You know the kind of wave that arches around and swallows from all sides? My heart just got swallowed up by love on all sides like that kind of wave. It's been an interesting week, to say the least, but to end by being swallowed up on all sides by love is not such a bad thing. The flood feels like a thousand drops of sunshine, so "not such a bad thing" would be an understatement.
Amidst many layered other things this week, I read this article from Desiring God, "Single, Satisfied, and Sent: Mission for the Not-Yet Married." It felt a little bit like Marshall Segall read my journal and listened in to my conversations over the past several years, but now I know I don't need to publish the post that's been sitting in my drafts for over a year "single, satisfied, and unselfish." He said it better than I would have, I'm sure, and it helped bring some things in to focus as I sought the Lord.
I've really made an intentional effort not to fixate on situational things I cannot change. Maybe it's the counselor in me that sees the futility in getting anxious about things outside my control. I am so incredibly grateful for God's grace that placed godly men in my life to sharpen, challenge, and encourage me as I pursue Christ. My experience (which is not every girl's) living inside these blessings has impacted the way I see relationships. I want to share just a snapshot of that experience.
so, I'm not a relationship book junkie
For whatever reason (and maybe the reason above), I'm not a relationship book junkie. Do you know the type? The girl who buys every dating book on the Christian market, inserts her own experience into the pages, and then adopts a new "method" to coping with her relational status. There was the phase where she kissed dating goodbye, and then the phase where she was only courting, and then the phase where she wasn't interested in men because she was trying to be "content" with God. She kind of dated the dating books - if she had problems or frustrations, she could always find an author that justified her feelings and gave her 5 tips to get back "on track."
NOTE TO THE READER: If you are the girl described above, I would encourage you to go read a different blog post - maybe one on antiques or the sovereignty of God or... knitting. Choose anything but the topic of relationships because I don't want to be this month's solution. Your best reading material is Scripture. Maybe try that first.
I hope you don't think I'm the Debbie Downer when relationships are the topic of conversation. I love talking about the way God has designed us to reflect his trinitarian nature. I love understanding how our interaction with one another says so much about who God is. I love grappling with God's introduction of marriage in the garden and the way he wove it through Scripture and presents Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church.
But I'm not trying to talk or understand or grapple as a means to solving my struggle with my relationship status. In reading, "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller, I was not hoping that it would be another 2 points for the good team - hopefully tipping the scales and giving me the holy advantage I need to find the right man. I read Keller's book (which I highly recommend) because I wanted to know God's design better, deeper.
It's a good design - from any angle. It's such a beautiful and good design that points ultimately to the good Designer, who holds all our hope and joy and future secure. I can love marriage and it's place in my life without being obsessive about it playing out in my life. I love marriage because I love God - and He loves marriage!
He created marriage to display His glory and it does in so many beautiful ways.
What frustrates me about the books and books and books from women who are trying to help other women figure out life outside of marriage is this: they speak in pre-marriage/post-marriage language.
I read an article recently from a married woman who was so disappointed that she waited to have sex until she was married - it wasn't what she hoped and looking back, she wished she hadn't waited. I have read countless articles on the topic of sex and waiting vs. not waiting from women on all sides of the argument. And then there are the blogs about contentedness - what to do with the desire for a husband and family. I recently read about a woman who felt like her gifts couldn't be used fully pre-marriage. And of course there are more - on every topic from career to money to children - the internet is heavy with posts from women who have something to say about singleness.
I usually don't write about singleness because I loathe (a little bit) the attention it gets in Christian circles. I get it - we struggle as singles. It should be talked about and grappled with and our conclusions should be tested against Scripture and refined by seeking the Lord in prayer. I do get it and maybe that's why I am writing today.
I am 28 and single. I have no idea what the future holds - really, literally, no idea (message me if you want to hear some stories that have caused me to let go of any ideas I did have). You may not believe me, but I am not anxious. I am not restless. I am not sad.
My God is sovereign and able to make grace abound in Christ so that I am capable to do every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). I am not "working at being content" so that I hit the contentment quotient and God would grant me a knight in shining armor. I am content because God is faithful to keep His promises.
I love my Lord and He loves me. He loves me and has chosen to be betrothed to me.
"I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness." (Hosea 2:19-20)
This is my Lord who loves me and has given me grace to love Him back. He will betroth me to Himself in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. This is my Lord, who chose me while I was still a sinner to be His bride! He is faithful when I doubt and fail and He is faithful when I choose righteousness by His grace. He is faithful as no other bridegroom will ever be. His sanctifying work in me is a promise that will not be broken and this is security no earthly marriage can guarantee.
Oh, I love my Jesus.
And this sounds like a soapbox. I guess it probably is. I am just another voice in the noise about relationships. But, my hope is that in sharing my experience someone might know that you can give up the formulas. You don't have to get better at knowing God or better at being a servant or better at communication so that God will find you suitable as someone's helpmate.
Seek to know and love God because you want to know and love God.
The reward is so great. When you taste and see the Lord is good, your desire for other things is always with the lingering taste of Christ on your tongue.
He is your first and best and enduring reward. Seek Him because He is the best thing to seek. He is the only One who can cause a wave of love to arch over your life and engulf you in joy. Only He can do that.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy, ladies and seek the greatest treasure because then you will be satisfied