As a single woman, sometimes people tell me I am just too picky. I call it “selective.”
Everyone has preferences, but there are some important situations in which you SHOULD be picky, which I discuss in this video I originally shot on Periscope. It was inspired by Master Brand Coach Jai Stone, when she said, “I can’t lower my standards to meet your mediocrity,” at an event I attended the day before.
I am the single mother of a 9-year-old, through divorce, who never wanted to be a single parent or divorced. If you asked me as a teen or in my 20s, I’d tell you that I would NEVER have children.
As I wrote in my journal as a girl, I didn’t want to pass on/expose the negativity I felt in my life to another generation. I had different ideas of motherhood then, and couldn’t imagine what my friends who were teen moms were dealing with physically, emotionally, or mentally.
I don’t know where it comes from, but there’s a strong sentiment that something is wrong with a woman who doesn’t bear children by a certain age–or ever. Well-meaning and nosy parents and grandparents, friends and even acquaintances regularly weigh in on when a couple should have their first or subsequent children.
I know a lot of people with my situational status who find love again and start a new family, even though their present children may be in high school or college, but I don’t want to start over. Honestly, the primary reason that I consented to pregnancy and parenting is because my then-husband desperately wanted to actively raise a child of his own. We mutually agreed that I stop taking my (very effective) birth control and I got pregnant the following year. My main reasoning then–in my early 20s–was, “A wife is supposed to have children [if her husband wants them].”
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Women Are Called to Ministry, Too
The controversy about women in the pulpit continues to pervade Christian society in America. The September 2008 issue of the Fayetteville, GA-based Gospel Today magazine featured five female pastors for its cover story, but Lifeway, a Christian bookstore affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled this issue from their magazine displays. Their decision to do so is based on the scripture passage 1 Timothy 2:11-15.
Since Denise was already a member of the church where she became first lady, there was quite an adjustment from being a college girl to becoming the first lady. “I made a lot of friends at Emmanuel from my years at Buff State, so my friends had to learn how to respect me in a different light,” she says.
I’ve been told I don’t act like a pastor’s wife,” Sharon says, “but I take it as a complement to say that I’m down to earth. I’ve been told by people that they are waiting to see what I have on in the pulpit and I just take it that I’m a role model which can be a positive tool to use to minister to young ladies. I have never heard any negative things about me directly, but I learned to evaluate what is being said. If it’s true, I try to be mindful of it and grow and develop in the area, but if it is not true, I pray that the individual who said it would grow and mature in that area.”
“Being a pastor’s wife is rewarding, but you can also feel isolated,” Denise admits. Another first lady advised Denise to be mindful of how she behaves—to never let people see her cry or get upset. Denise said she felt like she had to be perfect. She also had to deal with people’s expectations of how she should act and dress. “Some people wanted me to wear hats like their previous first lady.”
Iris says she wasn’t a kind of first lady who could sit around and look cute wearing a big hat. “Ladies have to see that you’re a person,” she says. “Sometimes you like to have fun, but sometimes you cry and you go through things.” Similar to Denise, when Iris became the first lady, well-meaning, mature people in ministry advised her not to be friends with the other women in the church, but to just be friends with other ministers and keep to herself otherwise. But Iris rejected that notion. “I like to hang out with the other ladies, I invite them to my house, and I teach them. I tell people that we do things not because the pastor says so, but because the Bible says so.”
When people define their expectations in any type relationship (family, business, or dating), it helps to avoid some of the hurts feelings and misunderstandings that can ensue.
Something that I expect overall is consistency. Feelings can change easily, but overall there should be some things that do not change that often with a person. There are times when you change your mind about a person or a situation, but there should be a good reason. When a person changes their mind abruptly, or goes so far left that the change is too extreme (as in, extremely wrong), I have a problem with them.
One thing I am still learning, in various settings, is to be able to say what I want or what I expect from a person, without the fear of rejection or being shut down. Just because I want something and others don’t agree, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with my request.