The One Thing I Don’t Ever Want To Do

“You’ve never been married?” Some have stammered with shock and disbelief over the years searching me with wannabe x-ray eyes and a mind riddled with assumptions and probing questions.

“Never been married, and I’ve never been divorced either,” I confidently retort.

Point being, I NEVER want to divorce.

Their reaction to my befitting response generally disarms and silences that quizzical mind that is about to hurl an almost accusatory tone of inquiries that borders on the edge of insulting all the way up to and including, “what’s wrong with you then that you are not marry-able?”

As if people are personally injured because I didn’t choose marriage such as they themselves have into their less than perfect matrimonial life, they feel I have been robbed of some level of bliss that all human beings should know about and experience. Quite frankly, I have not met anyone, even in the best of marriages, that hasn’t had to work through some tough issues in a lifelong commitment and myriads of people with a long list of divorces, intensely painful trials they could have avoided altogether by marrying the wrong type, infidelities, stresses from all kinds of life’s trials that strained their marriages, and so on. The other issue that is constantly overlooked is that I have ministries that I’ve thoroughly been committed to that would require a very free and available person to be able to complete the tasks required of them. That could all change one day and I am open to that, but for now, it’s been a serious happy place to dwell without being encumbered.

So the truth be told, the question should be, what is RIGHT with and for me?

What is right for me and what is right for others may have an ultra sharp contrast. I have waited – without searching. On purpose. For God’s best. In His timing. For His purpose. I have heard His glorious voice that told me “single, for now,” when I asked, and not because I was pining and preoccupied that I was single, but rather because I was asked to speak about business and the single woman for a women’s conference and was praying to prepare that talk with all perspectives in mind. I realized I was bit more happy than the average single and wanted to know if it were a permanent calling or a for now calling.

I don’t have the angst and worry that many singles do that have not married as marriage is not the center of the universe for me as it for so many that want it and find out that it’s got far more that comes tethered to those vows than they bargained for … and yes, I know some have blissfully happy unions, but that is hardly the rule rather than the exception.

Paul, in the New Testament, even wisely addressed this ideal of singleness and that it is highly beneficial to remain, even as he was … single, in order to fulfill the work of God, unencumbered. He points to the topic of singleness in I Corinthians 7:8 and carefully uses the word “good” that one remains in a free state of being, that carries with it a vast and surprising meaning in the original Greek text. That very meaning even tips over the line into a definition that could be mistaken as “better” and carries an exquisite and lengthy root word trail wrapped up in descriptions such as “praiseworthy, magnificent, precious, and honorable,” – notated from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Praiseworthy? Magnificent? Precious? Honorable?

How’s that for the truth!? This is exactly why I don’t like to run toward a lifelong commitment.  What better way to prove maturity in Christ than to choose Him as the primary focus, even though there is nothing wrong with marriage as he continues to discuss in that powerful set of verses in I Corinthians 7. Paul was not lonely and depressed, but simply, and overwhelmingly, and willingly available, to the Lord’s purpose and plan.

My challenge to anyone who questions an on-purpose-single such as I am, is to do a word study on these verses in the Word of God before they decide to turn and lecture by making assumptive comments or allowing the unsolicited advice to begin with and basing it on the desires of the average Joe or Josephine they have met. It may even challenge some to look into their own lives and see if they too are not called to singleness if given a moment of meditation and reflection. There is nothing more gratifying than understanding one’s call, so rather than fear singleness as if it’s a curse, find out if it might just be for you as a blessing.

I am vastly contented in my 47 years of freedom from the yoke of marriage, and have been quite fulfilled in my marriage to the Lord.  Some cannot fathom this and one woman years ago even flat out called me something short of a liar when she began to inquire as to my having a beau or not. That’s when I knew I was talking to someone who couldn’t survive without a man herself – therefore the rest of the women in the world must be just like her – right? Poor lady. Even more ridiculous, sometimes one will reach over and pat my hand and look at me with a pseudo compassion – completely displaced I might add, affirming that God will bring “him” one day … just you wait honey, “it” will happen.

Nothing could grovel my bones harder than the misguided idea that I have been feeling dissed, hurt, lonely or any other misnomer to that cause because there is not a significant earthly other, and that all singles are panting and pining for a mate. It never quite hits them in the way of wisdom that maybe some singles really choose to be alone and that some of us have had some very interesting suitors that have turned our taste buds completely off to marriage for the present, crushing blows from men that appear Godly and do more harm than good, and truly do welcome  the replacement of a vastly more fulfilling call in God’s work. Being single is not always easy, but marriage is also very hard work! And I am not so sure I want to add a line item of marriage with a number of work orders attached to it that will naturally float to the top in importance and attention in my life to please my mate, until I am good and ready for that life changing time.

God has given me an enormous amount energy, ridiculous ambition, and a fistful of diamonds of ministry that I serve with my whole heart, and it would take a very special man to share in that energy, joy, and calling, and not feel threatened, or become needy in the process. The Lord has equipped me for His work. In turn, if and when that elusive gentleman of mine presents himself, I want to go in with my eyes wide open, equipped with the understanding that we are a team and not in competition, and that we have all the “stuff” that is needed to be a success. There is nothing I would love more than to serve my husband in a way far better than he even prayed for … but the Lord can only create that cocktail mix for all the necessary elements to be in place. Namely – that we were made for one another. I have dreams and baggage and I imagine he will too, so it has to be the perfect fit and I will not settle for anything different nor will I get married just to be married to beat the clock only to end up in divorce or worse — marriage with infidelity present somewhere. Trapped in a disappointing marriage because I didn’t want to wait? NO WAY!!

Has God’s call cost me the opportunity for children? Possibly so, … but I could be the rare 50 something year old woman someday that married in God’s perfect timing and gave birth and beat the shocking snot out of everyone.  Yet, never has it been burning in my bones to hear babies crying at 3 a.m. nor to deal with a possible dysfunctional teenager. I’m not really wired for that, just like it’s not been in me for the immediate drive to marry out of high school or college. If the Lord should so wish for me to have children, step or home grown, He will be faithful to give me the ticket before I climb on board.

So there it is, from the beginning of time … that simply dynamic complicated union … which has become the emotionally charged target for descriptives tethered to its side ranging from “the hardest thing one has ever done” to the “best move one has ever made,” that life engulfing entity that dreams or nightmares are made of, the life-altering experience that offers a variety of material that film akers can draw from … the source for fulfillment, emptiness, excitement, hard work, ministry, thrills, boredom, strength, sorrow, great love, bitter disappointment, happiness, faithfulness, depression, peace, infidelity, challenge, frustration, abuse, total and complete joy, electric chemistry, great-boring-or-no-sex, the source for so many thousands of dollars spent in counseling and legal fees, that fascinating union of two, that God-given gift and creation … called … marriage.

Marriage … couples blend together their lives, their individual character traits, interests, talents, skills, beliefs, cultures, family background, belief systems, approaches to parenting, and more, and the entire process is often found to be the very hammer that pounds out the strengths and weaknesses of the couple who dared to enter over into its threshold. And for those very reasons listed above, I have approached marriage with a painful caution even slipping over the edge into a viewpoint of cynicism.

I was birthed into my two immediate families – one of mom, one of dad, who have successfully created sixteen hefty complicated divorces and a host of remarriages and blended family unions, diversifying every holiday as children work to figure out how to juggle one family verses the other, or as well as the other, for a visit–not to mention, a number of divorces that exist throughout my non-immediate family with the greats, the cousins, and so on. Some of those people have actually managed to marry and divorce multiple times in a short record number of years, or have remained single since then, and some finally got it “right” or simply decided that one more scar on the heart was unwelcomed. Nothing like a little variety in life-mates right?

Yes, few, very few, marriages successfully survived the worst and remain intact, namely my grandparents who have been together for over 73 years. It has been tough and difficult, but they have also been a source of delight for one another not to mention that they love their children and grandchildren voraciously. Being the first born grandchild and only grand-daughter, I have grown old enough now to see things with my own eyes and have listened to the stories of old and new to learn the reality check of marriage. I am not sure I would want a marriage like theirs at all. In fact, I know I don’t for a variety of reasons I will refrain from unpacking.

There has been more than one opportunity for marriage for me, but deep in that women’s instinctive gut He gave us girls, there was no doubt, they were not “the one.” It was hard to walk away, many tears and heart ache involved, and often I have questioned God as to what the purpose of that set up was for, only to fall back on the original truth in my heart — that I never really enjoyed the dating process that I figured later was for this very reason … it’s not in the Bible. It’s an “American tradition” as Elisabeth Elliot pointed out personally to a group of us in a women’s conference years ago and at that point, I nearly stood and applauded her insight at the podium in that God could do a splendid job of matchmaking without our help. Help that usually turns things into a mess. We end up with people that the Lord never intended for us.

Yes, He can use dating, but often we yield to a wrong match making process that’s Plan B when our Father had a much better idea with Plan A. I choose Plan A. Still, I have yet to truly encounter the man, single and ready, with whom I have that natural chemistry and complimentary match up of the fundamental basics that one would not want to survive without in a lifelong commitment. Never settled, never will. God has created me as an Eve for a perfect fit for my earthly Adam husband, aside from the spiritual Husband I already have called Jesus Christ. After all, in the book of Isaiah, He is called our Husbandmen. That to me, is worth its weight in gold.

One close friend said it was exactly what she had prayed for when she married at 42, that her husband most certainly filled “the list” she had created for her praying friends to offer to the Lord after multiple years in ministry service which has yielded her a beautiful speaking ministry AND she got the marriage goods to go with that gift. Had she married younger, she would have missed one of the most incredible ventures in mission work that anyone could have ever imagined. No, it was not easy in ministry all the way, and unlike me, she truly did want to be married all along. But in God’s timing, He brought her – her imperfectly perfect man and no doubt she would not have it any other way.

Conversely, there is no way to summarize and count correctly the number of pain filled voices I have heard of women and men who wished they had never married him or her, or wished they had waited, or hurried into marriage because they were pregnant, or married for sex or money or loneliness, or simply, because they thought it was time. But the big one that REALLY rips me a new set of angries, are the stories of marriage that yielded to the pressure of parents, the church, friends or otherwise.

For the love of everyone, why would anyone pressure their children, a friend, or a minister, to marry someone that they may not deeply love, or have chemistry with, or could have massive issues with down the line? Is it pride, money, prestige that drives us to put someone into the hot seat? What are we doing when we try to live vicariously through our children or friends and miss the greatest satisfaction aside from our love of the Lord … the love from a man or woman that was divinely made to fit us in every way with a spiritual yoking that fits? Oh how vital that is for making a union peaceful and those complimentary gifts for one another that provide balance and a sense of relief as the other mate has got our back in those places we are weak.

My mother and father have never pressured me into marriage to any degree whatsoever and I am all the more blessed to have not made that mistake of yielding to the wrong situation. Probably they didn’t ride my heels for marriage or grandchildren because they have been married a time or two or three themselves and they know full well what it entails. Thank you mom and dad.

How about this one–physical desires and intimacy? Assumptions cannot be made here about how “it” will be. So, imagine if one will, openly discussing and expressing wants and fantasies even before marriage to a fiancé in a spirit of chaste respect, so that they are aware of expectations going in rather than bitter disappointment after the nuptials took place. Not being correctly balanced with the person the Lord has made as an Eve for an Adam, could almost guarantee a lack of fulfillment in this area, possibly leading to infidelity and a tearing asunder as one searches for that very basic need outside of their vows that our Creator Himself intended to be fulfilled by the right person inside of marriage. Oh the woes of being unfaithful, but oh the woes of why they did it and the numerous examples in history of those devastating consequences of a cheating spouse. Dissatisfaction in this precious part of marriage doesn’t just affect the couple alone, it affects everyone else too.

Married men or women may act the part of a seducer and not even be aware they are doing this, simply because they are hungry for stimulation mentally from someone else that is attractive, and then emotional and ultimate physical desires will soon follow. Think on that chain reaction a minute and see how that could be true and the path where that could lead. I will say though, I truly understand why some do wander. Since marriage is already filled with challenges, it’s even harder if it’s to the wrong person. The wrong person can make it supremely difficult and one will feel rejected, unloved, unsupported, and this can go on for years and years at a time. We can hardly blame a person for looking around and comparing when times are tough, but then when actions follow, it gets ultra-complicated. When one is not fulfilled in Christ first, they can make the unwise choice all the way down the line in who and why they marry to begin with, all the way to the trip outside of marriage if things are not going well. It boils down to our identity in Christ and our trust in Him for His choice for us. Do NOT settle.

Summing up, without a doubt I have with great certainty come to the conclusion that 99% of the reasons couples don’t survive marriage is because they did not marry their divinely created Eve or their Adam that was designed as a teammate to withstand what life can hurl at them, albeit we will still sin even with the right fit as happened in the Garden of Eden. But it’s so much better to be equally yoked. It’s a choice to marry right, and a choice to stay right within that boundary of commitment. Not being equally yoked can devastate and disable even the most well-meaning suitors and marital partners.  Big woops is all I have to say if we settle for less. I have even seen blessed second or third marriages when the first one or two spelled mistake. Now the Baptists would have a field day with that comment, but I have indeed seen this to be true.  God works with us despite our mistakes – even divorce, for He is a gracious and loving God and if we are made in His image with His gigantic heart of love. I want ALL of that love for you and for me when we choose a mate.

My greatest reservation to marriage for myself is the fact I dread the idea of divorce. Others reading this, dealing with heart break if you split due to a mismatch on this side of marriage before it happens is far less painful than marrying someone that you discover is all wrong  … it even saves your life. Why be married to someone who is wrong for you? For when the time comes, dissatisfaction later on will set in when there comes the game-playing of hatred, withholding intimacy, using children as a weapon, messy money issues, and a lifetime tied to that person from then on even if you divorced, if even just for the memory of the experience.

Proceed with calculated caution and a mother load of prayer and WISE counsel. If that is not enough to read and digest, the Word of God is full of promises for us when we pray and lift our imperfect selves, broken marriages, scarred hearts, and even our joy-filled thanks to Him. But, if there is one caution I could give to someone who reads this … Men, WAIT on your EVE. Women WAIT on your ADAM. I don’t want to settle for good. I want to run toward great and I want the same for you. Take your time and pray for and against those things you desire in marriage and learn that you may need to surrender to God’s type of person He brings that is better than one could ever imagine. Ask anyone who has done it right. It’s well worth the wait.

Disclaimer: This blog is from the viewpoint of the author, and her opinion is not up for debate.

Four Methods of Absorbing Truth

Today I was listening to my Bible App and the voice of the fine sounding Englishman reading through Proverbs realizing how powerful it is we absorb the Word in these four ways; read the Word of God, speak it aloud while meditating on it’s truths, listen to it read aloud, plus sing the Word – for our Lord Jesus Christ inhabits our praises. One picks up different morsels of rich truth doing all four methods – reading it, speaking it aloud, and listening to someone else say it, and singing it from the heart.

Proverbs 8:34-35, “Blessed is the man who LISTENS to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds Me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.”

Rev. 1:3, “Blessed is he who READS and those who HEAR the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

Ephesians 5:19, “SPEAK to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. SING and make music in your heart to the Lord.”
Like

When the Odds are Stacked Sky High

A word of encouragement: When the odds are not stacked in your favor, that’s when the Lord will display His finest craft of carrying out the impossible!

Soon after I started promotional work as a publicist for several noteworthy clients, I was diagnosed with a very serious illness that finally answered a great deal of mysterious pain and discomfort for many years. Issues began to escalate into a true emergency in February 2013 with sudden tremors,  insomnia, various pains in my abdomen,  a feeling of nausea, skin inflammation, and a continuum of aches and stiffness.

Right away, it became evident that my ordeal was more than just being ill, which is so foreign to my normal level of well being, but, more a matter that this was a full scale attack from the enemy to attempt to keep me still. Since nothing slips through the filter of our Savior, I had a sneaking suspicion that the Lord was and is sharpening my weaponry  in warfare. The taller the flames of the ordeal, the greater the triumph when we pass through them without even a hint of smoke trailing behind such as with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

During the months of sickness and search to find a diagnosis and treatment, I  have spent MUCH time calling out to the Lord for His intervention. My literal pray has been “PLEASE HELP ME”, and,  He delivered indeed with the correct label on this problem via a tremendous Christian Doctor who specializes in my particular ailment with the surprising declaration of Lyme Disease. Not only that, but a co-infection that often is affiliated with such a named burden. From what we can surmise it has been in my system for several years.

The course of healing requires medication for an extended length of time that can bring a hefty level of unpleasant side effects,  required enormous detox concoctions, and a sudden sacrifice of ALL comfort foods we have ever known, such as; chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, bananas, anything boxed or canned that has elements in the ingredient list that are not “pure”, and certainly, no spices what so ever in any dish at all. That means no Mexican Food … my all time favorite. Boo Hoo. In other words, extremely healthy and organic.

For relief from unrelenting pain that an average food list can bring, those items have been replaced with a low acid list, alkaline water and green drinks, juicing, herbal teas, probiotics, and a suit case full of supplements.

On top of dietary issues, I’ve had to add a purchase of an infrared sauna used at home, detoxing clay packs, hours of exercise and sunshine, and a preoccupation of my time in order to “treat” the body so that my immune system can carry out it’s orders to heal. Thousands of dollars have been poured into my new living regime to purchase what insurance will not cover, not to mention a nice investment in our local Whole Foods.

I have no guarantee that treatment will cure this, and for sure, the process of undergoing this treatment is much worse than the illness has been itself. With brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, ringing ears, blurred vision, weakness, I am forced to accept that this is no longer a body I know with it’s familiar response to things.  Often I have to brace myself for what each day will bring that is new and unfamiliar territory.

HOWEVER, God is faithful! Often I remind Him of His promises to me throughout Scripture and from the specific times I have heard Him speak to me of Jeremiah 29:11 -14 for His plan, and, Matthew 28 that He will be with me … always. When one hears God’s voice, they are never the same and are none too soon to forget that stunning voice and His given Word of comfort. Several times I have told Him I would wear His ears out with my request for healing while coming boldly before His throne of grace.

Every fiber of my heart believes, by faith, for Christ’s total touch of healing. My nights have been spent with hours listening to healing Scriptures on-line, and speaking out loud to my illness commanding it to leave my body. There is too much to do that requires a healthy enough body, but find that reading through history, many many of the Lord’s most effective workers, had to harness heart aches, health issues, and crippling losses that are part of the fiber of their stories; Corrie ten Boom – lost four family members in the Holocaust and later battled Hepatitis and was silenced for five years from consequtive strokes. Elisabeth Elliot – suffered the loss of her darling beloved husband that was speared to death by the very tribe they were delivering the Gospel to, and to this date, is suffering the ravages of Alzheimers. Let’s not forget the greatest suffering of all with our Savior, Who left the glories of heaven to be humbled while living on this earth while serving His very own creation … and then betrayal and torture to the level of unthinkable, for you and for me. His isolation during those hours of His life were the very moments that allow us comfort to understand that He “gets” our suffering, having been-there-done-that. Thank you Father for not abandoning us in the unfamiliar.

The great comfort in this unpleasant ordeal is that looking back, one can see that of all the trials, furnaces, and valleys, one thing I NEVER have can doubt, is God’s character and His plan. He has never let me down and has used every difficult moment for His glory. So I eagerly await to see what He will do with “this one”, for without a test, there is no testimony. Incidentally, in the Old Testament Hebrew, one of the root words of desert/wildnerness … is “speech”. The desert dry parched moments of life are the required elements at times in order to hear our Lord’s voice.

In the mean time, the Lord has given me much in the way of favor and blessings during this waiting period for “what next” … including a surge of business opportunity I never dreamed possible. In a short amount of time during my darkest hours, my businesses  have been doubling if not tripling. Often I ponder that this illness experience is required in order to buffet my mind, body, and soul to be fixated on Him and not the success of the business. As Paul states, He must increase and I must decrease … knowing that this is my thorn for the time being, I trust increasingly for what He is going to do. In fact, there is no choice but to adopt a spirit of gratitude IN the fire long before I can even see the way through the fire.

Which leads me to ask, what are you doing with your trial? Are you crying out to Him? Are you forging forward no matter what the prognosis? Are you determined NOT to give up and utilize what gifts you have during the hours and days that you are capable of working them? Are you confident that you will emerge from the flames a spiritually deeper and readily prepared soldier for the greater tasks that lie ahead.

He promises He has a plan and will be certain to carry that plan to fruition even and especially using your trial that looks hopeless. No telling what He is grooming us for in the upcoming days, but the issues of suffering now are supreme preparation in strength building for the greater good. Join me in believing what He has promised and that all things will work together for good – Romans 8:28.

And certainly I will cling to this Word I heard from His very mouth in April of 1995: Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?1 Peter 5:6-7
“Cherish your purpose in life.”This is one I can honestly say I have never seen circulating in the emails
so; if it touches you, you may want to forward it.

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never
noticed this….
The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over
the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.
The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly
folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the
tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus
loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I
don’t know where they have put him!’
Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other disciple
outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen
cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen
wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was
folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to
understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded
napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this
tradition.
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it
was exactly the way the master wanted it..
The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out
of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not
dare touch that table, until the master was finished.
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his
fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and
toss it onto the table.
The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the
wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it
beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,
because……….
The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’

He is Coming Back!
(Author Unknown)

Peace!

Praying for families and friends to MAKE peace today with each other – because it’s the mature thing to do, and it pleases the Savior. It’s the ministry of “Grow Up, Forgive, and Get Over It in a Spirit of Love”.

Definition of Reconciliation: adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favour. In the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ.

2Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [fn]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”