Heading My Way?

Mondays at lunch: prayer and fasting for men to bravely lead, for women’s hearts to soften, and for current and future marriages to honor the Lord.

My 78 year old Italian neighbor from New Jersey asked me again last week if I was seeing anyone. She is very concerned about me not having a husband and likes to remind me that I’m not getting any younger. She tried to set me up with her lawn man, but he nixed it when she told him my age (15 years older than me). The latest attempt was to suggest I attend a dance at her church, “I know you aren’t Catholic, but you could meet some very nice men.”

She means well. After being married 50+ years herself, I’m sure she just wants the same for me. I half wonder if she was involved in encouraging another neighbor to stick a loaf of bread at my door. I almost hope it was her suggestion, because the alternative of a random “breading” is odd to me, especially at 11:30pm.

As I approach 40 I find more people want to equate my singleness to me being picky. Surely in the last 20 years I could have found someone to marry, right? I think the answer to this question comes down to what kind of marriage I want.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul warns the people of Corinth to not be “yoked” with unbelievers. While he was not specifically referring to marriage, Paul uses this agricultural reference to warn the believers to guard their associations. In the U.S. we don’t use oxen to plow our fields, but the picture Paul is getting at here is two oxen linked together by a piece of wood trudging side-by-side in a field.

Allow me to take the analogy a bit further and say that I believe a marriage should be about linking with someone plowing the same field in the same direction as me. The foundation point of marriage for a Christian should be a shared belief in God, Jesus, and how He is served. Sharing a Christian worldview, however, only gets us in the same field. I’ve talked to too many individuals that took a “I like you, You like me, We love Jesus” approach to marriage, only to come out years later wondering what in the world they got themselves in to. When I fully embrace the idea that marriage means being yoked with someone, then understanding the trajectory of a man’s life (dreams, hopes, character, etc) takes on a greater purpose and goes much deeper than just sharing a belief in God.

I realize holding this view may mean never getting married, because let’s face it statistically the odds are not good at 40 anyway. But I honestly have to ask myself, do I want to be married more than I want to follow the purposes, gifts/talents, dreams, and aspirations I feel God has placed in my life? I don’t think these should be mutually exclusive. So I have to trust God, holding the course of serving Him with my life and believing that one day I could be yoked with someone heading in the same direction.

As I write this I’m staring out across the Susquehanna River and thinking if God can create this much beauty around me, how can I not trust Him to create something beautiful with my life… single or married.

20130623-232326.jpg
I’m buckled up! For I can’t imagine what follows a random breading and church dance!

Michelle

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15 Responses to Heading My Way?

  1. Gillian Mzembi says:

    Thank y.it was a great post

  2. Beth says:

    Michelle,
    I want to thank you as well for your post. It’s very encouraging. As I’ve been a part of different christian communities through the years, I’ve been surprised how many believers don’t make the distinction you’ve pointed out. Simply marrying another believer is not the goal (plowing in the same field), it’s sharing the same life calling/direction (plowing in the same direction). Thanks for taking the analogy a bit further.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thank you Beth!
      Glad to know this resonated with you. We’ll have to keep praying for each other that we don’t “awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Solomon).

      Michelle

  3. Deb says:

    Great post Michelle! I find myself praying for a partner or partners to live and serve with more and more. I’m trying to leave the way that is fulfilled up to God. I do believe that just as Jesus sent out His disciples two by two we are meant to share our lives with other people, especially as we serve the Master. Sometimes that is hard to do as a single–but I believe God will provide and also teach me how to be better at reaching out to others and forming those relationships.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Hi Deb,
      Great point that our partnering with others to serve doesn’t have to just be with a spouse. Finding other believers to work along side in ministry is important for many reasons. Will pray that you find an individual or group to serve with soon!

      Michelle

  4. Jennifer says:

    Dear Michelle, thank you for such a beautifully written expression of your thoughts on being equally yoked and the good but misappropriated intentions of people concerned, I think, more with our not being lonely than just with our not being married.
    The irony is that even in marriage we can be very lonely without other community as no one person was ever intended to meet all our needs.
    I love your attitude an the wonderful photo you put in with the reminder that the Creator
    of such beauty can and will make something very beautiful of our lives, married or single.
    Jesus said “I am the Bread of life”. Maybe the loaf arriving at your door is just another reminder of Him as Jehovah Jireh 🙂
    Thanks again for your encouraging and inspires words and honesty. Have a blest week. Jennifer

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thanks Jennifer!
      I got some amazing photos while trying to write this and had to share at least one. Never thought of the bread being a reminder of God’s provision in my life, works for me!

      Michelle

  5. Kristi says:

    Laughing Out Loud this morning at the “random breading” mention. Thanks for the laugh.

    I once had a good friend say that I wasn’t “marketing myself well.” What??? I’m not a commodity or product to be placed on the shelf and chosen by just any customer that comes along! I know she meant well, but that’s been almost 20 years ago and I still haven’t forgotten that comment. I have forgiven, but it’s really stuck with me.

    As a never-married single just about to turn 50, I can truly identify with that pickiness. I was recently thinking back over my adult life and realizing how few men I’ve been truly attracted to (not referring to physical attributes here). I’m really referring to the body/mind/soul connection that’s made between two people. I believe God will bring the right man in His time. This reminds me of something I read in the book of Ruth a few days ago. Ruth went about her work, gleaning in the fields, taking care of her mother in law, and Boaz noticed her. She wasn’t going out of her way to find a husband to provide. God provided for her physical needs and brought a kinsman redeemer.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Hi Kristi!
      Glad I could add a little humor to your day. I did enjoy the loaf of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl!

      I can’t believe you didn’t jump at the opportunity to build a marketing campaign;-). Most really mean well, it’s just we are not always in need of fixing.

      Thanks for sharing! I love Ruth’s story!!

      Michelle

  6. Ruth says:

    Great post! Thanks…

  7. Beatrice Ortega says:

    I like your example of wanting to be ‘equally yoked’. So very true that being with just ‘another Christian’ covers the whole spirituality and faith, base. How wrong that thinking is. That equals potentially a very unhappy and unsatisfying marriage..! Totally I would be all about being yoked to plow and work in the same field and the same direction! ?Besides, who’d want a luke-warm marriage anyway, and what would be the point?! Marriage involves some careful discernment, before-hand. You’re to invest heavily in that man/woman while God asks us to serve Him, so..! As you’re a woman you’re someone men can admire, so even if you were married, you’d still want to look super-great so you can keep that up y’know, even if the odds say you won’t get married. We’re made as feminine creatures so yay. At least we can thank the times we live in where being unmarried we are not shunned from society. We can utilize that to serve God more fully. And besides, yeah, we are all about investing in heaven. So think of those treasures that we are building up, as that’s our job on earth. Marriage could be nice but that’s not the point! I pray married couples can serve God and each other faithfully and in a church setting and contribute amazingly, too. God bless you.

  8. Beth says:

    Hi Michelle, you have no idea how encouraging this post is to me. Yes, I must trust God that He will make all things beautiful, in His time. He will give me beauty for ashes.

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