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15 Truths You Need to Know About Your Tears

15 Truths You Need to Know About Your Tears

The Bible has a lot to say about those salty drops that run down your cheeks. Here are fifteen truths you need to know about your tears.

  1. God sees your tears. He doesn’t miss a single one.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Ps. 56:8).

Are you tempted to believe God doesn’t see or care about your pain? If so, how does that line up with this truth from His Word?

2. Praying and tears go together.

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears!” (Ps. 39:12).

Are you simply crying, or are you crying out to God?

3. God has been known to act as a result of our prayerful tears.

“Go and say to Hezekiah, thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life” (Isa. 38:5).

What are you pleading with God for? How are you trusting Him to work?

4. When God took on human flesh, He wept, too.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence (Heb. 5:7).

Do you know that God empathizes with your sadness, ’cause His tears fell too while on this earth?

5. Serving the Lord and tears go together.

“Serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials” (Acts 20:19).

How often does the work you are doing for God lead you to tears?

Today I’m writing over at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. Catch ten more truths about your tears here. Then I’d love to hear from you.

  • Which truths stand out the most to you?
  • Did any truths surprise you?
  • What did I miss?

Who’s the Adult Here? (Anticipate Your Baby’s Next Move, Mom)

Who’s the Adult Here? (Anticipate Your Baby’s Next Move, Mom)

I intercepted my baby, Iren, as he crawled, mach speed, for the dog’s food and water. We were dog-sitting for my in-laws, and Iren was once again displaying his magnetic attraction to dog food.

Another Mess to Clean Up?!

Lifting both bowls from the floor to the table, I confidently walked into the bathroom. What harm could he do now if I took my eyes off him for a few seconds?

But when I walked out a few seconds later, there he was in a puddle of water, soaking wet. The dog’s food was strewn all over.

Anticipate Your Baby’s Next Move

I should’ve anticipated my baby’s next move. I’d seen Iren tug at our tablecloth the day before. Right then I should have folded up the tablecloth and tucked it neatly back into the buffet. But stupidity won out over common sense, and I left it. After all, the table looked prettier with a tablecloth . . .

As I stripped Iren of his wet clothes, mopped up the water with a bath towel, and refilled the dog’s food and water bowls, I was tempted to get frustrated, angry, and stressed over the extra work Iren had caused me. But a moment of clarity struck just then.

Who’s the adult here? Who has a higher IQ?

Own it, Paula. You don’t have a right to be frustrated or angry. You’re the adult here.

Who’s the Adult Here?

I know we moms can think that being frazzled and stressed out just comes with the territory. But does it really have to?

Rather than stewing in anger over extra messes, let’s work smarter, not necessarily harder. If our children can reach something, and we leave it within reach, then it’s fair game.

Anticipate your baby’s next move, mom. Prepare for it. And put away that tablecloth! I’m pretty sure your husband and kids will be grateful you chose a stress-free heart over a beautiful table.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like Potty Training Or Bust

A Shakespearean Sonnet and A Dog-Doo Shooing Strategy

A Shakespearean Sonnet and A Dog-Doo Shooing Strategy

I’ve enjoyed letting you peek over my hubby’s shoulder to see that I’m not the only writer in the family. You’ve read his Romans 5 hymn as well as his mock Chick-fil-A hymn. Today, I promised you one final installment of poems by my accountant hubby, just for fun.

A Shakespearean Sonnet

First, the Shakespearean sonnet he wrote over three years ago while flying west to propose to me. (If you knew the ins and outs of our dating relationship, you’d see that this is replete with symbolism and meaning!)

An unexpected blessing came to me,

A treasure from the realm of heaven sent.

‘Twas flown on wings across a digital sea,

The seed that grew into love’s bless’d event.

 

A bloom of life and love was found within

An unexpected place. A prairie flower

Grown in good soil she neither toils nor spins,

But drinks the rain, enjoys the Sun’s great pow’r.

 

I journeyed far to gain this precious rose,

By land and air, through darkness deep inside.

I’ll carry her through thorns and fears below

Held by his Hand in raging storms and tides.

 

The rising Day will banish soon the night.

Sojourn with me till then, and be my wife.

 

(How could a girl say no to that?!)

 

A Dog-Doo Shooing Strategy

So we wed and moved into the yellow house on the corner. No sooner had Trevor rid the house of fleas than we started finding dog poo in our yard. So naturally, Trevor wrote a poem. He placed it in a weather-proof sleeve, and attached it to our fence with some plastic baggies:  

I thought to take a walk one day

All through the eastern wood of ’Cuse

But wait, my dog, he longs to play

I bring him too, I’ve no excuse

 

I walk down road and street and lane

And see my neighbors on the way

Oh no I have forgot again

My dog he has to poop today

 

I have no bag, nor sack, nor can

But wait, I think this lawn will do

He’s just a dog, and not a man

He leaves a number one and two

 

But wait, I see this baggie here

It’s free for all to clean the poo

Now I remember, oh so clear

My neighbor’s lawn is not his loo

DOG HAD TO GO? TAKE A BAG! 🙂

(I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether that solved or exacerbated the problem.)

I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse into my hubby’s writing. Unfortunately he doesn’t have an up-to-date blog, but you can follow my hubby’s tweets at @gottheology.

Chick-fil-A, You’ve Been Good To Us

Chick-fil-A, You’ve Been Good To Us

Once there was a young man who was such a rabid Chick-fil-A fan he reworked an old hymn about it:

Trevor’s Chick-fil-A Hymn

Guide me O thou cows of Cathy

Pilgrim through this chikin-less land

I am weak, and very hungry

Hold me with thy powerful hand

Buttered bread, so lightly toasted

Feed me till I want no more

Feed me till I want no more

 

Open now the crystal fountain

Whence the sweetest tea doth flow

Let the fiery chikin sandwich

Lead me all my journey through

Tastiest fast-food, kindest service

Be thou still my flavorsome fill

Be thou still my flavorsome fill

 

When I tread the lands without thee

Bid my hungry fears subside

Death of thirst, and hunger’s destruction

Land me safe in thy drive-thru’s line

Many thank you’s I will ever give to thee

“It’s my pleasure” I will ever hear from thee

Sparks Fly at Chick-fil-A

Alas, this young man lived in New York, far from “the Promised Land” (as he lovingly referred to his beloved Chick-fil-A).

But as luck would have it, he bumped into a girl over Twitter who lived near a Chick-fil-A. After they’d talked online for about four months, he asked what she’d think of him visiting her for a long weekend.

Knowing how much he loved Chick-fil-A, she arranged for them to meet for the first time in person in “the land flowing with sweet tea and lemonade.”

Their friendship was forged even deeper over that long weekend. So much so that at their parting breakfast—over his spicy chicken biscuit—the young man let this girl know that he was interested in more than a friendship. And right there in the Mishawaka Chick-fil-A, they became boyfriend and girlfriend.

The boy and this girl dated, got engaged, and then wed on October 3, 2015. Three weeks later they traveled all the way back to Michigan to celebrate with their friends over . . . yes, Chick-fil-A sandwiches. ​

Every chance they got they stopped at Chick-fil-A on their travels until one day . . . they learned that Chick-fil-A was coming to a town near them!

In Line for Free Chick-fil-A

The young man knew exactly what he would do. He would rise early and wait in line in hopes of being one of the first one-hundred customers. If he was successful in his mission—assuming he spent that day doing community service—he would win a free Chick-fil-A meal each week for a year!

Suffice it to say, you can now spot that young man and his wife through the Chick-fil-A window as they save money many Friday nights by taking advantage of this free meal on their weekly date night.  

Chick-fil-A: You’ve been good to us.

  • Karen Wilson, we don’t know if you’re still serving as the Marketing Director at the Chick-fil-A in Mishawaka, IN, but thank you so much for donating part of our reception meal back in 2015!
  • And Dan Cathy, my hubby loved meeting you when you flew in for the Chick-fil-A opening in Syracuse. You have created a beautiful business, and it has blessed us personally in significant ways.  

To my readers: Thanks for your patience. A couple months ago I shared some of my hubby’s writing with you and promised this Chick-fil-A hymn plus two more poems. Watch for the final installment of his writing next Monday.

 

Your Gospel Toolkit to Help Teens

Your Gospel Toolkit to Help Teens

Do you feel inadequate to help teens in your life? Maybe you think you need a crash course in emojis as well as an active Snapchat presence before you can influence them for good.

You Aren’t Adequate to Help Teens

Maybe you’ve never gotten too close to teens because you’ve been afraid you wouldn’t know how to answer their questions or deal with their needs. Or maybe you’ve barraged them with Bible verses, but woken the next morning wondering, Did I really help them? Were my comments even relevant, or did I just heave a heavy burden on their back?

In one sense it’s not a bad place to be, realizing you have nothing to offer unless God works in their lives. Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” You and I will always be insufficient this side of heaven.

But today, I hope to point you in the direction you need to head in order to be able to help teens with anything and everything. I’m not saying there’s no room for a varied education—I love to learn!—but if I could advise you, I’d tell you to learn one subject inside and out. I’d encourage you to learn to apply it from every angle to any person’s life situation.

The Gospel Is Adequate to Help Teens

Are you ready? It’s the gospel that your teen needs—yes, for salvation (Rom. 1:16), but also for life. He or she needs you to help them see how Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has everything to do with their Friday nights and Monday mornings . . . and everything in-between.

How do I know this? Because Scripture says so. Check out Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:1–2:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

Did you catch that? These people received the gospel by faith (in the past), they’re standing firmly in it (in the present), and they’re being saved by it (in the present and in the future).

What is this gospel which is saving them? Paul continues:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (vv. 3–4).

Why It’s So Tough to Apply the Gospel

“But Paula,” you protest, “if everything my teen needs (and everything I need) is found in the gospel, then why is it so tough to make that connection and to apply it to everyday situations?”

I think it’s because we don’t fully grasp the gospel’s significance and outcomes for our own lives. Also, it’s easier to deal on the moral, what-I-can-see-with-my-eyes level. Connecting the dots to how teens need the gospel means we must want more than just outward conformity.

I wonder . . . do we? Do we really want their hearts to be captured by God, or are we just after outward conformity to rules that make us feel comfortable when they’re abided by?

If you want the former (and oh, how I hope you do!), you have to get to the heart behind why they’re doing what they’re doing. The bad news is this will take longer. It’s not as easy as just saying, “Stop it!” or “Fix it!” You have to dig deeper to root motives.

But the good news is when you apply the gospel to heart issues, it has the potential to bring about real, lasting change from the inside out. So how can you begin?

4 Practical Ways to Get Started

Here are four tips for you as you seek to apply the gospel to teens’ lives (or anyone, for that matter).

  • Meditate on gospel truths. Familiarize and re-familiarize yourself with the gospel. Think about it. Pray prayers based on it, read books about it, and memorize verses about it. Talk about it with Christians and non-Christians. Pray that God would restore your wonder in what He has done for you through Christ. Breathe it, live it, talk it, and sleep on it. Don’t get over it.
  • Interact with teens. Approach them in church and show interest in their lives. Go see the play they’re acting in. Invite them to go shopping with you. Or come over to color with you (yes, coloring is fun for big people, too!). Love the teens around you; don’t just try to change them. Get to know them, listen well to them, and enjoy them. (Click here for ten practical ways to push past social anxiety.)
  • Pray. Rather than focusing on the fact that you don’t feel relevant, pray for the teens around you. Ask that:
    • God would help you see them as He sees them.
    • He would fill you with love for them.
    • They will “get” gospel truths and implications.
    • He will do what only He can do and give them full, abundant life in Christ.
  • Apply the gospel to their life situation. If your teen still has a glazed-over look, it’s possible you didn’t explain it clearly, or it’s possible their heart is hardened and their eyes are blinded to the good news. But know that the fault never lies with the gospel itself. It is, and continues to be, as Romans 1:16 says, “the power of God for salvation.”

Let’s Practice!

Click over to TrueWoman.com, and practice applying the gospel to a specific teen’s struggle.

 

Why Is Lying Such a Big Deal?

Why Is Lying Such a Big Deal?

No one had to teach me how to lie; I was spinning the truth almost as soon as I learned to talk. It came naturally, as you can see from this funny example my mom journaled about when I was just three years old:

Paula came to me today with diaper rash cream all over her hands and said, “The top came off.” She had spread it on the bottoms of two cloth clowns and put blankets over their bottoms (diapers, you know).

It’s a humorous story, but bending the truth—no matter how young we are—is never cute or innocent. We all have plenty of experience with lying, though. It’s human nature to cover up and cast ourselves in the best light whenever we think we might get into trouble. We’ve been doing that ever since Adam and Eve played the first blame-shifting game in the Garden.

So if lying comes almost as naturally as breathing to us since our first parents’ (Adam and Eve’s) fall into sin, how can we ever tell the truth? Or how about . . . what should motivate us to always tell the truth?

Several years ago right here on this blog, I asked, “What motivates you not to lie?” Many of you responded like this girl:

You know, the whole “don’t lie” thing. God doesn’t want me to lie. Why would I flat out disobey Him in something like that?

Why Not Lie?

It’s true that God commands us not to lie, but I think we need to dig deeper. Why does God hate lying? Why does lying make the top Ten Commandments cut?

You ready? Here are two reasons:

  1. God can’t lie.

Did you know that God’s commands reflect His character?

When God tells you and me not to lie, it’s because God never lies. In fact, He cannot lie. Here are just a couple verses that point this out:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num. 23:19).

. . . God, who never lies . . . (Titus 1:2).

Why can’t God lie? Because God is true. That’s just who He is. In fact, Jesus said that He Himself is truth:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, emphasis added).

You may have had people break your trust right and left. You might wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. But you never have to wonder when reading God’s words if He is exaggerating a bit, if He is stretching the truth, if He is being insincere, or if He will go back on His word. God never lies; He always keeps His promises.

But what does this truth about God have to do with us not lying? Well, because . . .

  1. We are created to represent God.

God cannot lie, and we are made in God’s image. Our purpose is to show the world the truth about who God is and what He is like:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:26–27).

When we lie, we misrepresent Him and act more like Satan:

“He [Satan] . . . does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, emphasis added).

God has created us in His image. We are made to represent and image Him rightly to the world around us.

Today I’m blogging over at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. Click here to continue reading a couple practical steps about how to stop lying and start loving truth

 

How to NOT Hurt the Singles in Your Church

How to NOT Hurt the Singles in Your Church

The singles in your church are hurting. Many (dare I say most?) of them have a strained relationship with the church.

There’s Pain in Your Pews

Since writing a book on singleness, I hear from singles often. Here’s what one thirty-nine-year-old woman has to say:

I’m convinced there is something very wrong with me! I feel like a complete outcast in each and every church. The weird thing is I don’t feel that way at work, which is a completely secular environment. Lately I’ve been crying all weekend and so grateful to be able to go to work on Monday morning because I know I’m valued and wanted there and I know I am contributing something as well.

This woman isn’t the only single who feels like an oddity in church. You might be tempted to think, Oh, toughen up! You think marriage is easy? But here’s why their hurt is our problem, too.

It’s a Family Responsibility

If you’ve placed all your trust in Christ as your righteousness, you’re now a tiny but vital member of His family and of His Body. There are millions upon millions of other members, and what impacts each of these people impacts you because we’re one now. Paul tells us:

But God has so composed the body . . . that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:24–26, emphasis added).

We have a responsibility to care for singles as we would our own families, because we’re not independent individuals anymore. We’re a part of something so much larger. Besides, in heaven there will be no individual marriage or families other than the family of God (Matt. 22:30).

So how can we care for singles as we ought? It starts with how we think about singleness.

Singleness Isn’t a Disease to Be Healed

Many people view singleness as a disease to be healed. I’ve been guilty of this myself. God’s Word, however, has quite a different perspective.

In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul addresses the whole church about the advantages and benefits of singleness. Singles, he says, are spared anxieties and troubles. (If you told a single that, they’d probably think, Ha! Paul obviously didn’t have a clue. I have plenty of troubles, and plenty to be anxious about!)

I don’t think Paul intends to minimize everything a single has to juggle in life. His point is that they’re not distracted by needing to please the Lord and their spouse. They have the freedom to be singularly devoted to the Lord.

Let’s be careful that we don’t adopt a “woe is you because you’re single” mindset when God celebrates singleness.

Let’s also be careful about how we “encourage” singles.

Steer Clear of Lousy Encouragement

I wonder, is your encouragement to singles actually encouraging them? Is it grounded in truth? Here are four examples straight from the lips of singles of hurtful “encouragement” they tend to receive from those in the church:

  • “God won’t bring you your spouse until you’re content in your singleness.” (Let’s think about this . . . when do we ever earn God’s gifts?)
  • “Oh, don’t worry, Honey, God has someone special out there for you!” (Does He? How do you know this? Scripture tells us that everyone will not get married and that singleness is good. A lot of unintentional hurt is caused by assuming that everyone will marry one day.)
  • “Marriage is how God makes us holy” and “I didn’t really know how much God loved me until I had kids.” (This makes singles feel like they’re not only missing out on a family but on sanctification! A better way to say this would be, “Marriage is one of the means God uses to help make us holy.”)
  • Another single requested, “Don’t remind us that marriage isn’t all happily ever after with the perfect prince/princess of our dreams. Single adults are intelligent people. We’re no longer the teenagers in the youth group. We’re not expecting Disney or Hollywood. Our dreams of marriage are normal and healthy, and being belittled because we still hope for marriage (the same way our now-married friends once did) is insulting.”

We’ve looked at our thoughts. We’ve considered our words. But what about our actions? One of the greatest ways we can bless singles in the church is by our hospitality.

Invisible No More

Here are a few ideas of how you can show hospitality to the singles in your church:

  • Invite them to sit with you rather than sitting alone. When I was single, Sundays were the loneliest day of the week for me as I sat surrounded by happy-looking married couples and families.
  • If you’re in church leadership, examine your upcoming events and make sure they’re geared to all people in general, not just toward married people or parents.
  • Celebrate the milestones of the singles in your small group, like their birthdays or moving into their own place. One single pointed out, “Our accomplishments are often ignored; we don’t get showers, registries, and parties. We are no one’s priority, and that often makes us invisible.“
  • Ask a single at church if they have plans for the next holiday. If not, invite them to your home. A dear family did this for me one year when I wasn’t able to travel home for Christmas. They even bought me a present! Don’t forget Mother’s Day, as well. One of my single mom friends noted, “Single moms won’t spend money on themselves (many are at poverty level), and their children may be too young to know how to celebrate them.”

Come On In!

Don’t stop there, though. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has said, “It’s in our homes, not standing in the aisle after church, that we have the greatest opportunity to really practice the ‘one anothers’ of Scripture.” One anothers like:

  • Love one another.
  • Pray for one another.
  • Admonish one another.
  • Edify one another.
  • Care for one another.
  • Bear one another’s burdens.

I was the recipient of remarkable hospitality as a single. The hospitality that most reflected God welcoming me into His family was when an older couple invited me to live in their home when I was in my late twenties.

For the three years I stayed with them, I never felt like I needed to keep to my own room and not bother them. On the contrary, they treated me like I was their daughter!

I’m not saying you have to open your spare bedroom to a single. Maybe you do something more like what Eleanor has encountered:

The greatest blessing for me as a single person has been eating with a family from church every week and helping put their young children to bed. Nothing extraordinary, just what they would be doing if I wasn’t there.

Sometimes I barely talk to the parents while I’m there, because they’re so exhausted. I don’t always see them at their best. They don’t just have me over when it’s convenient. But they choose to truly let me into their lives and hearts, and that is a great blessing and a joy.

Single people will sometimes be lonely. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” Maybe for one single, it’s your family.

Let’s Put Feet to This

Let’s not just write and read about how to help the singles in our church; let’s do something about it! But where should we start?

  1. Identify the singles in your church and life. Not just those you’d like to hang out with but those God has placed in close proximity to you. Think broadly: singles who have never been married, widows, divorcees, single moms, and those who for all practical purposes are single because their spouse is absent.
  2. Pray for them. Make this a priority, and try to pray for at least one single daily. (You might consider downloading an app like PrayerMate to help you remember.)
  3. Engage them. Pick at least one single on your list, and come up with a plan to reach out to them. This is just a practical way to help you love your neighbor.

Ready, set, help! Not because singles need fixing, and not because you’re the savior of the singles—but because:

  • God welcomed you into His family when you had nothing to offer Him.
  • You are now family by blood—the blood of Christ.
  • When they hurt, you hurt.

Ultimately, give yourself to them, with a genuine heart, and watch how greatly God will bless you through their friendship in the process.

A version of this post originally appeared as an article in Revive Magazine and then on TrueWoman.com

How I Lost (and Regained) My Parents’ Trust

How I Lost (and Regained) My Parents’ Trust

Have you lost your parents’ trust? It’s a crummy place to be, I know. I lost my parents’ trust my eighth grade year, and it felt like it took eons to regain it.

That summer, my family moved to a different state, and soon I started attending a new school. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to choosing wise friends (there were only fourteen students in my whole grade!). It wasn’t long before my new friends were encouraging me to date a guy I liked behind my parents’ backs. I was all too happy to listen to them. Life was going well until . . .

One horrible, rotten day, a letter was delivered to our home (yep, that was before Facebook!). A friend from my old school had written me. But instead of addressing the envelope to “Paula Hendricks,” she wrote my nickname on the front. When my parents saw the letter, they didn’t know who it was for. So they opened it. And this is what they saw: “I can’t believe you’re dating Neil behind your parents’ backs!” (Busted!)

That was probably the first seed of distrust that was (rightfully) planted in my parents’ hearts. And then guess what they went and did? They prayed that God would help them find out whenever I was covering up my sin. He seemed to answer their prayer time and time again. It wasn’t long before they knew I couldn’t be trusted.

As much as I hated my parents at the time for reading my mail and being so strict, looking back I have to say they were right to not trust me. I was a deceiver. I lied. A lot.

Have You Lost Your Parents’ Trust, Too?

I wonder if you can relate. Have you given your parents (or others) any valid reason not to trust you? Are you one person around them and a different person entirely when you think they’re not looking?

Are you always wondering if you’ll be found out? And then when you are, do you know the feeling of having the people closest to you not know if anything you say is true? We both know that’s not a fun way to live. So what can you do?

How To Get Your Parents’ Trust Back

If you’re one of those girls who has been walking on eggshells around a couple of suspicious parents, here’s how you can regain their trust.

I’m writing over at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com today. Click here to read how to regain your parents’ trust.

Then be sure to check back next month to learn why lying is such a big, hairy deal. ‘Cause believe it or not, we have a bigger issue than just regaining our parents’ trust. A much bigger issue . . .

Should I Keep Praying for a Husband?

Should I Keep Praying for a Husband?

Is it okay to keep praying . . . and praying . . . and praying some more for a husband? This is a question I wrestled with when I was single. After all, I’d been praying for a husband for years, yet God seemed to thwart my desire for marriage at every turn.

I’m not the only one who wrestled with whether it’s okay to continue praying for a husband. A thirty-two-year-old recently wrote me:

For as long as I can remember, I have desired marriage. Though my heart aches in this season of prolonged singleness, I know that the Lord has given me this time as a gift to serve Him without any relational constraints. Therefore, I am not sure how to pray.

I don’t want to pray half-heartedly or without faith. Yet there is no guarantee the Lord has marriage in His plan for me. I do not want to stuff this desire and pretend it doesn’t exist. Nor do I want to hyperfocus on this longing and believe contentment requires its fulfillment.

What is the biblical solution? How can I honor God in my prayer life in this season, rejoicing in His faithfulness while also grieving this unfulfilled longing?

If you have a similar question about an unfulfilled longing in your life or in the life of a single friend, this post is for you. Today we’re going to eavesdrop on Jesus’ prayers to the Father on one of the darkest nights of His life. I think you just might find your answer tucked right there in the olive groves of Gethsemane. Let’s join Him.

Today I’m writing over at TrueWoman.com. To read the rest of this post, click here.

Then, I’d love to hear from you. Have you wrestled with this dilemma? If so, what have you learned? Whether it’s asking God for a husband—or something else entirely—are you demanding your desires, or are you bringing them to your Father?

How to Lovingly Turn Him Down

How to Lovingly Turn Him Down

If I have the story right, after my dad asked my mom out, she commented to a friend, “Why do the creepy guys always ask me out?” (Obviously she changed her mind about my dad not too long after that!)

Maybe you feel like my mom felt all those years ago. Why does it seem the guys you don’t like are always the ones pursuing you?

I can’t answer that question for you (except to assume that you’re lovely, and they’re smart enough to realize it!). Instead, may I throw an important question out there?

When a “creepy guy” asks you out, how can you turn him down in a way that glorifies God? More specifically, how can you love a guy well while turning him down?

I’m so glad you asked! Let’s look at a few ways you can love him before, when, and after you turn him down.

Love Him Before You Turn Him Down . . .

  • Remember that this guy has worth. You might think he’s creepy, but everyone—including this guy—is made in the image of God. That means he has great value and worth in God’s eyes, and he should to you, too—even if you don’t like him “like that.”
  • Go to God rather than gossiping about him to your friends.Ask God to give you wisdom to lovingly but truthfully communicate with this guy. Ask God to draw this guy closer to Himself through this disappointment. Pray that this guy wouldn’t believe lies about his worth. Pray for wisdom in your interactions with him. You get the idea.
  • Accept this as God’s assignment for you. You might be frustrated because you don’t want to deal with this. I get that. But God is sovereign, and He has allowed this to happen. So can you receive it from Him?
  • Don’t rush. You might want to get this guy out of your life ASAP. A quick text might seem like the simplest solution. But is it really best? Pause. Breathe. Pray. There’s no need to freak out about this. You’ve got this, girl, and you can do it in a way that honors God and loves this guy.

Love Him When You Turn Him Down . . .

  • Own it. Don’t blame God by saying something like, “God hasn’t given me a green light,” or “I just don’t have peace,” or “I don’t feel God wants me to date right now.” Say it like it is: You don’t want to date him. (I mean, come on. If a hot, godly guy came along right now who liked you, would you really tell him you didn’t think God wants you to date right now?)
  • Tell the truth. When I was a teen, I thought covering up the real reason I didn’t like a guy would protect him. Wrong! “Not hurting his feelings” never justifies lying. Proverbs 24:26 says it like this: “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” So give him a “kiss” of truth—lol. It’s the least you can give him. Don’t tell him what you think he wants to hear. I’m not saying you can just blurt out whatever you’re thinking and be oblivious to his feelings. Use wisdom, but be truthful. If you’re not attracted to him, tell him you’re just not feeling anything beyond friendship. If there’s a deeper reason—a reason that would help him know where he needs to grow—share that with him in a direct, loving way. You get the picture.
  • Affirm him where you can. Even if you don’t like him, you can let him know it’s an honor that he would take an interest in you! More than that, he demonstrated an enormous amount of courage in putting his feelings out there and asking you out. Tell him how much you admire that and that you hope your response won’t keep him from pursuing the right girl at the right time.

Today I’m writing over on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. To read about how to love him after you turn him down, click here.