Top Posts of 2018

The top blog posts of 2018 for the Courtney Kramer Blog. This past year a lot of my writing centred on being a mom. My writing has evolved over the years as my life has changed.

 

First of all, thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate every comment, view and share of my posts more than you know. I started this blog back in 2013 because I had so many thoughts floating around in my head that I wanted to share with others. I have always been into journaling so blogging was a natural extension of my love of writing.

Continue reading “Top Posts of 2018”

To the ladies in waiting…

I recently read an article by a man on a popular Christian magazine site giving advice to the ladies in waiting. To be honest I thought his advice was a lame excuse for men choosing to act like adolescents and waiting for a woman to fix their problems. I fear this sends a message to women that men have pretty much just given up on maturity and you must take the lead. To this I say wrong! Please don’t settle for a man-child, because real, godly, mature men still exist.

To The Ladies in Waiting

To all the ladies I have 5 things to say:

1. Get serious about your relationship with God

A personal relationship with God has to be a priority no matter what stage of life. It can be especially easy to neglect God (or even friends or family) when feelings of romance start. Your attention is directed at keeping this new interest attracted and happy. As a result, other priorities tend to take a backseat.

To prevent God falling by the wayside I would encourage you to get in the habit of reading your Bible + praying daily (She Reads Truth is a great resource). Once you get into this routine it is so much easier to fight off temptation and have a right view of what God desires for your life. If you are walking in truth and living accountable to God you will be much more sensitive to His leading in your life rather than letting your flesh or your heart lead you.

 2. Respect Yourself

In the vein of trying to keep a potential match interested, it can be easy to compromise your standards.

For example, maybe you start showing a little more cleavage or wearing tighter pants when you hang out with him because he’s told you he likes those things. In the moment his affirmation feels good so you keep dressing this way. Yet in your heart, you know that dressing this way is not the best for your relationship because it can cause him to stumble and he is not respecting your values. Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. When one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Although, when one is married go ahead and dress provocatively for your husband because you want him to look at you and be attracted to your body. However, when one is dating or even engaged the partner does not have these rights to your body. Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Furthermore, as a Christian, God-fearing woman you are an example not only to the world but younger woman and girls. Even if you don’t realize it especially in the social media age one is always being watched.

Overall don’t compromise your standards or values to be with a guy. Either he needs to learn to respect you and understand the biblical principles you are choosing to follow or there is another guy who will.

3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle

You marry who you marry and you have to accept that, to some extent. I am all for men continuing to mature and become better people. However, if you decide to marry someone you are choosing to accept them just as they are without hoping marriage will suddenly change them.

For this reason only date and marry a man who is mature, who is solid in his faith, who handles his money well, who is connected to a community and loves you well. Beyond these basic character qualities be willing to settle on less important attributes.

4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him

This one is hard. Especially if you have trouble confronting people or speaking up. Yet it is imperative to a healthy relationship. If something in your relationship doesn’t feel right or you are really bothered by something your partner is doing have the courage to speak about it. No one wants to date someone is holding resentment against them because eventually, it’s going to kill the relationship.

That being said, before you raise an issue pray about it, seek out what God says in scripture and talk to a trusted mentor. This will prevent an eruption one day of all your problems. Which can a small problem big and catch your partner off guard. Try to take a few days and collect your thoughts. Perhaps the issue is not as big as you first thought.

Whenever I have needed to confront a problem I have always found it helpful to start with scripture to establish that I’m not just basing this issue off of my opinion but the authority of God’s word. If your partner is a Christian they should feel convicted by God’s word.

5. Stay in Community

Finally don’t be a lone wolf. If possible attend the same church as the person you are dating. This allows you to be under the same teaching each week but it also provides a group of people that can get to know both of you and possibly mentor your relationship.

In my experience older couples are usually very willing to get to know a younger couple. We had some very close friends around our parent’s age who made an effort to get to know us, they invited us over and the husband even sang at our wedding. We will always treasure these friends and appreciate their godly influence over our relationship.

I know at times it can seem like there are no good Christian guys left out there. Although this can feel discouraging don’t let it tarnish your standards. There are good godly men out there seeking a godly wife. Don’t settle for an immature, kinda Christian man-child because even if you marry him you will encounter a lot more heartache than if you had waited for a solid Christian guy.

Waiting is hard and dating is not always easy but the rewards of being intentional and standing by your values are worth the marriage they produce.


Summary:

1. Get Serious About Your Relationship with God

God should be a priority at every stage in life, but especially before you enter a relationship because dating can really affect who you are.

 2. Respect Yourself

Don’t compromise your values to keep a guy interested.

3. Don’t Settle, but Do Settle

You won’t marry a perfect man, but still set baseline standards for who you will date.

4. Be Honest with Yourself and Him

If your relationship has a problem or something doesn’t feel right pray about it first before confronting your partner. Remember to have courage and don’t let issues build up.

5. Stay in Community

Find a good church you can attend together and get involved in it!

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For more encouragement check out my most popular post: Encouragement for Single Women

Young Marriage (16)


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Thoughts on Singleness: How I Conquered Feeling Lonely, Unwanted and Not Good Enough

I write a lot on this blog of marriage and my experiences being married. I write about this topic because it’s relevant to my life at this point. However, before this current season, I spent a lot of time being single. I’ve written a few posts about those days: Just Wait, When Everyone Else is Getting Engaged and Encouragement for Single Women. Although those were not the most favourite or preferred times in my life, they were necessary and one lesson I learned was to be content on my own.

I understand that being single is not easy in a culture that is constantly pushing the mantra that you need someone to be happy or complete you. I say -lies! I also know that deep down we all accept the arduous truth that no one person can truly satisfy us. Yet we still seek a person or relationship to make us feel good, increase our ego and validate our worth. I understand the endeavour because we see the couples all over social media professing their undying love and affection to each other. They look so happy. Meanwhile, on the inside, we’re hurting or we’ve been injured by someone we trusted and we just want to feel loved and accepted. These feelings are not wrong, we were made to be loved.

Thoughts on Singleness: How I Conquered Feeling Lonely, Unwanted and Not Good Enough

Singleness is often perceived as not being wanted. Internally this may be felt or an ascribed label. Unfortunately, this definition deepens the pain of being ‘alone’. Not only do you not have someone to share life with, you’ve labelled yourself at not being worth someone’s time or affection. You persuade yourself if “I was attractive enough, or witty enough or…” then someone would notice me and validate my value, then someone would tell me I’m beautiful, then I could live out my romantic comedy dreams… I’ve felt all of these thoughts and emotions when I was single. It was hard. I often wondered if I would ever meet someone if I would get married before 25. I went through feeling bitter, jealous, and envious of other’s relationships. I wondered what is so wrong with me? Why can’t guys see my attractive qualities and character? I prayed many nights that God would bring a godly man into my life.

In an effort to change my situation I sought a relationship. Alas, trying to seek out a relationship often has the opposite result. All of my efforts to secure a guys attention usually failed. I tried to look pretty, be outgoing, laugh at their jokes, go to events where I knew there would be guys, talk to them, be available. To no avail did any of it work. I ended up feeling rejected. Eventually, I got to the point where I was encouraged to try online dating. (Which in some circumstances can be helpful to meet people, at the time I wasn’t ready to take this step). Everything I was trying was giving the same hopeless result. Until one evening where God changed my perspective.

I was over at a friends house from church with a few other young adult friends and my friend’s parents. We were talking about our church’s Young Adult group where once a month we had an event called Lunch & Learn where all the other young adults would gather after the Sunday morning service to share a meal and fellowship together. Our church was quite large and the group usually consisted of over 50 people. I always viewed it a perfect opportunity to meet guys (; On this night my friend’s parents encouraged us to go to Lunch & Learn the next day and seek out individuals who were alone or needed friends. We had a pretty solid friend group and it would be easy for us to reach out to others. The following day I went to the event resolute to seek out anyone who needed a friend. Instead of focusing on myself and how I could attract male attention, my desire’s were turned towards others needs. I and my friend ended up sitting away from our other friends to try meeting new people. As a result, I focused on showing kindness and interest to those around me instead of seeking validation from others.

This change in perspective was a pivotal moment for me to move past my selfish desires to meet my needs and to look around at how I could serve others. I wasn’t automatically content with my circumstances, but I began to not obsess over what I didn’t have to what I could give. I still felt lonely as I prayed about a future husband, but God began to change my heart and teach me to trust His timing.

A few weeks later I went home for Christmas and I focused on spending time with my family and doing fun things with my friends. Later my mom commented that she could sense I was lonely, but that I was also subtly content with my circumstances.

Eventually, I did meet a guy, and shockingly (to me) he asked me out on a real first date. From then on I entered a whole new exciting, surprising and unfamiliar season of life. Before that time I had spent a lot of time alone, single and wondering if that time would ever come. Looking back I’m grateful for the time I spent unattached. I realize it allowed me to cultivate lifelong friendships, to participate in a bible study that provided these friends, to spend in-depth time studying God’s word, filling my mind with truth and promises, and to learn the difficult lesson to be content in all circumstances.

I’m thankful I met Mike when I did because I was in a really good place personally. My sole desires at that time were not to find a relationship. Therefore, upon first meeting him I assumed he probably had a girlfriend so why waste time being overly friendly with this really attractive guy (as was my previous practice).

Still today, I haven’t mastered the virtue of contentment, I still struggle with it, although in different areas. In all season’s of life, we are faced with angst. I still have unmet desires and goals I hope to accomplish. Although I don’t know when those will be accomplished, I have learned to be content while I wait. I needed this timely reminder of how changing my perspective changed my situation.

Every season of life has a purpose and if one’s heart is open God is graciously teaching one a lesson. Don’t let your pride or personal preferences get in the way of His purpose. God doesn’t withhold good from those He loves. Although He gives us boundaries in His word to keep us away from situations and acts that are harmful to us, He does this to sanctify us and make us more like Him. At times it’s painful but the reward of obeying Him and living in submission to His commands far exceeds the pain.

Whatever your going through pray about it and trust that God is faithful in His timing.

Click here to read about one of my favourite go-to websites for solid, biblical advice on dating and relationships: Favourites Friday>> Boundless

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Are You Really Content?

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am okay with not having a boyfriend.
We are all trying to convince each other we’re content by saying:

“I’d love to be dating but, I’m good right now.

I’m not looking for a boyfriend.

God will bring me my prince charming.

I’m just really content with my life.

I’m too busy with school, this would not be a good time to have a boyfriend.”

Who are we trying to convince?

Each other or ourselves or maybe God?

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am content with not having a boyfriend.

This sounds a lot better than being honest and saying “Ya I’d love to be dating someone, do you know of any people?” or “Ya I’m so looking forward another valentines day alone!” or even “Somedays I just feel really sad and it feels like nobody notices me, I put effort into looking good and being friendly, but nothing is happening.”

It’s hard to be real with people because I don’t want them to think I’m jaded and overly emotional. At the same time, I want their support and encouragement. I can feel all these different emotions but at the end of the day I know I have too much to be thankful for to wallow in self-pity.

Obedience brings blessing

Multiple instances in the Bible show that obedience brings blessing. For example, when God is preparing Joshua to lead the Israelites he instructs that if they follow his commands their way would be “prosperous” and they would have “good success”.

In the story of David, even when those around him encouraged him to do wrong (1 Samuel 24:4-7, 26:8-11). He was steadfast in his faith (1 Samuel 30:6), he looked to God for strength in times of distress. He became king of Israel and God richly blessed him.

God’s blessings aren’t always what we desire, but if we obey God he will give us good gifts. He also looks at our hearts and can see our motivation for obeying Him. Whether it is out of love for Him and in thankfulness for all He has done for us or out of selfish ambition.

Reject the clichés

Aahh I cannot stand clichés. First of all, they set up false hope. They make getting what you want a formula. They can be good if they offer encouragement, but they are not applicable to every life situation. I find it more helpful to study God’s word for encouragement than read another relationship book on how to be Dateable or how to stay sexually pure.

Study God’s word for what He has to say

Having a quiet time or devotional each day is imperative to standing strong during temptation, growing closer to God, being able to discern truth, and staying encouraged.

Personally reading my Bible each day helps me have a right view of the world, of others and it teaches me how I should be acting. Most of all when I’m stressed about life or just feeling sad, I feel so much better after spending time with God. My perspective is flipped around. I begin to see life from God’s point of view again. I remember everything will happen in God’s time according to His plan.

I am at a point in my life where school is very important to me. On a personal level, this means surrendering my plans and my life to Him. I want to go where He leads me. I know his plans are best for my life, better than I could ever dream or want for myself.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones Proverbs 3:5-8

Formulate opinions based on truth

I’m constantly being inundated with opinions not based on a biblical worldview. Social media shows a never-ending stream of what I should look like, aspire to or accept. I despise this.

It is so important to surround myself with the truth. Practically for me, this means, avoiding movies with blatant sex scenes, listening to music that talks about sex or other inappropriate content. I try to make it a priority to surround myself with images and messages that proclaim a biblical worldview.

I strive to set high standards in order to prevent my mind from drifting to thoughts and places it shouldn’t. One reason I don’t like watching romantic movies, reading novels that focus explicitly on romance or listening to songs about relationships is that this breeds discontent. I don’t want to let myself focus on what I can’t or don’t have now. I’d rather concentrate on my present circumstances and be thankful for what is going on now. I want to aim to enjoy today without worrying about the future or what could be.


Discontentment begins in the mind, with one thought of “I wish…” or “why can’t my life be like…”. I want to leave you with a challenge you to change your thought pattern. I’ve found it really helpful to memorize the following verse and repeat it to myself when my mind begins to wander into ‘what if’ land. If my thoughts don’t fit into the admonition below I know this is something I should not be dwelling on. Also, another great verse to remember if you’re having trouble curbing your thoughts is 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Maybe you really are content with your station in life at the moment. A lot of times I feel like I am trying to persuade those around me that I really am okay with not having a boyfriend. #relationships #dating #singleness

Encouragement for Single Women

A lot of times I feel very discouraged that I haven’t met the right guy or have never been in a relationship. Especially when I see other couples holding hands, working out at the gym together or at a party. It’s hard not to feel sad and lonely. When I’m feeling down I try to remember these tips:

 

It’s not a competition

Every guy is looking for certain character or personality qualities in a woman. Such as high moral standards, integrity, hard work, thoughtfulness or determination. For most guys, these are the non-negotiable qualities. You may have certain unique qualities that another woman does not. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, embrace who you are and don’t be jealous of other women.

Of course, you may be more attractive to one guy if you enjoy sports, but the attraction has to go deeper than surface things for a lasting relationship.

Always be yourself, be genuine, and be honest.

You’re not better than all the other women in the room

When you’re with your friends don’t try to distract a guys attention to yourself, be a wing woman and help your friends out.

 Keep a proper and balanced view of yourself, often times I’ll compare myself to other women. I’ll think I’m prettier or nicer than her and this guy should go for me over her. I’m not perfect and neither is she, but we are both valuable and worthy to be loved, neither one of us is ‘better’. Instead, come from a place of humility.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

  Pursue your dreams, goals, and aspirations

Instead of waiting around for a guy to complete your life, chase after something that inspires you. It could be finishing your bachelor’s degree and getting a Masters or simply volunteering once a week with the homeless. For me, I would love to have a family and be a stay at home mom. At this point that is not what I’m able to do. Instead, I’m working towards my BSc to become a dietician. My focus is on University and studying. Although it’s not the most exciting thing, I have a goal in mind and I’m working hard to achieve it.

Plus, you will appear more interesting to a guy if you have a life and interests of your own.

 Don’t over analyze every situation…guys are simple

Don’t look for little signs to see if he notices you or is giving you extra attention…

…if he wants it to be more, he’ll ask you out.

If a guy asks you out for coffee, it’s just coffee nothing more.

Take it one step at a time and enjoy the process.

Too often I read into a guys attention because I want it to be more, I want it to mean something. Most times I’m left jaded and disappointed, over time I’ve learned to not get my hopes up and just wait patiently and prayerfully for a guy to initiate.

If a guy does ask you out for say coffee or lunch, he’s not asking to marry you. He just wants to spend some time getting to know you, to build a friendship. It’s important to hold back and keep an aura of mystery about yourself. Let the guy ask questions, let him pursue your heart.

This past summer I was chatting with a guy at work, and as we were talking it got more and more personal. I just briefly knew this guy, and I thought I don’t need to know his whole life story, I can just take things slowly and get to know a little more about him everytime we chat. Don’t try to be in a rush to get to know a guy. Let the stories unfold slowly.

 God is only asking you to be single for today

I find it so easy to get caught up worrying about the future. I’ll flip from imagining my dream life to contemplating a dreary future alone with nobody to share life with. In reality, I don’t know what the future holds. At the end of the day, I trust that God has a plan for me and He is good. I can only take life one day at a time. I always try to thank God every day for what I have, like my health, good food, a loving family, the ability to go to University…It’s so easy to get caught up in what I don’t have. I believe this is a lie Satan wants us to believe, the if only, then I would be satisfied lie. Envy is a sin and contentment is a difficult lesson to learn. I can only take life one day at a time. I need to remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Romans 3:23). I’m not walking through life alone, I have Christ and He is always by my side.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Life can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen on our terms. We may not date the guy we want to when we want to or get the job we want. However, life is better when we surrender our desires and our plans to God. When we say to God “lead me in the direction You have for my life”. Ultimately His plans are better than we can think or imagine.

For more encouragement click here to read To the Ladies in Waiting

Young Marriage (16)


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