God is Faithful, and Singleness is Good

Y’all! I seriously thought it would take at least another month or two before I had something to write about again, but in fact I have TWO things! And one kinda leads into the other, so here we go!

Okay, so if y’all have read a couple of my other posts, one (which I posted in Feb of 2016) was all about Jamie Grace. A large portion of that post was about how she was very upfront and real about how she desired marriage but was still single and how that was okay.

Semi-side-note: Now, to me, that was just a little bit shocking. In theory it sounds perfectly fine, right? But what do we tell people who say they might never get married? Why do we doubt them if they say they’re fine with that? The reality is that everyone -not just society, but almost literally everyone – tells us that marriage and relationships are desirable and being single is bad. When put that way, many people would argue against it, but in every-day life that’s the way we all act. It’s in the people who tell us our time will come, it’s in all the people we look at, it’s in the news, and it’s even in the people who tell us to wait until we’re older. That last one sounds good! Wait until later, right? And that is good! Except…it’s still all about marriage. And in this way – I know it’s shocking – marriage has become a god. We’re all waiting for and longing for marriage. Marriage is good, but only in it’s proper place. I’ll explain more in a minute.

Back to Jamie Grace. She, very recently, got engaged! Woohoo! Go, Jamie! But here’s where I really want to explain some things. A year or two ago, I felt like God was telling/showing me that marriage was in his plan for me. To be honest, I was kinda excited! To put this in perspective a little, I haven’t “dated” anyone since the 5th grade (if that counts, hence the quotation marks around “dated”). I haven’t been asked out since 8th (I’m a freshman in college now), and honestly I’ve really never experienced romance AT ALL. But I’ve daydreamed about it! And, when I felt like God was telling me that that was in His plan, I was so excited! Of course, I had no prospects AT ALL (still don’t), but whatever! Now, I kinda doubt that feeling. It may have been a product of my overactive imagination. But all that to say that, at the time and since then, listening to Jamie Grace talk about being single but wanting marriage made me feel less alone. Honestly, she probably played a significant role in my current thoughts about marriage (which I’ll get to in a bit). It made me feel a little less alone, a little less hopeless, and a little less pitiful. Jamie Grace is the one who introduced the idea to me that it’s perfectly okay to be single, and it’s perfectly okay to want marriage. It’s all okay! But, it does need to be put in it’s proper place. Marriage in not the end-all be-all. Our lives do not start when we get married. Being single is valuable, and just as important as marriage. It’s not just okay to be single, it’s even desirable. Jamie Grace introduced this idea to me, and Stephanie May Wilson (who I’ve also talked about in a previous post) has expanded further on this idea in some of her podcasts (seriously, go check them out). Marriage is NOT more important or more desirable than being single. As I was listening to a video song that Jamie Grace wrote about her engagement, I clearly felt something from the Lord. And when I say clearly felt, I’m going to borrow an explanation from Stephanie May Wilson: it’s like a stone being thrown in a pond. It’s a disruption in my flow of thinking. It isn’t really sudden, and it’s actually very quiet, but it’s just a though that’s thought (or thought in a way) that I wouldn’t have thought on my own. And what I felt from the Lord was  this: that now is NOT my time to get married, and that is GOOD. Let me repeat that. That is GOOD!

God’s plan for me right now is to be single. And despite what society says (and to be honest, what many many many christians unintentionally say), marriage is not the goal. What is the goal, then? The goal is  to chase after God. The goal is to grow closer to Him. The goal is to become more like Christ. Even in marriage! I’ve heard it before, and you probably have two: that when two people (in this case, spouses) draw closer to God, then they also draw closer to each other. Even in marriage the goal is not to draw closer to your partner! The goal is always, always, ALWAYS to follow God and become more like Christ. So when God tells me that His plan for me right now is to be single, then I should WANT to be single. And in that moment, when God spoke to me unasked for, it was nice. And it was nice because it was peace. It was not jealousy towards Jamie Grace (although to be honest, I am kinda jealous). It was also not fear – because within the past few months, I thought to stop just daydreaming about being in a relationship and actually think about what it would actually be like. Which is kinda terrifying, because I am NOT ready for that. I can barely talk to the majority of my peers, I’m just beginning to really grow in God – I am an absolute MESS. Realistically, a relationship would be horrible and not even fun right now. So it has become a little scary (although I still daydream, because daydreaming is fun). But I wasn’t jealous and I wasn’t scared. It was the thought that yeah, one day I might get married, but today God wants me to be single. And that’s okay. And it’s not just okay, but it’s desirable and even exciting! I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I can focus on making friends and growing in God and growing as a person. And that – which is where God wants me, where I should be – that is good and it is desirable and it is better than marriage. It’s a powerful thought, isn’t it?

 

It also leads me to my second point, which is that God is good, and absolutely trustworthy. Of course, to many people that’s a “given”. To me too, actually. If someone told me that God is completely, absolutely, 100% trustworthy, I’d probably give them an odd look and say “of course”. What’s so special about that thought? Having grow up in the church, I’ve heard that spiel more times than I can count. I’ve probably heard more variations of that spiel than are existent. But – like all messages I’ve heard a hundred million quadrillion to-infinity-and-beyond times – as I begin to grow towards God and make my faith in Him my own, it begins to draw my intention. And so I want to draw attention to it as well. Now, I’ve actually been extremely blessed my whole life. I’ve never had a close family member die, my parents have raised me beautifully (if I do say so myself), and I don’t have any traumatic tales or anything. But still, as I step out on my own, I find that God has been pretty faithful, pretty good, and undeniably trustworthy in the little things.

Starting with just recently: He has and is helping me with a major fight with my best friend. He totally blessed me unexpectedly when I had to “consolidate” for college – aka my roommate moved out so mid-year I had to attend a meeting to see if one of the other roommate-less girls wanted to move in with me because otherwise we’d be charged for a private room. Not as recent: When I first came to college, I got involved with a campus Christian ministry and got the best LifeGroup leaders (aka small group leaders) a girl could have asked for. I think I wrote a post about this, too, a couple months ago; He removed my identity as being socially awkward and replaced that with my identity in Him (no, I’m not talking about being saved, that happened when I was like four). When I went to my residential high school, I was blessed to meet an amazing and inspiring Christian friend who has become one of my best friends today. When I just recently went on a missions trip to Texas I grew much closer with the girls from my BCM that I was down there with. As a college student, I have yet to run out of coffee because my mom works at Starbucks and my grandfather knows how essential coffee is to life (don’t laugh, it’s true)! As a freshman, I managed to gain a paid research position with one of my professors. At home I have a well-paying job at my dad’s workplace that probably pays too much for what I actually do (which is almost literally just copying and filing). I’ve been an absolute brat sometimes, and I’ve failed God so much too (hello masturbation my old friend), but he has continued to work on me, and bless me, and love me, and guide me. God is SO good, SO trustworthy, and SO reliable. Also, I passed both AP Calc and Chinese (no joke, through a tutor, my  AP Calc grade went from a 68% to getting an A on the final and a 4 on the AP exams in the last half a semester. Did I mention that if I’d gotten a tutor any earlier it wouldn’t have been the same tutor? Yeah. If that isn’t God, I don’t know what is). Isn’t He great?

It sounds cliche. But if I can trust God to save my grade and help me make friends and bless me as I look for a roommate, how in the world can I not trust Him with bigger stuff? If He blesses me when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it, and even when I do something to NOT deserve it (hello masturbation my old friend), how can I not trust Him? It’s actually surprised me. I’m the type of person who likes to give gifts but hates to receive them. Not like Christmas gifts or birthday gifts! But if someone just buys me a gift, or especially for things like if someone wants to buy me a coffee. It makes me uncomfortable! I didn’t do anything to deserve it, and then I feel like I owe them, and I just really don’t like it. But God…It makes God sad when I disobey, I know it does. But it doesn’t change His love for me one bit. He doesn’t say “Oh, she disobeyed, now I’m not gonna bless her”. No! Every time this happens (which is more than I’d like to admit), He continues to bless me GREATLY, and it always reminds me of the Psalm that says “my cup runneth over”. Which, by the way, brings me to another point.

It’s okay to fail. If you’re anything like me, then every time I can’t seem to focus on God and every time I get lured away by something worldly, I feel terrible. Even now, I’ve been going through a period where I can’t seem to want to chase after God. In fact, I struggle with wanting to disobey Him! And…that’s okay. It’s okay. God still loves me, and He isn’t giving up on me. He isn’t growing angry with me. He loves me, and He’s even continuing to work in me! And what proof do I have of this? Well, the past. Just this past year I really struggled with feeling close to God. And yet, that time passed and yielded to a period of great growth and blessing. God wasn’t angry. He was glad that I was where He could work on me, and He squeezed love into me. Until now, I’m in a place where I can choose to allow myself my failures and decide to believe that God is not mad. I can choose to cling to the truth – which is that God loves me, and is waiting for me not with a hammer but with a hug. I can choose that – even when I fail, even when I succumb to sin, and even when I enjoy it when I know I shouldn’t – God still loves me. He still loves me, and He’s still working on me, and I’m not somehow evil and out of reach and hopeless. Instead, whatever temporary victories my sinful flesh and treacherous heart revel in, God is still chasing me and still working in me. He hasn’t given up. He hasn’t been surprised or set back. He isn’t stalled. He is still working, even if I can’t see or feel it. He is perfect. He is Holy. And He isn’t stopped by me or my sin. (This is not to say that I should not be worried about my sin, because I should be and I should do everything in my power to stop sinning. However, when I fail, I shouldn’t wallow in the shame. I should just stand up and try again, setting my eyes on God and asking Him for help).

Alright! I’m sorry for the long post, guys, but I think this was important to share. God loves you guys, even when you fail to meet the standard! Just keep trying! Ciao!

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:7-8 *also look at pretty much all of Romans 4 and 5

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“…But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” Nehemiah 9:17

“…being confidant of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

 

P.S. If you need more similar verses from the bible, look up verses about forgiveness and verses about the fruit of the spirit. God makes a lot of promises that give us hope. Of course, they aren’t to be used as excuses, but we were not made to wallow in shame or hopelessness either. We must persevere to conquer our sin, even if it takes years, and keep chasing God. Alright, ciao for real!

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Kings and Queens 2

Okey dokey. Obviously, this is the promise continuation of my previous post. Quick review that’ll help with understanding my post today: “The Queen was in charge of the castle. She supported him and offered him wisdom and counsel when he needed it. If the King was away at war, SHE was the one who protected the castle. She was supposed to be just but strict. She raised their children (with help from the maids sometimes). And, perhaps most importantly, she submitted to her husband.”

Let’s translate that into today’s terms. A Queen is in charge of doing her part to keep the home looking good and functioning well. Does this mean a guy isn’t supposed to, say, do the dishes? Fold laundry? Cook? Not at all! But it also means that some days, when he is too tired or too busy, it is the job of the wife to do all of it. Yes, all of it. Sometimes, taking care of the house means doing the taxes or doing manual work. It means you work to keep it running smoothly and your husband will help because he loves you. And even if he doesn’t, ladies you are still responsible for YOUR actions, not his. Support and wisdom. Yep, that falls on the ladies too. Sometimes, your husband will not know what to do. Yeah, he’s supposed to lead the house, but he’s human too. There’ll be times when he feels absolutely overwhelmed. These are the times when the ladies – the Queens –are to speak wisdom into their husbands (or boyfriends – the responsibilities don’t begin when your married) lives. They are to be walking close to God themselves, so that when this happens they can speak God’s wisdom into their lives. Sometimes, this can be as simple as saying “There isn’t anything you can do. Remember that great and powerful God we serve? Yep, gotta leave it up to him.” (Sorry, those of you who like to problem-solve. Good luck). Sometimes it might just mean reminding him that you (or God) love(s) him. Sometimes, this is where you have to be walking close with God so that you can say what God is trying to tell him. Or maybe, if God is being silent, it’s just speaking Godly truth into his life.

Next! Defending the castle. Sometimes, in a kingdom’s history, there were wars. And sometimes this called for the King to go off to war. Sometimes this was to defend his own kingdom, and sometimes someone else’s – yes, boys, you are called to help defend other’s kingdoms as well as your own – but while he was gone, it was up to the Queen to defend the castle in his stead. If all went well, she wouldn’t need to. But as we all know, stuff goes wrong. Life isn’t perfect. And so, even if the Queen didn’t know how to fight (although knowing how to fight was always a bonus), she had to know how to lead. She had to sit in on meetings and participate in them. Where was the castle weakest? What where the enemies troops? Where did her people stand on supplies and manpower? What did they do with the village people? What equipment did both sides have? What was morale like? If they needed something, how could they get it? Maybe there was an unconventional idea that she had to push through. The Queen was in charge of this and so much more. Have you ever noticed that any of the queens you hear of in the distant past you hear of because they did something? Ladies, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that sometimes we  are underestimated. It irritates some of us. But personally, I like it! Let the enemy underestimate me! It’ll make it easier to kick them to the curb. As Queens (or future Queens), we are powerful. We’re not always called to show that power, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The Queens are the ones to defend the castle when the King is away.

The Queen was also supposed to be just, but strict. I’m gonna add some stuff to this: the Queen was supposed to have grace and wisdom as well. Tall order, huh? In reality, the just and strict is usually applied to Kings. But Queens are also supposed to be just, and they do need to know when to draw the line. However, the Queens are ALSO supposed to sometimes give second chances. They are supposed to love. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the bible verse, but the Bible tells husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. This shows a key difference between guys and gals: guys run on respect. It’s important to them. They need to feel needed. It’s how God wired them. Gals, however, run on love. They need to feel cared for and respected. Not helpless – they aren’t – but cared for and protected. This also means that guys and girls have different strengths and weaknesses. Often, ladies find it easier to express love. They are often quicker to come together in a community for help and support. Guys (to many ladies’ exasperation ;P) have pride (ooooh, I said it). All joking aside, they are less likely to automatically go to someone else and instead often try to figure it out on their own. However, their protective instincts are (or at least should be) off the charts. Personally, I think if the guy isn’t 1) Ready to try and work things out first and 2)Ready to fight in a heartbeat if working things out is impossible, then he probably isn’t ready to be a King. If I ever get married, I want my husband to be the type of man that, if he sees a woman getting harassed or attacked on the street, jumps in ready to do whatever is necessary to protect her. Sometimes, though, that just might mean giving up his pride to avoid bullets flying and potentially hurting someone. And I hope that if I ever get married my husband will be ready to do that too, because priorities. So, to get back on track, Queens are supposed to extend love and grace. However, they are also supposed to know where to draw the line.

Raising the children. In actuality, this is supposed to be a job for both the King and the Queen. They are supposed to raise their children well, in a Godly manner. They are in charge of teaching their children how to be Kings and Queens when they grow up. This includes looking for a King or Queen as their partner when they’re old enough. Teaching patience, wisdom, hope, love…the list goes on and on.  Sometimes, they might need help. Like it or not (usually not), sometimes kids don’t listen to their parents. Sometimes, they just need to hear it from someone else. Here’s the thing. When you’re a King or Queen, you don’t just speak truth into the people right around you. If you aren’t ready to speak truth in unexpected situations with people you may or may not know [well], are you really speaking truth to those around you?

And last (at least for now), Queens are supposed to submit to their husbands. Some ladies might not like this. Don’t take it from me, take it from God. In the bible God sets the husband as head of the house. This means that, yes, the King’s decisions overrule the Queen’s. You can discuss things with him, of course. But if, ultimately, he decides on something else, he is the head of the house. What he says, goes. And now is where, Queens, you want to make sure you are looking for a King and not settling for anything less. If it is a partnership between a King and Queen, both partners will be listening to each other and to the Lord, and often they will come to be on the same page. And here’s something that I think often gets in the way when a Queen has to make the decision to follow her King even when he does something she doesn’t like or doesn’t follow her advise. It’s Faith. Queens are supposed to have faith in their Kings. It’s not comfortable – but then again, is following God comfortable? Marriage is the closest thing we have to the relationship between God and the church. It is supposed to mirror that. And so Queens are supposed to have faith in their husbands. Of course he will make mistakes. He isn’t perfect (surprise, surprise). You make mistakes too, and you are also not perfect. But will yelling at him and getting on his case make anything better? No. When this happens, I can guarantee you he knows that he messed up. You will BOTH benefit more from supporting each other than from tearing each other down.

And of course, your job is not only to look for a King or Queen as a partner. “Why are you waiting to be treated like a Queen when you don’t know how to treat him like a King”. YOUR job, ladies, is not only to look for a King (if he’s a King, he will treat you like a Queen), but to be a Queen. You are ultimately in charge of yourself.

So, I’m thinking of making this a series (possibly featuring a guest King to speak to any guys out there). Let me know what you guys think! I know my thoughts were kind of disjointed both this post and part 1, so I apologize for that. Feel free to offer suggestions or ask questions, too! Thanks for reading!

Jamie Grace

Hey y’all! Okay, no, I’m not country. But I do use y’all upon occasion. This week I wanted to talk about Jamie Grace.

I’ll say this upfront: I really like Jamie Grace. I like her music, and I like the way she’s crazy and real and has no problem sharing that with her fans. Okay, onward.

Have any of you stopped to listen to her lyrics? Let me put a few of them below:

Little girl dreams

Are bigger than they seem

I’m thinkin’ ’bout the future in my daily routine

Here’s from a different song:

I get to know you more and more

And make every single day about you

I wanna live like I can’t afford

To spend another second without you

Something from the first song struck me: am I thinking about the future daily? Am I thinking about what I want to be able to tell my husband, my kids, and anyone else? My thoughts about the second song run along those lines too. I’m not living my life right now like that verse described.

For those of you that have read one of my first posts (I forget which one), you know that I struggle with masturbation. Those first lyrics are from a song called White Boots, and it basically talks about abstinence and uses as an analogy about white boots and a white dress. And not abstaining from sexual intercourse is getting them dirty. I can’t help but think that my boots are already dirty from masturbation and quite honestly, I regret that. I really wish I’d be able to go into marriage with white boots.

Of course, something else that I like about Jamie Grace is that she’s single and really wants to be married but is (seemingly, anyway) so so good about waiting on the Lord. Whenever she does marry, the Christian single community will lose a valuable ally. But I also can’t help but think that she took that desire to be married and let it pull her closer to God. She freely admits that she longs to be married, and a good majority of her songs are about it, but it isn’t an unhealthy obsession. In fact, it really seems to be healthy. A line from another one of her songs describes it well: “I don’t mind saying how I feel/As long as I stay true and keep it real”. And she does. She keeps it real, and she doesn’t blow it up into something it’s not.

Of course, for all my praise, she’s not perfect. I may not see them, but she has imperfections. I think it’s important to not be delusional about that. But I also think that we can learn a lot from her.