Almost 30 and Still Single

Yup! Single since birth.

I just attended the wedding of one of my closest friends this weekend. After the reception, I went to my room to rest early, but I ended up having this headache (maybe from dehydration) mixed with a flurry of thoughts about marriage and my singleness. I started counting the number of weddings I attended since I graduated from college (9 years ago) and I realized that last night was already wedding #20. I told myself “Wow, parang yung movie na “27 Dresses” lang ah. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Haha.” But despite the soft laugh I gave myself, I knew that my heart was silently asking the question “Why, Lord?”

 

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

“Why am I still single, Lord? Is it because of my physical appearance? My personality? My friendships and relationships? Consequences of my past sins?” As I wondered about it and even entertained some lies in my mind, I noticed how my assumptions were all about me.

I realized that even my singleness IS NOT about me, what I have, or what I lack. It is still about God, His grace and faithfulness, and His good and perfect will.

The Lord has been speaking to my heart ever since I started dating years ago. I have had so many humbling lessons learned, rebukes, and gracious moments I’ve encountered with the Lord. Some recent ones were revealed through songwriting. Last year, I noticed that 7 out of the 17 songs I wrote were directly related to my heart’s struggle with my non-existent love life. Every time I play them, I remember both the ache and peace that I felt as I wrote them and opened my heart to the Lord.

I am sincerely happy for family and friends who transitioned into marriage and parenthood through the years. And by God’s grace, friends would tell me how they notice that I am still joyful despite not being in a relationship. But honestly, there would still be times when I would struggle in my mind and heart, despite knowing that Jesus remained single until death and yet His life gave glory to God. Sometimes, I would find myself crying as I drive through the traffic along C5 on the way home, just being quiet before the Lord. Other times, my heart would feel a slight sting when I catch a glimpse of couples holding hands or expressing their love and commitment to each other.

Moreover, when people would tell me that they are praying for my future husband, or hope that I will have one, or even insist that I WILL have a future husband in God’s perfect timing, I can’t help but wonder, “Yes, I do have the desire for marriage. But why does it seem like getting married is more favorable than being single? What if it isn’t His will for me to have a future husband? Because that IS a possibility.”

Recently, someone casually told me “Okay yan, at least hindi ka pa thirt—“. Then, she stopped when she realized she was walking on eggshells. I responded with “Why? What’s wrong with being 30 already?” She didn’t continue the conversation anymore. This 2020 will be my 30th year on Earth. A part of me is extremely grateful as I look back on the journey that God allowed me to go through with him in the past decades. But another part of me is whispering to myself, “Oh no. You are almost 30 and STILL single.”

 

THE CRY OF MY HEART

There are a few reasons why I am sharing these things on the blog. First, documenting my struggles and victories through writing helps me process my thoughts. Somehow, being able to express these in words makes the burden in my heart feel lighter. Second, in case there are others out there who also feel the same way or go through similar situations, I want to let you know that you are not alone in this. This topic is usually kept in secret as it may come off as a sensitive issue, but I realized how talking about this may help those who also struggle with it. And lastly, I do want to share the hope and joy that we have in Jesus, even as I am struggling with this.

Before writing this post, I was having an honest conversation with the Lord and I told Him that…

…my heart was breaking not just because of my singleness, but because I could see how my heart isn’t content in Him,

despite surrendering my life to Jesus and accepting Him as my personal Lord and Savior. I then recalled similar patterns of personal brokenness, impurity, insecurities, and idolatry in my past dating experiences and I asked for the Lord’s forgiveness.

Indeed, nothing or no one can ever fully satisfy the deepest longings of our souls and hearts. ONLY JESUS CAN. 

As I opened my heart to the Lord, He reminded me of His unending love and grace and of Psalm 73:25-26 specifically, which says: Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” 

This is the cry of my heart — to long for Jesus and His Word more than anyone or anything else, all the days of my life. Should He desire for me to get married someday, I pray that my heart will respond in total surrender to His timing and will and that He alone would be glorified. But for now, I would like to humbly ask for your prayers, as I continue in this journey of singleness and battle discontentment by the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that the work of my hands would be productive and that the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart will be pleasing to God (Psalm 19:14).

Sharing with you a draft recording of a song I wrote last June 2019, entitled “This Is Love”. This best expresses how I feel about this concern. Whatever season you may be at right now, whether you are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old and single, I hope this will also encourage your heart to desire and seek the Lord each day. He loves us so much. More than we can ever imagine.

TAIWAN: Jiufen Old Street

When we were finalizing our itinerary for our recent trip to Taiwan, we found out that one of the highly recommended places to visit was Jiufen Old Street. It would have been a lovely experience to tour the place without the rain. But nonetheless, I did enjoy going through the narrow streets, going up and down the hill, dropping by some of the stores, and seeing the beautiful view of the mountain, temple, and foggy sky.

In this post, I’ll be sharing photos of our experience and how we traveled from Taipei to Jiufen and back to Taipei again.


TAIPEI TO JIUFEN

We started our journey by riding Taipei’s MRT. When you reach Beimen station (Green line), look for the pathway leading to A1.

There, you’ll see more maps and directions leading to their TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration). Once you arrive at the TRA station, enter Platform 4. We weren’t sure about the right train, so we asked help from their staff. Thankfully, they directed us to catch the local train going to “Su’ao” which leads to Ruifang Station.

When you reach Ruifang Station, exit towards the area where the store “Lick Lick Ice Cream” is. Beside that is a stairway leading to an underground pathway towards Ruifang’s police station.

Within that area, you’ll see a bus stop where this sign is posted. It contains directions to the bus stop leading to Jiufen Old Street. Take note of the correct bus numbers: 965, 788, and 1062.

We walked towards that bus stop and rode one of the buses mentioned. It took us around 15 minutes to travel by bus before we reached the stop near Jiufen Old Street. Most people riding the bus will go down at the stop “Jiufen Old Street”, not “Jiufen Police Station”.

Once there, you’ll need to walk uphill for a few minutes until you see a 7/11 store beside the main entrance of Jiufen Old Street. Just around the curve of the road.


JIUFEN TO TAIPEI

After touring the place, from 7/11, walk uphill again for 1-2 minutes until you see the bus stop across the huge JIUFEN letters on the wall. Wait in line for Bus 1062 since this will bring you to Songshan Station (Green line). It will take you 16-17 stops from Jiufen Old Street to Songshan station. From there, you can ride the MRT to your next destination.

WHAT TO EXPECT INSIDE JIUFEN OLD STREET

We weren’t able to finish touring the place due to time constraints and fatigue. Haha! But, in a nutshell, this old and lovely village is situated on a mountain and is filled with cafes, restaurants, stores, and street food.

Also, we ate lunch at one of the restaurants, which I will share in a different post. If ever you plan on visiting this area, I suggest that you go during Summer, so you wouldn’t have to walk around holding an umbrella and trying your best not to get wet as you go through the shops. Moreover, this place is packed with tourists and locals, so make sure not to bring bulky bags or things, so you can easily go around the place.

You can hire a driver or rent a vehicle going to the place, but if it’s your first time to visit it and if it wouldn’t be a hassle for you to walk, I would suggest that you experience commuting to the place too. Not only will it save you money, but it will also make the journey of discovering Taiwan and Jiufen more exciting.

 

 

 

When Anxiety Attacks

Earlier today, I sent out messages to some of my accountability partners because of my heavy heart. I remember having anxious thoughts about certain concerns that I have been dealing with recently. After asking for their prayers, the burden felt lighter. However, on my way home from work, the thoughts came back again. This time, they were darker.

As soon as I stepped out of the office, I knew that I had to talk to God about my anxieties. So, while I was driving, I played the songs I wrote last year which were based on Biblical truths. For the first 30 minutes of my drive home, I felt peace in my heart as I was in awe of how amazing and comforting God’s Word is. I thanked Him for His grace and the privilege of writing and singing His truths. But, during the second half of my drive home, fear slowly crept in my heart. I felt my heart tighten as I heard SPECIFIC words spoken to me. Words such as “FEAR, HARM, and RAPE.”

As soon as I felt the fear, I immediately prayed and asked God to remove them from my mind and protect me from whatever attack that was. After praying, I remember feeling the fear still, so I continued to open my heart to the Lord. I reminded myself that He was in control, good, sovereign, and loving, no matter what. I  also recited verses in my head, verses about who He is and the promises that He has for us.  After doing so, I closed my hand and pounded my heart as I rebuked the fear and lies in Jesus’ name. By that time, I was already inside our village and was about to park when this song randomly played in my Spotify playlist: “Don’t Be Afraid” by Brandon Heath:

For the one who keeps it all inside
Or the one who says: No, I’m just fine
For the one who hurts too much to cry
Don’t be afraid
For the one who knows but will not say
Or the one who’s blinded by the pain
Anyone just trying to be brave

Don’t lose faith
Don’t lose heart
He is with you wherever you are
Don’t give up
When you fall apart
He is with you

You gave Him your heart
He’s keeping it safe
When you’re in the dark
Caught up in the fray
Wherever you are
Whatever you face
You’re held in the arms
That nothing can break
So don’t be afraid

I took a deep breath as I thanked the Lord for His reassurance and the security that we have in Him. Tonight, I was reminded of the importance of these three things:

1) NOT TO LET SIN LINGER ANY LONGER – During the attack, I remembered Ephesians 4:27 which says: “and do not give the devil a foothold.”  N O T  E V E N  A  H I N T. I saw how Satan can use our sins (even our anxieties) to try to distort our view of God and His truths.

2) REMEMBER WHO GOD IS AND WHO WE ARE IN HIM – 1 John 4:4 says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” How ironic that this happened right after I listened to songs about God’s Word and the day after I posted a blog about making 1 John 4:4 a reminder for me this new year. But somehow, God allowed these moments to happen for a reason. Tonight was a reminder for me to be intentional in seeking the Lord and His Word each day.

3) KEEP MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE – I cannot grow in my spiritual walk without being honest and accountable to God and people who will lovingly rebuke me and pray for me, when needed. It says in James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” By God’s grace, I pray that I will continue to improve in this aspect. Thank you, prayer warriors, for fighting with me, on your knees.

Hello, 2020!

N O T  O F  T H I S  W O R L D

One of my favorite lines. A constant encouragement I told myself almost every day last 2019 (with the help of a sticker reminder at the back of my phone 😅).

As I stood in front of this glass window inside the Taipei 101 observatory, I knew I had to document a memory of it. It reminded me of the song I wrote last year after going through a difficult time. I found myself singing it again today with a hopeful heart:

🎶 In these times when my faith is shaken
In these times when I begin to lose hope
You remind me that You are still with me, Jesus
You tell me that I’m never alone
And that this isn’t my home.
I’m not of this world,
This isn’t my home. 🎶

1 John 4:4
Philippians 3:20

These things I keep in mind and in my heart this 2020. Thank You, Jesus!

 

HELLO, 2020!