Posted tagged ‘courtship’

Which Shelf Are You On?

February 25, 2014

At some point during the last year, my husband told me a story very similar to the one I told in my last post, and told me that he was the little boy who had let his father choose.  I was the wife off the top shelf.  Of course, I countered that he was on the top shelf himself, so how come he hadn’t seen me!

As a follow up to that post, here’s the flip side.  Which shelf are you on?

Are you a person worth putting on the top shelf?  One of my most viewed posts is Are You a Woman Worth Waiting For? which I wrote back in 2011.  I talked then about focus and preparation, focusing on God’s plan for you right now and preparing for the future He’s planning for you later.  Those things are valid for both men and women as we wait for the spouse God has planned for us.  Whether you’re 15, 25, or 45, you can be focused on God and preparing for the future He is bringing you.

I value the fact that my husband didn’t go wife-hunting, dating every girl who came along.  He’d been out of college for three years before he met me – plenty of time to have given up on God ever bringing someone along and have gone looking himself.  But he didn’t.  He just kept doing the work that God put in front of him, and in His time, God brought me to that church and introduced us.

And because Sir K had waited patiently while preparing for having a wife and family, he already had a steady job, had bought a house, and had paid off his student loans before asking me to marry him.  Many young couples do not have this opportunity, some because God wanted them to take another path, others because they rushed ahead with their own plans before they were ready.

Are you willing to wait?  To be “on the shelf” for a few years?  To focus on God’s plan instead of your own?  To prepare for the future instead of just wishing it would get here sooner?  If you want a “top shelf” spouse, then start thinking how to be worthy of that person first, and let God take care of getting them to you.  Then when God brings that “top shelf” person along, they will also see something “top shelf” about you.

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Just a short year ago…

November 20, 2013

I was single and didn’t want to be.  Yep.  I was getting to the end of my tether, and it felt like God had prepared me enough that I was ready.  So where was Prince Charming?  Was I doing something wrong?

It didn’t help that I knew a guy who could fit the bill.  Quiet, responsible, 5 years out of college and working, funny, and my best friend.  But nothing more than a friend.  And no sign that he wanted to be.

At this time last year, I was in a holding pattern.  Waiting to God to move.  Waiting to see what He was going to do.  Trying not to let my impatience ruin my friendship.  Waiting.

Most of you know, waiting is not a fun game most of the time.  As a human, I like to know what’s going to happen in the future.  Whether that future is tomorrow, next week, or next year.  But I had to learn to let go of that and let God work out the details.  If He wanted me to go another year, did I really want to rush in anyway?  If I’d learned anything about the Lord in my twenty odd years, it was that He has good reasons when He asks us to wait for something.

And sure enough, waiting paid off big.

This time last year, I couldn’t know that within a month, my best friend would ask me to embark on an intentional relationship exploring whether marriage was God’s plan for us.  Within four months, we would be engaged. And a year later as I write this now, we’re four months married, in a cozy little home, and very happy that God chose each of us for the other.

When God makes changes, sometimes we have to wait while He sets up the stage first, and then hang on to the handrails, because the whirlwind is coming!  With 19 weeks from engagement to the wedding, our planning was nonstop, or felt like it.  Once Sir K asked me the initial question last December, things didn’t really slow down until…well, a couple of weeks ago when I quit working.  More on that in a later post.

But we needed the waiting at the beginning.  Little did I know that Sir K had been asking God when he could propose to me for a year before he actually got to do so.  When I found out that he had faithfully waited until God gave him the green light, it meant so much more to me that he had waited for God’s timing than if he had merely asked God if it was me and then forged ahead.  And God did several things with both of us that year which never would have happened if Sir K had been courting me.

So, for all you waiters out there, whether you’re 18, 28, or 48, whether you’re waiting for a husband, a child, a job, or something else entirely, whether you see a possibility on the horizon or not, know that God is faithful to bring you the desires He has placed in your heart In His Time.  That song is still one of my favorites, and I made sure it was in my prelude music because it has become so special to me over the course of my waiting.

He does indeed make all things beautiful in His time, even me.

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful, in His time,
Lord please show me every day, as You’re teaching me Your way,
That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful, in Your time,
Lord my life to you I bring, may each song I have to sing,
Be to you a lovely thing, in Your time.

I’m Ready, Why Aren’t You, God?

February 8, 2013

Have you ever felt like you were ready to begin the next phase of your life, but that God hadn’t opened the door yet?

Perhaps you’ve been trying to get into colleges, but you didn’t get accepted into any of the ones you wanted.  Maybe you’re job hunting, but nothing is turning up.  Maybe you’re waiting for Prince Charming, but he’s not being very obliging about ringing your doorbell.  Some of my readers might even be trying for a child, but having no success.  Maybe it’s something completely different.

Have you felt like telling God that you were ready and that you wished He’d hurry up and open the door?

Sometimes we’re not as ready as we think we are.

For the past 5-8 years, I have felt like God has had to push me out of my comfort zone to move me forward.  Usually He used my mother to jump start something new, because I really didn’t like change.  Which meant that my mother had to encourage me to go ahead and volunteer different places, to go on and really hunt for a job, to start singing with the church worship team.  Each time, I’ve been a little apprehensive about the new activity, but each time, I have also very much enjoyed the time I have spent doing it.

About six months ago or so, I told my mother that I finally felt “ready” to move on to the next phase of my life.  This was a new feeling for me, and I recognized that I probably wasn’t really ready, even though I felt like it.  We allowed that my success with my job, which I had been very nervous about in the beginning, was helping me to feel that I was ready for a new challenge in another realm – relationships.

So, I was ready.  Or was I?

Another three months went by.  Nothing much had changed.  I should mention here that I have a very good friend that I met about the time that 3G went off to college.  Sir K had helped to fill the void left by 3G not being around all the time.  Over the three years I’d known him, Sir K had become very close.  So when I felt like I was “ready,” although I tried not to assume anything, I did have a pretty good idea who God might have in mind.

So three months ago, I was praying about things, and I began asking “when?”  It was becoming increasingly difficult to be just friends with Sir K.  I had refrained from asking God if this was “the one,” but the cry of my heart was for a deeper relationship, and I felt like I needed to know something now.  Well, apparently God agreed with me, because that night He gave me an answer.  Only one word, but it brought such peace that I knew it was from Him.

“Soon.”

No, it didn’t give me any idea when exactly things would change.  No, I still couldn’t have told you who.  But yes, I was satisfied.  And I was at peace.

Where before I had been “ready,” now I was at peace with the situation.  And in that peace I could be patient.  God would bring it to pass in His perfect timing.  And so He has.

A couple of weeks ago, Sir K and I embarked on something we have termed an Intentional Relationship.  I’ve not been thrilled with the concept of dating as a means to get to know your potential spouse, and on the other side, courtship as defined by the ultra conservatives seemed a little restrictive, besides requiring a lot of parental involvement.  My parents have been helping me transition from child to adult, so the last thing they wanted to do was drive or limit my decision making in terms of a spouse.  So Sir K and I have been finding our own way, through lots of discussions and spending more time with each other and our families.

What point am I trying to make in all this?  I just wanted to encourage all those of you, no matter what door you’re waiting on, no matter whether you think you’re ready or not, all those of you who are contemplating entering a new phase in your life, to wait for God’s timing and His peace before moving forward.  Although I felt like I was ready, I tried very hard not to give any such indication, as I felt that could cloud the issue if my friend was either waiting for God’s okay, or deciding that this was not the direction that God wanted him to go in.  Instead, I lived in the peaceful hope that God would indeed work everything out in His own perfect way, which He has proceeded and is proceeding to do.  He makes all things beautiful in His time.

So what are you “ready” to embark on?  College, a new career, marriage, children?  Whatever door you are waiting for God to open, know that He will open it in His timing, and that it will be well worth the wait.  In retrospect, Sir K and I have each seen things God was teaching us in the last 6 months to a year.  We’ve lost nothing in waiting, and instead have been able to build our foundation of friendship that much stronger.  No matter what you’re waiting for, God will bless you for waiting on His timing.

Sir K and I are excited to see where God will take us in the coming months, we are thankful to Him for His perfect timing, and above all, we desire that He always remain the center of our relationship.

May He bless you as much as He is blessing us.

About the Nice Guys

September 26, 2011

My brain goes on some pretty funny tangents sometimes.  For instance, the other day I was remembering a passing comment said by a friend some time ago.  The friend and his wife had been fellowshiping with my family, and toward the end of our conversation, something was said about a young man in our church.  The friend made the passing comment that the young man was “a nice guy.”

Now, if I hadn’t already had a couple of comments thrown in my direction hinting that this “nice guy” and I would make a good couple (as if the speakers really had any clue what they were talking about), I might not have noticed.  In all likelihood, the friend had no such meaning in mind when he said it.  Nothing was said in direct response by anyone in my family.  But it kind of felt to me like the comment was made for my benefit.

That’s not the first time I’ve heard the words “nice guy” nor will it be the last.  When I hear that phrase, however, I can’t help thinking how shallow it is.

Especially within the church, any guy can be a nice guy.  Think about it.  How would you define a nice guy?  Somebody who is polite, opens doors, and generally wears a smile.  Depending on the particular nice guy, he might add one or two other traits to the list, like good looks, teaching Sunday School, or a good job.  But all of these things are pretty superficial.   What about this list makes a guy good husband material?

Okay, so you have to start somewhere, but seriously, I want to know why the well-meaning sisters in our churches use these words when hinting about someone they think we ought to consider.  I think I have a pretty good idea of why, actually.  Two reasons.  In some cases, it is probably because there isn’t that much more to the guy than that he is “nice.”  Why that might be is a whole different can of worms which I am not going to open.  In other cases, I think they use the phrase “nice guy” because their own relationship with the guy is so superficial that “nice” is all they know about him.

What do we girls do about it?  Well, I generally just smile tolerantly and move to the next topic.  People get the idea.  I’m not interested in talking about “nice guys.”  But sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a way to encourage people to spend more time getting to know a guy before they recommend him as nice (enough to marry).  Then they could use stronger words to describe him that would be more likely to catch a girl’s attention (or not).

Does this happen to guys too?  Do they get pushed toward the “nice girls”?  Sure.  My brother has seen a little of it (some from the same ladies I’ve been dealing with), although with him it has been easier because he’s away at college and because people give guys a break longer because it’s generally expected that they should have a job before they get married.  Granted they may expect a guy to have a girlfriend before that, but it doesn’t seem to be a major cause of concern to them if he doesn’t.

I don’t think the “nice girl” label is any deeper than the “nice guy” label.  A nice girl is polite (meaning doesn’t talk your ear off), pleasant, usually pretty, and generally has either brains, artistic talent, housekeeping skills, or a love of children to recommend her.  Now, this description gives the guys a little more to work with, in my opinion, but still doesn’t really indicate whether the girl is really good wife material and completely ignores the compatibility question.  I suppose because the guys are supposed to go find that out.  But don’t you think that young people are perfectly capable of going and finding that out without the distracting hints?

How about the other side to this “nice guy” “nice girl” issue.

Are you one of them?  Do the people who know you know enough to give you a good recommendation?  This one is a tougher one to assess because we don’t generally hear how others describe us.  Still, we should be aware enough of ourselves to know whether we have a distinct purpose and mission in life that is visible to other people.  We will know if we are genuinely caring about other people enough to get involved in their lives beyond carrying a few bags for them when they need a hand or pitching in to help with refreshments for an event.

I’ve also found that it pays to look beyond the “nice guy” label and find out for myself what someone is like.  Just because someone else’s relationship with a guy is so superficial that they are reduced to “nice-ing” them doesn’t mean that mine has to be.  At the same time, it pays to be realistic.  Not every nice guy has interests or goals that are similar to mine (or yours).  And maybe I also don’t need to be more than “a nice girl” to some people who don’t share my particular frame of reference and aren’t likely to understand why I’m uninterested in chasing guys, however nice they may be.

Just some thoughts.  Like I said, sometimes my brain goes off on tangents . . .

“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” — A Woman’s Question

July 24, 2011

I recently read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” for the first time.  Yeah, I know, you would have expected that I’d read it long ago.  Probably I would have except that I read “Best Friends For Life” as part of my last year of highschool, and Mom and I figured it covered pretty much the same ground.  While there’s a point where you need to be ready, there’s also a point where dwelling on one subject too much or too long can be unhealthy for your relationships.  So I didn’t read Josh Harris’s book then.  But I’ve read it now.

I’d recommend it, mostly because it comes from the perspective of a 21-year-old who’s right in the thick of waiting for romance himself, but who is able to articulate the reasons why he stands where he does.  Of course, knowing that Josh has gone on to marry, have three children, and pastor a church gives the book greater credence — he’s not just talking a talk, he has also walked the walk.

In the book is a poem that I especially loved, and I wanted to share it with you.  It’s by Lena Lathrop and you can find it on Josh’s website here.

A Woman’s Question

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above–
A woman’s heart, and a woman’s life
And a woman’s wonderful love?

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy,
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy?

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Man-like you have questioned me;
Now stand at the bar of my woman’s soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God’s stars,
And as pure as heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef;
I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts;
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called home,
And a man that the maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did the first
And say, “It is very good.”

I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft, young cheek one day,
Will you love me then ‘mid the falling leaves,
As you did ‘mid the bloom of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give all this, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot do this — a laundress and cook
You can hire, with little to pay,
But a woman’s heart and a woman’s life
Are not to be won that way.

WORLD Magazine | Couples in community | Susan Olasky | Jun 18, 11

June 22, 2011

WORLD Magazine | Couples in community | Susan Olasky | Jun 18, 11.

This is the promised Part 2 to the article from the previous issue, “Boy Meets Girl.”  Susan Olasky could have taken several directions in answering the question, “what are we going to do about the situation?” from the first article, which discussed how Christian young people are finding it difficult to move forward in an atmosphere that encourages all or nothing in mixed relationships.  This second segment focuses on what churches can be doing to foster a healthy atmosphere for healthy relationships.

I have to admit, my church does not seem to make a point of fostering healthy friendships among the young adults.  Although there is a teen program, not much was available for young adults until I started periodically hosting game nights or other young adult events.  I’m not able to host as often as I’d like, but it’s more than nothing, and I think it has been fun for some of the young people to get together in a mixed group and have fun.  I’d love to do more, and I wish others would or could step up and do some hosting as well, but maybe that’s too much to expect when most young people don’t understand their own need.

As a young woman, I know I have a need for friendship with both men and women of all ages, including peers.  I’m learning so much about people in general and preparing in many different ways, sometimes almost subconsciously, for the special friend who will someday become my husband.  I’m learning what kinds of personality types I get along with very well, what traits get on my nerves, and how to interact with all kinds of people.

Why isn’t there more attention to this from my church or in the church at large?  I don’t know for sure, but it seems like churches are assuming that young people already have a support group for that — their families.  But I don’t know that every young person is getting that support from their family.  I know that I do have a lot of support from mine, but I still miss something from not having the encouragement of my church family.

Actually, the encouragement I get from different church friends is more focused on a dating type of relationship and tends to focus too much on the superficial and not the more important spiritual aspects of friendships.  Yes, I know that dating is the accepted mode of getting to know a future spouse, but it’s discouraging to me that even people who know that I have no interest in the dating game talk to me in those terms.  I have had to be my own encouragement or find it among the books and blogs that I read.

Waiting for the spouse God has chosen for me can be hard, and it would be so nice to have solid encouragement and real friendships in the mean time.  I have the encouragement of my parents, who ask me the tough questions, but I also have the discouragement of being misunderstood by church family, leaving me wondering what could be happening differently to make things better.

How about you?  Are you feeling supported by your church family?  What do they do or not do which you think is or could be helpful?  Maybe you were recently married or are soon to be wed.  What was helpful in your journey toward marriage?

“Ishi” (via Echoes In The Wind)

June 1, 2011

For those struggling with the wait for married blessedness, here’s Laura’s latest encouragement. The post is written by a young woman primarily for young women, but you guys may get something out of it, or out of the (long) comment I left her at the end.

“Ishi”

How I struggle with the idea of singleness! It only takes a happy newlywed couple to bring me to tears, asking God “Will I ever have a love story?” “Is it for me to be married?” “Am I supposed to be single?” No “real” answer. Just that little voice I love and sometimes hate at the same time: stop asking.   It doesn’t help … Read More

via Echoes In The Wind


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