Let me introduce to you a new friend. I met up with Jen in a Cheesecake Factory during tour earlier this year. Hearing a little bit of her story, and the life that bubbles out of her, I asked her to write part of her story as a resource to encourage any of you who are single right now!
Let me let you in on a (now) typical morning in my house.
I begin writing to you before the sun is up, with kids music playing on my iPhone, a telling patch of spit-up on my sweater, and more than likely some noticeable bags under my eyes from a late-night diaper change or two. (I say “more than likely” because I’ve yet to have a moment amidst the morning nursing, burping, and changing to really look at myself in the mirror.) Welcome Baby Jack! Moments like these it is, admittedly, sometimes hard to recall the days before Jack was here – the lazy mornings of sleeping in, coffee in bed, a house that was clean and tidy almost all the time, and long, uninterrupted talks holding hands with my hubby, Austin. Even harder still to recall are the memories of singleness before Austin came into my life.
But as I sit here, still trying to catch my breath and gain my balance as I learn to become a mom, I find myself contemplating God and His astounding glory, and as I look at how far He has brought me, I wonder: how am I doing at giving God the glory for all of this?
1 Corinthians 10:31 says: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
This verse speaks of a worship – a lifestyle – that goes far beyond Sunday morning and shows us that absolutely everything we do – from our first coffee to our last thought before we fall asleep – is to be completely wrapped up in God and His glory.
That includes our love stories.
A few years ago, my best friend wrote me a letter of promise that will serve to remind me of God and His goodness for the rest of my life. When she wrote this letter to me, I was smack in the middle of dateless, hopeless, singleness. I remember being so discouraged! But her challenge was to wait on the Lord. Like Elijah in 1 Kings, sending his servant up the mountain seven times to look for the coming rain, she challenged me to continue to give it all to God and properly display His glory even when I didn’t understand. Being single, I kept asking myself: Why would He give me this desire for marriage and family if He had no intention of giving it to me? What if I never have kids? What if I never have a husband? Is Christ enough even if I am to be single forever?
Therein lies the sin that is in my heart – in our hearts. The sin that says “God doesn’t have my best interest in mind. God should do it my way. God, maybe you messed up.” Or maybe even “God, I’ll live for your glory as soon as you give me what I want.”
That’s where I was.
Even though I truly believe the desire for marriage and family is a God-given one, if it takes the place of God in our lives, it is none other than an idol. One that we are called to fight against and kill in our lives.
How this plays itself out in each of our lives might be different. But the outward actions of my inward sin started to make themselves known as I became obsessed with my appearance and wardrobe, talking myself up on social media, hanging out with friends with questionable motives, which led to even dating non-Christian men who were not interested in me for the right reasons. This sin in my life continued as I began to believe and even anticipate that sexual purity was not something that was or would be valued by my future spouse. It came to a head when I realized that I had completely separated my dating life and relationship status from my walk with Christ, because there was no way I could reconcile them to each other.
It was only after a week in Haiti on the mission field and God bringing me to my knees through ending a dating relationship that was not honoring to Him that I finally surrendered this struggle to Him and saw this idol for what it was:
Sin. Destructive, dangerous sin.
In the months that followed, I remember working so hard to kill sin and break habits. It started with the movies I watched and music I listened to and went all the way up to who I hung out with and how I spent my free time. Painful days followed as Christ begin to show me what it meant to live for Him.
So here’s where we’re at. God is calling you to walk in Him now. NOT just when you finally get what you want. Not just when you’re dating someone.
God is worthy of your praise and all glory yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever! Easier said than done, right? It’s only accomplished through Christ at work in us. Scripture reminds us that we once were all dead in our sins (Ephesians 2) but that God made us alive through Christ. This is why He is deserving of glory. Because only through Him are we even alive!
Here’s the challenge I gave to myself when I began trying to glorify God in my singleness, and I share it with you as a way to help you along in your journey as well.
1: Be an example to others (1 Timothy 4:12) This includes how I talk, act, and live. It has to flow through my usage of social media, the way I dress, what I talk about, and who I hang out with.
2: Guard my heart and the hearts of my brothers around me (1 Timothy 5).
3: Dress modestly. (1 Timothy 2). Dress in a way that shows the gospel and demonstrates that Christ is my covering (Galatians 3:27).
4: Keep my heart pure, so that my body will follow. (Proverbs 4:23). Discipline myself in purity and keep my eyes and ears from things that would lead me into temptation.
5: STOP LUSTING! (Matthew 5:28). Remember that God is interested in my heart. Even if I’m not physically having sex, if my mind is there all the time, it’s the same as doing it.
Since then, as God has brought me on this journey of being single, dating, engaged, and now married, these challenges have held true in all seasons. Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that once you are married you won’t struggle with these things any longer. You will! This is why we must place glorifying God as top priority in everything we do, for it is only in Him that we can work towards these things.
What better way to honor your future husband than by putting on Christ right now, today?
Everyone has a love story, no matter if they are single or married. Who will you glorify in yours?
Jen Wright is a native of Minnesota and grew up fishing, working on the family farm, and watching the Minnesota Vikings play football. She became a Christian as a child, and God called her to ministry and missions after a trip to Haiti in 2012. She married her husband, Austin in 2013 and is now a new mom to baby Jack. Some of her hobbies include cooking, baking, drawing, writing, and just being a mom. Currently on her reading list and iPod are The Joyful Christian by CS Lewis, The Question of God by Armand Nicholi, Jr., Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and music by All Sons and Daughters and Charlie Hall. Jen currently serves as Girls Director at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, KY. Her biggest joy is working unto the Lord and watching people change by His grace. Follow her adventures in ministry, mommyhood, and life at www.thejlwrightblog.com.