My Parting Thank-You to Singleness

In a few short weeks, I’m donning the white dress in my closet and crossing the threshold from singleness into a life-long marriage commitment. Entering this covenant will be the most important decision I’ve made apart from my salvation, and I’m praying for courage and wisdom to honor it well.

I realize if you’re currently single, you might be snickering right now. Why do you need courage? I’d sprint down that aisle if I had the chance! Hear me out, friends. Although I’m beyond excited for this new adventure in my life, I’m also convinced marriage is going to require as much, and probably more, sacrifice than singleness. That brings me to my first “thank-you” to my time as a single:

I thank my single years for teaching me to practice sacrifice.

As my single friends know, singleness has its fair share of sacrifice. Christian singles may have to die daily to their desires and submit them to the obedience of Christ. They often choose to give of themselves when they so much desire for someone to invest in them. And while life isn’t always lonely, it sometimes is. Even well-meaning friends don’t seem to understand the struggles they face.

Just because I’m saying ‘I do’ doesn’t mean these sacrifices and struggles are going away. They’re just going to change. For example, I will have to submit to my husband’s headship. Even though I’m so happy right now I can’t imagine this responsibility being a challenge, I’ve observed enough marriages to know that conflicts will come. I’ll have to sacrifice what I want for our marriage’s good. On a daily basis, I’ll need to die to my selfish desires to love James, my future husband, well.

Whether single or married, we are to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1 NKJV) and model our lives after Christ who “gave Himself” for the church, His bride (Ephesians 5:25). Our relationship status doesn’t change the command to live sacrificially. It just provides different circumstances in which we are to exercise it.

I thank my single years for showing me that my identity is found in Jesus Christ, not circumstances or a relationship.

When I was single, I often felt as though I had to prove myself in my career, writing, and service. While I certainly believe my single years gave me the opportunity to cultivate my God-given abilities, I had to learn that my identity isn’t found in anything I do or anything I have.

Regardless of my relationship status, my identity is in Christ alone. I’m God’s daughter first and always will be. Once married, I’ll still be God’s daughter and then James’s wife. And even if there are days I feel like a failure, I can take comfort knowing God is still my Father, Savior, and Sustainer. He’s faithful and will remind me that even when I fail or make mistakes, I am still His. I’m so glad to serve a God who gives second chances! Single or married, we all need them.

I thank my single years for teaching me to depend on God and establish a deepening relationship with Him.

My single years often drove me to my knees and to search the Scriptures for God’s promises. Many years, God seemed strangely silent, but I had to learn His timing is better than mine. His plans far surpass my stubborn expectations.

My walk with God has had its share of bumps and detours, but along the way, I’ve learned I can trust Him. I need time with Him each day just as I need air to breathe. My relationship with God has plenty of room for growth, and I’m excited about that. As I begin my marriage, I know I can depend on Him, even when hard times come, because He is always faithful.

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV)

Whether God has called us to be single or married right now, His faithfulness remains the same.

I could add more to this gratitude list, and perhaps you could too. If you’re still single, waiting, or searching, please know this bride-to-be is cheering for you. My prayer is that you would not only find a godly spouse, if that is your desire, but also make the most of your single years. One day, you just might thank them.

~ Kristen

I’m grateful to DailyPS.com for hosting this post on their site. For more encouraging and inspirational posts, visit DailyPS.com.

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6 Things Singles Need to Know about Marriage, Pt. 1

Tami Myer is my friend and fellow writer who blogs about godly marriage and what that looks like. I asked her if she could share a biblical perspective on marriage for singles that we could apply to our walk now, and she graciously said yes.

Whether you’re a teen, young adult, or adult who’s not yet married, it’s my hope that Tami’s two-part series will bless you as much as it has me.

***

Why should singles care about the topic of marriage?

If marriage is not on your radar or even on your wish list, you may think that the subject is not relevant for you right now. But regardless of your marital status, you will benefit from understanding the divine design for marriage. [i]

Here are six important things to know about marriage.

#1. Marriage is a profound revealer of spiritual truths.

When we look at the universe, we know that there is a God. And when we look at marriage, we learn who this God is. The created world reveals the existence of God, but marriage reveals the nature and character of God. We learn that He is a God of relationship and that He is loyal and loving.

In the Scriptures, God makes a stunning claim:

For your Creator will be your husband. (Isaiah 54:5 NLT)

God will be our husband? What does that mean? As we study biblical marriage, we learn that a man is to be the protector and the provider for his wife. The husband is responsible for the well-being of the woman. He lays down his interests in order to love her well. His very life is to be a covering of protection over his bride. He honors, nurtures, and cherishes her.

Amazingly, God is eager to be this kind of “husband” to everyone who enters into a covenant relationship with Him.

I will take you to be My wife forever. I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion. (Hosea 2:19 HSCB)

As a type of “wife,” we accept God and welcome Him. We take His name as our name. “I am His” becomes our identity. We become covenant partners with Him, and we allow Him to carry the weight of responsibility. We give up being spiritually single. We end our other spiritual love affairs (pursuing pleasure, prestige, or possessions), and we devote ourselves to Him. Instead of being spiritually independent (“I know what is good for me”), we depend on His guidance and wisdom.

We live to know Him and to make His name great. We trust His care, knowing that His goal is our radiance. [ii] Our thriving is His glory.

We abide in Him, and He abides in us. We delight in Him, marveling that He delights in us.

As a groom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
(Isaiah 62:5 HCSB)

#2. You can have a great impact on others in the area of marriage.

As you interact with people every day, you can be a powerful influence. You don’t have to be married to know what God teaches about marriage. Understanding the Scriptures will enable you to share helpful truth with others.

It has been said that wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective. Whether married or not, we all need wisdom in this area because the marriages around us affect our lives. Marriages shape our society and culture.

#3. You may have heard that sexual purity is a gift to your future spouse, and that is certainly true. But purity is also a valuable gift to yourself.

You are far more than physical instincts and chemicals. You are more than an animal, which lacks moral strength or character. You have inherent honor, for you are a man or a woman created in the image of God Himself. Women have the God-given glory of being women. Men have the God-given glory of being men.

Your sexuality is deeply linked to your spirit. If you are abused sexually, there is a deep wounding in your spirit. If you give your body away sexually, your spirit is dishonored and demeaned. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT)

Perhaps you don’t know how much you are worth. Perhaps you don’t know that you are a person of high value. God says that you are a treasure. You are priceless!

Your body and spirit are worth far more than cheap words and empty promises. You are worth nothing less than someone’s solemn vow before God and witnesses to honor you “til death do you part.” Guard yourself against anyone who says you are worth less than a lifetime commitment.

Sexual purity isn’t just physical. It is also mental. Stay away from porn. It will destroy you. We live in a pornographic society, so it takes strength to fight back, but it is well worth the effort. Porn promises pleasure, but then it sabotages even the ability to enjoy pleasure. It is highly addictive, encourages abusive behavior, creates dissatisfaction, destroys empathy, and causes users to view people as objects.

Pursue sexual purity in your behavior and in your thinking. You will reap great rewards from this, both now and later, whether single or married. Purity will free you to be healthy physically, spiritually, and in your relationships with other people.

Whatever may be in your past, you can embrace purity now because God loves to give fresh starts and clean slates.

~ Tami Myer

To be continued… Be sure to come back next week for the second part of: 6 Things Singles Need to Know about Marriage.

Notes

[i] One of the best books on marriage was originally written for singles. The Meaning of Marriage is based on a series of sermons which pastor Timothy Keller preached at his church in New York City, where his congregation is predominantly single.

[ii] Ephesians 5:27, NIV

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Unchanging Identity in Christ

Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by the insanity in our world or experiencing a personal trial or struggle. This week, I felt burdened to share a post I wrote a few years back that challenges us to stay grounded in our true identity. May it encourage you today.

This world has a warped view of identity. The highest value is placed on having the biggest house, driving the newest car, being or having the trophy wife, earning the biggest buck, and living the “American dream.” People wear themselves out trying to impress and trying to get more.

I think sometimes this mentality rubs off on Christians. We seek to find our value in good grades, a certain job/ministry, or in a relationship. We feel pressure to marry at a certain age or live up to the “perfect family” expectations. Time and time again, we’re disappointed when we somehow fall short of the “Christian standard.” Perhaps even worse, our expectations are realized, and we rely too heavily on the things God has blessed us with – and not on God Himself.

Our identity can’t be placed in a perfect set of circumstances. They simply don’t exist (or not for long). We must learn to consistently find our identity in Christ.

How do we do that? The best place to start is God’s Word and what it says about our identity. The definition I’ve discovered is incomplete – I have more digging to do – but read on if you desire to learn what God says about who we are in Him.

We are made in God’s image.

Perhaps the most fundamental truth about ourselves is that we are made in the image of God.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27 NKJV)

The implications of this reality are so important but often ignored by our society. Here’s a short list.

  • Life demands dignity. Every life (unborn or elderly) is sacred and has intrinsic value. Therefore, despite what our culture tells us is normal or acceptable, abortion and euthanasia remain morally wrong.
  • God created males and females. It’s one or the other, despite what our world tells us in the new norm. Thefulltimegirl.com shared an excellent article on this tough topic and did an outstanding job speaking the truth in love.
  • Our lives have purpose. We aren’t accidents of time and chance. We have an all-powerful Creator who intentionally designed us and knew us before the beginning of the world.
  • We are loved. Think about it this way. In a physical sense, we are made in our parents’ genetic images. Although our world is broken and sometimes families are too, the biological connection between parents and child was designed to create a unique bond, a special belonging. As our heavenly Father, that’s how God feels about His children. He made us in His image and lavishes His love upon us.

Our bodies are His temples.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (I Corinthians 3:16 NKJV)

Do you really believe that? Temples are designed to be holy places, places of reverence. If you’re a child of God, your body is His home. How should this shape how we see and treat ourselves?

  • We should take care of our bodies and their physical needs – exercise, food, hydration, rest. We should seek to live balanced lives that can enjoy God’s natural gifts.
  • Self-loathing practices like cutting, bulimia, and anorexia dishonor God’s temple. I’m not belittling these serious health conditions; they are real and prevalent in our world today and demand a great deal of compassion. In fact, if you struggle loving what you see as your imperfections, let me recommend my cousin’s blog. Her courageous story may encourage you.
  • Our bodies demand respect. That means how we dress and the boundaries we set (especially in relationships) are essential to honoring God’s temple.

Our home is His heaven.

Sometimes, we grow too attached to this earth. We cling to things that simply won’t last. We wear ourselves out striving for stuff we can’t take with us.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV)

It’s easy to know this truth but sometimes hard to apply… when you interview for that job you really want and don’t get it… when your first car is totaled in an accident that’s not even your fault.

Yet we alone are responsible for choosing our attitudes. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®Steve Covey quotes Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

I like that. We can’t control circumstances, but we get to choose our response to them. Our responses here can be one way we lay up treasures where they matter most.

What about me

You don’t understand, Kristen. You can’t possibly know what I’m going through.

You’re right; I can’t. That’s why having a relationship with the One who does and cares infinitely for you is so important.

These three pieces of our identity are vital to our self-image but by no means form a complete picture. My challenge to you is to dig deep into God’s Word and discover for yourself what it says about who you are in Christ.

Share with me here what you find. Your discoveries may very well be a missing piece that a friend so badly needs to know.

~ Kristen

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