As I have mentioned before I had the privilege of teaching a senior girls Bible class for a couple of years at the Christian school where I worked. During the week of Valentine's Day I always would spend a couple of days on a subject close to my heart. While some subjects were "easier" to teach for me (choosing a college, finances, etc.) one theme cut right to the core of something that is a constant surrendering point to our Lord: relationships.
I spend countless hours praying for my future husband, but last year I felt that I was reminding myself of some of the same points that I was sharing with the girls. The pain of singleness can test the faith of the 18 year old and a 32 year old alike. I want and desire to find someone who loves God more than then they love me. That= THAT is a man that I can joyfully submit to. I want and desire to never settle for less than God's best for me! Trusting that HE knows better than I do- I can confidently wait with expectation that my Heavenly Father, the one who loves me more than life, has the best for me. With this hope I can confidently wait. Wait until God's time. NOT my own. I want and desire to know how to guard my heart but yet lovingly embrace those that God has put in my path to love. I want to guard my heart in a way that only the one that the Lord has for me will know the intimate treasures of my heart, but not guard it in a way that keeps me locked up. I desire to wait... to remain pure... to keep the promises that I made to God and myself when I was 14 years old because obedience does bring blessing.
Obedience does bring blessing.
As 18 years have come and gone since I made those promises to God and myself, I choose to continue to trust Him for His best. I choose to continue to pray daily for my future husband. I choose to continue to fast for him once a week. I choose to continue to write him love letters every week with prayers for him and thoughts for the future. And as I joyfully live each day, I choose to remain confidently hopeful that the Lord's blessings are right around the corner. I choose to trust in the one who loves me more than life.
Through laughter, straight talk, and beautiful words that came from God alone that week of ministry was one of the sweetest ministry weeks of my entire career. The Lord opened up conversations and thought provoking times of prayer and reflection that was obviously ALL about HIM. Nothing I could have done could have arranged for such a week. The Lord truly blessed and answered prayers beyond my imagination and my faith was once again encouraged in the trust of what the Lord has in store, as I trust in Him.
Encouraging someone to remain pure and wait for God's best at 18 years old is as complicated as telling someone at 32, or any age the same thing. The waiting gets harder the older you are. The temptation to settle gets greater. The temptation to manipulate and orchestrate gets worse.
And I run back to the Lord. I ask the Lord, no I beg of the Lord to bring my husband to me.
I have learned that waiting is the hardest anguish. Waiting is the difficult anguish of my deepest longing and desire (to be a wife and mom) being unfulfilled and the knowing of the bewilderment of unanswered prayer. In their book, "Captivating", John and Staci Eldridge have a beautiful quote regarding the subject of waiting:
"Living in true beauty can require much waiting,much time,much tenacity of spirit. We must CONSTANTLY direct our gazes toward the face of God,even in the presence of longing and sorrow. It is in the waiting that our hearts are enlarged. The waiting does not diminish us....God does not always rescue us out of a painful season. He is after something so much more than our happiness. Much more substantive than our health. He is restoring us and growing us in an eternal weight of glory."
In the unanswered prayer days I have also learned that God is in each day. God is truly in the waiting (Psalm 62:5). As I surrender my hopes and dreams the Lord grants me the strength and courage to face another day joyfully as I wait. And in that strength and courage it doesn't matter what day or week it is.
Even Valentine's Day and week is a small reminder that the Lord is in the CONFIDENT hopeful waiting. He knows the desires of my heart and He PROMISES to answer. That is enough for today. I trust that the Lord is still in control and is going to provide beyond my wildest dreams and imaginations. (Romans 15:13) I know and am confident that I will confidently rejoice with scripture that states;
“I asked the Lord to give me this boy and He has granted my request!”
- I Samuel 1:27-
(This post brings a smile to my little heart. It was written in 2013 back when this blog first began and when I was first exploring this issue. In the almost four years since then the Lord has guided and blessed and I remain confidently hopeful in the Lord's plan and goodness. I have written a book, "Prayers for the Single Journey" and have written on the topic of singleness numerous times. You can purchase my book where books are sold and find it on Amazon HERE. I have also created a list on all topics discussed on the blog related to singleness HERE! May you be blessed in your own journey as we confidently and hopefully wait on the Lord.)