Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Wedding

     On Saturday, September 15th, this happened.

My best friend, Thomas got married to my other best friend, Becca.

It was one of  the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to. It really captured Thomas and Becca and their love for each other.

                    There was a little bit of this:

A little bit of this:

And maybe a little bit of this:

I'm going to tell you about the whole thing, don't worry, but for now I'm trying to get back to reality (as I told Thomas) and do school and chores and all that life entails. So I'm taking the next few days off. 

I'll be back next week with the wedding recap! :) Until then, 
"as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted, and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude." (Colossians 2:6-7)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 8: Proverbs 18:22

[Sorry this is SO late! I had to go to the doctor this morning, sinus infection, and then didn't get this finished til a little while ago. But here it is!]

Friends, we have reached the last post in our series on Preparing for Someday. (Sniff, sniff) I've thoroughly enjoyed writing it and hope you've been encouraged and challenged through something I've said. 

 Today we get to talk about being a good wife. Ready, set, go!

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)

I mentioned this verse at the end of yesterday's post. I like this verse a lot. There's another one a lot like it in Proverbs 19 that says this:

"House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." (19:14)

Will you be a good thing for your future husband? 

I can hear you now saying that you can't really know if you will be until you are a wife, but trust me, you can know now. 

Let me ask you this, are you a good daughter? Are you a good sister? 

Being a daughter and sister is a training ground for marriage and wifehood. (Is wifehood a word??)The way you treat your dad and brothers is how you will eventually treat your husband.

If you don't have older brothers, you're missing out. Big brothers are, in my opinion, the best training ground for marriage. If you can live with your older brothers and you all come out of it alive, you're doing okay. And if you come out of it and you all love and worship each other then you're definitely on the right track.

You may be wondering exactly how my brothers have helped prepare me for marriage. Well here's a few examples.

I've learned that I have to be the one to serve. Even though I tend to want other people to serve me, Michael has taught me that I need to be the one volunteering to give something of myself to others. I'm the one who needs to stand up and clear the table, I'm the one who needs to take his glass and fill it with sweet tea, I'm the one who needs to serve.

But...Michael has also taught me that it's okay to let a guy serve me. I don't always have to be the one to serve. If a guy wants to do something for you, let him!

Thomas has taught me that I need to be the one to apologize first. Whenever Thomas and I ever got in a fight, he would always be the first to apologize. Always, every single time. Even if the fight was my fault, he would be the one to apologize. You know why? Because I was proud, and would never say I was sorry. Thomas wasn't. I'm working on that right now. Letting go of your pride isn't easy, that's for sure.

Dad has taught me that serving is great, but it's only great if you do it with a happy heart. And I'm given plenty of opportunities to serve! I tease Daddy and ask him what he's gonna do when I move out! :) But you don't just have to serve your dad and brothers, serve other guys, too.

"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." (Proverbs 31: 10-12, 28-29)

When I get married, I want those verses to be true of me. I want my husband to trust me; I want to do him good and not evil, all the days of my life which means RIGHT NOW.

Girls, if you want to be a good wife to your husband when you get married, you have to start right now. In order to do that, work on the things that I talked about in this post.
You can do your man good right now!  Why wait until you're married?

Being a good wife is not easy. I'm not saying that it's all peaches and cream. But think about it, if you work hard on it now, won't it be easier when you really are one? Isn't it easier if you  study and prepare for a test? Aren't you more likely to pass if you do study and prepare??

So start preparing for the test. Work on your homemaking skills. Love God and desire Him more than anyone or anything else. Build relationships with your family and surround yourself with people that you love and trust to help you on your journey. "Get wisdom! Get understanding!" (Proverbs 4:5) Guard your heart. Keep your standards high.

If you do those things, then you'll be on the path to becoming an excellent wife. That is a high calling, and one that I hope to reach someday. Will you join me?


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 8: Postponed

Hello everyone!

Sorry to disappoint, but due to some circumstances here, I didn't get my post finished last night or this morning like I planned. 

Mom had to go visit one of our dear friends who had a baby last night, and has been gone all day, so I've been head kid-wrangler. Sounds like fun, right? :)

So...hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with Part 8:Proverbs 18:22. Until then, you go read that passage, and also Proverbs 19:14 and Proverbs 31:10-31.

Have a lovely Thursday, friends.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 7:What Is He Looking For?

"I'm not thinking about marriage now, but if I were, the first thing would be, 'is she a genuine Christian?'

So, I would question her and ask her friends and family about her lifestyle. If she is a genuine Christian then it would be time to look for good personality traits. 

What I would look for would be mainly honesty. Not just in what she says, but in what she does. I also would look for self respect. I would also like it when a girl is not afraid to speak her mind about how she feels and what she wants. On the other hand, I like shy also, so it's a combination of being shy, but knowing when you need to say something. 

Also, I would see how submissive she is, and whether she would let me be a man and not try to wear the pants in the house. And how attractive she is lol. It doesn't matter how you look; it's the heart that matters. Bonuses would be that we have a lot in common; beauty on the outside and inside; we would like a lot of the same music; plays piano; sings; a technology freak; and likes to stay in shape."

A friend of mine wrote the list above about what he wants in the girl that he will eventually marry. Pretty interesting, huh? Not your typical, "I want to marry a pretty girl who's a good cook."

There's nothing wrong with being pretty or a good cook. Those things are important, too. God is more important, though. Your relationship with Him is more important than what you look like, what kind of meals you make and what kind of housekeeper you are.

Today we want to talk about how to be the kind of girl that a good guy would want to marry. First we'll talk about practical things, then spiritual ones.

1)Can you cook? I'm not talking about frozen pizza, or Ramen noodles, or things like that. I'm talkin' full meals. Steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans?? Could you cook any of those things?

Who would want to marry a girl that can't cook? I've heard of that happening. Poor guys. That's all I can say. Poor, poor guys.

Girls, if you plan to get married, learn to cook. Please! You'll be glad you did. I'm learning right along with you. I know how to make a couple of meals right now, although I usually go back to the same two: tacos (or nachos) or fried chicken. :) But chicken is my favorite food ever, and tacos are super easy, so that's why.

2)Can you add, subtract, multiply and divide? (Negative,here). One time Mom set me loose in Wal-Mart and said, "Okay, go get these groceries, and I want you to keep a running total. When we get up to the front, I want you to know about how much we're going to be spending." I did, and my total was only 2 dollars over what we ended up paying. I rounded up to the 50th cent on every dollar we spent.

Simple math is important. As much as I hate math, I have to admit that I will always use it. Whether I'm paying bills, buying groceries, teaching my kids...I'll always use it.

3)Can you run a home? This encompasses more than you might think. Last month my younger brother was in the hospital for 5 days, and Mom was with him for the most part. I was in charge of the house. I had a little help from Daddy and my brothers who got the kitchen all cleaned while I was gone one morning.

I was in charge of the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the kids...whew...when Mom and Jamie got home, I was so relieved. :) The day after they got home, I slept until 10:30! I was worn out.

But when she got home, [most of] the laundry was clean, the refrigerator was cleaned out, the counters were clean, and the kids were clean. It wasn't easy, but it gave me a good look at what running a house looks like. And it honestly freaked me out a little. It was hard! There were moments when I just wanted to sit down and cry. But that's reality. So work on your housekeeping skills.

So those are some practical things that a guy should look for in a girl that he is thinking about marrying. 

Some spiritual things are:

1)What does her relationship with God look like? Is it evident that she loves Him? How far would she be willing to go to serve Him? 

I think about that one a lot. What if I marry someone who is called to the mission field? What if I end up marrying a pastor? My life could be radically changed. How would I react to that? 

For me, I'm working on not getting too attached to one thing. One house, one town, one city, one state, one boy, one car...that kind of thing. Attachment will only make things harder in the long run.

2)Can you forgive and forget? 

This is a pride issue for me. I don't forgive easily. And it's so hard for me to ask for forgiveness. But this is huge in a marriage.  

When Thomas and Becca got married on Saturday, I absolutely loved something she said in her vows to him. She said, quite simply, "Sometimes I'll be no good." Wow. It hit me right between the eyes. She totally understands that there are going to be times when she has to beg his forgiveness and will let him down. 

A friend of ours sent Becca a wedding card, and in it said that the best marriage advice she could give is to never go to bed angry. It's an interesting thing to think about. 

If you want to marry someone who will forgive you when you wrong them, then why wouldn't they want to marry someone who would do the same for them?

3)Can you be a helper? After all, that is why God originally created women, was to help men. That means you help him in every thing he does. You support him in his work, you support him when he is about to do something absolutely crazy and you think he's out of his mind, you support him when he decides to pack up your bags and move to North matter what, you help him in any way you can and support him in every decision he makes.


What kind of mother will you make? This may seem like an odd question. But think about you love kids? Okay, so you love kids. Would you want to be around several of them 24/7? A little hesitation there, maybe? 

Personally I cannot wait to have my own kids! I told Becca and Caroline one time that I thought I wanted to have kids even more than I wanted to get married. They both kind of laughed and said that I needed to get married first, haha. :) I think that raising kids is a woman's most rewarding task. is a task. It's hard work. Just as my mama. She has been pregnant with, in labor with, delivered, and has raised 10 kids. (Her youngest is 5). She'll tell you that it ain't easy. But is it worth it? Absolutely. "I have no greater joy than to hear of my children walking in the truth," said John. And they weren't even his real biological children! 

If you are easily irritated and impatient, then chances are your kids will rub you the wrong way. So work on that now. If you have younger siblings, its the perfect opportunity to perfect some mommy skills. Trust me, I know. :)

With Thomas and Becca just getting married, I have marriage, weddings and relationships on the brain I guess. But as I was thinking about it this morning, I was wondering: am I really the kind of girl that will attract the kind of guy I want to marry? 

Are you?

Are we worthy of the kinds of guys we want to marry? Will we do them good and not evil, all the days of our lives?

Girls, if you want to marry a superstar, someone who will be your hero and best friend, please be worthy of someone like that. Be worthy of his love and affection.

My brothers are well-know for their protectiveness. They swear they're gonna kill the guy that wants to marry me. But Mom said one time, "If the guy that wants to marry Jennifer can put up with everything her brothers are ready to dish out, he'll be worthy."

That sounds like I'm a perfect person and am worthy of a prince. But really that only makes me realize how unworthy I am of even my brothers' love. I don't deserve their love anymore than I will deserve the love of the guy who marries me. 

I'm working hard on becoming that girl though. I'm perfecting my homemaking skills (including overcoming my hatred for washing dishes and doing laundry), I'm working on loving my siblings no matter what we're going through, I'm working on forgiving, and asking for forgiveness. I'm learning to love unconditionally. I'm trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord and asking Him to prepare me to follow my man around the world if necessary. 

When I get married, I want this verse to be true of me:

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

But more on that verse tomorrow... :)



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 6:What Am I Looking For?

I've already posted about this subject one time. You can read that post here.

The book of Proverbs gives a lot of examples of what a godly young man looks like. It tells us what wisdom looks like and what folly looks like. Proverbs 31:3-5, 8&9 says this:

"Do not give your strength to women, or your ways to that which destroys kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted...

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."

That passage lays out what a man should and shouldn't do. 

1) He shouldn't give his strength to women or his ways to that which destroys kings

2) He shouldn't drink wine or desire strong drink

3) He should open his mouth for the mute and for the rights of all the unfortunate.

4) He should judge righteously and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

His delight should be in the law of the Lord, and in that law he should meditate, day and night. He should be like a tree, firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither and in whatever he does, he will prosper. (Taken from Psalm 1)

His love for God should define him; it should be totally evident to me and to the rest of the world that God is the most important thing in his life.

Another big deal is: what does he treat his mom like? Or his sisters, if he has them. Does he treat them with the respect and love that they deserve? Is he a total gentleman towards them? It's honestly a breath of fresh air when I see a guy talking to his mom in the hallway at church and holding the door for his sisters and helping them carry their bags to the car. That's a real man for you.

I have met a lot of guys in my 17 and 3/4 years (I'm so past the half marker now :) There have been very few that I have respected and even fewer that I have thought I could possibly "date". Are my standards too high? Do I expect too much?

I don't think so. All of my standards and expectations come from what I have seen played out by my older brothers. All 6 or 7 or 8 of them. They have showed me what real men look like, and they've showed me what sacrificial love looks like.  

I have seen that real men know when you stand up for what they believe in, but they also know when you just let something go and not fight it. They know what's worth fighting for. 

Real men will be leaders. They will lead in love, intimacy, righteousness, selflessness and the word of God. (One of my older brothers told me that. :)He won't want or expect you to make decisions, but he will realize that you can have your say in the matter. 

A real man will take care of himself, you and others. He will watch out for those he cares about. He will keep himself healthy and take care of his body.

A real man will be a missionary, always reflecting Jesus. It doesn't matter if he lives in his hometown or moves to Africa, he will always let the light of Jesus shine. 

A real man will love me for who I am. He will love me when I am at my very best, and when I'm at my very worst. Sometimes I wonder if he could ever really love me when I'm having a really bad day and am super emotional. But then I see my brothers, who love their wives unconditionally, and I see that they love me unconditionally. That gives me hope.

My boy will love my family. He'll be a part of the family, and feel right at home. (Maybe not right away, because at the beginning some members of my family will probably make it severely awkward for everyone concerned... :) He'll be able to hang out with them and enjoy their company even when I'm not around.

A real man will work hard. Even when it's hot outside and he'd rather be in the air conditioning, or even when it's freezing and he'd rather be inside with a cup of coffee. (He will like coffee, right??)

My boy will love Jesus, love me, and love our kids, even before they're born. He'll love his family, my family, and our family. 

You may be thinking that my boy doesn't exist; you may be wondering if I'll ever meet a guy like that. Well, there's hope. My older brothers fulfill all those requirements, so I know that there must be more guys like that out there. So, I'll just wait until he comes along. It may be sooner rather than later, or maybe later rather than sooner. Either way, he'll be a gift from God, a gift that I don't deserve.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 5: So...What If I Never Get Married?

Happy Monday, friends! I'm so glad to be back. I feel like I've been on a long vacation. Thomas and Becca got married on Saturday and the wedding was BEAUTIFUL and SO MUCH FUN and HAPPY and every good thing. :) I was a bridesmaid along with Becca's roommate, Meagan and her sister, Lindsay. The wedding ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was awesome and turned into a dance party! We all had a blast. And now they're married and will live happily ever after! :)

But anyway, onto today's topic which is: So...What If I Never Get Married? (Inward shudder, anyone?) And as a side-note, isn't it a little ironic that this is the topic when I just finished talking about my brother's amazing wedding?? :)

Personally, this is something that I rarely ever think about. Not because I'm okay with being single but because I'm scared to death to think about it. It literally freaks me out a little when I think about never getting married.  

When I think about it, I ask myself questions like: what would I do with my time? How would I survive? Will I just live with Mom and Dad for the rest of my life? 

This is a serious question to ask yourself. What would you do if you never got married? Or what would you do if you didn't get married until you were, say, 25 or 30? 

There is never a promise in the Bible that every girl who really desires marriage will get married. God owes us nothing. Yes, He does bless some of us and some people do end up getting married, but marriage is not a given. 

So...what if I never get married? What if you never get married?

"But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but the one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint up on you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7: 32-35)

Whew. Serious verses there, Jen. Don't fuss at me, fuss at Paul. He wrote them. Don't take them lightly.

I want to ask you something. 

Are you concerned about the things of the Lord? Are you holy in both body and spirit? 

God has really been teaching me lately that if I am not truly desiring Him and loving Him with my whole heart, then really, marriage is not an option. I can never be a good wife if I am not a good daughter to Him. 

What are you doing with your single years? Are you wasting them?

I have been guilty of wasting my single years. I haven't invested enough time in my relationship with God, my family or friends. However, I'm not done being single yet.

So here's a list of things that I personally am working on while I'm not married:

1) Be concerned about the things of the Lord. Be holy in both body and spirit. Delight myself in the Lord.

2) Learn patience. 

3) Enjoy the little things in life that may seem mundane. 

4) Remember that God is working. If He wasn't working, I wouldn't be here.

Just four simple things. The thing is, even if I never get married, I can still work on those things. I can still perfect them. Because marriage is not promised me. And so I want God to be my main goal. 

If I never get married, I will still be striving to please the Lord in every move I make. No matter what I'm doing. Whether I'm still living at home and helping my mom and helping train my younger siblings; whether I'm working for my brother or teaching piano lessons; whether I move out and live in a different city or become a full-time nanny...or if I get married and have at least 7 matter what, I want to be pleasing to the Lord. 

You can do so much more for the Lord while you're single. Most of the younger women that have mentored me have done so while they were single. GraceAnna, Jillian, Becca, all women who mentored me while they were single; all girls who were concerned about the things of the Lord and then were blessed and got married. 

If you know that you've been wasting your single years up to this point, realize that there is still hope. We can learn together. We can pray together. We can even cry together when life gets tough. But let's decide that today can be different. Today we can start being concerned about the things of the Lord. 

"But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Timothy 4:5)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 4:Guarding Our Hearts

"...for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth..."

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

"Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!"

"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?"

You may wonder where I am going with those verses. Well, today we're going to talk about one of the most well-known phrases on the church scene. Yep, that's the one I'm talking about. Guard your hearts.

Any young man or woman in between the age of 11 and 21 has heard this phrase used at least a hundred times, maybe more depending on how involved they've been in youth group and Sunday school. I was never exposed to the "guard your hearts" phrase, because I quit attending Sunday school in 6th grade and didn't go back until 11th grade. In the meantime, I worked in nursery and helped in my parent's 1st grade Sunday school class.

When I first started going to the high school girls' Sunday school class, I got a heavy dose of the "guarding your heart" medicine. It got me to thinking...why do teachers and leaders and pastors use that phrase? Is it really biblical? 

Oh, I know all about the verse in Proverbs that says this:
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."

I'm not saying that there isn't a verse that says that. It's pretty clear. 

But are the teachers and leaders using this verse biblically? 

The majority of the time when the teachers and leaders use this verse, what are they talking about? Guys or girls. How you shouldn't like a guy, or a girl. Am I right?

Did Solomon (or rather, God) really mean it in that way?

Our hearts are, by nature, ugly, dirty and filled with sin. When we get saved, the old things pass away and all things become new. So, we get a new heart. But our tendency is still to be sinful. We are that way because Adam and Eve sinned at the beginning of time. 

We have to work hard to keep our hearts clean. They are not naturally blooming, blushing beauties. They just aren't. 

To me, this verse means a lot more than just not liking someone. It goes a lot deeper than that.

You have to watch every word you say, for "out of the mouth flows that which fills the heart." You have to be careful what things you fill your mind with. Because that's what this verse is talking about. The reference to our hearts really means our minds. 

You have to decide who you'll spend time with, what relationships you'll invest in. You have to make up your mind that you won't watch movies that are inappropriate.

Guarding our hearts shouldn't simply be about whether we like that guy or not; it should be about so much more. When someone guards their heart, they are making a conscience effort to be more like Christ. And that is, after all, our job.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 
...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light...trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord...
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." 

So you may be asking yourself, or me, "If the guarding your heart verse isn't talking about liking a guy, is liking a guy okay?" Good question. At what point does liking a guy become a problem?

In all my 17 and a half years, I have only ever seriously like two guys. I have liked a few more than that, but never more than just liking them. You know there's a difference, right? 

Here's the difference: with the other guys I have just "liked" it has been something as simple as, "he's cute." I might have thought about him, wrote about him in my journal, little things like that. The two guys that I seriously liked...well that's a different story.

I became emotionally involved with both of them. I spent time getting to know them and we were best friends. That made it so much harder when we stopped talking. With the first guy, we were both in denial and claimed we didn't like each other and it made our situation very awkward. We didn't talk to each other for several months.

With the second guy, I ended up "breaking up" with him because I knew we were too close. 

Both of those times, I walked away with heartache, because I had gotten involved emotionally. The problem wasn't that I had initially liked them, but I let those feelings run away and carry me with them. 

When your leaders or teachers are constantly telling you to guard your heart, they are not necessarily saying to never like a guy again. As a matter of fact, I guarantee you most of them would tell you that liking a guy is a normal part of life. God created us that way. 

I don't hate myself because of the two "relationships" I have been in. I have learned a lot about life because of them. But my relationship with my parents, siblings and God would be stronger now if I hadn't wasted time like that. I got too caught up in what I wanted at the time and what "felt good", and ignored the conviction I felt and didn't care about guarding my heart.

Healing isn't easy once you've gotten involved in something emotionally. That's one of the reasons, I believe, that our leaders are so strongly urging us to guard our hearts. They understand how hard it is to watch over your heart, and keep yourself pure. They understand that it hurts when you get involved in something emotionally.

You have to make the decision to watch over your heart with all diligence, because every decision you make is going to come from the heart. While that's a little scary, because our hearts are not perfect, it's also promising, because we are learning together to be imitators of God, as beloved children. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 3: Boys...

(Note to the reader: Today was supposed to be the day that we looked at Guarding Our Hearts. I sat down to work on my rough draft yesterday, and hated it, and deleted it. And then I couldn't finish the other thing that I started, so today we're going to look at Boys....instead. Hopefully the post about guarding your heart will go up tomorrow! Thanks for understanding!!)

If you have ever seriously liked a guy, you know how painful it can be if you let your feelings run away with you being pulled along behind. You know that it hurts when the guy doesn't talk to you as much as you would like, or when he pays attention to every girl except you. You know that you turn red and your ears perk up every time someone mentions his name. 

I've totally been there. What are we supposed to do about those feelings? I'm going to try and give you some ideas today.

(This is more specifically written for the girl who really really really likes a guy, not so much for the girl who has a crush).

1) Take those feelings to God.
This is serious, girls. I'm not just talking about a quick, night-time prayer, saying, "God, I like so-and-so." This is huge. I'm talking about all the time, day after day, giving this over to God. Every single day, moment by moment, begging Him to help you let Him be enough to fulfill you. It's not easy. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 says this:
 "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ..."

Take your thoughts captive. Don't let them run away with you. When you feel yourself begin to think about that certain boy's good looks, or how much fun it would be to hang out with him, or what y'all could do together if you started dating, or wondering what he wants to name y'all's kids...I mean, his kids... capture those thoughts and give them to Christ. Be obedient and let Him be enough.

Pray Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 

2)Embrace accountability.
In other words, tell your parents. Involve them. They won't bite your head off. This will help you in several ways: 
First of all, you won't have to try to keep secrets from your parents, which is almost impossible anyways. Secondly, it helps you build a stronger relationship with your parents. Thirdly, it gives your parents an opportunity to see where you are emotionally, and helps them as they help prepare you to be a good wife. Fourthly, it'll give your parents a reference point for when you need to be talked to because of your...crush...or whatever you want to call it. 

3)Once you've told your parents, trust their counsel
Friend, this is so huge. You can tell your parents, but then totally ignore what they have to say. Been there, done that. But their advice is so valuable, and they are so much wiser than you. Learn to listen and trust them to know what's best for you. 

4) Watch what you say.
You know when you have a conversation with that certain guy and then after that you hit the replay button in your mind and listen to the conversation over and over? And then you get your best friends involved and start playing the "he said-she said" game? Not a good idea, girl. That only makes matters worse, because not only are you dwelling on him, but you are getting your friends involved in a giddy, girly way. 

5)Get rid of things that irritate your symptoms.
It's hard to remain pure and not dwell on that attractive guy when you spend all day listening to sappy love songs, reading romantic literature, watching movies where love is the main theme. I'm not saying you can never watch Pride and Prejudice again (heaven forbid!) or listen to a love song, but are those things feeding your soul? Are you living on them?

6)Learn to wait and see.
We do not know what God has planned for our lives. It's that simple. You have to learn patience. It's a virtue, you know. One that I don't possess. I'm working on it, so we can learn together. 

7)Allow him to lead.
Don't pursue him, please! Yes, even if he's the tallest, handsomest, most amazing guy you've ever met in your entire life! Don't do it. 
Now, I'm not saying here to completely ignore him. Just don't pursue. Don't follow him around. Don't spend time with only him at church or school or wherever you're together. Don't make it obvious that you're attracted to him. Don't be mean, but don't be overly interested. Don't spend all your time touching his arm and laughing at his jokes like they're the funniest things in the world. Don't comment on every one of his posts on Facebook. 
Always ask yourself, "Am I doing these things to get him to notice me?" And remember, denial is not your friend.

Friend, know that those desires will always be present. But you can choose whether you let them get out of hand or not. 

You will meet a lot of guys over the years. Don't get caught up in them. Don't pursue them. Make it your ambition to be pleasing to the Lord, not pleasing to that one boy. 

(I took the 7 points out of the book Joyfully At Home by Jasmine Baucham. It is an amazing book and a must-read! Even if you are not currently a stay-at-home daughter, you will learn and be challenged to love Jesus more and pursue Him no matter what your circumstances! So go grab a copy!)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Preparing For Someday, Part 2: Waiting-What It Doesn't Accomplish

"I've grown comfortable with staying at home, waiting for a guy to come along and sweep me off my feet, and then marry me. Waiting...waiting...waiting. It doesn't fulfill me to wait. Waiting does not make me zealous for God. 

I sure as heck haven't given up my dreams of being a wife and someday a mom. But I am not going to spend the rest of my teenage/high school/living at home years waiting. Everlastingly waiting. Waiting (for me) basically means that I want a different position in life, and am no longer content with where I am. 

How many times a day do I wish that I was married? Or at least in a relationship that was headed in that direction? How many times a day do I wonder what God is doing in my life? Or if He even is doing anything??

That's discontentment. Discontentment robs me of the joy in my simple, everyday life. It takes away the beauty of what God is doing and makes me wonder if He'll ever do what I want Him to. It's all about me. Waiting focuses on me. 

How can I be God-focused if I'm busy waiting for tomorrow? For me, it's impossible.  I can't serve God, and myself. It's that simple."

The above was taken from my journal. I wrote it almost a week ago, after reading this post. I want you to go read it. Yes, right now. If you don't intend to read it, then go ahead and click the little red x in the corner, because the rest of this post won't do you any good. Thank you. :)

"I already have Him … and He is everything."

If you didn't just read that sentence at the bottom of the post I linked to, then you need to go back right now and do as I said and read the darn thing! :) (Gee, some people just don't listen!)

As I'm sure you all know from reading my blog, or talking to me, or emailing me, or being around me...I'm not in a relationship with anyone. I'm single. Footloose and fancy-free. Or...something like that. I'm not headed towards marriage with that one guy who has come along and completely swept me off my feet. 

I'm holding out for a superstar. Someone who will (in the words of my brother) love Jesus, love me and work his tail off to provide for me and our kids. 

Holding out and waiting are two very different things. often do I actually say, "I'm holding out"?? Hardly ever. Until writing this, I only remember saying it maybe twice. I always, 98% of the time say, "I'm waiting..." 

These are some of the definitions of waiting found on Merriam Webster Online:

to stay in place in expectation of something

to remain stationary in readiness or expectation

So basically when you're waiting, you're standing still, in expectation of something. This basically sums up what we (as Christian young women who want to marry superstars) are doing. We are standing still, because we expect something to happen. 

Eventually, we think, a guy will come along and realize what a wonderful wife we would make, and fall head over heels for us and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, we're married. Why? Why are we standing still, waiting? Why do we expect something of God? 

As I've been thinking about this, I looked up wait in the concordance in the back of my Bible. It listed these 4 references: Psalm 25:5, Psalm 119:81, Romans 8:19, and Galatians 5:5. I'll let you read them in the order I just listed them:

  "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day."

"My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word."

"For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God."

"For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness." 

Were those verses talking about waiting on a guy? I don't think so. They are all talking about God. "For YOU I wait all the day..." "I wait for YOUR WORD..." "We are waiting for THE HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS..."

I want to be waiting for that. I want to have a constant longing for more of God's Word. I want to be expecting Him to reveal Himself to me in a new way, each and every day. Because, honestly girls, God is the only thing in this life that you can count on. He will never ever let you down. 

You can't count on a guy. Most guys are a dime a dozen. Even the guy that you will eventually marry is a sinner, and you will never be able to rely on him like you can on God.    

I have said before that I want the desire of my heart to be for Jesus. And, y'all, I mean it. I don't say that lightly. I love Jesus so much. And I want to love Him even more. I want Him to be my very life. I want Him to be the only reason I get up in the morning. 

I want to be waiting for Him. Waiting for Him to perfect me and make me holy.

Please don't think that this is just as simple as saying, "Okay God, my desire is gonna be for You now. I'm not going to wait for a guy." It's not easy at all. It's like taking all of my dreams and flushing them down the toilet. It's basically saying, "God, if I never get married and never have kids and just live in my parents house for the rest of my life, it'll be perfectly okay because I've got You." 

Just sitting here and re-reading that makes me wonder if it's worth it. 

I'm trying to be blunt and honest with y'all. I'm putting myself out there so you can know that this is not something that I've got mastered. Heck, everyday I find myself wishing more and more that I knew for sure that I was going to be married by the time I'm 20 years old. Everyday single day, I find myself wondering why God hasn't (seemingly) done anything so far. 

Day after day, I wait. And wait. And wait...and sometimes at night, I cry...wondering why so many of my friends are meeting nice guys and getting into relationships and I'm not. 

I don't have this thing mastered. I am not always the happy-go-lucky person that I appear to be. I'm not always strong and reliable. 

But...I'm not waiting anymore. 

I am no longer going to sit back and wait for a guy to come to me. I'm no longer going to expect anything from God, but Himself. I'm no longer going to wish and hope that I'll be married by the time I'm 20 years old. 

There is so much more to life than waiting. Yes, I could sit here at my computer and type out posts and work on my novel and play piano and listen to love songs and read books about the Christian way to date or court or whatever word you want to use, and wait...and that could go on for forever. Would that fulfill me? Never in a million years. 

There's some Newsboys lyrics that come to mind when I think about this. They say:

"I can't see myself without You. With You, I find strength to do things I never ever dreamt in a million years...with You I can do the impossible."

Friend, with Jesus, you can't fail. 

So quit waiting and jump the gun. Do something that you thought you'd never be brave enough to do. Tell that friend about Jesus. Let go of that relationship. Give that family member a hug and tell them you love them. Get down on your knees and beg God to help you wait for Him and Him only. 

Go for it. 

You've got God...and He's all you need.