Monday, April 27, 2009

Single and....Happy?

Bethany asked about being prepared for singleness if that is God's will. I think that at some point in our lives, we girls have asked ourselves this question. Do feelings of insecurity and jealousy plague you as you watch close friends happy in relationships? To me, it's always a reminder of my own singleness. Over time, I have been able to push past these feelings even though they still creep in once in a while.

All throughout my teen years, I caught myself daydreaming about the special young man who would one day come into my life and sweep me off my feet. As I continued to dwell on this, the more discontent I became. I still have to check myself when I get carried away with my thoughts. As my mom likes to tell me, I'm the hopeless romantic, especially after watching a Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell movie. Are these thoughts OK to have? I think so. It is Godly to have that desire to be a wife and mom. I can't wait for the day the man that God has created for me comes into my life. But if these thoughts take our minds off what is truly important-Jesus Christ-then there is a problem. I have been guilty of this, and I'm sure you can relate.

Over the past year, these feelings of discontentment have gradually faded as I have grown closer to Christ. I truly believe that I can be happy being single if that is what God has for me. He is all I need to be fulfilled. No man, no matter how handsome, Godly, and attentive, can fill that gap in my heart like Jesus can. Remember when Job, instead of cursing God, gave praise when nearly everything was taken away from him? I always wondered how I would react in a situation like that, and to be honest, I don't think I would act as Job. Although Job felt a keen loss when his family was killed, he was able to push past his grief and bless his Heavenly Father. That is true love and devotion.

“ Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked shall I return there.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;

Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Job 1:20-22

In 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, Paul discusses marriage and singleness. In verses 7-8, Paul expresses his desire that "all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in is good for them (referring to the widows and unmarried) if they remain even as I am." I know this sounds silly, but when I was younger and I would read this passage, I always thought Paul was bitter because he wasn't married himself. As I matured, I gradually realized what Paul meant. I think we all know how distracted young people in love can get, and married couples are easily sidetracked by busy schedules, financial burdens, and family obligations. A single Christian man or woman can serve God more freely without any of these distractions as well as building on his or her relationship with Him. Look at the ministry Paul had-he was able to travel and reach out to countless Christians in the churches without feeling guilty for leaving his family behind.

No matter what God has in store for you and me-whether it be singleness or marriage-know that He loves you with an everlasting love. We can serve God as single and married women and be perfectly content in both situations-if our hearts are right with God. Gladys Aylward and Amy Carmichael never got married, but I can't think of two women who served God with such a passion as these two. They loved God so strongly that they risked their lives for His sake and the sake of others. So Bethany, I hope I've answered your question. I struggle with this area as well, and I'm still learning a lot. Girls, I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you have any to add!

In Christ,

"Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is."

~Amy Carmichael

Monday, April 13, 2009

Being Set Apart


We have no choice about being in the world. We have to shop and eat, and even if you work or school at home, you still have to make contact with the world! For Christians, we have to find the balance of being in the world without being of it. We do know this:

We are commanded to be holy.
Holiness means being set apart.
Being set apart means that we do live in this world, we need to be respectful of others, but we must be different.

When I was a college student and in the work world, I used to ask myself if my colleagues would know that I was different without me telling them. There were times when I had to speak up and speak out (not in my nature I assure you!) There were other times when nothing needed to be said. I just needed to remember this verse:

"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36

How can we go wrong if we hold this verse before us - ALWAYS!

But not of it is such an important phrase. This is the qualifier to the inevitability of living in our world today and being exposed to all the influences of it. How can we be IN the world, rub noses with people that live in it, but still be holy and reflect holiness? This is something we need to continuously strive for in every aspect of our lives.

Laura asked about being unequally yoked with unbelievers, both male and female. I think we'd all agree that this isn't always easy.

Personality -wise, I am very outgoing, and I like to have friends. Sometimes at college, I had to be okay with being alone. I found myself a nice group of friends that I felt comfortable with, and that respected my beliefs. They knew that there were certain things I wouldn't do. They were ok with that. I was a commuter student, so I wasn't exposed to some of the temptations that dorm life brought.

There were a couple of times that I was asked "out" by a young man, and other times that I could tell that a guy was pointedly flirting with me. Girls, I hate to hurt others feelings! My parents had to help me learn how to hold myself separate from these interactions. There were a couple of times that I really needed their help with how to deal with a situation.

Once you start opening yourself to intimate interactions (by intimate I mean close and binding) with people that are too different from you, it becomes easier and easier to continue to do so. Little by little you may be opening yourself more without even realizing it.

I had a wonderful college experience. Late afternoon study sessions, squinting over immunology and organic chemistry flash cards until we could barely see. Fun lunches at the Community Commons. Oceanography and Conservation Biology field trips. Sweating over our Senior Seminar speeches. So you see, I wasn't slinking around or hiding in a corner!

I know that some do not agree with going to college outside of the home, and I'm not here to discuss that, although I truly do understand!! I both went to college and worked outside of the home before I met my husband and got married. There were many times that I was so thankful that I had a hedge of protection.

We don't all come from the same backgrounds. I can't pretend to know what your family make up is. My parents are strong Christians and we have an excellent and open relationship. If you have this -- please, by all means, take advantage of it.

Listen to the wise counsel of your parents, for they are sent by God. This is a hedge of protection.

Fellowship with the believers that you attend church with, and other likeminded believers, for this is a hedge of protection.

Be accountable to your parents, pastors, trusted friends, or any other godly influences in your life.

Stay constantly familiar with God's Word. Let His Word be always in your heart, mind, on your tongue. This is a defense against falling into temptation and a hedge of protection.

This post is getting really long! I will close now, with the possibility that we may talk more about this issue. We'll see what Sara has to add as well. If you have any more questions you would like the Girl Inside to cover on this topic, or if you have written a post on this subject, please email me!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just stopping in quickly to share ...

... a beautiful post that I just read! I love this blog that I discovered via the Ultimate Blog Party. It's called At the Well ... In Pursuit of Titus 2. I hope this post is a blessing to you.

Sara and I are working on some posts that will cover some of the topics you brought up in your Spring Giveaway Surveys. Look for those soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blog Feature: Bethany

I first met Bethany through her older sister Elise, who is one of my dear bloggy friends. Bethany is a very busy young lady who has a heart for the Lord. She takes incredible pictures and loves her family very much.

Bethany has three blogs:

  1. For His Glory, which is her main blog.

  2. The World Through a Camera Lense, which features some of her lovely photography.

  3. Simple Tidbits of Truth, which has quotes and excerpts of books that she is reading.

By all means, go visit Bethany and peruse some of her posts. Here is one of my favorites for starters:

Created To Be Their Helpmeet