8/7/13

Let's Get Real Here Y'all : Day 6: Singleness & Marriage (READ READ READ)

When I think of Christen I think of one word: A U T H E N T I C. Easily one of the most grace filled people I've ever met in my life. Simply being around her is convicting. The Holy Spirit is so evident in her life. I asked her to speak today on being single & then on marriage. Now I know what you are thinking "Kate, there has already been a marriage post in this series so I don't need to read this one" to which I respond... if that's your thinking, you may need to read this even more than you realize bc there is so much to say about marriage. It is so crucial. NO WAY it could ever fit into one blog post. There is even one more post on it to come and even with all three I feel like I could write an infinity more on the subject. I promise this one is different than Kelsey's but EQUALLY as important to read.

I urge you to take the time to read this. Pin it for later. Share it. Meditate on it. My heart burns with a passion for everyone to know the importance of a Godly, Christ centered marriage. Marriage portrayed by culture today is so badly misrepresented. I could go on and on but I'll let Christen do the talking:)

(if you are just now joining in, I would encourage you to go back and read the 5 previous posts in this series. Amazing stuff. You can find it all in the "REAL series" tab at the top of the blog)


 

  When Katie asked me to write a blog post for this series I was so excited! The topic Katie has given me is quite a challenge. I’m so thankful for the opportunity it gives me to reflect on all I have experienced, own up to my failures and give glory to God for His sufficiency. Katie wants me to share about my single days and how I have adjusted to being a new wife. She has asked me to honest about my struggles. So get ready. This is not easy for me. It requires me to acknowledge and admit sin in my life. It brings me to Jesus. BUT I’m so excited to get to open my heart up to you today and I pray even as I write this that the Lord will work and be glorified through my words.

 
  Please hear my heart: I am not here as a married woman trying to tell you how to live your life in singleness or in marriage. I am only trying to share with you the struggles you may face as a single woman or as a newlywed; and encourage you with how the Lord can work in those struggles and make it so beautiful. Yes, I said beautiful.

  If you don't have Jesus, that's where you must begin. Without Him, I can’t encourage you. I can't tell you about contentment when He is the only One who fulfills and satisfies! I can't tell you about joy when earthly happiness pales in comparison to the deepest joy only found in Christ! If you don't know Jesus, friend, please seek to know Him! Until you know Him and have a relationship with Him, it is impossible to know yourself.

ON BEING SINGLE:
   I would like to say that I handled the single years of my life well but that wasn’t always true. I felt like it was a curse. I wallowed in self pity. I felt like God had forgotten about me. I felt alone because I didn't choose to pursue a deeper walk with Christ. I was saved, but I was not walking as I should. I didn't pray, read Scripture or seek gospel community. I was involved in church, but my personal relationship and time with Jesus was often severely lacking. Basically, I was declaring that Christ in me was not sufficient, that His presence in my life was not enough. Friends, hear me out. Jesus Christ is
more than enough. NO earthly relationship will fulfill or satisfy like He does. 

  So how do we choose joy? We seek Him. Whole-heartedly. I prayed, I read His word, and I pleaded with Him for strength. I wept & confessed my sin of selfishness and distrust. Selfishly, I wanted to be in a relationship and married in my timing. I truly convinced myself that my timing was better than God’s...eesh. It sickens me to even admit it. But it’s true. And I realized that in order to really see change in my mindset, I needed to get honest with myself and the Lord. I needed to submit to conviction and allow it to penetrate my heart. I was completely wrecked by Christ. He changed me and although I still struggled some days with being single, He began to show me how He could use it for my good and His glory.

  I can practically hear some of your thoughts: 
“You weren’t ever single as long as I have been.”, 
“You don’t know my situation.”
“ALL of my friends are married or engaged.”, etc. 



  Stop. Stop believing the lies of the enemy. Stop believing you need anything or anyone other than Jesus to be happy. You are choosing misery. You are choosing defeat. I ache for you to turn away from those thoughts, and give them to the Lord. If you are currently single, you are single because that is where God has you! Stop questioning Him! Stop declaring that His will and His timing are not good enough. Stop saying that He is not sufficient. Choose joy! Choose contentment.

Here is my best advice...
-
Seek the Lord. Get to know the Creator and Lover of your soul. He longs to have a
relationship with you. There is no better way to prepare for marriage than to grow in
your relationship with the Lord.
-
Pray. Pray harder than you may have ever prayed before. Write your prayers out if
that will help you. I have a stack of prayer journals from the past few years and it is always a blessing to be able to read them & remember the Lord’s faithfulness. Be honest with the Lord and repent.
- Surround yourself with Godly married women. Spend time with them and their families. Use these days to learn what it means to be a Godly wife and mother. Be an example of a woman who seeks the Lord for peace and contentment above earthly relationships.

  The Lord longs to use you, work through and strengthen you as you wait for marriage. Your relationship with Him will prepare you for marriage much more than wallowing in your self pity. Glorify Him. THAT is His will for you. In EVERY season.

ON MARRIAGE:
  When I began thinking about what to write in this portion, I was so broken. Marriage is hard. Being a wife is honestly the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But, it’s all about Jesus and His glory. It’s about giving your marriage up to Him. It’s about showing grace and forgiveness. Does it sound like I have it figure out? I don’t. But I know the God I serve.


  Andrew and I were married on March 2, 2013. As I said above, I really tried to prepare myself for marriage by seeking the Lord while I was single. However, getting married means learning new things. I didn’t realize how stubborn and selfish I was until marriage. Suddenly all of my sin was right before my eyes and there was no way to ignore it. It was directly affecting me & my husband. Jesus calls me to serve Andrew before myself. He is priority, second only to the Lord. What I do and how I serve in our home is to be a reflection of Christ in me. 

My husband is my ministry, and his ministry is my ministry...I don’t have my own separate agenda. What God leads Andrew to do, He is leading me to do because He has given me Andrew as the leader of our family. There is no room for selfishness in pursuit of a Godly marriage.

  Another struggle I have is letting myself be overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list rather than realizing that I have to make my relationship with the Lord priority over all else. To be a godly wife for Andrew, I need Jesus!!! In order to love Andrew well, I must ask the Lord to help me seek Him each day. My time with Christ is more important than dishes, laundry, a clean home, my fitness and anything else. A tidy house and completed list does not equal a gospel-centered marriage. I long to always be working in our home as an overflow of my heart and with the intention of honoring the Lord and serving my husband, rather than just to check off a to-do list and be Superwife. To put it simply, to minister to my husband, I must allow the Lord to minister to my heart. To communicate well with my husband, I must be in prayerful communication with the Lord. To be humble toward my husband, I must be humble before the Lord. To submit well to my husband, I must be in submission to the Lord. My eyes are welling up with tears even as I type this, just out of pure conviction. I can’t tell you how important this is...

  Everything in our marriage relationship must be rooted in Christ. God created marriage to be a direct reflection of the gospel- (Ephesians 5:22-33- read it :)). I have learned that to be the wife Andrew needs, I must remember that marriage is a picture of Christ and His church. Do I have it all together? No. But God is faithful. So faithful. And everyday I’m learning more about what it means to trust Him with my marriage. Does that make it easier all the time? No. But it keeps it in perspective. Christ in us is what makes our marriage the best it can be. Not our own works or efforts.

  I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses. It applies to many aspects of life but it always reminds me of who I am without Christ and then who I am because of Him. It is from 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Paul is speaking about a conversation between him and the Lord: 


“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

  Oh friend, whether single or married, lay your weaknesses and insufficiencies before the Lord. Allow Him to fill you with His strength, be your contentment, and equip you to be a woman after His own heart as you seek to bring Him glory. It will make all the difference.

7 comments:

Rachel said...

I love this so much. Being in between the single and married life (engaged) is such a vulnerable position...I'm struggling to find my place as a "wife" and am just praying for God to cover me in His grace as I try to figure out that role. I know He has it all under control! Thanks for this amazing post!

Sarah said...

This one is my favorite post in the series yet! I love the ways she identified how us single girls should act/pray as God shapes us for marriage. It is clear in her word that God has blessed her abundantly in these past few months with her husband.

{Jessica} said...

I have been feeling so convicted lately about my role as a wife in my marriage relationship. Since bringing a new baby into our family, I feel like I have allowed the needs of my husband to take a backseat at all times. To my needs. To the baby's needs. To it all. I know that is not how it should be, and reading this post reminded me of that. Thank you for encouraging me to spend some time in prayer to ask God to help center me again, and to help give me the strength to put my husband first - second only to God. My marriage is my world and I need to treat it like the precious thing it is! Thank you again!:)

Amber Grace said...

So sweet and so good,Christen!! You and Andrew are some of my favorite people! I love the way your relationship glorifies the Lord!! We miss yall!!!

Southerngirl74 said...

This post had a great impact on me as I struggle with being single, desiring a godly husband, and feeling God is calling me to grow deeper in Him. Thank you for your sweet honesty!

Sarah44 said...

Great to know I am not the only one who hasn't figured out marriage yet! It is such a blessing. But it is hard, and full of forgiveness and Christ. That's why I know it is the right thing I could've done.

Sarah Fit-ABulous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. When you said your timing was better than God’s....that really spoke to me. That is totally how I have been thinking as a single gal, and putting it that way just shows me how much I need Jesus and how my pride just gets so carried away I don't even realize it!