As long as I live there will be something worth fighting for, worth writing for, and worth dying for.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Resurrecting Princesses

This is a venting Jessica post, I will just put that disclaimer right here at the beginning. Proceed with caution.

Today I got an e-mail from a Christian author about singleness. She, a married, woman would be 'discussing' singleness. Here's a question for the audience, what can a married woman honestly discuss about singleness? Honestly.

A couple weeks ago, I touched base with one of my friends who is attending a 'single woman' Bible study, led by a married woman. They are working their way through an absolutely amazing book, but get this, skipped a chapter about being single because it, in the eye of this married leader, "bashed marriage." I laughed. That was the best chapter of the book for me. Funny how our perspective changes things.

So, can a married woman honestly teach a single woman the best way to be single?? Can she? The overwhelming message from married women as advice to singles is this: "Hang in there. Just serve God as much as you can and eventually he will show up. You'll see." Women are encouraged to wait... problem is, we shouldn't be waiting. So, then you have the other extreme (also pioneered by married women) that says, "Don't wait! Get yourself out there! Find him! You are running out of time." It is no wonder that many women are confused.

Why is it that every book I have ever read on singleness, save for Rebecca St. James' "Wait for Me" is written by a married woman? Have you ever heard people scoff the so-called 'parenting experts' who have no children? Is this not the same concept?

Frankly, I believe there is middle ground that married women cannot find. That is not to their fault. Married women are, rightfully so, passionate about marriage. They want that same love and luster for every woman in the world, so much so that the concept of being single is almost painful for them. To think of one of their friends never seeing that side of life hurts.

I regard marriage very highly. I have many married friends. I attend many weddings every year (it seems). I think it is very honorable, and I do desire it for myself one day. My problem is the confusion surrounding it. Young women are getting conflicting messages. Either they are to be a Sleeping Beauty or they are to be a "Ruth" and go and get their Boaz (which is very unfortunate misinterprettation of a Bible story). Where is the middle, BIBLICAL, ground?

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
I Corinthians 7:32-35

People site the writings of Paul to prove many points. From the Sleeping Beauty side... well, I don't know what they do with this passage. I think they tend to ignore it. Instead, they cling to the Song of Solomon that talks about not waking love. A poisoned apple. Down they go.

From the Ruth camp, they say "Well, it says that if you are single, you will devote more time to the Lord, but who honestly does that? So we should all get married." So, now we have frog chasers. They have to be active- doing something. Waiting isn't going to cut it for them, so off they go, into the swamp to chase down an unfortunate frog named Boaz.

Let's try a new approach. How about this. If you are single then you SHOULD be devoting the extra time you have to the Lord. That seems like a logical interpretation to me. You cannot adjust Biblical standards to fit your case. Just because you do not use your time to serve God does not mean you should not be using your time to serve God. If you use your free time to play video games and watch hours of TV, that is not a legitimate 'excuse' to be married. Those are habits; they will not change. What it should get you to do is to reevaluate your priorities. Fact is, you have much more time to serve God now than you will once there is a spouse and a family involved. Use that time wisely!

Like I said before, marriage is a good thing. It is something to be desired, but I am sick of married women crawling out of the wood work and trying to teach single women how to be single. In their minds, marriage is something that is coming eventually and just hang on or run after it. What if, we woke up all of our Sleeping Beauties?

Do you know what an army of Christ is sleeping right now because they are afraid of screwing up their chance of being married? Do you know what impact and influence lies dormant waiting for the kiss of a Prince Charming? Do you know how many Ruths could be out fighting for the Lord but instead are chasing frogs through the swamp? Too many, and that's sad.

Worst of all; it's our own fault.

Friday, April 10, 2009


And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

It may seem like an odd text for Good Friday. I mean, shouldn't I be writing on the cross or something of that spiritual nature? Probably. And, eventually, I will. More prominently though is the thought of focusing on Him.

Yesterday, I had the second scariest experience of my personal life. The first was five years ago March when the entire left side of my body went numb, rendering me useless for over 16 hours. The eventual diagnosis was hemiphlegic migraines. I laughed and thought, "This is God's way of getting my attention." Maybe I shouldn't have laughed.

God has unique ways of getting our attention, of keeping us relying on Him. In Paul's case, we do not know what his thorn was. Many suggest it was an eye ailment. I imagine that could be annoying as a writer to not have decent use of your eyes. Paul would be unable to write effectively without the aid of another, but it was that inefficiency that kept Paul effective, because Paul realized he would never be able to do this on his own.

I believe God may give us a weakness, in order to show His strength. Could God do something like that on purpose? Sure He could, and I believe He does!

For me, I am stubborn. I devote much time to what I am doing without really considering what it is doing to me. I figure that God will supernaturally alter the natural circumstances in which I have placed myself. Tim Hawkins, a Christian comedian says it best in a bit about asking God to bless our food.

"Sometimes, we pray over food and ask God to make up for our bad choices when we eat. That's funny. No matter what it is, 'Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. Lord, bless this bag of Cheetos...change it into a carrot stick on the way down."

We humans are knuckleheads. We make stupid decisions and expect God to take care of us. Will He take care of us? He wants to, but if you go and jump off a building, He won't defy gravity or suddenly provide a pillow for you to fall onto. He expects you to use some sort of common sense in your life. You are not above the reaches of gravity. Gravity keeps us from jumping off buildlings. Gravity keeps us humble. It is still bigger than we are. We haven't defied it yet. There are some laws that cannot be defied.

Such as the laws that our bodies need sleep, food, rest. I can be a self-proclaimed superwoman at times, giving and giving and giving, wanting to be there for people, wanting to help people, wanting to do everything. I will stay up on late night chats, or writing or cleaning, depending on whatever mood I am in. So, God, took my eyes.

My vision yesterday went from normal to nearly gone in a matter of minutes. At the time, I was convinced I was going blind. I began to ask why how and what. Why was this happening to me? What had I done? How could I keep writing? How could I keep teaching? As I walked out of school, all of the things I was worried about getting done were definitely not going to get done.

My kids have a geometry test, I hate test days. They are so dependent on me. It drives me crazy - now, their geometry teacher would be gone for the rest of the day. They need me I am letting them down.

The house needs to be clean, I just don't have time- now, the house will not get cleaned. We'll just have to live with it.

After a visit to the retinal specialist, I have been diagnosed with ocular migraines. All has returned to normal now, except I am very fatigued (even after 10 hours of sleep) and have a slight headache, both of which are textbook postmigraine symptoms. Basically, any time I go without enough sleep, or enough food, or have so much on my plate that I get stressed, I will go blind.

Other people can pull off all nighters or a day or two without food, but I will never be able to. There will be no more late-night counseling chats. No more midnight writing sprees, and that frustrates me. It puts limits on my creativity, and creates a weakness, a trade off I am not willing to make. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. I sit here thinking, "God, why would You take my eyes? Why would you rob me of their use when all I am doing is trying to serve You?" My eyes are my strength, and now they are made weak in His hands. That's a humbling thought. It is a bittersweet blessing, my own personal thorn in my side. My gravity.

The temptation right now is to just walk away from writing. After all, I work best late at night. The temptation is to say this is a sign to give it up, that this life will be too much for me (not life in general, just the life I am leading up to for myself). To throw in the towel because I will not be able to handle a busy ministry schedule. The truth is, I have to rely on Him, not give up. There is a difference. Things may not happen on my time schedule or in the way I wanted, but that is faith. I have seen it many times, as we give up our gravity, He helps us defy it, in His time.

"When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly." ~ Patrick Overton