Tag Archives: marriage

Finding Love: Chasing the Cat


I’ve been single for 46 years.  This isn’t really my choice, but it is my reality.  Part of my personality is to analyze and over think things as I shared in this post.  My love life has not been exempt from this habit of analysis paralysis.  I was talking to a friend of mine at work the other day and she said something that was eye-opening to me and really shed some light on the way that I have always approached relationships.

She told me the story about the time when she was a little girl.  She begged for a pet.  Her parents got her this kitten and she was so excited. She was so happy to have this new little feline friend that she wanted to spend all of her time with it.  She wanted to hold it, to pet it, to dress it up, and to have it return her abundant amount of affection.  The only problem?  The kitten was overwhelmed.  It was terrified and wanted nothing to do with this little girl.  It wrenched free of her affectionate grip and found refuge under the recesses of the little girl’s bed.  Crouching in the farthest corner, the kitten was terrified and shaking.  And my friend, chased the cat…trying to make the little animal love her back, but all the kitty wanted to do was to escape.  My friend was heart-broken.  She just wanted to love the kitten.  She wanted to have the kitten love her back. She envisioned a playmate and life-long friend, but the kitten was in a new place, with new people and the only thing it saw was an invasion.  What my friend didn’t know was that the best way to approach a cat is to relax and go about your business.  The cat will come to you.

So, what does this have to do with finding love?  Well, the fact is that people are more like that little kitten when it comes to romance than many of us realize.  At least more than I realize. About a year ago, I did some soul-searching and ending up fighting with God about the whole me still being single thing.  At the end of everything, I decided to move forward and approached finding love with a kind of military attack strategy.  I joined an online dating site.  Now I don’t know about you, but when I realize that my current approach is not working, I have a tendency to swing, like a pendulum, in the complete opposite direction. So instead of being shy and retiring, I started barreling in head and heart first.  In short, I was chasing the cat.

And just like that little kitten of my friend’s, the men that I met ran for the corner!  Understandably.  I was simply overwhelming them with my desire for a relationship.  And like my friend, I was heartbroken when they ran the other way.  And just like my friend, I didn’t understand. Until she told me her story.  All of a sudden, I realized what I had been doing. In my zeal for love and relationship that might lead marriage, I was being pushy.

I think that a lot of people fall into that trap.  We are so hungry to find love that we throw ourselves at the person we’re interested in.  We smother them with attention and affection thinking that our enthusiasm will translate to becoming a couple.  I wonder how many others are seeing this truth for the first time, too.

You know, when I was younger and so confused about why I was still single, I would ask my older, married friends for insight.  They would all invariably say, “When you’re not looking for it, love will find you.”  That used to really make me angry. I couldn’t see the truth in their wisdom.  I thought, “Pssh!  Easy for you to say…You’re married!”  I thought, “I’ll never not be looking for love.”  But I think that I finally understand.  What they were saying is don’t try so hard.  Don’t push.  Don’t chase the cat.  If you will relax and be yourself, when love is ready, it will find you.

I think that the bride in Song of Solomon has said it best.  This Biblical tome is all about the affections shared between two lovers.  It doesn’t get a lot of pulpit time, but maybe it should.  There are real nuggets of wisdom all throughout.  The beloved bride issues a challenge to women who are longing for romantic love.  In this very short book she says no less than three times,

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

Even then, she was telling us what my friend learned what the woman in the Song of Solomon was trying to say.  If you are interested in finding love?  Don’t chase the cat!

Single Life


This is a talk that I will be sharing with a group of female residents at the Sumter County Correctional Intitute in June of this year.  I had some fellow attendees ask me to post it here.  It is long, the talk is supposed to last from 15 to 20 minutes. 

10th Talk – Residents Encounter Christ #14

Good morning, Ladies.  I’m going to talk to you this morning about a lifestyle that can be both the most frustrating and the most rewarding that you’ll ever know.  My talk is about the single life and I promise that you can be single, but never be alone.  Hi.  My name is Karen, and I am living that life.

From the time that we are born, little girls are conditioned to long for love.  We are told fairy tales with damsels and princesses who wait to be rescued by heroes and handsome princes.  We dream of weddings and dresses…of ceremonies and happily ever afters.  But the single life of reality doesn’t usually turn out that way, does it? Continue reading Single Life

The Prison of Want


Every single one of us knows what it feels like to want something.  From the moment we take our first breath, we are able to loudly assert our desire for something that we want.  We want food, we want comfort, we want sleep, we want to be held.  For an infant, our wants are simple, but as we grow, we learn to want more.  We want a particular toy, we want a certain snack, we want just the right pair of shoes.  The older we get, the more elaborate and demanding our wants become.  We want more money, we want designer clothing, we want the biggest house, we want the perfect spouse.

When we get something we want, it makes us feel good—for a while.  Soon, though, you want something else.  It’s easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that what you have is never enough and to equate what we want with our happinessSingle people say, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.”  Married people say, “If only we had a baby, then we would be happy.”  Employees say, “If only I made more money, then I would be happy.”

The problem isn’t WHAT you want…it’s the fact that your happiness is tied inexorably to the want.  It becomes a vicious cycle of want – pleasure – disappointment – and want again.  It’s a prison.  But you can be set free.  The key to unlocking the door to your dungeon of desire is already in your hand.  You just have to use it.

Here are three things that will help set you free from your prison of want. Continue reading The Prison of Want

A New Look at an Old Book – Genesis 1-3


This year I have decided to go through the Bible in a Chronological pattern.  I must shamefully admit that I have never succeeded in following through on one of these reading plans.  I found this great application on my Blackberry phone, and I was so impressed, I just had to share it.  They have a website, too.  As always – IF IT’S FREE, IT’S FOR ME!  So I wanted to share what I found and encourage you to start the journey, too.  There are more than 20 reading plans and several different options for time, and every version of the Bible imaginable to read from!  There is a place to journal as you go through the reading and then if you would like to participate in the community aspect, they have a place for that, too!  Truly, one of the best websites I have ever come across.  I hope to find some of you there!

Usually when I read the Bible, I have a tendency to let my research curiosity take over and I end up cross referencing, back tracking, getting exegetical and otherwise just chasing down red herrings.  I enjoy that!  I learn so much that way, but I wanted to approach the scriptures a little differently this time.  I want to simply stay in the moment.  My plan is to simply document the thoughts and questions that occur to me during the course of the reading.  Not to look for hidden meanings and answers, but simply to bask in the Word of God and to let it wash over me and envelope me completely.  As such, there may or may not be any flow to the thoughts.  I love to hear what scripture says to other people, so I am hoping that these entries will spark a dialogue with others.

And so the journey begins.  I have decided to use The Message as my version of choice for this trip.  I like the artistry of the language and I am looking forward to seeing new things as I travel down this familiar, well-travelled road.  Let’s go!

Genesis 1:2

First thing: The language of the Message is so colorful. I love the expression that the Earth was a soup of nothingness! Immediately followed by “God’s Spirit brooded like a bird…” What does that mean? The dictionary says: “4. (of a bird) to warm, protect, or cover (young) with the wings or body.” The imagery there is comforting. I can imagine the Lord looking down over the vastness with love, and covering the yet unformed earth in a protective embrace. He had not yet made us, but His love and attention was already focused and protective.  Something really settles into my spirit about the concept of “covering.”  The imagery elicited, from a bird protecting it’s nest, to God covering Moses with his hand, to the mother at Pompei who used her body to cover her child.  The idea is amazing – protective, nurturing, comforting, peaceful.

Genesis 1:27

Day Six in the creation landscape – God’s work so far has been like a painting. At first, broad strokes to cover great amounts of canvas, setting the stage for the finer work. With each passing creative expression, the work becomes more detailed and fine. The penultimate expression of God’s handiwork is revealed on this day. He created humans. He made us godlike! I wonder why He would do this? The way He created us, we REFLECT His nature. We are like the moon – we have no light source of our own, but we appear to shine because we mirror the light of the sun.

photographed by Karen J. Romine

We just had a beautiful natural phenomenon occur over New Years‘ festivities. Our eyes were directed heavenward to behold the wonder that is a Blue Moon, or the second full moon in a month. It’s a fairly rare occurrence, made to seem even more important because it coincided with the beginning of a new year. It was easy to romanticize and marvel at the moon. I took several pictures and had my fair share of Lunar Lookiloo-itude. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold. The way that the glow illuminated the night sky was truly breathtaking. I found myself captivated by the sight of it, marveling at it’s magnificence. But the truth is, the moon has no power of it’s own. The ethereal qualities that we attribute to her are not her own. She is merely a mirror. She is so perfectly suited to reflect the true source of light – the sun, that sometimes we place credit where none is due. That’s what we are supposed to be. A vehicle of reflection – we are mirrors. We shine back the true source of light – the Son. Because the light is so beautiful, even in reflection, sometimes we give credit where none is due. Without the warming beams of the sun’s glow, the moon is just a rock. Without the loving glow of the Son’s touch, we humans are just animals. It is the REFLECTIVE qualities of being created godlike that make us so beautiful to behold.

Genesis 2:3

God’s Ultimate act of creation: a day of rest. I think that just as we are sometimes overly impressed with the majesty of the moon, we are equally enamoured with our own existence. However, if we continue with the analogy of a painting, the final act is knowing when to stop. The best artists know when to step back from their creation and say – It is finished.  They put down the paintbrush, then pause for a moment and just soak it in. That is the ultimate act of creation. God, ever the consummate artist, steps back from His creation and says – It’s done. It’s complete. He takes a step back, and breathes a sigh of satisfaction and simply takes in His handiwork. He allows Himself to enjoy what He’s just made. Oh, would that we would reflect that attribute of our Creator! This is the ultimate expression of creation because it allows us to enjoy the created. To revel in the completion of a task. To recuperate and recover from the process of doing. In addition to polishing up my reflective qualities, this is an attitude I long to embrace in the new year!

Genesis 2:23

This season in my life, I have been reawakened to my desire to be partnered with a man. I don’t know what it is about Christians in particular that they feel the need to devalue or debase any desires that we have. As if desiring something is inherently bad. I have fallen into that mindset myself to a degree and often have chastised myself for wanting to be married. However this time through the scriptures, I am seeing that there is cause for the feelings I have experienced and am experiencing. Simply in verse 23. One word. Man says – FINALLY! Oh the implications and power in that one word! Here is a creation, situated in a perfect existence. Newly made, fresh off the line so to speak, all his parts are still shiny and new, but when he is presented with woman as a companion – man says “Finally!!” There is something within us that God created to desire fellowship with each other on an intimate level. So why is it that when we express that same feeling of anticipation, our “well-meaning” brothers and sisters imply (or some come right out and say) that we are being somehow less. That we should be content in our situation. That’s not the way I’m reading this.

Bear with me for the following metaphor – back when I was a child, we had thermometers with mercury in them. Invariably one would break and the silvery substance would spill out and puddle together. Curiosity would always overtake me, and I would collect the spilled contents into my hand. The mercury would bead up, and each little ball was perfect in it’s own right. But once two of the tiny rounds came into proximity of each other, there was an undeniable attraction that drew them into each other to reform into a new, larger, but still perfectly formed ball. There was no distinction between the old droplets and the new drop. They were capable of existing perfectly on their own, but given the opportunity, they were more suited to coalesce. The fact that one property of mercury is to desire to come together does not hinder it’s effectiveness. It doesn’t make it a weaker element. In fact, it is one of the traits of mercury that makes it unique. We are that way. We are made of the same stuff, and our natural inclination – a byproduct of our creation – is to be drawn to each other in an attempt to commingle or to cleave as the KJV calls it. This is not good or bad. It just is.

Genesis 3:16

Obviously – my mind is focused on this subject, because what I feel the Lord revealing to me is primarily about the same subject matter. Chapter 3, verse 16 – the last line in the verse speaks volumes to the classic struggle between male and female. We want to please our husbands, and the the husbands will want to use that to rule over us. No wonder we can’t understand each other. It’s a product of the fall. I wonder if a couple who have been saved by grace can then go back and pray against the consequences of that first sin? Is it possible to reverse that curse? Hmmm. I wonder.

Fighting with God


Have you ever been angry with God?  I mean spitting nails, fists clenched, foaming at the mouth, screaming at the sky angry with God?  I had heard people talk about being mad at God, but it never really made sense to me.  As far as I was concerned, I could not imagine what could possibly happen in a person’s life to give them reason to be upset with God about anything . . .

until recently.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling pretty down.  I have been out of work for many months, which means I’m spending even more time than usual alone.  Then to top it off, I couldn’t afford to pay for television service anymore, so I was left with nothing to distract me from being alone.  All this being alone led to feelings of loneliness and then to sadness because I was alone and lonely.  So, as I always do, I started to talk to God about it.

As I was talking to God, I began to feel myself getting irritated.  Then I would check myself and then continue to talk with Him some more.  The more I talked, the more irritated and aggravated I got.  Before too long I found myself downright mad!  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  “Why do I have to be alone, God?”

God:  SILENCE

Me:  “Haven’t I done what you’ve asked me to do?”

God:  SILENCE

Me:  “Haven’t I been patient?”

God:  <insert cricket sounds here>

Me:  “Why can’t I have a romantic relationship?”

Me:  “What is the BIG DEAL???”

By now, I was yelling!  I was literally shaking my fists in the air and pacing all over my house.  I was slamming things around.  I WAS MAD!!!  At this point, I’m glad I live alone, because I think anybody witnessing my behavior may have called the men in the white coats.  At first, I kept apologizing to God because I felt hurt and angry.  At first, I kept thinking I was going to be struck by lightning (not really, but it sounds better than I thought I might be crossing a line).  At first, I thought I was doing something wrong, but a funny thing happened.

As I continued to fume and foam, to cry out and cuss (yes, I did it) to rail and rant I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of peace.  I felt like God was almost chuckling at me because it had taken me so long to finally feel comfortable with Him.  Like a father comforting a crying child, I felt a “there, there” pat on my back and could almost hear God say to me:

“I never said you couldn’t have those things.”

And just like that, I wasn’t mad anymore.  Just like that I realized, rather sheepishly, that I had been the one imposing restrictions on myself.  It was I who had put myself on this path.  I was the one who suffered in silence and watched man after man fall in love with someone else, and

just

like

that,

I understood.  My whole life was laid before me and I saw the makings of my own loneliness.  I heard all the self talk that said I wasn’t allowed to tell a boy that I liked him, because good girls don’t do that.  I saw myself putting on a brave face as I fell in love with a friend, and hoped that he would feel the same thing.  The conversation continued, bobbing and weaving in the boxing ring of my thoughts,

Me:  “I’ll get hurt.”

God:  “You’re hurting already.”

Me:  “But I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.”

God:  “That’s a chance you’ll have to take.”

Me:  <insert cricket sounds here>

God:  “You’ve been unfair to the ones you loved.”

Me:  ???

God:  “Every time you’ve fallen in love with a friend, you’ve been hurt because you haven’t been honest with what you’re experiencing.  You kept your affections a secret, but you expected them to share openly and reciprocate love that you never expressed.  You expected them to arrive at a destination without letting them get on the train.  How is that fair?”

Me:  “You’re right, God!”  (the audacity, I know…but that’s what I said in my head.)

And I was done.

I was done being angry.  I was done being afraid.  I was done being hurt.  I was done being lonely.  I WAS FREE.  I was liberated from the negative self talk.  I was unfettered by the chains of self restriction.  Not only was it OK to tell someone how I feel about them, I have a RESPONSIBILITY to be honest with my emotions.  Yes, I might have to put myself in a position to be hurt, but the hurt will be on the front end of a relationship when feelings are new.  I won’t have to wonder if a man knows I’m attracted to him romantically, he’ll know because I’ve told him.

I realize that most of you dear readers came to this realization back in the third grade with the giving and receiving of the profoundly moving “I like you.  Do you like me?  Check Yes or No” note.  In contrast, the very idea of that was mortifying to me.  The joys and the indignities of love that most people face as children and teens, I painstakingly avoided.  The fine art of romantic relationships, the give and take, the push and pull – I was too afraid to hazard.  As a result, here I am, a grown woman, who is suddenly faced with the realization that I have to go back and start living life in a whole new way.  What have I got to lose?  Nothing ventured is nothing gained!

In fighting with God I learned not one lesson, but two.  Aside from the obvious, I learned that it is not only OK to fight with God, it is necessary.  Lest you think me a heretic, allow me to elaborate.  A needful component in every relationship is the ability to resolve conflict.  A relationship with God is no different.  There will times when you don’t agree, and the way you handle the disagreement is an indicator of the relationship’s health.  When things are new, you hold back because you don’t know what to expect and you don’t want to hurt feelings, so you make excuses.  You say, “Awww, that’s OK.” even when it’s not.  Eventually, as intimacy grows, so does the potential for conflict.  The deeper intimacy gives way to deeper issues and oftentimes, result in differing views.  When the intimacy is deeper, the risks and the rewards are greater.  In my life, I rarely fight or argue with people.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a verbal altercation with someone, and still have several fingers left over.  Growing up in my house was a different story.   My siblings and I battled over everything.  We held back nothing.  The difference was intimacy.  I knew that disagreements with my family would not result in a permanently broken relationship.  I knew that no matter what, we would still be family.  That’s the way I felt fighting with God.  I felt safe.  I knew that I could be mad with Him, and we would still be family – I wasn’t going to lose Him.

In the scriptures, we see an epic example of this in the life of Jacob.  Jacob had just swindled his brother out of a blessing, and he had literally pulled the wool over the eyes of his father to get it!  He was persona non grata at his house, and he was running scared.  We pick up the story where Jacob has taken his wives, servants and children along with all their worldly possessions, and have escaped under the cover of night.  Jacob goes back to the camp site alone when

“. . . A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. 26They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.”

“You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.

27Then the man asked, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”  29Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob.

30Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.”

Fighting with God has had far-reaching implications in my life and in my relationship with Him.  I find that I love Him even more.  I feel like He loves me even more, if that’s even possible!  It’s like the last barrier to intimacy has come down.  I’m certainly not suggesting that you go out and pick a fight with God, but I do recommend being real with Him.  But be prepared, because just like Jacob, you will not walk away unscathed.  Everyone who wrestles with God walks away a different person!  I know I did.