Marriage: Who Has Majority Stake?

Is marriage solely for our own enjoyment, benefit, and pleasure? Or could it be that marriage is a crucial component in God’s strategy for reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus?

Who “owns” the institution fo marriage? Are our marriages really “ours” to do whatever we want with: to save, maintain, improve, throw away, and abandon? Or does God possibly have any say in how our marriages end up? What if He does have the majority stake in all marriages, especially Christian ones? Like any other property owned by someone else, if I’m entrusted with the responsibility to care for that property, then it matters what I choose to do or not do with it when it is in my care.” Get Married for Christ’s Sake, Kenny Jackson

Are U Ready
                                                         Are U Ready (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So this is the opening statement of Chapter 1 and I had to stop for a moment.

If God does in fact have majority stake in our marriages, it stands to reason that our preparation should be determined by His purpose for marriage in the first place. And if marriage is something He puts in our care He must ensure that I am ready, capable and responsible enough to be entrusted with it. Les may be right, if I’m still single maybe it is because I’m just not ready for God’s marriage.

Life Challenge:

  • Hold my definition and expectations of marriage up against the Word of God to check whether God and I are singing from the same hymn sheet.

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Unpolished Gems

Gone are the days when we as women could roll out our 6ft long papyrus scrolls listing the qualities, characteristics, idiosyncrasies, height, tactility and shape of eyebrows…#@/!? of the dream husband. Gone are the days when ‘good Church girls’ could always expect to find or be found by ‘good Church boys’ in Church.

One wise person said, ‘If you keep doing the same thing in the same way but keep expecting different results – you are as mad as a hatter.’ (paraphrased)

Rather, we are in an age in which as girls we must be prepared to be both ‘prospector and refiner‘ while you outnumbered boys don’t need to worry about such things. It’s a ‘cash and carry’ world for you guys. So while we invest our time refining ourselves, identifying our strengths, weaknesses, skills and gifts and while we calculate what we have to bring to a relationship, we must also be aware that most men are boys…until they have to grow up and even then they often only do that when they meet Ms. Right and ‘suddenly’ they want to be ‘better’ men…or they finally connect with their divine assignment.

beforeCutting_Gems

If that is really the case , we must put away our fairy-tale desires and embrace the reality of things.  When it all comes down to it, I need refining, you need refining and yes…you the wonderful Mr. Could-Be-Right, will quite likely need refining. If Yahweh, the eternal God who could perfect us in a blink has opted to use 6000 years to perfect a Bride for His Son, what makes us think we shouldn’t have to help with the polishing where our spouse is concerned?

So let’s add a pinch of salt to those mighty lists and focus instead on refining ‘self’ both spiritually and physically and be intentional about our willingness to see beyond what our natural eyes can see. Beneath every unpolished gem is a potentially great prize.

afterCutting_Gems

And if as ‘girls we are faithful to re-order our thinking, we would be better able to ensure that we stand out, not just because of all the curves, swirls and …pearls adorning us but more for the true beauties we are within.

Sparks!

Is He/She Interested?

Found this article on FB and thought I’d do a self-assessment…dissection? Anyhow, the purple bits will be my take:

  • She tells you. Eventually
  • Pay attention to body language.  If she leans into you, or if she is kind of side ways to you.  If she is leaning into you, she’s interested. Naturally attentive but not necessarily interested in you as a potential ‘beau’… If she is sideways, she is creating distance.  Purse on the table in the restaurant is putting an object between you two, thus causing space.  When dancing, if she is creating arms length space, she isn’t into you. – I’m being my ‘usual’ shy, reserved self. Yes! I said SHY. What?
  • If she is nosy and asks many questions about you, and your life, she is totally into you. – or is intentional about investing her time wisely…hence the investigation…’interest’.
  • You’re not that funny, but she laughs at everything you say.  She is totally into you. – or she is over-stimulated on caffeine (dutch courage) or genuinely doesn’t want you to feel embarrassed that the date is a bum.
  • She always has time for you.  She’s into you. – yeah, or she’s just a naturally kind, patience, longsuffering and caring person. Don’t be pessimistic…she’s into you…
  • She never leaves you hanging, or a call/text message/posting unanswered.  She answers right away.  She’s into you. until you see this message, ‘SERVICE ERROR 305:MESSAGE DELIVERY FAILED. FURTHER MESSAGES WILL BE CHARGED TO YOUR ACCOUNT.’
  • On a date, she twirls her hair, or a necklace, or plays with a button on her blouse, she is into you. – she could be bored or nervous?!
  • She has empathy for you when something goes array, or something bothers you.  She has feelings for you, and wants to show it. – or she has a pastoral anointing and is just naturally a caring, empathic person.
  • She mothers in a small way.  She wants to care for you, and so she is into you. – …sigh…maybe. Nurses care for you.
  • She goes to the restroom a lot on your date.  She is making sure she looks her best for you. – or she is limiting the amount of time she has to sit in front of you…laughing at your jokes. No, I don’t mean to be nasty, I’m being honest. Come on now, don’t leave me standing here on my own!
  • She gives you undivided attention.  No cell calls or texts when with you. – She learnt a long time ago to treat people as you would like to be treated.
  • She compliments you, encourages you, and sends appreciation your way.  She’s into you. – …kind, honest, considerate of other people’s feelings.
  • She bats her eyelashes and smiles a lot.  She’s into you. – that sounds more like it…are those false lashes getting in her eyes? No? She may be into you beau, wooohooo!
  • She seems like she doesn’t want the date to end, she will kind of be blusy when it is time to wrap it up.  She wants to spend more time with you.  She is into you. – There’s nothing interesting on tv at 8:30pm so why not? But it’s quite likely she enjoys being with you…this time round.
  • She finds ways to touch you.  A bump, touching your shirt and complimenting it, talking and touching you as she talks. – gotcha! Woohooo! If she does that to everyone, she could be…a socialTourette’.
  • She asks questions about things you like to do so she can see herself doing those things with you.  Future thinking. – Intentionally assessing how much time to invest. So we have anything in common? Is this worth pursuing?
  • Online.  There aren’t too many of your posts that she doesn’t comment on. -Assessment…curiousity…maybe enchantment.
  • Online.  She goes the extra effort and posts on your wall, or personal blog space. – you could be in for a chance.
CatnipComic070_Colour

CatnipComic070_Colour (Photo credit: Catnip Cat by Jeff Hoyle)

No, this is not about me trying to discourage any lovely folk from believing and/or using these tips. I’m merely pointing out that people are…well, people! We are seldom ‘cookie-cutter-cute’ and seldom do we adhere to set rules of emotional conduct just because there is a statistic in the ether.

My addition to this would be to listen carefully to both the spoken words and the silences. I believe it is unwise to try to fit people into boxes because we then set ourselves up for disappointment. We all know what roses look like but if we were to assume that ALL roses look-alike in their detail and smell alike, we would miss countless varieties of roses on the assumption that ‘we know that one already’.

It is my opinion therefore that you add wisdom, prayer and a pound or two of common sense when trying to assess an individual and even so, it is time alone that will reveal the truth. As much as we all wish God in His infinite wisdom would take ‘counsel’ and hand us a manual for guaranteed success in these matters, the bottom line is we can never really know the heart of anyone. Not by statistics, assessment nor even the things they say.

That’s why it is so important to enter in with both eyes wide open, a heart submitted to God’s wisdom, a willingness to wait, check and double-check and even then employ the wisdom of a multitude of good counsel. You would be amazed how skilled some are at deception until you are almost in too deep.

Selah!

Find or Be Found

According to the website Single Season there are quite a few places I can expect to find or be found so I figure what the heck, let’s have a good look. So here is the list, does it get you thinking? Oh by the way, the purple inserts are mine…

  1. Airport Lounge – I’m not a frequent flyer yet so unless I get a job at the an Airport that’s out.
  2. Art gallery uhm… enhance my appreciation of art or fine some sort of art I can honestly gush over.
  3. Barbershop (take a young brother/nephew) – aah…uhm…
  4. Birthday parties –
  5. Book club – uhm…Do men read…much? Honestly, I don’t know. If so, what kinds of books would be enjoyable or informative for both genders? Really. Business…technical books? Books about sports? Fishing? Cars? Boys Toys? Ok…I’m naive.
  6. Bookstore – Been to Floyd’s, London numerous times. A few Dads and Grand Dads…!? Don’t do married men nor …well. Doesn’t seem promising, especially since Amazon and Kindle. Bad Amazon!!!
  7. Business events/networking uhm, Ok…sharpen my networking skills.
  8. Careers fair – ?
  9. Charitable service – Currently spend waaay, too much time in Church meetings, committees, community planning meetings and the male:female ratio is the same…oh with lots of married and/or Older men…with a capital Oh!
  10. Christenings – sigh…
  11. Church – Home congregation has a ratio problem and Church Trawling ‘me no likey-likey’. I want to be where I’m suppose to be, doing what I’m suppose to be doing at the time I’m suppose to be doing it and just be found! After all, God knows where I live!!! This idea is great for men though…calling all men!
  12. Church conferences/events (at other churches too) – I work too hard…I knew it! I’m always the busy bee among all the other busy bees getting the job done and darn it, I always forget to (a) check for the r
    Search Privacy

    Search Privacy (Photo credit: mushon)

    ing (b) smile more (c) work with one eye open! Note to self – Multi-task!

  13. Church ministry team – Didn’t I just say their was a ratio issue… aha! I’ll join CVM and try to get my congregation to volunteer as party hosts for the Pentecost Festival. #1 is no good for me…but I just started following them on twitter…Oh the sacrifices I make for my virtual journey buddies. And #2, local missions, Church networking and way more important is the potential to reach men…at least for the next generation…uhm, maybe.
  14. Coffee shop – How many Hot Chocolates would I have to daintily sip on before you Sir, walk across and ask if you may join me?
  15. Comedy club – not really feeling the feasibility of this one…while I’m rolling on the floor, holding my belly, gasping for air and mopping up my tears…but it could work.
  16. Commute to work – Same journey everyday at about the same time. Beloved Nana and her hubby making their daily trip for a stint of shopping or to pick up their pension; Mums with their small, medium or large ‘bundles of joy’, students and lots of guys with their trousers below their bums…!>@%&~)#? I think I need to move, don’t you? Oh, and there’s that one-legged guy with his dog. But hey now…don’t be picky!
  17. Engagement parties – Note to Self: Find new friends who are getting engaged ‘soonest’.
  18. Evening classes (i.e. photography, cooking, accounting, dance) – Accounting, done! Prospects, none!
  19. Finance seminars – uhm, promising. But would a guy try to pick up a girl while admittedly needing to attend a finance seminar…possibly under the cover of darkness? Just kidding. Sounds workable.
  20. Gospel concerts – I feel like ‘Country Mouse’ now. How many Gospel Concerts do I really need to go to in one lifetime? Besides, who goes to these things with ‘scope him out, catch his eye, somehow get him to ask for my number’ as their primary agenda or does it require a skilled ‘Halle-may-I-have-your-number-please-lujah’? Gain new skills!
  21. Hairdressers (take a young sister/niece) – Possibly a fab idea for non-UK residents but us UK-ites are ‘blessed’ with a predominantly female:male ratio in Hairdressing. So unless…ahem…
  22. Health food store – So here’s my shopping list: psyllium husk, vitamin a-z?, 1 born-again tall, dark & handsome, rye bread, tea tree oil, an engagement ring and soy milk. How’s that?
  23. Library – shhhh! No talking.
  24. Gyms – Ok…I’m gonna join the gym. It’s my New Year’s Resolution for 2014. Promise.
  25. Supermarket – ‘Would you pass me that ‘Home Alone’ dvd from the top rack please? So, do you come here often?’ Yes, we sell dvds in our supermarkets, don’t you?
  26. Local town meeting – oooh…not one more meeting…groan.
  27. Lunch breaks (get away from the office) – Note to Self: Cancel Desk-date.
  28. Museum –  Been…done…t-shirt…families…grands a plenty.
  29. Online dating sites – I’ve only seen one that says ‘Christian’ that actually seem to have ‘real’ Christian men on it. Maybe it’s just me. Check out Christian Connections.
  30. Opera – Les Miserable! I believe you should never begin something you don’t want in your life…longterm!
  31. Professional Dating service – Isn’t this just available to Asians and/or Muslims? Scratching head… Research!
  32. School reunion – oooooh…3 steps forward, 15 back?
  33. Sports (i.e. Tennis or Golf club) – Fab for sports fanatics. Note to Self: Love Sports! It’s good for you.
  34. Sports events (i.e. baseball, football) – ….uhm Les Miserable!!! If I love him then I…’ll try reeeally hard to love his sports. Until then, no thanks.
  35. Support groups – ‘…sniffle, sob, sob…’. What kind o f support group lends itself to dating? Ponder! AA…Stop Smoking…Drug Rehab…Grieve Counselling…oy!
  36. Technology event – I don’t know my jpeg from my Drupal so this could work. Calling all Teachers! (Males Please…did I say Christian?)
  37. Theatre – This is a really long list. Something here should work.
  38. Volunteer work – Since I’m doing a lot of these things I should be hitched already, no?
  39. Walking/Public transportation (instead of driving) – tick
  40. Walks in the park – families…couples…dog-loving (read ‘kissy-kissy-dog-loving’) walkers… Find new park!
  41. Weddings – Find new friends who are getting married…or Gate Crash!
  42. Wine tasting evening – Develop an appreciation for alcohol.
  43. Word of Mouth – The boys don’t talk…they already have an abundance of choices. The girls? We all have the same problem. Mum, Grand, Dad…oy! The stress is already too great.

I truly hope you feel encouraged by this list. You now have 43 more chances of finding…or being found.

As for me, I’m getting some books and moving to Mars!
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Vacancy: Apply Within!

Vacancy

Vacancy (Photo credit: EricMagnuson)

“Have you ever been for a job interview? When you went to try and find a job, did you walk in there arrogant and proud thinking, “Well, I’m really going to grill these people to make sure that they give me the right kind of benefits that I want”?

 “Did you walk in there with a full list of questions that you wanted to ask your prospective employer, and you were planning to hit him, one after the other, until he bowed to you and said, “Okay I will give you what you want!”? Single No More pg. 19

So according to Les, when there is a ‘vacancy’ in your life for a spouse, this is not the way to do it!

You need to ask the following questions but certainly  not in an ‘interrogative-floodlights shining in their eyes-potential spouse mentally tied to a chair-hooked up to a live wire with questions flying at ever-increasing speed’ sort of way. For some peculiar reason potential spouses just don’t seem to like this approach very much. Go figure!

Please check out the following questions to see whether they fell from your lips in your last ‘first encounter’.

  1. So… what’s your profession? or
  2. What qualifications do you have?
  3. Where do you work?
  4. Do you enjoy your job?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years…in 5-10 years?
  6. How do you feel about children…pets…discipling children…?
  7. Who do you think should discipline ‘our’ children?
  8. Do you prefer city life or living in the country?
  9. How do you feel about adoption?
  10. Do you agree that a woman’s place is in the home?
  11. Do you think a man should foot all the household bills?
  12. How do you feel about a woman being the higher earner in a marriage?

Well…after that I can’t think of anything to say. Can you?

DivineSparks

Oh…oh, How much do you earn?

Aaaaaaaaaah…! Romance

Just saw this and just had to share it. I think it’s ‘muy romantique’…don’t know what language that’s suppose to be but it works for me.

All happiness, blessing and love to the lovely couple.
Watch it and aaaaaaah!

Eternal Bridegroom

Amidst the clutter of life, it is easy to forget that all the beauty we see, all that we call true LIFE and all the best things we pursue are merely shadows of the heart of our God and King. It is He who is the best and greatest prize and the first and the absolute Bridegroom worth pursuing. It is for Him that mankind was made.

Six Thousand years of life upon the earth, of struggles both spiritual and natural, uphill climbs and valleys low and all of this because the great God who needs nothing desires to lavish His love upon a people. A people who would, through good times or bad, of their own free will embrace His friendship and eternal love; that they would have and maintain a heart-connect with Him, even if things don’t go our way.

An Eternal Bridegroom and a people to marry.

While We Wait – Be Awesome!

While waiting and hoping that we have a chance to fulfil our desire for marriage and scrabbling out of bed 6 times per night…socks on the floor, toilet seats left up, too much laundry, way too much ironing and the inevitable ‘tap on the shoulder’…ahem, let’s get busy serving others, laugh a lot and definitely, be awesome now. Why wait?

Kudos to the brilliance behind this video. Hats off to ya!

The Hope of Beauty

The lovely Colette Toach sent this message to my inbox today so I thought I would share it you with.

A newly formed rose bud is tender and it takes time for it to open. If you had to force it, you would damage its precious petals and the beauty of the flower would be lost. So also is my plan like this bud. Do not rush it, but wait for it to open before you. For you cannot force what only I can do.

A red rosebud, probably from the rose bush L.D...

A red rosebud, probably from the rose bush L.D. Braithwaite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All you can do is wait and to watch as I unfold the impossible before you. For it is a miracle of nature. It is a miracle to see such a small bud suddenly open to reveal a full rose with its fragrance diffusing everywhere. In the same way good things wait for you my child. However, if you rush ahead without me, you will force my will and lose out on the full beauty that I have for you.

Allow me to open the doors my child. Wait for me to bring the opportunities to you. As you do this, when the season is right, the bud will open and you will rejoice and be grateful for the wait. Look forward then to the season ahead. Look forward to the good things that await. For that is also the blessing of the rose bud. It carries a hope of beauty. So know that there is a hope of beauty for you too my child.

The help is coming. My will shall unfold. The beauty for ashes will be yours. Only do not rush it. Do not rush my will and my blessing for you. Allow it to unfold naturally and as it does, it will bring a deep and satisfying joy into your life. Your hope of beauty awaits child. Now wait and see the goodness I have for you.

The Church’s Biggest Challenge: Singles?

Lauren says, “I do believe that there should be some place where I, and other singles, can acknowledge the desire for sexual relationships and, in the context of rich church tradition and in the company of older Christians, try to figure out what we can do about it.”

That’s a fair request.

“Seriously, folks, what church do you know that actually talks to teens about why not to sleep around? And then we send these kids off to college and expect them to stay chaste for four years? Even if a church provides minimal help along this line for the high school set—mainly because that is the age range where many people first have sex—church reinforcement dribbles to nothing during the college years. Unfortunately, the 20-24 age bracket has the highest abortion rates in this country.”

…Ouch. She’s got a point.

“Christian singles I talk to considered virginity as a waiting room until God produced the right mate. When that waiting room started to look like permanent lodging, despair set in.”

“And it’s not just the doing without sex. Have you ever noticed how singles never get touched? It’s living in this bubble of no hugs, no physical contact whatsoever. Small wonder so many revert to pets (I have three cuddly cats) and professional massages.”

“Singles struggle through all this alone. The childless ones get mocked at family reunions or treated as though they are still teen-agers. Promiscuous friends who break every biblical rule in the book end up married, with healthy children. God sure didn’t punish them. But he’s not rewarding us. And so, singles see their reasons for abstinence fading as they arrive in their mid-thirties. Women see their fertile years creep down to the single digits. All the old arguments about waiting for God to bring them romance—remember Ann Kiemel’s book I Gave God Time?—don’t ring true anymore.”

These excerpts are from an article, ‘No One Wants to Talk About It‘ by Julia Duin which caused a big stir more than a decade ago. Has the Church succeeded in at least attempting to address these issues?  I don’t by any means put myself forward as a panacea of truth in these matters…hey, I’m unmarried…sigh, but I am willing to have the conversation, facilitate the discussion and try to light a candle or even just a spark. As the article aptly states, the usual clichés do not work, they are not helpful and they are certainly not life-giving.

I would therefore like to invite you, the Church to join me in dissecting this issue to come up with Godly solutions, because God has one…two…an infinite supply of answers to our every woe. So…

Follow me on Twitter or be a friend on FB and let’s get this thing addressed! One can chase a thousand, two ten thousand but all of us? Great things could happen!

Holy Things

He turned over the plans for everything that God’s Spirit had brought to his mind: the design of the courtyards, the arrangements of rooms, and the closets for storing all the holy things. The Message Bible, 1 Chronicles 28:12

This is a journey I have embarked on with my faith anchored in the hope of sharing my life with someone, a suitable counterpart for me but in all I do I must remember this

SimplyHoly

It is God who sets for me great borders

And puts great passions in my heart –

It is He who knows His plans for me

He created my inner parts –

He knows my todays and all my tomorrows

And I must trust He knows what’s best –

So as I take each hopeful step

I must to Him  my plans subject.

So in planning and strategizing and doing all the wonderful things we must do, can do or should do …determining the design of the courtyards, the arrangements of rooms, and the closets for storing…all so we can get what we want, let us remember we are in fact first and foremost, holy things – His Temple!

‘Dating with Passion’ by Rob Eagar will challenge, correct and re-align your thinking as you plan your pursuit of marriage. It will help you ‘design the courtyards’ while emphasizing the main thing, You Are Holy Things! Then learn as much as you can about setting boundaries from ‘Boundaries in Dating’ by Dr. Henry Cloud  and Dr. John Townsend. Check them out here…Never, never forget, you are a Holy Thing!

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xx

While-You-Wait: Laugh!

On the journey, expect to hear all of the following comments and ‘words of encouragement’ spoken outright or implied.

So Note to Self: Learn to laugh…while you wait!

The Naked Truth

Belong2Jesus

W A I T! ! ! !   Follow Tweety Bird’s example above…and say it like you mean it so you don’t slip into depression in 3 mins 20 sec! Now watch the trailer then please go buy the film, It offers a Christian perspective on finding purpose while single…yay!!! good news at last!

Preparation – Part 2

So I agree that sometimes marriage eludes us simply because we are not prepared…or sufficiently prepared for marriage, (see part 1). Sometimes it may be that we are still arrogantly wrapped up in the thought that the great God instituted marriage just to satisfy our desires and fulfil our plans.

One the other side of this golden coin however, are the following truths:

  1. There are countless beautiful, committed, ‘fully-surrendered-to-God ‘s-will-and-purpose’ Christian women who are by anyone’s standards, who are perfectly marriagable…but they are still single.
  2. The ratio of Christian men to women is…well, disappointing to say the least. Let’s look at the stats according to Tony Walter, “Why are Most Churchgoers Women? A Literature Review,”Vox Evangelica 20 (1990):73-90:
  • In England, out of every 100 church attenders, 55 are women and 45 men (in England
    Unique Heart

    Unique Heart (Photo credit: WolfS♡ul)

    generally, women outnumber men slightly, 51:49). The difference is most marked in liberal nonconformist churches, such as Methodist (60:40) and United Reformed (57:43), which tend to lack males aged 20-40. Evangelical churches have a more even balance, with Baptists 57:43 and independent churches 53:47. The Church of

    England has a ratio of 55:45, and the Roman Catholics 54:46 (Nationwide Initiative in Evangelism 1980). The ratios in Wales (61:39) !!!!! and Scotland (Protestant 63:37, Catholic 57:43)
  • In the USA, the patterns are somewhat different, with the more evangelical churches being particularly attractive to women (Pentecostals 2:1, Baptists 3:2)

If you wish to read the rest of this review please click the link above. I’m too depressed now to read the rest of it, interesting as it is…sniffle…

The point I was trying to make…would you pass me the tissue please?  is that regardless how fully ‘prepped and loaded’ we are as Christian women…there are many absolutely nubile Christian women who will never marry!!!!!!

There…I said it! Where’s that darn post about what to do while waiting?

Not feeling so sparky right now. x

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