A new year, a same struggle

Next month I will be leaving one decade behind and entering a new one. While I’m not really scared of turning 30, I have been very aware lately that my life has not at all turned out how I thought it would. I never dreamed I would reach my 30s as a single. The past year in particular has been a roller coaster of ups and downs in my desires and wants. In some instances, I have been completely content and satisfied with my singleness. I’ve even had moments where I solely desired and wanted to be single. But, I’ve also had the overwhelming moments of longing for a husband. Recently, that desire has only gotten stronger. I’ve grown in my understanding of what a godly marriage really is and it’s only made me desire it that much more. 

But, I’m still very single.
I do believe the Lord is sovereign. I know he is in control of all things and has a specific purpose and plan for my life. But, I have been battling confusion and doubt and wondering what his plan really is. The past couple of months have been particularly difficult. I know I can be extremely cynical and critical and negative and I have been fighting it daily. I want to trust. I want to be patient. I want to exhibit grace and understanding. But, it can be downright exhausting. 
I was reminded today of a post I wrote for CBMW almost exactly a year ago. Often times our lives don’t go exactly how we plan or expect. In fact, life can turn out to be the exact opposite of what we originally wanted. I’ve had to learn the difference between my will and God’s will. I’ve had to learn how to trust God’s goodness and sovereignty even when I don’t understand it. He is good. He is faithful. Even when I may not believe it at every moment. Lately, I admit, I’ve been lacking in belief (while simultaneously fighting it). I know that He remains faithful even when I’m unsure of it. My feelings or circumstances do not change who he is and that is extremely encouraging to me. 
So, I may still be single at 30 and I’m sure I’ll continue to have my struggles with this reality. But, I also choose to trust the Lord and his plan for my life. I choose to see my singleness as a blessing and as a gift. I am comforted in knowing he is able to use me in whatever age or stage I find myself. No matter where we are in life, he has a purpose. But, first, we must relinquish our control and surrender it to him.
Here is my original post for CBMW:

My Desires and God’s Glory

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal desires we have in light of God’s purpose and will. So many of our desires are good, God given desires: relationships, children, careers, ministries, etc. We are not wrong in desiring different things in life, unless they are blatantly sinful desires or wants. Of course, even good desires can turn sinful if we allow them to become idols or obsessions. But, generally speaking, desiring certain things is not wrong. In fact, according to Scripture, we are supposed to desire good things. However, we must also consider that God has a specific will and purpose for our life. How do our desires and God’s will go together?

Scripture tells us that God will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in him (Ps 37:4). We are also told that we can pray for anything and the Lord will grant it (Matt 7:7, Phil 4:6, I Jn 5:14). Not only has he given us certain desires, but he actually invites us to seek him for the fulfillment of those desires. But, what happens when we truly are living in Christ and seeking the Lord daily and still find our desires aren’t met? Has God failed? Have we failed? Is there some other element we are totally missing?

In my life, the most prominent unmet desire has been my want to be married. Although, I do still go back and forth between wanting to be married and wanting to stay single. I wrote more about that here. But, for the most part, I do desire to be married and I know it’s a good desire to have. Biblical marriage is an amazing example of the gospel and can be an incredible way to further God’s kingdom. Also, it is something that only takes place this side of eternity (Matt 22:30). I don’t want to miss out on that. I want to be a part of something that displays Christ’s relationship with his church. I want to go through the bright joys and deep dark places of life with a partner- challenging one another, pushing one another, refining one another, and encouraging one another to look more like Christ. However, for some reason, I am still single. I (imperfectly) desire to grow in wisdom and to live in total submission to God. I pray constantly for him to bless me with a godly husband. I pray constantly for him to mold me into a woman capable of being a godly wife. But, still, I’m single. It can sometimes be downright frustrating. He tells me he will give me the desires of my heart. He tells me to ask and I will receive. But, for some reason, not this. Why?

The answer I have found is, first and foremost, God must be glorified in all things. He wills and purposes whatever is going to bring him the most glory. Think about the cross. Christ desired for it to be taken from him. He prayed to the Father, pleading with him to remove the burden (Matt 26:36-44). But, ultimately, Christ desired the Father’s will above his own. He desired the Father’s glory above all else. So, he was obedient even unto his own death (Phil 2:8). He submitted to the Father even when it was against his own desire. He knew that obedience and living for the Father’s glory was more important than what he wanted. In fact, the one desire he had that far outweighed the rest was his desire for the Father’s will to be done in and through him. Christ was willing to surrender his own desire in order for the Father to be glorified above all else. In this sacrifice of Christ, we see the greatest example of God’s glory.

This is where I find myself today. Yes, I desire to be married and I will continue to pray for that desire to be met. However, God’s glory is what ultimately matters in life. I must always seek his will above my own. I must always seek to bring him glory every single day and in every single circumstance. Today, I am single. Today, I choose to use my singleness for his glory. I will continue to pray for a godly husband. But, more importantly, I will pray for him to do in me whatever will bring him the most glory. Yes, my desire for marriage is good. But, God’s glory is far better.

Monday Musings: Rebellion and Grace

I’m leading a study on Isaiah and, as I read through the book, I have the same reaction I always have reading the Old Testament: how in the world could Israel have been so rebellious? Time and time again Israel turned completely away from God. Even in times when God had just spoken to them or done a miraculous work right in front of them- somehow they still chose to completely forsake God and his holiness. And, while I’m reading, I always have this haughty attitude towards them.

Of course, as quick as I am to be judgmental, I realize, ‘Oh, wait. That’s you, Katie.’ How many times has God spoken to me through his word? How many times has he done amazing things in my life? And, in the midst of his blessing and goodness, how many times have I rebelled against him? Of course, it plays out in different ways than the Israelites, but my heart is still the same as theirs. One main way I see this is idol worship. No, I don’t worship other gods or have visible idols before him. But, I still practice idolatry. Whether it’s obsessing over my relationship status or work status or financial status or a multitude of desires I have, I’m constantly being distracted from the Lord and his holiness. I’m allowing all these other things to cloud out what he is teaching me and how he is blessing me. It’s appalling to me when I think about how many times I have placed my trust in things other than God. Just like Israel, I choose the way of the world far too often. As I read Isaiah, I can’t help but pity myself as I pity them. I can’t help but be disheartened by the similarities I see in my own life.
But, thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. All throughout Isaiah (and the rest of scripture) God’s grace shines through. God’s people rebel. He draws them back in. Over and over again God offers forgiveness and covers his people in grace.  And, there’s one way in which God offers his ultimate grace and forgiveness- the cross of Jesus Christ. Humanity is in complete rebellion towards God. Humanity deserves nothing less than total wrath and complete destruction. Yet, in God’s kindness and grace, he sent his own son as the payment for our rebellion so that we could be reconciled to him. I am so thankful for redemption in Christ. I am so thankful he drew me in all those years ago. Yes, I’m still in the flesh. I still fall into rebellion. I still find myself choosing the world at times. But, through the Holy Spirit, I’m constantly being drawn back to God’s grace. He’s always pursuing me. He’s always reminding me of the cross. 
So, as I continue to study Isaiah, I’ll remember my own rebellion. I’ll remember my own ignorance in choosing worldly ambitions over God. And, I’ll always remember the grace and redemption I’ve found in the cross. 
My rebellion is great. But, God’s grace is greater. 

Monday Musings- When I Realize Life Isn’t About Me

There are times in my life where stresses start stacking up in everything. Work, church, and life all seem to be too overwhelming. I’m confused, frustrated, annoyed, and feeling extremely inadequate. These are the moments I become the most selfish. I start feeling really sorry for myself and complain and whine about how unfair life is. You know, the whole ‘woe is me’ bit. I start to think that everything is about me. This usually lasts for a few days and then Jesus abruptly interrupts to remind me that it isn’t about me. He bluntly says, ‘Katie, it’s not about you even a little bit.’ 

This is where I am today. Christ reminding me of the gospel. Christ reminding me of what he did for me in his death and resurrection. Christ reminding me that really it’s all about him and his kingdom. It’s a sobering experience. Coming to the place of complete undoing. Coming to the place of realizing I really am inadequate. Coming to the place of understanding I am nothing without Christ. My life is to be a reflection of him. My life is to always be glorifying to him. 
I’m continually having to be reminded that sometimes the confusion and frustration of life is what pushes me to depend on him even more. In those moments, he breaks me in order to redirect me. I’ve become too comfortable with myself. I’ve started puffing myself up too much thinking, ‘Man, I’m doing some awesome things.’ He has to knock me down for me to realize it’s all about him. It’s all about the gospel. It’s all about sacrificing myself and my comforts for him and his kingdom. It’s hard, and it can get pretty ugly. But, then I remember the cross was hard. The cross was ugly. And it ushered in a new and glorious day. A day in which Christ reigns victorious and brings new life to a sick a dying world. That’s what it’s about, folks. And that’s what I will cling to today. 
‘But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7,8

Limitless Praying

Do you ever feel like you pick and choose your prayers depending on what you really want answered? Recently, I have caught myself doing this. I’ve been basing my prayers on those things I want the most. My mindset is that if I ask for too many things God will only answer some of them. Or, sometimes I will categorize prayers depending on importance or how big of a request it is. It’s as if I think there is a limit to what God can and will do. I know in my head that’s a ridiculous notion. However, the pattern of my prayer life reveals that I have a skewed view of God’s character and ability.

I was struck by my wrong thinking this past week as I was praying on my way to work. I suddenly realized what I was doing and the gravity of what it revealed about my understanding of God. I am a huge proponent of God’s powerful sovereignty and complete control over everything. Yet, here I am limiting his power by the way I am praying. And, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has fallen into this trap.

Scripture is very clear on how we should pray and God’s power in answering those prayers. Philippians 4:6 states that we should not be anxious, but let all of our requests be known to God. Christ also tells us in Matthew 6:25-33 to not to be anxious for anything and to trust that he will provide all of our needs. Again, in John 15:7 and I John 5:14-15 we are assured that all of our requests are heard and answered. And Matthew 21:21 states that if we have faith and do not doubt we can ask anything and it will happen. The list goes on and on of accounts in God’s word that promise all of our prayers are heard and will be answered. There is no limit to what we can ask and what God can do.

Of course, we can also go too far the other way and view God as a genie granting our every wish. This is a just as wrong as limiting God’s power. While scripture is very clear on us asking anything in prayer, we also see that there is a requirement on our end. In John 15:7, Christ says, ‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’ Also, Matthew 6:33 states, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ In both of these passages (and many others), there is a clear directive for us. We must abide in Christ and his word. We must seek the kingdom and righteousness.

I John 5:14 puts it another way: if we ask according to his will he hears us. A lot of times we see that as a catch. ‘Oh sure, God answers prayers, but only those that are in line with his will. So, I’m not really getting what I want.’ Actually, it’s both. When we seek Christ fully and chase after righteousness, we can be confident that our requests and desires line up with his will. Think about it. It’s extremely selfish and out of line for us to think God owes us anything when we are living outside of his will. ‘Yes, God, I know I’m not really living for you, but I still think you should give me (fill in the blank).’ That sounds absurd. In fact, even when we do seek Christ and surrender to his authority it’s absurd to think we are owed anything. It’s an absolutely gracious and overwhelming thought that he chooses to bless us and answer our requests at all. It have to remind myself of this everyday. Prayer is a privilege. Therefore, we must not be motivated to live for Christ simply so our prayers get answered. First and foremost, our focus in life (and prayer) should be to submit to the Son for the glory of the Father. If it’s anything else, we ought to repent and refocus. When we do completely surrender to Christ, we can be confident that our prayers are heard and will be answered according to his will.

There has been such a bold awakening in my understanding of God’s gracious character. My hope is that I will no longer limit him in my prayers. He is all powerful and completely sovereign. There is no request too big for him. There is no limit to what I can ask him. He has promised in his word that he hears all of them. May this overwhelming truth lead me to ‘pray without ceasing’ (I Thess. 5:17) in the confidence that every single word is acknowledged by the one who has the only power to answer.

A few thoughts on biblical manhood and womanhood

The lack of single Christian men and women really behaving biblically as men and women has been extremely heavy on my heart lately. I definitely know I am not the only one who feels this way as I have had many a conversation on this very topic recently. While I have written specifically towards girls on singleness and godly womanhood in the past months, I have steered clear of really saying much directly to guys. I never want to come across as bitter Betty or overstep my bounds. However, Scripture talks about the body encouraging one another (Eph. 4:29, I Thess. 5:11, Heb. 3:13) and I think that means we are all to encourage one another even across the sexes. (Of course, I am not implying that a married or single woman should meet privately with a man married to another woman to encourage him. There is discernment and wisdom that comes when we are told to encourage one another.) I think it can be very healthy and beneficial for men and women to encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. The apostle Paul received a lot of encouragement and teaching from women who really helped shape him into a godly man. So, I would like to offer some encouraging, yet challenging, words to you single men. Don’t worry, I have a few things to say to the ladies, too.

*Disclaimer: I in no way want to come across as bashing men or putting them down. Please know I do this with a heart that really does want to sharpen and encourage men. Also, I in no way am trying to selfishly benefit from this. I have become pretty confident recently that the Lord has intended me to be single right now, so please do not see me as selfishly motivated in this.*

I was reading a post earlier by my good friend, Courtney, on modesty in light of the fall. You can read the full post here. She wrote this line in it, “There is a time and a place for enjoying the wife of your youth.” (This comes from Proverbs 5.) It really got me to thinking how common it is now days for men to delay marriage and having a family later and later in life. Adolescence truly has become prolonged in men. Scripture is full of exhortation and encouragement for men to marry- Gen 2:24; Prov 5, 31; Song of Solomon; Matt 19:5; I Cor 7:10,11. (There are a lot more, but it would fill up this whole post if I listed all of them.) Many of you may think it’s odd I chose Proverbs 31, but really this was written from a father to a son on what to look for when finding a godly wife. So, you single men, that passage is first and foremost for you. David Platt recently spoke about this in one of his sermons. You can listen to an excerpt here

With all of this exhortation in Scripture for men to take godly wives and start a family I am quite perplexed why so many Christian men right now are continually prolonging adolescence and putting marriage off as something they will get to way down the road. Men, are you truly studying the word and praying for the Lord to reveal truth to you? Are you looking at everything God has said about what it means to be a godly man or are you passing over some of the things you will get to later or that make you uncomfortable? I encourage you to really dig into the Bible and seek what it truly means to be a godly, wise, and mature man. I truly believe if Christian men were soaking up Scripture and studying it to the fullest, they would be much more excited about marriage and desire to grow in wisdom and maturity. Let me say here, I understand that some men are called to singleness. The Lord does have purpose for some men that requires them to remain single. However, I know this is used A LOT as an excuse by guys who like their freedom and don’t want to be tied down. Men, here are a couple of questions to ask yourselves. 1- Am I single because the Lord has called me to be single in order to focus on a specific ministry that requires singleness? or 2- Am I single because I really like my freedom and being able to do whatever I want whenever I want? I truly believe a lot of single men have a misconception of what freedom is. What if true freedom really isn’t being able to do whatever you want whenever you want?  What if true freedom comes when you completely live your life for Christ and seek to be the godly man He has called you to be? What if true freedom comes when you decide to give up your selfish way of living in order to provide, protect, and love a wife and children? What if true freedom comes when you are able to share with your children the things you so enjoy doing in order that they may share with their kids and so on? What if true freedom comes with leaving a legacy that can be passed down through the generations? You don’t have to be single to experience freedom. In fact, I would say you are missing out on really experiencing true freedom as a godly man. 

Now, I know there are some single men that do desire to get married and are seeking a godly woman to take as a wife. I understand things can be extremely difficult and frustrating for you during this singleness. Please do not give up hope. Continue to seek and pursue until the Lord does bring along an amazing woman for you. Even through the heart ache and rejections, don’t stop seeking. Of course, I am not telling you to chase down every single girl you see. Pray for wisdom and direction from the Lord, first and foremost. But, also don’t be afraid to step out in faith and take a risk when you see a godly woman and want to get to know her better.

For those of you single men that maybe have been prolonging marriage for less than biblical reasons, please seek the Lord on this. Maybe you need to repent of any sinful reason why you have decided against marriage. Maybe you need to pray for wisdom from the Lord and a heart that desires to be a godly husband and father. Maybe you need to meet with a godly and wise man that can encourage and hold you accountable. Also, know that there a countless women praying for your hearts and for you to be the godly men the Lord has called you to be. For myself, there are several men I try to pray for regularly in order that the Lord really may begin to work in their lives. Not all of us single women are against you. A lot of us really are for you and want God’s best for you.

Now, I would like to say some things to you single women. I think we have definitely been disregarding Scripture when it comes to biblical womanhood. The behavior I see across the church in women has become very disheartening. We are also called to study Scripture and seek what it means to be godly women. The immodesty in women in dress and speech has run rampant, not just in the world, but also in the church. Women, we are to be the picture of modesty (Prov 11:22, 31:30; I Tim 2:9,10; I Peter 3:3,4). Please know that dressing immodestly is not honoring to God or the men around us. Our bodies are a temple and we are to treat them as such (I Cor 6:19-20). We are also to be mindful of not creating stumbling blocks for men. We should be carrying ourselves in such a way that is encouraging and uplifting to them. 

Many women use the excuse that it’s not our responsibility when it comes to lust and sinfulness in men. Let me just say that this is an immature and un-Christlike response. Yes, men are held accountable for their actions and the sin in their hearts. But, we are also called to encourage and help one another. If you are dressing and speaking immodestly, you’re adding fuel to the fire and disregarding God’s word. Also, if you want to catch the attention of a godly and wise man, dressing inappropriately is not the way to do it. Sure, you may get a lot of attention, but I can guarantee you it won’t be of godly men that will make extraordinary husbands. Let us seek the Lord on what it truly means to be godly women. Let us change our behavior and speech to be in line with who God has called us to be as women. We have such a precious and high calling as women and so I exhort each one of you to really seek out wisdom and godliness. And, let us seek to encourage the men around us in word and deed.

Even though I have been greatly discouraged by the lack of godliness in Christian men and women, I also have great hope in the Lord restoring us to His original plan for us as godly men and women. I pray that we will stop listening to the culture around us and starting living for the God we claim to know and love. May our complete faith and trust be put in Him and may we stop letting other idols get in our way of truly living for him. We have been bought with a price. Now let’s really start acting like it. Let’s really start letting the Lord really work in our lives and shape us into who He wants us to be. 

Please know that I realize I am not perfect. There a lot of things I still need to learn about becoming a godly woman. I ask each of you reading this to hold me accountable to that. If you see something in me that goes against what I have said or, more importantly, what God has said, I implore you to tell me right away! I do not want to be hypocritical or living in a way that is not most glorifying to God. So, I give you permission to encourage and rebuke me when I am straying from who God has called me to be. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but we all need to exhort and encourage and rebuke and love one another in order for us to all be a healthy and holy body of Christ. 

As always, may everything we do, in word and deed, be glorifying to God!!

This one’s for the (single) ladies…but you men can read it, too.

It’s not difficult to pick up on the fact that many single women really struggle in this stage in life. It can sometimes feel like we are stuck in this black hole of waiting. Now, I know there are some single men that struggle with this as well. But, for the most part, men have a lot more freedom and ability to actually do something about it. Women, we have to wait to be pursued and that can be downright grueling some days. As a single woman, I know how hard and frustrating it can be to wait for a godly man to come along. It ain’t easy. Some of us have the great desire to be a godly wife and mother, but instead we have to do something else that definitely is not our passion in life. However, I’ve learned that continuing to wait without doing anything else is not healthy and actually adds to the issue. The Lord has taught me a lot over the past months and weeks about the importance of not wasting my waiting. I wanted to share some of what He’s been telling me.

*Disclaimer- I am no expert in this area. I still have a lot of work to do. Also, I still have days of real struggle and frustration and pity-partying. Below are just some things the Lord has been teaching me that I have to work through day by day. A lot of these things are based on personal convictions of the Lord. I’m just hoping that some of what I have learned will be helpful for others that are in the same place. [Also, I’m sure there are some grammatical errors. So, try to over look those. 🙂 ]*

One thing I’ve learned during this season is that maybe there is a reason the Lord has kept me single for this long. So, I have to ask myself, “is there any part of my life that needs some growth? Is there any area of how I am living that would cause me not to be the godly wife I should be?” We really have to pray and seek the Lord on what areas of our lives He is still working on. For me, I really struggle with patience and grace with people. I’m pretty sure these 2 things are really important in a marriage where both people are sinners. So, I’ve had to really focus on these areas in my life. I read scripture that speaks to these issues and pray that the Lord would teach me how to grow in them. (I’ve even started this ‘game’ in my car of how to react patiently and graciously when someone cuts me off or drives a little slower than I would like. Of course, I still have a ways to go. But, I will say that the more gracious and patient I am with other drivers, the more at peace I feel during the day. It’s amazing how my attitude as I drive in the car can really effect my whole day.) What areas in your life may the Lord be calling you to surrender to Him so that He can help you grow? Ask Him to reveal these to you and then diligently seek to grow in them. Singleness is the best time to really grow in important areas and also learn what it means to be a godly woman. Once you get married, it will be that much more difficult to take the time needed to do this and you are adding another sinner to the mix. Now, of course I’m not saying once you get married you don’t have to grow anymore. Sanctification is a process that lasts through life, single or married. But, it is definitely much easier to do some serious growing when you are the only person you have to care for. Single ladies, let’s not waste this perfect opportunity to really grow in our character and learn what it means to be godly women.

Another thing the Lord has taught me is to find something to pour my time into. Is there anything I am passionate about other than wanting to be a godly wife and mother? If so, how can I get involved with that right now while I have an ample amount of time? If not, I need to spend time praying that the Lord will lead me to a ministry that I can pour my life and time into. If there is something you really like to do, find a ministry that caters to that and really dig into it! We have a great opportunity right now to serve the Lord with our whole hearts. We have a lot more time on our hands than we would have if we were married with children. Let’s use this time to further God’s kingdom and minister to others. It’s not only a blessing to other people. It’s a huge blessing to us, too, and helps us get our mind off of the waiting. When we are filling our time with ministering to others, we are living for the Lord AND limiting the time we would have to sit and dwell on our single status. I have been there and done that and really it just makes me want to dig a hole and crawl into it. Not fun. Let’s be a blessing to those around us, and ourselves, by leaving our pity party and really doing something beneficial with our time.

Third, during this time of waiting, what kind of characteristics should I be looking for in a godly man? I think it is important for us to know what a biblical man looks like so that we can determine a right man from a wrong man. I will not go through an exhaustive list, but there are a few characteristics that should be at the top of the list. The most important characteristic of a man is that he whole heartedly love the Lord and keep Him first in every aspect. There are a couple of questions to ask to determine if a man is really surrendered to the Lord.  1- Is he really involved in a church or does he just attend one? There is a huge difference between men that are involved in a church and men that merely just attend. A man that truly loves the Lord will be an active member of a local body of believers. 2- By the end of the first date, can you confidently say he loves the Lord? You don’t need to know every aspect of his spiritual life on the first date. However, if his conversation doesn’t at all refer to the Lord, that should be a red flag. We talk about things that are important to us, so our relationship with the Lord should definitely come up a couple of times. A man that truly loves the Lord is going to talk about Him, even without being asked specifically about it.

Another important characteristic is that a godly pursues. Ladies, listen carefully. If you are having to maneuver and manipulate and initiate conversation to get a guy’s attention, stop now and step away. Pursuit is a characteristic given to men by God. It is their responsibility to step out in confidence and take initiative. Men are to be leaders as husbands. If a man isn’t strong enough to take a risk and pursue, you can pretty much guarantee he will not be strong enough to lead a wife and kids. Now, I know pursuit is one of those things that’s quickly dying out in men. It’s rare to find these days and so hard to wait for, but hold out for it. A man worth waiting for is one that will pursue you and show he is capable of being a godly leader. The last characteristic I’ll mention here is that a godly man will be respected by others. Women, sometimes we can be blinded to some huge flaws in men because of their charm and sweet talk with us. One way to know if a man has good character is to see how other people perceive or act towards him. Now, of course I realize not everyone is going to like a particular man. However, if you only hear negative things about a man you can bet that he most likely is not that respectable. A respectable man is going to be well received and positively talked about by wise people in the church and those outside, as well.

Ladies, I know this time of waiting in singleness can be extremely difficult. But, I think we need to start looking at this time as a gift from the Lord. We can use this time to focus on growth in the Lord and what it means to be a godly women. Let’s be wise with our time and pour into the lives of others. May we be active in the furthering of our God’s kingdom. May be also take time to learn what a godly man looks like so that we do not end up with anyone less than God’s best for us. And, also, let’s be an encouragement to men around us. May our godly character as women strengthen and encourage them to the godly men the Lord is calling them to be. “Let no corrupting talk come of of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Listed below are some more passages that will hopefully be really helpful and encouraging.

-I Corinthians 7:17-35; 10:23-33
-Ephesians 5
-Romans 12:3-8
-Colossians 1:9-14; 3:12-17
-Ruth (whole book)
-Proverbs 31

May the Lord be glorified in everything we do!

Stand Firm, Speak Truth

I’ve been following the news a lot lately, so I’ve become even more aware of how corrupt our country (and world) is becoming. Every day there seems to be a new story about an ‘intolerant’ Christian that speaks in agreement with any biblical truth. Simply stating a biblical truth brings all kinds of backlash from the secular world. Christians are constantly labelled as hateful, intolerant bigots that care nothing about others just for being in agreement with a traditional Christian viewpoint. I think the day is quickly approaching where the Church and individual believers are going to be asked very specific questions about what we believe. Are we ready for it? Are we ready to speak truth even when it means going against popular thought? I had the awesome privilege of teaching on this a few weeks ago and thought I would share my thoughts in blog form. My hope is that the Lord would use this as an encouragement, even if it’s just for one person.

*Disclaimer- I do not know everything about scripture or this subject. I speak only from what scripture I have looked up on the matter and what I have learned from it. Much of what I am going to say may be a little uncomfortable for some, so I pray that you will study scripture for yourself and seek the Lord’s wisdom, which is our ultimate authority. On a less serious note, I am no english or literature scholar so please excuse any grammatical errors.*

First, we must begin to understand more fully of what it means to be a Christ follower. Unless we are truly following Christ, we will never be able to stand up for truth. We will buckle and crumble under pressure every time. (I am currently reading ‘Follow Me’ by David Platt and highly recommend it if you like to be kicked in the face a little. It is extremely challenging.) So, what does scripture say about following Jesus? II Corinthians 5:17 and 18 tell us that anyone in Christ is a new creation. We are no longer who we once were when Christ is the Lord of our lives. Therefore, we should not look or sound the same. Our speech and our actions should now align with Christ’s. We see a great example of this in the apostle Paul. He became a completely different person when he began to follow Christ. (His name even changed!) This change in him was visible to those around him (Galatians 1:23, 24). When we follow Christ, it should be visible. We should look completely different than the world and who we once were. Also, following Christ means total and complete surrender to him (Matt. 10:37-39, 16:24-26). We are to die with Christ and endure suffering (II Timothy 2:8-13). We are to seek the approval of God rather than men (Galatians 1:20; I Thess. 2:4). We are not to be ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16). Look at this warning in Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” I don’t know about you, but this verse sure does make me pay a little more attention to how I am living my life. Am I truly a follower of Christ or am I just saying I am? There is a huge difference between saying I follow Christ and actually following Christ with my words and actions. The verses listed above are a good test to know if I truly follow Christ with my whole being.

So, once we have figured out that we truly are following Christ then we can begin to understand what scripture says about speaking and standing up for his truth. Many passages of scripture describe God’s children as soldiers (Joel 3:9,10; Ephesians 6:10-20). We truly are in a spiritual war and we are called to stand firm and fight for truth. We live by faith and remain steadfast, even in the midst of suffering and persecution (Hebrews 10:32-39). Look at verse 39 of Hebrews 10, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Imagine a soldier in a war shrinking back and running from the fight. It isn’t a very noble picture, is it? We would call that soldier a coward and not hold much respect for him. As soldiers, we are called to fight. We are called to stand firm and go against the opposition. We are to stand strong in our faith and not shrink back at the first sign of persecution. Remember, persecution should not even surprise us. Paul tells us to not be surprised by trials, but actually rejoice in them (I Peter 4:12-14). Christ even said that the world will hate us because of him (John 15:18-19). When we follow Christ and speak his truth, will will face trials and persecution. Therefore, don’t lose heart when that time comes! Find joy and comfort in it and know that you are truly following Christ. I Peter 4:14 says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” That’s amazing news!

But, Katie, what about love? Aren’t we supposed to love people and be nice to them? Absolutely! Scripture also teaches us about love (Ephesians 5:2; Colossians 3:14). However, loving someone does not mean tolerating sin or anything that goes against God’s truth. In fact, we are called to rebuke anything that isn’t truth (Titus 1:9,13, 2:11-15). However, we can do so and still love. Let me note here that this is not my strong point. Speaking truth and being bold comes very easily to me, but I admit that I have had to learn more of the love and grace side of things (and I still have a ways to go!). Through scripture I see that we can be both. In fact, we are called to be both. We must be bold and we must love. Christ was an amazing example of this. He often spoke about love (John 13:34, 15:9,10). However, read a few chapters of any of the four Gospels and it’s not hard to see that he also rebuked and called for repentance. He was not afraid to speak truth in boldness and was able to do it while still being love. Let us follow his example by speaking truth and standing firm against anything apart from it in love. We learn how to do this by abiding in him. When we abide in Christ, he will give us what we need to truly live for him (John 15:4-8).

My prayer is that each of us, God’s children, will remain steadfast in Christ. When the time comes, may we never shrink back and, instead, always step forward to proclaim his truth boldly and unapologetically. Ultimately, may we glorify our holy God in everything we do!

Interacting with the Opposite Sex- A Response

So, it has been almost 2 years since my last blog. After moving to Texas, life seemed to fill up quick and I got a little distracted. I have been wanting to get back into the blogging world lately because I feel the Lord is really leading me to be more encouraging in the lives of others. I think the last 2 years has been a waiting period for me. The Lord has made it clear that what I have been waiting for is not part of His plan right now. So, I came to the point of thinking, ‘what the heck am I doing with my life?’ There is so much the Lord can do with me and I really do want to be of great and encouraging impact to those around me. Sharing what the Lord is teaching me is one of the ways that can happen. So here we go!

I read a blog entry earlier called ‘10 Lies We Believe About Interacting with the Opposite Sex’ by a girl name Courtney. As a single woman, I completely understand this young woman’s frustrations, but I feel a lot of what she is saying is not entirely helpful. I wanted to write a semi response to it. I’m not going to go point by point, but will just share some thoughts I have after reading it. (It may be helpful to go read the blog entry before my response in order to get some background info.)

* Disclaimer: I do not have all of the answers to this issue, nor am I claiming to be an expert. These are just some of my thoughts based on the above blog post, conversations I’ve had with women (and men!), and scripture. *

Relationships and friendships between men and women has become such a touchy subject these days. I think there definitely is confusion and frustration on both sides. In the ’10 Lies’ blog, Courtney brings to light her frustrations with guys not interacting with and initiating friendships with girls. She comes up with 10 lies she believes is the problem and goes into some explanation on each one. While some of her points may be a little valid, I think there are some issues with what she is saying. I definitely do believe a lot of Christian men are lacking in the whole pursuit department. I have had many frustrating moments of being surrounded by amazing godly women that the Christian men in church just aren’t pursuing. I believe a lot of it is men being completely comfortable with the ‘freedom’ of singleness. However, I am talking about pursuit that occurs when men actually want to get married. And that is another subject entirely.

As far as friendships go, I think men should not initiate and pursue women unless marriage is at the forefront of their mind. I think it wise for men and women to be guarded in regards to their relationships with the opposite sex. Am I against men and women being friends? Absolutely not! I have guy friends of my own. However, I have seen and found in my experience that doing 1 on 1 with opposite sex with the mindset of ‘just being friends’ doesn’t really work. So, while ‘let’s do lunch’ might not exactly mean ‘let’s reproduce’ it may just cause one or the other to hope something more may come out of it. I think it’s much better for a guy to be stand-offish and guard a girl’s heart than try to initiate friendships with multiple girls, causing one or more of them heart ache down the road.

I do agree that we can’t just sit at home hoping someone will fall out of the sky (Courtney’s Lie#5). If someone wants to eventually get married, he or she will need to be social in some aspect. I’m all for single men and women doing different activities together. (Catch that? Men and women. Not man and woman.) Group settings are a great way to interact with members of the opposite sex. However, we must be careful not to confuse ministry and finding friends of the opposite sex as being the same thing. Courtney uses the Great Commission verse (Matt. 28:19) to defend her point of getting out there to meet members of the opposite sex and eventually a spouse. This verse is speaking specifically of a ministry: spreading the gospel, making disciples, baptizing them, teaching them. Now, can you meet your spouse while working for a specific ministry? Absolutely! I know many godly married couples that met each other while working with a specific ministry. However, using the Great Commission as a means of defending that God tells us to ‘go out to meet members of the opposite sex’ is not biblical. Social gatherings to meet new people and the Great Commission are 2 different things.

Also, she used the verse where God says that man is not to be alone (Genesis 2:18) to defend men and women being friends. Look at what God says in this verse next: ‘I will make a helper fit for Him.’ God is specifically referring to marriage in this verse. Therefore, I do not think He intended it to be used as a defense that men and women should be friends. I definitely understand that it can be good for men and women to interact with each. Both men and women are part of the body of Christ and need to know how to rightfully interact with each other. Yes, let’s do ministry together and spread the gospel together, but let’s not make it into singles social event. All should be done first and foremost for the glory of God and spreading of His kingdom, not so I can meet a guy that could potentially be my husband.

Courtney also stated that she believes men and women spending more time together would decrease the dependency on porn (Lie#8). I will not get into the issue of porn or try to solve it, because I believe a solution to this issue is very spiritually complex. However, I can confidently say that a man struggling with dependency on porn will not be cured by spending more time with girls. Addiction to porn is a deep seated spiritual issue as a result of the fall of mankind, so this ‘solution’ is not helpful at all nor does it address the real heart of the issue.

Again, let me reiterate the fact that I am not against members of the opposite sex being friends or interacting with each other. I think there can be definite benefits to men and women being around each other. However, I think men and women need to be very wise about this. We should be guarded in respect to one another. I choose to be more cautious in my interactions with men not only to guard my own heart, but also theirs. Men and women are not created for close relationships with one another outside of marriage. God chose for man to not be alone, so He created a helper (wife) for him (Genesis 2:18). God originally planned for men and women to pair off and become one flesh (ultimately to exemplify Christ and the church through marriage) not for them to simply be friends. Because of the fall in Genesis 3, humanity has skewed what God had originally planned (even though the fall was still part of His plan, but I’ll save the sovereignty of God for another blog post!). Men have become more lax in their pursuit of women so now women are just starving for any attention at all from men even if it’s just friends.

I want to encourage single men and women to be guarded with your hearts. First and foremost, set your sights and pursuits on Christ. If you are struggling with insecurity and feeling lonely, be honest with Him about it! Pray for comfort, pray for Christ to show you your importance in His eyes. Being completely satisfied in Christ is more fulfilling than any friendship you may find with the opposite sex. Godly men, be guarded with your interactions with women. But, do not be afraid of marriage or stepping out and pursuing a godly woman when you are ready to get married. Set your sight on Christ and seek wisdom from Him and He will give you the courage and strength to step out. Women guard your hearts at all costs! Don’t be ready to open it up until someone is ready to keep it. Be wise in your friendships with the opposite sex. If you are feeling lonely or rejected, go to Christ who is our ultimate bridegroom (Matt. 9:15, John 3:29). Do not try to find your comfort and self-worth in relationships with other people. Yes, the Lord blesses us with amazing relationships that can be very encouraging. But, when we try to find our self-worth in anything other than Christ, we will always be left disappointed.

And, if by chance Courtney reads this, please know that I understand your frustrations. Sometimes the lack of activity in men can be so overwhelming and discouraging. I often have to pray about this issue and seek wisdom from Him. I completely understand having the urge knock a few guys’ heads against the wall. However, I implore you to continue your pursuit of Christ. If guys are stand-offish and don’t want to be friends, let them be. Fill your time and energy with godly women and ministries that tug at your heart. I guarantee you that God will bring along the right man in His timing and way. Yes, even if you aren’t interacting with them on a day to day basis. God is pretty amazing in the ways He works. I dare to venture that He will even drop one out of the sky if He so chooses. 🙂

May God be glorified in all we do!

Experiencing Joy After Hardship

After being out of school for a year and trying to figure out what the Lord wanted me to do, I finally got a job! I started my new job working in corporate security at a energy company downtown Houston this past week. No, it has nothing to with my degree (biblical counseling), but I know the Lord can still use me in a great way. And, maybe, I will even get to use what I have learned in some way.

This past year (especially the past 4-5 months) has been one of the most difficult for me. I did not really experience a horrible event or anything like that. It was just one of those times of being overwhelmed with confusion and feeling at a complete loss of what the Lord’s will was for my life. I was plagued with feelings of loneliness and doubt of what my purpose was. I prayed continually for some direction, but never felt the Lord leading or even answering my prayers at all. Far Away by Lecrae and Never Alone by BarlowGirl were my theme songs. I knew the Lord was there because He has made that promise (Matt. 28:20, Rom. 8:38-39, Heb. 13:5-6), but I was not directly seeing or feeling it.

Even through all of this, however, I do not think there has ever been a time of more growth spiritually and in maturity (yes, I am still goofy and crazy acting at certain times). My relationship with the Lord has reached a new depth that I have never experienced before. He used that low point in my life to teach me so many things and help me grasp a greater understanding of what it means to be godly. I am so thankful for those difficult months because they really were a great blessing.

Now, the Lord is bringing me out of that and leading me to a completely new point in life. I can see now how everything over the past year has led up to this specific time in my life. He has such a great plan for me and experiencing that time of sorrow and doubt was definitely a big part of His plan. I can’t help but be so excited about how He is working in my life. I have literally been smiling (almost) the entire past week. I experienced tears of sadness, but now I am experienced tears of joy. And, let me tell you, those times of hardship make these times of happiness so much more sweet.

He has already brought some precious friends in my life here, and I am so excited to get to know them better and see how the Lord works through us. And, He has already started moving my heart towards ministry opportunities and I can’t wait to see Him work all of that out. I am just astounded at how faithful the Lord truly is! There were definitely times that I wasn’t sure how He could ever work it out for my good. I didn’t see any possibility of good coming out of my situation. But, here I am completely reassured that He really does work everything out for our good. In fact, those ‘bad’ times really are good for us and it has been so amazing to see Him reveal that!

So, if you are experiencing a hard time right now do not lose hope! I know it is so hard to see any good in it, but trust in the Lord. He has a specific purpose for everything that happens. He has a special plan for you and He is using this time in your life to fulfill that plan. Use this time to focus on Him and all that He may be teaching you. One day you will see how all of it was part of His amazing and perfect will!

May He be glorified through us, during both good times and bad (and even those in between)!