Friday, September 27, 2013

And Then...It Didn't Happen

There was a determined air to her little chin as she jutted it out as if to dared anyone to challenge her. She was five and she was already tired of the looks people gave down their noses when she answered their all important question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" They could laugh and sneer and pass those "knowing" looks around her for a hundred years and that could not change the dream buried deep within her little girl heart. Yes, despite all the scorn she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She wanted to be a wife and a mother. She wanted to keep a house, change dippers, wipe little faces, and be there to welcome her husband home at the end of a long day.
Maybe her thoughts were not quite as detailed as that, but over time they would grow to be. At five she never even doubted it would happen. At twelve, sixteen, eighteen and even twenty she never doubted and her dream stood strong. And then, after that as each year passed, doubts began to creep in and the dream began to crack just a little and the sureness she had once had began to waver. Would it fall?
Are you that girl? Are you passing up your twenties with the speed of a freight train on a rickety track feeling that any minute you may come to a bridge that will not hold your dreams up and they will come crashing down all around you? You wanted nothing more than to marry young and thought that by now you would have a house full of little ones. Only, it didn't happen.
So now what? What do you do with those desires? And are those desires being shaped in God glorifying ways?
I recently sat down to write, to try to make sense of the many thoughts and questions that whirled in my own head. While I was sitting there, fingers poised over the keys, questions began to pop out on the page. "What is it that I desire from marriage? Why do I desire these things? Are they godly desires or selfish ones?"
Those were some deep questions but I really did want know my heart answers. As is often my habit when I have something to think through, I slipped on my shoes and set out on a walk, book and pen in hand.
As I walked answers did not magically appear, instead, even more questions crammed themselves out through my pen and onto the spaces between the lines. "Why is that I desire marriage? Is it so that I can give, or so that I can take? Is the appeal in having someone to share my life with, or is it sharing someone else's life with them? Is it about my plans being accomplished, or is it about God's plans being fulfilled? Is it about my success and my dreams coming true. Is it about my happiness?

Now, I know that these questions are not an answer to what you should do with your own desires for marriage. And I know that they probably are not consolation to a lonely heart and that they probably cannot mend the cracks in your dreams. They cannot wipe away any doubts you may be having in the likelihood of your own wedding ever being more than a board on Pinterest, but maybe, just maybe they can show you some areas in your thought life that are a little warped. Perhaps you might find that some of your desires are more selfish and less godly, and what better time to realize that than now? Now when you have an opportunity to seek the Lord's strength in realigning your desires with His before your emotions become entangled in a relationship.
Maybe I do not have any more answers than you do, but I do know that for you, and for me, and for every other person who has dreams that they feel are crumbling, that God has a plan and it is perfect. How do I know this? Because each day as I seek to align my dreams with His plans He has been showing me that His hands are in the smallest of details. Do not despair my friend, He is faithful. Seek after Him with all your heart and He will meet you there.

"For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul
with goodness." ~ Psalm 107:9


Thursday, September 26, 2013

What He Must be for Me

How many times I have heard girls talk about having lists of what "he must be.' The "he" of course referring to the man she one day hopes to marry. He must be godly, good looking, smart, funny, kind, generous, joyful, encouraging, etc. In fact he must be just short of perfect.
The list changes as years pass, and hopefully it gets a little more realistic as the girl realizes that men aren't perfect. People aren't perfect. And yet, I have made one observation that frankly bothers me. So many of us think more on what he or she must be for us than we think about what we should be for him or her.
For example, have you ever met a young lady who is in her twenties heading towards thirties who laments being single? Like all the time. This same lady also makes comments indicating she would be happy if she didn't get one more wedding invitation because weddings are just too hard to attend because they remind her of how very single she is. She may say it jokingly, and perhaps a part of her doesn't mean it, but at the same time it's pretty obvious to everyone that part of her does mean it.
Now I'm not saying there haven't been days when I've looked at all my friends marrying their best friends and wished that I was headed down that same road as well. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't. I think it is natural and if handled well, it can even be okay. However, that isn't the point of this post. What I'm getting at is how attractive is it when a girl "pouts" and appears to be jealous of what others have?
Girls, I'm putting this to you. Would you be attracted to a young man who sarcastically jokes about not wanting to go to anymore weddings because they are just too hard to get through? Would you be tripping over each other to get to a man who laments his state of singleness at every turn and sounds, well, to put it bluntly, jealous. Would you pray for a man who character is marred by a tendency to have pity parties on a regular basis?
Yes, I am aware that the many of you may think a guy's lot in life is different because, after all, he can pursue a girl anytime. He just needs to get out there and do it! Right? Well, maybe, but what about the guy who isn't in an area where there are suitable young women, as in, maybe he is surrounded by woman of another religion? Or what about the guy who is held back by circumstances totally out of his control? You get the point. Let's just forget all that and suppose there was a guy out there who was acting like what I have described. Would you be attracted to him? I'm confidant you wouldn't. After all, who wants to marry someone who is jealous and swimming in his own pity pool party of tears?
The bottom line is this. You have a list of what he must be, but what about if he has list of what you must be? How would you measure up?
Our goal in life isn't to make the best spouse or to even get married, at least, it shouldn't be. But, for any role in life we should work to obtain skills that will help us be successful. That includes the area of marriage.
It's okay, I'm not saying you can't keep your list of what he should be (perhaps I should tackle my opinion of "what he should be" lists in another post!), just remember he might have a list too. If you expect him to live up to your expectations, then maybe you should be striving to live up to his? This might include letting go of that pity party tissue and seeking the Lord in a whole new way so that your life begins to overflow with the joy of the Lord and thankfulness for the little blessings in each day.


"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all they diseases; Who redeemeth they life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." ~ Psalm 103: 1-4