Tag Archive | marriage

Marriage is Honorable in All, and the Bed Undefiled

Marriage is HonorableMarriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled … 

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is one of the most precious, most valuable, and purest of all relationships known to mankind.  Unfortunately, the world in which we live, and the culture of the day, have taken God’s perfect and pure design and perverted it in indescribable ways.

Without a Biblical understanding of marriage, it would be impossible to perceive the preciousness of this special union between a man and his wife.  The world has much to say, but the Word of God specifically teaches this:  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled … (Hebrews 13:4).

God was the Designer of marriage.  God designed the male and the female physiques differently for the distinct purpose of the two being united into one.  The Genesis account of Creation reveals this truth and was understood by the man: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:23-25).

They were both naked and were not ashamed. When did the perversions to marriage occur?  After sin entered into the human race (Genesis 3), fallen mankind began to plummet downward.  By the very next chapter (Genesis 4), the Scriptures describe the first murder.  Later, in the same chapter, we learn of Lamech, another murderer who took to himself two wives (Genesis 4:19-24).  By the time of Noah (Genesis 6), evil abounded on the earth, and God destroyed all but Noah and his family.  However, the fallen nature of mankind still persisted within the human heart.  The downward plummet continued and perversion multiplied.  By the time of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 19), we find a description of the sinful condition of Sodom and Gomorrah, and again we see God move to destroy sinful man.

Yet the fallen nature of mankind again persisted in the heart of man.  Although saved from the wrath that was poured out upon those cities, Lot and his daughters fell into drunken and incestuous relationships (Genesis 19:30-38).  The first book of the Bible alone relates numerous instances of perversion of God’s design for marriage.  Genesis 34 relates the account of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, being raped.  Genesis 38 describes the account of Judah laying with his daughter-in-law, thinking her to be a harlot.  Genesis 39 describes the attempted seduction of Joseph by Potipher’s wife.  And the downward plummet continued.  The Bible is filled with such accounts.  Simply by observation, one can see that apart from God, mankind will never retain the purity of God’s design for marriage.

The Word of God makes a very revealing statement that every Christian should understand.  As Moses led the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, God Himself laid down the laws that were to govern their lives.  Leviticus 18 gives vivid description of the perversions that were forbidden for God’s people.  However, what should be noted is the manner in which God describes those actions:  I am the Lord your God.  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do:  and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do;  neither shall ye walk in their ordinances (Leviticus 18:2-3).  It was in both the ungodly nations of Egypt and Canaan where these practices were found.  It was in both the land from which they were coming and the land to which they were going where these practices were found.  After a detailed description of these forbidden practices, God calls them abominable customs (Leviticus 18:24-30).  Abominable customs of the ungodly should not surprise the Christian.  These customs have always been evidenced in ungodly nations!  Because of the fallen nature of mankind, more and more perverseness will be found the farther any person, people, or nation moves from God.  The Bible, as well as history itself, is full of undeniable examples.

Interestingly, as humans attempt to address this problem, they often move to the opposite extreme.  In the name of religion, they sometimes say that there should be no marriage, so that the body may be kept physically and spiritually pure.  But that human solution is not God’s design for purity.  The Bible refers to those who teach forbidding marriage as being taught by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils that speak lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

What, then, does God say?  What does His Word teach?  In full agreement with the Creation account of marriage, and in reference to it, Jesus reiterates in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 the importance of understanding God’s design, God’s will, and God’s intent for the man and the woman.  Jesus reemphasizes that it is God that joins the man and the woman into one flesh.  They are no longer two, but are one flesh.  And remember they were both naked and were not ashamed.  It was God’s perfect design.

Just how pure is marriage in the eyes of God?

Marriage is honorable in all,  and the bed undefiled …

Hebrews 13:4

A fuller understanding of this verse elevates marriage and the marriage bed to the height that God intends.  The word that is translated as honorable is timios in the Greek.  It carries the meaning of:  precious, valuable, dear.  Just how precious and valuable is marriage?  Listen to other references in the Bible where this same Greek word (timios) is used.  The Bible speaks of precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12) and precious fruit (James 5:7).  It speaks of the trials of our faith as more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7).  But more than that, as the Spirit of God inspired the writing of the Scriptures, He speaks of the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19) and of God’s Word as His exceeding great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).  What could be more precious than the blood of Christ and the promises of God?  It is this same word for precious that was chosen to describe how precious marriage is – honorable indeed!

And the bed undefiled!  Again, a study of the descriptive word for the marriage bed will bring us to a wonderful understanding of God’s design for marriage.  Scripture says that the marriage bed is undefiled.  Undefiled (amiantos) means: free from pollution; uncontaminated; pure.  How pure is the marriage bed?  Again, we will refer to other examples in the Scriptures described as undefiled (amiantos).

The Bible speaks of pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27).  Our inheritance, reserved for us in heaven, is described as incorruptible and undefiled (1 Peter 1:4).  And listen to the purity of our Lord, as our High Priest, who is holy, harmless, undefiled … (Hebrews 7:26).

How pure is the marriage bed?  It is as pure as pure can be – fully, totally, completely pure.

God’s design is pure! God’s design is precious! God’s design is perfect!

It is mankind that pollutes! It is mankind that perverts!

It is mankind that plummets into the depths of sin!

Marriage is honorable in all,  and the bed undefiled …

Hebrews 13:4

May every Christian wife learn to live freely in the preciousness and purity of marriage.

Qualities of A Good Wife

Whoso Finds a WifeWhoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 Suppose we took a surveyThe question that we would ask is:  What makes a good wife?  I can just imagine all of the answers that we would  hear!  Some would probably make us smile.  Others would, perhaps, make us very sad. But, from the beginning, God intended the wife to be a “good thing.”

Before we address our answer to the question, let’s recall the Creation for just a moment.  Day by day, as God created, He viewed His Creation, and in each case, the Scriptures tell us that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  However, as details are given in chapter 2 of the creation of the man and the woman, we find, for the first time in the Scriptures, that God says that something is “not good”:  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  Then immediately following that declaration, He announces His solution: I will make him a help meet for him.  In contrast to that which was not good, the wife, being a help and companion to the man, was to be a good thing.

And, when God finished His Creation, we find this truth:  And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Being a wife according to God’s intent and design truly is a good thing.

Listen to the truth of Proverbs 18:22:  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.  Here we find the same truth again – a wife is to be a good thing.

Listen now to the question of Proverbs 31:10-12: Who can find a virtuous woman?  And then hear the answer to that question as it relates to her husband:  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So we can see that God not only created and designed the wife to be a “good” thing, but He commends the wife who gives all the days of her life to doing good, and not evil, to her husband.

A “good” wife – do you have a heart that desires to be a good wife to your husband?  Perhaps you are wondering in what ways you could be a better wife. Well, if God created the marriage, and He did, then let’s look at the three instructions that He gives to wives.  We will find that these three truths describe qualities that  truly do make a good wife.

1. RESPECT

… and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Reverence – respect!  This reverence and respect – or the lack of it – reflects a wife’s heart attitude –  how she truly feels about her husband, from the heart.  It is from the heart that all of a wife’s words and actions will flow.  Respectful words and loving actions come from a respectful heart.  Let the wife see to it that she reverence her husband!

Also, did you notice that this is a command?  God does not make this optional.  Neither does He say that a husband must earn the wife’s respect.  Actually, the Lord requires this of us.  Listen again to the wording:  … and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Be careful that you do not fall into the error of negating the Word of God by saying “I know that this is true, BUT …”

God’s truth is always true.  We all have faults and failures.  A wife can respect her husband, in spite of his faults and weaknesses.  She can respect him just because he is her husband.  And, if a wife will make a list of his good qualities, she will be surprised how many ways that she can find to respect him.  As her heart toward him becomes more respectful, their marriage will begin to change.  See to it that you reverence your husband.

2. COMPANIONSHIP

The book of Titus instructs the older women to encourage the younger women to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).  There are misunderstandings as to what love really is.  The particular Greek word used in this passage is a friendship, companionship love.  It is the kind of love that focuses on the relationship between husband and wife.  This kind of love can only be fostered as a wife spends time together with her husband, sharing common interests, walking through life as friends and companions. A wife may feel as though she has nothing in common with her husband.  There is a sure way to build common interests.  Be interested in what he is interested in!  Yes, a wife can be interested in what he is interested in – if she is truly interested in him!  She can lay aside her desires, her schedules, etc., and love her husband.  She can be a friend and companion to him as she shares his life with him.  Through the ability which God supplies, love your husband.  It will be a blessing to you both!

3. SUBMISSION

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

Did you know that this is the most frequent command in the Bible given to wives?  Yes, it really is.  No other instruction is given to wives as often as this one.  It must be the one that we need to hear the most often – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.

What does submit yourselves actually mean?  It means being arranged under the authority of another.  This is not the teaching of the twenty-first century, but it is most definitely Biblical teaching.  Additionally, it is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:17-22).

Once a wife acknowledge, from her heart, that the  husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), she will find submission an easier thing.

No matter what the world says or how a wife may feel personally, the Word of God is true – even submit yourselves!

There is a key to learning to be arranged under a husband’s authority – simply learning to really listen.  Husbands say what they like and what they do not like.  They say what they would like for the wife to do or not do.  It really is that easy – learning to listen and, without arguing, walking in agreement with him.

From my experience, I have found that my struggle will always be that I prefer my own way, that I think I know a better way, or that I think I am more spiritual.  But not so!  The Lord always knows the best way, and He is the most “spiritual” of all – and it is He who says submit yourselves.  And, for those wives who have husbands who are not obedient to the Word, the words found in 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 will be an anchor for you!

The timeless truth of submission will take the tug-of-war out of a marriage.  When a wife ceases from pulling against her husband, the struggle will stop.  When, by faith, she arranges herself under her husband’s God-given authority, she will be pleasing to the Lord.

What makes a good wife?  I guess we really did not need a survey. Respect, companionship, submission – three qualities of a good wife —  three truths that will transform a marriage – three truths that bring glory to God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 


 

Kara’s Sory: Learning to Build

imageEvery wise woman buildeth her house:

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Proverbs 14:1

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.

Psalm 127:1

What a work God has done in my heart with these two verses!  For so many years of my marriage, I was a foolish woman, constantly plucking my house down around me with my very own hands.  Oh, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.  I thought that I was standing up for my rights as a “liberated” and “educated” female.  I thought that I deserved a life beyond my husband and two children.  I didn’t realize that God had given me a precious gift – a household full of wonderful people – and that I was the one steadily destroying it.  God had done more than His part, bringing my family through many self-inflicted storms and trials, but every time the Lord would begin to pour a foundation for my family, there I would be, tearing it down to the ground by my words and neglect.

Now that I look back, I should have seen what was going on, especially since in His mercy, God had given me a very vivid physical example of what neglect causes with the house that we had bought soon after our daughters were born.  This house seemed perfect when we first visited it – quaint, quiet, understated – the perfect place to raise our children.  But little did we know the work that is required to keep a house, especially an older house, as ours was, in good condition.

I was busy with my job (in a Christian work, by the way) and my husband was busy establishing a new business.  The house – like my family –  was left to itself.  Unbelievably soon, the roof was leaking, termites had eaten through the foundation, and the beautiful yard that the previous owner had so painstakingly landscaped was overgrown with weeds.  We were so overwhelmed when we realized the work ahead of us that we simply threw up our hands in defeat.  And I did the same thing with my family.  I will spare you the details of the damaging results, but suffice it to say, my home and my family were nearly destroyed.

But then a miracle occurred.  God saved me and began to open up the truth of His Word to me, line upon line, precept upon precept.  He began to use my physical house to show me what was happening to my household and to my family.

One day, my husband discovered that the main support of the house would have to be replaced before any other repair work could be done; God used this to show me that my family needed Him as our main support before any other lasting improvements could be made.

On another occasion, my husband found that termites had damaged our walls and many of them would have to be rebuilt; likewise, we would have to rebuild our family’s spiritual walls through prayer, study, and church.

Little by little, we have begun to repair our home, both physically and spiritually, and little by little, I am changing from that foolish woman who destroys her home to one that builds her home.  Each day I pray that God will show me ways to build – and any ways that I may be destroying – the precious family with which He has blessed me.

Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established:  and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Proverbs 24:3-4

The above anonymous testimony was first printed in Dawning Light © 2004.  I, again, extend my thanks to ladies willing to share their story to the glory of God.

Anabelle’s Story: No Respect for Him

Reverence Her Husband“Just one verse, God, just one. That’s all I need.”

Here I was, weeping, alternately pacing the aisles and lying on the altar, all alone in the church after everyone else had gone home. I begged God to show me just one verse in His Word that I could use to justify leaving my husband. I was done.

How had we come to this?

I hadn’t always felt this way. I met my husband when I was fourteen years old, and I knew when I saw him I would marry him. We married once I graduated high school and began life together with a baby and a move to another state, away from all I had ever known. He found it hard to keep a job, and something happened that I didn’t expect. I began to not like this man very much.

I disliked his job-hopping. I disliked that fact that he had made us move away. I disliked his spending. I disliked how he spoke to our daughter.

This marriage business was hard. Why couldn’t he just stand up and be a man and take care of us like he was supposed to?

After several years, we moved back home, and my mother began to invite me to a church she was attending. At first, I dismissed her. After weeks of asking, though, I finally gave in and found myself in a little church. Something was different here. These people actually tried to live what they heard on Sundays. They talked about their failures, and there was no shame, only forgiveness. No grudges, only reconciliation. To an unsaved young woman, educated and bitter, this all seemed too weird.

For two years, I attended ladies’ classes and ladies’ retreats, sat in on prayer meetings, and learned to trust the elder women in this church. Through their example, God turned my heart to Him and I was wonderfully saved. One area still bothered me though. The women talked of how they loved their husbands, what great men they were, how thankful they were for them. Each comment made me ache. How could they have such perfect marriages and mine be such a disaster?

And then the darkness came. My husband had suffered a debilitating injury and was required to have a dangerous surgery. The risks were high, the doctors said, and recovery would take months. Even if the surgery were a success, there could be side effects that would affect my husband permanently.

The doctors were right.

Then only three months after his surgery, Hurricane Katrina came. Our home flooded, and there was no money to repair it. My husband fell into depression and stayed on the computer constantly. I would get up in the morning and see him in front of the screen; come home from work, there he was; and go to bed, with him never coming out of the office. There was no intimacy between us, either emotional or physical. We were roommates, not husband and wife.

I was so lonely, and it wasn’t long before the tempter began to whisper, “He shouldn’t treat you like this. He’s so selfish. Doesn’t he know that you need him? Doesn’t he know that you need to feel loved and wanted?”

And it wasn’t long after that that the tempter came in the form of a man, a man who smiled at me and told me I was beautiful and how much better he would treat me if he had me.

It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t fall completely. It was my Father Who protected me, not my vows or my fear of what others would say if they found out. I was long past caring about any of that. I was wrapped up in my own longings and disillusionment.

And now here I was, depressed, broken, alone at the altar in that little church. I picked up my Bible, barely able to see through my tears. I opened it up randomly and began flipping the pages, going to the places that I knew taught on divorce, hoping I would find a verse that would justify my leaving. The first place I found myself was Matthew 5—divorce allowed only in the case of fornication (v.32). He hadn’t cheated on me, so that was out.

Matthew 19—“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (v. 6)

Next, I Peter 3: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” (v. 1)

WHAT??!! I’m supposed to love and submit to my husband even if he’s not saved?? God, I know You know how this man is, and this can’t apply to me. I’ll try again.

And then, I Corinthians 7.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband…” (v. 10)

Not exactly what I was looking for, but I read on anyway. Perhaps there were exceptions.

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”(v. 13)

My tears were beginning to dry, not because I found peace, but because I was angry. Why can’t I leave him? Does God expect me to live in this despair, this heartache forever? I slammed the Bible shut, then re-opened it.

Proverbs 31—“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (v. 11-12)

I was struck by these words. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…”

The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the times I had screamed at him like a banshee to “be a man!” The times I had loudly disrespected him in Wal-Mart when he wanted to buy something unnecessary. The times I had complained about him to my mother, my sister, my best friend, to anyone who would listen. The times I refused his attention, choosing instead to work because “it was what I had to do.”

I was so ashamed, and I am ashamed again as I write this. He had just had to walk through the darkest months of his life, and while I had done what was necessary to help him physically, I had abandoned him emotionally. I had committed adultery in my heart and justified it. I, his wife, the one he had chosen to walk through life with, had already left him.

So now I had a decision to make. Would I obey the words that my Father had so gently, but firmly, brought to my attention? Or would I forever damage my daughter and my testimony for my selfishness?

I am glad to say that my Lord gave me the courage to walk in His truth. This was not an overnight change in my heart, but a day-to-day commitment that I would be a daughter my Father would be proud of. I resolved that I would no longer speak negatively about my husband to anyone. When discussions began to turn ugly, I would close my mouth and refuse to rise to the bait. I would make myself available to help him and listen to him and love him.

Over time, I saw my Lord bless His Word. My husband was saved, and our marriage was renewed gloriously. The defining point in our renewal was the night God pressed upon my heart to tell my husband about the other man. Oh, how worried and afraid I was! But I knew that in order for us to truly be one, there could be no more secrets.

What happened that night cemented my love for my husband and for my Jesus. I saw my husband’s heart break as I told him of my betrayal, and I saw the battle he fought within his mind. Then, I heard the sweetest words I’ve ever heard: “I already knew. I love you, and I always will. I forgive you.” And he really did. He never brought the subject up again, and his actions toward me afterward never held any bitterness.

I cannot express to you what the Lord worked in my heart that night, but what I do know is that the man I was so determined to leave became the man who showed me the love of Jesus like I had never known. The Lord has shaped my husband into a leader, an innovator, a man with talent, compassion, strength, and grace, and I have seen through him the clearest picture of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Just one verse.  That’s all I thought I needed.  But God had given me so much more.  He gave me truth.  He gave me love.  And by His grace and mercy alone, He gave me a true marriage.

Judith’s Story: A Woman of Strength and Honor

Image created with Pho.to.Lab app

Image created with Pho.to Lab app

Quite to my surprise, I was asked to give a testimony of a virtuous woman. First, I would like to say how very unqualified I feel to be called upon to undertake such a venture.  I am convinced that a true virtuous woman would never stand to sing her own praises.  A true virtuous woman knows well the struggles of this life as she attempts to walk in righteousness, and because she knows how often she falls so desperately short, she could never claim such a title for herself.  No, this would be something that I would be unable to do.

Then, can you imagine my surprise when my husband leaned over in a church service where the focus was on this type of woman and said:  You are exactly that kind of woman.  I, then, understood something more of this virtuous woman. Indeed, she didn’t make that claim for herself.  Proverbs 31:28 says that her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

So it matters not what I may say about myself.  The real question is what does my husband say?  And, what do my grown children say?  I suppose the realization of the qualities that this woman possesses comes more in looking back in reflection over time, rather than at one specific moment in time.  It is the consistency, the steadfastness, and the faithfulness that has been repeatedly seen through the years more than what someone sees just today, that causes one to stand and praise his wife or mother as a virtuous woman.  So, where does it all begin – being a virtuous woman?

The beginning place is always with God.  And this, too, was the beginning place with me.  I had to realize Who He is – the Almighty God, Creator of all things, holy and righteous beyond our understanding, but so loving and merciful that He would come to this earth, be born into the body of a human being, willingly suffer and die, taking the sins of humanity – including mine – in His own body to save fallen man and reconcile them to Holy God.  What a God!

With this personal understanding of God, an additional thing took place in my life.  Perhaps it can best be explained by a verse found in 2 Corinthians 8:5.  There we find a phrase that says that they first gave their own selves to The Lord and to us by the will of God.  My life had been given to The Lord.  I no longer belonged to myself; I now belonged to the living God.  My life was no longer my own; it now belonged to The Lord Jesus Christ.  But the verse continues to say that they gave themselves to us by the will of God.  And that is where the focus of my life changed.  My life was the Lord’s and was to be spent for others.  The others that surrounded my life, first and foremost, were my family.  The Lord, by His grace, began to show me, step by step, and day by day,ways that I could serve them – ways that I could encourage them – ways that I could comfort them.

But in the day to day experiences of life, I found that I would tire as I served The Lord by serving others.  However, because I had given my life to The Lord, I now found that my strength came from Him – a strength far surpassing anything that I had known.  Scripture says that the virtuous woman is a strong woman.  She girds her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  And strength and honor are her clothing.  It was to The Lord that I would continually turn to find this ever-present help and strength from day to day.  I knew that The Lord was my strength, and I could make no claim of possessing it myself.

The Lord also gave me great contentment in being a wife and mother, laboring in unseen ways. He taught me that a virtuous woman does not seek recognition of her own.  She seeks to honor her husband and delights in him being known in the gates. I knew, in my heart, that was what my life was to be about – exalting my husband – serving him and my children.  How did I maintain this attitude?  Once again, it is The Lord.  He has taught me that His ways are right and good; I must deny myself, and I must not strive for my own ways.  He faithfully reminds me that my life is not about myself.  It is about Him – it is about His righteousness – it is about His holiness – it is about His glory.  I would slowly get a glimpse of this truth – that I must, above all else, reverence Him and His Word.  I must seek to do those things which were pleasing to Him.

Living just one day at a time, serving The Lord and serving those around me turned into weeks, months, and years of serving The Lord.  Then, amazingly, those years turned into a lifetime of serving Him.  Please don’t think for a moment that these things were easy.  How many times I struggled with myself.  How many times I failed miserably in that which The Lord had called me to do.  It seems, however, as The Lord forgives all of those failures, He also erases them from the minds of our husbands and children.  We may remember them regretfully, but are humbled and amazed as we hear our children rise up and call us blessed and our husbands praise us.

And lest you think I could never become a virtuous woman I would like to encourage you.  It comes little by little, day by day, so often in the simple ways.  It occurs when you do your husband good day after day.  It occurs when you take time to listen to your children.  It occurs when you care for them day after day, when no one stops to thank you.  It occurs when you cook, clean, and do laundry for your family, repeating the same tasks time and again. It occurs when you continue working at these things when you would rather quit and take a nap.  It occurs when you reach out to help others that you see in need. It occurs when you speak truth to those around you because you truly care.  It occurs when you look well into the ways of your household, refusing to neglect your calling.  And it occurs when you do these things day after day, year after year, because these things please your Lord.

Who can find a virtuous woman? Give your life first to The Lord, and then to those around you.  You may find, in time to come, that this virtuous woman is you!

Strength and honor are her clothing

And she shall rejoice in time to come.

Proverbs 31:25

Katherine’s Story: An Unfaithful Husband

Oh, it would never happen to me!  When I get married, my husband would never be unfaithful to me.  How sure I was!  And quite boldly I would proclaim that I would never leave my husband except for two things – physical abuse or unfaithfulness.  I would declare, quite frankly, that should either of these things happen, I would be “out the door,” never to return.  But the reality of life often hits hard, and when it hits, a marriage can be shattered.  You sit in that shattered heap of rubble and wonder, “How did I ever end up here?”

My husband and I had been married for several years, and was thought by most, including myself, to be happily married.  My husband’s career was quite successful.  We had beautiful and healthy children.  We had a very nice home, and from all appearances, all was well.  But all was not well.  My husband often stayed late at work.  He went out after work with friends.  A few drinks to relax after a hard week’s work –  what could be the harm?  But that lifestyle and many “few drinks” led to the bed of adultery and to much harm.

I was unaware of how deeply our marriage was in trouble.  I knew that there was a distance between us, but I didn’t know what it was.  I knew that he was gone often, but I tried to be understanding.  I wanted things to be different, but I didn’t know where to begin.  But God knew just where to begin.

The place that He began was not with my husband, but was with me.  He began to teach me, through His Word, how to be a wife to my husband.  He began to teach me how to be a help to my husband.  He began to teach me how to stand in support of my husband.  And after several months into becoming this new wife that the Lord was creating, the Lord did an unexpected thing.  Through a series of circumstances, the Lord removed my husband from his job, causing our financial state to immediately change.  As difficult as this seemed at the time, how graciously the Lord removed my husband from the very surroundings that were pulling him astray.  We were now in each other’s company almost constantly, and the truths that the Lord had taught me about being a wife were truly becoming a part of our marriage.  Though finances were difficult, our marriage seemed stronger than ever.

And then came that fateful day – my husband said that he wanted to talk to me about something.  I knew from the tone of his voice that it must be serious, and as I settled into my place on the sofa, I heard that still, small voice of my Lord say, “Just listen.”  I knew to be quiet and just listen.  My husband began to tell his story –  his story of unfaithfulness to me and to our marriage.  He said he would understand if I wanted to leave, and concluded with, “I truly am sorry.”  Still not having uttered a word, words began to come from the depth of my heart –  words that definitely were not my own words.  My words would have screamed.  My words would have accused.  My words would have lashed out to make him hurt as much as I was hurting.  But instead of hurtful words, I heard myself saying, “The Lord has forgiven me much.  I know that I must forgive you.”  The conversation was ended.  He again reiterated that he was sorry, and he went to work at a small job that he had begun.

The right words had been spoken, and again all seemed well.  But all was not well.  As my husband left our home to go to his job, I was left alone to face the darkest hour that I had ever known.  In the midst of hurt and despair that words cannot describe, I walked into our bedroom, closed the door, and wept, and wept, and wept before the Lord.

As strange as this may sound, there was a voice, though not audible, speaking to me.  The voice was very clearly telling me that my husband had a gun, and that I knew where he kept it, and that I knew that it was loaded, and that it would be so easy to end this whole thing.  As this voice cleverly attempted to pull my thoughts toward death, I so very clearly heard another calm, but authoritative, voice say, “No, she is mine.”  My Lord had spoken.

At that point, I was able to pick myself up from the floor.  I went to get my Bible, sat in the middle of my bed, and said, “Lord, speak to me.  I need to hear from you.”  The Lord God, by His Holy Spirit, walked me verse by verse through forgiveness.  He showed me, in the Scriptures, the truth of the words that I had spoken before but had not understood.  He showed me that truly He had forgiven me much and that I was to forgive my husband in this same way.  He took me, passage by passage, through the epistles where Christians are commanded to forgive.  Step by step, these are the truths (NKJV) through which He had me walk:

I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love … (Ephesians 4:1-2).

… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind … (Ephesians 4:23).

… put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness … (Ephesians 4:24).

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification,  that it may impart grace to the hearers … (Ephesians 4:29).

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you,  with all malice … (Ephesians 4:31).

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you … (Ephesians 4:32).

And again:

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above ... (Colossians 3:1).

Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth ...”   (Colossians 3:2).

… put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him ... (Colossians 3:10).

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering … (Colossians 3:12).

… Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against one another; even as Christ forgave you, so must you do ... (Colossians 3:13).

Yes, my Lord had spoken.  I must forgive my husband, just as my Lord had forgiven me.  Then, my Lord brought me to yet another passage:

… so that on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow ... (2 Corinthians 2:7).

Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him … (2 Corinthians 2:8).

… that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things …  (2 Corinthians 2:9).

… I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices … (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

I had no doubt – I had asked to hear from my Lord, and I had heard.  I knew that not only was I to forgive my husband, but I was also to comfort him and to reaffirm my love to him.  This was truly a test.  Would I be obedient in all things?  By a work of God’s grace that I cannot explain, the Lord enabled me to walk in His truth.  Exactly how I was to reaffirm my love to my husband I was not sure, but I was committed to do what my Lord had spoken.  I had regained my composure, had settled my heart, and was prepared to obey my Lord.

The telephone rang.  The person on the other end of the line said that my husband’s grandfather, who had been a special part of my husband’s life, was dying, and if my husband wanted to see him, he needed to come right away.  My husband’s grandfather lived out of town, and of course, no one knew all that had transpired in our home that morning.  I, however, knew exactly what the Lord wanted me to do.  I knew that our finances would not allow my husband to make the trip.  We simply had no money.  But God always knows exactly what He is doing.  A Christian friend had sent me some money, some while back.  She said she knew that I wouldn’t want to keep it, but begged me to keep it because she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord had told her to send it.  Because she was so sure, I tucked the money and envelope away, with a prayer.  If the Lord had actually sent the money, I would wait until He showed me its purpose.  I called my husband, delivered the message about his grandfather, and prepared myself for him to come home.  I knew that I was to tell him that I was committed to the Lord, committed to him, and committed to our marriage.  I was also to give him the money from the Lord and offer to go with him to visit his grandfather.  That was the beginning of the working out of the forgiveness that the Lord had worked within.  My husband did see his grandfather before he died, and at the same time, a new season of our life was born.

Although the Lord had done a wonderful work, the reality of life is still real.  Each step of the way, I had to lean hard upon the Lord, listening keenly for His voice.  Nauseating pictures of my husband with another woman would arise in my mind.  I would have to refuse to think upon those things and replace those thoughts with the truth.  My Lord had forgiven that horrible sin, and I must not and would not allow my mind to dwell there.  Time after time, I would have to refuse to allow myself to think on the sin, and force myself to think only upon the Lord’s grace and forgiveness.  Slowly, through days, weeks, and months, the thoughts came less and less.   I had to work through the feelings of rejection, the feelings of insecurity, the impressions of myself as undesirable, and the question of “What was wrong with me?” I also had to work through the times that my husband would turn to me for intimacy when everything within me would want to push him away.  But as always, my blessed Lord would speak truth to my heart, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  And with a desire to obey my Lord, I would willingly submit.

Do any of those thoughts ever return to my mind?  On very rare occasions they do, but as before, I must steadfastly refuse them.  They are not thoughts from my Lord.  It is the enemy speaking; he is called the accuser, and he seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  I simply respond with, “It is forgiven.”

There is no way to describe how fully and completely the Lord does a work.  Many years have passed since those hurtful days.  The Lord has truly healed and blessed our marriage.  My husband and I sincerely love one another, and both of us fully enjoy married life.  What the Lord has created is a stronger marriage than we ever possessed before.  How is this possible?  The only answer that I can give is that if you belong to the Lord, He loves you with an  everlasting love.  He will care for you in every situation and circumstance.  The greatest challenge that you will face is to trust Him, to hear Him, and to humbly obey Him.  Don’t refuse the only One who can truly help you!  He truly is the only hope that we have!

I’ve grown so much since those naive days when I thought that this would never happen to me.  None of us know what life holds for us.  And as to the bold assertion that I would never stay with a husband who was unfaithful to me, stay I did.  “Why?” – you may ask.  “You had every right to leave.”  The only answer that I have is that my God is a God of forgiveness, and He tenderly spoke truth to my heart.  These words I will never forget, “Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”  Glory to His name!

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,  according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus  throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

The above anonymous testimony was first printed in Woman – Precious in the Sight of God © 2002.  I, again, extend my thanks to ladies willing to share their story to the glory of God.

What Is a Meek and Quiet Spirit?

image … whose adorning … let it be the hidden man of the heart

even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,

which is in the sight of God of great price.

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

We hear much of the Christian woman having a meek and quiet spirit.  Many loudly object.  Others rigidly attempt to conform.  But what is a meek and quiet spirit?  Do we really understand the meaning of that phrase?  Or – have we taken someone else’s meaning, or – have we even invented a meaning of our own?

Let’s look at those words in the Scripture to understand, first of all, what a meek and quiet spirit is, and then, how that kind of a heart will affect the whole of our lives.

Meekness is not a word that just describes what a woman is to be.  The word, in actuality, describes what every Christian should be.

  • Moses was described as a very meek man, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).
  • Jesus said of Himself:  I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
  • In His teachings, Jesus Himself declared: Blessed are the meek:  for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
  • The wise man who is endued with knowledge is described as a man whose behavior demonstrates the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13).

We can readily see, then, that meekness is a quality that should be possessed by all Christians.

What, then, does this word meekness include?  Meekness is referred to in 1 Peter 3:4 as being in the hidden man of the heart.  It is an inward quality – something hidden – hidden deep within the Christian heart.

The heart of meekness knows of a certainty that God’s dealings with us are good.  The Scripture declares:  If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?  Therefore, meekness does not resist, meekness does not fret, meekness does not worry, and meekness does not dispute.  It is a heart that is settled upon both the goodness and the power of God, upon both the love and the might of God.  It simply trusts God to do as He wills, according to His good pleasure.  This quality of meekness should be evident in all of God’s people.

Quietness will, of a necessity, accompany meekness.  Because meekness dwells in the hidden man of the heart, quietness will result in that life.

Does this mean that the meek person will never speak?  Although meekness will certainly affect the way that one speaks and the extent to which one speaks, the primary meaning of this word does not deal so much with speaking as with the demeanor of one’s life.  With a heart that is settled and resting in God’s goodness and His control of every situation, a calm assurance will be exhibited in any and all situations.  To grasp an understanding of the word quietness, we will again return to the Scriptures.  (Note: The word that is underlined in each reference is the same word translated as quietness.)

  • We are instructed to pray for leaders and those in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:2).
  • We are commanded and exhorted by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:12).
  • Again, we are exhorted to study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11).  This verse has the meaning of:  Make it your aim to exhibit this calm, undisturbed demeanor.
  • Listen to the same word used in Acts 21:14:  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”  One can hear the heart resting in God’s will.
  • Again, listen to this same word used, though translated in a different way: And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

The word quietness seems to carry with it a meaning of:  undisturbed, peaceful, calm rest.  Think back to the word meekness.  Can you see how easily these two words go together?

As we join the meaning of these two words, we find a meek and quiet spirit to be that inward heart attitude that is assured of God’s love and control and rests peacefully in Him, no matter the circumstances.

As we look back to 1 Peter 3:1-6, we find the context of this passage to be for the woman who has a husband that does not obey the Word.  What is to be her heart attitude?  Should we see a fretting heart, a resisting heart, or a complaining spirit?  According to the truth of the Word of God, no.

On the contrary, we should see a woman who, by her pure and chaste behavior, adorns the doctrine of Christ so that her Lord may be seen in her life.  From that meekness and quietness that is within, comes a calm outward demeanor, fully trusting in her God.

Did you notice that 1 Peter 3 began with the word likewise?  That word is saying that just like what has been previously described, she should exhibit the same attitude.

Look back into 1 Peter 2:18-20.  Wouldn’t a servant with a harsh master also have to possess a meek and quiet spirit to respond in a godly manner?

Then read on – in verses 21-24, we see the wonderful example of that meek and quiet spirit demonstrated by Christ Himself as He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously.

And for our final thought – Do not think that meekness and quietness will only be exhibited in the husband and wife relationship.  In all circumstances of life, and in every situation that arises, the Christian woman should find her heart resting in the goodness and the power of God.

From this meek heart will flow an undisturbed peace and calm that will be exhibited in her life.

Truly a meek and quiet spirit is an adornment that is precious in the sight of God!

It is evidence of simple faith, trusting in the Faithful One.

The above post was first printed in Dawning Light © 2002.

Rachel’s Story: A Difficult Husband

How in the world can I live with this man?  He is so overbearing, so contrary, and downright impossible.  Those were the thoughts that continually ran through my mind.  My husband was never physically abusive, but he was so sarcastic, so  negative, and so critical that I was emotionally spent.  I had arrived at the place where I was constantly stressed.  I cringed when I heard his car drive up in the driveway.  I did love him, but I certainly did not like him most of the time.  I settled into a place of knowing and expecting his disapproval of most things that I did or said.  In every situation that arose, it was “his way or no way.”  Although we had been married for several years, I was ready to give up and get out.  It was then that The Lord intervened.

The Lord began to show me that too often Christians expect things to be easy.  The Lord never says that life will be easy.  Many times, in fact, we are placed in difficult situations so that He can, not only grow us, but also shine through us, all for His glory.  Such was what I came to understand.

Through the years of our marriage, I had learned to lean on The Lord often.  I had learned to forgive often, yet I still struggled.  I would often cry out to The Lord to show me how to cope.

One thing that I had learned in my life was to turn to the Bible to find answers.  And that is exactly what I did.  I began to study marriage, as God addressed it in His Word.  Over and over, I kept coming to the same truth – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.  But over and over, I responded the same way – Lord, You just don’t know how difficult he is.  This is just not possible for me.

Time and again, I would read the same truth – Wives, be subject to your own husbands.  And time and again I would tell The Lord why this would not work for us.  I had convinced myself that I was the exception to the rule.  It just wouldn’t work in my marriage because no one knew how he was.

I am sure that I had read these scriptures before, but one day I came to 1 Peter 3 in a whole new way.  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.  I sat in absolute amazement!  The truth was the same, but for the first time, I saw us right in the middle of that verse – that if any obey not the word.  Right there! That described my husband perfectly.  I always battled back and forth in my mind as to whether my husband was an unsaved man or an unspiritual man, but either way he definitely did not obey the word.  That was us, a perfect description of us.

But the astounding truth was that the wife was commanded to submit just as any other wife.  The truth captivated me!  I went back to that verse day after day, and it seemed that little by little The Lord opened the scripture to me.  Just because I had a difficult husband gave me no excuse.  I heard over and over – Even if he is difficult, submit anyway!

Then, on one of my return trips to that verse the word likewise caught my attention.  Likewise, I thought: Like what?  Like the scriptures that preceded this one.  So I backed up to the previous verses.  Here is what I found:

We are commanded to submit to governmental authorities – even if they are difficult ones.  (1 Peter 2:13-17)

We are commanded to submit to our masters (bosses) – even if they are difficult. (1 Peter 2:18-20)

Then, we are given the ultimate example – Jesus Himself, when He was mistreated.  And what a perfect and precious example (1 Peter 2:21-23).

He did not sin in return when He was sinned against.

No evil was found in His words.

When He was spoken to in a harsh way, He did not speak harshly in return.

When He suffered, He did not threaten in return.

But this is the thing that He did do: He committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.

Words cannot describe what that word LIKEWISE came to mean to me!  I was supposed to respond just as my Lord had responded.

Humbled, I fell to my knees crying out for The Lord to help me be submissive to my difficult husband.

But The Lord wasn’t finished teaching me yet.  Without a word …. Without a word … Without a word!  I was to submit to him.  No arguing. No complaining.  No whining.  Even when, and especially when, he was difficult, I was to submit, with a good attitude, but without a word!  It was to be my behavior, just as it was Jesus’ behavior that spoke!  How much I had to learn.  The Lord wanted to use me as an example to my husband, right in the midst of the difficulty.  Oh, how I would need the grace of God to walk here.

But this is exactly where I did walk, by God’s amazing grace.  I did not walk here perfectly, but it did become the pattern of my life.  Attempting, from the heart, to walk in obedience, with a meek and quiet spirit, I was enabled to arrange my life under my husband, even in the difficult times.  I walked right here for many years! And years later, an incredible thing happened.  God saved my husband!  I praise God for His intervention into our marriage.

There is one further thing that I would like to share.  Some while later my husband was asked to give a devotion to some young men.  He prepared his devotion privately, and I never knew what he said.  But one day, years later as I was cleaning and sorting some files, there I found a notepad with his notes from that devotion.  And there it was!  I had never shared 1 Peter 3 with him, but there it was!  He had begun his devotion with 1 Peter 3, and gave his testimony of how The Lord had worked through my behavior.

I held that notepad tightly to my chest, and cried and cried and cried!  In a mighty way, I had learned that God is so real, and He is faithful to His Word!

May I encourage you … No matter how difficult the situation, don’t leave God out of the picture.  Don’t refuse or argue with the only thing that can help you.  Don’t rationalize truth away.  I had made every one of those mistakes!

Go to His Word.  Hear Him! Cling tightly to what He says, especially in the difficulties! And trust Him with the results!  He is faithful!

I had wondered how in the world I could live with this man.  Now, I knew how!  It had taken me years to learn, but now I knew!  Even today, all I can say is: Thank You, Lord!

Peanuts on the Porch

imageIt was a Friday evening.  My husband had gotten home before me.  I could hear him bumping around out on the back porch.  Curious about what he was doing, I stepped to the door, and I could see him arranging things outside. Now, even more curious, I went out to where he was.  I had to smile.  Do you know what he was doing?

My husband was out on the porch preparing for a “porch date”!  I stood there admiring him for a few moments, thinking back on a multitude of memories – memories that wouldn’t really mean much to anyone else, but ones that meant so much to me.

I reflected on how our “porch dates” began. What has become a tradition for us began in the earlier years of our marriage when, quite frankly, we had no money to go on a real date. Although both of us had college degrees, my husband had chosen to start a small construction and remodeling business, and together, we had made the decision that I would homeschool our son.  These two decisions meant that both of us would leave well-paying jobs for the unknown!  By faith, we did exactly that!

The benefits for our family is a story of its own, but it was during this time, when we had so little money, that we learned how to plan simple (and cheap) family time and date time.  “Porch dates” were an unexpected outgrowth of these lessons learned.

“Porch dates” were simple.  We would set aside time, just for us, to sit on the back porch, have a simple snack, and just talk with one another.  That’s it! That’s all!  Just uninterrupted time for one another. (We didn’t even answer the phone if it rang!)  The best thing about the porch dates was how much each of us looked forward to that uninterrupted time!

But that day, as I watched him prepare the porch, pulling up the chairs and ottomans,  it became even more special.  He had taken the time to prepare one of my favorite snacks – boiled peanuts! For those of you who may never have heard of boiled peanuts, they are prepared by boiling newly harvested peanuts while they are still “green”.  This manner of serving peanuts, rather than roasting or parching, is a very “Southern” thing!

You may wonder why boiled peanuts are so special to me. I gained a love for boiled peanuts as a child.  I was raised in southeast Louisiana, and my grandparents farmed there.  When they harvested the peanuts, they would boil them, and we thought they were delicious!  My grandmother would also bag and freeze them for later.  I loved to go to my grandmother’s, mostly because she had time for us.  And a part of those memorable times included the boiled peanuts!  Interestingly enough, on some of our recent camping trips when we were able to take our grandchildren along, what do you suppose we brought?  You guessed it – boiled peanuts!  I only hope that I can create as many loving memories for my grandchildren as my grandmother did for me.

Why do I share these seemingly insignificant memories with you?  I share them to encourage you to cherish family traditions and maybe to start a few of your own.

I also encourage you to plan your own style of simple dates with your husband.  Recall something that you both enjoyed together in the past, and do it again, and again, and again!  It might just become your favorite tradition.  You know, even though, now we can afford dinner out, sometimes we prefer just to have a “porch date”, instead!

I’m thinking that this weekend I will plan our “porch date”.  David loves to sit by the fire barrel.  I think I will get chips and salsa, or maybe popcorn and lemonade, or I might get a little extravagant and make s’mores by the fire.  Who knows?  It might just turn out as special as peanuts on the porch!

Vanessa’s Story: God’s Faithfulness to the Single Woman

Sharing Your Story, one of the components of Wisdom and Kindness, provides a place for women to anonymously share their stories.  This category was developed with the ultimate intent of emphasizing God’s faithfulness, even in the difficulties and struggles of life. Each story is true. Each story is anonymously written.  Each story is written to proclaim the hope that is found in The Lord! May The Lord bless!

Vanessa’s Story – God’s Faithfulness to the Single Woman

Being single in a world where couples are “the norm” is not very easy and can present challenges in life.  It seems that everywhere you look there are couples or pairs in some form or fashion.  There are couples sitting together in restaurants, church services, ballgames, or other events.  Then there are the challenges that continually remind you that you are doing something by yourself.  For example, there is the waitress who asks:  Table for just one?  There are hotel rate packages based on double-occupancy.  And there are actually increased rates or up-charges for a single person going on a cruise alone!  Add this to the well-meaning people who are not satisfied that you have not married yet.  It takes a cultivated strength to keep a smile on your face when you are asked many times over:  So when are you going to get married? Are you seeing anyone?  It is easy to feel left out, like the “odd-ball” or that you are swimming upstream.

But, there is the upside!  I love the freedom I have to be impulsive and make plans at the spur of a moment.  My time is my own.  There is no coordination of schedules before accepting invitations to attend various events.  There is no one with whom to compromise on what I should cook for dinner or what color the house should be painted.  There is no one to get aggravated at me if I choose not to clean the house but rather spend the day visiting friends or family.  Yes, there are definite advantages that I certainly enjoy being single.

I love good food, trying new restaurants, and traveling.  Many people would never eat at a restaurant, tour a museum, or take a vacation alone.  They would choose to stay home.  But I had determined a long time ago that I would never let my single state prevent me from doing something that I really wanted to do.  I want to live life and not miss great opportunities because I feel funny doing things by myself or because I can’t find someone to go with me.  So, with a good book in hand, I’ll eat at a restaurant and enjoy a great meal.  With a prayer for protection, I’ll visit sites, museums and open air memorials in places like Washington DC, Paris, Monterey and others!  Over time, a certain independence, strength, and confidence is built within. Not an independence from God, but a healthy independence and confidence that was given by God.

So, have I ever felt lonely, or like an “odd-ball”, or confused and pained about being single?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY.  Singleness is not something I expected or desired.  There are not many days that my single state does not come to mind.  Sometimes it is as a fleeting thought, but other times it is more than that.  Often I review my life to figure out where I went wrong.  Was it always intended for me to be single? Did the wrong decisions I made earlier in life lead me to this place?  Or does God have someone in mind for me?  Occasionally it has been a weight sitting on my chest making me feel that I am being smothered.

And then there is Satan.  My enemy has used this vulnerability to drag me into a pit of depression that I’ve stayed in for weeks at a time.  These are dark days of deep pain.  The thoughts he has spoken to my mind have been vicious, demeaning, and have ultimately caused me to question the goodness of my God.  It has brought me to the edge of resentfulness and bitterness.  It has caused me to consider quitting the Christian journey of walking in obedience to Christ.  But deep down, I have a reverential fear of taking my life into my own hands and choosing my own way.  Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  I do not want to put myself outside the umbrella of God’s favor, blessing, and protection.  With that in mind, I reach deep and by faith alone start climbing out of the pit.  That is where God’s Word comes in.  What a precious Book!  Never has the Word of God been so real to me than when I am hurting and searching for relief.  God has been so faithful to me through His Word by healing me, nourishing me, and defending me against this enemy.  It has been my salvation and stronghold in times of discouragement, confusion, and pain.  Once I recognized the attacks of Satan in my life, I began using the weapon of the Word against Him.  James 4:7 says for us to …resist the devil and he will flee from you. Second Corinthians10:4 says: casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.  First Peter 5:9 says: whom resist steadfast in the faith.   I used these scriptures to resist the attacks that would come upon my mind and emotions.  It worked.  The Word of God works.

So, how has God been faithful to me in practical, everyday matters?  Well, He has blessed me with a great job with which I am able to support myself very well.  Finances can be a challenge for a single woman.  From the earliest days of my career, God has opened doors of opportunity, promoted me, given me favor with my superiors, and granted me the knowledge and understanding to do a job well.   Any time I start to get bored, a new project would be assigned to me.  I have also been able to travel, meet people, and make friends in new locations.  He alone has done this – not me.  I truly marvel at His blessing to me in this area.  I tell people that God handed me this job on a silver platter.  Many women have a husband with a good job.  But in my case, God has provided me with a good job.

Many may think that you have to live a sub-standard life as a single woman, but that is not so.  God has always given me “the best”, it seems, in many facets of my life.  I love Psalm 32:19 which says: O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee.  One of the words for “goodness” in the Hebrew language is “the best”.  The word “laid up” in this verse means “to hide, hoard, or reserve.”  What a great picture!  I can just see God reserving all of these wonderful blessings specifically for me.  An example of this is the opportunity to build a house.  Several options were considered, such as renting an apartment or buying an existing home, but things never seemed to work out.  God put it in my heart to buy land and build a house and that is what I did.  This was “the best” that God was giving me.  Although I was very intimidated taking on such a major investment on my own, I foraged ahead asking for God’s continued help and guidance throughout the whole process.  I was able to select flooring, countertops, and paint color without considering anyone else’s opinion!

I have a great family that loves me and accepts me as single.  I have wonderful friends, both single and married, with whom I can fellowship.  These friends are ones who make me feel valued for who I am at this point in time, not ones that try to “fix me” because something is “wrong” with me.  These people are a great blessing and I thank God for each one.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the opportunity to serve the true and living God.  Being single does provide the advantage of being able to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer to receive instruction, guidance, and knowledge.  He has put a hunger in me to learn more about Him.  God has been faithful to use me in His Kingdom’s work by providing me the opportunity to study and teach others.  I’ve been able to encourage others on an individual basis, counsel them, and point them to the Word of God.  I’ve been able to sow seeds in the lives of unbelievers.  To Him alone be the glory.

I realize there are many views about being single.  Some believe it is a dreaded curse and fear it.  Others wished they were single again.  Although I do not understand the why’s and wherefore’s of remaining single, my desire is to make the most of it and please Him.  Psalm 37:4 says: Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  The word “delight” actually means to be “soft” or “pliable.”  My encouragement for single women is to be soft and pliable under the hand of God.  Surrender yourself to God and ask Him to put HIS desires in your heart.  He will fulfill the desires He puts there when we surrender to Him.