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Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip

Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip

I was moving fast when my friend texted me her grievances against another. Company was due to arrive within the hour, and everything seemed to be happening at once. Between combining the liquid mixture for the corn muffins and texting my hubby about what I needed him to pick up from the store, I texted some hard truth to my friend in response to her message.

Then, with messy hands, I forwarded my response to three people who were aware of the situation and who were praying for my friend. I wrote, “Just sent this to our friend. Please pray. Her heart is so hard.”

Only I accidentally included my friend in the group text. Ugh, ugh, double ugh.

Yes, I had been growing increasingly concerned for her, but after this incident, I realized it would have been best to share my concern with just her and God. Instead, I hurt her deeply. Where did I go wrong?

  • I was moving too fast. Proverbs 19:2 makes clear, “Whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”
  • I assumed the role of savior, which only belongs to God. How much better to pray for my friend, “[I] do not know what to do, but [my] eyes are on you [God]” (2 Chron. 20:12).
  • I forwarded a text, which reeked of gossip. Paul warned of those who “learn to be . . . gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not” (1 Tim. 5:13).
  • I shared a prayer request about someone else without her permission to do so. As Proverbs 25:9 says, “Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret.”

Three Resolutions for Becoming a More Trustworthy Friend

As I asked God to change my heart and make me a more trustworthy friend, I set a few boundaries in place.

1. I resolved not to share prayer requests about anyone other than myself, unless I’ve explicitly asked their permission.

Proverbs 11:13 says, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.”

Someone who reveals another’s secrets is a slanderer, according to the Bible. The King James calls such a person a “talebearer.” We probably don’t think of prayer requests as “bearing tales,” but if we dropped the “Please pray for so-and-so,” would it look any different than talebearing? Let’s not use prayer as a way to gossip through the back door.

2. I resolve not to forward other’s messages to me (or my responses) without permission.

It’s way too easy in our connected world to share other people’s struggles with others. It often feels necessary, as we believe in the power of prayer. The more people praying, the better, right?

But maybe that’s not the case. Maybe, just maybe, you and I are using prayer as a thin guise for gossip, fear, frustration, and support.

3. I resolve to wait to share hard truth with others until I can talk in person or on the phone.

This requires slowing down. It requires not freaking out in the moment and thinking that a problem’s resolution depends on you and you alone. It requires boldness to address a problem without the protective wall of electronic text between you. And it requires crying out in deep dependence to the one and only Savior, rather than trying to do His work for Him, as if He’s on vacation.

Six Questions to Ask to Prevent Subtle Gossip

What if we asked ourselves the following questions before sharing someone else’s business with others?

  • Has my friend given me permission to share this “prayer request” with others? Am I considering my friend before myself (Phil. 2:3)?
  • How much time has passed between the time I learned of this need and the time I’m sharing it with others? Am I sharing it impulsively?
  • If not a lot of time has passed, am I sharing this in a panic? Am I trusting in the Lord to act (Ps. 37:5), or am I trusting in myself to be the savior?
  • How seriously have I prayed about this issue myself before reaching out to others? Have I knelt in prayer? How long did I pray over it?
  • Do I believe that the earnest prayer of a single righteous person avails much (James 5:16)? Or do I think my prayers are not enough to move the heart of God?
  • Could I be embarrassed at some point that I sent this text or email? (If so, I probably shouldn’t send it.)

It Takes More Than Good Intentions

Oh, I know it’s easy to think our intentions are good. I thought that originally, too. But maybe we should distrust our intentions a bit more than we do. Even if our base intentions are good, we should always be on guard of having mixed motives. Love can often attach itself with the sinful desire to know other people’s stuff, to be “in the know,” or to feel puffed up that our lives aren’t so messy.

In my case, regardless of my original motives, I broke trust, and at that point, the only fitting response for me was one of repentance.

So that’s what I did. That evening after our company left, I called my friend and left a voicemail asking for forgiveness. I gave her space to call me when she was ready to talk. Eventually, she graciously forgave me, but because of the trust I damaged by sharing what was not mine to share, it will take time for her to be able to regard me as the fully faithful friend that I desire to be, with God’s help.

How about you? Will you strive to love faithfulness more than the pleasure of gossip? Will you join me in resolving to be oh-so-careful before we share about others?

Let us strive to be like the women recommended in 1 Timothy 3:11: “Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.”

After all, we serve and represent the most trustworthy, faithful Friend of all.

Adapted from Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip originally posted at  DesiringGod.org. Also featured on ReviveOurHearts.com

When Your Heart Refuses to Let Him Go

When Your Heart Refuses to Let Him Go

“Let him go. Move on, already,” your friends tell you. “Like, yesterday. You should be over him by now!” After all, it has been months. Years.

But still, he haunts your thoughts—dropping by frequently, oblivious to the fact that he’s not welcome—threatening to sabotage not only your past but your present. Like a shackle attached to your ankle, you drag this dead hope of a relationship with you wherever you go.

Meet Someone Else Who Couldn’t Stop Looking Back

You’re not the only one who can’t seem to stop looking back with longing. Over and over in the book of Numbers, God’s people, the Israelites, rebel against Him. They get hung up on their cravings, (“What I wouldn’t do right now for a leek!”) and wish for their past as slaves to Pharaoh. Here’s just one example of them looking wistfully over their shoulders:

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (Num. 14:1–4).

“Let us go back to Egypt”?! The Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt for 420 years. It had not been a vacation. There were bricks to be made and backs to be whipped and no relief in sight . . . until God intervened. He sent Moses to perform mighty acts and deliver His people from their hard labor and heavy burdens.

So Close . . .

He then began to lead them to the Promised Land, the land He had promised their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In this particular passage above, they were poised to enter the Promised Land. Twelve spies had been sent to spy it out, and ten came back with a fearful report:

“The land . . . is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height . . . and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers” (13:32–33).

Two of the twelve spies, however, reported:

“The land . . . is an exceedingly good land. . . . Do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them” (14:7–9).

Stop looking back, and instead believe that your God is good—and that all He does is good—and move on.

But instead of believing the two spies—and ultimately believing God—the people of Israel chose fear over faith. They cried out with longing for the “good ol’ days” in slavery.

As a result of their unbelief, God destined them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness (one year for each day the spies spied out the Promised Land), and ensured their fears would become reality:

“What you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in the wilderness . . . not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except [the two spies who gave the good report]. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in” (14:28–31).

Let Him Go, and Move On

This is more than just a Bible story. Did you know that 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that these accounts were written for us, for our instruction? I know your circumstances are different, but like the Israelites, do you believe God made a mistake? That God held out on you? Do you believe life would be better if only this guy had pursued you?

Are you obeying God’s command to avoid idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7)? My guess is that if you’re still living under the shadow of this relationship that didn’t materialize, you have most likely idolized this guy. Please don’t confuse love for lust, covetousness, and idolatry.

Please don’t confuse love for lust, covetousness, and idolatry.

Repent of making the hope of this relationship your ultimate hope. Believe God and move forward under His leadership. He wants to bless you, if you will only trust His heart. He is drawing you away from the slavery of idolatry and covetousness and into the Promised Land of contentment as His treasured possession, living under His rule.

Stop looking back, and instead believe that your God is good—and that all He does is good—and move on. Move forward, and watch God bring you out into a broad, spacious place.

When Your Heart Refuses to Let Go was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

10 Steps to Writing an Encouraging Letter

10 Steps to Writing an Encouraging Letter

Do you know where your local post office is?

How about the cost of a stamp?

When’s the last time you mailed a handwritten letter to someone?

Today I want to challenge you to find your local post office and mail a handwritten letter to someone. (Sure, you can spray it with perfume for kicks if you want!)

Why do I think this is so important? Here are 3 Epic Reasons to Encourage Others. This is why it’s so important.

Last week I shared 4 Ways to Encourage Others Without Even Trying. Today, though, I want to encourage you to be extra intentional about encouraging someone through a handwritten letter. So here are ten steps to writing an encouraging letter:

1. Plan ahead.

It won’t happen otherwise. Choose a regular time to write a letter or two. It could be each morning after you spend time with God, or every Sunday afternoon, or at the beginning of each month. And don’t miss the biggies. Does anyone have a birthday this month? (Don’t forget Father’s Day is this Sunday!)

2. Choose who you want to encourage.

Who is currently going through a rough time? Who did something recently that meant a lot to you? Who can you thank? Who is on your heart today? Who needs Jesus?

3. Examine your motives.

Why do you want to write them a letter? Are you puffing them up in order to get something out of them? Or . . . Why do you not want to write a letter to them? Are you jealous of them? Confess your sinful motives to God, and ask Him to purify your heart.

4. Pray for them.

Don’t just write a letter telling them that you will or you are praying for them—do it right then! There’s no greater, more powerful gift you can give someone than heartfelt, urgent prayer through Jesus to the Father.

5. Let them know you prayed for them.

Even let them know how you prayed for them. Something like, “I prayed that God would help you believe truth during this time, and hope in Him alone . . .”

6. Be specific.

So you appreciate them. But what specifically do you appreciate about them? So you’re grateful for them. Why? If they’re a believer, where do you see God’s grace in their life? How specifically do you see them looking more like Christ on a daily basis?

7. Share Scripture with them.

Romans 15:4 tells us that, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” As believers in Christ, we—of all people—can offer lasting encouragement and hope. Don’t preach, but do point them to Christ and His promises. You don’t have to include a litany of verses; I’ve found that one power-packed verse goes a long way (Prov. 25:11).

8. Keep it short.

If your letter is pages and pages long, most people won’t read it. Short and sweet all the way, baby!

9. Handwrite it.

This isn’t necessary, but it’s definitely extra special. (FWIW: I usually write or type a rough draft ahead of time, so the actual card isn’t a mess.)

10. Invest in some cards and stamps.

If you don’t have the money, lined paper will do just fine. But if you can invest a few extra bucks into cards, it will go a long way in making others feel loved.

I buy the value pack of blank cards from Hobby Lobby and glue the fronts of cards people have given me onto them (I know, I know, just call me el cheapo!).

I like to keep a basket of cards, paper, envelopes, pens, scissors, and glue on hand so I can whip out a card on a moment’s notice. You might want to do the same.

Are you available to share God’s encouragement with others who desperately need it?

But don’t worry if you’re not artsy. This isn’t about making you look good. It doesn’t matter if your card is Pinterest-worthy. The main thing is: Are you available to share God’s encouragement with others who desperately need it?

Writing a letter isn’t the only way to encourage someone. But it sure is a great way to put into practice Philippians 2:1–5,

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

At the beginning of this post, I asked if you knew where your local post office is. If not, you can find the nearest location here. And if you want to know how much a stamp costs, learn the answer here. Happy letter writing!

10 Steps to Writing an Encouraging Letter was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

3 Epic Reasons to Encourage Others

3 Epic Reasons to Encourage Others

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Today I want to encourage you to encourage others. Why? Here are three epic reasons for starters.

Because . . .

1. You’re made in the image of the God of encouragement.

He intended for you to reflect Him to the world around you:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Rom. 15:5).

What’s holding you back from imitating and “imaging” your Father, the God of encouragement?

2. Your encouragement is someone’s lifeline today.

Everyone needs encouragement—even leaders! The apostle Paul—the same guy who wrote at least thirteen books of the New Testament—wrote of a time he was desperately in need of encouragement:

“When we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more” (2 Cor. 7:5–7).

Who do you know who could use a good dose of encouragement right about now?

3. You have real perspective and hope to offer.

It’s too easy in this dark world to start living like Jesus is just a fanciful idea rather than our soon-to-appear King! The end is in sight. The best is yet to come. That ought to change the way we think and live right now. That’s why, for ten whole verses, Paul reminds believers that Jesus is coming back soon. He concludes,

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).

How could the truth that Jesus is returning soon encourage your friend in what they’re facing right now?

I’d love to hear your answers to these three questions. Then, check back next week for ideas of specific ways to encourage others. Because it matters. Epically so.

When Jesus Is a Joke at Your Christian School

When Jesus Is a Joke at Your Christian School

One of the saddest comments I ever read on this blog went like this:

I go to a Christian school, but we’re at the stage where Jesus is irrelevant and a joke.

After spending a week at a Christian school, I saw firsthand the kind of peer pressure (or is it persecution?) that takes place from other students at Christian schools.

I don’t share this with you to discourage you; I just don’t want you to be shocked or unprepared when you walk into your Christian school . . .  or even your local church.

Because this is a fact: Lots of people who claim to be Christians aren’t. Jesus is clear about this in Matthew 7:21–23,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

So what can you do about this?

1. Make sure that you know that you are a genuine follower of Jesus.

If you’re not positive, begin by reading “Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?” Then pick up your Bible and read the book of 1 John (you can do it; it’s just five chapters!). As you read, ask God to help you know whether you really belong to Him.

2. Don’t expect everyone in your class to be a Christian just because they’re at a “Christian” school.

In fact, I think it’s wiser to assume that “Christians” don’t know Christ—until the “fruit” of their life proves otherwise. (For more on that, check out “Treasure Trove or Garbage Dump?”)

3. Point your friends to Christ. Often.

Not to rules or Bible facts, but to Christ, and how His death, burial, and resurrection changes everything about their lives. (For more on this, read “Three Truths That Forever Changed My Life.”)

4. Pray that if you or any of your friends are deceived and think they’re a Christian when they’re not, that God would reveal the truth to them.

Have you experienced anything like this at your Christian school or church? I’d love to hear about it. If so, what will you do to know Christ yourself and then make Him known at your Christian school?

Because like it or not, you are no longer just a student at a Christian school; you are now a missionary. Shine, Christian!

When Jesus Is a Joke at Your Christian School was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Authority Is Not a Bad Word

Authority Is Not a Bad Word

Let me guess. You can’t wait ’til your parents bug off and get out of your business. I felt the same way when I was your age.

But I didn’t realize then that this authority thing never ends:

  • You go to college, and you’re under your professors’ authority.
  • You get a job, and your boss tells you what to do.
  • You marry, and your husband leads you (Eph. 5:23–24).
  • There are traffic laws to obey and consequences if you don’t.

Since that fateful day centuries ago when Adam and Eve decided God couldn’t tell them what to do, we’ve all been bucking authority.

Authority is as much a part of life as sunlight or toasted wholegrain bread. That’s because God has all authority (the right to control and command), and He’s the One who established human authorities:

There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment (Rom. 13:1–2).

Anyone else less than happy about this whole authority idea? Of course you are. Since that fateful day centuries ago when Adam and Eve decided God couldn’t tell them what to do, we’ve all been bucking authority. Including me.

Months ago I was invited to speak at a Christian school’s Purity Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I forwarded the invitation to my work supervisors and waited and waited and waited. When I finally received their answer, I wasn’t pleased.

They were thrilled for me to go, but they didn’t want me to travel by myself. This wasn’t easy to hear for a “big girl” like me who can take care of herself just fine, thank you very much.

I appealed, explaining that my hosts would pick me up at the airport, but my employers stuck to their guns.

It looked like I might not be able to go to Brazil. My hosts said they could only pay for an additional ticket if I could find another speaker.

I tried. No one could come.

Until one day I thought of a perfect fit. After several days of prayer, this speaker agreed to travel with me.

With God at the helm, authority is just another layer of His providence and protection.

And then, finally, it all made beautiful sense. God had worked through my authorities in order to send not only me, but another Spirit-filled speaker to Brazil. As a result, His kingdom work was at least doubled—maybe more.

And in the process, I was reminded of an important lesson: Authority is not something to be bucked; authority is not a bad word. With God at the helm, authority is just another layer of His providence and protection. In fact, He works out all His purposes through authorities.

How about you? Are you bucking authority, or do you trust God enough to submit to the authorities He has placed over you at this time in your life? How can you actively choose to submit to your authorities today?

Authority Is Not a Bad Word was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One

When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One

I’ve been dating an amazing man for several months now (surprise!), and until recently, I’ve not enjoyed it.

Let me fill you in on some background info before I tell you more:

  • Before my boyfriend came into my life, I’d pretty much learned (by God’s grace!) how to live the single life with contentment.
  • My boyfriend built a solid friendship with me for over four months before we began dating.
  • As soon as we started dating, though, I didn’t value our friendship. I expected non-stop romance . . . and NOW!

Romance Me Now, Please!

For most of my life I’d observed dating relationships in romance novels and watched them unfold on the screen. As a result, I expected to be fawned over and hotly pursued from my boyfriend’s first admission of liking me. Here’s a peek into one of my journal entries,

I thought dating would be all excitement and fireworks and distraction and butterflies in my stomach 24/7. (Thankfully it’s not, because then I’d really get nothing done!)

Sometimes it is exciting, but most of the time it’s simply comfortable and nice. It feels like real, everyday life instead of the stuff fairy tales are made of.

Suddenly I had a real, flesh-and-blood relationship . . . and I found myself mourning the loss of my long-anticipated fairy tale fantasy.

Who Says Fairy Tales Are Better?

One night, my boyfriend and I were having a playful conversation that opened to my eyes to the fact that fairy tale fantasies aren’t necessarily better than real life. It went something like this:

Me: And then, after getting married on the beach, I’ll ride my dolphin off into the sunset and live happily ever.

My boyfriend: That would put you in shark-infested waters in the middle of the night. (He’s so smart like that!)

Hmmm, I thought, maybe—just maybe—fairy tales aren’t so wonderful, after all!

Meet Prince Charming

A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I sought counsel from a wise elder in his church. After hearing the ins and outs of our relationship, this man spoke words I will never forget,

What I see when I look at you two is two young people who love Christ, understand each other’s shortcomings, have been honest about them, and are still willing to love the other.

That’s more to build on than, “When I look in his eyes, I see stars, and there’s this feeling in my tummy.” That may happen too. But long term, you want a more realistic picture of what you really need. Prince Charming is the grace of God ministering to your area of brokenness.

Oh, how grateful I am for my Prince Charming! How relieved I am that I chose to stick with this real-life relationship rather than rejecting it for some unrealistic, fairy-tale fantasy in my head.

And who knew . . . the romance/desire has developed naturally over time, rather than hitting like a ton of bricks from day one like I expected.

How about you? Have you thought about what expectations you might have for a future dating relationship? Where are these expectations coming from: God’s Word or the culture?

When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

When Another’s Words Sting

When Another’s Words Sting

Ouch, that stung.

Over the years, people’s words have wounded my soul more times than I care to count. That’s largely my fault, as I tend to be overly-sensitive (and overly-proud!).

As I wiped my tears away after one such painful exchange, I picked up Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ four-week devotional, The Power of Words, and found my perspective changing as I read this:


Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips (Ps. 141:3).

Nancy pointed out,


Notice where the guard is posted. Not at the ear—to protect us from being hurt by words we might hear, or at the heart—to shield us from the wounds that are sometimes caused by what others do.

Rather, the Psalmist asked God to post a sentinel at his own mouth knowing that the greatest danger he faced was not what others might do to him, but rather, what he might say that would harm others. (p. 32)

Really? Suddenly I began to wonder, “How’s my own speech?

  1. Do I:
    • Subtly put people down when talking about them to others, or
    • Build them up when talking about them to others?
  2. Am I:
    • Quick to hurry people along so I can get back to my schedule and tasks?
    • Fully engaged with people when they stop by to talk?
  3. Do I:
    • Assume the best about people’s motives?
    • Assume the worst about people’s motives?
  4. Do I regularly:
    • Speak words that encourage those I live and work with?
    • Speak words that discourage those I live and work with?

If you feel like a giant failure in this area, know this: Love, kindness, and self-control are all natural fruit of the Spirit. You and I don’t have to labor to produce kindness on our own—it’s a natural outflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we crucify the flesh and allow Christ to live through us.

By His power, we can actively put Philippians 4:8 into practice by thinking thoughts that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.” The result will be words that give grace, strength, and encouragement to others (see Eph. 4:29 and 1 Peter 3:8–10).

Nancy recommends trying these phrases out on the people closest to us:

  • I love you.
  • I’m praying for you.
  • I’m so proud of you.
  • I’m sorry I treated you that way.
  • Would you please forgive me?
  • I appreciate you.
  • You’re such a blessing!

Who can you encourage with a kind word today?

For extra encouragement in this area, listen to “Conversation Peace” with Mary Kassian on Revive Our Hearts.

When Another’s Words Sting” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

You probably know someone who’s divorced. Maybe an aunt or uncle, one of the leaders in your church, or your own parents. If so, I’m so very, very sorry for the pain it’s caused—and maybe still is causing—you.

With divorce so common, I wonder, What’s to keep you from heading down that same road someday?

My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband.

Before we go any further, do me a favor, and don’t rub what you’re about to read in any divorced person’s face. That’s not the point! My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband by introducing you to God’s thoughts on marriage and divorce.

Oh, I know you’re not married yet. But someday, you probably will be. And there may be days—possibly even long months that turn into even longer years—when you shake your head and mutter to yourself, This is no marriage. I didn’t sign up for this.

So I wonder, If the going gets tough for you, will you choose to divorce?

I’m afraid you will—unless you get ahold of the mind-blowing truths found in Mark 10:2–12. This passage finds the Pharisees (think “the squeaky-clean, religious, we’re-something-special leaders of Jesus’ day”) trying to trick Jesus with a question:

“Jesus, is it allowed—is it kosher—for a man to divorce his wife?”

“You tell me,” Jesus answered. “What did Moses command you?” (These guys knew the law of Moses like junior highers know their A-B-Cs!) Immediately they rattled off, “Yup, Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife and send her away.”

Doesn’t sound much different than today, huh? A lot of people in the Church will encourage you to get a divorce when the going gets tough.

But not Jesus.

He responds,

“Moses (not God!) wrote this commandment because your hearts were hard.” In other words, you wanted a divorce so bad, he let you have it.

But . . .

“But from the very beginning of time,” Jesus dug in, “God made humans in two varieties: male and female. Man and woman. And He designed them to leave their parents and hold fast to each other, so that the two would become one.”

Then, just in case they missed this mind-blowing math, Jesus repeated Himself,

“Married people are no longer two people but one person.”

Whoa!

“So,” Jesus concludes, “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Did you catch that?! Marriage has always been God’s marvelous plan for one man plus one woman. And when they marry, it’s ultimately God who’s turned two into one.

So, sweet girl, when your marvelous, God-designed marriage starts to seem mighty un-marvelous due to your sin or your hubby’s sin, remember these marriage-preserving truths. You are no longer two but one.

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Okay, your turn to talk back to me. Does divorce seem acceptable to you? Would you consider it if your own marriage got tough? How does Jesus’ teaching crack the way you naturally think about divorce?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself

Hey, single girl,

I got some mail this week that I can’t keep to myself. Read on to hear what one young mom has to say as she looks back on her own singleness from the other side of marriage and motherhood. Then, would you post a comment below thanking God for one tangible gift of singleness today?

Can’t wait to read what you share,

Paula

PS: As a little extra credit, is there a young, sleep-deprived mom you could offer to help today?

Hey, Paula!

I am writing this to you while it is still dark out because it is my only time of the day when the house is quiet and I have time to myself.

A few minutes ago I was reading in Exodus about how Moses found himself serving in Midian as a shepherd after having lived in Egypt in Pharaoh’s household. The devotional I was reading pointed out that these years of serving as a shepherd in the desert were also years of God preparing Moses to shepherd his people Israel through the desert for forty years.

I see so clearly now how sweet and precious those years of singleness were.

I found myself wondering if though Moses may have despised being a shepherd at the time, in retrospect as he struggled to lead the Israelites if he often looked back on those shepherding years as “golden” and “restful” compared to the struggles he faced with the Israelites.

I found myself thinking of my own life as well and wondering what I would classify as my “golden years,” my years of “rest and preparation.” I think I can honestly say they would be my single years.

Please don’t misunderstand. I absolutely LOVE being married to my husband and raising my precious children. I would not trade this time in my life for anything. And yet, I see so clearly now how sweet and precious those years of singleness were.

Today I don’t know that I will use my Keurig to brew a single cup of coffee. Today I will probably pull out the old coffee pot and brew a full pot. I have been up most of the night with a toddler who has a croupy cough and was struggling to breathe in the middle of the night.

By the time I finally got him to sleep my baby woke up and refused to go back down. Ten minutes before my alarm was to go off at five in the morning, I rolled into bed beside my husband and asked him to do whatever it took to get our baby to sleep so I could just sleep for ten more minutes before I had to get up for the day.

These are days that are hard, and I find myself looking back on those single years realizing I did not savor those moments as much as I should have: uninterrupted sleep, awakening truly refreshed and eager to serve the Lord, enjoying an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee while reading God’s Word without distraction. There was nothing wrong with longing for a husband and family of my own, and my God so generously blessed me with them. However, I was foolish not to fully embrace my singleness at that time and treasure it for the sweet gift from God that it was.

Savor this. You will not always be alone in a quiet house. One day you WILL miss this.

Sometimes in the middle of the night when the moon is out and I am rocking my baby while everyone else sleeps, I can see a shadow of myself on the nursery wall holding and rocking my sweet Ellie. In those moments it is as if I hear God speaking deep in my heart and saying to me, “Savor this. You will not always be rocking babies in the middle of the night, and one day you WILL miss this.” Oh, how I wish I would have heard His voice saying those similar words to me as a single person. “Savor this. You will not always be alone in a quiet house. One day you WILL miss this.”

Like I said, please do not misunderstand how much I love my husband and children and our little life together. It is so sweet and so precious! But like singleness, it has its moments where it can be rough. However, that does not mean that it should not be cherished as God’s perfect gift for me in this moment, just as I should have cherished more God’s gift of singleness to me as His perfect will for my life at that time.

This was heavy on my heart to share with you this morning, Paula, and I pray you can use it to encourage the hearts of other single people who may need to be reminded of how perfect and precious God’s will is for our lives.

We don’t want to miss out on enjoying His perfect gift for each of us today, because today will not last. Tomorrow is coming, filled with new gifts of its own for us to enjoy. But we can never get back today.

Some Mail I Can’t Keep to Myself” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.