On Mondays, we pray that God would move mountains and give the gift of marriage to those who desire it. We ask God to redeem to hardened, broken shards of our hearts–reforming them and softening them as chosen, beloved women of God. We ask God to raise up a generation of men to walk in the light of His holiness and into relationships with women.
I haven’t been on a date in a long time. I wrote this FastPray post almost a year ago, and not much has changed since then–except that I’m a year older–tiptoeing to the edge of thirty. When people ask if there’s anything happening in the romance department, I dread it. I’d rather throw the conversation to my job–which I love and is newsworthy. My dating life. There’s not really any news to speak of, and there hasn’t been for quite a while.
If you’re in a circle of single gals–who are single but do go on dates, it’s hard not to feel like a third-class citizen. Married people being first class with the champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. (Delusional much?) Single but dating or getting asked out–although not being married seem to be closer than me–I mentally slot them in at second class. Me. I’m totally unpicked. No, one wants my digits or to take me to Ethiopian food. I try to be “pickable,” but despite my best efforts, I’m unchosen. No one even wants to go out with me once–much less marry me. I’m really good at hiding the fact that it bothers me. It’s easy to use humor to shield myself or my listening skills to constantly direct conversations away from any pin-pricks.
I’m thankful–so thankful, that God can’t be conversationally out-maneuvered. He enjoys humor but sees through my deflector shields. He uses the most unassuming, humbling, simple words to let me know that He sees me. He loves me. He’s chosen me. They come from the beautifully written, elegantly summarized, Jesus Storybook Bible. One of my favorite stories, The Girl No One Wanted, starts off this way:
There were once two sisters. The youngest sister was very beautiful and her name was Rachel. But, the oldest sister wasn’t beautiful at all (some thought her quite ugly), and her name was Leah.
Rachel was the kind of girl who always gets invited to parties and chosen for the team. Everyone loved her. And poor Leah? No one hardly even noticed her.
If you’re familiar with Genesis chapters 29-30, you’ll immediately recognize the story of two sisters who both married a man named Jacob. (That unlikely, tricky guy that God had chosen to be in the lineage of Christ or as the JSB puts it, “to rescue the whole world.”) Jacob was “jacob-ed” into marrying Leah, the ugly one, but he always loved Rachel best. Leah felt hideous and unloved. I really identify with her. The story continues:
But God didn’t think she was ugly. And when he saw that Leah was not loved and that no one wanted her, God chose her–to love her specially, to give her a very important job. One day, God was going to rescue the whole world–through Leah’s family.
Now, when Leah knew that God loved her, in her heart, suddenly it didn’t matter anymore whether her husband loved her the best, or if she was the prettiest. Someone had chosen her, someone did love her–with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up. Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
So, when Leah had a baby boy she called him Judah, which means, “This time I will praise the Lord!” And, that’s just what she did.
I’m not sure what exactly it is about those words that bring me to tears when I read them, but they do. God has loved me with an everlasting, steadfast, rich, great love. (Jeremiah 31:1. Psalm 103. Ephesians 1-2.)
I get so caught up in the theological jargon, in my Bible reading plans, in worrying about singleness, and in the cultural mess surrounding praying for marriage that I miss the sheer wonder of the the fact that despite the difficulties of my unchosen life–God loves us with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”
My prayer is that you feel the warmth of that love as you pray this week.