of a spontaneous adventure. But I knew God had something in this for me, so I had to chase it down. Without hesitation, I jumped into my car, and with music cranked up and windows rolled down, I enjoyed a sweet country drive across down to the other supermarket.
God knows I love country drives.
When I got to the store, I felt the inclination to enjoy the process a little more than I normally do. I checked out the cheese counter (mmm, smoke gouda). I grabbed a special cut of meat for dinner. And then, the pièce de résistance– I made my way to the freezer section to get a pint of ice cream.
And not the ice cream I usually get for the kids so everyone's happy. My own ice cream.
(Moms, I know you know what a big deal this was).
As I stood before the Ben & Jerry's assortment, I couldn't make up my mind. With Phish Food in one hand and Cherry Garcia in the other, gently, it came to me–
The Lord was taking me on a date.
He had inspired me to take the drive across town. He had slowed my mind so I could enjoy the specialty selections in the store. And as I stood there, ice cream in hand, I heard Him sweetly reminding me of how seen and loved I am.
I may be the first actual person over the age of two to cry in a grocery store.
Before anyone noticed, I blinked back the tears and finished picking out my ice cream. Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to go pick out some flowers (which, happily, I obeyed). I found a vibrant summer assortment with the dreamiest scent. As I admired the bouquet, I heard the Lord again–
"A man can buy you a bouquet. But I made these for you to enjoy."
Swoon, right!? The Lord truly is the lover of our souls.
God Uses Even Small Things to Grow Faith
What could have been just another mundane trip to the store became the most precious shopping experience ever. I know what it is to feel overlooked, especially as a single mom. But the Lord has been showing me that through all the ups and downs, He has a plan. That He sees me. He’s teaching see His hand in the everyday things, so I can trust Him in the big-sorta-scary-future things. He’s in it all, and He is so incredibly good.
And better yet, I can feel that He truly delights in me. That He wants good things for me. And that I can enjoy the pace of whatever He’s doing because He has it all under control. And sister, the same is true for you.
So if I can offer any piece of encouragement, next time you’re at the grocery store, girl – buy the flowers.