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Singleness

A Q&A on Marriage

A Q&A on Marriage

Hey, girls! Since it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and love is still in the air (or at least on our minds), I thought I’d share this interview with you from GospelMag.com. I hope my responses will help you as you think about someday possibly moving from singleness to marriage. Enjoy!

Q. Since you wrote Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, you got married. Congratulations!

A. Thank you. God gives great gifts. I was starting to think I’d be single for the rest of my life; I’m still amazed I’m married . . . and to a wonderful man!

Q. What changed in your life when you met the man who would become your husband?

A. At first not a whole lot, other than that I spent a lot more time on Skype. As I look back over the past two-and-a-half-years since I’ve known him, though, I can see that I’ve changed a lot. Trevor has challenged and changed the way I think about a host of issues. He has pushed me (in good ways) in areas where I felt fearful and inept. He has been a tangible picture of God’s steadfast love for me, even when all that is ugly is stripped bare and out in the open.

Q. How did you meet him?

A. Seven months after publishing Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, I inadvertently started following a guy named Trevor Marsteller on Twitter. At the time, I was reaching out to bloggers asking for honest reviews of my book in exchange for a free copy. When I followed him on Twitter, I saw he had over 1,000 followers and had also done book reviews on his blog. I asked if he’d like to review Confessions, he said yes, and we kept talking from there. (You can read all the juicy details here.)

Q. Did things change right away, or has your relationship gradually become special?

A. I’m not the only one who has changed. Trevor has become more and more kind and affectionate since we first met. In fact, he puts me to shame with the way he loves me! I’d say our relationship has become more special over time, through tears, hard conversations, forgiveness, kindness, and love.

Q. Did God show you in one way or another that Trevor was the man you should marry?

A. I believe God communicates to us through His Word. In the Bible, He has made it clear that believers are not to marry unbelievers. But other than that one stipulation, He has given us freedom to make our choice based on wisdom.

God didn’t “speak” to me and tell me to marry Trevor. But as I got to know Trevor, as I asked others who knew him well questions, as I saw how he loved me and how I could just be myself around him without needing to impress him, it became obvious. This man loved God, loved me, and was pursuing me. It was a no-brainer.

Q. What would you say to girls who want to marry and don’t know on which basis to make their decision?

Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.”

A. Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.” Is he a believer? One who is serious in his pursuit of God? Is he pursuing you? Are you comfy with him? Do you communicate well? Do your family and friends think he’s great?
Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense. God has given you a ton of freedom. Choose wisely, and as you do, be blessed!

Q. We often tell people who aren’t yet married that they need to date, meet more people, and subscribe to dating websites. In this, we lead them to understand that they have to do more to make it happen. What do you think?

He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him.

A. I was given the same advice over the years, but I think it falls short. Ultimately, most of us underestimate God’s sovereignty. He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him. This area of life is not ultimately something you control; it is all under His wise, good, sovereign control.

Q. We often say to girls that they will find someone when they least expect it. What do you think?

A. I think it’s very unhelpful advice. People probably mean to be encouraging when they say it, but as a single I always felt this enormous pressure to somehow trick my emotions out of longing for marriage. It sounded like if I could succeed in that, then marriage would somehow just fall in my lap. But there’s no such prerequisite in God’s Word. He gives us undeserved gifts freely; we do not earn them.

Q. How did you find your smile (joy) back when you went through moments of discouragement regarding romance?

A. It took a long time, but as I got to know God’s character through His Word and by sitting under solid sermons Sunday after Sunday, I grew in my knowledge of God. And as my knowledge of God grew, so did my trust in Him and my enjoyment of Him.

Whenever I sign my books, I include Psalm 16:11: “In your presence is fullness of joy.” True joy is not found in our circumstances but in spending time enjoying God, which we can do anytime, anywhere.

I’d love to hear from you. Did you learn anything new through this interview? Anything you disagree with? As you think about marriage, are there any questions you want to add?

A Q&A on Marriage was also published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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How Boy-Crazy Are You?

How Boy-Crazy Are You?

Don’t think you’re boy-crazy? You just might be surprised.

Take the Boy-Crazy Quiz

Take the Boy-Crazy Quiz to find out where your focus is. Simply answer “yes” or “no” to these thirteen questions.

  1. In a room full of people, do you always know where “he” is? (yes/no)
  2. Are boys your number-one favorite topic of conversation with your friends? (yes/no)
  3. Do you often dress to catch a guy’s attention? (yes/no)
  4. Do you replace one crush with another almost as soon as you realize the first relationship is not going anywhere? (yes/no)
  5. Have you asked a guy out? (yes/no)
  6. Do you have your eye on more than one guy at a time? (yes/no)
  7. Do you believe you’d finally be completely happy if you had a boyfriend? (yes/no)
  8. Do you change your schedule or plans in order to bump into him? (yes/no)
  9. Do you tend to have more guy friends than girlfriends? (yes/no)
  10. When you’re relaxing with a good book, movie, or song, do you pick those that are filled with ooey-gooey romance? (yes/no)
  11. If you journal or pray, are your pages or prayers filled with thoughts and requests about guys? (yes/no)
  12. Are you always trying to figure out which guys like you? (yes/no)
  13. Would you be willing to get a total makeover for a guy? Not the hair, make-up, and new-clothes kind, but the “I’ll change who I am at my core if that’s what it takes to get you” kind? (yes/no)

Where to Go from Here

If you answered “yes” to several or all of these questions, that says something important about your heart. It clues you in to what your heart loves. What your heart fears, even. Do your answers point to you being more crazy about your Creator God or about guys?

Speaking from experience, boy-craziness is a road that will ultimately lead to heartache and loss (Ps. 16:4). True joy and freedom, on the other hand, are found in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11).

If you haven’t yet read my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, I encourage you to order your copy today. If God can transform me, there’s hope for you for sure!

We’re giving away three copies of Confessions today. To enter to win one, log on to the giveaway widget and then leave a comment below by Valentine’s Day, letting me know what you learned from taking this quiz.

In the meantime, let’s continue this conversation. Over the next couple of days, we’re going to explore two questions:

  1. Is being boy-crazy really all that bad?
  2. I feel like boy-craziness is taking over. What can I do about it?

Stick with me as we journey together from neediness to freedom!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Boy-Crazy Are You? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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When Your Heart Refuses to Let Him Go

When Your Heart Refuses to Let Him Go

“Let him go. Move on, already,” your friends tell you. “Like, yesterday. You should be over him by now!” After all, it has been months. Years.

But still, he haunts your thoughts—dropping by frequently, oblivious to the fact that he’s not welcome—threatening to sabotage not only your past but your present. Like a shackle attached to your ankle, you drag this dead hope of a relationship with you wherever you go.

Meet Someone Else Who Couldn’t Stop Looking Back

You’re not the only one who can’t seem to stop looking back with longing. Over and over in the book of Numbers, God’s people, the Israelites, rebel against Him. They get hung up on their cravings, (“What I wouldn’t do right now for a leek!”) and wish for their past as slaves to Pharaoh. Here’s just one example of them looking wistfully over their shoulders:

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (Num. 14:1–4).

“Let us go back to Egypt”?! The Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt for 420 years. It had not been a vacation. There were bricks to be made and backs to be whipped and no relief in sight . . . until God intervened. He sent Moses to perform mighty acts and deliver His people from their hard labor and heavy burdens.

So Close . . .

He then began to lead them to the Promised Land, the land He had promised their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In this particular passage above, they were poised to enter the Promised Land. Twelve spies had been sent to spy it out, and ten came back with a fearful report:

“The land . . . is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height . . . and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers” (13:32–33).

Two of the twelve spies, however, reported:

“The land . . . is an exceedingly good land. . . . Do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them” (14:7–9).

Stop looking back, and instead believe that your God is good—and that all He does is good—and move on.

But instead of believing the two spies—and ultimately believing God—the people of Israel chose fear over faith. They cried out with longing for the “good ol’ days” in slavery.

As a result of their unbelief, God destined them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness (one year for each day the spies spied out the Promised Land), and ensured their fears would become reality:

“What you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in the wilderness . . . not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except [the two spies who gave the good report]. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in” (14:28–31).

Let Him Go, and Move On

This is more than just a Bible story. Did you know that 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that these accounts were written for us, for our instruction? I know your circumstances are different, but like the Israelites, do you believe God made a mistake? That God held out on you? Do you believe life would be better if only this guy had pursued you?

Are you obeying God’s command to avoid idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7)? My guess is that if you’re still living under the shadow of this relationship that didn’t materialize, you have most likely idolized this guy. Please don’t confuse love for lust, covetousness, and idolatry.

Please don’t confuse love for lust, covetousness, and idolatry.

Repent of making the hope of this relationship your ultimate hope. Believe God and move forward under His leadership. He wants to bless you, if you will only trust His heart. He is drawing you away from the slavery of idolatry and covetousness and into the Promised Land of contentment as His treasured possession, living under His rule.

Stop looking back, and instead believe that your God is good—and that all He does is good—and move on. Move forward, and watch God bring you out into a broad, spacious place.

When Your Heart Refuses to Let Go was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Is Singleness Punishment for My Sin?

Is Singleness Punishment for My Sin?

Dear Single Girl,

I know that you associate singleness with punishment, but nothing could be further from the truth! How can I be so confident? Because God’s Word is crystal clear on the matter. Please do yourself a favor and give this lie the boot!

1. Someone else was punished for your sin.

You have a substitute. A Savior.

Jesus Christ willingly stepped into your place and took the full brunt of the Father’s wrath and punishment for your wickedness. If you have put your full trust in Christ, it is done. You are cleansed. Forgiven. Loved. Free.

“Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

“And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us . . . ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Heb. 10:11–18).

You can know that God the Father accepted Christ’s substitution for your sin because He not only raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus returned to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Intimacy was restored. The deed was done.

Clearly, it would be unjust of God to punish His Son for your sin . . . . and then turn around and punish you as well! And God is anything but unjust.

You will never know His punishment, only His favor through Christ . . . if you trust in Jesus alone as your Savior.

2. Jesus was single, and it was not because He had sinned!

Hebrews 4:15 says, ” For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (emphasis added). Obviously, singleness is not the result of sin, because Jesus never, ever sinned.

Not only is singleness not punishment . . .

3. The apostle Paul says that singleness is a gift.

In 1 Corinthians 7:7–8, Paul writes:

“I wish that all were as I myself am [single]. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am” (emphasis added).

Paul goes on to explain why singleness is a gift: because “those who marry will have worldly troubles,” because he wants you “to be free from anxieties,” and because the married woman’s interests are “divided” trying to please both God and her husband (vv. 28–34). Paul summarizes all this in verse 35:

“I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

Sweet girl, the real problem is not that you are being punished for your sin. The real problem is that your hopes are misdirected.

Do not waste the gift that this season of singleness is.

Marriage is a beautiful gift . . . if and only if you are not looking to a man to fulfill you and complete you and replace your sadness with joy.

Marriage is a beautiful gift . . . if and only if you are running to Christ daily to fulfill you and satisfy you with His love and replace your sadness with joy.

Do not waste the gift that this season of singleness is. Use it to repent of your misplaced hopes and to find Christ to be your all-in-all. Only then will marriage or singleness be able to be received—not as punishment—but as the gift they both are.

Is Singleness Punishment for My Sin? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You?

No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You?

Lately several girls have told me they’re convinced something is wrong with them because they’ve never had a boyfriend. Most chalk it up to being plain ugly, like this girl:

I’m twenty-three and have never dated anyone. I honestly feel like the weirdest, ugliest girl in the world, and all I can do is question what’s wrong with me. I feel if I was pretty like other girls or more dateable, I wouldn’t be single. And quite frankly, sometimes I even question if I’m worthy of being loved or if I’m so horrible I can’t even be liked.

I know life shouldn’t just be about dating, but it’s so awkward when all your friends are or have been in relationships, and you’re just there thinking, It must be because I’m ugly. I’ve come to hate everything about my physical appearance. It’s like my whole youth has passed me by. Because even when I’ve had any crush, they wouldn’t even notice me. I’ve now come to the point of thinking maybe love isn’t for everyone, but I don’t know how well I can accept it.

Single girl, nothing is wrong with you. Not in the way you think, anyway.

Nothing is wrong with being twenty-three and not having dated. In fact, you have the advantage, in my opinion.

My hubby was twenty-six when we started dating. Until I came along, he had never had a girlfriend. That wasn’t weird to me. It was pure relief!

If you read this blog often, you know my story. While I always had a crush on someone, I was boyfriend-less from ages sixteen to thirty—well over a decade. Do I look back and regret the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend during those long years? No way!

Let me try to give you a little perspective.

Having a boyfriend, dating, is a fairly recent phenomenon in our culture. But marriage was God’s design from the beginning of creation: one man and one woman exclusively committed to each other until death parts them. It’s okay—wonderful, in my opinion—if you don’t drag a string of old boyfriends into this lifelong covenant.

Also, if you’re not dating, you’re saving yourself a whole lot of temptation, as the world claims that boyfriends and girlfriends get to enjoy all the benefits of marriage, but God’s Word doesn’t back this up.

And then there’s the fact that you grow and mature so much in your twenties. You learn who you are, what you believe, what you stand for, what you actually want in a lifelong partner. This time of singleness is valuable.

I can hear you protesting, “That’s all good if someone eventually pursues you, but no guy will ever like me. I’m too ugly.”

If you’ve been telling yourself over and over that you’re ugly, why would one guy telling you you’re not ugly change your mind?

It wouldn’t.

You need to choose to believe what is true about yourself before you put a poor boyfriend or husband in the impossible position of convincing you otherwise.

You are beautiful.

How can I know this, as I’ve personally never laid eyes on you?

Because I know that God, the ultimate source of beauty, made you. And God doesn’t make junk.

I was in your shoes once. You can read all about it in my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey From Neediness to Freedom. A guy who led me on for over a year and a half finally admitted why he hadn’t officially asked me to be his girlfriend: “The spark comes and goes.” With that admission, the Liar (Satan) lodged a big, hairy lie deep within me: “You’re just not beautiful.”

That lie rang in my ears for months.

Until one morning when I lifted the bathroom blinds. The beauty before me nearly took my breath away—this delicate, purple flowering tree reaching up, up, up. While washing my face and combing my hair, I kept glancing at its beauty, drinking it in.

That’s when I saw it. You make beautiful things, God. At that moment, I chose to stop listening to Satan’s lies and to believe that my Creator had not made me ugly.

You make beautiful things, God.

As I write this post, I’m sitting in my backyard surrounded by wildflowers, vegetables, a Rose of Sharon bush, and decorative grasses. Each plant is different from the others, but I would never call anything surrounding me ugly! God doesn’t do ugly.

God made you, and you are not His one mistake.

May I challenge you to repent of believing this lie? Even if you don’t yet feel beautiful, agree with God that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:14).

Then I challenge you to change your focus—not on being loved but on loving God and others. After all, Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment in the law:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second
is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).

This is what you were made for: to love as God has loved you. And ironically, as you shift your focus from yourself to God and others, this is what will put your beauty on full display.

This is what you were made for: to love as God has loved you.

So how about it, beautiful girl? Will you choose to believe that God makes beautiful things—including you?! (If you doubt this, I challenge you to take a walk outdoors for a glimpse of His beautiful world!)

Also, I need to ask, is being loved more important to you than loving God and others? If so, will you confess this as sin to God and ask for His help to keep the greatest commandment?

There is nothing wrong with you, single girl. Go live beautifully.

No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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What to Do While You Wait

What to Do While You Wait

“What did you do while you waited for Trevor?” a girl asked me. (Trevor is my husband of almost ten months.) “It’s so hard to wait patiently.”

I can tell you I sure didn’t wait perfectly! There were lots of hard days, and more and more really sweet days as I learned to put my hope in God rather than in a potential boyfriend or husband.

What did I do during my days as a single?

I did the next thing—whatever was right in front of me.

I spent time with people—the old and the young.

I took dance lessons.

I kept journaling.

I wrote a book.

I pursued God through His Word and in prayer (which really means He was pursuing me!).

I picked Michigan cherries and canned applesauce.

I laid on my beach towel by the waves.

I served in my local church.

I played volleyball at the YMCA.

I did laundry and grocery shopped and cleaned my apartment.

I looked for others who were lonely and tried to encourage them.

I “crashed” from constantly go-go-going, and then I slowly re-learned how to live.

I learned how to say “no” occasionally instead of automatically saying “yes” to every invitation. (Goodbye, burnout!)

I learned how to identify my emotions and communicate what I really thought.

And slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

Slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

What that doesn’t mean is that I “earned” Trevor because I stopped wanting a guy so bad or because I lived well. Not.at.all.

Trevor was and is an undeserved gift from God.

I love my life with Trevor now. But I also had a purposeful, fulfilling life before Trevor.

I say that to assure you that you are not waiting on a guy to start living. In fact, you have a whole lot of good works just waiting for you to do! Ephesians 2:10 tells us:

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can you—this very day—do the most good to the most people?

“May the world this day be happier and better because I live.” —A Puritan prayer

What to Do While You Wait was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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You’re Not the Only One Waiting . . .

You’re Not the Only One Waiting . . .

So you’re waiting.

Waiting for a diagnosis . . .

Waiting for a boyfriend . . .

Waiting to get out of the house . . .

Waiting . . .

. . . waiting . . .

. . . waiting.

God can empathize.

He waits, too.

He waits for that last person to receive His free gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him before He returns for His bride, the Church.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

He waits for His enemies to be finally defeated.

When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet (Heb. 10:12–13).

He waits to judge the world.

Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart (1 Cor. 4:5).

Sometimes He waits to come immediately when you call so that your faith might grow so that God might be greatly glorified.

The [two] sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. . . .

Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (John 11:3–6, 14–15).

He waits to be gracious to you.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him (Isa. 30:18).

How does the fact that your God waits encourage you in your own wait? Can you think of any other ways God waits?

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Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Last week I shared some mail I just couldn’t keep to myself. You were so encouraged that this week I want to share more advice with you from married women. So . . . I asked a group of married women of all ages the following question:

What do you wish you’d done before getting married (either to prepare for marriage or just to take advantage of your singleness)?

You may be wondering, Why should I care what a bunch of married women think? Well, did you know God’s plan is that we learn the ins and outs of marriage from women who are “older and wiser?” Titus 2:3–5 says,

“Older women are to . . . teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Part of that training takes place before you’re even in a relationship! With that in mind, here’s what several married women wish they’d done before getting married:

“I wish I had spent more time growing as a Christian instead of assuming that I would ‘follow’ my husband spiritually. I would have spent more time being myself instead of being simply available.” —Myranda

“I wish I hadn’t devoured literally every Christian romance novel and countless romance movies. The men portrayed in these stories seem to be near perfect and have caused disappointment in marriage stemming from dangerous, unrealistic expectations. It contributed to me looking to a man to satisfy my every longing when the only One who can do that is the sinless, perfect Jesus Christ.” —Kimberly

“I got married at age twenty, and I can think of a dozen or more things that have crossed my mind over the years (manage finances, finish school, travel, etc.) that if I had done before marriage would have made so many things easier. But when it gets right down to it, we have had a blast growing up together. The best marriages aren’t necessarily easy; they are committed. I am thankful for one thing I did do before marriage: moving away from home. I think that gave me a crash course in dependency upon the Lord for everything, which laid the perfect foundation for marriage.” —Julie

“I wish I would’ve taken time after high school to find out who I really was aside from being under my parents’ authority before I got married.” —Hannah

“I wish I would have enjoyed my single days more instead of concentrating on finding love. I also would have wanted to be more prepared for the reality of marriage; the work, the responsibility, the pain that is there among the joy. Forever is a much bigger commitment after all the celebrations have calmed down from the engagement and wedding and it is just the two of you left . . . you and sixty years. Single girls, MAKE SURE you marry someone you like, not just love. It has been said many times, but you really do need to marry your best friend! Let God lead you to each other.” —Heidi

“I wish I had really thought about how I’d find purpose and joy in the responsibilities of being a wife and mom apart from my other interests, which had of course monopolized my single life. ” —Laura

I wish I would have lived as a godly woman when I was single instead of thinking, I’ll be like that when I’m married. I went through a very challenging first year of marriage until God graciously showed me I can’t keep saying ‘tomorrow,’ I need to obey today! Also, I wish I would have learned how to be an organized person, how to cook meals and grocery shop, and how to live within a budget. It would have made the transition to marriage easier had I already been experienced at taking care of myself (versus trying to figure out how to take care of two people).” —Emily

“I wish I’d learned more about how the marriage covenant is a picture of Jesus’s relationship with His bride, the church. It also would have helped to be involved more in service in the church, especially where no one could see me and there was no immediate recognition. It would have helped diminish my ego as a single woman!” —Aileen

“I wish I would have traveled more, gotten involved with more ministries overseas, even spent time living overseas!” —Kara

“I wish I had learned much earlier about submission in marriage. I never really grasped that until the last several years. I marvel at the difference it has made, learning to let my husband truly be the head of the family, even when I don’t agree with every move he makes. By over-powering my husband in the early years, I caused so many issues I didn’t even realize.” —Sheila

“I wish I had lightened up and had more fun.” —Jeannie

“I wish I would have spent more time with a mature mentor couple for the purpose of laying out our expectations for marriage. We’ve grown, and after sixteen years, are still becoming one. Learning to communicate clearly about the outcomes we are expecting before we begin a project has been huge. It’s so hard to backtrack. Clarity upfront helps work out some differences before they become huge mountains to tackle.” —Jennifer

Which piece of advice resonates with you most, not-yet-married-girl? What one thing can you begin to work on today as you anticipate marriage someday?

Before Getting Married I Wish I’d …” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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But No One Vacations Alone!

But No One Vacations Alone!

I’ve been yearning for a vacation for months now. It’s not that I don’t have a surplus of vacation days; I just haven’t known how to gracefully bow out of the never-letting-up-responsibilities of life.

Recently, though, I got desperate. I asked my prayer team to pray that God would provide a vacation, and then I blocked off this week as a quiet “stay-cation” since I didn’t have the energy to plan a full-fledged vacation.

God’s Gracious Provision

Last week I asked my advisory council if they had any ideas for how I could spice up my stay-cation. One woman’s response caught me off guard, “My husband and I have been praying about who could use our timeshare in Florida; we can’t make it this year.”

Come again?!

God lavishly provided.

It didn’t take long for the details to fall into place. She okayed it with her husband; my boss approved the time off; a friend helped me find the steal of the year on a direct flight (no small thing when it’s just seven days out!); and the rest is history (well, future, I guess).

God lavishly provided.

The only problem . . . I would be going alone.

But No One Vacations Alone!

Vacationing solo just isn’t done. Even eating out alone has a stigma in our culture. I wasn’t the only one who considered this. More than one person asked if I’d be okay, vacationing by myself for a whole week.

Am I ever really alone?

But should the fear of loneliness cause me to turn down a timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean? Isn’t that same fear of loneliness what’s causing my friend to stay with her abusive boyfriend? And am I ever really alone?

I don’t doubt there will be moments during my vacation when I feel lame and left-out in this world geared for two, but in my friend Lina Abujamra’s words, I’ll use the bitter pill of loneliness during those times to press into the very heart of God.

Besides, there’s no avoiding the unannounced visit of loneliness—it sneaks up on the best of us—even when we’re surrounded by friends.

So I’m embracing this vacation as a retreat with God. I’ll bike and think and swim and read and explore and write and strike up conversations with strangers and get a tan and eat fresh fish from the ocean and prepare for next week’s speaking engagement and pray and write old-fashioned letters to people and sleep in and catch a sunrise and . . . above all, rest.

Call it lame to vacation alone; I call this pure gift.

How about you? Would you ever vacation alone? Eat out alone? Why or why not?

“I will never leave you nor forsake you” –God (Heb. 13:5).

But No One Vacations Alone!” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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