Proverbs 14

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Proverbs 14,30 : “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” NIV

As I’m approaching 30 (which is really scary that in less than a year my life would have spanned three decades), I can measure my life, and my single years, in decades. I started to do some inventory of my life. This included of course one of the most frustrating part of this season – lack of a ring on my finger. I must confess, I’m pretty contrary in my approach to this fact.

First, I would really (and I mean really really) like to be married. I have a problem with the fact I’m single and never dated and I have tons of insecurities about it. First and foremost – if nobody ever was interested in me in a romantic way then there is high probability that no one ever will. And that is depressing. “Whyever would you make me this way with this desire if me being this way is against fulfilling this desire?” I asked the Lord this question many times.

On the other hand, I feel really close to the Maker and His Son. I go to them with everything and I love to lay my tears at their laps. The combination of the two mindsets makes me a little weird, doesn’t it? 🙂 The first is surely based on envy in some part – you can see how it disrupts my relationship with the Lord.

Pinballing between my grief in being single, being constantly rejected and going to God with my sorrows I understood one day, that it is true – I MAY NEVER GET MARRIED. And you know what? It influenced my life in a profound way. Maybe there was really nothing to wait for. Maybe this was it – my single life may be all there is in the future.

Then came the decision – to live life fully now, without waiting for some grand event to start living. This meant revising my dreams and starting to realize them right now.

So I started writing and some other things. The thing is – our desire for marriage makes us discontented and envious of others that had what we long for. Also hateful towards the life we life now. As soon as I started to fight with that, my life regained colors.

Life is precious at any time. We were given life to live it. Love God, love other people to give them as much God’s love as we can. And to be happy as much as we can.

Don’t let your singleness be just a time of waiting and envy, that, as the Proverbs author reminds us. Let God help you find peace in the middle of your hard single reality – HE CAN. Then hold onto this peace, which will give you a chance to live this life to the fullest.

Join the conversation!  Can you empathize with the above or what struck you from Proverbs 14?

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anna Anna

Hello everyone! I am an almost 30yo single woman living in Europe. Professionally a civil engineer, off hours I live to write and sleep 😉 . After struggling a lot with my singleness I try to live the fullest live that God gives me. Medieval reenactment is also a part of my life so I consider my life filled by the Lord to the brim.

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Proverbs 10

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I was sitting at home, casually perusing through Facebook when I noticed a pattern on my feed.  All of my friends were posting photos of their date nights, snaps with their husbands for a night on the town, and those strange mirror selfies while getting dressed up for dinner.

My first thought was “Seriously?  Why are all of these people going out on a weeknight? Ugh!  Don’t they have to work tomorrow?  It’s after 9:00 for goodness sake!”

Me second thought after realizing it was Friday, and therefore perfectly acceptable to do such things past 9:00pm was “Wow. You’re getting old.  You should get out more.”  This thought was quickly forgotten as it was almost my bedtime.

My third thought?  Fear.  Absolute fear.  About what, you ask?  I’ll let you take a guess.  Better yet, maybe you can just answer yourself.  When it comes to your singleness, what’s the biggest fear that you have?  The biggest fear that most of us have?

That we’ll die alone, never having known the pursuit of a godly man.  Or even just a sane man with good credit, a solid career, and all of his teeth.

Either way, a lot of us walk around with holy smiles on our face.  Pretending as if we’re content in our single life, when inside we are absolutely petrified.  We quote scriptures about guarding our hearts, tell our married friends and family that we’re patiently waiting on our Boaz, while our hearts are screaming with jealousy and trepidation.

We are overcome with doubt that the desires of our hearts will never be met.  That we’ll be that old cat lady instead of the woman growing old with the man of her prayers and dreams.

And I have to admit, I sometimes get caught up in the allure of fear.  See, that’s the thing that people don’t tell you about fear.  As much as some claim that fear is some evil, dreadful place to wallow, it is so incredibly comfortable and attractive to stay there.  I mean, isn’t it much easier to live in fear and manipulate your way to ‘happiness’ than to allow God to bring his promises full circle in His time?

But when we live in fear, we know what to expect – nothing (Proverbs 10:28).  There are no promises, no increase, no surprises, no change.  We get exactly what we feared in the first place.

When we live in the hope of God’s will, however, that’s where things can get tricky.  When we stand on the promises of God, we should expect the unexpected.  In fact, we should expect that we’ll never know what to expect.  Except that He can make the impossible possible, even for old ladies like me who go to bed before 10:00pm most nights.

And choosing to believe His will more than our own is not easy or even permanent.  It is a day to day, and sometimes moment to moment decision to trust that what He has for us is infinitely better than anything we could manufacture on our own.

So the next time you’re scrolling through Facebook on a Friday night, or resorting once again to a solitary night of Netflix ’n’ Chill, just remember to keep smiling and practice being content when fear threatens to darken your joy.  Guard your hearts and keep speaking the promises of His word over your life.  And keep telling your family and friends that, yes, you’re still patiently waiting because our God is always faithful.

After all, you are what you fear.  So will you fear Him or the monotonous makings of your own imagination?

Join the conversation!  What is your response or what else struck you from Proverbs 10?

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

Proverbs 5

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“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.” Proverbs 5:3-4

I stared at the screen in shock and horror. The man with whom I had been flirting for months at work – who had been flirting with me – already had a girlfriend.  He had never mentioned her to me, had given no indications.  I had only found out through some good old-fashioned Internet stalking.  And here I was, an adulteress.

The flirtation had started out innocently enough.  Just some traded jokes, the kind of sarcastic witticisms that were just the type to hook my interest.  It hadn’t felt like anything wrong.

But the comments had turned into phone calls and inside jokes and at some point, a light switched on inside me.  My breathing became shaky when I talked to him, and my heart pounded to the point I could barely pick up the phone.  Our communication was all under the veil of work, but to me it had taken on a greater significance.

What’s more, he knew and encouraged it.  I tried several times to break it off, even telling him that I didn’t think it was right to flirt at work.  And yet every time that I seemed to successfully halt the communication, he would email me with one of our inside jokes and back I would fall.

Finally, I simply told him that if he was interested in me, he should ask me out.  And he didn’t.  Crushed, I turned to the only tool at my disposal, trying to figure out answers – Facebook.  And there the real truth was.  Another woman.  More, I was the “other woman” in this triangle!

I never confronted him.  I doubt he saw what he did was wrong.  To him, they were just words. But I learned an important lesson: to not fall into the trap of flirtation without substance and truth behind it.

Men and women of Christ will not lead you astray but will pursue a real relationship.  Do not be distracted by others’ honeyed words and smooth speech.

Join the conversation!  Have you had a similar experience or what struck you from Proverbs 5?

Proverbs 3

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding-Proverbs 3:5

It was 3:53 pm on a Thursday afternoon.

The swings were still. Jump ropes were stacked into swirling circles. Balls were lined up neatly against the wall.The playground was empty…except for my sister and me. School had dismissed over an hour ago, and we were still waiting for my mother to pick us up.

The custodian, Ms. Rhonda, swept dust nearby, working a double shift as the school’s maintenance staff and our impromptu babysitter. Whenever a car would pull into the neighboring parking lot, the three of us would crane our necks to look, hoping it was my mother. But when it turned out to be someone else, Ms. Rhonda returned to sweeping, my sister to playing, and me to festering.

I’d pace the pavement in my navy blue plaid jumper and fume.

Mommy is ALWAYS late. My friends walk home by themselves all the time! How come we can’t? Where is she? Mommy doesn’t care about picking us up. If she did, she’d be on time. She just doesn’t care.

But my mother did care. A lot. She cared enough not to want us to walk through sketchy areas of our neighborhood.  And enough to have us wait until she made it from her job 45 minutes away to transport us home under her guard.

But my 9-year-old self didn’t understand that. According to my superior juvenile intellect, all I understood was that I was waiting unnecessarily. There was no good reason behind this wait. And what I wanted was not here when I wanted it to be. So I took the delay as a sign of disinterest and refusal. When it was the furthest thing from the truth.

There may be some things that God is taking His time in giving you. Prayers that seemingly fall into a heavenly black hole. Repetitive pleas that make your mouth dry. It can get old at times. And you may feel like that little girl in the navy blue plaid jumper.

But our comprehension is so narrow and limited. We simply cannot rely on it. The Lord not only sees what you desire but sees every thread of time. Remind yourself that He cares too much to be unconcerned. He has in mind the perfect moment and way to release your answer so confidently place every prayer and heart cry in His lap.

Join the conversation!  How have you learned to lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding or what struck you from Proverbs 3?

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Jennifer Jennifer Richardson

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 31 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms:-)In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

Proverbs 1

Hi MRP friends!  MRP is back and we are kicking off our “post every day” October challenge Proverbs study!!!  I want to encourage you to follow along with us in our study and to grow in wisdom together!  We will be posting on each day’s corresponding numbered chapter.  Please join with us in posting responses (plus it’s good accountability!).  You can also volunteer to participate in writing posts by emailing modernruthproject@gmail.com!  I pray that God speaks to each one of us during this month!

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Proverbs 1:23-Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.

I was 22 when I met Deb. A newly minted college graduate, I had landed my first full-time position and Deb was a popular supervisor in my department. During my first month on the job, I quickly saw why she was so liked.  She was warm and friendly. Whenever she’d make a comment or remark at our weekly staff meetings, the room would ripple with laughing agreement. She was friendly and cheerful. Her voice reminded me of bells, tingling with joy.

Her warm confidence was enviable to me since I felt grossly deficient in both categories. The dating drought I prayed for an end to while in college looked as if it would extend indefinitely.  At the time, I was preparing to serve as a bridesmaid in what would be the first of four bridal party stints.  My gaggle of friends were all happily taken, instant messaging me with random giddy thoughts about their beaus.  And here I was, entering the unfamiliar realm of single Christian women.  I didn’t know what to make of it or how to make it. All I knew was it felt bleak.

That is, until one morning.

I had arrived at work early, hoping to warm up for the work day with my favorite fuel: coffee. On my way to the communal kitchen to pour a cup, I passed what I thought would be an empty office…until I heard the click of a lamp.

“Well, good morning!” I could see Deb smile from her office, cocking her head to see me through her open doorway.  I smiled and returned her greeting while still moving toward the kitchen. There was coffee to be had.

But after retrieving my steaming cup, somehow I found myself sitting in Deb’s office for an hour, talking about our shared faith in Christ and our shared hope for marriage and love.  That single conversation led to me wandering into her office most mornings for a chat or more appropriately, a knowledge gleaning session. Deb was in her 40s, and also single. And while she had never been married, she had had relationships, an experience in which I was very naïve. She’d honestly and eagerly recount her heartthrobs, her heartbreaks, and her heart lessons, always urging me to learn from her mistakes so I wouldn’t have to make any of my own. She’d pray for my faith in the Lord to flourish and for my prayer for marriage to be answered. And she’d encourage me not to underestimate the value I had been given from God.

Looking back, there is no question that the Lord intersected Deb’s life with mine. At that crucial point in time, she shared her heart with me and made me strong, ready, and wise.

Traversing life as an older Christian single woman can make you feel weary, tiresome, and invisible. But there are younger women who are watching and see you as an encouragement.  Your role as she who is enduring, she who is walking by faith, and she who prays and doesn’t compromise is inspiring and can nourish the next generation.

Who can you share your journey of singleness with?  Join the conversation by posting a response below or share how else Proverbs 1 impacted you!

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Jennifer Jennifer Richardson

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 31 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms:-)In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

Following the Lord’s Direction

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Are you following the Lord’s direction or just turning down whatever path appears?

In the Book of Numbers, the Scripture describes how the Israelites followed the Lord when they were in the desert: when the cloud of the Lord settled over the tabernacle, the people remained in camp and when it lifted, they moved to follow it.

Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.  (Numbers 9:22-23 NIV)

I think about how hard that must have been, when they were just waiting for the cloud to lift.  I am sure they had times when they wanted nothing more than to move on, but the cloud had not moved – or when they were content in the place they were, but the Lord kept moving them.  They did not have a choice; they had to follow the Lord.

As with so many things in the Bible, what happens physically in the Old Testament becomes metaphorical in the New Testament.  Our choices may not be geographical, but we have plenty of other choices that confront us. Do I stay in this job or change jobs?  Do I date this person or that person?  Should I be focusing on getting married, or spending more time in volunteering?  I’ve often wished that I had such a clear sign from the Lord.

The reality, though, is that we do have clear signs from the Lord, if we wish to heed them.  We have the Scripture, the Church, and the Holy Spirit to direct us.  When those three things combine, we can know that we are moving in the right direction.

Next month, we are starting our study of Proverbs.  This is a book of wisdom, teachings from King Solomon to his people to instruct them in the right way to go.  As Scripture, it is God-breathed and meaningful for us today.  Being familiar with God’s word gives us a firm foundation so that we can confidently move in the way that he has already determined for us to go.

Are you facing a decision or a choice in your life?  Then I encourage you to come join us next month for our daily reading of Proverbs!  Trust me: I can guarantee that you will be the better for being more familiar with these teachings!

 

 

 

Limitless

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I’m a Tri-State Area girl. My memories and experiences are geotagged with cities dotted along the Eastern Seaboard. I was born here. I was raised here. And I love it here.  So while praying to the Lord and waiting for my husband, geographical location was absent from my list of concerns. It was my firm belief that a future life beyond perhaps western Pennsylvania needn’t be considered.

God must have heard my prayer and chuckled.

I fell in love with my husband…who lived in Phoenix. A place where mountain ranges replace glittering skylines. Instead of cherry blossoms, thorny cacti adorn lawns. It is perpetual flip-flop weather. Oh, and it’s over 2,000 miles away on the West Coast.

I had always pictured meeting my husband in my city somewhere or at the most, a bordering state. Never in a million years did I expect to be in a long distance relationship and handle all the struggles that can come with it. I wanted God to answer but in a neater, tidier, easier way.

But God doesn’t do restrictions.

“Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven— what can you do? Deeper than Sheol— what can you know?” (Job 11:7-8 NKJV)

I wonder how often in our love lives, we box God into certain specifications for what we want and how we want it and how often we refuse to consider anything outside of that.  Online dating versus meeting in real life. Location. Race. Height. Weight. Occupation. But there are no limits for how God chooses to answer our prayer.

My sister describes it like this: We desire a blessing of 7 so we anticipate and focus on a 3 + 4. But God can send a 5 + 2. He can answer by way of a 3 x 2 + 1. Or He can deliver a 10 – 3.  The equations are all different but the sum remains the same.

Do you think you’ve placed any limitations on dating methods or prospective dates?

Photo credit to Death to the Stock Photo.

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Jennifer Jennifer Richardson

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 31 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms:-)In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!