Year of the Man

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for men to become godly leaders, for women to be softened with godliness and for godly marriages to be created and sustained.

They declared it the “Year of the Man.” To make sure that I fully understood and remembered the goal for the year, I was given a toy soldier. This wasn’t your average green army man from Andy’s toy box in Toy Story, no this soldier came with batteries and the ability to crawl with a gun in hand. I mean, if you are going to have a toy representation of “the man” it might as well feature knee-crawling physical prowess (would make any girl go weak in her knees). My colleagues at the time decided that turning 28 marked an age when I should definitely be getting closer to marriage.

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For much of my twenties, I just figured marriage would happen at some point (much like Amy expressed in last week’s post). I kept mascara handy in case the eyes needed to get to work batting, but I wasn’t really concerned about the “when” because I figured it would come in due time. As I approached thirty and beyond I noticed my thoughts shifting from “when” to “if.” I no longer assumed that marriage was a given on the path of life, it was something that may or may not happen and I had to prepare myself for either scenario.

The “Year of the Man” was a foiled scheme that didn’t even result in a date that year. The toy soldier made its way under the bed (all it could do was crawl, so it seemed like an appropriate place for him to roam) and I took up knitting (not really but seemed like it was a fitting outcome). Making declarations like that is just dumb, especially when they don’t work.

As time ticks closer to forty, I find myself moving away from “if” and closer to “probably not.” Statistically speaking I have a greater probability of being hit by a bus than getting married over the age of forty (Sleepless in Seattle), so why hold on to hope for something that may never happen? Besides life is really ok as is, do I really want to start having discussions about which way to place the toilet paper on the roll (pretty much sums up marriage, right?). After all, I broke the leg off of soldier man while making my bed (he must have been in the middle of a tactical move when I walked by and crushed his leg). If I can’t even be trusted to keep the toy representation of a man in tact, how can I be responsible for the heart of a real man?

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The Bible is full of miracles, so I know that God can do and will do anything He determines. Just like Amy said last week “If marriage is in my future, it is only because He is crafting and planning it.” But what I need to remember and continually challenge myself as I waffle between “if” and “probably not” is to be emotionally and spiritually available for whatever God has in store for me. It would be too easy to button up the heart and discard hope to avoid the pain of disappointment and unmet expectations, but that is not a recipe for a full life.

Ephesians 3:14 – 21
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.

With all the fullness of life,
Michelle

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13 Responses to Year of the Man

  1. Kathleen says:

    Realizing that God is not bound by statistics, I still tend to live in that tension between “if” and “probably not.”

    It occurred to me this week that since we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do works prepared in advance, then he has prepared us to live and work and serve a special set of tasks, regardless of the who, where, when, and why of the “family” he includes us in. Thanks for the encouragement to be available for whatever he is doing! It’s definitely a tender spot, that as you said, is tempting to button up and keep safe! To hope is to risk, and to risk, is to open ourselves to the possibility of hurt (but also blessing)! So thankful for his kindness and preplanning! Kathleen
    PS: Thank you for the humor too…what a BLESSING it is in these sensitive places!

  2. Monica says:

    If Sarah and Abraham could have a child in their nineties, what should limit God to give you (or anyone over 40) a spouse? God is not ruled by cultural statistics, which are sometimes used by the enemy to discourage us. Let us give praise to God for his power, goodness and wisdom to give good gifts as an antidote to a loss of hope. And who knows, God may be using what seems to be an impossible situation in the world’s eyes as a display for his splendor and glory?

  3. tbabe29 says:

    It’s okay to get your hopes up. God will not disappoint. I am 43 and never married and I totally believe this. And I mean get your hopes up about everything- not just marriage. He likes to lavish us with His love-He delights in us. I am hoping and praying for a spouse til the day I die. It will never be off the table- and no matter what happens- even if I die single, I will ask and knock in every area of my life.

    • Michelle says:

      Philippians 4:19
      And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

  4. T says:

    I used to be an ‘if/probably not’ person, but the Holy Spirit put it into my heart to be a ‘when’ person. I felt like turning 40 was a reset for me. I no longer worry about my age or statistics. Who decided that 40 is too old to fall in love and get married? Certainly not God. If God put it into our hearts to marry – a good thing that He created – we should ask and never give up hope because that is what He has told us to do.

  5. Julie says:

    Thanks so much for your post! I fully understand the cross you carry at this time. I have found it helps to recognize that EVERYTHING — even life itself — is a gift. Regardless of what society tells us, we are actually not “entitled” to marriage and children. In His infinite wisdom, God knows the path that will lead each us us to union with Him & ultimately, to our deepest happiness. Certainly, we can and should keep praying & hoping that the Lord will grant the desires of our hearts. But we must be careful not to make an idol of those desires by seeking the gifts over the Giver! In this season of Thanksgiving, let us thank God for every blessing big and small and trust in His infinite wisdom to continue to provide for us as He sees fit! Let us pray for one another!

  6. Daniela says:

    Thank you for sharing Michelle! In fact, I’m already beyond the “40-mark”, but I have never given up hope when it comes to getting married one day. I think we are too easily influenced by the common thinking of society, because it’s a fact that people get married at all ages. Of course it’s difficult around 40 to meet somebody who has never been married, but what about the widowers for example? Not all of them are 70 and older! I’m convinced that if the Lord has marriage for you, He will make it happen – in His timing. However, His timing is not always ours! Nevertheless, there is no reason to put life on hold while waiting. We should indeed endeavor to be emotionally and spiritually available for whatever He has planned for us. And I found that the best way of doing this is by immersing myself in His service!

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