Although D certainly surprised me, I shouldn't have been shocked. My relationship with the Lord has been in a "waiting" stage, just waiting for understanding and clarity. The Lord brought Scripture to my attention that commanded my whole life- marriage, family, friendships, agenda, everything- and He challenged me to think about what things I clench in my hands too firmly. So often (a.k.a. all the time) I hold fast to the hope of being a mother or teacher or having "me" time on the weekends or getting plenty of time to sleep- and I forget that Christ gave all, so He asks for all of us! To "sacrifice" means to give up something that we love, something that means a lot to us. Abraham, after all, was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
I struggled with the affections of my heart for a while. Was my heart knitted closer to God or to man? Which would I be willing to give up, if given the opportunity or command? How often each day do I truly die to my own desires? Christ asks all. He took me on an incredible journey to realizing how important Jesus should be in my life, and I fell in love with Him all over again. He gently disciplined his daughter, asking for radical faith that produces obedience. He brought 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 to my attention, encouraging me to change my outlook on submitting to God's plans:
"An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world- how she can please her husband."
I realized that I cannot create my own plans for my life, labeling them as "God's Will." The comfortable thing is not always God's thing. I prayed, sought counsel, and attempted to seek the Lord's guidance. Jim Elliot's prayer rung true in my heart- "I am willing that 'my house on earth be emptier,' but not unless 'His house be fuller.'" Waiting for understanding and a word from the Lord nearly killed me- I thought about it hourly! His answer to my prayers was quite different from what I was expecting...
I was expecting and praying for a definite answer. A clear "YES" or a clear "NO." Would I serve the Lord greatest with a husband and family, or with an adopted family of believers? How will His Kingdom be best advanced through me? My cry was "the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever- do not abandon the works of Your hands!" (Ps. 138:8) Rather than answering with yes or no, He told me to WAIT. After long weeks of crying out and seeking to have more faith, desperately longing for an answer, I found that the Lord quieted my soul with the gentle command to wait for understanding. Oswald Chambers says "living a life of faith . . . is literally a life of faith, not of understanding & reason- a life of knowing Him who calls us to go." So I waited, in the meantime learning to love Him despite a lingering revelation.
I'm thankful to say that He revealed His purpose to me through a cute boy giving a sweet proposal on Saturday night. Although I do not have absolute assurance of that wedding day arriving (James 4:13-15), Lord-willing I will soon be a wife for a man who uplifts and encourages me to love & serve Jesus more. As Abraham was given his son's life after raising his hand to murder & sacrifice Isaac, the Lord gave me D once I sacrificed the option of marriage (but only if it meant serving more effectively as a single woman).
The Lord is good, and He promises to provide for us. He asks for all of us, but He also delights to do good for His children:
"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so they will always fear me for their own good... I will never stop doing good to them... I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul." -Jeremiah 32:39-41
I am so thankful for the assurance and rest my soul has felt in the last few days- I have waited on the Lord, and He has answered! "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." (Ps 116:7) My prayer today is that I would keep singleness of heart, wholly devoted to Christ while also serving my future husband. I pray that Christ really will be glorified so much more through our future marriage than He would have been through us walking down separate paths. I never, ever want to cling too tightly to the things of this world- and I will continue to live a life of faith- not of understanding, but a life of knowing Christ. And He is well worth getting to know :)
What are your hands holding firmly, that the Lord might ask you to give up for His sake? He gave all, He asks all. I'm still learning this.