Proverbs 23

heart

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. – Proverbs 23:17-18

When I looked through my Facebook feed at all the pretty pictures of everyone else’s relationship successes, I didn’t just feel envy.  I judged.  This girl who just got married – I know she was living in sin with her husband for years before the marriage!  Why does that girl get all the cute kids – she doesn’t even go to church!

In contrast, I could look around me and see a dozen beautiful, smart, funny, kind, and wonderful Christian women who were still single into their 40s, still waiting on the Lord.  They were doing what was right, holding strong to their beliefs and instead of being rewarded, they were being punished!  It just didn’t seem right.

To be honest, I felt like being a Christian put me at a distinct disadvantage.  First of all, I knew that I needed to look for a husband who shared my faith – that right there seemed to drastically limit the pool of available men.  Second, I wanted to find a man who not just shared my beliefs in word, but also in action.  I’ll just ask you – how many single Christian men do you see active in your church?  You got it.

Third, in a hookup culture where people talked about having sex not just on the first date, but on no date at all (!), I felt distinctly out of step, old-fashioned, and frankly like a frumpy fuddy-dud to still be a virgin in my 30s.  Everyone knows that men want a hot, confident lady who exudes sex appeal and puts out on the third date, right??

The more that I thought about it and analyzed the numbers objectively, the more it seemed that I was just not going to get married because I was following the Lord.

There is no pat solution to this.  The fact of the matter is that it IS harder to find a spouse as fewer people are believers.  Those single ladies I mentioned above?  Most of them are still single.

But our God is a God of impossibilities.  Throughout the Old Testament, when by human logic victory seemed impossible, God made it possible.  God has the power to make a way where it seems there is no way.

There is hope.  Because guess what?  I did find the man I was looking for.  Jennifer and Keri, other posters on this blog, did find a Christian husband as well.  The odds were against us just as much as anyone else, and yet God provided.

What is more, the Bible tells us that the Lord will bless us for the suffering that we endure for His sake.  I knew that every time that I made the right decisions to follow the Lord’s will even when it may have seemingly hurt my chances for marriage, God was applauding me.  He knew I was putting His will above my own.  I believe with all my heart that God will redeem those years of singleness and I believe the same for you.

No matter what, there is surely a future hope for you.

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Proverbs 14

tunnel

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.

Proverbs 12

daydream

“Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.” – Proverbs 12:12

I have a confession to make.  I am a daydreamer.  At any given point in the day, I might be walking the sandy beaches of Hawaii, eating bacon, riding a unicorn, taking a glorious nap, or even meeting my future husband – but only in my mind.  I’ve tried and tried to keep my mind from wandering, but in the days of “Adulting is Overrated,” it can be a welcome alternative.

Well, if you’re anything like me then I’m going to give the two of us a serious wake up call.  Kind of like Daydreams Gone Wrong.  Because there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.  In fact, I truly believe a God who gets excited about dreamers, and relishes the idea of giving us what we dream of.  And honestly, he’s probably disappointed in how little all of us actively dream and pursue those dreams.

But the trouble comes when our fantastic daydreams are just excuses to covet what others have.  You know those couples whose life looks absolutely perfect on Instagram.  The wife is always slaying in fresh makeup and stilettos.  The husband is always doing manly things and helping around the house (with a beard, of course).  The kids look like they’re always listening and lending helping hands to their neighbors.

But outside of those snaps in time, that family isn’t perfect.  And are you willing to live your life vicariously?  Stealing moments, treasures, and people that belong to others?

In the (not so distant) past, I’ve certainly been guilty of pretending to have other people’s businesses, marriages, and basically anything I deemed successful.  However, taking those bits of joy from others creates a bitter root that can produce no good fruit.

But somehow little by little, God can make the lives of others less and less appealing.  Not in a bad way, but in a way that allows you to see that what he has for you is for you.  And it is way better than stealing the moments, treasures, and people he has for others.

So stop wasting time wishing you had what someone else has.  The grass is not always greener.  And maybe the grass is only greener because you’ve let things on your side of the fence wither and die trying to keep an eye on everyone else’s landscape.

So instead of outright or even subconscious neglect, make use of everything you find or that finds you – the pretty, the hideous, the mighty, and the seemingly dispensable.  And allow those things to take root and bear fruit.

Then don’t worry.  When the time is right, the right person will stop and take notice of every beautiful thing growing from your life, and might even be able to help you prune the not-so-beautiful without judgement.

Now, back to the bacon and unicorns in my mind 😉

Join the conversation!  Are you also a daydreamer or what struck you from Proverbs 12?

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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 10

computer

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.

Guest Post: Struggle

Calvin & Jennifer Engagement Shoot-88

Our first guest poster is Jennifer.  MRP readers have already met her and read her engagement story here – and guess what, today is her wedding!  Here is what she sent me earlier this week to post and I pray that you are blessed by it!  Let’s lift her up in prayer as she embarks on a new adventure with Calvin!  Congratulations to you both!

I wrote this 4 years ago when I was deeply single.  No prospects were on the horizon or had really ever been. That year, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and a guest at three others. I attended each with a bittersweet glaze on my tongue.  Joyful for my friends’ happiness but pained by my own unanswered prayer, I’d pour out my heart to God. I wondered why I wasn’t afforded the ease of marrying my longtime high school boyfriend. Or why had I not been discovered by the plethora of men on my college campus? Why had love come so easily to those around me yet I was the one who had to endure?

It didn’t seem fair. It didn’t seem right. But it was all for my good and His glory.

This Sunday, I will marry the love of my life, Calvin. Our meeting and relationship is the diamond God created after many calendar squares of discomfort.  

Your prayers are not unheard and your struggle is not meaningless. It will truly all be worth it.
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I had envied Tabitha.

Her father was a prosperous businessman.

Her yearly tuition was paid in full. She had a brand new car and a posh off campus apartment.

Her hair was always sleek and freshly styled. Money was at her disposal to shop extravagantly.

Her life was sinuous. Uncomplicated. Easy.

Easy is beautiful.

But struggle is not.

My parents were working hard just to make my semester payments. I never grew used to haggling with university officials when it came to extending my due dates.

My campus job paid me just enough to pay my cell phone bill. Worry routinely sang me to sleep and hummed me awake.

I’d look at Tabitha and wish I had her peace of mind.

Her lack of stressors.

Her freedom from struggle.

I wonder if Hannah felt the same way.

In the book of 1 Samuel, Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. Elkanah also had another wife named Peninnah.

While Peninnah was able to have children, Hannah was barren.

I’m sure it stung.

Watching her husband exclaim with joy because his other wife just gave him another child.

Hearing toddlers coo “Mommy?” and know that she couldn’t reply, “Yes?”

Smoothing her hand over her stomach, thinking it will never grow full and round with a baby.

It is said that Peninnah had up to 10 children.

So while Peninnah’s body was easily fertile, Hannah’s body struggled.

Easy is beautiful.

But struggle is not.

It is gritty and it is raw.

Hannah’s struggle drove her to the house of God where her raw hurt spilled into His lap.

Mucus oozed down her lips. Tears slid down her cheeks. The fluids mixed into each other on her face, creating a slippery concoction.

Her agony was so monstrous that her prayer wasn’t audible to human ears. She asked, with moving lips and no sound, for the Lord to end her sorrow and answer her prayer for a son.

And in due time…He did.

She gave birth to Samuel, a boy who became one of Israel’s most faithful prophets.

And in the years after Samuel, she had five additional children.

When we struggle, it is not because God doesn’t love us.

When we struggle, it is not because we are inferior.

When we struggle, it is to reveal our undeniable need for God and for Him to showcase His omnipotence.

I struggled with financial matters throughout my entire college career.

Yet somehow, I graduated.

Hannah struggled with her infertility.

Yet, somehow, she gave birth to six children.

Jesus is in the easy, the sterling silver spoons and the red velvet bows.

And He also is in the hard, the graffiti’d brick walls and padlocked doors.

Experiencing the reality of God and how He transforms difficulties into delights is what makes the struggle worth it.

Easy is beautiful.

Struggle is not.

But the aftermath is always gorgeous.