Milestones, Reflections, Etc.

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray that men would walk uprightly with God, that women’s hearts would be softened, and that God would grant marriages to those who long for them. 

A quick trip down memory lane (it will be brief, I promise): My childhood notions of romantic relationships, nurtured in equal measure by True Love Waits and rom-coms, sailed fairly easily through high school and college. I hit Wall of Reality #1 in my mid-20s when I woke up and found myself working at a little non-profit, living in the suburbs and knowing almost zero single men. This was not the plan! Dear Everyone – where is my spouse?! Thankfully, this is also when I read Connally’s book and it changed my perspective on the cultural and personal realities underneath my frustration.

A few years later, I hit Wall of Reality #2 and decided that I couldn’t just keep sitting on the couch and expect a spouse to show up. I swallowed my pride (and fear) and signed up for online dating. I started getting counseling and being honest about my desire to be married. I went on more first dates than I’d like to admit and started a google doc of Christian dating advice. (For the record, the doc is depressingly long.) A few times it seemed like marriage might be a possibility. God overturned lots of big rocks in my heart. He surprised me with His very specific and clear provision. I celebrated many weddings of people I love and tried to stay honest with myself, my friends and God along the way.

So now, I find my heart oddly calm and rather ambivalent about dating. Perhaps it’s a new chapter? I am not sure if it’s me being less crazy or the dating disappointments adding up…but the following are some of my reflections in that context:

  • Why am I really praying? I’ve seen my dedication in praying for a spouse wane recently. I am realizing that much of my energy in praying for a spouse has been driven by…well…the hope of getting a spouse. Has my motivation been just getting the desired “outcome?”

    Have I been praying because I truly want to listen to and speak with a loving heavenly Father who gives good gifts to His children? Because I trust Him enough to ask for audacious things and revel in His surprising generosity? Or because I want to enlist some divine help to meet my own goals?  Somehow I don’t think God is in the business of being manipulated like that…He is so much bigger and loves me so much more than that.

  • Married people aren’t the enemy. They haven’t figured this out either. So often I resent married peers for their well-meaning advice and/or being in possession of something I want (aka envy). I frequently think that I’m single because I am emotionally less mature than all those lovely folks who got married. False. I mean, yes, there is absolutely is plenty of immaturity in my heart, but we simply have, as Emily referenced last week, different callings right now. God does not have some sort of litmus test one has to pass before marriage, and for me to assume He does, is to make life a point-based meritocracy and to make marriage the highest goal of human existence. This is not how God describes life.  (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • My greatest need is still grace. Both of the previous reflections have reminded me how much I dearly need God. Knowing that He hasn’t given up on me even as my envy and cynicism and selfish motives and resentment surface is such a refuge. His grace is only unending source of hope – all the other springs run dry. Although I’m still surprised by the new expressions of my sinful heart, I’m more stunned that He voluntarily died in my place when He knew everything about me!

(I realize many of you have seen more birthdays than I have. And I realize my reflections could seem trite in light of your own experience – I don’t mean it that way, and more than that – I’d love to hear the wisdom you’ve gleaned!)

No matter how many more Walls of Reality I hit, or how my sinful heart shows up, or who else gets married when, or how many birthdays go by sans spouse…I’d love to keep wrestling with the hard questions and keep entrusting my future to a big God who loves me enough to complete His work in my heart (Philippians 1:6).

Praying with you,

Amy

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Milestones, Reflections, Etc.

  1. Neelam says:

    Hi Amy – Thanks for your honesty and transparency in your writing. Really appreciate that and your desire to honor/trust God. It is an ambivalent dichotomy at times.

    Praying and trusting with you and for you,
    Neelam

  2. Kristen says:

    Amy,

    Thank you for writing this post & bring so transparent & honest. My heart & life echoes the same words you uttered here. Thank you.

  3. Jessica says:

    Wait – why is it considered manipulating God if we pray for what we want and desire? That is SUCH a fallacy and it is not right to perpetrate such ridiculous attitudes.God doesn’t expect more of us than that we are human and have human needs and desires and I see nothing wrong at all with asking God for what we desire as long as those desires are not sinful. He may grant it, he may not, it may or may not be in his will, but we are not wrong to ask with the hope of having our prayers answered.

    • Desie says:

      Interesting comment. Petitionary prayer is certainly not manipulating God and its unhealthy to think it is. Anyway God can’t be manipulated by our prayers that really demeans him and our relationship with him. Isn’t the title and purpose of this blog to fast and pray for a spouse? The Bible is clear that God wants us to ask for help and to bring our needs and desires to him. While it may make us feel more spiritual to say we are praying first and foremost to “speak with” with God, or “revel in his surprising generosity” I sincerely don’t think its wrong to pray for what we need and to have that us the main purpose of our prayer. Isn’t that why we’re fasting and praying for a spouse?

      I think its easy to get discouraged and disappointed when we pray and we don’t get answers to our prayer. But that doesn’t mean that its wrong to pray for our needs.

    • fast. pray. says:

      I apologize for that – thanks for being honest! I re-read that section and I do see how it sounds like I’m saying not to ask God for things we desire. It’s not what I meant, esp since asking God for something we desire is the point of this blog! If I really felt the way I sounded, I should stop writing 🙂

      In all seriousness…it was probably more a reflection of where I’ve seen my heart in this area. I saw that my huge end goal has been getting married and I was trying to get God on board to make it happen faster, you know? It’s not that the actions are different (asking God to grant our desire of a spouse) but that perhaps my motives were really off-kilter.

      And I also don’t want to imply that getting our motives straight is what God is waiting for us to do so that He can give us a husband…plenty of people got married with wrong motives very much intact! My statements were mostly a reflection of my own journey…so I’m hoping that haven’t been discouraging. I’m not going to stop asking with a hopeful heart!

      • Anna Panna says:

        I think the fallacy is in thinking we can manipulate God or make Him to do what we want. We are completely at His mercy and compassion and Grace, we are entirely dependent on Him for everything we have and everything we hope for – we are not in control, He is so we beg him for help. Therein lies the rub. We hate not being in control but thats just the way things are.

  4. K says:

    Thank you for posting this! You oh so gracefully put to words the situations – various Walls of Reality – and lessons that I have been facing lately, and how God is not just knocking the walls down but redirecting my feet entirely. It’s so encouraging to hear your thoughts and reflections, thank you.

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks, Amy! I always appreciate your reflections. I’ve been ambivalent about dating lately too, mostly out of discouragement. I don’t feel as resilient as I used to be. The disappointments are starting to take a toll. I have realized I need to focus more on my inner circumstances instead of my outer circumstances to find peace and satisfaction. That’s hard to do! Would love to know how others work on this

    • Elle says:

      Don’t mean to be rude, but you don’t sound very ambivalent. You sound like you still very much want to be married. I think “real” ambivalence in this situation would be a good thing, then at least you wouldn’t be painfully pining for something you don’t have but would instead be … ambivalent about the lack of a spouse.

      • Amy says:

        I’m not ambivalent about my desire for a spouse, and I think that’s OK. It’s the “put yourself out there and date” mentality/orientation that I feel ambivalent about right now. [This is original commenter Amy, not author Amy!]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s