Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Marriage a Destiny... And, Being In the Court of the King

Are some people "destined" to be married and some not?

That question is circling around my head right now. A good friend of mine has just gotten engaged. She has been married before. She's beautiful and deserves all the happiness in the world, not just because she is beautiful inside and out but because ever since the very first day I met her, there was something about her that just screamed romance and love.

Five of us were pretty close in college, the one I mentioned included. All of them are either married, in a very serious relationship, or engaged, except me. I have not actually ever been in a serious relationship (in hindsight), nor engaged, nor married. And I'm going on 34 in a couple of months.

Here's the thing: I believe in love. I desire romance. I believe we were created for it.Some of us may never have it, but I don't believe it's because we weren't created for it; we were.

There are so many reasons love and romance do not flourish in so many of our lives.

  • Some of us are frightened of love or romance or marriage or all of the above. 
  • Some of us have very low self esteem and consider ourselves unworthy. 
  • Some are just extra cynical. 
  • Some are train wrecks emotionally. 

The funny thing to me is that even those 4 reasons don't stop love, romance, or marriage from happening. Surely you know at least one person who fits one of those issues and yet is married or in love. I know MORE than one person like that.

And I'm willing to bet most of us know at least one person who has been married more than once, more than twice, more than three times, more than four times... that used to be totally unheard of. But it's not anymore. I dated (briefly, BRIEFLY) a man who was literally going on his 4th wife - with the other three STILL LIVING. It was insane to me.

All of this has me wondering if marriage is a destiny or not. Are some people just destined? And perhaps I am not.

No... I Am a Daughter of the King

Something changed over the past year as I began to invest much more in my reconciliation and relationship with the Most High God. God has begun to show me, in very vivid, detailed pictures, what it means to be a daughter in the court of the King. What it means to literally be a princess, a lady in waiting, in service to the King who serves the Kingdom.

And all I can say is this: the court is large, and there are many, many daughters. There will be many, many weddings in the Kingdom of God. I truly believe that one day, there will be a wedding in which I am the bride.

The King is good. He is understanding, compassionate, rich in love. He knows me inside and out. He knows exactly where I am developing; He knows where he needs to shelter me, where He can set me free.

He is withholding nothing for me. Nothing. I want for nothing and do not feel deprived, forgotten, abandoned, or that something is wrong with me. I feel complete, wholly loved.

I am not afraid. I'm not afraid of being single. I'm not afraid of being alone. For "there is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

Jesus has spent many hours with me, loving me, romancing me. In all of that time, I have grown close to Him and close to the Father. I know my King. I love being in the court of the King. I love the dance and to dance for my Father. And I love His love more than anything.

And so I will spend these nights with my King in His court among His servants and dance. Better is one day here than anywhere else, and I rejoice in the honor of being able to look directly at His face without having to look around anyone else's to get a glimpse.

One day, the King will give me away to a man he finds worthy; a man to whom I will be married and together we will continue to be in the service of the King. But until then, I will dance in His court joyfully and with gratitude, in service to the King.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Giving it a try

I've decided to give dating a try - again. 

I'm 33, a single mom, and for the past year and a half have been almost hiding away in a dateless zone. I love life and truly love being single, but I would like to date and eventually marry, and I know that is not going to happen so long as I love being single.

Is there something wrong with me? Maybe. The reality is that about 6 years ago, I stopped being comfortable around men. I completely stopped being myself. I was dating an extremely critical, emotionally abusive man. I know that now, but at the time I thought he just "spoke his mind" or "kept it real." After I broke up with him because I didn't want that kind of relationship any longer, I immediately regretted it, because I had become co-dependent. It kills me to think that I put myself through that situation.

It wasn't until recently that I realized any of this - that he was emotionally abusive not just to me but to women before me - and that I have been hiding ever since. Shortly after we broke up, I dated a man for about a year that I eventually had to get a restraining order against. Clearly my choices were getting worse.

I dated sporadically after that - all the wrong men. So if I am broken in any areas, I know at least one of them is my "people picker." I simply choose the wrong men to get into a relationship with. I haven't dated for the sake of dating. I've always dated with the intention of getting into a relationship. And since I go out with all the wrong men, I end up in relationships with all the wrong men.

So about a year ago, after briefly dating the absolutely wrong man, I kissed dating goodbye. The intent was to draw into a deeper, more consecrated relationship with Christ. That worked very well. I certainly know who I am in Christ now and what Christ means to me and to the world. I am purposeful with my relationship with Christ and believe I am a daughter of God the Father - and King. That much I know is true.

What I don't know is - who am I as a single woman? As a future wife? What do I need? What do I want? Why do I choose the wrong men? Why do I attract jerks? Why do I stay with jerks? Why don't I like singers? Why don't I like A, B, and C and prefer D, E, and F?

I'm so out of practice with normal men, that I recently met a guy at church I instantly liked, and went off chattering like a complete motormouth after he asked just a few nice questions. After the interaction, I felt ridiculous and wondering, what the heck is my problem?

The truth is, I don't actually know, and that's why I'm doing this. I'm reading a book called How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud, a Christian author many people know from the Boundaries books.

The Challenge

In Chapter 7, we are challenged to meet five NEW people per week and in order to count, the situation must be as follows:

  • They are new to me
  • They have to have enough of an interaction with me to want to go out with me
  • They have to have enough information about me to following through on that desire
I am a little frightened of this challenge, because it means that I'll need to actually talk to men I don't already know. I have a difficult enough time speaking to the ones I do know, let alone strangers. It's also frightening because it means I'll need to speak with them long enough for them to feel like they want to see me again or at least speak to me again, and ask for contact information. That means I must be interesting on some level. And attractive on some level. And most of the time I don't feel that I am either of those things.

Yet I am looking forward to this. I don't want to actually begin dating until I can clearly see where I am broken, why, and receive the healing I need to be a good woman for a good man. The book is wonderful (my second time reading it) and I'm really looking forward to having fun on dates! But not yet. 

And so I am blogging and asking my friends to keep me accountable to meeting these 5 new men a week for awhile. I can meet them anywhere - in church, at work, at the Barnes and Noble, grocery store, Starbucks, playground, wherever. I may need to get out and do things every now and then (shocker). But I am committed to this. I believe the outcome will be good.

Wish me luck!