How Are These My Options?

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for God to work in the hearts of men and women to have each more clearly show imago Dei in their unique ways. Additionally, we pray for godly spouses and marriages to be granted to those who desire them. 

Last week, I was waiting for a friend and absent-mindedly perusing that weird church bookshelf. (I’m pretty sure every church has one.) And these three titles jumped out at me:

bookshelf

And my first thought was, “Wait, what? All these options are….terrible! We’ve got single and lonely. Dating someone but focused on trying not have sex. Or heartbroken after a relationship ended. Well, that’s just lovely!”

In all seriousness, one of the reasons that we (both writers and readers) have a constant stream of things to discuss is because singleness, like most of life, is a multi-faceted journey that doesn’t lend itself to oversimplification. The literature rack was just an embodiment of that reality on a small scale. Please indulge me because I would like to briefly address this nonsense.

Single and Lonely: Finding the Intimacy You Desire. 

  • So many things wrong here. First of all, lots of people have intimacy problems and lots of people are lonely. Some of those people are single but lots of folks aren’t. The singleness part of the title could be correlated with loneliness, but it is certainly the exclusive cause of the loneliness.
  • The title also implies that if marriage were to replace singleness, the reader would no longer need to look for intimacy. Absolute nonsense. As fallen humans on this side of heaven, we will live and struggle with unmet desire of all kinds. Period.
  • Lastly, there is a sense here that loneliness is something to be ashamed of and solved at all costs. I don’t think that’s helpful at all…especially since we follow a Savior, who while on earth, was an unmarried man who also dealt with the reality of human loneliness (more here).

Sex before Marriage: How Far is Too Far? 

  • Still shaking my head. Really?  This all we’ve got to offer dating couples? We’re twenty-five years past the True Love Waits fad and we’re still asking the misguided question of “How far is too far?”
  • To be helpful and relevant, this brochure should be titled something like “Learning to Use Your Body to Love God and Others Unselfishly Instead of Sexually Consuming Other People (Including Your Spouse) to Meet Deep Spiritual Needs that Self-Gratifying Sex Can Never Fill.” Or as another option: “Healthy, Passionate, Completely Integrated, Self-Giving Incarnational Celibacy!” Oddly, no one wants to print or read those brochures.
  • Honestly, I think sometimes what we’d really like are some snazzy little guidelines to describe what behaviors are permissible for us and allow us to still claim some shred of self-righteousness about sexual ethics. That kind of hypocrisy sets us up for pride and/or despair. I’ve seen both sides of that coin, and what I mostly learned is that I need the gospel and Jesus Christ more than I need behavioral guidelines.

Starting Over: How Not to Screw Up Your Next Relationship.
Ok, deep breath. The assumptions here are legion:

  • The relationship ending is the same as “screwing it up.” (So I guess the flip side is that the relationship continuing is the same thing as succeeding? Definitely not true in all cases!)
  • Your last relationship failed because you did something wrong. Also, the relationship’s outcome was in your control.
  • There will be a next relationship.
  • If you do things properly, your relationship will work out correctly (assuming they mean you’ll get married?)
  • After a relationship is “screwed up,” you have to go back to the beginning and “start over.”
  • In general, I expect to see these kind of assumptions in the pages of glossy not-that-profound women’s magazines. But this is my church and a reputable Biblical counseling organization! This is the level of thoughtfulness we have about dating and breakups and dealing with relational disappointment: a Chutes-and-Ladders style game approach where one wrong relational step sends you back to the beginning, and getting married gets you out of the game.

Well, there you have it…another deep breath! In any case, as we do annually in August, we’re taking a break from our usual weekly fasting and praying. But these brochures inspired some questions to mull over in prayer during August.

  • Relational Intimacy: Where is loneliness real to me right now? What parts of my life are unseen right now? Are there parts of my life or heart that I should share with someone else? Is the Lord calling me to enter into someone else’s loneliness? Are there areas of relational grief that I refuse to acknowledge or allow the Lord to address?
  • Sexuality: Where are my views of celibacy, sexuality and God incongruous? Do I have areas of sexual darkness, addiction or selfishness that need to brought into the light? Am I rationalizing these areas of darkness because I am single? Do I resent being created as a sexual being while living a celibate life? Am I free to love and give myself appropriately in the contexts I have right now?
  • Dating and Relationships: Have I been viewing my relational life as a really painful hike up Marriage Mountain? What is a better metaphor for my experience of life with Jesus? Do I view myself as either a really bad mountain climber, and/or unfairly pushed down the mountain by cruel members of the opposite gender? Do I have unforgiveness or strong soul ties about past dating relationships? What heart-level issues does the Lord (not me, my friends, my family or my exes) want to address about past, present or future dating relationships?

Praying with and for you this August!

By His Grace,

Amy

Posted in Author: Amy | 6 Comments

A Time to Listen

We fast and pray (typically through Monday’s lunch): for marriage for those who desire it; for strong, God-honoring marriages to thrive; and for our hearts to be soft and receptive to our Father.

When I started writing for fast.pray. in 2012, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being one of the best and most difficult things I’ve done. The guidelines for posting were simple: keep it around 600-ish words (sorry, sometimes it has taken more words than that!) and share your struggles with singleness, but always bring it back to the focus of hope that we have in the Lord.

At the risk of sounding heretical, this exercise should be a new spiritual discipline. Take the most personal/emotional/mental/spiritual struggle you have and write and reflect on it in light of Scripture and God’s promises. Oh yes, and hundreds of people will read it and comment.

But writing has been such a blessing to my soul. I’ve had many spiritual epiphanies while processing situations and feelings in order to share them with you. It was a tremendous comfort to know that others in the community had similar experiences as we walked this journey of singleness together.

To structure my time of fasting and prayer on Mondays, I made a list of friends and family for whom I pray about their marital status. The list has two columns: single and married. For my single guy/girl friends, I pray the Lord will bring a spouse if that’s His Will. For my married friends, I pray for strong, lasting marriages.

Over the years, I’ve moved names from the single list to the married list, praising the Lord for answered prayer. It’s been a joy to see relationships develop, and I have realized answered prayer myself as I met (online), dated, and married my husband (see My Plan B is God’s Plan A).

Being married hasn’t changed my heart or attitude toward the importance of fasting and praying for marriage. If anything, it has reinforced the importance as I’ve heard stories of struggling marriages, and there are still many names on my prayer list of singles who desire marriage.

However, for the past several months, I’ve felt the Lord leading me to take on a new role in our fast.pray. community as a prayer supporter rather than a regular writer. I feel I have “written through” my journey with singleness and can’t add to the sense of journeying together which is what makes this community so special and effective. Even though I know from experience the rollercoaster the single life can be, the last thing I want is for me to come across as that married person who has good intentions but is not adding to the conversation in a meaningful way.

To illustrate what I mean: I recently heard a sermon on the book of Job, and the pastor mentioned that Job’s friends would have been much more effective in comforting and supporting him if they had simply come to sit, listen, and pray (as they did at first) rather than speak. (Job 2:11-4:8)

So I’m here to sit, listen, and pray with you every Monday rather than speak. I might pop up from time to time to let you know I’m still around and praying, but for now, I’m going to quietly support. Thank you for the feedback, encouragement, and insight you’ve given me these past three years!

To borrow Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (1:9b-14 NIV):

[I] continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Much love through Him,

Emily

Posted in Author: Emily | 9 Comments

For The Win

On Mondays, we fast and pray for lunch (or something other than food) asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

Rolling hills, steep climbs, cooling descents, and flat straight-a-ways gave me some time to think about this post as I pushed my legs to pedal 21 miles on my bicycle. I’m participating in a 75-mile fundraiser ride in a month and if I don’t get more miles in the saddle, I’ll be doomed on event day.

IMG_5717[1]Today proved to be a newsworthy day in the sports world. The Women’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament came down to the final strokes. In Gee Chun was able to pull off a win in her Open debut. I had the opportunity to attend Saturday’s event and watch the professionals in action. There is something about seeing individuals at the top of their game; they make their sport look easy. The spectators cheer, jeer, and give instruction to the individual and the ball without much regard for the dedication, sacrifice, and countless hours of practice that brought them to the main stage of their sport.

The other feat of the day was the dismantling of the record for the fastest, supported, completion of the Appalachian Trail. Scott Jurek toppled Jennifer Pharr Davis’ record by just 3 hours and 13 minutes. He faced many challenges along the way, injury and stomach illness slowed his pace, but he kept pushing towards the goal. I’ve hiked several sections of the AT in PA and I have a hard time walking the trail without stumbling over rocks and tree roots, I can’t imagine trying to run the entire trail.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:1 “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

The sports metaphor is not lost on me; set a goal, follow the course, push past the pain, and keep moving. What does trip me up, though, is keeping my eyes on the correct goal. We’ve talked about marriage being a gift in numerous blog posts on FastPray; so that means marriage is not a goal, destination, or achievement to be conquered. I believe that is an important distinction to make sure we have settled in our heart and mind. Gifts are given and received without regard for merit or preparedness.

However, if marriage is our goal, then we need to strive to achieve it. Beauty becomes our vice. Dating becomes our training ground. Marriage becomes the measure of success or failure. And the longer we’re playing for marriage, the more we question our game-plan and our ability to even be in the race.

The full context of Hebrews 12: 1 -3:

                Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I’ve been challenged lately to make sure I’m striving for more of Jesus and less of what Michelle wants or thinks she needs. No angling, cajoling, or manipulating to try to get something or someone. The “therefore” in the beginning of chapter 12 is referring to the Hall of Faith highlighted in Hebrews 11. We are to run a race filled with faith that advances the Kingdom of God, because so many people before us have lived by faith and did crazy things like give instructions about bone burial and marched until walls fell down.

Let us strive for more faith and eyes fixed on Jesus. How would this sentence be completed in your life, “By faith (insert your name)…”

Jesus, help us!

Michelle

Posted in Author: Michelle | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Do you REALLY want God’s will?

On Mondays, we fast and pray for lunch (or something other than food) asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

Today, we have another guest post from our friend Heidi. Enjoy!


I have a question for you – do you want God’s will for your life? No….really….stop, take a few minutes and think about what I just asked you. Do you really want God’s will for your life? If you’re like me, and believe that God is sovereign, trustworthy, and has our best interest in mind, than it should be easy to answer ‘yes’ to this question….right?

I’ve often said that I want God’s will for my life – and I do, I really do. But do we realize what we are possibly saying when we answer that question in the affirmative?

God has brought this question to my mind in the past few weeks during worship at church. We recently sang two songs each with a line of lyrics that jumped off the screen at me and the above question to rose within me. The first song, ‘Hosanna’ has the lyrics,

Come have Your way among us. We welcome You here Lord Jesus.

The second song, ‘Lay Me Down’ has us singing, 

It will be my joy to say, Your will Your way. 

Both of these sets of lyrics refer to God’s will or His way in our lives and both have us proclaiming to God, to our Savior Jesus Christ, that we want His will, we want Him to have His way in our lives.

Both Sunday’s as we sang I felt God saying to medo you really? Do you really want MY will in your life? Theoretically, yes, I love Christ, I serve Him and I trust Him so I want to do His will as He knows best. My head knows that and my head agrees with that. But what about my heart? What about all the things I complain about or question Him on – telling Him those things can’t be His will for my life? I wonder if He ever gets confused by us (ok, I realize God doesn’t get confused but work with me on this one). I wonder if He ever looks at me, or looks at you, and says “Wait, what? You are proclaiming to me that You want My will in your life but then when I do that, when I do what you’ve asked, you question what I’m doing?”

I not only looked at myself when asking this question but also looked at the Christian community in general. I struggle, and I don’t want to place blame on anyone as this is a general observation, but I struggle as I often hear Christians saying they want God’s will or singing lyrics like the ones in the two songs mentioned above. What’s my struggle with that? My struggle is that we proclaim that we want God’s will for our lives but our actions and responses don’t match that proclamation.

The song ‘Lay Me Down’ says ‘It will be my joy to say, Your will Your way’ but how often do we allow difficult circumstances to steal our joy? How often do we hit a trial in life and we start blaming God, questioning His faithfulness, or turning our backs on Him?
(**Disclaimer – it is understandable, when a trial comes, to question God or struggle to find your joy initially – but this should not be where we stay or set up camp).

Do we truly trust God’s sovereignty in ALL things? Or do we only want His will and His way when it matches with my will and my way? (ouch….that one even hurt my toes). When we proclaim that we want God’s will in our lives we must first count the cost. That doesn’t mean we know exactly what it will entail but it is coming to a place of realizing that asking for and desiring God’s will may involve pain, heartache, trials, and some really tough stuff.

I feel like sometimes we think that God’s will for our lives is for us to be happy, to have all the desires of our hearts met, and to have an easy life. I hate to break it to you – but none of those are His will for our lives. His will for our lives is for our sanctification or our holiness. And let me tell you, dear ones, the things that cause us to be sanctified (to be set apart, to be made holy) aren’t typically the fun, easy, or exciting things. More often than not, they are the hard, painful, grievous things.

BUT….it will also result in God’s glory being revealed in ways that you could never imagine. I don’t know about you – but the pain and heartache is worth having God’s glory revealed. That’s not to say that I want the pain or hard times, it’s saying I’m willing to walk through them so that God’s ultimate will is accomplished and His name is glorified. That’s why we’re here – Isaiah 43:7 tells us that God created us for His glory.

If you look at Scripture, or even times you’ve seen God’s glory revealed, it often is after some really hard circumstances. Let’s look at the Bible. Do you remember Abraham and Sarah? It was God’s will, and promise nonetheless, for them to have a son who would be the father of many nations. And He did that – but it was in His timing and His way. I doubt when Abraham and Sarah sang ‘Come have Your way among us’ (which I’m sure was produced during their generation) that they realized they were signing up for the ‘having your first child when all your friends are great-grandparents’ plan. I hope you’ll agree with me though that God’s glory was definitely revealed when Isaac was born. Abraham and Sarah strayed from God’s will for a little while and it resulted in devastation that we are still living in today, but when they allowed God’s will to be fulfilled in their lives miracles happened and God’s glory was revealed!

I challenge you to take some time today and this week to really let this concept sink in and wrestle with it. Do you really want God’s will in your life? Are you really willing to accept the potential cost of His will being fulfilled in your life? Take some time to count the cost. Take some time to evaluate what is most important to you….is it God’s way or your way? It’s an extremely hard question to answer and it needs some processing time but I can promise you that choosing to walk through the potentially hard in order to see God’s glory revealed on earth will be worth it all!

One last disclaimer – this question of ‘do I really want God’s will in my life’ is a question that we answer on a regular and consistent basis, especially when a hard time hits, we will need to revisit this question and once again provide an answer.

Praying that no matter the cost, you choose to trust God and desire His ultimate and sovereign will in your life!

Posted in Author: Heidi | Tagged | 9 Comments

What I Pray Against

On Mondays, we fast and pray for lunch (or something other than food) asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

One of the many reasons why FastPray is such a unique place on the internet is that we have amazing readers who contribute their hearts, wounds, and perspective into the comments section each week. I appreciate when we hear from you when something has been particularly encouraging and when you might have a different perspective. The Lord has provided us a space to discover what walking in faithfulness means when so many of us remain in an unintentionally single place.

I really enjoyed Emily’s post last week. I wouldn’t call myself a runner per-say, but I know that 4-5 years ago, I made many conscious decisions with the hopes that I’d eventually meet someone who wanted to date me. Some of them worked somewhat? Most fell flat. But, I too, had marriage at the forefront of my decision-making matrix, sometimes in ways that weren’t healthy. (Noooo, I ne-v-er followed my mom’s suggestion to shop at Wegmans because she “always saw so many nice young men there.”)

All that being said, I really appreciated the comments last week asking about what we pray against as FastPrayers. I don’t know if we’ve ever done a specific post on that, so I figured, I’d elaborate a bit on what I pray against while I pray good things for men, women, and marriage. We freely acknowledge here that there are no specific, formulaic solutions to why so many are single for so long, and I actively pray (in word and deed) in faith for healing, wholeness, and renewal of marriage culture. But, there are also many things that I see as obstacles (both personally and culture-wide) that I pray against. So, here are a few:

Family/Marriage Idolatry. This one may be an odd one to start off the list, but when I pray for God to give the gift of marriage to those who desire it, I do so in the context of a proper understanding of what kind of a gift marriage and family is–and what it is not. When I pray against family/marriage idolatry, I am praying against the spirit inside and outside the Church that glorifies earthly, human families so much that it makes families hide their brokenness so that they appear perfect, shames single women who might think they could never be perfect enough to merit a husband, paralyzes single men who think that marriage isn’t an option because their paycheck, their spiritual maturity, or their social awkwardness make achieving John Eldridge “manly men” levels impossible.

Sexual Idolatry. I tried of think of a category that captures the myriad of related things that I pray against. Obviously, pornography and the entire porn industry deserve being mentioned, but really, pornography is a symptom of a deeper sexual idolatry. Our culture–and even we ourselves at times–worship sex in ways that scarily similar to Old Testament worship of Baal and Asherah. With at or near religious dedication, men and women want sex on their timetable, in their prefered way, at whatever cost. Christians disagree with the timetable, but many of us are skittish when preaching or teaching comes too close to home. Although, I’d never say sex isn’t meant to be pleasurable, we’ve decided as a culture (and sometimes in Christian circles too) that sexual pleasure is the highest good, and if you curtail (or even gently warn against) someone’s ability to pursue that happiness then–strap in, because you’ve just spat on the sacred altar.

Rejection of the Body. I hate not having parallel categories, but I couldn’t come up with a better way of phrasing it. When I pray on Monday’s I frequently find myself praying against our culture’s tendency to jettison the body and what it tells us about ourselves, the world, and God. You don’t have to look to far into your browser history to find the recent articles on this topic. I pray against our culture deciding that bodies don’t matter, that being an embodied man or women doesn’t say something about the nature of the universe and the God who set it in motion. Our bodies were designed, in a sense, to marry and produce children. I know that’s not the only purpose, and obviously as singles, we aren’t second-class citizens, but in the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, he made a man and woman who were meant for each other and for children and for story. When our culture rejects the body, it rejects God’s baseline story and design for humanity.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface here, but the encouragement that I have for you is this: even if there are so many things to pray against–know that God sees and understands all of these things. He cares tremendously about how the world and culture affects you and your heart. When you pray this week, remember that you’re praying to a God who set the world in motion and for whom nothing is impossible. Pray with boldness!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

With love,
Anna

Posted in Author: Anna | 5 Comments

Why I Became a Runner

Reminder for Monday’s lunch: We’re fasting and praying for godly marriages for those who desire to be married and for those who are married; for courage for men and women to walk toward marriage; and for humble, obedient hearts towards the Lord.

The year I graduated from college, having failed to find a husband, much less date, I moved to the D.C. area where I had a teaching job. The closest friend I had was about an hour away, so needless to say, there were more lonely nights/weekends than I care to remember.

That’s when I decided to become a runner:

  1. I don’t need other people to run.
  2. I will get in shape and look good if I run.
  3. Cute boys who also run will see me running and want to run [life] with me.

Things I neglected to factor in:

  1. Running by myself is lonely.
  2. Running makes my face turn red and the rest of me hot and sweaty, not attractive.
  3. Cute boys run much faster than me and won’t stop to talk in a middle of a race.

This is one instance of the many large and small life choices I’ve made that were, in part, motivated by my desire to find a husband. While not the only factor considered in my decision-making process (i.e. would this action hurt my relationship with the Lord?), it was certainly on the positive side of the pro/con list.

  1. Work at a Christian school – Find a single male teacher to marry.
  2. Go to grad school – Gets me around a new circle of people.
  3. Join the alumni board of my alma mater – A 2nd chance to meet someone from my Christian college.
  4. Go to church this Sunday – Most likely place to meet a boy who loves Jesus!

For all of my scheming and literally running around, none of my best-laid plans resulted in a husband.

  1. Work at a Christian school – Do you know the ratio of single female teachers to single male teachers at Christian schools?
  2. Go to grad school – At orientation, the faculty joked about how we happened to be an all-female cohort (and all single too!).
  3. Join the alumni board of my alma mater – All married or single girls.
  4. Go to church this Sunday – Again, a problem with ratios and lack of guys asking me out.

As a I reflect on the many times I’ve ridden the roller coaster of hope deferred, I realize that while I was allowing my desire for marriage to be a bigger factor in my decision-making than it should have been, my desire gave me that little push I needed to try something new and usually good for me.

And, in His graciousness toward me, God used my “foolishness” – the emphasis I placed on my desire for a husband, not the desire itself – for my good. He put me in situations where I learned to rely heavily on Him. He brought people alongside of me to do life together. Friends who’ve taught me the meaning of “closer than a brother.” Maybe not the direct outcome I was looking for at the time, but oh-so-necessary.

I’m reminded of Psalm 46:10 which admonishes “Be still, and know that I am God” (NIV). Other versions say “Cease striving” (NASB). My well-intended plans and asserting what I think should happen is sometimes in direct contradiction of God’s desire for me to be still and let Him have control of my life. Sometimes He wants me to quietly sit at His feet instead of trying to find something I feel is productive to do and moving me toward the goals I have for myself.

As you fast and pray this week, spend time reflecting on how you’ve seen the Lord working in unexpected ways – where you asked God for one thing, and He gave you something you now see you needed more. Be still and meditate on the fact that He is God and in control. Know and claim the truth that He can work through any situation and circumstance and foolishness on our part.

Sending you love,

Emily

Posted in Author: Emily | 19 Comments

Front of the Box, Please!

On Mondays, we fast and pray for men and women to be increasingly transformed and conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, and that marriages would be granted to those who desire them. 

Update on Poll Results: Many thanks to the more than 380 of you who filled out the poll! We are thankful that you took the time to figure out the survey and give so much helpful feedback. A few quick highlights:

Although there is wide variation in the community, it appears that the majority of fast.pray folks are 30-something women who have not been married before…don’t worry, we are grateful for all of you in that demographic or otherwise! The most helpful content is evenly split between “life stories from other singles” and “discussion on issues related to singleness/marriage.” The biggest factor that keeps us involved is “a weekly reminder to bring my relational status to the Lord.” And we’ve got a boatload of helpful info from your individual responses as well. If there is more you’d like to share, you can always shoot the team an email at fastprayblog@gmail.com.

Connally Update: In the survey results, the name of one of our favorite people was mentioned quite a few times: Connally Gilliam! She was one of the original founders of the blog and wrote a book on singleness (here) that has been a gift to many of us. In case you’re wondering what she’s up to now, she’s recently launched a new website and she’s blogging again – check it out here!

Front of the Box. Sometimes I feel like life is getting a few puzzle pieces at a time. I’m looking at them, examining the angles and trying to find the edge pieces. And I’m looking at the strange assortment of pieces on the table in front of me. It’s not that I don’t like the pieces I have…it just seems that like they don’t fit together. Also, I have absolutely NO IDEA what picture they’re supposed to be making. And so, in my problem-solving mindset, I want to see the front of the box. I ask for clarity and a life purpose statement and overarching vision for my life…especially as my puzzle pieces look more and more different from the puzzles other people are producing. And I want to scream…show me the (expletive) front of the puzzle box!!

God tells us that His word is our guide (Psalm 119:105). And it gives light to our feet. Not floodlights of clarity on the entire map. He says He’s holding our hand and guiding us with His counsel (Psalm 73:23-24) – this is a rich promise, but it is not a guarantee of seeing the big picture. It’s the better guarantee of walking together. And then we come to this poignant description in Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship (or masterpiece, handiwork), created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

The front of the box? Perhaps it’s that the pieces of our life are somehow becoming a unique, glorious display of God’s artistry. He is weaving the seemingly disparate into a masterful, coherent, beautiful finished work…and we might not get to see the final product on this side of eternity. But if, this week, the pieces seem particularly jagged or nonsensical or difficult to decipher…be encouraged that He is walking with us, guiding us and somehow weaving beauty out of our mess.

In His Grace,

Amy

Posted in Author: Amy | 1 Comment