Todays post is one I have wanted to write for a while but it has taken quite a bit of courage to actually get round to it. I’ve been afraid that I would offend people, come across as really condescending and open myself up to criticism, I am also not sure that I really know enough to be giving any kind of advice and often think who I am to write these things? But this topic has stayed on my heart for a while now and I have found myself unintentionally talking to multiple women about it and so I feel like it is actually something I really want to say. Be warned – I am about to get onto the extremely messy and difficult topic that is christian relationships, feel free to click off now!
It was another lovely evening with a friend watching a film when, as is always the way with women, we got onto the topic of relationships and boys. She began to tell me about this boy she had liked and things had gone backwards and forwards and she just wasn’t sure what to do. She had started to lose hope of her dreams of finding her knight in shining armour, a prince who would sweep her off her feet and began to wonder if actually the best thing was to simply settle. She felt lonely and scared faced with the prospect of a future alone. What if she did wait for Mr Right and he never came along? What if those men she sees in films or reads in books are simply fiction and actually if you wait for that you will end up alone year after year? What if this was really the best should could get, should she just grab it like a life raft and not let go? As I listened my heart ached for her, I knew what she was feeling, I had felt it for years myself and although this may be hard to take from some one about to get married, I really did understand where she was coming from and she certainly wasn’t the first woman to speak like this to me. And so I told her what I’ve told lots of my friends and what I now want to tell you.
Firstly there is no shame in those feelings of loneliness and what you may perceive as desperateness, we as women were created by God to be in relationship with Him and with man. If we go back to Genesis 2:18 we see God says “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper for him”. God created us with the amazing capacity to love one another and no matter how introverted a person you are we need human contact, we need relationships be they friendship, family or romantic. As a woman the desire to love a man and be his wife is nothing to be ashamed of. Our culture today tells you to be a strong independent woman and to push people away in order to climb to the top but this is not how God created us. I believe God created us as equal partners in life, equal but different with different roles to play, and I also believe that a woman should have the chance to do anything she wants to, but loving a man as your husband doesn’t take any of that away. It is okay to want to have a husband and children because that is how God created us women to be. Now let me get this straight, some women are most certainly called to singleness and God uses them in amazing ways the same way he uses married women to do amazing things and have fantastic careers or to do amazing things as a stay at home wife and mother. God uses every woman differently as he made us uniquely but do not let yourself be taken in by the lie of our culture that being a strong, courageous woman means you can’t have a beautiful marriage and enjoy love with a man.
Secondly, because God created you to be His fantastic, beautiful, intelligent daughter it is so important that the man you choose is the one God has designed for you. God sees his daughters as princesses, daughters of the King and so only the best will do. All those fairytales you read as a little girl were most likely in the beginning of their creation based on the bible as every story in the world ever is and those fantastic Princes Charming’s your read about they really do exist. I had a lot of relationships during my teenage years, I was quite an unhappy little girl desperate to be loved and cared for, I know now that what I was actually searching for was God but I sought to fill the void with relationships with unsuitable guys who really didn’t deserve me. They didn’t treat me how I should have been treated, there was little interest in my intelligence, my thoughts, my dreams and a lot of disrespect of my body and feelings. After my 6th relationship ended, almost a year and a half after it began, I had finally had enough. I was left so broken, damaged and hurt that I vowed never again would I have another relationship. But I belong to a God of unmeasurable redeeming love and he found me in my pain, he held me in his arms and he nursed me back to health. I was nervous and terrified of men and their power but He took care of me, He showed me that love and relationships could be beautiful and that pain wasn’t the only outcome. He also showed me the importance of not settling as I had before but to take the time to wait for some one He had designed for me.
Months turned to years and I began to have the feelings of what if, what if this was all there was? What if this guy who I went for a drink with and wasn’t that great was all I would ever get? I became a bit desperate and felt very alone but God said trust me, I have a plan for you and so I did. Two years of singleness, of rebuilding my strength and my capability to love again, I came to university and vowed that a year of singleness was best for a fresher. I think it was another way of protecting myself from rejection and so when I walked into church in my first week and met Russell (my fiance) it was a bit of a shock to say the least. I had dreams of my perfect guy as I know many of you girls will have done, where I created every last detail of him, I wanted him to be funny, Christian, kind, generous, Scottish and ginger, I wanted him to be intelligent and to respect me and want to talk to me about intellectual things as well as ridiculous ones. I wanted to travel with him, go to museums with him, cook with him, have children with him and love God with him. I felt this was all probably never going to happen but I dreamed him up anyway, and then there he was, right in front of me at my new church.
I don’t say this boast but to prove that your perfect guy isn’t just a fantasy. I had dreamed of this guy for so long but the person God gave was so much more than I ever could have imagined. He loved me more deeply then I thought could be possible and drew out all of the hidden secret depths of my heart. It was completely terrifying but unutterably beautiful and exactly what God had intended for me all along. I was finally “courted” in the way I always should have been, he took me on walks through the cobbled streets of Oxford at night so we could talk for hours on end about anything and everything, he was careful to respect me and my body and never make me feel like his interest was in anything other than me as a person, he was patient and kind not wanting to rush things and always conscious of my feelings and when we kissed it was always as an added extra to our relationship never the number one goal. He treated me and has continued to treat me like a princess.
And so my lovely sisters in Christ I ask that you trust our amazing father, do not lose hope, do not settle for second best. The husband God wants you to have should treasure you above everything else in this world, if you are wondering what husband material looks like look at Ephesians 5:25-30 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” That is how he should love you, he should be willing to lay down his life for you, he should always point you towards Christ, respect you and your body above anything else and put your purity before his own desires. Please do not give up hope, please don’t give your time and your heart to some one who will not look after it. If God wants you to be a wife he will give you some one so amazing that you will sit back and wonder how on earth you got so lucky. Trust him as it says in Isaiah “I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it” in His time He will make it happen. I know we have all probably been told the famous Song of Solomon verse a hundred times – I know I have – but it really is true and I am going to add it in here just as a reminder that love shouldn’t be forced but you should let it come in its own time.
“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” Song of Solomon 8:4
Always remember that God loves you no matter what you’ve done or who you’ve been with and that He knows you inside out so trust him to know when you are ready for the right guy to come along.