What Dating Taught Me in 2016

I spent the majority of 2016 getting to know and then dating a strapping young man, and we broke up in early October. So when I reflect on the year–that relationship is a major part of the things that shaped it. Though breakups suck, I am thankful for the experience of dating this year, and have complied a few “takeaways” from the relationship (I blogged about the takeaways from the break up here!).

In no particular order, and this list is certainly not exhaustive, but dating in 2016 taught me:

  1. That sometimes two awesome people, are not awesome together.
  2. That dating someone super disciplined in being in the Word and in prayer, makes it a whole lot easier to listen to their leadership.
  3. That becoming too physically affectionate stunts emotional & relational growth (it’s super easy to cuddle the night away, and it’s laborious to know one another–be willing to labor).
  4. That if their definition of best friend is very different from your picture of a best friend-you’re probably going to struggle to be best friends.
  5. That there is a beautiful, gospel centered way to respond to sin–and it brings freedom and a sense of safety.
  6. That purity is SOOOOO WORTH IT. OH MY WORD. ESPECIALLY POST BREAK UP–THE HEALING PROCESS IS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN THAT INTIMACY ISN’T BURDENING YOUR MEMORY BANKS OR WEDGING ITSELF BETWEEN YOU AND GOD.
  7. That I’m less trusting/more insecure than I thought I was.
  8. That I love big and I love quickly-I need to slow down my heart–and pray for discernment.
  9. That learning is a love language of mine.
  10. That “thy will be done” is a prayer always answered perfectly ❤

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by A.W. Tozer, and says, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” So when I think about getting to know, dating, and breaking up this year–I know it’s purpose in my life is to make me look more like Christ, and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Oh, and here’s a little diddy I wrote when processing post-break up thoughts!

Guess we’re a Square Peg in a Round Hole,
It’s not you or me,
It’s us.

Yes we’re a square peg in a round hole.
It’s not you or me,
It’s us.

I get blinded by my own heart,
Love too big that I can’t see.
I get blinded by my own joy.
I’m not for you, you’re not for me.

I know I tend to try, try, try, to be all I long to be.
I get in my mind,
convince myself it’s fine.
Love can be so blind.

Though there was so much that was so good,
we long for and offer different things.
Though there was so much that was so good,
It’s best to wait for what God brings.

Because we’re a square peg in a round hole.
It’s not you or me-
It’s us.

 

A Peek Into My Dating Life

I have had the joy of dating an awesome stud for the last 4 months or so. As I have wrote about before, I think dating can be difficult. I’ve learned a lot from mistakes in the past, and though not perfect, this dating relationship has been so peace-saturated and God honoring.

What is making it that way? 

Well I’m glad you asked, because I’ve thought of 3 primary reasons why dating has been such a blessing. 

  1. We want God’s will more than we want each other.
    • I’m a stubborn women. I think I know what is best for me. But I’ve learned the hard way that many times, I don’t actually have a clue. I’ve learned to pray with a sincere heart, “Thy will be done”. My boyfriend and I realize that God is sovereign and has a plan for both of our lives. He has a spouse for each of us who will best sanctify and love us, and if that is one another -praise the Lord! But if that is someone else-then that is what we want for each other. Because we know our Father knows BEST, and we can trust Him with our future.
  2. We concentrate on the 3 H’s.
    • In my phone, my boyfriend’s middle name is  “HHH”. Those three h’s in the middle stand for Happiness, Holiness, and Humor. Those are the three things we decided we wanted our dating relationship to be all about. Those are the three things we want to infuse into each other’s lives. If God keeps us together-what a great foundation for the future! And if God moves us apart-what great things to have added into our lives even for just a season!
  3. We’re serious about purity.
    • Mark my words, one day, I will write a book about this. But for now, I’ll just say that this victory has been one of sweetest blessings of my life. For those of you, like me, who have fought and lost battles with purity in the past, the joy that comes in honoring God in this way far outweighs any joys that came from the worldly pleasures of not honoring Him. And it definitely changes a relationship!

Dating this guy blesses me in other ways too. From feeling like (somehow!) I am the most beautiful girl on the planet, to being able to trust his character, leadership, and wisdom in taking things slow-to morning deliveries of bacon and roses-I’m super thankful to be his girlfriend-for however long God sees fit. And since God’s word tells me that “every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above”(James 1:17)- I know that my response to this needs to be praise and worship! God is the giver of this good gift-and it causes me to gush over, not my boyfriend but, the Good Giver.

But I can’t write this without also saying that all of this is not always easy. It doesn’t come NATURALLY. Numbers 1,2, and 3 go against my human nature in so many ways! There are days I’m frustrated, and days I struggle to remember that God’s will is best. There are days I want to concentrate only on my happiness-and not his happiness and certainly not either of our holinesses. There are moments I don’t want to be serious about purity and moments I complain to God about gifts I think I deserve that I don’t have instead of thanking Him for the ones I do have. That’s why being in prayer and in the Word is so important. I can’t date well on my own! I need to be dependent on God!

So although it’s not always easy-dating is a blessing. Whether we’re together for 6 more months, or 60 more years-it doesn’t matter. God knows best and He is trustworthy! Our Father will lead in His perfect way in His perfect timing. Man, being a Christian is the best! We know that ALL things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). So we depend on God and date in peace, joy, and confidence-knowing that everything is (and will be) exactly as it should be! 

chandler

keller

law

 

A Break-Up Song of Sorts

 

A thousand lessons learned,

absolutely forever changed.

Grace of God please work

through all the joys and all the pain. 

Let us trust that you are good,

You are working, you can heal.

Keep us far from bitterness, 

and at your throne please let us kneel. 


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us loving, trusting, seeking only you.

Please keep us satisfied with you.


You weep with those who weep,

And you morn with those who morn.

You knew this trial we’d face

Before we were, or time was born.

You have purposed all our days

For your glory and your name.

As your children we have hope

And are free from guilt or shame.


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us loving, trusting, seeking only you.

Please keep us satisfied with you.


Work out your good in us

Though I don’t understand

In your grace, reveal to us,

Your perfect purpose and your plans.

But even if you don’t

And I never see the why.

I’ll cling to your character-

Your love can’t be denied.


You are always worthy of our praise.


You are holy-our lives are but a breath.

You love us deeply-and saved our souls from death.

You graciously give the peace of knowing Truth.

Please keep us close-abiding, seeking

Keep us joy-desiring, seeking

Keep us spirit-guiding, seeking you.  


How to Catch the Eye of a Reformed Guy

calvin-spurgeon

How to Catch the Eye of a Reformed Guy

Reformed men who don’t live in their parent’s basement

Seem to be a rare commodity.

Ones who are willing to initiate and pursue are even

more of an blessed oddity.

So if you find yourself rubbing elbows

with a man with much appeal

Here are some things I’ve heard you can mention

to really seal the deal:

“Just call me Miss ESV

Why, yes these are the

Institutes you see!

My favorite passage is

Romans 8:28-33

I love the atonement,

Substitutionary!

I have a Spurgeon based blog

I write in every day.

I love beards and free trade coffee

Jon Edwards all the way!”

After saying things like that to him

His heart will skip a beat

But if he is timid or apprehension filled

You can try some of these:

“I love how godly women

Are to just sit back and wait

For godly men

Following Christ’s example

To initiate.

One of the favorite subjects is

Complementarianism

I love the incarnation, alcohol,

and debates on paedobaptism!”

Affectionately reference Tim Keller, Martin Luther, Abraham Kuyper

B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, and of course, John Piper!

And if time is running out,

and you need to make a last impression.

All you need to do quote

As much as you can of the Westminster Confession

I Know Why You Are Still Single

I feel like I hear the question “What’s wrong with me? Why am I single?” on the lips of my dear female friends a lot. Whether they are 20 or 30 or somewhere in between, they seem to have somehow been convinced of the idea that their singleness is a result of something they are or are not.

They aren’t outgoing enough.

They aren’t thin enough.

They aren’t young enough.

They aren’t pretty enough.

They aren’t smart enough.

They just aren’t enough.

Let me tell you the real reason why you are single right now. It’s not because you are awkward, or overweight, or too homey or too make-upped, or too loud, or too quiet, or too anything. Because, let’s be honest, think about it, there are LOTS of happy, holy people who are married that are *seemingly* alllll those things.

It’s simple really. The only reason you are single right now is because God wills that to be.

And if God wills it to be-it is the BEST thing for you.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can ABSOLUTELY be playing a part in that process. If your desire is to be married, there are things you can be doing to aid you in getting there. You (and others) can be (and should be!) praying. You can respond to godly pursuit. You can find ways to mingle with godly, mature men. You can read books on godly masculinity, femininity, and relationships. And all the while you should be working towards sanctification. Not for/because of a one day relationship-but because of a deep desire to please and look like the Lord.

But ultimately, it is up to the Lord. He is sovereign over all things.

[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will.
(Ephesians 1:11)

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
(Psalm 115:3)

I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
(Job 42:2)

He can easily bring someone into your life. He can easily incline someone’s heart to you.(Proverbs 21:1!) He could have easily had you married years ago! But that was not His will for your life.

A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way?
(Proverbs 20:24)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. . . .  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
(James 4:13-15)

God chose to allow a season (or lifetime) or singleness, and that is okay. He has a reason for it. And that reason is that through this season He is going to be able to work in you in remarkable ways for His name’s sake. He is not punishing you. God only allows and permits things in your life to make you look more like Christ. There may come a time, my dear, dear, sisters, where that refining process of sanctification will take place in the covenant of marriage, but until then, don’t be anxious! Concentrate on knowing who God is, and being what God calls you to be, instead of concentrating who “he” (future-Mr.-godly-pants-spouse-husband-man) might be and wondering what he would want you to be.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Your Savior is your first love, your ultimate love, your only perfect love, and your only everlasting love. If it is in God’s sovereign plan for you to have a spousely love,  it will happen! Not too early. Not too late. All in his perfecting time and because of His sovereign will.

~ Psalm 37 ~