Out of the 7+ billion people in the world, picking 1 to spend the rest of your life with can feel like a really daunting decision to make.

I totally get how confusing it can be trying to navigate through dating and relationships in search of finding that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

“As soon as we locked eyes for the first time, we just knew!”
“We were friends for years, and then over time we realized we liked each other.”
“I wasn’t attracted to him at first, but as I got to know him I realized he was everything I wanted.”
“I just knew he was going to be my last first date!”

As if falling in love didn’t seem ambiguous enough, there are so many different stories out there of how it happens to other people. So how do you know when you’ve found someone worth holding on to?

I’m not married yet, and am still in the process of trusting God to lead the right person to me. But I once heard someone talk about these 4 things to look for in a good match. This advice has brought so much clarity in helping me decide where and with whom to invest time.

Soooo I give you what I call the 4 C’s of Dating:

CHARACTER, CALLING, CHEMISTRY, and CONFIRMATION.

When trying to decide if the person you’re getting to know is a good match for you, look for how you both line up in these 4 areas.

  1. Character – What is their character like? Do they have integrity? Are they honest? Are they selfless? Do they treat you respectfully and make you feel special? Do you share core values? Can you trust their character, and not feel like you’re always “carrying” them along morally, emotionally, and spiritually? Do you have confidence in their personal relationship with God? Really examine and get to know their character to decide whether or not they have the kind of heart you want to tie yours to.
  2. Calling – Are your lives headed in the same direction? What are you passionate about, what are they passionate about, and are those things complementary? You don’t have to both be working in the same field, but if they want to devote their life to living and feeding starving kids in a third-world country, and you want to spend your life teaching at a school in the suburbs, for example, it’d be extremely tough to build a life together. Be with someone who wants to chase your dreams with you, or will be your biggest supporter, and vice versa. I believe a relationship and marriage should make you even better than you were on your own.
  3. Chemistry – Chemistry is so so important! This is what I’ve found separates a friend from a romantic interest. How do your personalities click? Is there attraction? Do you have fun together? Maybe you really like hanging out with this person, but can’t bring yourself to get into a relationship with them and you’re not sure why…It could be a chemistry thing–you can have friend chemistry, but lack that romantic chemistry. I personally like to keep introversion/extraversion in mind too. For example, if you’re super outgoing and thrive off of going to social things, will this person enjoy doing that with you? Or are they the homebody type that would rather get their teeth pulled than have to be out often? Obviously no one will be a 100% match in every area, but be with someone you can find a happy medium with, and can see yourself getting the most out of life with. So don’t downplay the importance of chemistry. Find someone you click with, that you’re attracted to, can have fun with, can get deep with, and that you WANT to spend your time with!
  4. Confirmation – This is key! Ask God for confirmation. He’ll make it clear. 🙂

I hope keeping these 4 C’s in mind helps you navigate dating and relationships with more clarity. Obviously there’s no magic formula to falling in love. These are just 4 important factors that can serve as a solid foundation for a thriving relationship. I know there’s someone super special for you! And it’s going to be such a beautiful, powerful force to be reckoned with when you two get together.

Wishing you the best!

Love,
Angela

The uncertainty of knowing when or if you’ll ever meet “the one.”
Feeling the need to be at every social event so you don’t accidentally miss out on fate.
The nights of crying in frustration because you’re so over being single.
Having to navigate through dating (that’s a whole other blog for another day!).
Feeling the pressure to look good enough to attract someone.
Third-wheeling.
Feeling so awkward during wedding season.
Feeling super happy but also like something’s a little wrong with you when your friends, one by one, leave the single club as they fly off into relational bliss…
SINGLE LIFE. Trust me, I know the struggle. But I want to bring you some good news:

IT WILL ALL BE SO WORTH IT ONE DAY. PROMISE.

Here’s my story. “What would your life look like without any fear?” These words woke my heart up about 4 years ago. At that time, I had my future all planned out: I was going to finish college, marry the guy I was with, get a good job, and settle into a normal little life. I mean, what else was there to do? But that day, I felt God say to me, “What’s the difference between those that live an average, status quo life and those that make history? Fear. I’m a God of the IMPOSSIBLE. I have plans for you beyond your wildest dreams, but you’re going to have to trust me with your WHOLE heart for me to take you there.”

I had never taken the time to be happy with just myself. For me, relationships always represented stability, safety, and protection from loneliness. Giving up the relationship I was in was literally me giving up everything—my life plan, my security, and my comfort. But I started to burn for more than just the comfortable little life I had planned out. So after some back and forth with myself, I took the plunge and became single. There have been different guys here and there since then, but nothing has quite worked out yet. Has it been hard, stretching, and overwhelming at times? Yes. But I’ll tell ya, I’d go through all of that again in a heartbeat if I had to, to gain what I have now.

If you’re single and just over it, I want to encourage you with what I’ve learned.
Here are 5 reasons why being single is so so important:

1. Singlehood teaches you who you are There’s really nothing like having time in your life where it’s just you and God with no other person involved. With a boyfriend, I was always thinking, “Okay, how can we better love God together? How can we keep Him the center of our relationship?” But I had never taken time to do that on my own as an individual. And that is CRUCIAL. I remember there were some nights where I’d lay awake in bed crying, feeling anxious and lonely as heck, and I had no one else but God to talk to about it. It was in those helpless, emotional moments that the peace of God filled my room and heart like never before. I finally experienced PERFECT LOVE from the very Creator and epitome of it. Loving and being loved by God teaches us who we are.

2. It taught me my life’s purpose The possibilities of what your life can become are literally limitless. When you’re single, God has the space to do anything He wants in your life without it affecting another person. Being single has given me the freedom to discover what I was created for. I discovered my passions for writing, speaking, worship-leading, and a fire ignited within me to use all those things to help make the world a better place.

3. Being single builds confidence It’s forced me to get out of my comfort zone in SO many ways. I was so used to always having a boyfriend to go to things with. If I wanted to, I could sit back and let him be the social one, or we could feed off each other’s energies, or whatever. Not having that made me learn to be my own person. I became confident in my voice, my personality, and the qualities I bring to different environments.

4. These days are just as valuable as any other season One day you’ll be married to the person of your dreams, and your days will be full of chasing after kids, working, running a household, date nights, and all the other fun stuff that comes with marriage. But as for right now, how freeing is it to be able to do as you please? Want to take a spontaneous roadtrip with friends? Go for it! Travel to a part of the world you’ve never seen? Do it (it’s way cheaper now than it’ll be paying for your kids someday). Want to move to a new city? Nothing’s really stopping you. EVERY day is a beautiful blessing! Let’s not waste this precious season wishing for the next one.

5. Your value isn’t determined by your relationship status.

6. Being single lays the foundation for your future marriage – I’ve heard it said that marriage isn’t two halves making a whole, it’s two wholes coming together for a greater purpose. If marriage, (the union of two people) is the house, then both people making sure they’re individually healthy and ready is the foundation. I would not know how to lay my life down for another person if I didn’t first lay my life down to God. I wouldn’t know how to properly love my future spouse without first experiencing the true, perfect love of God. I wouldn’t have good self-control had I not surrendered my whole life and learned my value in God’s eyes. I wouldn’t know who to look for without understanding who I am, what I’m called to, and what God has called me to do with my future spouse someday.

So PLEASE go through the hard stuff to get to the REALLY GOOD stuff.
Friend, I promise you, the dream is worth the wait. Keep your eyes on God. The singleness, all the confusing dates, the uncertainty of when or if your special someone will ever come along…it will all be worth it. Pray for your future. Pray for the person God will bring into your life. And when you’re so in love and fixated on the Lord, and He knows the timing is right, He will plop the most amazing gift right into your lap.

I’ve heard it said, “God takes a long time to act suddenly.”

You’re SO loved, and I’m praying for you! God sees you, He knows what your heart longs for, and He also loves you too much to jip you of the growth and refinement process you deserve. The choices you make now lay the foundation for your future love. So don’t just endure being single, ENJOY it! It’s one of the most special times of your life!
Praying for you!

Love,
Angela

Btw, all of these pics were taken by the amazing Sarah Schweyer at sarahschweyer.com!

In your hunger for love, have you settled for a watered-down imitation of it,
without even knowing?

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We all know how the cycle goes: Someone catches our eye. We exchange numbers. We text 24/7, become each other’s snapchat best friend, go on cute dates, we feel on top of the world. Sometimes this person becomes the one we marry. If not, it comes to an end at some point. You get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you just know it’s not going to work out. Things end, it hurts, and they fade into another memory of the past, taking a piece of your heart with them.

Personally experiencing this emotional roller coaster one too many times has got me wondering…What on earth is love?

As wonderful as it is to get those good morning texts, and those butterflies in your stomach when you see that special someone…as wonderful as it is to have someone there for you all the time—someone to trust, to make memories with, and to conquer ups and downs with…I think these are just the results of love that we sometimes confuse for the actual thing. At times, we fall in love with these emotional “highs” more than the actual person. We use these love placebos to medicate our lonely hearts, and like a drug, we get addicted.

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I had to write a research paper on the science behind love and learned some fascinating stuff!

So you know that feeling you get when you spot someone attractive? Your heart leaps a little and you’re like, omg who is that? Some call it attraction, some might even call it love at first sight.

Or you know that feeling you get when you’re with someone you like or love? Your heart feels full and everything just feels so right.

This attraction, this quality time, a hug, or a kiss…all of these things instantly release tons of oxytocin into our system, which is the hormone responsible for feelings of closeness and soul ties.

When we’re with someone we care about, our brains actually resemble the same activity as a drug addict’s brain getting a fix. All of these hormones being released into our system (oxytocin, endorphins, etc.) literally make us feel “high” and can trick our brain into thinking we’re in love, even when all logic (AND our friends and family) are waving red flags yelling, “This person is NOT a good match!”

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A few weeks ago, as I was sitting in my room, major flashbacks to all of the “highs” I’ve had over the years replayed in my mind and weighed heavily on my heart. Since the time of my first boyfriend at 14, I’ve experienced relationships that lasted years, to mini-things with guys here and there. In every situation, I do my best to pray and ask God for His direction, and He always gives me just that by opening and closing the necessary doors.

But recalling all these “roller coaster rides” left my heart feeling heavy, exhausted, chipped, and disappointed. How many more times would I have to endure this cycle before finally finding “the one” that’s meant to be my forever? As all these years’ worth of memories flooded my mind, I broke.

But through the tears, I heard,

“Cast all your burdens on the Lord, for He cares for you,”
(1 Peter 5:7) being whispered in my heart.

I knew I needed to dig deep within myself and uproot every suppressed soul tie I had never fully surrendered. Funny how God knows just when we need to resurface the ugly stuff so He can bring full healing.

So out loud, one by one, I named every single guy that I’ve ever hurt, and that’s ever hurt me—and said,

“God, I give him to you. Take him. Make him nothing but a black and white memory that took place in my past but is no longer a part of who I am now.”

As I said those words out loud for each boy, I visualized him leaving my heart, God taking him from me, and blowing the weight of each memory away with the wind. With each surrender, I felt lighter, and like brand new pieces were added to my heart to replace the areas where it had been chipped from the past.

“You are new. You’re whole again. You are ready to love. But don’t mess up this perfectly good heart by getting into things I never told you to. Treat this precious heart of yours like the treasure it is,” I felt the Lord say to me.

I can’t describe in words what God did in my heart that night. Like this probably sounds SO crazy to some of you, but it’s real. My heart literally feels brand new, and whole.

All humans need love. We were just made that way, we can’t help it. But trying to find the meaning of TRUE love from another imperfect human is actually impossible.

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So WHAT. IS. LOVE?

The answer’s right here:

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love doesn’t get jealous.
Love isn’t prideful.
Love is not selfish.
Love isn’t easily angered.
Love keeps NO record of wrongs.
Love doesn’t like evil, but it loves the truth.
Love always protects,
Always trusts,
Always hopes,
Always perseveres.
(That’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, btw).

1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever doesn’t know love doesn’t know God, because God is love.”

Kay pause, let me say that again! GOD IS LOVE.

GOD = LOVE.

Go read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 again, but this time substitute the word, “love” with “God.” People are always wondering what love is, and the answer is like right there!
God is love. He created it. He is the definition of it. He is the epitome of it. God. Is. LOVE.

So how could we ever know what love is, feels like, or how to do it properly if we’ve never fully experienced God?

Love is the most powerful force a human can experience. I think God gave us the ability to fall in love so that we could catch a glimpse of all that He is. As imperfect people, we’re just reflections of the REAL thing, ya know?

So love is not two halves making a whole. It takes two wholes to really love. Two wholes reflecting the perfect love they’re receiving from the One true source, God.

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So how do we know if we’re falling in love, or falling in lust?

While caught up in the whirlwind of emotion, it’s SO important to stop and really THINK about whether or not what we’re about to get into is even right for us.

Here are some questions we can ask ourselves:

– First off, am I WHOLE? Have I taken the time to go through the refinement process of being single, and allowed God to show me firsthand what perfect love is? Do I want God more than I want a relationship?
– Is this other person whole?
– Are we compatible? Do we have important things in common? (Like values, chemistry, lives headed in a similar direction…etc.)
– Can I see this turning into something long-term? Every relationship has the potential for marriage. (If it’s more like a, “well it’s cool for right now” kinda thing, don’t waste your time.)

Most importantly, PRAY. God will give you that “go for it!” feeling or, “mmmm, no” if it’s not right. Know that you are WORTH having a crazy, passionate, over-the-top romance with the RIGHT person God has hand-picked for you at the RIGHT TIME. Don’t settle. If you’ve got some past you’ve still gotta deal with, let go and let God heal your heart, just like He healed mine.

Praying for blessings over your bright future! Hope this has helped you! You’re a total gem! We’re in this together!

Love,
Angela

Hey Handsome!

Do you ever get lost in thought dreaming about when the heck we’ll finally meet? (If we haven’t already)

It’s 1:44 a.m. and these thoughts are bouncing around in my head, which is really cool considering I have work in the morning, hah. So here ya go, Future Hubby! A letter to you, from me, before we’ve even met. Maybe one day we’ll read this together and think it’s just the sweetest thing.

Future Husband

I bet your smile is the warmest there is, and your laugh fills even the dullest settings with joy and color. I bet your mind is full of the most fascinating dreams and ideas. I know your heart is huge and full of love for the Lord and people. Your confidence, optimism, chivalry, adventurous spirit, and (hopefully!) love for baseball will leave me head over heels (even if I try not to act too impressed at first hah).

I know there’s going to be that spark, that one-in-a-million chemistry where we just click, and together we’re unstoppable.

I’m excited for our Friday night dates to new restaurants; kicking our feet up at summery night baseball games; arriving at fancy shmancy parties as each other’s arm candy; raising a beautiful family with you someday; being one of those adorable old couples that still holds hands; and just living a crazy, Christ-centered, world-changing life of adventure with you.

It’s fun to dream about you, but thank God that He’s the real pro at matchmaking. I might think I know what I want, but He knows exactly what we need. And being familiar with His handiwork, I know even before meeting you, that you are already

astounding.
Incredible.
A treasure.

You don’t have to change a thing because you’re already more amazing than I could ever dream.

I’ll be honest, though…life without you isn’t always a walk in the park. Some days it feels more like the kind of walk in the park where I drop my ice cream cone and get nailed by the occasional frisbee along the way. In other words, life is peachy and I’m super blessed to even be alive, but not knowing who, when, or if I’ll ever meet the man of my dreams is, at times, enough to drive me up the wall.

It can be lonely, annoying, and kinda frustrating.

But if I’m being honest, I’m thankful for this time that we’re not together yet. I don’t say this because I don’t want you, I say this because I love you. Being single is SO underrated! How could I ever truly love you without first taking the time to establish who I am as an individual? I’ve come to learn that:

The choices we make when we’re single lay the foundation for our future marriage.

For too long I let my relationship status determine my happiness. Until one day I realized that me singing, “All I need is You, Lord” in church was a total farce, because God really hadn’t been all I needed, ever since I started having boyfriends as a wee teen. I always “needed” the fun, the stability, and the emotional stimulation that I got from boys and relationships. So with that realization, a little over a year ago, I decided to abandon my “security” and pursue God, and just God, with my WHOLE heart.

Being single has allowed me the freedom to do just that. Every agonizing tear of frustration has led God to comfort me like only He can. Every lonely day without you strengthens my faith in His perfect timing. Every time I start to question my future, He reminds me that His plans are beyond my wildest dreams. Every challenge has only deepened my love for the only One who could ever love me perfectly. I’ve learned that the Creator of my heart is the only one that can truly satisfy it. And it’s through God’s crazy, larger-than-life love for me, that I now know how it feels to really, fully live.

And babe, I am SO excited because I can feel in my heart that He’s preparing you in the same way!

I may not know who you are yet, but I already love you. Proverbs 31:12 says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” By this, I’ve been inspired to honor and respect you before we’re even together. It has meant saying no to the wrong guys no matter how good-looking they are, surrendering my heart to God, trusting Him to navigate my life, and allowing Him to stretch, strengthen, and shape me into a woman I’m proud to be.

I pray for a man bold enough to do the same. I pray you make choices that reflect the amazing, virtuous man that you are.

We could be on opposite ends of the earth, for all I know, but we’re already in this together. We’re a team.

I know there’s going to be a wonderful day–when God knows we’re both totally ready–that we’re going to cross paths and feel in our hearts that we are finally home. Everything we’ve experienced up to that point is going to be SO worth it and THAT much sweeter when we lock eyes, and God finally whispers, “That’s the one!”

Until that beautiful day (and everyday for the rest of our lives) let’s promise to be so focused on the Lord that He will be the only magnet that draws us together.

Til then, seeya in my dreamzzz! Ha

Love,
Your Main Squeeze

P.S. – I’ll trade you the best sandwich of your life made by yours truly for a date to a Giants game someday…deal? 😉


*** I was inspired to write this letter thanks to the book, “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric & Leslie Ludy, and my friend, Brett Shoemaker’s awesome blog post, To My Future Wife . Check them out!