Monday, February 4, 2013

Women in Waiting...or Not Waiting

"The Lord your Maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth." Isaiah 54:5

"The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord my Maker and my God is my Husband and takes great delight in me!!  Those verses make my heart want to leap out of my chest.  God is truly the Lover of my soul and I must first fall in love with Him and allow Him to saturate me and completely fill me before I can truly love my physical husband.  Whether you are single or married, these verses hold incredible promises for us as women!

Each one of us, whether we are currently married or are still waiting for God's man to make his grand entrance into our lives, has been blessed with a waiting period before we meet our husbands.  How will we spend the days God graciously provides for us to prepare for a spouse?  I don't know about you, but I did not spend the beginning of my waiting period very wisely.  I tried to rush in and make relationships happen and then stress over them to make them work once I actually got what I thought I wanted; in my younger years, I was so desperate to maintain a dating relationship with a man because of the pressure I felt all around me.  I was not aware of it at the time, but I acted prematurely out of fear.  I moved on my own before God was ready for me to move because I was afraid.  What if God doesn't ever bring me a husband?  What if His plan for me is to be single?  For some reason, those questions caused me to fear being "alone" forever.  However, now that I am on the other side of those experiences and have matured in my faith, I see that He wanted me to fall deeply in love with Him and providing the time for me to do so was actually one of the biggest blessings He could allow me to experience.  He wanted me to trust Him completely and experience His rejoice and delight over me because He knows no man on this earth can satisfy or fulfill me the way He does.  I did not realize that my single days were actually a blessing.  Don't get me wrong--God has graciously given me another chance after witnessing and forgiving my horrific blunders on my staggered path to righteousness.  He has blessed me with the most incredible man of a husband, more than I ever thought or imagined.  He even granted me the smallest of details I desired in my husband because He knows me that intimately and cares for me that deeply.  However, I have learned some gems of wisdom from my mistakes that I wish I had known prior to marriage.  I feel that I would have been a much better companion and mate in the beginning of our marriage.

After trying and failing for several years in the "dating world," God sent a friend in my path who, thankfully, saw and acted on an opportunity to disciple me.  She showed me how to spend time with God daily, through quiet times in His Word, prayer, and living His Word.  She showed me what it was like to LIVE His Word by being obedient to Him.  She shepherded me, taught me how to memorize Scripture, then put it into action.  That's when I decided to stop trying to make things happen on my own.  This is not everyone's story, for sure, but it's mine and it showcases how God lovingly and patiently worked in my life.  God may be working differently in your life, but for me, He convicted me of my sin and led me to a peace of being single.  He whispered to my soul, So what if you are single the rest of your life?  Is that so bad?  I will always love you completely and you will live in complete devotion to me.  I am the only One Who will fulfill you and fill the void in your life.  Trust me and let me do just that.  I am not saying that married women do not or cannot live in complete devotion to the Lord; I am only recording the words God whispered personally to me during a dark time in my life.  Consequently, I decided to stop dating altogether and focus on my spiritual walk with Him, my first Husband, then reaching out to those around me and spreading the gospel.

I made the decision to stop dating in college; after making that decision, I finished my final semesters of postsecondary schooling, graduated, and moved to Jefferson County, where I landed my first (and only) teaching position.  I started working full-time and I loved it!  I loved being on my own, growing daily with my God, and working with teenagers--no room for men or dating anywhere that I could see.  Then, God decided to shake up my world once again (I think He likes to keep me on my toes).  I was living in Jefferson County, but still very active in my home church in Augusta and I was playing in the church softball league.  Before one of my games, my roommate at the time said, "Hey!  Isn't that Josh from college?"  He was leaning on one of the posts under a pavilion near the field looking for a friend who had invited him to come out to the softball game, who, by the way, wasn't even at the game himself.  Ha ha!  If that's not God's working, I don't know what is!  Josh recognized my roommate and me and we all talked that night, hung out with friends after the game, then went home.

Needless to say, through several visits and phone calls, our friendship grew until I noticed signs that this man who was calling as a "friend" was really interested in a more serious relationship and wanted to date me.  Well, as a working, independent woman who was chasing after God, I told him that I was not interested because I had just started working and my relationship with God was finally flourishing.  I had fallen in love with my Jesus and had let Him court me first.  I hate to admit it, but I turned him down.  However, just two short weeks later, through my devotions and teaching from the Lord, God laid Josh on my heart and nudged me to him.  So, like a hurt puppy, with my head bowed low and my tail between my legs, I confessed to Josh that God had changed my heart about dating him.

The rest is history.  He was thankfully still interested and God has been growing us closer to Him and closer to each other ever since.  Let me just point out that growth implies pain, hence the term "growing pains."  Our road has not been without bumps, potholes, detours, and traffic accidents.  We have experienced SEVERAL growing pains throughout the years.  James encourages us in the Bible, as Christ follwers, to "consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (1:2-4).  Apart from God, having a husband will not complete us, ladies.  It does not diminish our insecurities; in fact, it may actually produce additional or larger ones.  Being married does not secure our social statuses, make us happier, or complete our womanhoods.  And it will NEVER satisfy us.  If we try to fill our God-shaped hole in our being with an earthly man, we will be greatly disappointed, but once we turn our focus on God, He will give us everything we need and meet our desires with the most awesome gifts that expand way beyond our thoughts or imaginations.  We need to allow Him to love us the way He longs to and let Him surprise us with someone who will help sharpen us and walk through life with us, growing closer to God every day.  He will provide; we just need to place our lives and desires in His faithful hands.

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