We’re fasting and praying during what would be Monday lunch for marriages for those who are designed for it and for the courage for men and women to embrace the transformation that makes marriage possible.
In July 2007, three of us went to the beach. Sharing our man woes with one another one night, we commiserated, “This is beyond anything that our brilliant analysis shared over glasses of white wine can solve.” We were not, we concluded, in control of men. Narrowly veering from the edge of fatalism, though, we remembered, “But this is not beyond God!” In that weekend, the fast.pray idea was born. By September, we’d started our Monday email; by October, we had 5 writers.
Since then, we’ve gained 780 regular subscribers, with probably another 400-500 folks who joined for limited stints. We’ve heard amazing stories of personal transformation and new marriages. We’ve gained new, fresh writers (more on that next week!). And actually, of those original 5 writers, 4 are now married with children. Amazing.
But the only unmarried one from the original group–is, well, um….me. And now and then, that stings.
Actually, I had a little depression session with my housemates the other day. I confessed that I was being a snot (mean thoughts about everyone from innocent friends to the slow walkers in the Target parking lot), and as we spoke, I realized that I was feeling flat out discouraged about my love life. ”Come on, God,” I prayed with them, “I just want normal stuff–to be enjoyed by a man I respect, to have physical affection, to build a life together, etc. You made me this way. Why not fill the holes?! Why are you such a withholder?!”
But after the tears passed and as our conversation continued, I realized yet again that I actually have been living the strangest, most counter-intuitive-to-me reality: what I on bad days interpret as “BIG HOLE LEFT UNTOUCHED BY A WITHHOLDING GOD” has actually been the precise occasion for experiencing love and bearing fruit in my life. Go figure.
Unsought singleness has generated energy to continually care for this blog. It has stirred my genuine empathy for anyone suffering disappointment, my willingness to work at relationships with friends and my family, and my discovery at a deep cellular level that the triune Lord truly sees, knows, and cares about hearts—even my heart with its holes! This last piece has been the most crazy. How is it that I am filled with more love from him and for him–and from and for others for that matter–than ever?!
I think sometimes about the Apostle Paul. He thought for most of his imprisoned life that he would go further west to Spain for the sake of his gospel vision. But as far as anyone knows, he never got there. Yet the letters he generated under house arrest have born fruitfulness that he couldn’t have imagined (most of the New Testament). God withheld, and Paul in a very real sense flourished!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to die under house (or basement apartment) arrest—and—I’m still holding out hope for a move to Spain, so to speak (as are my friends and family who still pray with me to that end). But simultaneously, I’m a lot less worried, for I know now that there is no place, life stage, marital status, relational gap, or imaginable context that can separate us (albeit with some hair-pulling and tears) from the love of God, even as there’s no context in which we can’t bear genuine fruit.
Honestly, 5 years ago, analyzing and drinking wine with girlfriends, I wouldn’t have believed it.
But now? I know it is true.
May this Reality Bring Life to your Heart, Connally