Tag Archives: marriage

Darling, there ain’t nothin’ magic about Mike (Wait for Me 2 of 7)

24 Jul

Let me start by asking you a question: What do you think is the most important attribute of a future spouse? I’ve been thinking on this a lot lately…and, unfortunately, it likely has something to do with the ever-so-popular book Fifty Shades of Grey and the hit movie Magic Mike…and all their hype.

Honestly, I didn’t know what either of those titles were until I’d heard them mentioned enough times to pique my curiosity. So what did I do? I Googled them both.

And I. Was. HORRIFIED.

Pause. Listen up for a second before you run away. I’m not standing on a pedestal and thinking I’m so holy and the people who watch/read these things are the devil. No…I just want to stand up for what I believe in, and I have two thoughts regarding these types of entertainment: 1) Viewing/reading them is the antithesis of guarding our hearts, minds and eyes, and 2) Just like pornography, these types of entertainment give people an unrealistic view of both love and what to look for in a mate.

I want to share with you a few quotes from Chapter Two of Rebecca St. James’ book Wait for Me that address these issues. (After all, this is part two of my seven week series. Missed part one?)

Let’s start with this section on what Rebecca calls “Perception Protection”:

“My nanna (grandma) has passed on some great advice that has helped in my pursuit of purity of mind, heart and body,” Rebecca writes. “Here is some of her practical wisdom: ‘in the area of purity, television doesn’t help. At one stage double beds weren’t even allowed to be shown on TV, and now you see people making love! As soon as I see an R-rated movie coming on, I turn it off. Don’t watch movies that display immoral activity because we learn through seeing. You might say you can “handle it,” but Satan is sneaky, and he creeps in, conditioning our minds to accept wrong things. Before we know it, these things become actions in our minds.'”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not perfect. Sometimes I like to think I’m strong, but the truth is that I am weak and helpless without the strength and wisdom God gives to me when I seek his face. Without him in my life, I probably would be watching movies like Magic Mike and reading books like Fifty Shades. And I would be terribly lost, because Scripture calls us to purity (Ephesians 5:3).

As Christians, guarding our hearts–which can start with our ears and eyes–is so incredibly important. It can be the difference between being in the world and being of the world. I truly believe Rebecca’s nanna! Satan IS sneaky, and he starts with the little things. After all, the little things make the big things more acceptable to us and cause us to fall more easily.

If you know me at all, you know I’m totally in love with these movies and the valiant hearts of their heroes.

And, okay, I am NOT saying you should shut out all romantic movies or books! I would be nuts if I did that. In fact, I’m a huge proponent of a good love story, either on screen or in print. Two of my favorite love stories of all time are Pride & Prejudice (book and movie), and yes, Pirates of the Caribbean. Both are clean, witty, funny and very romantic. Rebecca even shares some of her favorite chick flicks in this chapter: The Wedding Planner, While You Were Sleeping and Emma. Check out all of these and you’ll see that romantic does NOT have to equal dirty.

Lastly, I want to share this other quote from Chapter Two regarding the effects movies and books like Magic Mike and Fifty Shades have on us.

“When we choose to look at things that are damaging to us (pictures, videos, movies and CD covers), it distorts our perception of reality,” Rebecca writes.

When it comes to Magic Mike, let me tell ya, ladies, Channing Tatum IS gorgeous, I’m no idiot. But guess what? A man’s HEART matters way more than his appearance. His heart for God, his desire to serve you, his selflessness and his faithfulness are what will make him a good husband and father. The speaker in the song “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real is the type of man we should be watching for! Appearances fade away with age! And guys, I’m talking to you, too. A Godly wife is worthy of praise! In fact, check out Proverbs 31 if you have a moment.

If you’re reading this right now and you have high hopes of getting married one day, I want to challenge you to pray for your future spouse. I encourage you to ask God for someone with a biblical heart and not just a pretty face. It might seem like common sense that a person’s heart is more important than his or her appearance, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves.

And, one more thing, if you’ve found yourself viewing and reading things that wouldn’t honor God, Rebecca shares that Ministry and Media, Cinemain Focus and Nappaland are some of her favorite sites that give reliable entertainment reviews from a Christian perspective. Why not give them a shot before you agree to hit the movies with your friends next time around? I know I’m going to try a lot harder in this area, because it can be so easy to agree to seeing a movie and then wind up thinking halfway through the show, “I should’ve researched this before I wasted 10 bucks.” Not a fun situation to be in!

Jen

P.S. To all the ladies out there, married or single, please purchase Rebecca’s book. Chapter Two has some great insight into why modesty is important. It certainly challenge me!

New blog series: Wait for Me

14 Jul

It’s been almost three years now since I truly felt compassion for young people. In November 2009, I attended a retreat for students as a youth leader and witnessed hundreds of students with backgrounds of abuse, depression and addiction flee to the altar to receive the grace and mercy of God. My heart broke for them. I began to hope that someday, somehow, I’d find my way into ministry.

Right now I’m working a regular “day job.” I absolutely love it, but it’s not the end for me. And I’ve also realized that I don’t have to be a pastor’s wife to be “in ministry.” No, my ministry is here and now, not in 10 years. It’s every Sunday and Wednesday that I devote to my youth group. It’s the ministry-related freelancing I do on the side. And, it’s this blog.

And my biggest passion for teens and young adults is a topic that is laughed and scoffed at by our sex-obsessed culture. It’s purity.

I’ve blogged about purity before, encouraging others to view it not as “unrealistic,” but as possible. (See the category “Pure Encouragement” for my posts on that topic.) But now I want to do something even more.

A few weeks ago I discovered the band for KING & COUNTRY and also found out that the men in the band are actually Rebecca St. James’ younger brothers. I got SO excited! I grew up on Rebecca’s music, and as I began to reflect on the impact her music had on me, I immediately remembered her most popular song, “Wait for Me.” So I decided to look her up on Twitter, and through a series of tweets, I discovered she actually has a book called Wait for Me that she published in 2002.

As I began to pray about my future just this morning, I once again felt that compassion I experienced in 2009. But it was a more specific compassion–a compassion for those who are both either 1) waiting for the one or 2) giving their hearts and bodies to anyone who’ll have them. I want both sides to see that purity is a beautiful thing, and that “waiting until marriage” is the best option and absolutely possible. I know many people who have waited. It’s how God intended it to be!

So, starting this Tuesday, I’m going to be blogging about Rebecca’s book Wait for Me. I’m so excited to dig into it today and begin writing about it. Every Tuesday I’ll publish a new post about it. There are seven chapters, so this will take seven weeks.

So, if you’re unmarried–male or female–this is goes out to you. (Even if you are married, these lessons can be for you, too, to someday share with your children.)

And let me also note that I refuse to be “preachy” or condemning. I’m learning, too–and I admit that I am not perfect. These will be lessons I learn and share with you. And I also want to note that Rebecca addresses second chances in her book. So don’t turn and run away if you have a past. Please stay.

I would be honored if you would stay tuned and walk out this journey with me. I’d encourage you even to read the book along with me. It’s only $9.99 on iBooks!

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll come back on Tuesday!

Jen

“I hate being single” = “I don’t trust God”

4 Jul

It’s honesty hour.

Sometimes our culture just grieves me.

It’s relationship-focused and sex-driven. It’s disgusting. (I obviously don’t feel like sugarcoating today.)

What really bothers me is that I have seen and heard about so many people in my generation who absolutely abhor singleness (and even abstinence), as if it’s some sort of disease, disorder or curse.

But let’s just stop for a moment. Have you ever realized that singleness can be a blessing from God? If you’re single and reading this right now, are you willing to let God work in you, refine you and make you into the person you’re called to be (which, ya know, could be someone’s future spouse)? ‘Cause singleness is a great time for letting God move in your life and grow you spiritually. But you have to stop holding onto the mindset that our world thrusts upon us, which sounds a little bit like this: “I only have value if I am loved by someone else.” It’s a lie. The truth is, you are loved by God. That alone gives you value.

So honestly? I think singleness can be a gift. An absolute blessing, if we can simply trust God enough to let go. Long story short, to me, “I hate being single” is equal to the statement, “I don’t trust that God has very personally written my love story before I was ever born.” After all, God wrote each one of our days before one of them ever came to be (Psalm 139), so if your story includes marriage…well, God’s gonna handle that. Stop worrying.

And truthfully, if you’re running after every attractive person that crosses your path in an effort to cure yourself of loneliness, it may be true that you’re only looking to satisfy your own desires, which isn’t a great recipe for success when it comes to relationships. Nope. The Word tells us that love is selfless:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

So I encourage you to start learning selfless love now. Start with loving your neighbor as yourself.

And one more thing.

Single does not equal unhappy. In fact, there can be a whole lot of joy in it when our focus is on Christ. And hey, it’s okay to get on your knees and pray for a future spouse. And wait patiently for them, if indeed that’s what the Lord has in store for you. In fact, I encourage it!

Be blessed today, especially all you single ladies (and gents).

Jen