"In writing for Christian women, most err in one of two ways. Some describe discipleship of women in a way that’s undifferentiated from men. Others only address the specific roles of wife, mom, homemaker, single, career woman, and so forth in a way that neglects the larger issues of discipleship that actually empower their performance of those roles from a gospel perspective.
She went on to say:
"Alsup ends with a sensitive word to the unmarried. Many of the women in Scripture were most vividly remembered for their faithfulness when they were unmarried and childless. Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Mary and Martha, Many Magdalene, the woman at the well, Rahab, Lydia, and Deborah all address the redemption offered to women of every cultural context and stage of life."
Needless to say this review peaked my interest enough to purchase the book. After deciding this afternoon to go to the wedding (which I found out was actually a 19 and 21 year old bride and groom - EEK - I am older than their ages combined, but I digress) I decided to take myself out for dinner. Money is very tight, but I decided I needed to be OK with going to a restaurant by myself and then to a wedding by myself. As I sat in the restaurant I continued reading this book I had just started. I was so struck at how God spoke to me. There were two quotes which really spoke to me tonight:
"We were created in the image of God and are conformed back to the example of Christ. Ruth is not he ideal for women - Jesus is. Our identity is completely tied to who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He is the vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing."
"In Luke 20 Jesus is clear that in heaven we do not marry. Actually, we do marry, but Jesus is the groom. The ultimate goal in perfection for men and woman is not marriage to each other. But it is relationship. What is clear in Genesis 2:18 is that it is not good for man to be alone and isolated. Man made in the image of God needed others. Married or single, we do too. God created us for community with both Him and others.when they were unmarried and childless. Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Mary and Martha, Many Magdalene, the woman at the well, Rahab, Lydia, and Deborah all address the redemption offered to women of every cultural context and stage of life."
I was in absolute awe - God ever so gently reminded me where my identity is. I don't need to have a man on my arm to walk into a restaurant and have a meal. I don't need a man on my arm to attend a wedding or any other social event. I am complete in Christ. I am not even through chapter 1 of the book yet, but God has shown me so much already. I can't wait to read the rest of it!
During the ceremony Gabe talked about "why" we were there - and I honestly felt like I heard God speak to my heart, "See - I told you!" It was so cool how God once again reinforced what He had told me. I had the honor and privilege at the wedding to spend some time with 2 of my favorite youth - one now a college freshman. It was awesome to hear one of them share with me how she is realizing that it is not Biblical to pursue a man - that in the Bible it wasn't difficult for the women. How it blessed my heart to hear this young woman really GET IT. It took me far too many years to get to where she is right now.
If you are a single woman reading this now - young or older - let me encourage you - YOU are WORTH pursuing. Right now I am focused on my own health - spiritual, physical, emotional - I am focused on getting to know my Heavenly Father better and to be content in all circumstances. I don't know if I will ever marry here on earth and I am honestly OK with that. Whether married or single, God can use you as a picture of His love and grace. Marriage isn't the only way God can show the world His love. We all have a different path. For the lovely bride and groom I was able to witness get married tonight - that is the path God has for them. God decided the BEST way to use them was together. For me, right now, God has decided the best way to show His love is being single. One is not better than the other - they are both the best - God's best plan. Embrace God's plan for your life today - wherever He has you, He wants to use you to show the world His love and grace.
Simply amazed by His gentle grace,
* When I started writing this, I really didn't know where I was going - it didn't go where I thought it was going, it is my prayer that my words are an encouragement and hope to someone out there tonight.