Sometimes God teaches us things we don't fully understand. After all, what is the point of teaching you something you already know?
Recently, God has been teaching me about dating and marriage, and even, dare I say it, about motherhood. I feel far too young for this kind of teaching, I'm only twenty, and still in college, I don't want to get married now! In other ways though, I know it's right. God is preparing me; He's not giving me a husband now. I've been learning about courtship instead of dating, and friendship as a main ingredient to a godly marriage.
Let me enlighten you.
I was in an unhealthy relationship which ended about this time last year. I honestly believed that this was the man for me, and that this was the man I would get married to. However, I hadn't consulted God on this. A wise friend once told me that we make plans and God laughs at them. Well, needless to say, God laughed, and my relationship with this guy ended. Cue lots of crying, yada yada yada...
After talking to God about this, I eventually realised that my relationship hadn't glorfied God. And to prove the point so it seemed, He placed another man in my life. This man only ever had the status of "friend," but it was a close frienship, one that approached the ideal of courting. At the time, I didn't realise this, and we both blundered along answering "no" to our friends' questions of "are you two dating?" The fact was that we were spending a lot of time together, both alone and with other people. Sometimes I would have phone calls on my cell for him, and vice versa, as people assumed we were together. I've since realised that this kind of close relationship with just any guy would not be a good thing. Far too many emotions were invested, but God used this relationship for a reason - to teach me all that is good and bad in a godly relationship with a man. I found out for example that when praying alone with a member of the opposite sex, you leave yourself vulnerable in a way that wouldn't happen otherwise. I felt closer to this man having prayed with him, particularly about our past relationships. A quick healing prayer never harmed anyone, but a deep, emotional prayer should not be shared with simply anyone.
God used this man to show me other things too - such as patience! I still completely fail at displaying patience in all situations, but sometimes, just sometimes, I keep my calm when otherwise I would have lost it.
I've read plenty of articles on the subject of dating, courtship and marriage this year. All of them point to one thing. Get into a friendship with a godly man like I did, and you'll likely end up together as a married couple. I'm not completely sure I'd want to marry right now, but if I did, it would be with this man. A man whom I know to have a strength of faith which I not only admire, but which inspires me in my own relationship with God. Yeah, I think I could learn to love him in a way which God would be happy with.
It's taught me one key thing though. I won't settle for anything less. I don't want anything less than what God has in mind for me. Our Father provides, and He provides in ABUNDANCE. When I finally know who my spouse will be, I want to know that we have God's blessing, and that the man whom I marry is the man that God intended me to marry. I want that friendship, and I want my future husband to teach me about God and bring me closer to God throughout my time on earth with him. And I want to be ready for him. I want to learn everything that God is teaching me now - all the qualities that a wife needs, that a mother needs. I want to be the best wife and mother I can be, and I need God's help. I need Him to teach me, because despite having a wonderful mother myself, she has not been able to show me how a Christian wife and mother acts. There's so much that God has yet to teach me, and I'm sure I'll learn during my marriage too. But until then, I'm holding out. I'm hanging on to the promise God has made me, and until then I'm happy to be single. I can learn about God in my own time, and deepen my relationship with Him through prayer and bible study. My man will find me. God will point the way. I have only to recognise him when that offer is made, and until then, do my best to learn how to be the best helpmeet I can for the man whom God intends me to marry. I don't want to let the men in my life down. Not my Dad on earth, not my future husband, and not my Father in Heaven. And then God will keep His promise, and might even send me back to the godly man whom He initiated this learning curve with. Until then, I'll wait, displaying all the patience in the world. A patience borne of the absolute knowledge that God will provide, and it will be good.
It sounds random for sure. The gospel is the orignal good news. But is that how it's recieved? I was asked at my church the other day "on a scale of one to ten, how good is that good news for you?" I thought about it. And then thought about it some more. As a Christian, my immediate answer should have been, "of course the gospel is good news, so I must be around an 8 at least!"
But I thought about it. For me right now, the gospel isn't such good news. It means an awful lot of hard work, and for the moment at least, angry conversations with God in which He tells me to obey Him. I don't want to obey right now. I look at all my views and opinions on various subjects which I prided myself on being so tolerant about other people's and beliefs, never professing too strong a belief myself. And now that's all changed. I feel like my mind is narrower for the Christianity in it. Like for example my attitude towards homosexuals. I used to be like "whatever," and now I'm like "hang on a minute, this book says it's wrong." This book is obviously the bible, and why should a book dictate how I should think? I think my point is not maybe that my mind has gotten narrower, but I'm basing my opinions on something different, and it's confusing because they're conflicting with my old opinions.
There are people however, who unlinke me, see the gospel as the worst possible news. Pastors stand up and say "you should read the bible more, you should pray more, you should be going to church everyweek and getting involved in church activities." That's terrible! The gospel isn't about that. It's about being where God wants you to be, and knowing that He wants you to be with Him because He loves you, and only has the best in store for you.
I feel very cynical about this good news right now though. Christianity is hard! There is no miracle in becoming a Christian in the sense that your struggles with sin are not over, and you become acutely aware of them. I know that no one has ever pretended to me that following Christ was easy - in fact Paul says the opposite in one of the Timothys. It's not a part that's flagged up though is it?! Christians are so eager for your soul to be saved that they convenienty forget all the struggling, the angst, the pain and the heartache.
I know that right now I'm not in a place where the gospel is great news. Of course the fact that some dude died so that I could commune with God is amazing, and yes, that is good news. It's just the other bits. Like the part where you keep having to go to Jesus to be cleansed because you're continually doing wrong.
I was talking on the phone tonight to a wonderful friend with whom I'm separated by a couple thousand miles. She was talking like she knew God - you know like how you really know a person, and they talk to you and tell you stuff. And I caught myself thinking "who is this God guy that she's on about?" I used to know Him... but now it feels like I've been absent from Him and missed out on a whole load when I should have been right there. It made me sad.
I'm struggling with my faith as you can tell. Being a Christian isn't a happy shiny thing where you get baptised and BOOM! suddenly you're the perfect model Christian. I'm not. I'm far from it. I fail every minute, and worse, I fail in the eyes of non-Christians who then believe my faith is false. I feel like I'm being asked too much. How can we be perfect as we are called to be? I'll never be perfect, no matter how much I lean on God. It all gets too crushing at times.
God however has perfect timing. He knows that the lies of the enemy are reaching my ears, and finally, after months of hearing them, I'm again starting to believe them and turn away from what I know is right. And God's like "Na-ah. You're not taking my daughter away!" So He does the one thing guaranteed to make me listen to Him. "I love you," He says. "I will protect you, I will comfort you. Just follow my voice and I will lead you home."
I hear the enemy, but I hear my Daddy too, and He's calling me home, and that's where I want to me. Our enemy can offer us everything, but he cannot offer the love of a father, and the welcoming home that we all deserve as children of the light.
I pray that God lights my way through this time of darkness. I only see a little light right now, just a flashlight in the dark. But the time is coming when God will blaze, and my path will be made clear. I pray that time comes soon, as I feel the enemy's breath as he whispers his lies into my very ears. He's too close, and those wings don't seem to be protecting me right now. Hide me under your wings God. Give me refuge and shelter. Be my shield and rampart.
It has been a busy few days but more emotionl than physical...
We have a son who is moving away and it is hard on us to see him go..
We love him very much but we also know that he must live his life ...
We will miss him greatly..more thatn he knows..His presence alone blesses us..
My heart is a bit sand over that but more than anything I want him to follow where he believes the Lord would have him to be..
Also our Cali (calico cat, she was 6 )was hit by a car in the middle of the night on the 2nd am, and made it up to the house..Our son got her in the house and we loved her until she left this earth..
It is so hard to see a little creature you love die like that...but it comforts us to have been with her those last few minutes..she knows she was loved...
We had a major mix up with dinner today and it was stressful to have made plans and they fall apart for everyone....no one really being at fault..
Lord bless each heart tonight and please allow forgivness to reign in us all..
Another really sad thing is to hear that the loveley man Steve Irwin passed away today..how very awful for his wife and children..My heart aches for them..
Father bless them with the comfort only the Holy Spirit can bring us in our grief..
Father bring peace and quiet to all of our hearts as we walk though this life ...leaning on You and trusting in You for our every step...
Well, yes, I'm afraid so. But I intend to keep this one as a record of my journey with God. A record which I will not share with friends, but with strangers with whom I am unconnected.
Firstly though, I guess I better tell whoever is reading this - most likely just myself! - my testimony. How I got to be here, where I am now with Jesus.
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