Archive | December, 2013

A Dreaded Conversation…

19 Dec

I believe the man needs to be the initiator in a relationship.  

Some feminist readers may stumble across this post and go ballistic, but don’t bother trying to debate with me or change my mind on that one.  I believe that a man who cannot take the lead by asking a woman on a date, cementing an official boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, or proposing will also be incapable of leading his wife and children to glorify God as a family.  I believe a woman who is not patient enough to let a man take the lead will also struggle to submit to him as her husband.  Go ahead, get mad at me for saying that.  It’s my belief and I will stick to it.  

That being said, I know David and I need to reevaluate some things…and I need to be the one to tell him.

We have chatted online twice since our “breakup” and exchanged a few quick emails.  I included him in a small list that I sent out regular prayer updates as my mom underwent surgery for her cancer and finally received a clean bill of health (praise God!!!).  

But I wonder if we are kidding ourselves.  We were never co-workers, neighbors, part of the same church family or circle of friends.  If we had met under such circumstances, we would need to stay “friends”- as in, be kind to each other and treat each other with a Christian attitude.  I don’t know if we would chat online or email regularly.  But, how are we expecting to maintain this friendship?  Do we really think we are going to be single and free to chat each other for the rest of our lives?  Or, when one or both of us marries, will we expect our spouse to be okay with gchatting someone we once dated?  If not, than why maintain a friendship now when, once one of us marries, we’ll just have to put ourselves through another painful breakup??  Not to mention…is this really all God had for us?  An online-friendship, when we live 30 minutes apart??  All the great conversations, the laughter, the theological discussions that we had when we were dating…is God really taking that away and replacing it with a gchat-friendship?

I know David and I cannot pretend we’re just friends much longer.  But which way will this conversation go?  Would he consider giving our relationship a second chance??  Would he believe that “chemistry” comes with time?  Or will he just say that we can’t even continue our friendship; that it needs to be done and over?  

Praying for wisdom for us both…

Do You Believe…?

16 Dec

John 1:11-20

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,  for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.  He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

It’s still with me- that voice in the back of my mind telling me that my wedding day will come before November 2014.  Sometimes, I feel it will be even sooner than I expect.  I don’t know who it could possibly be waiting for me at the altar on that day- my heart still aches to be back with David, but I have no logical reason to believe that will happen.  I have prayed furiously for discernment, that God would make His own voice clear to me above my own imagination or the temptation to put my hope in that which God has not promised, but it hasn’t changed.  

I prayed that, if God where speaking to me, He would affirm it through someone else.  I had coffee with my friend and ministry leader, Sarah, yesterday, and decided to share what was on my mind with her.  Sarah’s background is a bit more “Charismatic” than mine- not in a bad way, just in a way that’s different from what I’m used to.  I told her I was struggling to discern God’s voice from my own imagination.  She offered to pray with me, and then said, “I believe you are hearing God’s voice in this matter.  I believe He wants to grow your faith and He is giving you time now to prepare for your marriage.”  Sarah went on to say that, if I wasn’t married by November, it simply meant that I had been mistaken- not that God had changed His mind or that He was any less good or faithful.  

As I walked home, I found myself wondering if the minor differences in denominational beliefs between Sarah and I were reason for me to doubt what she had just spoken.  I grew up in a church that could best be described as hardcore “ceasationalist”- God has CEASED to speak, to perform signs and wonders, to reveal prophecies and visions.  When I shared with my parents that I had felt God calling me to the mission field- first for short-term trips, and then for a year last year- they both scoffed at the idea of God “speaking” to me, saying it was illogical that He would call me to the mission field.  My parents are both mature believers who love the Lord, but their church has taught them that God fits into a box.  As I have mentioned before, I changed churches upon reaching adulthood, and the church I attend does acknowledge that God uses these things today- not to the extent that He did in the early church (before His word was available), but they do happen, and God uses them to bring glory unto Himself.  I have encountered “Christians” of the opposite extreme, who proclaim that God has revealed wild and crazy things that don’t fully align with the Bible, that exalt the person He is revealing them to rather than Himself, that lead to financial or social gains, that perverts the work of the Church.  This isn’t what I see in Sarah- she spoke of God wanting to reveal Himself to me and deepen my faith, so I could trust Him more.  She told me that God was not a God of confusion, shame, or anxiety, so His voice should not invoke these things in me.  It may invoke conviction, anticipation, or heartbreak, but these were the things He could use to make me more like His Son.  

I had a feeling God would respond to my questions by saying, “You asked me to send someone to affirm this; I sent Sarah.  What more do you want?”  I don’t want to be like Zachariah was in the passage above- no, his doubt did not stop God from fulfilling His promise, but He was not honored by Zachariah’s doubt.  

I told Sarah that, throughout my childhood, my parents did the best they could (and I am thankful to them!!!) but I felt like I was always being told “no.”  Looking back, I am thankful for many of the “no’s” I received, but some of them stemmed from my mother’s fear of spending money or my dad’s inability to understand why I wanted to have a social life.  I felt like I was always the one sitting in school listening to my friends talk about the fun extra-curricular or social activities they participated in, or showing off the new clothes or CDs (remember CDs??  That seems long ago!).  I feel like God is the same way; He doesn’t understand why I desire to be married and is stingy with His blessings.  No, this isn’t the God I serve.  He understands me; He sees me.  If He could bring forth a prophet from an elderly couple, and bring forth His own Son from a virgin, how can I say He cannot provide me with a husband who is a man after His own heart, and in His perfect time?

Yes, Lord.  I believe.  

Maybe I’m Going Crazy…

5 Dec

If my readers see this, that means I took a leap of courage and decided to publish it.

I absolutely believe that God speaks to us today.  I believe He has revealed all of the “essentials” to us in the Bible, and He never goes against His own word.  Of course, He also speaks to us individually, revealing His character and sometimes revealing specific callings that He has on our lives.  Obviously, it can be easy to mix up God’s voice with my own imagination or even the voice of the enemy.  But, when something is consistent with scripture and glorifies God, I think that’s the best test of His voice.

A few weeks ago I was asked to apply for a position that I needed to be single to hold- if it were granted to me, I could hold it for any period from a few months to two years.  I thought it was worth the shot and was going to go for it, but, suddenly, I felt something telling me, “By this time next year, you will be married.”

Part of me thinks for sure this is only my own imagination, my wishful thinking.  I’ll be 28 and, hopefully, teaching full time next year, with only a few credits to go until I earn my Master’s degree.  Of course I want to be married.  And…WHO was I going to be married to??  I’m still healing from David; I have no desire to pursue any new relationships right now, and, once my last semester of graduate school starts, I won’t have time to be dating.  If David had wanted to continue our relationship, I would have made time for him (and would have expected him to understand that school was going to get brutal for a few months), but how could I possibly start a new relationship?  Even if one did come along, how could we fall in love and marry so quickly?  Images of a shotgun wedding or an impromptu ceremony at the bedside of a dying family member danced through my mind.

And, maybe I’m right.  This is just me imagining things, and God really just wants me to hush and trust Him with the whole marriage thing.  But, a month later, the nudge is still with me.  I began researching the position I was considering applying for, asking other women who had experience with it for their thoughts and calculating the costs and rewards of it.  It seemed like a great fit for me, but every time I started to type an email or pull up the application online, I felt the tug at my heart again, “By November 2014, you will be married.”  Would my own imagination be so persistent?  It’s the only thing holding me back from this position, but it’s holding me back, none the less.  Would Satan have something to gain by leading me to believe I’ll be married by November 2014?  I’ve asked God to take these thoughts away if they are not from Him; He wouldn’t allow the enemy to continually confuse me after I’ve cried out to Him, would He?

I think of the angels who appeared to Abraham and Sarah and told them, “By this time next year, you will have a son.”  If God could carry through on such a promise made to a 90-year-old woman, then how hard is it to believe He could give me a husband within a year?

Well, if this is His voice, how does this revelation glorify Him?  Perhaps He is telling me to “prepare my fields for rain,” by preparing for marriage?  I think of the things I would be doing right now if I were formally engaged with a summer or fall 2014 wedding date set.  Of course I have my wedding board on pinterest…but on a deeper level:
-Eliminate my credit card debt and start working on getting finances in order (tricky, as I’m living off student loans right now and don’t know what my salary or living expenses will be next year…but I can take small steps!).
-Organize my home: purge my life of clutter, come up with a cleaning schedule, find effective ways to organize my “stuff,” and invest in quality household items that will simplify my life in the long run (such as simple cooking utensils or organizers).
-Think about what I want to incorporate into my wedding to make sure it points back to the Author and Finisher of my life and marriage, in a way that will bless/challenge my believing friends and family, and proclaim the gospel to those who do not believe.
-Consider habits that I want my future husband and I to incorporate into our marriage- daily devotions and prayer together, splitting up household duties, planning our finances, etc.
-Take care of myself physically so my husband can enjoy my God-given physical beauty.
-Really focus on taking my relationship with God deeper through prayer and scripture- my time and physical/emotional energy will shift dramatically with marriage; I need to develop these habits NOW.

My only request of God is that, if this IS His voice telling me to prepare for marriage, that He arrange for me to meet the one He has for me in some way other than a dating website- I don’t think I can handle the emotional strain or the financial demands of online dating (some sites are reasonably priced, but, as I said, I am living off student loans as my grad program is too intense for a part-time job), and I still can’t flip through my “matches” without alternating between comparing the guys to David and fearing I will be hurt again.

Ultimately, what do I have to loose by applying these thoughts and habits to my own life, anyway?