Working with youth, the depravities of our culture are much more real and evident. One thing we are always talking about is what it looks like to (eventually, when the time is right) have a godly relationship. Teenage girls need someone to tell them that happiness isn’t waiting for them in the relationship with the cute guy who will pay them attention and buy them coffee until the next best new and exciting thing comes along. And guys need to hear that they don’t need to be pursuing a girl until they can accurately treasure her heart and take care of her needs. All of them. Physical, spiritual, and emotional. It’s a big task, this protecting of our own hearts and preparing them to love selflessly and endlessly one day when that right person comes along. But what I fear has happened is that by creating this vicious cycle of dating young and dating many, we have also formed the habit of giving in when things get tough. We end it once we feel it, “just isn’t working anymore”. That’s not how marriage works. You pick someone and you stick with them. You choose them once and then you choose them again every day. You choose them over the stress and frustration and annoyances of every day life that will eventually set in after the butterflies stop their fluttering. Oh goodness, to help teenagers see beyond the moment of butterflies…As they compare themselves to those around them walking through a blissful state of oblivion, so often I find myself saying, “Yes, her life looks perfect in her Instagram pictures. But nobody posts the ugly things on social networking. The heart break, the ugly crying. Remember, you’re only seeing the good stuff. Believe me, the bad stuff is there too.”
I’m striving to instill in them a strong sense and understanding of where their value comes from. And by instill, I mean live it out. We’re all seeking to be known intimately and personally, overwhelmed by love and overtaken by joy. But until we find that in Christ alone, we will never be satisfied in our dating relationship or marriage.
If we’re not Christ centered, Christ consumed individuals, we won’t be a Christ centered couple with a Christ consumed marriage.
We talk a lot about praying for our future husbands. It makes him so much more real, and it is the coolest thing to think that he is out there somewhere. And the reality is, I certainly hope he’s praying for me, because I need it. One of the greatest acts of love is to earnestly pray for someone. I pray for myself too in regards to our future marriage. That I’ll be as ready as I can be. That I’ll be the wife I need to be for him and the woman God is calling me to be as we serve Him together. Nearly every day my prayer is, “Make me (prepare me to be) a wife that pushes my husband closer to You every single day I am on this earth with him.”
We talk about the things we hope for. How a man should always push you more towards Christ than himself. Your relationship with Christ should be more important to him than his relationship with you. Always.
Not only is he a better person when he loves Christ more than me, he’s able to love me better. The reverse is also true, so it’s important that right now I learn how to love Christ first.
The soul purpose of marriage is the advancement of God’s kingdom and the glory of God. I think we lose sight of that more often than not. As in most things, we’re usually thinking about what’s in it for us.
Towards the end of high school, I began feeling an intense calling to marry into ministry. I immediately assumed this meant that I would be marrying a pastor of some sort (I’m in ministry myself with Crisis Pregnancy Center, but who knows? Maybe I’ll marry into ministry too. 🙂 ), but through this I realized something: People have created this idea that “marrying into ministry” is a concept only referring to those who marry a pastor. I understand where they’re coming from, but in reality, as a Christian you should always marry into ministry. We’re all ambassadors for Christ with the purpose of our existence being to know God and to make Him known. Realizing this, you should marry someone who enables you to do so to the best of your ability, someone who makes a remarkable teammate for you in life and service to The Lord. Having the title of “Pastor” has nothing to do with marrying into ministry. We’re all in ministry.
Lastly, another key thing we often talk about is the fact that God’s way and His timing are flawless. Soooo much better than our own. We can only see right now, God sees all of time, and He is personally involved in every detail of our life working it together for our good and His glory. Pastor Judah Smith says, “What God does is based on who God is and God is love. Therefore, everything God does is out of love. Following Christ isn’t based on what we can see of Him, it’s believing He has shown us enough of Himself to trust Him with what we can’t see. The enemy of my soul will not convince me that my circumstances reflect the way God is providing for me. It is simply not so….Provision doesn’t mean it will work out here; it means His blood will make it right in the end.” Here is something you (I, we) must remember: God isn’t holding out on you. He loves you immensely more than you could possibly imagine and He longs to give you the desires of your heart, but He also wants to be the number one desire of your heart. He’s jealous for you. He created you. He knows more about what you need and what you want than you do. Trust Him.
Maybe you think I’m taking this way too seriously, but I believe that God has called us to do everything with intention. Especially our closest and most precious relationships. So, that’s what I encourage my middle and high-school girl’s to pray, and that’s what I pray myself. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.