Monday, April 30, 2012

"On Fire": Loving with Consequences

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.

That said...

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. 









  1. My pastor (, I believe you can listen to it on the church website) actually preached a message on "Living single" last Sunday as part of our current family portraits series. Your opening quote was used in the sermon, along with some other points from "Are You Ready For Marriage?"
    I can't remember the last time I scribbled notes as fast during a sermon as I did for that one.
    I came away from the whole sermon with a question for my singles group that meets for lunch after church...are you embracing your singleness or enduring it? The answers kind of made me sad. Rather than thinking that this is a time of almost drudgery that you have to make it through for God to "grant" you your mate, I think we should be embracing it as an opportunity to be used for Him in so many different ways. This time has been a privilege for me; more than just healing from past hurts, but thriving in a life he hand-tailored for me, bringing out the best in me and enabling me to be an encourager to those around me. I can't remember a time in my life that I felt closer to Him or more content to just let Him write my story. And I am surrounded with amazing friends that I want to make sure that I am helpful that we can help each other to reach for that God-sized, God-given potential He put in each of us.
    I have been calling this stage of my life "choosing to live with expectant hope"

  2. This is nice.i really like your posts .Thanks
    Household Management

  3. Thank you both. ;-)

    You know what I really dig about the lead quote is that it reminds us that *we can control our feelings*. Perhaps not who we *like* but how much we'll *invest*. Obviously the Lord cosigns hence, "Guard your heart." (Proverbs 4:26)


  4. Great Post! In this current season of life, i will admit that sometimes waiting is hard. I am surrounded by a lot of single women who have been waiting for 10+ years and while they are great women of God and are doing great things for the kingdom, some days its just not that encouraging. I am constantly laying down this desire at Christ's feet and walking away from there feeling better. But some days it aint that easy. Especially when a lot of my younger friends are starting new relationships and getting married...its kinda hard.
    I do look at the freedom as being really cool though. I love the hours that I can sit in my living room just me and my Holy Spirit and my bible, chatting it up and living life. I also love how I am free to come and go as I please. I do what I want when I want. Most times however I do it physically alone. This season has its ups and downs like any other. God is all good so whenever this man comes I'm sure it will be awesome.

  5. Shellie, there are no words to relate how deeply this post touched my soul. Thank you for sharing the word from Lamentations. I praise our Father for leading me to your blog to begin with.