On Being a Crucified Single

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This week, I decided to do a clean up of my Facebook e-mail account.  I deleted several innocuous e-mails that had passed their date of relativity.  Then, I came across an e-mail I had forgotten about — one I had saved because it took me a long time to respond to, and what I shared had some meaning.   I read through the exchange again, and the Spirit whispered to me, “You need to share this.  Share it on the blog this week.  Someone out there needs to hear this.  Don’t delete it.”  So, I e-mailed my friend and asked her if she was ok with my publishing our private exchange, and she said, “Go for it.”   I hope this ministers to you, my single sister.  If you need someone to talk to, I am a listening ear and would love to pray for you and chat.

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Hello there,

I have a question for you. I have a small group of girls that meet at my home on Tuesday nights. I have one young woman who is having a birthday this week. I think she’s turning 36 or 37 and is going through the “I’m getting older and I’m still single” blues. What would you say to someone about that? Any words of wisdom?

I have shared my testimony with her, but maybe she needs to hear someone else’s story for encouragement.

I’m going to ask a couple of my still single friends as well but I know that you waited on God a long time and I’m sure had a lot of moments like hers.

I greatly admire you by the way for waiting on God the way you did. He definitely blesses and He is so faithful.

Thanks!!

M

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Hi, M,

Aw, thank you. It’s an honor for me to be able to pray for this sister tonight.

First, I would say to her that it is perfectly normal to have those bummer feelings, and that God is not mad at her for having them. He is counting her tears in a bottle. He is all about giving beauty for ashes. Second, I would tell her that she can’t let her self dwell there though — she needs to crucify those emotions that are full of doubt and not faith and lay them right down at the cross at Jesus’ feet — daily and moment by moment if she has to. Find a Scripture that gives you hope, memorize it, and quote it as much as you need to…. At the end of the day, she is basically in the same place as Eve when the enemy lead her to question God’s goodness, or Sarah when she was barren and gave her maid to her husband to make a baby. If she knows in her heart that God is good, then she needs to ask God to increase her faith and walk in courage and confidence that His plans for her are good and that His timing for her is perfect. I was always encouraged by the testimony of Ruth in the OT — she didn’t let herself wallow in self-pity when her husband died — she saw what her role was (to focus on serving her family), and she did so wholeheartedly and with grace and love. Her faithfulness was rewarded in a way that she could have never imagined — God never quite tells the story the way we want Him to, but His plot and climactic endings are ever so much better than ours.

Another thing that really encouraged me was that passage in Isaiah 40 where God says that those who wait on Him are being strengthened. Looking back now, I can see how during those long single years (42 to be exact) God was shaping me and refining me in order to make me ready for marriage — honestly, it is a wonderful thing to be married, but it is the HARDEST thing as well. The enemy hates marriage and fights for it. Relationships are all about dying to self and serving our husbands, and we don’t get a break EVER. So, I had to learn to be content in whatever circumstance I was in first as a single person, and I had to learn that God Himself is ENOUGH before I could venture into marriage — because my husband is not my all in all. Sometimes, you feel lonelier married than when you were single.

Once you get married, then the enemy gets all in your head, and you wish you were single, or a mom, or you had a better job. Seriously, it’s a vicious, endless cycle of mind games — sometimes it just wears me out, and I wish I could turn my brain off for the night….  At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that I am called to live a crucified life — I have heaven; I have a God who has given all to forgive me. I have peace with Him. That is more than enough. That is the key to everything else. That is my focus. May His Word fill my heart and mind and drown out everything else.

OK, I am done rambling. I think I ended up giving myself a pep talk instead of her.

Hugs,
Lyli

Q4U:  What has God taught you about living a crucified life?

(Married Gals:  If you have an older single friend, please pray for her tonight.  She needs your encouragement.)

Joining like-minded sisters at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday and over at Jennifer’s place…

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Good Service

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My man and I plopped down at a table in the crowded restaurant.  We were in a new town, and the menu was foreign to us — so many choices.  I was so thankful for our waitress.   She approached the table and introduced herself with a smile.  She was open, friendly, and knowledgeable.  She guided us to the right choices, and she remained close by throughout the meal — always available, always ready but not crowding us.  Before our dinner arrived, she blessed us with a free appetizer since we were “new folk.”  What a great night!  This girl performed her job well, and I still remember that evening — I long to go back.

As a Jesus Chick, I am called to be a servant, one who helps others and points them toward choosing Christ.  Am I being attentive, but not overbearing?  Do I share the truth with grace and clarity?  Are others attracted to my Savior because of the gifts of compassion that I freely share?  Will people develop a hunger for God through interacting with me as his representative?

I must confess that my “attract-ability quotient” as His ambassador could use some improvement.   I grow weary too easily when “pesky people don’t show an appetite for Him.  I claim that I want to be “fruitilicious,” yet I am reluctant to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty.

Good service requires self-sacrifice and commitment to the needs of others.  Will I stay the course and serve with a smile?  This prayer from Paul’s epistle to the church at Colosse has challenged my selfishness :

We pray that you’ll live well for the Master,

making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard.

As you learn more and more how God works,

you will learn how to do your work.

We pray that you’ll have the strength

to stick it out over the long haul

not the grim strength of gritting your teeth

but the glory-strength God gives.

It is strength that endures the unendurable

and spills over into joy,

thanking the Father who makes us strong enough

to take part in everything

bright and beautiful that He has for us” (1:10-12, MSG).

I meet “new folk” all the time who are confused by the many choices on the menu of life.   My job is to whet their appetite for the food the truly satisfies.  I must stop gritting my teeth in order for His joy to flow freely and spill over on to their plates.

Q4U:  How do you practice “good service?”  Any tips?

For 2013, my one-word focus is “Fruitilicious.”  Check out what that means here.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.

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