Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I felt inspired to share what’s been on my heart lately. It’s a lot. I’ll try to get it all out coherently and hopefully not ramble on forever.

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I’m a single woman in her twenties this Valentine’s Day.

And I am so thankful!

Yes, I still want to be married. Very much so.

But I see no reason to be depressed and unhappy as a single person – not on Valentine’s Day, not on any day. See, God Himself carefully and beautifully formed me in my mother’s womb some twenty-three years ago. He knew me and all of my days before He formed me. He knows my heart. My visions. My passions. My hope. My pain. He knows my sorrow. And He’s here. He’s listening.

Many days I have felt unhappy and depressed. The longings for marriage and companionship and motherhood so intense … and I cried out to God with my aching heart and questions. And I realize He listened. He’s listening. All this time, He’s known and heard my longings and my wonderings and He’s been here. I have not been alone.

It’s like with Job (though Job’s pain and distress was on a much, much larger scale, of course). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Bible says Job did not sin in crying out, in venting, in pouring out all the hurt and confusion. But you might ask, why then did God never answer the question why? What is the point of the story of Job anyway? Well here’s what I think it is:

  • God shows us that we are not alone. Sometimes the scariest thing about tragedy or pain is the fear that I might suffer alone. In this book, God shows Job he is not alone. The God of the universe, who set all things into motion, cares enough for one, seemingly insignificant human being amidst millions and billions of other human beings, to answer Job in his pain. Not only is God listening, but He cares enough to answer Job. To show Job HE IS HERE.
  • God’s ways are so much different than ours. So much bigger and more amazing than we could ever imagine. God shows us that we can’t understand His work. The work He is doing. But we can trust Him because He cares. And He is mighty. And He is at work.

I’m not accusing you if you are feeling depressed or lonely or unhappy this Valentine’s Day. In fact, I understand. I’ve been there. Some days it seems silly to be unhappy just because a day is dedicated to romance … other days the pain is real. And God knows your heart. So pour out those feelings. But then, like Job, come out of the confusion and sorrow. Come out!

Isaiah 43:19-21

19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field will honor Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I give waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My people, My chosen.
21 This people I have formed for Myself;
They shall declare My praise.

See, I know God is listening to my prayers. I know He cares about me. I know He is taking care of me. I know He is working in my life – working out my future.

What’s more, I glimpse His majesty and holiness and grace and mercy! His tender love.

I am an unmarried woman this Valentine’s Day and I am so blessed! The fact is, God has already given me way more than I deserve! He has rescued my soul from darkness and brought me into His incredible light. I am saved. Sometimes our minds can’t grasp the magnitude of that. But I am one of billions of people and the ancient God who is outside of time – beginning and end – pursued me. Me. Little old insignificant me who really has nothing to bring to the table.

Hosea 2:14-15

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Not only that, but He keeps pursuing me every day. I see evidence of it in my life. I see the way He used anxiety and loneliness to push me to seek Him. I see the way that has urged me to cry out to Him while in depression instead of giving into the lies of Satan. I see the way He’s sustained me through dark mornings and fearful nights, and brought me out of that.

I see the way He’s used singleness to grow me closer to my siblings and friends. I see the way He’s put purpose and mission and ideas into my isolated life. I see the way He’s placed people in my path to reach out to. I see the way He prompts friends to send life-giving words when I need them the most, and uses random people to encourage my heart when I feel disillusioned. I see the people He’s woven into my life at just the right moments. I look back and see the way He’s orchestrated the details of my life…

And I’m profoundly thankful.

And I realize that He will continue to orchestrate the details of my life. I’m by no means of the though process that I could have planned my life better than God. I see clearly – for today, at least – how foolish that is.

Yes, I’ve wanted to get married for as long as I can remember. I tenderly cared for my baby dolls and I distinctly remember telling my mom around four or five-years-old that I wanted to get married. I had my first crush when I was thirteen, and the pages of my diary testify that I hoped and somewhat believed I would grow up and marry him.

I wrote my first letter to my future husband at age fourteen or fifteen. I remember talking to my friends, quite seriously, about marriage and motherhood and faith and other deep issues at fifteen. I didn’t think I was ready for it, yet I did. I was made for marriage and homemaking! My mom, aunts, and friends married in their late teens (not all, but many) and embraced homemaking and motherhood. I wanted to do the same. I had a vision for marriage and writing and serving Jesus.

At age eighteen, I felt distressed on Valentine’s Day because I was really, truly old enough for dating but had no prospects in sight.

Since then, my desire for marriage has only increased. I want to be a wife, a helpmeet, a companion, a friend. I want to be a mommy. I want to be a homemaker.

When people talk about

  • loving, helping, and supporting their husband as he does his God-given kingdom work
  • making their house a warm, welcoming place
  • raising my own children to know the love of God and serve Him
  • proclaiming Jesus’ love by the way they nurture people (husband, children, brothers & sisters in Christ, lonely singles, hurting young women, etc.)
  • a home atmosphere that shines a light
  • having girls or moms over for coffee
  • having people over for dinner regularly in their home
  • homemaking for the glory of Christ
  • hosting and hospitality

my heart nearly bursts with passion! I have such a vision for this. This is what I want to do with my life. This is what I long to do with a strong companion, my husband, for all the days of my life here on earth. This is the kingdom work I want to do for God’s glory and for the reaching of people and for the sake of love.

And the more I pray about it, read Christian books on it, listen to sermons, and talk to godly friends, the more I feel like God placed these desires and visions in my heart.

So why am I not married, you might ask? Why am I not joyfully serving and caring for people by a good man’s side?

Doesn’t it seem like that would be more profitable in the kingdom of God, in my life, in other’s lives than me just trying to find things to do while my vision is unfulfilled? I’m grappling with this intense longing to have a husband and children. I’m struggling with different life issues and concerns that might not be there if I were married. I’m working at a job that I have no real passion for. I’m trying to reach out and help, mentor, and serve people … but oftentimes it seems like my plans fall through or fall flat.

So the temptation is to be depressed and unhappy. And ask why. Why, God, am I not married yet? I feel like you’ve given me a desire to be a wife and a vision for homemaking, yet there are no godly men pursing me. I feel like I’m not doing very important things right now. Like I’m wasting my life – my gifts, talents, passion, and vision. Like I’m trying to do kingdom work and glorify You but nothing is really falling into place. I feel unsettled!

But if I say I believe God is who He says He is, then there is no room to linger in this questioning. If I say I believe God is listening, and He cares about and for me, and He gives me vision and desires, and He is at work in my life – in all our lives – for His glory and our good, then I also must believe that:

I am right where He wants me to be.

Here. Unmarried. Struggling through different issues. Working with so many little kids I feel like I can’t invest in any of them. Blogging about things I worry might offend fellow Christians and heart thoughts I don’t know if anybody cares about.

This. He’s at work in this. The hard, the mundane, the uncertain, the painful, the unfulfilled longings, the unsettled, the seemingly pointless.

God is at work in my life. He is working in and through me. He has a plan for my life. A glorious plan to make much of His name and bring me and others closer to Him.

And this is a supremely joyful and peace-filled truth!

Yes, I want to be married! But also, yes, I am thankful that I am single right now. Because that’s where God has me.

I know He sees my heart and He knows the plans He has for me. If He wants to fulfill the vision I feel He’s given me for wifehood, motherhood, and homemaking, then He will.

Do I keep praying? Yes, I keep praying. Pray. Pray. Pray. I tell God about my desires and visions and hopes and dreams. I ask Him to fulfill this vision in my life if it is of Him. I ask Him to root out lies and search my heart and remove the offensive ways and lead me closer to Him. I rebuke the Enemy in Jesus’ name. I resist the temptation to sink into hopelessness and despair and depression and desperation.

God is good all the time.

Sometimes I think we do stall God’s plans for our lives by becoming bitter and distrustful. By listening to Satan’s whispers and following all sorts of paths winding in the wrong direction. By no longer trusting our Father with our heart and seeking His face in sweet trust and surrender.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Do you see what I’m trying to say?

Be filled with hope and vision, and pray about and for what you think God is calling you to in life.

But if you feel called to be married yet are single right now, that doesn’t mean that your life is on hold or God is not paying attention.

There is so much to do in life! And if big things feel overwhelming or impossible, start by focusing on the little things. There are so many people who just need you to reach out to them. To stop and listen. To invite them over for supper. To care about them.

Maybe the years keep slipping by and marriage isn’t happening in your life … ask God to give you another vision! This doesn’t mean your vision for marriage will remain unfulfilled. But maybe you’ve been so focused on marriage you’ve gotten tunnel vision in a world filled with needs.

What about orphans and widows? What about sex trafficking? What about millions of babies being killed through abortion? What about sexual abuse within local churches and families? What about starving children in Africa? What about unreached people groups? What about Christians blinded by false doctrine?

What if God is calling you to stand up and fight back concerning one of these issues? He can bring you into the overwhelming and the impossible and do incredible things through your life!

Sometimes we need to shake things up in our lives. Make some changes. Take a leap of faith – big or small. We have to get out of the rut. We have to embrace SURRENDER and HOPE and FAITH and more than we could even IMAGINE or ASK FOR.

Ephesians 3:20

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I’m still praying about and for marriage and the chance to serve and thrive within wifehood, motherhood, and homemaking.

I’m also just praying, with great hope and joy, for God to use my life in His kingdom work.

I’ve decided to move out of my parent’s home. Out of state. To shake things up a little and take a step into the unknown. I’m twenty-three and I’ve been living at home for basically my whole life. Planning to move out when I get married…

Well, it’s time for a change.

Time for friends in my season of life who I can journey alongside as we all follow after Jesus. Time for a strong, passionate, Christ-like community around me. Time for a new beginning. Time to leave behind some of the weights that so easily entangle me. Time for new challenges that will grow and stretch me – body, mind, and spirit. Time for a new perspective.

This Valentine’s Day, I count myself wondrously blessed! I have no reason to complain. I have a Father God who is involved in every detail of my life. There is much hope.

Grow in grace, dear readers. ❤

1 Peter 5:6-11

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devourResist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Book Review: Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

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Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

My Personal Review ~ 4 stars ~

Reforming Marriage was a very interesting and thought-provoking book. I must say, I’ve not read many books on this subject that are as straightforward, non-apologetic, and radical in its views. Some of the points that Douglas Wilson presents in this book (and some his other books) seem a little rigid and maybe even coming from an unconsciously legalistic heart? But I’ve learned that Douglas Wilson is a writer for John Piper’s ministry (https://www.desiringgod.org/authors/d…) which makes me more comfortable reading his work because I really respect John Piper and his theology (all that I’ve heard so far). And these books were written quite awhile ago – in the 1990s.

So, while I don’t strictly agree with everything in this book, it was rather relieving and refreshing to hear a firm Christian voice on the topics of MARRIAGE // HEADSHIP // SUBMISSION // RESPECTING A HUSBAND // CHERISHING A WIFE // MASCULINITY // LEADERSHIP // MEN & WOMEN’S ROLES // BEING A HOMEMAKER // CHILDREN // BIRTH CONTROL // DIVORCE // and so forth.

I mentioned above that Douglas Wilson almost appeared to have a legalistic view in certain areas. But I also noticed, in more areas than not probably, that he expounded on grace, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

“But what about those who, by the time they read this book, have already done everything wrong? They are now on their third marriage and are troubled by guilt. The good news is that God picks us up where we are, not where we should have been. There is always forgiveness in Christ. Those in such a situation should confess the sin, accept God’s forgiveness by faith, and begin to live in submission to the Word of God.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

Some things he said about the woman’s role and such made me squirm a little inside. But in the same breath, his overall presentation of marriage is much more attractive than the modern marriages I see all around me! Small errors in judgement or not, Douglas Wilson’s view of marriage seems to be much more Biblical than most of the views on marriage in the general church today. All in all, Reforming Marriage made the passion for God’s design burn brighter in me! Let’s start really digging into the Word and seeing and living out God’s original design for womanhood, manhood, marriage, sexuality, parenting, and life in general!

The home is such a central part of life. We can see in our world today that with the tearing down of the family comes the eventual destruction of everything good, peaceful, and pure. And, from God’s original design, man was created as the head of the household. So he is responsible for the home, and for the beauty or for the darkness that comes from it.
Reforming Marriage really hit hard on the man’s responsibility as head of the home and spiritual leader. And it was very intriguing and eye-opening. The husband has a massive responsibility, and so I wouldn’t take marriage lightly! Whether he likes it or not, he is the head. And whether women want to admit it or not, we want our men to lead! Women don’t generally respect a man who doesn’t lead, protect, and provide … because that is what he was designed for! And she was designed to respond and to support.

“A woman should marry a man she respects, and a man should marry a woman he is willing to love and lead with a servant’s heart.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

I really love the idea of God giving man a task, and then bringing a woman to him to help him complete that task (Genesis 2). I pray that I can be a supporting, encouraging, joyfully Biblical wife someday! What a unique and beautiful design! The idea of a godly man who joyfully and firmly leads, protects, and provides for his wife … who regularly studies Scripture and pursues God individually and with his wife … who answers her theology questions and points her to Christ … who cherishes her and takes his job of raising their children seriously … That is incredible! We need men to rise up and be masculine, hard-working, gentle, godly, assertive, kind, strong, Christ-like men.

“The husband must make a conscious decision to utilize his strength for her protection and benefit, and not for his own. He can only do that in imitation of Christ. In the Christian family, the way to an understanding of true authority is through service.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]

To wrap it up, on a whole, I really enjoyed reading Reforming Marriage. Some parts were definitely better than others, and I have my questions and doubts concerning some of the views. But still, I gleaned a lot of helpful information and incredible insight, and like the idea of reading this book with my husband should I marry someday.

I recommend you read with an open mind, and always lining up what’s said against what the Bible says! As with all Christian Living books, don’t take everything as gospel-truth. The Bible alone is the Holy Word of God. But we can definitely gain some wisdom from books from fellow believers.