By Kris Bush
Love and Respect; two very intertwined entities. I decided to address these very important topics because to show just how important they are.
(You see how the man is holding the LOVE card and the woman is holding the Respect card but then if you look closer they both have one hand on the opposite card. That's how marriage should be!)
Regardless to your marital status, relationships need both love and respect, especially romantic relationships. I read a status on Facebook that read: Respect is NOT, I repeat NOT, given! It is... #EARNED
This gave me pause for understanding. Then, I had to look at the person posting. This is a single young woman who probably believes a man has to prove something to her. I thought about relationships in general. Many relationships tend to not last for many reasons, but I think one of them has to do with the fact that women have made respect optional, while retaining the need for unconditional love. I will admit I was one of those women; I was raised around women who thought and believed such things, just like the young woman who made the comment.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
Paul instructs wives to respect their husbands and husbands are told to love their wives as they love themselves. That is powerful! Think about the implications of these words. Husbands when they love, they will do just about anything – move mountains for the woman they love. However, I've noticed that women tend to take a privileged role when they love; they tend to take their significant other for granted. I know this because I was one of those women who took my husband's love for granted. I knew he loved me so I cared, but I didn't put forth the same effort I did when we were first married. Now, I realize that as I want my husband's love, one thing that he must have from me is respect.
Men need to know they are respected. Respect goes a LONG way. It dictates how you speak to a man and how to respond to him. When you respect a man, you won't talk to him crazy; you won't talk down to him, why? Because you respect him and his position as a man.
Now, let's focus on love. Don't we all want to be loved unconditionally? To know no matter what happens, we are loved and cherished and cared for? I think that tops the list for most people, especially women. That is the way we were made, to be loved. And just as we want love, I am sure we've had some very unlovable moments, unlovable days, unlovable phases.
How would we feel if we told a man, his behavior isn't so respectable, so we can't respect him; AND his response was well, “you haven't been so lovable and you don't look so lovable, so, I can't love you”. That would NOT feel good. And guess what, it happens, every day. I remember something similar nearly happening to me, I wasn't always respectful to my husband and at times I was downright disrespectful and guess what happened? His unconditional love became distant to me. It was still there, but it wasn't easily reachable and tangible like it was before. That snapped me into focus like NO! We have to be gracious and respect our men regardless, just like we expect them to be gracious and love us.
I address this issue because there are GENERATIONS of women who truly believe that respect must be earned. Mothers are teaching this to their daughters. They are giving their daughters a head start in the WRONG direction. Some young women can't keep a man and wonder why. You believe he has to prove something to YOU when he only has to prove himself to GOD! And you aren't GOD. So relax on your need to control and be in control of your relationship. We are women, we were not meant to be the head of the relationship, but the help-meet in the relationship. I didn't always understand this, but it has become a role I fill with grace and gratitude.
Ladies, we were created as a delicate and beautiful HELP-MEET, we were not given the authority to head our relationships, to lead our marriages. We were made from the man's rib to be at his side not his head to rule over him or his feet to be trampled on. God himself warned Eve of this in Genesis 3:16:
Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.
GOD warned her that she would desire for her husband (not desire him in a romantic sense, desire for him meaning to control him) and he would rule over her (meaning the man's position as the head of the household). To this very day, we women still deal with this; we will continue to deal with this. We will continue to want to control our men, but that is NOT the way it is to be. We are meant to be led by him and be submissive to his leading.
This message serves as a reminder to us all, to give love and respect freely. So we can be free to experience joyful unions and be delighted in and honored by our men. So we can honor them and be thankful for the men they are. But also, so our marriages can survive and blossom. So our families can stay intact and grow. So we can leave behind a legacy of godly marriages!
Guest post by Morgan Davis
I slept with my husband’s brother and had a sexual affair with several other men over the course of my marriage. Yes, you read that right. Not the introduction that you were looking for right? I know. This is not one of those feel good “let’s sing Kumbaya because we are Christians” articles. This is one of those pieces of writing that I’m sure will make some people very uncomfortable, because at best it will paint a very accurate picture of the devastation that our so called “little compromises” cause. It will only begin to scratch the surface of elaborating on the real struggles that some of us sick and depraved women, yes even Christian women, deal with on a very regular basis. I’m not here to win a popularity contest. As my dear sister Janette encouraged me, this is a Genesis 50:20 moment. The time to be completely transparent so that the Lord may be glorified as sin in one of its most unassuming form is called out and women are pushed to seek God all the more for their complete source of contentment.
This topic and many others like it can no longer be taboo, especially in our churches. I have had countless conversations with single and married women over the past few years who seriously struggle in the area of sexual purity and I find myself still boggled by how we tip-toe on an issue that has plagued the lives of so many women, has caused grave destruction in marriages and families, and yet it remains in the shadows. The purpose of this article, while not exhaustive by any means, is simple. It is to explore the root of how we women get to this point, dispel myths about how changes in our seasons of life prevent such sexual immorality, and lastly it’s written to encourage us to see that we can have total freedom and be women of the utmost integrity living lives of internal and external purity before God.
I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “It’s a great day to cheat on my husband, so let’s go for it!” My committing adultery happened as the result of not dealing with the seed of the sin of discontentment. Scripture tells us in James 1:13-16 that we are led away by our own desires. When our desires (internal) manifest externally by way of our actions we gratify our fleshly appetite, and once we start feeding the flesh we begin to crave after whatever satisfies the hunger. Discontentment in us women has been a struggle dating back to the very first woman! In Gen. 3:4-6 scripture shows us that Eve was deceived “but” the root of what caused her to take of the fruit and eat was discontentment. She was not content with her relationship with God. If she was truly satisfied with God, she would’ve remained steadfast in obedience as opposed to succumbing to the serpent’s deceptive antics. Bottom line: She wanted more! Discontentment is subtle but very dangerous. We are warned by Eccl. 6:7-9 that tells us that our flesh will never be satisfied. Attempting to satisfy our desires is like chasing after the wind. Discontentment as defined by Dictionary.com is a restless desire or craving for something that one does not have. Whoa! Restless?! As in not at peace. A nagging sense of discontentment, or to paint a more real picture, an itch that was not being scratched is what led me to commit such a grave sin against God and my husband. I was not satisfied with “how” my husband showed me affection and I was easily distracted by the men who did. Isn't that so much like the enemy? I felt entitled to be shown the type of affection that I wanted. Selfish right? So called harmless “flirting” led to the “it’s ok to go to lunch”, which led to the exchange of numbers, more lunches, long hugs at the end of these lunches, to the kiss that felt “oh so right”, and finally the dinner that ended in a hotel room. These men so-called “met” my “emotional” needs and I responded to my needs being met physically in the sexual encounters that I had with them.
For my single sisters let’s dispel the “he will complete me” myth right out of the gate. Courtship, engagement, and marriage will NOT completely satisfy you. A man was not created to be joined with you to meet all of your needs. We put such a great expectation on our men and hold them to live up to a standard that God’s Word blatantly said only He can do. Only God, according to Phil. 4:19, can and will supply all of our “need” (in totality) according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. Those needs are not just tangible physical needs, but also our emotional needs. Only He can love us with the purest kind of unconditional love. He knows our innermost being as only our Creator would and He’s more than capable and willing to meet our needs so long as they are in line with His Word. Do you struggle with self-worth? Don’t flirt and wear immodest clothing to seek the attention and approval of men. Look to the Cross where God showed you your worth when He put His innocent Son in your place to secure your eternity, not to keep a smile on your face. Can’t no man validate you more or show you just how much of a big deal you are like God. And just keep it 100, you don’t want a man who gives you attention because you entice him with your lips and hips. He too will be enticed by the next woman who flaunts it in the same manner. Struggling with singleness? Be content in this season! The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 6:6 that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Looking upward and being totally immersed in God’s presence by taking advantage of undivided time to devote oneself to growing deeper in the Lord leaves little room to look around and count what’s missing.
All my married ladies, the myth about total contentment in marriage is a little more complex. Our husbands as stated above cannot and will not meet our needs the way that only God can. In Eph. 5:25-30 God gives our husbands specific details on how they ought to love their wives. He doesn’t command them to love us the way we want to be loved. We might want to be loved a specific way for a few years, then our love language evolves into something else some years later and here we go expecting our husbands to change as we change. I dare us to just pray that God would continue to teach our husbands to love us how He designs. That’s it. There is nothing lacking in God’s love! If we want our husbands to give us more than what scripture is requiring (which is a high standard in it of itself) the issue is us and not our husband. And even when he misses the mark at times (he will because he’s human), that does not give us the right to go seek it elsewhere! Seeking to be fulfilled mentally, emotionally, and sexually outside of the context of our marriage is sin. When we lust after that fine brotha that walks past our way, we have committed adultery (Matt. 5:28). When we don’t feel satisfied sexually or we want sex when our husbands aren’t in the mood and we masturbate or watch pornography we are in sin (1 Thes. 4:3-5). Nowhere in Scripture are we told to take “matters” in our own hands and get satisfied. The only area where we should not be content is in the realm of where we are in Christ. We should never be complacent in our walk with the Lord.
The battle for purity like most wars begin in the mind. James 1:13-16 tells us that it begins there, but it doesn’t stay there. We are more apt to entertain sexual daydreams instead of taking our thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5). We give into our flesh and arouse it by compromising. An example of this is masturbating with an “at least I’m not fornicating” response to our conscience when (or if) we feel convicted after the fact. Some of us lived promiscuous lives before (and in my case after) coming to know Christ and we are nonchalant when we crave sex and then have sex as much as we want when we want it. To combat the conviction that comes after fornicating we say “I’m a work in progress, and this isn’t going to just go away overnight.” We milk the sickness instead of being disgusted by it and desire to have nothing to do with it. Sexual sins pull us and keep us further away from God and in the case of fornication it binds us with another person. Sexual sins show us just how far our conscience is from God. You don’t fall over into having sex or masturbating. It’s not that “Oops! I just cussed in my mind because someone cut in front of me while driving.” It’s that compromise after compromise after compromise that ends with us giving ourselves completely over to a situation. But don’t fret my dear sisters there is hope!
The cure for our lust and sex addictions is found solely in Jesus Christ and how we surrender it over to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives! God tells us that “we can be confident that He who begun a good work in us WILL complete it” (Phil. 1:6, added emphasis). That’s not for us to continue in this way and just expect God to do His part. We have a huge responsibility. We are told to: stay armored up (Eph. 6:10-17), renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2), feed on God’s Word (Ps. 119:11), flee from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), remain faithful in our marriages (Heb. 13:4), not give place to the enemy (Eph. 4:27), pursue righteousness (2 Tim. 2:22, Gal. 5:16), get and stay accountable with fellow sisters (1 John. 1:9), and ultimately show our love for God by how we live unto Him (John 14:15). Practically we see this at work by making our time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word a priority, establishing and sticking to boundaries, remaining plugged in to a local body of believers that we do life with, seeking outside help (counseling or Sex Addiction groups) if the issue is so compulsive, and being wholeheartedly committed to glorifying God in our lives. I am not advising you to do anything that I haven’t done. I can’t begin to tell you the devastation that my period of sexual immorality caused my family, our friends, our church family, and the suicide it was to my witness of being a child of God. It was not worth the grenade effect that was the result of my own selfishness. After my period of rebellion I repented, confessed the complete ugliness of my sin to my husband, stepped down from the ministry leadership position I was in, and committed myself to a restoration program via the Life Recovery group at my church. To this day I continue to stick to and create boundaries, I get accountable weekly to my team and husband, but most importantly I relentlessly seek God to be my total source of contentment. I don’t expect my husband to be anything more than the man God has called him to be.
In closing, it is my prayer that you have been encouraged and challenged over the course of this reading. I pray that my experience is not yours. Please learn from my mistakes. If this is your story, know that everything is redeemable and made new in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17)! Nothing will separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39), so don’t let the enemy deceive you into believing otherwise. You can overcome this!
“The essence of loving life as a follower of Jesus isn’t in trying harder but in enjoying more. I’m not saying you can change without trying. I’m saying that enjoyment empowers effort. Pleasure in God is the power for purity.”-Sam Storms
Morgan Davis, 31, is a native of Altadena, California, has been happily married to her church planter husband Chris since Sept. 2000 and is the mother of 3 beautiful children. She's a former United States Marine who operates as the Marketing Director for the Passion For Christ Movement (P4CM). Morgan serves on the Women's Ministry Leadership Team at her local church body and in the summer of 2013, Chris & Morgan, along with a host of other believers will launch Radical Life Church in the heart of Los Angeles, CA. Morgan is passionate about holistic discipleship and loves discipling and mentoring young women. She can be found tweeting at @SetApartGrl and blogging at SetApartGrl.com.
By Mickela Rutledge
What will he look like? What will we talk about? How will I meet him? Do I already know him? But back to true contentment. What does that look like? What does that feel like? Do I have it? When will I have it?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? I know for the past couple of months I have struggled with finding the answers to these questions. Especially when it comes to my season of singleness. In a world where it seems that everyday someone is getting into a relationship or engaged or meeting a significant other, it is so easy to ask God what about me? I am doing everything right. I am following you, desiring to be with a Christian man and I am constantly waiting on you. Why am I still single? But we all have to come to a point to where God is simply enough. He fills all voids. Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content”. True contentment is learned and it is not a feeling. We often have the tendency to think that when I reach a certain level of contentment and peace, then God will give me a relationship. And even though I was waiting on God, I still made ‘God giving me a relationship’ an idol. God is definitely jealous for us and nothing comes before him. Not even our dreams or desires. James 4:5 says” Surely you don’t think the scripture is wrong when it says; the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for him alone?”
The truth is, God alone is enough. He is more than anything we could ever imagine. Yes, God has the power and the ability to orchestrate our love stories and I believe he wants to do that but we can’t wait to let our lives began when we meet that special someone. Our lives started when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. True contentment knows who you are in Christ and learning to let your mind and heart rest with where God has you right now. God is everything we want in a special guy. He is perfect, he loves us for who we truly are and he desires to see us grow and succeed. He has a sense of humor and he loves and enjoys life! He has the ability to comfort us when we are sad and truly knows what to do to put a smile on our faces. He also loves to hear us talk! We need to start realizing that God is everything that we seek and desire in a relationship.
So, what is keeping us away from accepting where God has us right now? I had to realize that daydreaming and fantasizing about my special someone or how God would put that special someone into my life took my focus off of God’s plan for my life in this season. Dreaming about this took me away from my present reality and made me even more discontent with the season that I was in. Luke 12:34 reads, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. I took a break from love songs and songs that made me dwell on having a relationship until my head was clear and I was able to fully trust God with my love life. Having a relationship is like having icing on a cake. God and us make up the cake. We are whole with God. Having a guy is the icing. We have to learn to love ourselves and find the beauty and joy that is in our lives right now. So get out and start enjoying your life as a single godly woman. Grow deeper in his word and want he says about you. Enjoy hobbies or hanging out with friends or even serve others who may need your help. You only get to be single once. In what ways can you enjoy your life as a single? Feel free to share.
By Chelsie Johnson
When I think about courtship I automatically relate it so dating in a biblical manner. I really don’t care for the term “courtship,” sounds so old fashioned.
Growing up I was never that girl who dated. The thought of bouncing from relationship to relationship sounded all too draining for me. I had one boyfriend the summer before senior-not at all a serious thing, just a couple of lustful teenagers. My second relationship started right before my freshman year of college-long distance, young dreamers, we thought we knew what love was. Honestly, neither one of those relationships were healthy. I knew that, but I wasn’t ready to become that radical female who waits for that guy who God had for me. The thought of meeting the one seemed so far away…until a day in October.
October 2011 brought a lot of changes in my life. I moved to Indiana at the end of August of that year, to attend IU. I had no one other than Christ to lean on. I was moving with at the time was a very best friend of mine. But like they say, never live with a best friend. I struggled a lot that year, broken friendships, away from home. I had no other choice but to reply on Christ. As I feel more deeply in love with my Savior my eyes were open to the toxic relationship I was in. A relationship that was formed on friendship, but it turned into nothing more than lust and sexual desires. Yes, there was love…but not the love that God designed. Marriage was mentioned but not for the right reasons. For months I felt God calling me to end that chapter of my life and draw near to Him. So finally on a sunny Saturday morning, I did. It was by far the hardest thing I had ever done up to that point. I hated knowing that I had hurt someone, at the same time though, I knew I had to end it. It was either I end it, or keeping going in the wrong direction. For months, I questioned not only myself but God as well. I never went through a depression, but that was only because I remained friends with my ex-still speaking to him almost daily.
It wasn’t until April 22, 2012, that I was finally able to trust God, COMPLETELY in my future relationships. I went out and bought a journal and a book called Praying for Your Future Husband and I started to just completely forget about the whole dating scene. I turned my focus completely on Christ. When my ex would make unannounced visits to my home (crazy, right!), I would dig even deeper into the word of God. I remember nights of crying myself to sleep with the same prayer running through my mind, “God I trust You, but this isn’t easy. Help me.” I wrote about how I would wait for someone to pursue me. I read more books on Christian dating and let God take the lead.
A few days after the new year, I causally wrote something along the lines of, maybe 2013 will be my year to meet my future spouse, I’ll be 22 this year-seems like perfect timing. After I wrote it, I completely forgot about it.
Little did I know that just a few days after that, the one person I had been praying for would come along.
By Myla Rayford
We all long to be loved! Is it really worth giving up things that are non-negotiable? Have we really lost all of our self-respect, dignity, and self-worth just to have a man? Hey, I’ve been there, giving a random guy your attention just because you don’t want to be lonely. Loving a man too much who really doesn’t care about anything, other than getting in your pants. I know that all too well. No matter how smart, beautiful, and reserved you are some men just want to get in your pants. What about the man that you know has to be cheating or has another girl on the side, yet he keeps telling you, “everything is in your head; we will be together”.
I have learned the hard way most of the time. Giving chances to guys who I know in my mind really don’t deserve one, but I don’t want to seem mean; I mean, a book is not always what it seems right? Ha! Go with your first instinct! That is always God speaking to you.
I took the time to really see what some men were thinking when it came to relationships and marriage. I interviewed random people and observed people in their natural elements talking with friends about what they wanted or didn’t want in a mate.
Over the years, my views have changed regarding relationships and marriage. I am much wiser; I do not look for what looks and feels good. I want more; my mate has to be a man after God’s own HEART. I will no longer compromise with this issue. I want us to be blessed in the eyes of the Lord. I found out a long time ago that I couldn’t be with a non-believer. It will never work; there will always be a part of the relationship that is strained. (A non-believer is someone who may know God, but they do not actively pursue Him, or someone who does not believe in God at all.)
I observed a group of young men at a restaurant sitting around talking. The things they were saying [honestly] were absolutely appalling. The conversation was about getting grills (gold teeth) and how they want a woman who is a freak in the bed; if she is not putting up or bringing dough (money), then she needs to step. My blood was boiling as I heard this, but I kept listening as I was eating. LOL. The rest of the conversation was about how a young lady needs to have a banging body and have the best skills in the bed. The way they were degrading women was so unbelievable; you really had to be there.
Later, I went around to different malls and took various train rides in my city. While in passing, I was curious to really know if all men think about women that way. Most wanted a woman that they could see “eye to eye” with. They wanted someone who had smarts; something beyond what is going on in the celebrity world. These gentlemen I surveyed also wanted a freak in the bed and felt if he had to wait for the goods, there was no point.
Some men did express their interests in finding a woman after God’s heart. They know and love the Lord and are willing to grow together and build a loving relationship through Christ. It is nice to hear there are men who truly value God’s grace and not what they see Lil’ Wayne doing.
This was very interesting. It pains me that so many young ladies are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to dating and prospects for marriage. We really need more men to step up and teach our young men how to love.
Ladies, do you really want a man who thinks your greatest asset is your body? No. Why subject yourself to what a random [man] has to offer? Chase God, not a man. You want a man that will treat you like the queen you are. Not, someone who treats you as less than an equal, or keep you around for a good time. You’ve tried new things to make it work, but it never does because you’re supposed to wait for whom God has for you! Hey, you caught me; I’m guilty of this as well.
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and he gave himself up for her.”
I want man who is going to love me like he loves Christ. This is the kind of love you should be longing for. I challenge you to make a list of everything you want in a man and pray over it.
Will you let go and let God take over from here?
By Carla Cannon
I can recall times as a single woman I would always get so depressed during holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Lord knows especially Valentine’s Day! But it wasn’t until I really began to seek the Lord about my true condition because I knew this was no natural battle I was fighting but clearly this was spiritual warfare. It was almost as if my moods would change in an instance.
I can remember laying in bed crying all day or either trying to sleep all day and the minute the next morning (after the holiday) arrived I was suddenly all well and the depression and attacks would fade away.
Image via: We Heart It
"I wrestled often in my mind if a man would ever want to marry me because I had been with women and I didn’t have a “popular” testimony."
But although I seemed to be fine due to my many smiles and so forth through prayer I identified that I as a woman, a mom who was in search of her purpose was still broken in many areas of my life. I was filled with bitterness, hurt, pain and shame from my past. I wrestled often in my mind if a man would ever want to marry me because I had been with women and I didn’t have a “popular” testimony. But my testimony was that I used to be a promiscuous woman who later turned into a lesbian. Not to mention the fact that my father was in and out of my life and every man I had ever been with (except my daughter’s father but that relationship wasn’t the best either) had cheated on me.
What was wrong with me? Was I not pretty enough? Did I not make anyone happy? The answers to all of these questions that often ran consistently through my mind were totally irrelevant because the last thing Carla needed was any ordinary man but Carla needed Jesus. During prayer I remember hearing the Lord tell me He loved me. It was as if my heart literally felt the hand of Jesus telling me He was going to heal me. I was wrapped up in some much bondage and pain from being told I would never amount to anything by some family members and teachers. To growing up being labeled as ADHD and being put on Ritalin (supposedly a medication used to treat it) which only made me act as a zombie and made me itch and paranoid. All of these things in my past, I remembered.
But one day, the Lord rebuked the enemy long enough and God literally gave me a hunger and thirst for His word and for more of Him. John 1:1 reminds us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Therefore what I had to learn to do was get into God’s word and find healing, to gain an understanding of who God really was because truly you can’t tap into who you really are until you learn who God is in your life who actually lives through you!
"God has a great plan for your life and He wants you to spend time with Him, and love on Him, and allow Him to be your all in all. "
My sisters, I said all of that to say, 2013 is the year to declare NO MORE HOLIDAY BLUES! God has a great plan for your life and He wants you to spend time with Him, and love on Him, and allow Him to be your all in all. Every desire you have if it is according to God’s will, in His timing it will come to past but we must learn the art of patience. My new book: The Power in Waiting teaches women (and men) how to embrace their process and understand how to not grow weary in well doing during the period of prophesy to experiencing manifestation.
So declare today that you will not cry again over what you don’t have, but you will focus on what you do have! Amazingly today, the Lord has placed some awesome women of God in my life that honestly I have to fight to get alone time because we all enjoy one another so much! My friend, God will do the exact same thing for you if you will let Him! Know who you are, whose you are and never settle for anything less than God’s best!
Guest post by Coleen York
"I began to realize my “need” for a relationship had a lot to do with how I viewed singleness in general. "
For more years than I care to admit, I jumped from one relationship to the (often unstable) next relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I had morals and standards, but I just really didn’t like being by myself. It was boredom…or so I told myself. Although in the moment I tried not to analyze what was driving this need within me.
In hindsight I realize it was a whole lot more than boredom that motivated my serial dating years.
It had a lot to do with my need for outside affection and affirmation. Peel back even more layers, and I began to realize my “need” for a relationship had a lot to do with how I viewed singleness in general.
Image via: A Well Traveled Woman
"Singleness is not a condition. It isn’t a disease. It is not an ailment that requires an immediate remedy or fix (or fix-up in this case)."
In times of singleness I would look at my dating friends with envy. I wanted a relationship that worked. I wanted the cute guy to look at ME that way. I wanted to be pursued. I wanted my friends to stop trying to fix me up with their leftover friends. I didn’t understand why it just wasn’t happening for me.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. Before we even realize what we are doing, we begin to inwardly examine every detail about ourselves in order to determine the cause of our singleness.
"I wanted a relationship that worked. I wanted the cute guy to look at ME that way. I wanted to be pursued. "
What is wrong with me? Is it my hair? Am I too loud? Too smart? Is my body not the right shape? Do I smell? Am I too funny? Not funny enough? Not spiritual enough? Why am I so blooming awkward?!
We begin to view singleness as some kind of disorder that we need to cure.
But here’s the thing we often forget… Singleness is not a condition. It isn’t a disease. It is not an ailment that requires an immediate remedy or fix (or fix-up in this case). Being single is NOT a problem. Nor does being single mean that there is a problem with YOU.
"You just need to trust that God’s perspective is so much larger than what you can see from your own little window."
If you are single you do not need fixed or cured. You do not need any of your well-meaning friends to set you up with their third cousin’s friend that goes to med-school (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the point is you don’t NEED it).
The fact is, being single is not an epidemic or a plague. It does not mean that there is something heinously wrong with you. God allows periods of singleness in our lives for many reasons. In fact, in the Bible Paul even refers to singleness as a gift (1 Cor 7:7).
Maybe God wants to protect your heart from the wrong guy who would break it. Perhaps God wants you to spend time SOLELY seeking Him and what he has for you without any distractions. Maybe your man of God that will one day sweep you off your feet is doing missions work in Africa, or maybe God is not yet done preparing and shaping his heart to be ready for YOU. It could be that if you met your “someone” right now that you both would not be in a place where the relationship would work. There are thousands of potential reasons you could be single and none of them are because you have a bad haircut or didn’t wear your retainer after you got your braces off. You don’t need to analyze it. You just need to trust that God’s perspective is so much larger than what you can see from your own little window.
The last thing that God wants is for you to look at singleness as a curse or an excuse to feel bad about yourself. We all have bad days and yeah, every now and again throw yourself a pity party if you need. But do not take this time for granted. God has a very specific purpose with specific tasks for you during this season of your life and you’ll miss it if you’re constantly trying to fast-forward. Whether single, married, dating, divorced, wherever you find yourself, God’s plans are infinitely bigger and grander than you could have ever possibly dreamed for yourself. And you don’t need a relationship for those plans to unfold or take place.
In every season ask the Creator of your heart what He is trying to teach you during this time. Embrace the place and the pace God has given you. There’s no specific formula and God is so creative that He isn’t going to write you the same exact story as someone else. So, dear one, try not to compare your era of singleness to another’s time of relationship.
God loves you. The individual you are. Not the couple you might be part of one day. He loves YOU, in this moment and forever after.
|| |Coleen York is an ardent Jesus follower and writer (and she sometimes fancies herself a part-time comedienne). She is passionate about ministering to the hearts of women by showing them their true worth and identity in Christ alone. This passion led her to found She Has Worth, a website designed to reinforce the worth and beauty God has given each and every woman, regardless of her past or relationship status.
By Julie Caulder
February is slated as a "month of love," It's a month where couples express their love towards each other while us singles wonder, "Where is our one?" I'm in the middle of navigating through singleness and trying solely to focus on God and lean on Him when I'm lonely. Sometimes it's easy, most of the time it's not. When you've gone through more rejection in your life than you can bear to count and we've uttered "I love you" than you care to remember, singleness is hard. We all want to be loved, treasured, and valued. When someone comes into our life and says those words, a part of us wants to believe it. Until this person is no longer in our life and we wonder if we'll ever experience it again.
Rejection is painful. Unrequited love is devastating.
Many of us walk around in life feeling unloved. We don't hear it enough or experience it enough. And some of us believe the lie we aren't worthy of being loved again after the love we extended wasn't returned. In my own life, I have believed this lie. I believed it to the point where I was willing to do anything to earn someone else's love. I fought and tried effortlessly to keep others in my life who weren't mine to be kept. In the end, I was abandoned and I wanted to give up on love. It were in these moments when God gently nudged my heart and drew me back to Him.
"God will use our rejection to restore our relationship with Him."
Looking back, I see why things happened in my life the way they did. God wanted my attention and He was going to remove everything in my life to gain it back. He wanted me to put Him first. In retrospect, I had abandoned my first love. We all fall into this trap. As women we like attention and the feeling of being needed and wanted by a man, but these men aren't Jesus.
We are flawed and broken. Two halves can't make a whole. We can only be made whole in Christ.
This was challenging for me as I've transitioned through seasons of singleness. Learning to put Him first and pursue and seek Him in everything, is where God has me now. He wants me to pursue Him passionately in everything. The more I seek Him, He reminds me I am not defined by any man or anything from my past. He calls me by name everyday and reminds me He loves me. While this truth hasn't always sustained me through depression and loneliness, it has been a beautiful reminder in my brokenness. Regardless of what others have done to me, He still loves and cares for me.
"God loves us as we are, His love is requited for eternity."
In Him, we are accepted, needed, and wanted. Open your heart and experience the fullness of Christ's love.
Scripture for reflection:
I’ve never really wanted a big wedding.
I mean yes, what girl doesn’t dream about dresses, color schemes, flowers, cake and first dances? If you go on my Pinterest account I have a board marked “Future” that has some marriage and wedding stuff but I doubt I’ll put any of it to use. I’ve always wanted a wedding and always wanted to be married, but never really got caught up in all the fluff.
I’ve never really thought about my “dream proposal” either.
Sure, I’ve gone on YouTube and watched countless videos of AMAZING proposals; crowds of family and friends lip-syncing the couple’s favorite song as the man escorts his soon-to-be fiancé through a candlelit garden at sunset. I’ve been pretty fortunate to witness some great proposals as well, but I’ve never really given much thought to what my own might look like.
I haven’t the slightest idea what kind of ring I’d want.
Of course, I’ve admired engagement rings on other women and who doesn’t skim through the Jared or Kay’s Jewelers catalogues come Christmas time? Don’t get me wrong, I love some quality bling as much as the next gal but I don’t have the cut, color and clarity picked out awaiting my future husband’s checkbook.
"I believe that like most women I have the God-given desire to be married. The desire for marriage has always been strong but seems to intensify with age."
Perhaps it the fact that others my age are tying the knot or maybe because marriage, child birth and death are the only major milestones I have yet to cross off my list. But the more I prayed about it and asked God why this desire was so strong, the answer hit me like a ton of bricks.
It wasn’t the ring, the dress, the tearful vows or the romantic proposal. It was the symbolism of it all.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve noticed a woman’s wedding ring and thought to myself, “Wow, lucky her.” Not lucky because of the size of her ring but lucky for the simple fact that she has one. Lucky because that ring symbolizes that she is different. Set apart. Chosen.
Being around women with wedding rings makes me hold my head higher, walk straighter and speak clearer. I want to hang around them. I want to listen to how they talk, what they say, how they think. I mean, why not? Obviously they’ve done something right. These women are so special that a man is so in love with her he can’t picture his life without her.
"Proposals, rings, vows, ceremonies…they symbolize so much! For me, more than wanting any of that, I just wanted that prestige.
. I wanted to feel set apart. I wanted to feel special, chosen, and unique. I wanted other people to be able to look at me and say, “Wow, lucky her.” Not lucky because of the size of my ring, but lucky simply because I have one.
I wanted that feeling so bad that I engaged in meaningless relationships and would change everything about myself on the hopes that whoever I was in that relationship would be deemed special enough.
Special enough to be called ‘lucky.’
Special enough to be chosen.
Then I met this man. A man who loves me for exactly who I am. Yes, I had to change some things for Him but these were changes for my good. Rather than getting down on one knee and asking for my hand, this man got on a cross and asked for my sins. This man chose me, set me apart, and even took the time to write my ending before my beginning. He knows my thoughts before I think them and spending time with Him is pure heaven.
Now when I walk straighter and with my head held high…now when I speak clearer, it has nothing to do with who is around me. But it has everything to do with who lives in me.
With who loves me.
With who choose me.
With who proposed to me, on a cross, long before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye.
I dare you to find a better love story than that.
So yes, I still have the desire to get married and I know that in due time; in His time, I will. But until then I will rest content in knowing that I am one of the luckiest girls in the world.Photo Credit: A Well Traveled Woman
Guest Post by Kacie Lynn
I didn’t grow up aware of the worth of my body.
When I was 8 I was at a sleepover and my friend’s father, whom I’d never met before, molested me.
I went home the next day and tried to tell my family what had happened but I didn't have an adequate vocabulary or even a category in my little-girl mind for molestation, and failed miserably to communicate what he’d done.
"Out of that inability to share or even understand, a subliminal lie disguised as fact took root in my mind: my body doesn't matter. What I do with it, what I put in it, what I use it for, whom I give it to – none of matters – to anyone."
Physical intimacy was nothing to me other than a venue for attention, and quickly through my later teens, I learned that it was the fastest way to gain affection. I gave my body away time and time again, actively hunting for approval and validation – to feel known – to feel seen – to feel protected.
"And then when I was 19 I was raped, and for the first time in eleven years, I had a striking thought: what he did to my body was wrong."
I’m not sure which “he” was I even thinking about then, but I hated how it felt to acknowledge that I had been wronged.
I quickly squished the strange sad feelings telling me I had something to be angry about – clinging hard to that thing I’d seemingly always known:my body doesn’t matter – but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it might be okay to not be okay.
I fought against being “not okay” for over two years before one day, flipping through radio stations, I caught one sentence from a pastor’s sermon that changed my life:
“The majority of the pain you feel in this life will be a direct result of the sinfulness of someone else.”
In 2 Samuel 16, King David is running away from his adversaries and leaves ten women (servants/escorts – not prostitutes, just women who live in and take care of his home) to keep things in order.
Absolom (David’s son), seeking to shame his father, takes all ten women left in the house to the roof – the very tallest point in the city – and rapes them all, publically.
I’m positive that the sermon I was listening to was actually about David’s life, but all I heard was ten women were raped before most of the psalms were even written.
And I let myself get angry – really angry – for the first time.
Rape is violent. It’s dirty, it’s isolating, and it feels like part of you that can never come back to life is dying. It makes you feel hated and forgotten and unworthy.
And, apparently, it’s not new.
I realized then that I had hidden those aching parts of my heart and my mind behind the lie that it didn’t matter for years – but I was feeling it then in all of it’s raw, pervasive, intolerable heaviness.
Sitting alone I screamed at the Lord, “Where were you? Those women were your daughters! They were obedient and brave! They didn’t do anything wrong, why would you let that happen?”
And I heard this:
“I was laying beside them. I was wrapped around them. I was crying with them.
The results of sin do not only hurt my children – the wages of sin is death! Remember who died?
I have felt the ultimate betrayal. When my daughters experienced how hated sin can make one feel, I was right there with them feeling it, too. I was with them. I was with you, too.”
That was almost two years ago, but the Lord’s gentle words to me are just now clarifying more – “I have felt the ultimate betrayal” – Jesus didn’t just feel betrayed by Judas or by the Jews or by the Romans.
He cried out on the cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (Mark 15:34)
My God, My God – My Father – Why have you forsaken me?
"Jesus didn’t utter those words because He thought they’d sound good in a book – He had the most authentic relationship with God of all time and was honestly asking why He didn’t feel God with Him."
Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to know the absence of God – but He has experienced what it is to feel like God is absent.
The Truth is, though, that God is never absent from us. His Word says clearly that He is never far from each one of us (Acts 17:20).
Our good God – the Creator – made us in His image and likeness, giving us the ability and desire to create, but He also gave freedom to choose Him or not.
And mankind is a singular noun – we’re connected, one body. Our choices affect others infinitely beyond what we perceive.
When a creative being chooses against God, that choice doesn’t strip said being of his or her creative nature or ability to create – but when we choose against God, we begin to create the opposite of God: we create the opposite of good, the opposite of love.
Jesus has experienced the depth of those things, though, and He’s with us.
And sometimes we just have to know that’s true because God says it is – even if we don’t feel that way – because that’s what faith is: the substance of hope, proof of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1) – and faith as small as a mustard seed (which is tiny) can move mountains (Luke 17:6).
You may not even see your mountain anymore. I didn’t. My mountain was “shame, anger, and fear” on one side, “victim, rejected, and worthless” on the other, and I was numb to it – but all it took was a tiny bit of faith that God is who He says He is to move that mountain so that I could see the Truth – and I’m free. I’m not angry, I’m not a victim, and I’m not worthless – I am, in fact, absolutely worthy.Photo Credit: A Well Traveled Woman
Kacie is 23 years old, a follower of Jesus Christ, a missionary, a foodie, a dreamer, a world-traveler, a storyteller. Kacie wants to see the sons and daughters of God absolutely liberated by the unconditional, unprejudiced, uncontainable, unrelenting blood of Jesus Christ. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook!