To my single sisters on valentines day

I know it’s cute for Christian girls to pretend like Jesus is your Valentine.  That’s precious and everything but I know deep down a dozen roses and Ryan Gosling telling you you’re beautiful wouldn’t be bad either.

Your heart is made to be romanced. You crave for the hero rush in and tell you you’re worth fighting for.  This is a beautiful thing and part of the way you are created.  Don’t be ashamed of it.  Be proud of your feminity. Woman was literally formed from man.  We were made to compliment each other.  It’s ok to want this in life….but don’t rush it.

Remember being single is just a season of life.  Right now most of the country is covered in snow.  Your toes are frozen and you have forgotten what it’s like to lay by the pool.  But before you know it you will be cranking up the A/C longing for a cold day in the snow.

This is the same with singleness.  It is a season of life.  You can wish it away or you can make the most of it.
According to my calculations on an earlier post, there is a   .0016 chance that you won’t get married.  Chances are in your favor you WILL find your prince charming.  But until then why not enjoy the season of being responsible for you and you only?

When you meet the man of your dreams there are some areas you hope he has figured out that you won’t have to work through together.  And your dream man is hoping the same about you.  Why not take this season of singleness to take the following 3 areas of life and sharpen yourself.  Here are the areas you will look back and appreciate most:

Get out of debt

No one wants to say, “hey babe, guess what, I have thousands of dollars in bills that come with me!” When you get married that becomes BOTH of your debt.  Do both of yourselves a favor and work on that now.  Rachel Cruz has some excellent resources for college students to get out of debt.

Protect your body and your heart

If you have read any of my other blogs you know I am most passionate about this subject.  I have never met someone my age who wishes they would have dated more guys or slept around more.  Nothing good comes from sharing your body with multiple people. You were made to become ONE with ONE.  When you step outside of those bounds, the scars follow you into marriage.  There is no erase button to the decisions you make today.  Sex is the concrete to a relationship.  Concrete is not made to be moved, ever.  Save your heart and body for your husband, you will both thank me later.

Pray for your future husband

You may not know anything about him right now but if he is breathing, he needs prayer.  Wouldn’t you hope he is doing the same for you?
I hear the pusback, “but this is too hard, I can’t, I won’t, I’m scared.”
Yet don’t you hope your future man is debt free, not sleeping around, and praying for you as well?
Enjoy this season of singleness.  Don’t rush the seasons, bask in it, enjoy it and give thanks for this time to become the future wife God made you to be.

Losing my jewels

When I turned 7  years old my grandmother decided to give me a sapphire (my birthstone) ring.  I am not sure how or why but somehow this was decided upon as a good idea.

I currently have an 7-year old who, until recently wanted to be a mermaid when she grows up.  I can’t imagine trusting her with such an expensive piece of jewelry.  But never-the-less, when I was 7 my grandmother thought I could handle the responsibility of taking care of this expensive gift.

You can imagine my 7-year-old-self receiving a piece of jewelry that sparkled and glittered and made me look like a princess.  I CHERISHED IT!

My mother who was certainly grateful but I’m sure slightly terrified that her 7 year old has been trusted with this the ring sat me down to make sure I understood this responsibility and to also give me a rule in how to care for it.  

I was given only one rule.  The rule was to make SURE the ring was kept in the safe place.  My ring had two safe spots, it stayed on my finger most the time but when I went swimming or took a shower, it stayed in my jewelry box, on the second shelf, where it was safe.   Those places were determined my “ring’s safe place.” And didn’t need to be anywhere else, EVER.

A few years went by and the magnitude of what I have been trusted with faded and I became careless with my gift. 

One day we went to the beach. Right before I ran to the ocean I looked down at my hand and realized my ring was still on my finger.  I had this inner turmoil in my mind, my mom said the safe places were my finger and my jewelry box.  My jewelry box is back home in Atlanta and I’m afraid if I leave it on I will loose it in the ocean…also I heard somewhere sparkly things attract sharks?  Either way I’m not going in the ocean with my ring. 

I didn’t tell my mom but I told myself JUST THIS ONCE, I’ll take it out of the safe place.  I put my ring in the pocket of my mother’s cover up hanging on the back of the beach chair.

You know where this is going….

Later that day I was searching everywhere.  Tears falling on the sand as I searched every inch surrounding the beach chair desperate to find what I lost.

 I was careless ONE time.  I thought I knew better, I thought I could do as I wanted and have no consequences. My gift was lost.

praying-2

Photo credit Ashly Cathy 

God has given us each a gift,  A RARE, precious, expensive I would even say sacred jewel, and that is our body.

 Our body, made to be shared with a life partner is given to us as a gift.  We don’t realize how rare, expensive and precious our gift is.  And sometimes we think we can take our bodies “just this once” out of the safe place it will be fine and there will be no consequences.

God gave us ONE rule regarding our sexuality.  Keep it in its safe place. Just like a fire, in a fire place it is beautiful and helpful.  In the middle of my living room, a fire is destructive and leaves scars. 

‘Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.’ 1 Corinthians 6:18

Do we think God gave us this command because He is mean and doesn’t want us to have any fun?  Or maybe it’s because He genuinely knows what a precious jewel you have been trusted with and he knows the consequences when it is taken out of the safe place.

 You were designed to become one with one.  Your body is treasured, cherished and unique.  Sex is a gift to be shared in the safe, trusting and mutual respect of the covenant bond of marriage.

You are worth immensely more than what our culture has taught you.  You are a jewel my friend.

What if I never get married?

Leading college small groups for about 10 years,  I hear this question a lot.  “What if I never get married?”
First of all, I get it. When I was 20 I was totally terrified to end up middle aged with my only companions as jelly donuts and 17 cats.

what-if-i-never-get-married

Ashlyn Cathy Photo 

I’m in my 30’s now, married with kiddos (no cats) and a little life under my belt.  Now I see this question much differently.  

I look across our lattes as we sit together at the coffee shop listening to the NINETEEN year old worried she won’t find a husband.  With genuine love totally remembering feeling that way I look at you now and honestly want to say, “You are an infant!!!  What in the actual heck are you worried about!”

Good news from my side of the fence:
Do you know how many of my friends (also my age) from college, sorority sisters, or anyone I even knew that did NOT get married?
Two
As in 1 more than 1.  As in only 2.

I don’t know how to prove what kind of odds that is other than comparing how many people I currently know on facebook.  Assuming we know about the same amount of people that gives you a  .0016 chance that you won’t get married.

The odds are in your favor.

While I only have 2 friends that never married I know tons of people who are fighting custody battles with their kids because they are divorced.  Or married and miserable.

Permission to speak freely here?

 While there are few guarantees in the marriage and dating world I do have one guarantee for you.  
Sleep with as many men as you want, give your heart and body away with little or no expectations and I GUARANTEE you will have a million and 1 marriage problems IF marriage works out at all. YIKES I KNOW I SAID IT.

OR

You can look differently than the world.  Protecting your heart.  Protecting your body.  Working on becoming the best future wife you can be with as little baggage to carry into the marriage as possible.
Worry less about getting married and more about becoming a whole complete and loved by Jesus YOU.

Wouldn’t you want your future husband to be doing the same thing?

The Huffington post said it this way:

it’s a question of supply and demand. “Easy” women are easy to get. The supply exceeds the demand. Now, it’s the sexually modest woman that stands apart in the dating world as a rare and desirable thing.
(the whole article is great) 

From the Good Man project, author Dave Booda says it this way:

Ladies, if you really want men to step up and become the real men you talk about, you must demand it. I’m not saying ask for it, I’m not saying hope for it, I’m saying demand it.  What does that mean? It means you don’t settle for anything less. It means if you aren’t satisfied, you walk away. Men will rise up and meet your challenge, I promise, it’s what we do best. We love challenges. We love it when women make us step up and work.

Men are hard wired to work, we just have to expect no less of them!

There are some amazing men out there ladies.  But the good guys are not looking for a girl dancing on top of the bar.
The most profound question I have heard for singles to take heart is this: “Are you who you are looking for, is looking for?” -Andy Stanley

Guarding your heart, protecting your body and seeking your heavenly father FIRST will prepare you to be a wife of nobel character.

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.1 Peter 3:4

I think the real question is not “Will I get married?” but  “Is my God big enough to take care of this?”

He is a good father.  He sees you begging and pleading for what you think will fulfill your heart.  But he loves you too much to let you believe the lie that another human can fill the void that only He can fill.  He wants to pour into your broken places.  Make you whole and complete.  He wants you to become the person you are looking for is looking for not just for them, but for yourself as well.  Enjoy your single time. Make the most of it.  And don’t worry.  He’s got this.

Romantic Jesus

“It’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
― Noah (Ryan Gosling) to Allie (Rachel McAdams)  The Notebook

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Picture source

“Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
—Anna (Julia Roberts) to William (Hugh Grant) in Notting Hill

“No matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”—Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) to Cora (Madeleine Stowe) in Last of the Mohicans

Ahhh romantic movies.  I’m such a sucker for them.  And I’m not alone! Romantic comedies earned an average of $111 million EACH last year! (source)

We love romance.  It’s as if it’s part of our DNA.

Hmmmm….

There is an incompleteness that makes us long for these perfect
you-and-me-together-forever type of relationships.  As if part of us is missing without being the peanut to someone’s peanut butter.

How many of you swooned when Jerry McGuire told his wife “you complete me”

you had me at hello

Every woman, whether they admit it or not, so desperately longs for her heart to be romanced. For a man to tell her she is worth fighting for and for him to stop at nothing to win her over.

There is an emptiness, an ache within us where we long for this knight in shining armor to sweep us off our feet.  The only problem is we are looking for this fulfillment from another sinful human being.

A marriage can compliment you yes, and who you marry is no doubt one of the most important decisions you can make.  But a guy can simply not fulfill everything a woman’s heart longs for.

This ache within us to be romanced is actually formed in everywoman ON PURPOSE, to draw us back to the one who has been after our hearts from the very beginning of time.

The book of Hosea is such a beautiful love story that is insanely applicable today.  It is about a man called to marry a prostitute.

TIME OUT
Can you imagine how that conversation with God was like?

God: “Hosea you are such a honorable man, you seek me with all your heart and you are true to your word….I would like you to  marry a prostitute….don’t worry it will have meaning”
Hosea: “Ummmm, I was thinking maybe  I could marry a nice girl and have a sweet little family, could we try that instead?”

But there’s that whole “God is God and Hosea is not” thing so It looks like God won out on that.  But thank goodness because we are left with this truly captivating story that totally blows my hair back.

Gomer (yes it’s an unfortunate name) has this rock like, dependable, strong and trustworthy husband.  But she tells herself he isn’t enough and mostly that she isn’t enough to deserve this kind of relentless undeserving love. She is beautiful but she doesn’t see it. She is worth him fighting for but she tells herself she doesn’t deserve it.  She keeps leaving him to pursue what is familiar to her, what she told her self she deserves. And he keeps going to fight and even buy her back to be his wife.

Don’t miss how huge this is.  She is leaving the one true faithful and loving man in her life and giving herself back to men who use her and discard her.  It’s sounds crazy…but it’s really not any different than today.

hosea

The whole story is a picture of God’s unrestricted, unequivocal, determinate and Jealous love for us. His heart breaks and gets angry when we give our hearts to lesser things.

Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes;
    I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
 Hosea 2: 6-7

Just like a prince fighting for his fair maiden he will do anything in his power to win her over to himself.  The words in the scripture below would make more hearts flutter on the big screen than anything Leonardo Dicaprio every thought about saying from the bow of the titanic.

She decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.

 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:13-14

Grab a tissue

“You can live unafraid in peace and safety.
I will make you my wife forever,
    showing you righteousness and justice,
    unfailing love and compassion.
 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
    and you will finally know me as the Lord.

 Hosea 2:19-20

Oh you guys it just gets me ya know!  I mean I am so that girl “prostituting myself” with a busy schedule, a worried mind, and lots of “good things” that are not usually the BEST thing.

A hunger for romance and to be desired is written all over the face of our thirst for money, status, and failed relationship after failed relationship. And I totally get it!  I was the girl in college who thought a boyfriend is what I needed to be complete and I am still that girl today telling myself I am too “busy” to invest my everything into the one true source of all my tomorrows.

Lord help us to fall in love with YOU all over again.  The true romancer of our soul.  It was and will always be only Jesus, my true love, my true romancer. The one who knows my every flaw and died for me anyway.

He is always looking to romance us, we just have to listen and notice.  How has Jesus romanced you lately?

To the little girl in all women

I was deep into kitchen experimentation mode, when our 6 year old little girl danced into the kitchen.  She (like always) was wearing a princess dress.  She floated around dreaming of being at a ball or a royal castle I’m sure.

As she danced by the fridge she saw a snapshot of Bryan and I on our wedding day.  She stopped for a moment and then started day dreaming of being a bride.  She told me all about her beautiful dress and the glorious day it would be.

She danced a little more while singing to the princess music coming from her room.  After twirling about a little more she stopped her dance.  She demanded my attention for her next statement. With all the confidence and poise a 6 year old can muster she declared, “I will marry someone that loves God…I will marry daddy.” Then proceeded to the ball taking place with her sister in the living room.twirl

I stopped measuring and stirring for a minute to smile as my heart was captivated by her words.  Should I tell her, that daddy is my man so back off?  Just kidding.  I love it that she thinks this way.  By God’s grace I married a man that models Jesus to our family everyday and I’m so thankful for that.

Every woman was once this little girl.  Day dreaming of being a princess who falls in love with the ONE “perfect” man.  She dreams of being adored and cared for and adoring him right back.

The desires of our heart are for romance, to be treasured, and to be part of something great.  Modern women pretend we are too “strong” and independent to have these desires.  Yet romance novels and movies still fly off the shelves.  These are the desires of the heart of a woman and they are put in us by the amazing God whose image we bear, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Somewhere between the dreams of our youth and becoming an adult, something precious has been lost.  Somewhere along the way girls start to forget they are a princess.  When and why is this taken from our girls? When does it become ok for a little princess to lower her standards to a man that is doing anything less than chasing Jesus.  When did we lie and tell ourselves he was good enough to date a princess if he doesn’t protect your body for your future husband?

Our heart is to be guarded ABOVE ALL ELSE.

Guard your heart…

Because your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. I take my garbage to the street every Wednesday night. It is picked up on Thursday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless.

Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—thecore of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.

Solomon says, “Above all else.” He doesn’t say, “If you get around to it” or “It would be nice if.” No, he says, make it your top priority.

-Michael Hyatt 

You are still his 6 year old in a princess dress day dreaming of meeting your prince.  He delights in the way you smile, the funny things you do and your determination do  it “all by yourself.”

PROTECT and GUARD the precious and irreplaceable jewel that you are.  It baffles me how many young women date a guy who, in no way protects her heart, leaves her emotionally scared yet she stays with him because she is afraid of being alone?? On what planet does this make sense?

A man that is not chasing after God’s heart, has no business chasing yours.

God has set within everywoman a femininity that is powerful and tender.  Misunderstood and sometimes assaulted.  Your true feminine heart is worth protecting, worth guarding.

Jesus has come to win you back to himself…All of you. God is in the business of setting his precious daughters free from the trappings, temporary pleasures, and many down right lies of this world.  Have you asked Jesus to come to win your heart over?

 

 

princess

Daughter of the Almighty God

Uh oh

Over the course of human history there have been several huge mistakes EVERYONE thought were right…that is until we knew better.  From thinking the earth was flat to believing big hair was a good idea we have learned a lot along the way. big hair 80's

In the 1950’s and 60’s EVERYONE smoked.  Those serving in Vietnam were sent as many cigarettes as they could smoke.  Doctors even endorsed it!

And then they said “uh oh” that stuff will kill you.

smoking

In the 1980’s we became a “fat free America” so the nutrient rich fat was taken out of many processed foods and filled with refined sugar, modified food starch and other questionable ingredients.  Now our fat free america is fatter than ever and we say “uh oh!” Turns out fat from healthy sources is vital for growth and actually suppresses hunger.  Aspartame, food dye, and modified food starch not so much.

Our culture is just starting to wake up to realize food from plants and animal are much better for you than something made in a lab and labeled as “food.”

butter

Today we live in a culture  of shack up with whoever you want whenever you want.  Babies are born with a dad nowhere to be found and a mom still trying to be a child herself.   

Our culture is still totally blind to it.  Sitcoms have a guy waking up in bed beside a girl saying, “what was your name again?” and the audience laughs.  We pretend it’s funny, we pretend it’s fun.  We pretend it doesn’t hurt.

But in fact, depression and  suicide is at its highest rate in 25 years (source)  Blame it on what ever factor you want but I can’t help but notice the strong correlation with our growing acceptance of no-strings-attached sexual relationships and a growing rates of depression.

Sex is the cement that holds the relationship together.  Which, taken in the context of marriage is a good thing.  But taken with no commitments is catastrophic.

Tearing up cement is messy, painful, destructive and the original piece is never left the same.

You don’t pour cement on something, unless you are committed to it being there….forever.

I cannot think of any gift of God that has been more abused and mis-used than that of sex. What was intended to be a stunning, pure, earthly picture of amazing heavenly, eternal realities, has been perverted into an alluring but false god that is in fact a grotesque caricature of the true God. —NANCY LEIGH DEMOSS
 Our culture hasn’t woke up yet to the perverted way we have mishandled this gift called sex.  But just like realizing the earth isn’t flat, you need healthy fats in your diet, and smoking will kill you…this too will eventually be realized.   

And you guys will be on the cutting edge because now you know better. 

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