Earlier today, I was reading an article entitled, "Are You Ready for Marriage? 8 Ways to Tell". It's not like we all haven't read something similar to this before, but sometimes things are worded...*presented* in a way that catches your attention, especially so. In this case, for me, it was this:
"What would marriage give you that you don't already have? What would you be giving up?"
So often, we as singles don't embrace the, more than anything, *freedom* (perhaps because we don't embrace its truth!-John 8:32) that comes with being without a mate. To be honest, I think a big part of it is due to something that I shared with a spiritual sistah on yesterday: VERY FEW OF US ACTUALLY ARE SINGLE; VERY FEW OF US ACTUALLY LIVE OUR LIVES WITHOUT BEING CONSUMED, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, BY A MAN. It took me a long time to get to the place of acceptance within my own self that single living isn't just about not having a man in my bed, but also not having one preoccupying my mind/heart/soul space, either.
Now that doesn't mean that the desire (Genesis 3:16) isn't there. Nor does it mean that a fine man doesn't cross my mind (someone had to hold my piece actually when I saw Channing Tatum in a recent movie trailer-whew!). But what it does mean is that when women *really take the time* to answer what marriage would bring them that they don't already have, when they *really focus* on what they would be giving up, it's kind of amazing how you may discover that it's not *marriage* so much that you're needing *first* (Psalm 37:23). It may be a dose of high self-esteem. It may be freedom, once and for all, from a sexual/lust/past man addiction (or is it obsession)? It may be getting your finances in order or actually taking the time to figure out what *you* want to do with *your life*. It may be doing some of the traveling that you've been a broken record about ('cause some people's husband's have *no desire* to visit or live when they do!). And when you discover what the *true issue* is, it's funny what happens. You end up being so busy handling *your business* (I Thessalonians 4:11) that a man coming along is *surplus* more than someone to fill some kind of void (after all, we came from *his rib* remember? He's the one who's lacking!).
So what does this have to do with the title of the message for today?
Well, there was a link to another article tied to first one that I referenced. It was entitled, "10 Things I've Learned in 36 Years of Marriage". It's packed with some good info, but I wanted to share this point in particular:
3. Life comes in cycles. Marriage is like a rose bush. It contains both beautiful flowers and thorns. Sometimes the flowers bloom and it is fragrant and wonderful. Sometimes the blooms fall off and all you see is the thorns. If you nurture the plant and keep it healthy, you can count on the blooms returning. Learn to accept it all with patience.
You know, whenever I do premarital counseling, it tickles me when I hear people say in response to why they want to get married: "I'm ready to have sex", "I'm tired of being alone", "My clock is ticking", "I don't feel like I can get to the next level without it", "I feel like it's my calling to be married." So much *I-ing*. It's not that I can't relate to those answers. It's just that, to this day, I haven't heard people say, "I can't wait to help him become the best person in Christ that he can be *even if he's going to be my cross to bear*", "I know I have some character issues and he's got the perfect temperament to help me purge some of those demons", "I am immature about love and I think marriage will teach me what the whole 'Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church' dynamic is all about", "I am a controlling person and I need to learn how to submit to authority", "My house is a mess and it will help to hold me accountable when it comes to some of my nasty habits."
Because you see, here's the deal. When I read that quote about not investing your feelings until you're ready to deal with the consequences, while it is profound standing all on its own, I thought about how so few people *really think about* the definition of the word "consequence"; that one of them is "the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier".
Following this message, I will be sharing a few other things that some wives wish they knew as single women. Some things that would have spared them some of the *consequences* that they are now experiencing. Some that could have been avoided had they been whole in their singleness.
You know, some of us don't get just how deep Lamentations 3 really is. Last week, I shared the Message Version of it with several people in my world. Here's just an excerpt:
"God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst."---Lamentations 3:25-30(Message)
You know how the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), says that in all of our getting, we should get *any understanding* (Proverbs 4:7). There are many "On Fire" women who write me, discouraged, as they wonder where he is and when he'll arrive. But just look at what the verses say in Lamentations: God is GOOD to the women who DILIGENTLY seek. It is GOOD to QUIETLY HOPE for help from God. When life gets hard GET QUIET AND PRAY. *DON'T ASK QUESTIONS*. Just WAIT FOR HOPE TO APPEAR. Don't RUN. The worst is NEVER the worst.
Something that I'm personally accepting is that *love really is patient* (I Corinthians 13:4) and when Lamentations tells us that the Lord's mercies and compassions are new *every day*, even our single status falls into this category. I'm *so glad* that I serve THE GOD of PERFECT TIMING (Acts 1:7-Message). That he wants my covenant love experience to be filled with *good consequences* rather than regret and that this *sacred time* is for me to plant *good seeds of wholeness* so that the outcome can be that the next man that I find myself having deep feelings for, I'll be ready for the effect, result, *the outcome*. Hmph. THE. OUTCOME.:
"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."---Jeremiah 29:11(AMP)
Well...that's all she wrote today. At least on this blog.
WAIT FOR HOPE TO APPEAR.
HOPE IS A PART OF YOUR FINAL OUTCOME.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO LOVE *WISELY*,YOU CAN HAVE BLESSED CONSEQUENCES.
BECAUSE HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT (ROMANS 5:5).
WE KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE BECAUSE GOD SAID IT. AND HE CANNOT LIE (TITUS 1:2).