Book Review: A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff

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A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars

A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. was a really great read! I’d seen it around on social media – from Jinger Vuolo, “Marriage After God”, and Dale & Veronica Partridge, I think – and became intrigued. Although I’ve never watched the TV reality show that Jeremy Roloff is a part of (Little People, Big World), I thoroughly enjoyed his and Audrey’s book! It was an easy read; interesting, fun, and thoughtful.

So basically it tells the story of Jeremy and Audrey. Little bits of their individual lives, and a lot of how they became friends, fell in love, and eventually joined lives in marriage! I thought it was awesome how they emphasized the importance of friendship first, and also being intentional and faithful about getting to know, understanding, and caring for one another. There were some hot topics discussed! Such as physical purity and close friendships with the opposite sex after you’re married. I appreciated how honest Jeremy and Audrey were about their relationship, purity, and where they failed … and the fact that they wrote it as a warning: Make boundaries! Have accountability partners. Don’t make the same mistakes that we did.

I loved the few pages of pictures near the center of the book. It’s so fun to see snippets of what you’re reading about! Absolutely lovely.

And the love letters they wrote each other? Absolutely precious! I love this idea – especially for dating couples! ^_^

This romance definitely wasn’t perfect. It had it’s ups and downs. It’s bumps and break-ups. But no love story is perfect. What makes the difference is how you pursue. How intentional you are. How faithful you are. Are you willing to fight for this person, despite the setbacks? And, once married, are you willing to cling to each other until death parts you … regardless if you “fall out of love” someday? Most importantly, are you actively putting Christ at the center? It’s wonderful to see a fun couple like Jeremy and Audrey pursuing God’s design for a man and his wife. Fighting for each other. Promoting a healthy marriage relationship that doesn’t give up.

This book talks about how to creatively love your special person, work through baggage from the past and/or generational sin, understand each other’s personality, respect each other, be intentional in a long distance relationship, and so on.

Jeremy and Audrey have a sweet story of coming together, and, overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book! I recommend to those who like learning about the real-life romances of Christian couples!

I received a copy of A Love Letter Life from Book Look Boggers Program. This review is honest and all my own.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on May 25th, 2019**

The Danger of Shame

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Dear sisters in Christ, today I want to talk to you about the dangers of shame.

Shame is something that a lot of you may carry. And it’s something that needs to be dealt with, lest it destroy you.

I think shame is oftentimes, if not always, Satan’s tool. Not God’s.

Shame says: You are wrong. Not: You’ve done wrong.

Shame is an identity.

An identity that suffocates you and leads you into darkness and confusion.

You  might feel shame because of “really bad” sins in your past.

You might feel shame because of something done to you.

You might feel shame because of emotional or verbal abuse.

You might feel shame simply because your personality, perspective, or circumstances make you more vulnerable to it than others.

But the truth is, as a daughter of God, shame should not be an identity you claim. Yes, there are times of guilt, remorse, conviction, and repentance.

Psalm 51:17

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

But when you can hardly look at or think about yourself without being drenched in shame, then you are embracing a  lie straight from the mouth of the Evil One.

Because, if you are a daughter of God, you are redeemed. Made pure. And as a human being, you are made in the image of God!

Yes, mankind chose sin and perverted perfection. But if you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then when God looks at you, He sees Jesus. As He accepts Jesus, He accepts you in Jesus. As He loves Jesus, He loves you in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Don’t hold onto shame.

It will pollute you, your relationships, and your life.

Particularly when it comes to romantic relationships, shame can be very dangerous.

A girl might accept all kinds of nonsense from a man because she doesn’t believe that she, personally, could get any better treatment.

She might participate in sin because her boyfriend communicates that she’s worth no more, and she accepts that because of her identity of shame.

She might settle for a guy who abuses her. Emotionally. Verbally. Even physically.

She might stay with a guy who is unstable or self-absorbed because, well, at least he wants her and doesn’t seem to care that she’s this, this, and this.

I mean, who could want a messed-up, stupid, failure of a woman like herself? If this guy will actually take her, she better make this relationship work.

A Christian girl might imagine herself unworthy of a godly man, for whatever reason. Therefore, instead of waiting for a man who will lovingly lead her toward Christ, pursue God with her, and truly strive to live out marriage as the Bible commands, she will run headlong into the first relationship that, unbelievably, comes her way.

But, my precious sisters, that is not how you follow Christ.

God is not pleased when your boyfriend (or any person) treats you badly, carelessly, or with selfish intent. God calls people to love you as He loves you.

John 13:34

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

God is not pleased when you make ungodly, unBiblical, insensible, foolish, harmful, careless, or hasty decisions based on your self-claimed identity of shame and your idea that you couldn’t possibly have a good and beautiful marriage like godly people get.

God makes people godly.

Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Breathe in His grace. Sit at His feet. See yourself as He sees you to be. Breathe out His love. And accept every good and undeserved gift He gives. Rejoice and glorify Him through that gift.

No, none of us deserve an awesome spouse – because we aren’t awesome.

But God is awesome.

And He chose you. He wants you. He loves you.

He has a specific plan for your life. Things like love. Joy. Peace. Purpose. Ministries. Relationships. Fellowship. Marriage. Children. Jobs. Mission Work. Education. Passions and hobbies …

He works through any and all these things to glorify Himself in and through your life, and draw you and others ever closer to Himself.

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 hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 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.

You may not feel you should get a godly spouse. That a godly man would want you. But if God wants to give you marriage, then by all means, accept that amazingly godly man and shout praises to your Father in heaven. He is awesome!

Let Him wash away the shame.

When you are His, washed clean by the powerful blood of Christ Jesus, you are CLEAN. All clean. No more shame, sweet girl. Bask in God’s love and let God’s love sanctify and change you.

You may have some more growing to do before you are ready to partner with and serve alongside a godly man.

But rest assured, if God is leading your heart toward marriage, He would have you choose a godly man.

Don’t settle for a man who will pull you away from Christ, or even sit back and watch as you strive for faith. Wait for a man who will push you toward God. Who will run the race with you. Who will worship God wholeheartedly with you.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.

Wait for a man who will see you as God sees you.

Beloved.

Book Review: Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe

Real Life Romance

Real-Life Romance: Inspiring Stories to Help You Believe in True Love by Rhonda Stoppe

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Do You Believe in True Love?

In a world of broken relationships and hurting people, it can seem like all we ever see is heartache—that marriages are doomed from the start and romance isn’t worth the risk.

But heart-fluttering, long-lasting love is all around us … we just have to look for it!

This collection of beautiful, real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears as you enjoy each story of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Page after page, you will find inspiration to

rekindle the romance in your love story
trust in God’s providence and timing
faithfully hope for your own happily-ever-after
celebrate true romance
believe in life-long love

Don’t let the world define romance for you! See how God is at work in the hearts of His people—knitting together hearts in a love that forever endures.

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars ~

Quite a thoughtful, fun, and inspiring read! There were a couple things I wasn’t sure what to think about, so that’s why this book didn’t quite reach five stars. But overall, Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe is an amazing, lovely book that I hope to share with others!

“And you’ll discover how God’s plan is for couples to love each other so deeply with His love that their marriages become a light He can use to draw others to know Him.” (Real-Life Romance pg. 9)

So basically, this book is a collaboration of twenty-five unique love stories. Each story is a little different, which is so neat to see. Real-Life Romance is about sweet romances as well as faith, friendship, redemption, loss, secret sin, and forgiveness. It was so awesome to see how God worked in these couple’s lives! It was also fun hearing about the author’s own love story, and those of her children! Breaking the Bro Code: Estevan & Kayla (pgs. 177-188) was especially heartfelt. I was deeply touched by how they used personal loss to keep an eternal perspective and press closer to Jesus Christ.

Some of my very favorite stories were Waiting on God’s Timing: Keven & Suzanne (pgs. 33-38)The Heart’s True Desire: Jason & Noelle (pgs. 39-45)Addicted to Each Other: Jeff & Jennifer (pgs. 105-113); and Connected at the Heart: Bill & Pam (pgs. 131-139). These four were particularly beautiful and powerful to me. I so loved them!

Oh, and the brief bit about Apostle Peter and his wife. Ah! Incredibly tender and soul-stirring. I’m so glad Rhonda Stoppe included that account in Real-Life Romance! It was a perfect way to conclude the book.

I have strong, personal convictions about dating and marriage, so some of the stories didn’t resound with me as much as others. Particularly when couples seemed to rush ahead instead of seeking the Lord and waiting for His leading. One story it appeared that a man was a Christian when he married a woman who was an unbeliever. (She came to know the Lord and has a beautiful testimony, but I question whether his decision was Biblical. {2 Corinthians 6:14-18}) Also, there were at least four stories about divorce and remarriage. From reading the Bible, I firmly believe that God is against divorce and it’s not His heart for His people! (Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:2-12; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Romans 7:2-3; Malachi 2:16; 1 Corinthians 7:11-13; Hebrews 13:4). So I’m always a little at loss of what to think when reading about divorce and remarriage. I don’t know the whole stories – background and reason for divorce. And some (all?) of the stories were about people who married/divorced before they had become believers. Anyway, I just thought I would give a cautionary mention about that.

Even when one of the stories didn’t settle with me as much, I felt Rhonda Stoppe herself was pretty spot-on throughout the whole book! After each story, she has sections called Ponder This and Ask Yourself, and I felt she spoke a lot of Biblical truths and raised important questions through those! Even with the concerns I mentioned above, I believe Rhonda Stoppe and I have quite similar thoughts, convictions, ideas, and cautions.

“How might you adjust your life to take your focus off looking for a husband and learn to find contentment in loving and serving Jesus?” (Real-Life Romance pg. 38)

All in all, I think the themes of Real-Life Romance: Inspiring Stories to Help You Believe in True Lovewere of finding your hope and joy in the Lord and believing that He does and will write beautiful love stories and strengthen marriages to be a light and a testimony! I was encouraged. ^_^ Besides a few things that raised questions for me, I recommend this book. Planning to have my mom and sister read at least my favorite stories! *smiles*

“When looking for a mate, it’s tempting to take your eyes off the prize of Christ and focus on who might be ‘the one’. But let’s follow the example of the woman in Tony’s unit. If you run this race of life with your focus on the One who calls you to run, and one day you look over and see a man whose eyes are fixed on Jesus and he places his hand in the small of your back to help you run your race – marry him!” (Real-Life Romance pg. 226)

I received a copy of Real-Life Romance from Litfuse Publicity Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on March 6th, 2018**

Ladies, Stay on God’s Path for You

Have you ever stopped to ponder that fact that God has a plan for your life? That He knows and is ready to be involved in all the details (if you but surrender to Him)? That He has a path set out before you, and you should be seeking Him in regards to each next step?

Ladies, stay on God’s path for you!

Men, this is for you too.

As children of the King, we have a constant Hope and Guide. If He is truly our Father, Lord, and First Love, then we should be inviting Him into every day, every event, every moment, every detail. We should never go somewhere that He isn’t.

ladies stay on Gods path for you

So let’s talk about romantic relationships. Speaking of this, are you going somewhere that He isn’t? Have you surrendered this area of your life to God? Have you invited Him in? Talked to Him about your hopes and dreams and ideas? And then listened? Are you trusting Him to work out the details of your love life, meeting your “special someone”, and your future marriage?

Listen, God is so in control and so able! I believe that if we but surrender our love lives to Him, He can and will lead us in this area! He can and will write our love story. He can and will bring us the right person in the right timing.

Psalm 31:19

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

Psalm 33:15 & 18

15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,

So I want to challenge you.

Don’t settle for anything less than God’s best.

What does that mean? Surrender. Surrender it all to Him. And trust. Trust that He is directing your path. And stay. Stay on His path. Don’t veer off without His permission because you catch a glimpse of potential romance.

Proverbs 4:26-27

26 Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.

Do you have enough faith – do you trust God enough to completely surrender this to Him? To give up your fears of never getting married; of still being single when you’re thirty; of missing out? To give your heart wholly to Him and let Him lead you? To open up your hands and allow Him to take the bad,  but also give the good? He knows what is good. He knows what is best for you. And He knows He can sustain you through anything.

Job 1:21

21 And he said:

“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.”

First point – KNOW THAT MARRIAGE IS NOT THE GOAL IN LIFE.

As Christ-followers, getting married should not be our ultimate goal in life.

Growing in the Lord. Falling more in love with Jesus Christ. Glorifying God. Sharing the good news of the Gospel. Making disciples. Loving. Living in community. Making much of His name. Friends, our purpose here on earth is to know God and to make Him known.

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

If marriage is all you think about, all you desire, all you work toward … If you lacking marriage is making you miserable, sad, empty, purposeless, and inactive, then you have made a good dream an idol. You have forgotten—or perhaps never intimately known—your First Love.

1 John 5:21

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Revelation 2:4

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

As powerfully beautiful as marriage can be, it has no power to fulfill you. Without an intimate, personal, thriving relationship with Jesus Christ and a solid knowledge of what you true purpose is as a Christ-follower, you will always grapple with emptiness and feeling unfulfilled.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So before you start searching for a spouse, search for Jesus. He’s waiting. He says that those who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him! Before you step into making a choice as important as who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, build your relationship with your Father and Lord. Know and believe His love for you – find your worth and purpose in Him.

Psalm 130:5-6

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

1 John 4:16

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Jeremiah 29:12-14

12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 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,

Find your place in the Body of Christ. Become a part of a community of believers. Start living for His glory – pursuing life with courage, joy, and peace.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,

Romans 12:5

so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Acts 2:46-47

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Pursue Christ, not marriage. As awesome as marriage is, it is better to be single than to be married outside of God’s will.

Second point – DETERMINE ONLY TO MARRY A PERSON WHO DESIRES TO/AND IS PURSUING CHRIST LIKE YOU ARE.

The more I grow in Christ, the more I realize that He is everything. He is my only Hope. He is my joy. His Word is my truth. Apart from Him I am utterly empty inside and, in reality, I have nothing.

So, my dear sisters and brothers in the Lord, it makes absolutely no sense to join yourself to someone who does not realize this the way you do.

I believe passionately in having close relationships and being intricately involved in a community of fellow believers. I believe that God made us to be relational creatures, because He is relational! I believe He made us for community – to connect at a soul level with other people. And I also believe that marriage is one of the closest, deepest relationships of connection and community that a human being can have. It symbolizes Christ and the Church. I think it can also represent the Trinity and the close relationship that God wants to have with His people.

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Ephesians 5:23-25 & 28-32

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Isaiah 62:2-5

You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

Marriage is—should be—the connecting of two souls.

So you should never consider connecting yourself to an unbeliever. In all honesty, how can you? If your soul is connected to Christ, how can it also be connected to a person who does not know this Light?

2 Corinthians 6:11-18

11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

 

And, to go even deeper, we shouldn’t just be looking at the surface – is this man a Christian? But: Does this man follow Christ? Does he know and believe God’s love for him, and show that love to others? Can/will he lead me and our future children spiritually?

1 John 4:19

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Do you think you will be able to run after Jesus Christ just as passionately married to this man as when you were single?

If not, I don’t believe you should marry him. If anything is going to hinder your relationship with the Lord—including romantic relationships!—then you should part from it.

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Do you not realize? NOTHING is as important as being close to God. Following Him with all your heart all the days of your life. What use is it to you if you gain the whole world—the love of your life, the job of your dreams, houses, careers, passions, vacations, things—but lose what really matters? Deep down, you will always be empty and looking for the next thing unless you let God completely and radiantly fill you up.

Psalm 63:1-5

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

Mark 8:34-37

“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

If a nice young man who attends your church wants to get to know you, make sure you know who he truly is before you let your heart get involved. What is he living for? What is his heart’s deepest desire? What does he want out of life? What is he pursuing?

Matthew 7:20

20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Think about this. Do you want to be married to the man whose house stands firm? Or the man whose house falls?

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

If you strive to glorify and honor God in all you do … Read the Word and pray daily … Dream of doing some sort of ministry with your husband … Have a strong desire to raise your children to know God’s love and serve Him …

… But this young man has hopes and aspirations to make good money, have a nice house, marry the woman of his dreams, raise a couple kids and get them off onto their own with good jobs, retire and enjoy life … oh, and go to church on Sundays, of course.

Well, he might be a very nice Christian man! But please, ladies, don’t get involved – just let him go. Don’t let him dim your passion for Christ. Don’t let him stifle the joy you have in the Lord. Don’t let him pull you away from the ministries the Lord has put on your heart. Don’t let him entice you to settle for a mediocre life when you could have one of thriving in the Lord! (Either single or married to a different man who understands/shares your desire for God.)

Luke 10:27-28

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

Proverbs 4:23

23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

Do you know how many married women long for their husbands to lead them spiritually? Do you know many women have a love for the Lord that longs to grow passionately, and their husbands—whom they’re supposed to be connected at the soul with—just don’t understand? Do you know how this hurts these ladies? Do you know how many women have a deep need and desire to raise their children in the Lord, and their husbands just don’t care about it? –Not only do they not step up and lead spiritually, but they don’t even support their wives in this very important desire!

Not, ever, to say that there is no hope for married women and families in these situations. There is always hope! God is merciful and compassionate. A good and tenderly loving Father. Marriages that started out foolishly, selfishly, or rocky can blossom into strong, godly marriages when the individuals seek God. And if only one individual turns to God, He is faithful to tenderly care for that person and their children, even if the marriage continues to be hard.

Joel 2:25-27

25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

But single women, I implore you, don’t set aside your heart for God while you look for a man. It is not worth it. You don’t know the struggles and heartache it will bring!

Follow Jesus Christ with all your heart! He is truly all you need.

And if, one day, you see a man following the Lord the same way you are, ask God about him! He won’t be doing everything you are, of course. But when Christ is the true desire of both of your hearts, you will connect on a deeper level and know, with time and friendship, that you are running the same race. Desiring the same things. That you would make a great team in seeking after the Lord together!

Waiting for a truly godly man is WORTH IT.

Waiting for a man who will run passionately after Jesus Christ with you is beyond worth it. Waiting for a man who will stand for righteousness. Who will preach the gospel to you. Who will truly strive to love you like Christ loves the Church. Who will pursue you selflessly. Who will lead you spiritually. Who will long to raise your children in the Lord just as you do! Who will get down on his knees and pray with you. Who will open God’s Word each day. Who will continually point you and your children to Jesus.

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This is the man to wait for. So wait for him. And focus on falling in love with Jesus Christ and becoming the kind of woman this man will desire as a wife. Become the godly wife that he should be waiting for! 🙂

And if the years are just going by and you’re not meeting this man … don’t worry. Just fall in love with Jesus. He is your heavenly Bridegroom. You are His bride.

Psalm 84:10-12

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

12 Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Third point – BELIEVE THAT GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT.

As I journey through life, currently in a season including singleness, I am learning that God knows all and has His own timing for things. For all things. And each season has purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

Life is about what, friends? As Christ-followers, it about knowing God and making Him known! So, in every season, that should be our goal.

We passionately pursue Christ. And we surrender our desires to Him, trust His timing, and delight ourselves in Him and the season He has us in.

Consider this. Perhaps you are *still* single because it’s simply not God’s timing yet for you to be in the season of marriage. Maybe your future spouse isn’t ready for marriage at this time. Maybe he doesn’t realize his worth in Christ – doesn’t truly understand how loved he is by God. Maybe he hasn’t learned how to be a spiritual leader yet.

Instead of fighting this season and struggling against God’s plan, why don’t you give it time? Why not consider that your spouse might need to be in a season of singleness a little longer? Why not commit to praying earnestly for him/her? Why not take a good look at yourself. Are you ready for marriage? To lead spiritually as the head of the family? To be responsible and provide as the man? Or to support, respect, and encourage as a godly wife? To raise children in the Lord? To tell and show them how much Jesus loves them by living in a way that shows you know you are loved by Him?

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

I’m not saying you have to be perfect. Seriously, no one would ever get married then! 😉

But it’s always good to evaluate ourselves and our lives and our relationship with the Lord. Be serious. Be intentional. And stop freaking out about possibly getting it wrong or missing out on your last opportunity to get married because you were too picky or some such.

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;

24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Do you trust God?

With even this?

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Just seek and love Him with all your heart. Run passionately in the way He shows you. And trust that He will write your love story—work out the details—if it is, indeed, His will for you to marry.

1 Samuel 2:30

for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

He is God, is He not?

He is able.

Psalm 37:23

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

Another thought about your season of singleness. Perhaps there is work to do, or a ministry you need to have, while you’re yet single. Maybe you’re not married yet not because you’re not “ready” or you’re making marriage an idol, but because God still has work for you to accomplish in this vital season of life. Maybe your future spouse has a ministry that he/she needs to be involved in as a single person right now! Don’t hinder them in that. Don’t hinder what God’s trying to do in and through you in your own season of singleness.

Ecclesiastes 3:5-7

A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

Not at all to say we can’t serve God or do ministry as married people. I passionately believe that marriage and family are beautiful, God-given ministries – ways to serve God! And you can get involved in additional ministries together as a family.

But there are also ministries or specific things that are easier or better to do as a unattached person. When you don’t have the crucially important and big roles of being a wife & mother/husband & father. So embrace this season of singleness and do all that God has put on your heart! Maybe you will never get a chance to do it again in any other seasons of life that are coming up! Live this season to the fullest. All for His glory! ❤

Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

So. Stay on the path that God has for you. Because it is truly the best. Don’t get distracted by romance—by bad men or good men! Only open your heart to that person who doesn’t distract you from God, but pulls you closer to Him! Trust God with His timing. Strive to glorify our King and live life for Him in every season. Singleness is beautiful. Marriage is beautiful. Raising children is beautiful. Using your God-given gifts is beautiful. Pursuing a career you’re passionate about is beautiful. Over-seas missions are beautiful. Mentoring your siblings is beautiful. Every season and passion and opportunity is beautiful as long as we are inviting God fully into our lives and following where He leads.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13

10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Psalm 92:12-15

12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Follow His path. Live loved. ❤

Practicing Purity & Pursuing Righteousness in Romantic Relationships

How does one pursue purity and righteousness in a relationship?

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Even though if you read my relationship status it would say “single”, I’ve gleaned some insight and wisdom over the years on romance, dating, and marriage. By pursuing God and studying this particular topic through Christian Living books, sermons, and speakers—plus deep thought and discussion—I’ve perhaps gained some knowledge, and I want to share my ideas with you! I would love to converse with you in the comments below and hear your experiences and thoughts.

One thing I’ve learned: each relationship looks different! There are no perfect steps and cut-and-dry answers.

But as we strive to honor God in all areas of our lives, what are some ways we can intentionally practice the purity and righteousness He calls us to as His children?

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:1-6)

So here are some thoughts:

Meeting.

Wanting marriage is a God-given desire. While we need stay focused on our First Love and be careful not to get obsessed with “finding the one” or make marriage/a relationship an idol … desiring and seeking marriage is perfectly okay!

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

I think it’s a beautiful and Biblical thing to connect with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and have meaningful friendships. God created us for community and relationships! So get involved. Meet men and women your own age – and of all ages!

If you find someone you’re interested in, make an effort to spend time with them. Get to know them in a group setting. Seek friendship first … show interest without flirting! Oftentimes, flirting can be shallow and self-focused – so check yourself. Strive to see this person through God’s eyes. They are a human created in God’s image; a beloved child of the King, with a heart worth really knowing! (Here is a letter I wrote to my future husband with these thoughts in mind.)

Pursuit.

Dear fellow women, wait for a man who will pursue you with godly intention and genuine attraction and interest in you. –Who you are as a person and your heart.

Take your time, know your mind, and let him win your heart. Don’t feel pressured to act or be a certain way. You don’t owe a single thing to the man who’s pursuing you. This is a trial period where you each get to know one another, deepen your friendship, and seek out each other’s hearts with the possibility of marriage in mind. You do not belong to him. He does not belong to you. The purpose of an intentional relationship should be to really get to know one another and find out if you want to marry. If, at any point, you realize the answer is “no”, end the relationship without delay. Be honest. Don’t lead them on.

In a man’s pursuit of you, I think it’s so important that he ask for your dad’s (or spiritual father’s) blessing. Involve your parents, mentors, and other family and friends who care about you and are invested in your life. I think it’s a beautiful thing when men and women involve wise people as they contemplate a relationship. Take steps to honor each other instead of just rushing into a relationship with only fun and pleasure in mind.

Men, you’re pursuing a woman, not a relationship.

Women, you’re responding to a man, not a potential fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams.

Take time to truly care about them.

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Friendship.

Be careful to use this dating/courtship time as an opportunity to deepen your friendship, rather than get all romantic too fast or too deeply. I’ve heard so many times that once you introduce physical touch into the relationship, your ability to really get to know one another seriously dwindles. Perhaps this is why many couples wake up six months to a year after their wedding day and wonder, “Do I really even know this person – my spouse?”

Besides that, remember, you do not belong to each other yet. So be careful of thinking that you have a right to any and all romantic touches, gestures, and talk.

I believe we should establish a solid foundation as brother and sister in Christ and focus on pursuing a deep, enjoyable, real friendship in dating/courting relationships.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Honor that young woman as your sister, men. Treat her with gentleness and care, and much respect!

Girls, treat him as an esteemed friend rather than spending all your time stressing over what to wear, flirting, jealousy, and posting a thousand and one pictures of you two snuggling on Instagram.

You don’t belong to each other yet. Maybe not ever.

Boundaries.

Establish boundaries right away. Realize your values, and stick to them. Pray about convictions you feel God is giving you. Study Scriptures that speak on the topic of sexual purity. As I mentioned above, honor each other as brothers and sisters and pursue an authentic friendship first and foremost. Relationships aren’t all about holding hands and cuddling.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Concerning romance and physical touch, my basic thoughts always went something like this: I’ll meet this wonderful guy and we’ll become the best of friends. After a few months of courting, we’ll hold hands. Maybe after about a year, we’ll get married! And I’ll probably save my first kiss for my wedding day.

Well, yes. Every relationship is unique! So you can’t really plan out your future relationship perfectly – everything all black and white.

But I do think it’s important to ponder, pray, and contemplate. What do you stand for, and how would you like to proceed if a man shows interest?

Men, how are you going to go about things if you find a woman you want to pursue? Have you thought about how to best honor God in this area? How to best honor a girl you want to date?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

What are your boundaries? Do you have any? I firmly believe that men and women seeking to have a godly relationship should have solid convictions and boundaries. Not something like, “Well, I might save my first kiss for my wedding day … that kinda sounds like a good idea …”

No. Figure out where you need to draw the line, and make some firm boundaries for yourself. If you don’t have convictions, you’re bound to go where you never set out to go. And be certain to honor the boundaries of the person you’re in a relationship with!

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:20-23)

Lust is not part of a healthy, God-honoring relationship. Seek the Lord. Guard your heart. Take every thought captive. Watch your actions. If you start to lust, know that you’ve stepped into forbidden territory.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-22)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Besides avoiding sexual compromise, I think we need to set boundaries to protect each other emotionally.

I, and perhaps most women, need to feel secure, emotionally connected, and trustful before I would be open to a man’s affectionate touch. I see holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. as an expression of a love already deep. Not a way to “feel in love”.

And we, as women, need to know we’re being pursued for who we are – our hearts. Not our bodies, not our looks, not what we can give.

Men, pursue patiently, gently, and selflessly. A woman doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t have any right to her body, emotions, heart, etc. If you pursue her in a godly way and honorably win her heart in time, she’ll give you what is right to give you—in God’s eyes and for her personally—in each season.

I now hold to a conviction to save my first kiss for my husband. I want to honor him even now – and more importantly, honor God. So I’m intentionally learning, and reading, and practicing, and doing what I can to be ultra cautious and honorable in the areas of sexuality. Even if I never marry, I want to live purely before the Lord. If marriage is in my future, I want to save my body, romantic touches, and such for my husband, because he is the only man who has the right to them. And because I want to give him such a gift.

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12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13)

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

This is not to say that I’ve been perfect in the area of sexual purity. Maintaining God’s standard of purity can be a battle, especially if you don’t know what you’re up against and aren’t seeking God in this area, and all areas, of your life! We’ve all made mistakes, entertained the world’s ideals, and fallen into sin.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25)

But today is a new day. Though our sins are grave, our mighty God is faithful in forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and grace! You can turn from sexual impurity and walk in forgiveness and newness. Today you can choose to start honoring God in your love life and with your sexuality. Today you can commit to reserve your body and heart for your spouse only. Today, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, pray for a passion for God’s Word and His good design!

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:22-25)

 

If you want to study more about God’s design for your sexuality, relationships, marriage, romance, and sex, here are some books I recommend (though I exhort you to read with discernment, because these are books written by fellow humans, not God!):

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Pray. Serve. Be.

So, make friends, have fun, hang out, get to know people! Go wherever God calls you and do all that He gave you a passion and heart to do. Find a like-minded community of believers and serve together, work together, play together, laugh together, grow together …

But be serious about relationships and marriage. Give it some thought. And pray! Bring God into every aspect of your life. Tell Him about your struggles and concerns. Bring the person you’re interested in to Him in prayer. Tell Him about your desires for marriage. Ask for His leading. For wisdom, guidance, and clarity. He is faithful to write beautiful stories for those who follow Him and seek His face constantly.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

Be in prayer and surround yourself with good friends and mentors. Whether single or in a relationship, now is always the right time to learn more about God’s design and beautiful plan for purity, relationships, marriage, and the like!

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:9-11 & 15-16)

Pray for your future spouse. Pray for your future marriage. If you’re dating/courting, always be praying for you and the person you’re in a relationship with! I cannot stress enough the power and beauty of prayer. ❤

As you practice purity and pursue righteousness in your relationship, remember to enjoy this season! Laugh. Talk. Go on exciting adventures. Serve together. Pray. Rejoice. Count your blessings. Love being friends and being together! Even as you act intentionally in this, trust God to guide you each step of the way, and just be.

~ Lady Grace ~

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

So here’s where I attempt to write a post about dating/marriage … something along those lines. This subject has been on my mind and heart lately, so I just want to share some of my thoughts.

thoughts on dating and marriage

To be honest, I’ve never dated before. Never been in a romantic relationship. I’ve had crushes on a few young men though the years, but nothing ever came of it … I doubt they liked me back in the same way! So I’m passed that “sixteen and never been kissed” and am now an even older “never been kissed” phenomenon. *wink* Okay, okay. It’s not that amazing; I actually know quite a few young women who are “older” and haven’t been in a relationship before either. But it’s just that in this day and age … where you get your first boyfriend at thirteen-years-old … yeah. I sometimes feel like a spectacle of some sort.

Yet, there is a reason that I’m still quite unattached, and I know what it is (not counting the fact that I was homeschooled, and am rather insecure and of an introverted nature). I see problems when I look out at the world and their system of finding true love. I see heartbreak, and scars, and pain, and foolish decisions, and regrets, and hurt, and confusion, and divorce.

I’ve been watching this all go on, guys. I’m just waiting. And while I wait, gathering wisdom on the subject, I hope.

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  • Dating is not “for fun”

I’ve never dated before, because I realize that dating is not something one should do for fun. Rather, dating/courting is to purposefully get to know someone, with marriage in mind.

When you “date” when you’re twelve to seventeen years old, you’re generally just fooling around. You don’t actually expect to marry that person someday. (There are exceptions, of course – especially in my parents’ background, where a lot of young people get married between the ages of seventeen to twenty; I’m just speaking of the average dating teenager who isn’t planning on getting married anytime soon).

So you’re getting emotionally attached … physically involved … and yet nothing is going to come of it. You’re not only giving pieces (in a sense) of your heart and body to some person other than your future spouse, you’re playing a dangerous game of “falling in love”, then breaking up when an issue comes up. “Falling in love”, then leaving when there are rough times that you don’t feel like working through. I mean, you’re a “child” playing at what adults do. And it’s not safe. As pastor/speaker Matt Chandler’s wife, Lauren, says: Dating (for fun, with no real direction or purpose) is like practicing divorce.

Also, I’ve read surveys on how many girls lose their purity by the time they’re out of high school when they start dating around thirteen and continually get into dating relationships from then on. Most studies said it was well over 50%. That is heart-breaking, people. *tears* Dating is not for teenagers, but for mature individuals seeking marriage.

“Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.”

~ Jefferson Bethke

Hopefully by the time you’re an “adult”, you realize that dating is serious. Flirting, playing around, toying with someone’s heart, giving away your kisses … I think you’re just setting yourself up for future hurts and issues to work through. Not to mention, that’s not being very faithful to your future spouse. Want to talk about true love? That kind of amazing, fairy-tale true love? Well, maybe that can happen if we start loving our future spouses here and now instead of flippantly seeking out temporary pleasure and fun at every turn.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

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Let’s be serious. Let’s turn over the pen of our love story to God. Shouldn’t He be involved? Of course! God should be involved in every detail of our lives, especially the huge aspect of our love lives.

Date with intention, people. Not for pleasure, but to see if a solid friendship could blossom into a lasting, God-honoring romance. Seek God’s guidance. Wait possibly. Don’t date if you can’t see the relationship leading to a godly marriage.

I think this video (link below) talks about such things and lays it out pretty well. I would encourage you to watch it. *smiles*

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

“You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he’s the right one.”

~ Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott

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  • How Far is Too Far?

So what about when you believe you’ve found the one. You’re currently dating/courting, and falling more in love each day. How far is too far when it comes to the physical side?

Some people say you shouldn’t really touch at all. Others say holding hands is fine. Or light kissing. Some say kissing should wait until after engagement, or even until you’re at the altar. But still others say “making out” is perfectly appropriate at times.

I myself tend to lean toward saving your first kiss for your wedding day. Kissing is very special … end of discussion. I say save as many firsts as you can. Save it, value it, make it meaningful. It helps keep temptation at bay, and ensures you’re only kissing your spouse!

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However, some people just say I’m conservative and whatever else.

So here’s the best answer I’ve heard when it comes to the question, “How far is too far?” It comes from Youtuber, Joseph Solomon:

“Whenever you start to lust.”

Christian Singles: How Far Is Too Far? // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

So. Be honest with yourself. And ask your significant other to be honest with themselves. And then set some firm boundaries. Because entertaining lust can lead you to some places you never set out to go … and lust is a sin in and of itself.

So, to the Christian individual who wants to know how far they can go without sinning … there it is. And also, make sure you’re respecting not only your own boundaries, but your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s.

But here’s another thought I’ve come across: Should you, as a child of God, be asking how far you can go without sinning? Or should you ask how far you can go to honor your God and your “neighbors”?

18 Flee sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Focus on friendship. Focus on really getting to know the other. Serving them. Growing closer together in the Lord. Most of the physical stuff is really best left to marriage. And it’s beautiful when you keep it safely there.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 8:4

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  • No daydreaming

Okay, so you’re not in a relationship, but dutifully praying for your future husband/wife. And while you’re sincerely praying for that unknown person, so-and-so pops into your head. Then you’re like,“Wait … I’m supposed to be praying for my future spouse right now, not so-and-so”.

It’s kind of funny, but kind of not in the same breath. Because let’s face it; daydreaming doesn’t help anything. Most of the time it leads to discontentment, fretting, or even emotional attachment. Way to totally fall in love with someone who probably doesn’t exist, rather just bears the name of the person you “like”.

I’m not sure how men are, but, from a woman’s perspective, it is really easy to get caught up in daydreaming and all that silliness. And for a while, it can seem like just that – harmless silliness. But usually our hearts end up getting a little cracked.

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So let’s try to be patient and purposeful! Here’s some things to try:

  • When your mind wanders to daydreaming, try praying for someone who needs your prayers.
  • Daily give that person and your admiration of them over to God – surrender.
  • Pray for and write letters to your future spouse.
  • Pray for the distracting person separately, if you want to pray for them.

Instead of pining over someone who might not even be “yours”, try to gain wisdom about what makes a godly marriage and how to be a godly woman/man. Seek God, and strive to grow closer to Him. Those who are lonely, your soul is crying out for God! A spouse cannot fill that emptiness.

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Fight for your future marriage. Look around. Satan is avidly working at destroying marriages – perverting what God designed to be beautiful and sacred. So start fighting for your marriage even now, before it’s started.

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  • Marriage is not the goal in life

One way to keep yourself from idolizing marriage or a romantic relationship is to realize that marriage isn’t the goal. That a spouse isn’t going to fulfill you/make your life perfect.

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Marriage is a gift! Surrender that desire for marriage to God, and see where He goes with it! Trust that God has the best plan—no matter what. Because, in truth, you aren’t in control. And the sooner you give up that illusion, the happier and more at peace you’ll be! Just realize that God is in control, and choose to trust that He knows and sees what we can’t, and He loves us oh so much, and He delights in us.

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.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Live your life. Serve others. Use your gifts. Go wherever God leads you. Don’t wait on marriage to start living. Finding a partner in life is a gift, not a goal.

Don’t waste your life. Don’t feel inferior because you’re not married. Surrender and seek the Lord! He has a plan for your life – follow it! ❤

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Godly Action and Pursuit

I don’t want to sound like I’m against marriage here, or Christian couples getting married young even. Marriage was designed by God, created to be a very good thing that not only is a gift to us, but glorifies Him and shines a light to the world! Marriage is a very beautiful thing. An honor. A sacred covenant. Loving and serving a spouse and raising children to know and serve the Lord are extremely important jobs!

22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 12:4

14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14

So single women, I charge you to follow God’s path for your life, seek to learn how to become a godly woman. If you desire to get married someday, pray specifically and deeply for your future husband … ask God to prepare you to be the wife your man needs!

Not that we’re all guaranteed to get married. I could be meant to be single. I could die before marriage ever comes into view. Jesus could return before I become a wife. I don’t really know! And that’s okay. But as of now, I just feel a burden to pray for my future husband, and to learn what it means to be a godly wife. I find myself praying that God would mold me into the woman my future husband needs. I find myself asking God to urge him to pray for me. *smiles* Because I totally need to be held up in prayer also! I have struggles, and fears, and all that too.

So surrender your desire for marriage to God, and trust Him. But if you continue to feel urged to pray for your future husband and learn about being a godly wife, then go for it! Fight for your marriage!

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12

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Yes, do not pursue, ladies! That is what God calls the men to do. Not us. I’ve seen how masculinity and femininity have been so mixed and messed up and it’s not doing the world or our marriages any good. Men are the leaders. They’re meant to initiate – and women respond. Men pursue.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

Did you get that? He who finds a wife. Not she who finds a husband. Haha. But seriously, stop. Stop the flirting, the hinting, the pressuring. Don’t ask guys out. No. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the man to pursue. If he’s a godly man, and he’s found a godly woman in you, and prayed about, and feels the Lord is leading you together, then he will intentionally and gently pursue you. Did you hear that? Let the men lead.

Here’s a video if there’s any men reading this post who want to be preached to about pursuing. I found it interesting myself. *smiles* (click link below)

Pursue Her: A Message to Christian Men // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

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So there are my thoughts! I do not follow them all perfectly. I’m not perfect! But I’m striving to trust God with my future … pray for my future marriage (if that’s indeed in God’s will for my life) … wait on a godly man … become a godly woman! Fall more in love with my Savior, and see more perfectly His design each day! ❤

Join me, single women! (And single men, if you’re reading this! *smiles*) Let’s be the exceptions. Pray sincerely for our future spouse. Fight for our future marriage. Strive for godliness. Live God’s design … not the world’s!

And even if you’ve been living the world’s design … you’ve messed up … Don’t worry; you can still start anew and start living God’s design! I’m far from having done it all right as well – but each day is a new day! Surrender to the Lord and strive to walk His path! He is faithful!

I hope this was encouraging/helpful. I love you all, my sisters and brothers in the Lord! Remember to fight for godly, beautiful marriages that shine our God’s incredible light! ❤

 

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life July 24th, 2015 **