I was recently sharing coffee with two lovely ladies, one of whom was single, and she mentioned that she had found herself unexpectedly sharing relationship advice with a friend whose marriage was struggling. "I don't know why I feel I was qualified to share my opinion on what she should do. I've never even been on a date!"
Yet, when the other (married) woman and I heard what this single woman had given as advice to her married friend, we both agreed that her insight was Biblically and practically sound.
The sad part is, society says--and so many single women believe--that singles are "unqualified" to give relationship advice to their attached or married friends.
I utterly reject this lie. Here's why.
My secret preferences for a husband were very specific, but I gave up those dreams because I did not want to encourage unrealistic expectations. God alone knew what kind of man was best for me, and I trusted Him.
Unknown to me, God took my secret list and the dreams I had given up to Him, and said with a gleam in His sovereign eye, "Daughter, you are about to meet my son Paul."
When we deal with painful things, do we pull away from our Lord or lean into Him?
“You’re feeling yucky today, aren’t you?” My husband asks, seating himself next to my quivering body. He reaches out and pulls me in to a warm, close embrace. I cry out in pain.
Some years ago, I read a parable of three women that became my guide for how I wanted to live Christian womanhood--but, unknown to me, that story poisoned my vision of womanhood.
This was the parable, as I remember it.
Taking a quick break from my Incredible Journey posts, I'd like to highlight a meditation that has recurred often for me recently...
Is marriage a distraction from whole-hearted devotion?
When I was single, I often struggled with a disturbing fear: that my future marriage would distract me from true, single-minded devotion to God. That was always very concerning to me, even though I vaguely understood that having a husband would likely consume much of my time and--let's face it--my affection.
Day 8 - July 25, 2018
Glacier National Park has always been one of Paul's favorite national parks. At first, I could not see why. It was pretty, but not spectacular, as we wound our way up and up and up into the morning clouds.
Then we emerged from cloud and twisted round a bend in the road and I caught my breath.
Mountains. Like I had never seen them before.
Day One - July 18, 2018
Beginning from our home in Virginia, Paul and I set out on the first leg of our adventure. We were on a timeline, because we had determined to meet Paul’s parents in North Dakota the following evening.
"Most people would panic at this point," Paul remarked and exhaled deeply. "And to be honest, part of me really wants to panic. But I think this is an opportunity. Want to go on an adventure?"
But our eyes are on you.
The Judeans were a desperate people. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and others were marching against the people of Judah.
"A great multitude is coming against you..."
This was no secret thing. All of the people knew it. Imagine the panic. Work postponed for the day as the people gathered tensely to hear what their king would say to comfort, to rally. But as he looked out over the assembled families--even the children! the children!--he felt only the sick acid knot in his heart. He had to stand and he had to speak and he had only one thing to say.
It first showed up in November. I felt exhausted, crippled with aching flu-like pain, and edged with the threat of tears. At some point during the worship service, my fiance leaned forward and whispered, "Do I need to take you someplace more comfortable?"
Torn between my desire to be with the people of God, but aware that I was unable to actually enjoy their presence, at last I acquiesced.
My legs had turned to jelly and the cacophony in my head made sight difficult, so my fiance led me. As soon as he opened the outer door of the church sanctuary, a wall-blast of light assaulted me. My legs crumpled.
Paul picked me up and carried me to the closest couch. For the next hour, my entire body spasmed violently, alternating between tremors, full-body whiplashing, intense contractions forward and backward. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me, and yet, as my soon-to-be-husband prayed quietly over me, I felt perfectly calm. Even as a prisoner of my body, my mind felt utterly relaxed.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.