This week, I’m over at Modern Ruth Project for my monthly post. I’ve had some circumstances this year that have rocked my world. One solace I’ve found is in reading the Holy Bible. God’s Word has kept me grounded and given me so much strength. His Word is strength for all of us! Go check it out! I pray you’re encouraged to go deeper into the Lord’s Word & to discover the constant love He has for you!
Currently my life is in a season of pruning, and what I am also learning to refer to
as “investment.” Investing is painful. It involves risk. Investing requires giving up something in hopes of a greater return down the road. At the very outset, it requires some sort of sacrifice. It may be a very long time before you see any gain or fruit from that sacrifice. For example, investing money is painful. The money is placed into an account where it cannot be touched until a certain point. The goal is that the amount of money will grow. But what if an emergency arises and you need that money? Painful, and risky. Other forms of investment are financing a wedding, buying a house, starting a business, or investing in an education. These are different types of investment that we hope will bear fruit in some way.
An investment that we are all called to make is purity. Living in purity is an investment for a future marriage. It is even an investment in yourself. Living a chaste life protects you from disease and unhealthy emotional attachments. It requires the daily surrender of one’s desires for the good of one’s self, future spouse, and consideration of the good of a child. Choosing to forgo suitors who are not God’s best for you is a related form of investment. It is easy to settle and may be easy to find multiple people who want to be with you. Taking the time to wait for the right spouse and for sex is an investment in your future joy, your future spouse’s joy, and even the joy of your children. Many people have not made this investment, and have brought suffering onto themselves and others.
Plain and simple: investing equals sacrifice. Sometimes these investments involve very difficult sacrifices. Many choose not to make these sacrifices simply because they are so arduous and involve (sometimes very delayed) gratification. Yet investing creates wealth. It creates an abundance that could not have come without the sacrifice. It is like when a tree is pruned. The tree appears bare aftter the pruning. A person who doesn’t know about horticulture will scoff and think the tree is ruined. But after some time, the tree will be bursting with fruit. This is our hope with our investments. In some way, at some time we do not know, they will bear great fruit.
I trust that this difficult and painful investing process will one day pay off. So can you. I have planted my seeds in the ground, sacrificed much that is dear. I will wait for the sun and rain to grow them. I can only trust the One who has called me. Let us eagerly await the day when we can harvest the fruit from these decisions to invest.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
For the past two years, I spent Independence Day watching fireworks on the rooftop of my apartment building.
I loved being a a part of the city life, of having access to so many events at my fingertips. It was a total gift to be able to invite friends over for the 4th of July and walk up a
few flights of stairs to the rooftop. We could stand on the rooftop and see downtown, and watch numerous firework displays from over the lake. Now, I am in the suburbs. I definitely do not have my own apartment, but live in someone else’s home. They have graciously opened up their space to me and my (very unique) cat for a low price.
This Independence Day, my no-longer roommate drove us twenty minutes away, to another suburb’s fireworks display. By God’s provision, we found a parking spot. We followed many families of energetic young children to the fireworks watching location, chatting about our still-single state of life and the general complexities that we never imagined would still be the reality at our respective ages.
We staked out a spot and laid out a blanket. The sun continued its setting. Music played over loudspeakers, and we continued to talk. Finally, the music stopped. All the lights turned off. There was a collective gasp in the crowd. Complete darkness covered the area as we waited for the fireworks that celebrate the freedoms and independence we are offered in the United States of America.
My life has turned out vastly different than I ever imagined. This is especially in relation to being 28, where I find myself now. As I contentedly watched the magnificent fireworks display, one of my best friends beside me, what echoed in my heart was “different, yet beautiful.”
Watching the fireworks in a well-removed location from city life, and surrounded by families, is vastly different than watching them in the city. Yet, it was beautiful.
Living in the house of married couple friends is much different than living in a house with my own husband, as I always assumed would be the case by this age. Yet it is beautiful as I benefit from the hospitality of my friends and learn more about the beauty and struggles of marriage.
Making friends with other single women my age and older, yet still trying to figure out men and how anyone finally makes it through all the steps to the altar is different than I ever expected would be the case by now. It’s different than having “couple friends” and arranging play dates, yet it is the most beautiful blessing to have these sisters to share this unique journey with.
Life sure is different than I ever expected it would be at this point in my life. Still, grace and blessings abound, different blessings than I expected. Each day I find blessings and strength, treasures to hold onto. Our Father is a good, good Father.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.”—Proverbs 4:23
It’s time for my monthly post over at Modern Ruth Project! This month, the theme is boundaries vs. intimacy. I bare my heart about when I have not followed the wisdom of this very important verse from Scripture. I share about the importance of guarding one’s heart and what it takes to build a healthy relationship.
Check out my guest post! Hope you are able to gain wisdom as you discern best how to guard the one heart that you have been given from above!
These days, too many people try to base their worth upon whether they are “in a relationship” or receiving attention from the opposite sex. In my open post over at Modern Ruth Project, I share some of the experiences I had while online dating. Most of all, I share about worth. I share about where we find worth, and it should not be in dating or a member of the opposite sex! Sense of worth will always shift if it is gained from another person. Do you feel unworthy of love, especially in regard to your experiences with dating? Check out my post!
You are a child of the King! You are worthy! You are loved!
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”~Proverbs 16:16
I hope you are having a very blessed Sunday that includes lots of peaceful time with the Lord & fellowship with others! Today is the last Single Sundays post, as it is the last Sunday in February. Today I will focus on how being single provides ample opportunities to gain wisdom & clarity for your life and future marriage. Without further ado, read below some of the reasons why being single for a longer time can actually be a blessing!
Being single provides time to gain wisdom.Wisdom is a gift from God. Very young people can be endowed with more wisdom than an elderly person. However, God grants many of
us the gift of wisdom over time and through experiences and growing in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Experiences can take years to amass for many of us. Sometimes we even need to re-learn the same lessons over and over during a period of years. During your time of being a single person, you can find wisdom about marriage. You will be able to observe many relationships & marriages. This will give you a vantage point to determine qualities you hope for in a partner. Your observation of different relationships and talking to those you know who are courting, engaged, or married will give you wisdom. You will be able to learn from the successes, challenges, and even mistakes of others.
Being single gives you time to gain clarity. As I wrote in the post last week, marrying young can turn out to be detrimental for some, as they have not yet realized their callings. They may not have had the time and experiences to clarify their purpose that those who are single for a longer period of time have. A person who waits longer for marriage is generally more mature and has had more life experiences to gain clarity about what direction their life is headed. A time of singleness (and past relationships) can also provide clarity about what you are and are not looking for in a marriage partner.
The clarity you find as a single person can bless your marriage, future family, and maybe even a ministry as husband and wife. As you grow older, your vision grows wider.
You are more aware of the direction your life is headed in. I am in the midst of some big decisions, decisions that could affect my husband & our children. These decisions have come about due to wisdom and clarity I have gained about my purpose & the vision I have gained for my (and my husband’s) future family. As a person in my younger twenties, I did not have full clarity about these visions for my life. I am grateful now that I have a clear vision for moving forward into marriage and family life. If you are in ministry or feeling called to ministry, it will be good to know the realities ahead of time so you and your spouse can be on the same page. Sometimes the Lord calls couples into ministry together, so you may even be looking for someone ministering in a similar or complimentary way. That clarity is very freeing.
What opportunities has your time of singleness provided to gain wisdom and clarity?
The gifts of singleness?You might be tempted to shut out of this post now. Bear with me. I’m on the single journey too. I know there are very difficult days. There are aspects of singleness that are consistently difficult. However, today we will focus on the gifts. Despite the pain, there are always positive aspects to be found. Finding gratitude helps to keep a positive attitude and live in the blessings.
So, what are some of the gifts of the single life?
The single life can more easily be devoted to service/ministry. As a single person, it is
easier to live a life of service or devoted to ministry. I can think of many occasions where I was able to go help a friend due to my single state. A mother with little ones can’t drop everything to help a friend. A spouse must think about how their service work or ministry will impact their marriage and family life. St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34: “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” Truly, living single-heartedly for the Kingdom is much easier as a single person! The time and space to build an unshakable relationship with God is a huge blessing of the single life.
The single life provides a degree of freedom that married people don’t have. This can mean travel, more time to invest in writing or other projects, and of course, ministry or easier ability to do mission work. It can also mean greater availability to invest in relationships with members of your faith family, blood family, friends, and even people you may serve as a mentor to. I enjoy the flexibility of singleness. I don’t need to check in with someone else (or multiple people!) about my calendar but can plan as I wish! It is simple. I also find a bit of financial freedom despite the single life meaning only one income. At least in America, many people have debt. Getting married can mean double the student loans, car payment, and credit card debt to manage. (Note: I don’t believe debt is normally a good thing. Unfortunately, it is the reality for many Americans.)
A single life is one with a single person’s problems. One could also argue that marriage is easier because it gives you another person to sustain you in trouble. However, two families bring two different dynamics and two different sets of troubles-plus the troubles within your own home and marriage. Additionally, the stressors of being a parent can be overwhelming for anyone. Add special needs to the plate, helping a child through bullying, or trusting the Lord to provide for the family when the economy is bad–parenting is painful! Learning to love your spouse through the times when they are not at their best can also be difficult–such as if a spouse is diagnosed with a mental illness or facing their troubles from the past. The troubles of a single person pale in comparison to adding a spouse, their family troubles, and children’s struggles as well! (Though I know singles look forward to pouring out love in these circumstances–we have a bit of a break now!)
A longer single life provides more time to attain wisdom, life experience, and clarity about your calling(s) and the direction of your life. Had some of us married younger, we may have missed out on certain aspects of ourselves. These aspects may very well be important to a marriage and perhaps even a shared ministry! For example, during the past decade the Lord has confirmed to me that Africa will continue to play a part in my life. Thus, if I had married someone lacking a love for Africa, I would have missed out on a huge joy and part of my life. I know now that the Lord has someone for me who will be willing to live in countries other than the USA. In His infinite wisdom, the Lord has given me more time to discover these aspects of my calling. I believe it is the same for you, if you have been waiting longer than expected!
Don’t lose heart. There are gifts in the season of singleness, just as there are deep struggles.
Live joyfully in the gifts of today, and you will be able to better receive the gifts of tomorrow.
“I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”~1 Corinthians 7:7
Have you discovered any other gifts in singleness that were not mentioned here?
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.