Today, Lydia speaks to us about bullying (and why it needs to stop), the lesson she has learned in her season of singleness, and God and how He speaks to us.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: The entire book of Job. It took me a few months to get through it in its entirety, but it gave me such a wonderful example of how to live my life during trials. I would say that it’s helped me react differently to each situation that’s popped up in my life and to have patience, through it all. Not only that, but to be thankful regardless if God gives or takes away.
“Not only that, but to be thankful regardless if God gives or takes away.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Right now, it’s just to grow deeper and deeper in my relationship with God. I want to always strive to have Him be number one in my life, and I want to love Him so much that, no matter who I marry, He will always be placed at the top, instead of having my husband as an idol above Him. I’m finally at a point in my life where I am determined to have quiet time each day and make time for just the two of us, and because of this, I am able to get through any day that’s thrown at me.
Profession: Currently, I work at OPERA San Antonio, as their Director of Artistic Operations. I am in charge of the day-to-day artistic admin side in the office. For instance, I plan the logistics for all of our out of town artists for each opera that we produce in San Antonio, and I communicate with our production team and artists managers to learn what needs they have to ensure that their stay in San Antonio is a wonderful experience and that they have everything they need during rehearsal time for each opera production. Even though the description of my job sounds super boring, it actually can be a lot of fun at times!
A one sentence bio of yourself: I grew up as an army brat in a Christian family of eight, where, through my travel experience and family upbringing, I came to know Christ and love Him more, each and every day.
When did you first encounter God? There was never a time when I didn’t know God, but when I realized I actually needed to pray the Believer’s Prayer to receive Jesus into my life was when I was 8 years old, in Sunday school. I’ve had multiple ups and downs in my faith, but it wasn’t until this past year that I really came to claim my belief and have a real and intentional relationship with Him.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Honestly, it is my season of singleness where I have fallen in love with Jesus more than I ever had in my life, before. I purposefully said no to dating and being in a relationship last year to focus on having God as the only Man in my life, and it has completely transformed my heart and removed the idol of desiring to be in a relationship, completely. I’ve never experienced God more than in the season I am in now. Praise Jesus for His undying patience for me, because Lord knows I needed it!
“I purposefully said no to dating and being in a relationship last year to focus on having God as the only Man in my life, and it has completely transformed my heart and removed the idol of desiring to be in a relationship, completely.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal. It is separated into two different sections: the first 8 chapters are focused on the single years. I read that in a heartbeat last year, since I was single and was determined to be content in my singleness. I just started reading the second 8 chapters, which are focused on the dating in a relationship before marriage.
It has been months since I picked up the book again, but I didn’t want to start reading the “dating” section of the book until my heart was completely rid of the idol of my desire to be in an earthly relationship more than my desire to love God and know Him more. It taught me to be content in my singleness and to really want to be in relationship with God more, and it taught me to be patient and show me what I desire to have in a husband. I highly recommend it to anyone who is Not Yet Married, even if you’re engaged! It’s a great reminder of who should always be number one in your life.
Top three essentials: My Bible, coffee, and my phone.
How did God speak to you recently? I will be honest with you. I am having a hard time hearing His voice at the present. He has spoken to me a couple months ago of how He’s viewed me as His beautiful daughter who has child-like faith and continues to blossom and has beauty like a cherry blossom tree (God gives me pictures when He speaks to me), but I have heard nothing very recently. If there was ever a time for me to hear His voice and plans on what to do next with my life, it would definitely be now, but I feel as though the reason why He is silent right now, is because there’s nothing TO tell me yet.
He’ll speak when it’s time for Him to speak on what I should do next. He’ll speak when it’s time for me to hear that it’s time for me to leave my current job. He’ll give me a clear cut sign, or picture, or word, but it just isn’t time yet. I would definitely encourage those that don’t feel as though they hear His voice or have ever heard His voice, to be patient. He always speaks to His children that are willing to listen and ears to hear, but sometimes His silence speaks as well.
“I would definitely encourage those that don’t feel as though they hear His voice or have ever heard His voice, to be patient.”
Hobby: I love to read and am currently reading Jane Eyre. I also really love to write stories and have been writing since I was eight years old. Besides writing stories, I’m trying to write songs, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me as writing stories or blog posts do.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Be patient; always run to His Word; be in community. God isn’t always a feeling God, though, we, as humans, are prone to navigate through life through our feelings. We want answers now and will sometimes allow the thoughts that we have to become God’s thoughts.
But, as the saying goes, “Patience is a virtue.” It’s so so true! Though it’s difficult in the waiting, sometimes, to hear God’s voice, to know His plan for us, to wait for the next season in your life to begin, having patience in the waiting stretches us and grows us in a way that we can never imagine at the time.
Hindsight is 20/20, and I think that every strong believer would tell you that the waiting period was worth it as God’s timing is always better than our timing. In the past, I have always looked to my parents for spiritual guidance, (which is a VERY good thing to do by the way! I urge everyone to run to their spiritual parents – whether they be your actual parents or not – for guidance) but I realized when I graduated from college that I needed to make my relationship with Jesus MY relationship with Him and not my parent’s relationship with Him. I realized to be strong in the faith, I need to defend it, and although I know most of the stories in the Bible, having heard them often enough in my life, I can’t tell you where to go to specifically when you are in pain, when you need a verse to tell you that everything is going to be okay, or even find the Fruit of the Spirit passage. I realized that I needed to read the Bible for myself, to make notes, mentally and physically, of what I learn from each passage I read and memorize Scripture weekly, just as I was a kid, so I can defend my faith to anyone who may challenge me.
I also found that I can’t go through my faith walk alone. I have been alone way too much in my faith (that is to say, that I never really had a strong Christian community for awhile in my young adulthood), and having community in the church with people who are in the same season of life with you, who can encourage you every step of the way, who can pray for you when you need, who can shower you with love by meeting up to get a meal or coffee together, is what the body of Christ is all about. You MUST be in community with the church, because it’s what God calls us to do:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25.
Life can be hard, but if we have a strong community of believers that you can lean on and depend on to help you, you WILL get through each difficult season in your life.
Favorite person in scripture? Right now, it is Ruth. I just finished reading this book in the Bible, and I am in awe of Ruth’s determination to follow Naomi to a new land, though she knew she could have been looked down upon, because she was a foreigner. I love her service to Naomi and I love her heart, as it shows exactly how we should serve God. It shows that though God may call us to a new place (whether actual or a new place in life), that if we follow Him, He will provide for us.
“It shows that though God may call us to a new place (whether actual or a new place in life), that if we follow Him, He will provide for us.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to know that even if I don’t seem “happy”, that I still have joy in my heart. I want people to see that my strength comes from the Lord and that NOTHING I do is of my own doing, but God helping me get through everything. That HE’S the reason for my successes and HE’S the reason that I can get up in the morning and do my work to the best of my ability. He’s the One who’s carrying me through, and I want people to realize that God can do the same for them. That, even if you are scared about what you’re going to do in the future, if you’re worried about never getting married, if you’re stressed to the max at work right now, that God can give you peace to calm your fears and your anxiety, and joy to keep on singing!
Favorite season? I absolutely love fall! My parents live in Illinois, and I moved down to Texas for school and stayed after I graduated college. I don’t miss the winters in Illinois, but I really do miss fall. I love the colors of the changing leaves, the bonfires with friends, and I love the clothes during fall, because you can still look cute but comfortable in the colder weather! If I were to move again, it would probably to live in a place where it’s in the 50s or 60s all year, but I could still experience fall. Does such a place exist? I hope so! Am I giving a really long reply to a simply answer? I sure am!
Favorite holiday? Christmas! But it’s not because of the presents (I’ve told my mom repeatedly that I don’t care if I don’t have presents, but that stresses her out more than if I were to ask for too many presents), and it’s not because of the Bible answer “Because it’s Jesus’ birthday!”. It’s because that’s the only time my family gets together. Granted, it’s not always that we have EVERY single family member at Christmas (I’m one of six children, and we’re all spread out all over the world), but I never get to see my siblings except for at Christmas.
A dream you have? I have a dream to travel, write and sing. I’ve always had a dream of being a singer, I love traveling, as I’ve done it for most of my life, and I’ve been writing stories and blog posts my entire life. If I could do that full time, I’d be the happiest person in the world! All in God’s timing. However, if that never happens, I know God will give me a passion in me to do whatever is a part of His plan that I will love to do even more than my current dream right now – I’m sure of that!
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Most of our traditions are Christmas related. My siblings and I used to do a Secret Santa each year, but as we grew older, we decided to go on a rotation instead so we always had someone different each year. We make the same breakfast every Christmas: monkey bread and pigs in a blanket that I make for my family. We watch White Christmas, every Christmas day, and watch Holiday Inn every New Year’s Eve (both Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby classics!) Those are the only traditions we really have 🙂
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I’ve been compiling a list of questions, since I was a kid, of what I wanted to ask God when I get to heaven, but they were always a mental list, not a handwritten list. I figured, when I get to heaven, I’ll either remember them to ask, or it won’t really matter when I get there because I’ll have an eternity to get to know my Heavenly Father to ask Him any question I want or have. But, I really have this feeling, that because we, as mortal humans on this earth, always desire to have answers now, that once we get to heaven, we really won’t have the need to have those answers anymore.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Those who are being bullied, whether cyber or in person. My little brother was bullied for being different (he has Aspergers, but we didn’t know until he was a teenager), and it broke my heart to see him have to go through that.
Not only did it hurt to see him suffer through the bullying at school, but it hurt me to see his personality change. The reason why we didn’t know he had Aspergers until later in his life, is because he was a boisterous, goofy, kid who loved talking to anyone and everyone about his interests. I truly believe that bullying changed his personality and had him put up a wall when it came to interacting with others. I’m sure he had Aspergers even as a child, but I know that bullying caused that to be more extreme. I love my brother the way he is, but I hated what he went through in middle school, and I don’t wish that on anyone.
“I truly believe that bullying changed his personality and had him put up a wall when it came to interacting with others.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Now that I’ve moved, I’ve developed a habit of waking up earlier so I can make my coffee and breakfast, have my quiet time, walk my dog, and take time in getting ready for work before I head out the door. In the past, I’ve normally slept in until the possible minute, but I’ve found such peace in having these longer mornings to spend with God. I’ve been struggling a little bit with quiet time as I just got back from vacation, but I know that this will always be a normal part of my routine for the rest of my life.
What is on your nightstand? My alarm clock, the current book I am reading, my phone, and a cross that’s hand made to fit exactly to the mold of your hand when you hold it. It’s really hard to explain what it looks like, but when I have a particularly hard day, I usually fall asleep holding on to this cross.
Define Christianity in a sentence: I’m sure a lot of people have said this already, but it’s so accurate for me, at least: “It’s a relationship, NOT a religion.”
For more Lydia:
Until next time, keep witnessing!