I have been debating all night and morning with myself whether or not to write this post. I guess it's obvious which side won out. I am still dog sitting for my best friend, and it has been a LONG two weeks, for more than one reason(by the way they come back on Thursday!! :D :D :D). The isolation has been difficult. I want to share what God has been teaching me this last week in particular. As you might know from my testimonies I have been very excited about getting married someday and what that will look like. I thought I had a healthy God honoring view of marriage. It wasn't an obsession like it had been at one point. It was something that I "waited for with patience and anticipation". I have been doing this bible reading challenge called "The 3560 Challenge." Basically its a bookmarking plan where you read ten chapters of the bible a day and by the end of the year you have read 3650 chapters...which means you've read the bible several times over. (it's a clever name I know ;)) You read from different sections of the bible...each chapter from a different book. The books are separated typically by type...ie the Pentateuch is one book mark...The Minor Prophets is another...etc. I have loved it.
Anyway...my reading the other day started in Matthew where Jesus is talking about marriage, and towards the end he says that it is better to remain single, if you can receive that receive it. I don't know why but this really stood out to me. I suddenly was gripped with fear that God was asking me to give up the one thing I wanted more than anything else. I immediately thought of Abraham and Issac...when God told Abraham to sacrifice the one thing that mattered most to him, his son Issac. Abraham of course complied without comment or complaint. It bothered me for several days. I began to ask myself, "what if God is asking me to be single the rest of my life?" It was a tough question for me. I realized that all I felt after that question was unendurable sadness and depression. Though I am not proud of it, I will admit that the thought "what am I here for then?" cropped into my head. I tried to put on my Spiritual face and say well God is my provider and I will trust Him to provide for all my needs...emotional, physical, etc. So I need not be concerned about this because I can do the rest of my life alone as long as I have God.
That attitude lasted for about the rest of the week...I had a mantra going in my head...every time I thought of marriage I would say to myself "I probably am not getting married so I need to stop thinking about this." But in the very deepest part of my heart, I hoped...I hoped that this was like Abraham. That God would still give me what I wanted I just had to prove that it wasn't as important to me as God. Haha...I love how we think we can lie to God as easily as we lie to ourselves.
A few days later...I was content with my "remaining single life" and so joyful in it. I thought this will be over in a few days. Oh how arrogant. Monday morning...I began my Bible readings...the third chapter I read was 1 Corinthians 7. If you are familiar with this chapter then you will know what I am about to say. Paul is writing to the people in Corinth and in this particular chapter he is talking about marriage...Paul goes on to say how divorce should work etc...then he starts talking for a majority of the chapter how it is better to be single. It's not for everyone, but he was encouraging people who were not engaged or already married to not seek it. So that they could be devoted completely to the Lord without the distractions and the anxieties of marriage. My heart sank. Then I read the next chapter on my list which was James 1. "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds..." I started to bawl. I couldn't give it up. For six years I had been looking forward to it...had scripture to back me up that that was where God had been leading me. How could he now just decide to throw that all out the window? I realized then how much of an idol marriage has been in my life. My whole world revolved around the distant future event that now I could not guarantee would actually happen.
I immediately sent an email to my mentor explaining what was happening. My desire to trust God on this, but the battle that raged within me to be angry with him that he had brought me to a place with all these desires and emotions and was just going to deny me what I wanted. I went to shower...because that is where I think best...and after calming down and thinking about it I decided I was just going to trust God.
In all her vast wisdom my mentor called me. She began to share with me that what I was trying to reconcile was huge. My entire existence. She said when she feels overwhelmed with those kind of proportions she brings it back to today. God has given us strength to get through today. Not the future. He doesn't walk us through our imaginations. He walks us through actual events. She said today you can receive it. Today you are single. She said whether or not I get married will not change my life that much. That the goal was to serve in Kingdom work. To be obedient to Christ, and to seek to be a woman of God. She said none of that will change regardless of my marital state. So she reminded me that we live in right here, right now, and we should focus on what we have before us at this moment. Right now I am single...I have the advantages that Paul talks about. I am free from the distractions and anxieties of marriage. Today I can receive it. So I pray that God will use me today. Use me for Kingdom work today in my availability right now.
She is so wise. :) I don't know if I will ever get married but I realized that it is wrong for that to be my biggest concern. I should be concerned with the Lord's work. I encourage you, if you are like me, to seek his kingdom today and not waste the valuable time you have as a single person "waiting with patience and anticipation" for your spouse to walk into your life. If it comes it is an added blessing to your life, but your true fulfillment and provision comes from the Lord you serve today.
I read this this morning and I wanted to share it with you because it made my heart sing. I hope that it encourages you to go in today and follow the Lord who is good and great!
"Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that they King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
HE is the King of glory!"