I won’t change for you.

I never dated in college (or high school…or after college…or ever…) and I assumed that was because something was wrong with me. I was convinced something about me made me undateable, because what other explanation could there be? I watched my friends date nice guys and not so nice guys, and I waited for my turn. I had crushes, of course; there were a few young men who turned my head and brought a little smile to my face. But nothing happened, because nothing ever happened. Not to me.

So it was easy to stand in front of a mirror and tell myself that if parts of me were different then I would find love. I was the common denominator in my non-existent romances, after all. Maybe if I was skinnier or taller or had green eyes then I would find a man. Maybe if I was more of a party girl and less of an academic. Maybe if I was more religious or less reserved and quiet. Maybe if I had more tattoos and piercings or cared less about my family. Maybe if I watched different tv shows or read different books. Maybe if I wore shorter dresses or tighter pants or heels. Maybe if I didn’t wear glasses or a purity ring then love would find me. Maybe maybe maybe… Continue reading

Maybe love is…

I’ve been wondering what love is lately; what it would sound like or feel like or look like should I wish to draw a picture of it to keep in my pocket to take out on the days where loneliness and emptiness grab at my ankles, tripping me as I reach towards something lovely.

My knees and heart are bruised in my search for love. Though I suppose I should confess – I’ve never been in love…at least I don’t think I’ve been in love, and I have a friend who often (OFTEN) says, “When you know you know, and when you don’t know you still know” and since he’s rather brilliant, he tends to be right more often than I’d admit.

But, really, if I can’t look back, surrounded by memories and feelings and the smiles he shared with me when he thought they meant nothing, and simply know to my bones that that was love, then I’m inclined to guess it wasn’t. So I’m left with empty hands and eyes full of questions and lips that long for a kiss that’s been waiting for years or maybe just long enough for me to cross the room to him.

I thought I knew what love looked like. A few years ago, or even a few months ago, if you had asked me “What does love look like?” I would have said love was tall; well, taller than me. You know the type: tall, dark, and handsome. That’s what I thought love looked like.

I thought love was a person, someone to fill an emptiness inside me, but I don’t think that’s right. Continue reading

I’m Single but not Broken.

{I originally wrote this piece for Cory Copeland’s blog last August. And it still remains one of my favorite pieces, something straight from my heart. I hope you can enjoy it with me.}

***

I’m sitting alone in a coffee shop as I write these words. Comfortably seated at a small table built for two, I enjoy a raspberry Italian soda, the blank page, and the occasional conversation courtesy of Twitter and text messages. I see couples enjoying their coffee, watch young hipsters pass by on the sidewalk as they take in the sun, and I feel content. I don’t envy them or wish I was them. I’m not embarrassed of the empty chair across from me.

A year ago, I couldn’t have done it. I couldn’t have displayed my aloneness, my singleness in such an obvious manner. If I wanted to go for coffee, to the bookstore, or on an aimless adventure, I would have sought company. I would never have gone to a movie alone. I would have begged my sisters or pleaded with friends to avoid going out and announcing to the world that I was alone, unattached, by myself, single.

I would rather have just spent untold hours in the dark quiet of my room.

I’ve spent years being embarrassed and maybe even ashamed by my lack of a relationship status. I’ve never gone on a real date or had a first kiss; brought a guy home to meet my parents; celebrated an anniversary with my boyfriend; had a guy give me flowers, chocolates or poetry (though I could probably do without the poetry). I’ve never looked at a man and said, “I love you.” I’ve been the perpetually single at twenty-four young woman, and I’ve done everything to hide it. I didn’t want people to wonder what was wrong with me. I didn’t want guys to think I was defective. I didn’t want to feel unwanted, unattractive, or untogether.

Women often try to turn their desire to get married into a joke. Girls at college (especially those of the Christian variety) laugh about getting a “ring by spring” or an MRS degree. We create notebooks and Pinterest boards dedicated to our eventual wedding. We write letters to our future spouse, pick out baby names, and wonder if every guy we meet is the One while the wedding scene from The Vow scrolls through our mind in slow motion.

We turn into the female version of Ted Mosby.

But for some, it doesn’t just happen. We see our friends marry their high school or college sweethearts. We see our sisters date the good Christian boy from church. We begin to question ourselves. Why isn’t it happening for us? What am I missing? What’s wrong with me?

I’m guilty of looking at finding a guy, the guy, as a rite of passage. I have my degree. I’ve done some traveling. I’ve taken risks, made some mistakes, and probably screwed up my credit, so where’s the guy? I’m here at twenty-four, ready to meet my Mr. Forever, but he’s nowhere to be found. The man who is destined for me, supposed to complete me, the other half of my soul seems to be playing the ultimate game of hide and seek.

And I don’t know what I’ve done wrong.

The thing is, technically I haven’t done anything wrong. But I have approached it all wrong. Unfairly, I looked at my future husband as some sort of hero-meets-knight-in-shining-armor-meets-Mr. Darcy-slash-Ironman. He is the epitome, the ultimate, my crowning achievement. He’s what I deserve after my years of patience, my years of singleness. He’s my other and better half.

Only he isn’t. He isn’t an object to be won, or a cure-all for my loneliness.

My mistake as I see it now is thinking that I’m somehow lacking because I haven’t found the guy, that being single means I’m under construction; that I’m missing some essential piece to the puzzle that is my heart and soul.

Not having a man doesn’t mean I’m anything less. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. It doesn’t mean I’m incomplete, unfinished, or half of a person. Having a guy isn’t going to solve all my problems, fix my insecurities, or bring untold and uninterrupted happiness. That isn’t his job. And it’s a bit unfair to put that on an imperfect and flawed man.

But I can put that on God. I can seek Him and be made absolute. He is the piece that my heart and soul require. I’m made complete in Christ; in His grace, mercy, and salvation I am made anew. To live with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit within me means I am whole—I’m wholly His and wholly finished.

I’m not deficient, defective, or broken. I’m not empty or alone.

I’m the best I can be.

Finding the right man should be about finding the guy I can be my best with. It shouldn’t be about finding the guy can improve or fix me. It should be about finding the guy who lets me be the wholly finished creation that God made me and challenges me to grow in Christ, and not about finding the guy who wants to make me into something else or makes me want to compromise who I am.

So I sit at my quiet table, and I accept the aloneness. I accept that I am single. I accept that I haven’t met the right man not because I’m broken, but because I’m not ready. I accept that having the right guy come into my life isn’t something I deserve, but a gift that God gives me. I accept that one day God will bless me with the man I’m meant to marry.

I accept that until then, I’ll be the single girl drinking an Italian soda in the coffee shop beside an empty chair.

And I revel in the fact that regardless of how my love life plays out, I am complete in Christ, in His presence and in His love.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

For the Ladies.

Hello my dears.

It’s not always easy being a woman. I’m sure it’s no picnic being a man either, but I can’t really speak to that. But I know what it’s like to be a woman. To be told by society and church and people what you’re supposed to be, how you’re supposed to act, what you’re supposed to do, and how you’re to live your life. It becomes a cacophony of endless noise. So much to process. So many lies and half truths to wade through.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest and the easiest.

These words are for all the good women who are trying to figure out life as best they can; some thoughts on men, life, and love. I hope they give you something to smile about, a bit of encouragement.

On Men…

Wait for the man who will never hesitate to tell you how beautiful you are, no matter the time of day or location or occasion. Wait for the man whose eyes light up when he sees you, whether you’re wearing a sexy black dress, jeans and a sweatshirt, the sweat from your workout earlier, your pajamas, or a mud mask you put on with a greenish hue. Because you are absolutely beautiful in every one of those moments and deserve the man who will recognize it.

Wait for the man who doesn’t tell you that you owe him your body, or that he’s been patient long enough, or that if you really loved him you would sleep with him. Wait for the man who doesn’t use your love as weapon against you. Wait for the man who doesn’t look at you and see all the things you can give him, ignoring the gorgeous, wonderful soul standing before him. Never settle for a man who demands what you aren’t ready to give. Never believe that by saying no you are missing out on your only chance to find happiness. Because happiness exists when your no is heard and your hesitance is respected. Wait for the man who will wait with you.

Don’t wait for the “right guy” or the “nice guy” or the “perfect guy”. Instead, wait for the man who is good, the man who is flawed like you and has his own past and baggage and bad days. Wait for the man who will share that with you, letting you see him for exactly who he is, not for what you imagine he should be. Wait for the man who will be himself with you; the man you feel safe being yourself with.

Wait for the man who will encourage you in your pursuits, who supports your dreams. Wait for the man who will dream those dreams with you, who believes in you even when you begin to doubt and second guess. Don’t wait for the man who tries to fix you, but for the man who makes you better simply by loving you for everything you are, faults and scars and all the good things.

Wait for the man who will be a true partner in every sense; for the man who believes you are worth pursuing; for the man who loves you and never hesitates to tell you.

On Life…

Take chances. Every day do something that freaks the hell out of you. Because the things we regret most later in life are the things we never did. Never let fear hold you back or convince you that you can’t do it or you shouldn’t do it. And just maybe the chance you long to take is the one that will change your life.

Be yourself. Be as weird, quirky, odd, awesome, nerdy, fashionable, sarcastic, passionate, creative as you want. Never apologize for being you, for doing what you love. Never believe that you have to tone down what makes you you in order to be accepted by those around you. Embrace who you are and share it with the world.

Laugh often. Because I think we’ve become far too serious these days. The world is a sad, desolate place, and we’ve let that seep into our bones and weigh us down. And that’s a shame, because there is so much in our lives that we can smile and laugh at. And sometimes we do stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing things. Laugh at those things, and remember them.

Travel wherever your heart takes you. We get comfortable in our little corner of the world. But there is so much to discover when you take a trip; when you hit the open road and drive until you can’t drive any farther. Until you reach happiness. Go somewhere new.

Know you are beautiful. There are days when you may not feel lovely or pretty or stunning or gorgeous, but even on those days, when you look in the mirror and can’t meet your own eyes, you are beautiful. You might not be perfect, and that’s okay. You are only to be yourself, completely and imperfectly. And every part of you – your body, your mind, your spirit, your heart, your soul – all of it is beautiful in every moment. Finally believe it.

Be kind – to yourself and to others. Life has a way of beating us up, and if we beat ourselves up in the moments in between, we never give ourselves a chance to be happy. So when life is hard and you feel defeated, remember you don’t have to always have everything together. It’s okay to be a mess, because you will always be strong enough to put yourself back together.
And be kind to others. For if you are fighting and struggling in your life, chances are that those around you are as well. Show kindness and grace rather than frustration and rudeness. Show compassion always.

Go after what you want. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of the things that we dream about, the secret passions of our hearts. We think we don’t deserve them or we’ve been told that we don’t. But you do. You deserve to chase after your dreams. You deserve the happiness that comes with making them come true. And perhaps it’s hard. But the best things in life will make you fight to keep them. So never stop pursuing the things your heart longs for.

Create things. Anything. Write, draw, paint, take photos, knit, make movies, sculpt, dance, compose music, scrapbook. Be artistic. Whatever it is that brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart, make it come to life. Because when you create you are making beautiful things and bringing to life a piece of your soul. You are making something special and wonderful that only you can make. You are bringing something into this world that wasn’t here before, and maybe you can bring joy and healing to someone else through your art.

On love…

Love yourself, because you are worth loving. You are an amazing, talented, lovely daughter of God. You are the only one in the entire world who is like you. Love yourself for all the good you bring into the world; for all the happiness and light you share with those around you. Love yourself because God created you and loves you. Love yourself because you deserve to be loved by the one who knows you best.

Love others, even when it’s hard. Everyone needs to be loved, to be told they are loved. We were created in love, and we crave that. So share that love with those around you, with friends and family. Love those who are like you and those who are not. Love those you make you smile and make you scream. Love those who seem unlovable, because they are the ones who need it most. In loving others, we better learn to love ourselves.

And lastly, I want to remind you that you are lovely and worthy and amazing even in the darkest times. You are strong. You are an inspiration. You are enough and you are good. And you are allowed to believe it.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.