Friday, March 7, 2014

Guest Post // A God Worth Waiting For

This was an anonymous post emailed to me about a month ago - & even though I typically write about topics such as marriage, homemaking, & growing up, a post on singleness from a single gal seemed like a good change of pace and it really encouraged me, even in my marriage! I pray it encourages you as well.


A couple of months ago I ripped up and threw away all the letters and notes I’d written to my future husband. 

I also stopped praying for him. 

Not long after that I told my mom that she could pray for my future husband… but not with me. 

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would do all this. 

There have been over the years (and there are still today) many well-meaning people and books that suggested to young people that they pray for and write letters to their future husband. Sweet yes, and sure, a great idea, but looking back, I realize it wasn’t the best thing for me. I realized that most of those letters were rather immature and sometimes downright silly (and really, as I looked back at most of them I realized I didn’t actually want my future husband reading them!). They were really more an emotional outlet for me than writing a serious letter to my future husband! In addition, instead of this exercise pointing me to Christ it was fueling my own dreams for a husband and family (good things though they were) and leading ultimately to what the Bible calls idolatry. 

Now I am not writing all this to convince anyone to stop praying for or writing to their future spouse. Actually, I think it’s wonderful if you can do that. But the point I’m making is that even good things with the wrong focus can become sinful. So my question for you, like the one God asked me, is simply where is your focus? 

You see, for me, writing letters to my future husband took my focus off of where it should have been – squarely on Jesus Christ. While I had intended to keep my focus on God, I found this letter-writing actually distracting me from Him and focusing my emotions on another person. More than that, I realized I had been writing to the wrong person. It was God that wanted my heart and I was giving it to someone else… unknown and imaginary though he was. 

There’s more to it, I’ll be honest with you…. praying for or writing to my future husband often hurts too much. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose long desire has been to be married and it hasn’t happened; nor am I the only one who’s had their hopes raised only to have them dashed to a thousand pieces (maybe more than once?). I heard a man speak once about how singleness is often a gift of suffering and I know from experience that is all too true. It hurts to dream about this area of my life. Really, it’s a trial, a thorn in my flesh. I’ve struggled with being angry, at people, circumstances, at God; and bitterness has tried hard to gain a foothold. But as I look back I think God has graciously allowed me to suffer and withheld a good thing from me because this is what I needed to become more like Christ. I need to learn (again and again) to be satisfied in Him alone. Now, I want to clarify that I do NOT think that you’ll stay single until you’re some point of “full surrender” (good news, because we’ll never completely get there!); God uses different means for different people. There are some who get married, only to discover that is God’s means to teach them dependence and satisfaction on Him, others go through a completely different kind of trial. But I have a sense that if God does grant me a husband he will use that season also to teach me to love Him more. Trials (in whatever form they take) are intended to lead us to a deeper dependence on Christ, and thus they are still a gift. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, 
“Having now spent more than forty-one years single, I have learned that it is indeed a gift. Not one I would choose. Not one many women would choose. But we do not choose gifts, remember? We are given them by a divine Giver who knows the end from the beginning, and wants above all else to give us the gift of Himself. It is in the sphere of His circumstances – that we receive Him. It is there and nowhere else that He makes Himself known to us.” (Let Me Be A Woman p. 34) 
God gives good gifts to His children, but often He will strip us of some good gifts to give us something better. And again, the greatest gift that God could give us is the gift of Himself. He is the greatest treasure, the pearl of great price that we are compelled to sell all we have in order to obtain. 

Should I be concerned about what my future spouse thinks about all this? Should I be worried he might be hurt if I didn’t pray for him or write letters to him? No… because quite honestly, I want to marry a man who is more concerned about my heart being God’s than being his. Instead of focusing on being a good spouse, we should be focusing on growing in our relationship with Christ. A single woman I greatly admire wrote, “Dare I say it, I am now so completely captivated by the love of this Heavenly Man, that I want no earthly man until it will only serve to bring my First Love greater glory on this earth!”1 first and foremost. All our desires must be entrusted to Him and we must lay them down continually at His feet. Will it be worth it? Yes, we will have Jesus, and He IS worth it. He is worth every sacrifice, every trial, every tear; and He will bring greater joy, satisfaction and fulfillment than we ever could think possible. We must just keep believing and keep trusting. 

It is Christ who must have all our heart, our love must be for Him 
"The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean. - Jonathan Edwards 
1 Annie Wesche, My Soul’s Husband, Set Apart Girl magazine, Sept/Oct 2011. http:// www.setapartgirl.com/magazine/archives

5 comments:

  1. oh, this is SO SO good!!! i feel like i can relate to this so much - i had very similar feelings/revelations when i was single. and even now in marriage God is using it so much to teach me so much more about Him!
    that Elisabeth Elliot quote is so good - she is a wise woman!

    and YOU dear guest poster... are so wise! this is my favorite thing you said: " I want to marry a man who is more concerned about my heart being God’s than being his." this, i think, is the most important thing to realize during singleness. that EVERYTHING is about HIM - even marriage! and that CHRIST is our first love, always! even when we are married, our spouse is second & we are second to our spouse and that is what makes all the difference! that's what makes us better together than apart - for His glory!!

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  2. Awesome post!! Inspiring and challenging. Earlier today, my family was discussing the "placement" of things in our lives, and how even though these things may not be bad in and of themselves, the importance and focus we place on these objects may easily tip the scale towards idolatry. It was really cool and encouraging to see this sweet guest poster's similar words after that discussion. Blessings in Messiah to you both!

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  3. I love this post. Being single I thought about writing "dear husband" letters but could never bring myself to do it. I know how easy it is for our eyes to shift off of Christ and onto the desire for a husband. This post puts things in perspective for me. Thank you for this!

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    1. Hey there! Let me just say real quick that neither I nor the author of this post believe that the desire for a husband is wrong or ungodly. And neither do we believe that by longing for a spouse you're taking your eyes off of Christ. Marriage is a GOOD thing, and it's a picture of the Gospel unlike anything else on this earth! Godly young women ought to desire a Godly husband! However, when that desire turns into an obsession, THAT'S when it becomes idolatry. Thank you for your comment!

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  4. I really wish I knew who wrote this, because she took the words right out of my mouth and heart! Wow!

    "I heard a man speak once about how singleness is often a gift of suffering and I know from experience that is all too true. It hurts to dream about this area of my life. Really, it’s a trial, a thorn in my flesh. I’ve struggled with being angry, at people, circumstances, at God; and bitterness has tried hard to gain a foothold. But as I look back I think God has graciously allowed me to suffer and withheld a good thing from me because this is what I needed to become more like Christ. I need to learn (again and again) to be satisfied in Him alone."

    ^^^ ALL OF THIS! Is what my heart has been screaming for the past year every time someone mentions dating or marriage to me. "It hurts to dream about this part of my life." = my feelings exactly! ^^^

    Wow. I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this post. Thank you to this anonymous writer and you for posting! It brought some serious encouragement to this single girl's heart! :)

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