Soooo goood

I’m newly obsessed with this blog: http://www.thefulltimegirl.com

 

Example of how her writing is speaking straight into the hearts of Christians everywhere:

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1a

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10

I beg of you to realize that YOU are worth the wait. You are worth waiting on God to place a man in your life who will love you like Jesus does. He won’t be perfect that’s for sure, but neither are you. He will love God though, and He will strive to be all that God wants Him to be as a man of God. He will recognize his flaws and strive to be better everyday. He will challenge you to grow as an individual and as a godly example of a marriage that is a delight to the eyes of our Lord. Oh girls, don’t settle for some man who doesn’t know the first thing about putting God first. Don’t settle for some selfish guy who is “christian” in name only. I know they are few and far between, but open your eyes and look for the men who will be true. True to God and true to you. God has set them apart for us. It is our job to wait for them, look for them, and see them when they come along. They are looking for us…. let us be striving to be the women that God wants us to be so that we can be virtuous wives to be proud of.

*******

I am in love with a boy I’ve never met. And although I don’t know every quirk about his personality or even what he looks like, I do know what his heart looks like. Its beautiful, loving, giving, and pure. He is so tall that when he is on his knees, he reaches all the way to heaven. He is big enough to be gentle and great enough to be thoughtful. His shoulders are broad enough to bear the burden of a family. His lips are strong enough to smile and firm enough to say “no.” His love is so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes the whole lost world in. This boy, although he is not perfect, strives to love selflessly and unconditionally. He inspires others, and he inspires me to be better every day, not so that I can earn his love, but so that when we meet… I will be the girl that he is already in love with. I know there is no perfect person, but I believe in a God who is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think, and I’m in love with HIM too. He LOVES to give good gifts to His children and blesses those who wait for Him, and I will not settle for someone whose heart is not fully in God’s hands, or does not strive to be like Jesus every day. So, until we meet, I am in love with Jesus and my heart belongs to HIM ….. and this boy I’ve never met

 

Seriously, go read!! It also helps that I’ve been having lots of different conversations with Christian men lately about this exact topic.

Pirates

Several friends and I went to see the Pirates exhibit at Union Station yesterday – it was good. It’s a National Geographic presentation on what piracy was like from a historic perspective found from the remains of the Whydoh ship that was wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. You can see more information here.

The most amazing part of the exhibit was how present God was. There were no mentions of God in the actual exhibit materials but the people that I went with pushed me in my relationship with Him so incredibly that I have to write about it. Once again, I find myself amazed by my heavenly Father actually talking to me (maybe one day I will get it thru my head that He loves me enough to want to talk to me all the time if I would just listen).

Some back story: I’ve been struggling with being single. Most of the time I am totally content with where God has put me but recently I’ve had more and more mounting moments of dissatisfaction. God hasn’t given me whom He would have me marry. It’s HIS timing but I want it to MINE.

These moments are fueled by my attraction to a particular boy at church. This boy has not responded or reacted to any situation or conversation we’ve had the way that I thought he would. In fact, every time we talk I end up seeking God to be able to process or understand our conversations. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he’s so attractive. I’ve never been around someone like that before. These conversations have also revealed how broken he and I really are – we need the love and grace of Jesus Christ to make it and we’re both reaching for that with arms and hands wide open. I know that God is calling me to be his friend. NOT his girlfriend. his friend. I pray that my action would reflect God’s desires and not my heart’s.

So yesterday him, I, one of my best friends, another good friend, and one of his good friends went to see the real pirates exhibit. It was on my Kansas City Bucket List. The day was so normal and that was amazing. It’s funny – Christians are not “normal” when it comes to spending time with the opposite sex, especially if there is some attraction there. Women are trying to be patient and wait for whom God would put as the head of their household. Men are trying to be respectful of physical boundaries and learn how to treat women like the bride of Christ. Both are noble desires. Both lead to moments of awkwardness and distance. We over analyze and place too much faith in what we are saying or doing and how the other person will respond. Yesterday was blissful because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing or worried about the response I would get. I was enjoying spending time with people.

And God was there. The reason I like spending time with this man is because he manages to interject God into the heart of every conversation we have. We were walking around reading about slavery and I made a statement that I was struggling to wrap my mind all the way around a society that trades in humans, that placed a monetary amount on a human being. And how did God let this activity continue to His people, to people made in His image. His comment was wanting to read and study the term “slavery” and how it is used in the Bible, what the derivative of it was, and if God intended for it to be used with so many social connotations that we’ve given it today. Wow – turn me right back around to God’s word when I was struggling.

After the museum we were going to get sushi for lunch but both sushi places ended up being closed (weird, it was 1:30pm on a Saturday but anyway) so we ended up eating at Chipotle. Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants so I wasn’t complaining but I’m still craving sushi. 🙂

The excellent conversation continued. In normal flow of conversation, he asked me if I would be content with God if I knew He was never going to give me a husband? My response was “yes, I try to live my life each day as if that was my hope but that there were some days that I was going to be bitter or upset about it.” Thinking over this the last few hours, I think I was being truthful in my response but I do have some hope that God will answer my desire to be married and be submissive to my husband. I pray that God would guide my heart to be hopeful only in Him and His Son. I haven’t made an decisions about career or location or anything that revolved around marital status and I want to continue that trend. I am also incredibly thankful to God that He didn’t allow me to marry my ex-fiance. I would either be divorced or trapped in a un-godly marriage. To be so thankful to not be married helps me understand how thankful I should be with whatever God has in store for me.

Now, I’ve over analyzed every comment, look, text, and question that was brought up yesterday and come to several conclusions:

1. God has shown me an example of one quality that I want in my future marriage – the ability to have wonderful conversations with whomever I’m with that push me to grow in faith with God. This is my new deal breaker. This is also what God wants me to understand about seeking Him so that whomever I’m with will also seek Him.

2. When I give up control of a situation and just enjoy it, God is there and is working and is perfect. I need to remember this one more often. His faithfulness is flawless.

3. I need God’s help to be able to be friends with this man. I need God’s help to squash my heart’s desires so that I can let the Holy Spirit shine through me. That is truly what I want – for this man to get to experience the love of God through a positive friend relationship with a woman.

4. God is always guiding me, even when I’m not listening. I’ve been praying for weeks now about not understanding how to go from meeting someone to being married to them. God has answered my prayer by showing me how to spend time with people that fosters deep relationships and conversations and seeds of pursuit that are still focused on God. I’ve sinned in the past by loosing sight of God when I’m in relationships with men and they are not seeking God.

5. I am blessed. I am so incredibly blessed by the Grace of God and the death of His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. The war is remembering Jesus.

The Kingdom of God, Pt. 2

Day 2 of the mini-workshop on singleness as Redeemer Fellowship started with a review of what we discussed last night.

  • Singleness is a season of building your legacy in the Kingdom of God, not just reserved for waiting to be married
  • The Old Testament shows us that the Kingdom of God was a birth-right that was passed on by getting married and procreating whereas the New Testament is about creating disciples regardless of status
  • When God calls us/gives us desires, he also provides us opportunities and the talents needed to complete the call
  • What does it look like to invest in the Kingdom of God? What does it look like to take what God has given me and invest it in someone else?

Hunter then delved into 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. He believes there are two main reasons people are remaining single longer than in previous generations:

1. Youth take longer to transition into full adulthood. College is mandatory for a successful existence now and when people graduate, they still have roommates and split bills and invest in themselves and good times instead of independent living.

2. Sexual Revolution that occurred in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This started the pop culture ideas of porn and sex and unrealistic expectations.

The rest of this post may be a little disjointed because I’m exhausted but I want to get all the mains points out…

Man (and Woman) are made in God’s image. He is so beautiful that it took two genders to show all aspects of his glory. Porn is the view of a woman from a man’s unrealistic lustins and does not showcase the beauty of God. You should flee from porn.

Should I desire to be married? Paul addresses this in verse 25. He qualifies that both marriage and singleness are acceptable, viable options – there is not sinning in either choice.

Verse 29 discusses how people tend to over value the here and now which leads to separation from the Kingdom of God. You should buy and sell goods but not be possessed by any. You should rejoyous and glad but look to the life beyond the grave as being extraordinary. Live lightly in terms of this world because you realize this is not all there is.

Verse 2 & 36 state that sexual desire and temptations are good reasons to marry. If you meet someone and you like them (and you date them) and are tempted then you should think about marrying.

Verse 8 & 37 introduce the idea that some people do have self control over their sexual desires. Ceabicy is no the lack of desire but rather the control and understanding that sex is not a need like food or water. It does not have to be fullfilled. When it is fullfilled outside of marriage it diminishes humanity. If you have this under control, you do not have anxiety about it and are actively investing in the Kingdom.

What mission are you pursuing that is the reason for being single?

Singleness does not equal alone. You should seek out relationships and community with people, all different kinds of people at different stages in life. You need people who point out your sins and remind you of your accomplishments.

You are sexually incompatible with anyone but your spouse. No need to worry about how good sex will be when you are married.

Disappointments show us where our heart is. They provide us with opportunities to re-evaluate our positions and adjust back to focusing and investing in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God, Pt. 1

Last Sunday I found a Church that speaks to me for the first time since high school; for the first time since I was chastised by a pastor; for the first time since some high school girls were vicious towards me and my broken heart. It’s amazing how much finding something amazing brought back all those feelings of hurt from so long ago. But I digress…

Last Sunday I found a Church that speaks to me. They put on a “Singleness” conference tonight and tomorrow morning. I decided to go. I am single so why not. I have a burning in my heart to be in Church at the moment and I’m going to enjoy it. So for two hours on my Friday night I was sitting in Church. I am super glad I did.

Hunter Beaumont was the Pastor who delivered the message. He is the lead pastor at a church in Denver Colorado and was on loan tonight. He is 38 years old, single, and not miserable. 🙂

Here’s the recap of the lesson:

Hunter began by discussing the definition of singleness. It has a negative connotation and is typically linked to the status of not being married. Singleness is defined as a waiting period, as a period of preparing for the coming of marriage. But what if singleness is linked to something else, not marriage? What if it is possible to live a full, robust, and joyful life as a single person by focusing on the Kingdom of God and not on being married?

The tension between these two definitions is discussed in two passages in the Bible. Genesis 2:18 ” Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” and in 1 Corinthians 7:6-7 “Now as a concession, not as a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and another of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” In these passages the idea of being single is suggested to be both a positive and a negative thing. So does God (and the Bible) have an over reaching teaching about being single that is applicable to all forms of singleness?

There are many different definitions of singleness. One is the person who just graduated from college, 23 years old who hopes to be married someday but is mostly content with their station in life. The next is the 33 year old who used to be the 23 year old but is now more concerned with being that old and still single. There are also the newly single, those who were married and now divorced, then still the ones who give up love for the kingdom of God because they feel a “calling” to do so.

The Bible provides us with a far reaching truth about singleness; father reaching than just that singleness is a waiting period. This truth touches all the different kinds of singleness.

This stubborn reality that does not fail to change is the Kingdom of God. Singleness is all about the Kingdom of God.

Jesus was a travelling preacher with a politician’s stump speech that he spread everywhere he went. Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” Matthew 4:23 ” And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” Mark 1:14 ” Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believer in the gospel.'” Basically, the Kingdom of God is coming just around the bend; that it is almost here.

Matthew 6:9-10 “Out Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God as a reality is God’s will in Heaven being acted and lived on Earth. It’s that simple. Marriage is not the ultimate reality we are striving for.

Ephesians 1:7-10 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Here Paul is speaking of the Kingdom of God but not using those terms. Sometimes God gives us these promises explicitly and some times in metaphor. Revelation 21:1-4 also discusses this.

There’s two ways in the Bible that discuss how to enter the Kingdom of God and how to spread the Kingdom of God. It is the difference between the two that is the most important.

1. Old Testament – people are born into Christianity and spread it by getting married, procreating, and passing their good name on to their children. There is no room for singleness in this world. Widows are the most vulnerable in this society.

Genesis 12:1-3 “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” God is promising the highest blessing of the time and is undoing all that Adam and Eve lost in the fall of the first sin. Genesis 15:1-6 continues to talk about God providing Abram’s barren wife with the fruitfullness of a son who has a son who has many sons who populate the earth. This fruitfullness is used to populate and spread God’s kingdom.

Hunter used two great extended metaphors to discuss single people in the Old Testament view of God’s Kingdom. Having a healthy single life in the Old Testament is like being a unicorn. People knew who you were, but it was an oddity. Single people were the Shrek in a world of Brad Pitts. Not good.

God often uses disciples to live out the parables he is teaching. Jeremiah was such a person. Jeremiah 16: 1-5 shows people that God is removing his blessing by making Jeremiah be a single man with no children.

2. New Testament – people are spiritually born and spread the Kingdom of God by making disciples of people, not by getting married and procreating. Singleness is a season to build your legacy in the Kingdom of God which is making disciples and pursuing the Lord’s desires for your life.

John 3:1-8 and Galatains 3:26-29 discuss the change because Jesus saved his people. Mark 10:29-30 “Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.'” This is not a discussion about giving up material possessions as one would think today. Rather Jesus is discussing a para dime switch from focusing on procreating and have a good family name to pursuing a legacy of disciples in the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:10-12, 1 Corinthians 4:15-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 7:6-9 all discuss this switch is view.

The last two Bible passages Hunter discussed were the most interesting to me.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interestes are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” Paul is suggesting that it is actually a positive, beneficial thing to be single and un-attached. People are able to wholly focus on God and his legacy for the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 13:44-46 “‘The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that fields. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.'” The pursuit of the Kingdom of God should give you joy and should give you desire to spend everything you have to build a legacy, a legacy of spiritual children.

Hunter then did a question and answer session for about 30 minutes. He had two thoughts that I will share here. I don’t remember the original questions but I love his points.

1. On being called by God to do something – God can give you desires but if he does then he will also provide you with opportunities and talents to be able to act on that desire. Most often, when pursuing the Kingdom of God, when desire appears, take it one step at a time and wait for the opportunity God is providing you.

2. What does it look like to take what God has given you and invest it in someone else? As a single person, you have do not have the distraction of a spouse to sidetrack the talents God has given you so how will you invest those in others? What does that look like in this world?

I’m excited for tomorrow morning, for the second half. Rachel and I sat in the Church for awhile afterwards discussing everything Hunter discussed, especially the last two points. It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to share experiences. We have similar struggles.