Today I am overjoyed to introduce you to the very first guest-blogger of the Unveiled Project: Katie. She is fantastic! She exemplifies 1 Peter 3:4 well and has so much wisdom from the Lord to offer. I personally have been so encouraged by her answers to these questions. Katie is a blogger at Princess and the Pete, so you should say hello over at her space!
How have you found satisfaction in the Lord through singleness?
"Our hearts are restless until they rest in you." –St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
"There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ." –Blaise Pascal, Pensees
"God has set eternity (when we'll be with God) in the human heart." –Ecclesiastes 3:11 (partial)
"Katie, what do you want to be for Halloween?" my mom would ask.
"A princess," I would reply. It was the same conversation every year.
If one of my college friends were to ask now, "Hey Katie, if you could be absolutely anything, what would you be?"
"A princess," I would still reply.
I have always longed to be a princess. The principle reason as to why is that I have always desired to be loved by a prince.
Then came my junior year of high school; he was my first and only boyfriend, and my first "love." (At the time I did not understand what love was. I thought it was the warm feelings that I felt when I was around him, and the way that he made me feel good about myself. I didn't understand that love is commitment and self-sacrifice to the point of laying down your life for another (John 15:13). Since he was my first "love," I expected him to fulfill the longings in my heart for love, and no matter what he didn't. He just couldn't, for no man or woman can!
Early in college, God began to reveal to me how only he can fulfill the desire in my heart for love, and he has. To the extent that if I now had to choose between following God or having a husband and children, no question, God is the answer! He is so much better!
Whatever your desires, lay them at God's feet! Don't hold onto your idols! God promises that whatever we give to him shall not return to us void, but that he will give back to us a hundred times as much in this life or the next (Mark 10:29-30).
I have seen this at work in my life. When I was finally able to answer the question, "would you give up what you want most to follow me?" with a yes, I expected my desire for a husband and children to cease or at least diminish. Boy, was I wrong! My desire has increased exponentially, for I now know that marriage and children is a desire that God has given me to serve him with. And my desire for a husband and children stems out of my love for God, whereas before, my desire for a husband and children was seeking to take the place of my longing for God. And nothing, NOTHING can ever fill the place of our longing for God, except God!
How can a young woman in today's society live in purity?
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." –Ezekiel 36:26-27
For anyone who seeks to live in purity, the first and most vital thing is faith in Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 14:23 that "everything that does not come from faith is sin." So for a nonbeliever, that means that everything they do is sin, for nothing that they do comes from faith in God. The implication of that passage for a believer is that anything could be sinful if it is not out of faith in Christ Jesus. Without faith, everything we do, think, or say is against God.
When you trust in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, God begins to give you a new heart with new desires, as is illustrated in the passage from Ezekiel above. But our sinful nature (flesh) is still a part of us, so Paul urges us to "walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." (Galatians 5:16-17)
We are told by King Solomon, the wisest person in history, in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
God has blessed me with some amazing people to live in community with. They have loved me enough to call me out when I was reveling in sin, and on other occasions have flat out told me that "you're not even thinking straight."
We are told in 1 Peter 5:8 to "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil crawls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." The devil wants us to be reveling in sin, and he twists our thoughts. For he is cunning indeed. He knows how the human heart works and he knows how to twist our righteous desires into something sinful. So we need community to help us see his web of lies so that we will not become ensnared in them, and to help us get out of the web when we are caught in it.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about dating/marriage?
My parents just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Whoop! When I asked my mom, "Why has your marriage lasted for so many years when I've seen so many of my friends' parents divorce?" she told me, "Above all, we are friends first. We laugh together and don't take each other too seriously. We make sure to spend time together, just us, so we go on dates and trips together."
With this in mind, the two biggest things that I am looking for in a man is that he truly and completely loves the Lord, and that he'll be my best friend. In dating, I'm looking to pursue a deeper friendship with a man, but in a way that the end goal is marriage.
What advice or encouragement would you give to girls who are pursuing holiness in singleness and relationships?
Be confident in who you are. The God who made everything made you for a special purpose, and he loves you. Just go read Psalm 139! He made you and every part of you that you think is a weakness or flaw (Exodus 4:11).
Wait for the right guy. Wait for the man who loves God more than his own life, who will treat you like the beautiful daughter of the King that you are. Wait for the one who is kind and gentlemanly to all people, not just those who can be of benefit to himself. Wait for the man of whom the community of believers that you are a part of will approve of.
The Song of Solomon tells the beautiful story of Solomon and his wife's relationship. Several times she urges the Daughters of Jerusalem who are young single women, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." She is telling them to wait. Real covenantal relationship under God is so delightful that it is worth the wait!
If you are a believer, your purpose is to glorify God. God can be glorified in singleness, as well as relationships. Whatever state you are in, be content in the fact that it is to best glorify God and for your ultimate good. We live for his glory and he works all things for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
One year ago: Faithful
Two years ago: I remember.
Three years ago: Patty Cake
Emily and Katie, together you've helped God fill my cup to overflowing today! I'm trying to break my Internet addiction, but you're making it very hard for me! :) Emily, I'm so glad you sent me to say hello over at Katie's place! The latest post was very relevant and timely for me.ReplyDelete
Katie, your story is exactly the kind of story I was dreaming of, to help dispel modern superstitions about love, marriage, romance and sex. Your taste for cookie dough flavor, Dr. Seuss, and The Princess Bride, is frosting on the cake!
Your quote above, about the gift of faith (Ezekiel 36:26-27), is equally timely. Just now I was practicing bringing myself to account each day, and I was reviewing my progress in learning to cherish and nourish the gift of faith, in myself and in others. A thought/feeling came to me that I don't know how to put into words, something like, the kinds of evangelism that repel people from Christianity, and turn them away from God, are the kinds that trivialize, reduce and depreciate the gift of faith, even while appearing to promote it. Then I felt moved to share that here, and what wonderful suprises were waiting for me here!
For many months I've felt urgently impelled to learn to help nourish and cherish the gift of faith, and the love of God, in myself and in others, and to promote other people doing the same. The gift of faith is not ours to give, but in my understanding we can participate in its spread and growth. If that gift comes through God's grace, maybe we can be more part of it by learning to help surround people with His grace. That might include praying and practicing to grow fruits of the spirit. That might be a good way for me to look at my current efforts to learn to be a better friend to each person in my life. It might also include learning not to depreciate anyone, and to free myself from all ill will, which might also be a good way for me to approach my efforts to learn meekness and kindness.
Your words: "Without faith, everything we do, think, or say is against God," are full of meaning for me. In the last few years I've begun to understand what Abdu'l-Baha could have meant when he said "All things are beneficial if joined with the love of God; and without His love all things are harmful, and act as a veil between man and the Lord of the Kingdom."
I like what your mom said: "Above all, we are friends first. We laugh together and don't take each other too seriously. We make sure to spend time together, just us, so we go on dates and trips together." That's funny, because in the last year, more of our times together have felt to me like it used to feel when we were out on a date, before we married. Patty and I have also learned that it's very good for each of us, and for our marriage and for our family, for us to each have time away from each other, besides our time at work, including time alone at home.
A word of warning: Marriage can be a test of patience and perseverance. Patty and I went through some discouraging periods of years that were often agonizing and sometimes nightmarish for both of us, especially for Patty, and during some of that time our marriage hung by a thread (fortunately a strong one though, a thread of commitment to permanent marriage for the love of God), before we began to see the promised land. We began to taste the best fruits only after fifteen years or more of marriage.
Another word of warning: I agree with what you wrote about being part of a community of believers. At the same time, our community and our companions can sometimes be instruments of satan's worst deceptions, even more than other people can. Again and again the worst things I've seen people do have been when they turned their backs on God to follow one bandwagon or another of their companions and communities. That applies just as much to any faith community as to any other.